Friday, April 24, 2009

The Bible Under Siege

I’ve said it before and let me say it again, the Bible is under siege. It is under siege in the classroom, the media, in the books we read, in entertainment, and on the Web. If you are a genuine believer in Jesus Christ, you had better wake up to that fact. As you know, over the last couple weeks I’ve been talking about a professor Ehrman, who is bent on demonstrating that the Bible is hopelessly riddled with discrepancies that Jesus Christ was a false prophet[1], and that the Bible simply cannot be trusted as the infallible repository of redemptive revelation.



Now I don’t have a personal ax to grind with Professor Ehrman, I don’t even know him, but I have a completely different mission. He talks about how “the more conservative students–– resist for a long time, secure in their knowledge that God would not allow any falsehoods into a sacred book, but before long, as students see more and more of the evidence, many of them find that their faith in the inerrant and absolute historical truthfulness of the Bible begins to waver."[2] My goal is not to cause students to lose their faith; my goal is to cause students to find their faith. To trust the Bible—and I am particularly focused on this goal right now in that we are reading and recognizing on the basis of research that the vast majority of kids that come from conservative evangelical homes are walking away from the faith. Some say 75% of them[3], Josh McDowell said it could be upwards of 94% of them[4], which is to say that only 6% of them survive the onslaught against the Bible and the historic Christian faith.



So I’ve been devoting some time to demonstrated that the supposed discrepancies are just that, supposed.



According to Professor Ehrman, the first of the key discrepancies with respect to the resurrection involves the female or females who allegedly discovered the empty tomb. Ehrman writes, “Who actually went to the tomb? Was it Mary alone (John 20:1)? Mary and another Mary (Matthew 28:1)? Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome (Mark 16:1)? Or the women who had accompanied Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem––possibly Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the Mother of James, and ‘other women’ (Luke 24:1, see 23:55)."[5]



Well, it all depends on what Gospel you read, and in responding to a dogmatist, who has made a virtual art form out of exploiting the discrepancies in the secondary details of these Gospels, a number of thoughts spring immediately to mind. Let me share them with you.



First, it’s helpful to recognize that the gospels are complementary rather than contradictory. If John had stipulated that Mary Magdalene was the only female to discover the empty tomb, and the other Gospels had claimed more than one women was involved in the process, we’d be faced with a genuine contradiction. Instead the complementary details provided by the four gospel writers simply, as Paul Harvey used to say, flesh out the “rest of the story.”



Furthermore, credible scholars are always looking for a reliable core set of facts in order to validate historical accounts. In this case, liberal and conservative historians agree that the body of Jesus was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. As credible scholars have noted a member of the Jewish court that condemned Christ to death is an unlikely candidate for Christian fiction.[6]



Additionally, when we consider the role of women in 1st century Jewish society, what’s remarkable is that the empty tomb accounts feature female as hero’s of the story in the first place. This, of course, demonstrates that the gospel writers factually recorded what happened even if it was culturally embarrassing.



One final point, if each of the gospel writers presented secondary details in exactly the same way, Professor Ehrman would no doubt dismiss their accounts on the basis of collusion. Instead of course the gospels provide unique yet mutually consistent perspectives on the events surrounding the empty tomb.



These principles not only revolve and resolve the conundrum I’m discussing now, but include all the supposed resurrection contradictions that are highlighted by Ehrman in his latest book. Indeed, we can safely conclude that far from being contradictory that the gospel accounts are clearly complementary, that a consensus of credible scholarship consider the core set of facts presented by the gospel writers to be authentic and reliable, and that the unique perspectives provided by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John preclude the possibly of collusion.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 244.

[2] Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them) (New York, Harper One, 2009), 6.

[3] Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, “Youth ministry summit to explore mass exodus of young from churches” This news release cites LifeWay Christian Resources’ Glenn Schultz in his book Kingdom Education on the 75% number. (http://www.sbtexas.com/default.asp?action=article&aid=3313&issue=11/7/2006).

[4] North American Mission Board, “Studies Show that Once Students Graduate from High School They Struggle With Their Faith”, this News Article cites McDowell’s 94% statistic. (http://www.namb.net/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=9qKILUOzEpH&b=1594365&ct=3237289)

[5] Ehrman, Jesus Interrupted, 48.

[6] Raymond Brown as quoted in Wilkens, Michael J. and J.P. Moreland, eds., Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 148.

21 comments:

Boris said...

Bart Ehrman said that he began to question the historical reliability of the New Testament when he learned to read Koine Greek. I took both Classical and Koine Greek classes at a Christian college. Professors like Bart Ehrman have been teaching at Christian colleges ever since there have been Christian colleges from what I can tell. I had them as teachers myself and read their critiques of the books of the Bible. I personally witnessed other students go through painful de-conversions as they started to be able to read the New Testament on their own. In one particular instance a professor gave the definition of Caiaphas since only the lexicon definition was in our textbooks. When he said Caiaphas meant “Inquisitor” someone asked him a question I’m not sure what it was, probably “Isn’t that odd” or something to that effect and the professor went on about how all the names in the Gospels, Acts, Revelation and in fact the entire Old Testament were eponymous or else que names. Now eponymous names, word for word dialog with people speaking in complete sentences, tales of the miraculous involving beings such as angels, demons, seraphs and the like are hallmarks of fiction writing. No historical narrative contains such elements. I remember discussing this with classmates and telling them that eponymous names and these other things were quite common in the other Hellenistic literature we read for Classical Greek classes. The answer was usually something about “those things” being fiction though. Eventually it just dawns on a lot of Greek students that the New Testament “documents” are not documents at all, but works of fiction. It isn’t the discrepancies that give it away. It’s the style of writing itself and what it is saying that lets us know we are reading fiction.

As it was after dark and the gates of the Temple were locked, certain members of the Sanhedrin met in the south west quarter of the city at the palace of the high priest Caiaphas, whose name means “inquisitor”. -History of the Trial, Bill Petro

Don Sullivan said...

I just find it hilarious that Ehrman is unable to answer any real challenges to his position, and when confronted with alternative issues, instead of answering, he goes back to his straw man arguments against Christianity. A lot of students get rattled with his arguments, as do a lot of people, because they are biblically illiterate.

I find it difficult to understand how the knowledge of Koine and Hebrew would actually damage someone's faith, as it has bolstered mine tremendously. I came the opposite way, from no faith to faith, so I really lament people who allow their trust in God to be destroyed by naturalism and agnosticism.

Boris said...

Don,
Bring those challenges to me right here on this blog. I'll prove to you they are no challenges at all. That is if you really have any challenges to Ehrman's positions. I'm betting you don't but let's see what you got.

Boris said...

Oh and Don, what can you tell be about neuter plural nouns in Ancient Greek?

John Tucker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Tucker said...

Boris,
I'm curious. Why are you here on this blog? Are you here simply to argue, do you have an axe to grind, do you hope to lead someone astray from their faith, or are you genuinely seeking answers? I doubt it's the latter since you ask no questions at all but rather sound like you have all the answers you need.

Boris said...

John Tucker,
I’m a long time listener to Hank’s Bible Answer Man broadcasts. It’s frustrating to hear this man make the same stupid long refuted arguments against science other creationists make time and time again. Let me make an analogy using Hank’s own style: I found myself virtually screaming out the words, “Will someone please help Dr. Hank Hanegraaf figure out evolutions bottom-up design mechanism!” It is a problem he brings up ad nauseum and ad infinitum as his way of showing science is riddled with discrepancies. This problem is cited in his book Evolution’s Fatal Flaws and involves again the total war on all science Bible believers have waged ever since the Bible was written.

I am here on this blog to let Hank and his followers see just how easy it is to refute many of his claims. That’s the ax I have to grind. I should be able to vent after listening to Hank for so long. I’m not hoping to lead anyone astray from their faith. The only answers I’m seeking have to do with why people believe what they do. I wonder if you can imagine being a lifelong atheist who has never been able to believe in any kind of God even as a child. Just couldn’t imagine it at all. Wouldn’t you be curious why so many people do believe in some kind of God and why their ideas are all so different if there actually is such a being? That’s me. I just can’t figure out why people let other people convince them there’s an invisible man in the sky who is watching us and does all the things people say it does. Why may I ask, did you let other people tell you that there is a God and if you believe the Bible why did you let someone convince you to do that?

Don Sullivan said...

Boris,

What do you want to know about plural neuter nouns in Koine? Dative forms? Genitive forms? Appropriate endings in conjunction with various prepositions? Your question doesn't really ask anything.

One problem I can bring up with Professor Ehrman is that he uses the passage from Mark 2 about Jesus' forgiving/healing the lame man as our "weak proof" that Jesus thought of Himself as divine. No Christian would hang Christ's deity on that passage. Instead, they would refer to the continuous reference to Himself as the Son of Man in Luke (The Son of Man was a divine being in Daniel, and every rabbi on earth at the time accepted the Son of Man as deity, so Jesus knew exactly what He was saying). There is the passage in Mark where Jesus quotes from a messianic prophecy from Isaiah, Isaiah 61 to be exact (Notice that Jesus stopped just before the passage indicating that He had come to announce God's judgment). My favorite, however, is one that you would not catch unless you had some knowledge of Koine. In Matthew 13, the whole walking on water story, when Jesus comes out to the disciples, English translations read "Fear not. It is I."

However, the Koine Greek actually reads "Do not be afraid. I AM." I don't think it could get any clearer than that.

Boris, since you have expressed that you are an atheist, I would ask you a question, and I don't expect you to really answer me, but would like for you to ponder this.

First, in order to truly be an atheist, you would need to be omnipresent and omniscient in order to fully prove that there is no God. However, at that point, You would be God, lol. Therefore, it would be more intellectually honest to at least consider oneself an agnostic. Second, do you really believe that it is more against the evidence around you to believe that an intelligent designer created it than to believe that it all came from absolutely nothing?

Boris said...

Don, you said: What do you want to know about plural neuter nouns in Koine? Dative forms? Genitive forms? Appropriate endings in conjunction with various prepositions? Your question doesn't really ask anything.

Boris says: Neuter plural nouns take a singular verb, a little anomaly every first year Greek student learns about in the first weeks of class. If you could actually read Koine Greek, or had any academic background with it you would have given this answer without thinking about it. So my question does indeed ask something – something that proved to me you are intellectually dishonest. But hey, you’re a Christian and that goes with the territory.
FYI the walking on the water story appears in Matthew 14:22-33, not Matthew chapter 13. But hey you’re a Christian and the average fundamentalist Christian has read about 10 percent of the Bible.
The definition of atheism is a lack of belief in God. It is not a staunch denial of the existence of any God. You Christians have no arguments against the logic of atheism so you must redefine the word in your own terms to be able to argue against it. The proper definition of someone who claims there is no God is an anti-theist. Your argument from design is easily refuted by the fact that the first life on earth was simple, had no DNA and reproduced by simply falling apart or dividing. The complexity of DNA, cells and life itself is the result of 4 billion years of cellular evolution. You are using a perverse backward logic that looks at the results of 4 billion years of evolution by natural selection, marvels at its complexity and assumes it all just magically popped into existence. Why? Because the Bible says so.
If Intelligent Design magic had any validity at all it would at least be discussed in Christian college and university science classes. But for the last 100 years or more the Christian academic community has been teaching evolution by natural selection, common descent, Big Bang cosmology and all the other science you Bible believers think is flawed. Why do you think it’s flawed? Because the Bible says so.

The Christian academic community has totally rejected Intelligent Design magic as science and it also denies tenure to any professor that even brings the subject up. This is quite a humiliating fact that most Christian fundamentalists are completely unaware of since 90 percent of them have never set foot on a college campus of any kind. I believe you are one of these 90 percent. You never took Koine Greek and from the looks of your post you never took freshman English either. Have a nice day.

b said...

Don said:
Second, do you really believe that it is more against the evidence around you to believe that an intelligent designer created it than to believe that it all came from absolutely nothing?

Boris says: Define nothing. What exactly do you mean by nothing? What are the properties of nothing and if it has properties doesn't that make it something?

The universe didn't just pop into existence. We know the current state of the universe had a beginning and we know about when that was. But the mass-energy that comprises the universe probably always existed just in a different form before the Big Bang.

So there you have it. Both your precious First Cause dogma and your special pleading from design completely refuted. Here's the thing though. Even though you know your arguments are no good now, you'll keep on making them to other people hoping they aren't as smart as Boris and won't know how to refute them. How do I know. Your creationist cult leaders like Hanegraaf do the same thing.

Don Sullivan said...

First of all, Koine and Attic are two different things. While it is true that Attic always requires a singular verb for a neuter plural, Koine was not the same. In fact, there are many passages in the GNT that have plural neuters with a plural verb. Yes, that is usually the pattern, but not always the rule. It is, as you say, intellectually dishonest to say this is ALWAYS the case, when in reality, it isn't. My study of Koine was from the NT, so naturally that is going to flavor my way of understanding Koine. If you need proof texts (I am assuming with your wealth of knowledge that you are a learned man in possesion of a Greek New Testament), I would gladly send you the verses, such as Matthew 6:32, or Mark 3:11, or James 2:19.

Also, forgive me for making a typo on the Matthew 13/14 issue. I suppose it is much the same as you referring to Hank's book as Evolution's Fatal Flaws, when in fact, it isn't called that. I just decided that since you couldn't address my issues posted in my comment, despite your insistence otherwise, that rather than wrestle with you over apologetics, I would condescend to your level and attack your grammar and typos. That actually is easier to do, by the way.

Quite honestly, Boris, after reading your thoughts on how life developed sans DNA, and the instructions on how life created are essentially a product of life being created, which from a logical standpoint is like saying I learned how to bake a cake by baking a cake with no previous instructions, I am not really impressed with your arguments. They are very typically of atheists, in that they are ad hominem (attacking my bible reading habits, my eduation, and my grammar), and more a matter of semantically evading the questions and issues rather than eloquently addressing them. By the way, I have two degrees, a BA and an MS, and while I had no grammar errors in my post, I found two in your responses to me.

You have, in short, not refuted my arguments at all, as you claim to. I don't know what you are so angry at, or so determined to prove, but my recommendation would be for you to do your homework more thoroughly next time.

Boris said...

First of all, I didn’t say that this anomaly with neuter nouns was always the case. There are rare exceptions and not just in Koine. I read your post carefully. I don’t think I can really buy your excuse for fumbling so badly the answer to my question about neuter plural nouns in ancient Greek. No Greek student would give the non-answers you did. Did you actually take Greek in school or are you trying to learn it on your own? Being self-taught is certainly doable and really commendable. I mean no one needs college or seminary to learn Koine Greek. One way or the other you pretty much have to teach yourself a new language anyway. You still have to do the writing drills, memorization and the rest of the work your self. It’s more high school level like Latin anyway and I think my first few college textbooks had actually been written for high school students.

I love how you creationists claim you’re not impressed with my arguments about science. They aren’t my arguments and they aren’t arguments at all. I gave you the Christian academic community’s answer to your inquiry– the same explanation you would get from the science department at Baylor, Notre Dame, SMU, Stanford, Muhlenburg, Brigham Young, Princeton, St. Mary’s, Marquette, TCU or any other CHRISTIAN college or university of your choice.

You said: Quite honestly, Boris, after reading your thoughts on how life developed sans DNA, and the instructions on how life created are essentially a product of life being created, which from a logical standpoint is like saying I learned how to bake a cake by baking a cake with no previous instructions, I am not really impressed with your arguments.

Again it’s not MY argument. Here’s the same explanation from someone else who explains it more clearly: “This argument is simply reflective of ignorance of the extraordinary power of evolution's bottom-up design mechanism. Once you have an understanding of multigenerational mutation and natural selection, and also understand how structures with irreducible complexity evolve, there's nothing unlikely or implausible about evolution at all. In fact, genetic algorithms (the computer software version of evolution), are starting to take over the world of invention with innovative new engineering advances that top-down designers like human beings might have never come up with. Bottom-up design is not only probable, it's inevitable and nearly always produces better designs than any intelligent creator could have.” – Brian Dunning

You said: You have, in short, not refuted my arguments at all, as you claim to. I don't know what you are so angry at, or so determined to prove, but my recommendation would be for you to do your homework more thoroughly next time.

As far as your arguments or any creationist arguments they have all indeed been scientifically refuted. This goes for the First Cause argument, the argument from design, the argument form morality and all the rest of them. I always have to point out to creationists that these things are ARGUMENTS and NOT evidence anyway. Arguments are not evidence and science is not based on arguments. Science is done by experiments and demonstrations not arguments. It isn’t done according to public opinion either. Today on the radio Hank again made the absurd claim that science should be done according to the whims of the general public, by majority rule. Science is not done by majority rule on what we should study and what we shouldn’t. That’s how YOUR BIBLE was put together – by the majority but far from unanimous opinions of the churchmen of the day. The words of men, which were then voted on by men somehow magically became the word of God.

Now none of this has anything to do with Hank’s original article or the first response to it, which happens to be mine. I find it fascinating that whenever fundamentalist Christians can’t come up with good arguments against criticisms of their holy book they want to criticize science. They disguise their hatred and fear of advancing science and scientists by aiming their attack on the Theory of Evolution. But this is a smokescreen to hide the fact from the general public that creationists deny all science, cosmology, geology, anthropology, paleontology, cell theory, quantum physics, archaeology, zoology, astronomy, oceanography – All of it. Bible believers have been persecuting scientists ever since there was a Bible, even other Christian scientists. And Protestants have been even more anti-science than the Catholics. No Protestant denomination accepted the basic findings of Galileo and Copernicus until well into the 19th century. They held to the flat immovable Earth that is clearly described in both testaments. It’s hilarious to read 19th century Christian apologetics that claim to scientifically prove the earth is not round and does not orbit the sun. The 19th century apologists warn of the moral decay and eventual destruction of the race that believing the earth was just another planet and not a special flat immovable creation orbited by the sun would cause. Sound familiar? The same stupid arguments apologists like Hanegraaf make warning us about the moral implications of accepting evolution and common descent are the same old nonsense Protestants used to defend the Bible’s flat earth claims. Do you creationists see any parallel with your denial in the 21rst century of a discovery made in the 19th century with your Protestant forerunner’s denial in the 19th century of a discovery made in the 17th century? When has science ever had to revise one of its theories in the face of claims from Bible believers?
“Priests...dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subversions of the duperies on which they live.” -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Correa de Serra, April 11, 1820

You said I didn't address you questions and issues but I have. What is really going on is you are ignoring my post of April 29, 2009 12:58 AM. So again, bring the challenges to Ehrman's criticisms to me.

Don Sullivan said...

But I already did. You didn't read my post all the way through. I think continuing this discussion with you is not dissimilar to "throwing your pearls before swine."

Don Sullivan said...

By the way, it is an absolute fallacy that the church thought the earth was flat. No one with a brain thought that. Isaiah didn't think it either, and he was a Jewish prophet in the 8th century BC. Besides, if you read my posts, you'll notice that I didn't bring an attack against science. I brought up issues with Ehrman's scholarship, or lack thereof. YOU brought up science. YOU said you were an atheist. I just don't think you can really answer my concerns.

As a philosophical aside, I have to say this. If being an atheist means being angry, bitter towards others, and unwilling to go beyond my small worldview, I will choose to believe in a creator, even IF that belief were refuted, which it isn't.

Boris said...

Don,
You said: But I already did. You didn't read my post all the way through. I think continuing this discussion with you is not dissimilar to "throwing your pearls before swine."

Boris says: The thing is I’ve checked these Christian “pearls” out very carefully. They’re more like marbles that you people have lost and certainly not pearls. One insult deserves another. I know you fundies have no idea how offensive the things you say to unbelievers really are. Let me turn another of your sayings around: I love the Christian hate the Christianity. A taste of your own medicine. How do you like it?

You said: By the way, it is an absolute fallacy that the church thought the earth was flat. No one with a brain thought that.
That claim is absolutely false. The church warned Columbus he’s sail off the edge of the flat earth. I agree the early Protestant leaders, especially the founder of Protestantism, didn’t have functional brains. "People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon.... This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us [Joshua 10:13] that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth." - Martin Luther in one of his "Table Talks" in 1539
"People give ear to an upstart astrologer [Copernicus] who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy." - Martin Luther, Works, Volume 22, c. 1543

Martin Luther believed in a flat immovable earth. Why? Because the Bible says the earth is flat and immovable. Why didn’t these Christians use their brains?
"Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but -- more frequently than not -- struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God." - Martin Luther
"Reason should be destroyed in all Christians." - Martin Luther

As I said before no Protestant denomination accepted the findings of Copernicus and Galileo until well into the 19th century. Sure there were Protestants who believed the scientists of the day just like most Protestants today accept evolution and common descent. Today the Association for Biblical Astronomy headed by famous creationist Gerardus Bouw still holds that the earth is immovable and is orbited by the sun. The Flat Earth Society is a Christian organization also and their literature backs up the Bible’s flat earth claims. How do you account for these things?

You said: Isaiah didn't think it either, and he was a Jewish prophet in the 8th century BC.

Boris says: There’s a singular instance found in Isaiah that Christians often flaunt to promote an imagined harmony between the Bible and the true configuration of the earth. All the while, previously mentioned scriptures authored by Isaiah and his colleagues go completely ignored. Isaiah 40:22 says, “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth.” The word in question here is “circle.” A circle is a flat two-dimensional object, while a sphere, the approximate shape of the earth, is a three-dimensional object. The original Hebrew term used in this verse is chug, meaning circle. The same word is used twice in the book of Job to describe Heaven and the sea, two areas that we have no reason to believe anyone ever considered spherical. Furthermore, Isaiah does not use the actual Hebrew word for sphere, kadur, in 40:22 even though this utilization would have been much more appropriate if Isaiah intended to convey a spherical planet. In addition to this logical analysis of the verse, historians have long determined that a disc-shaped earth was a popular belief not only in the Middle East, but also in Greece before the time of Aristotle. We even have ancient maps of Babylon and Egypt containing illustrations of a circular sea surrounding circular land. When you combine this tangible evidence with other biblical comments regarding the shape of the earth, the likelihood of Isaiah 40:22 referring to a sphere is extremely remote. – Dr. Jason Long

You said: Besides, if you read my posts, you'll notice that I didn't bring an attack against science. I brought up issues with Ehrman's scholarship, or lack thereof. YOU brought up science. YOU said you were an atheist. I just don't think you can really answer my concerns.

Boris says: This is what you said: “Second, do you really believe that it is more against the evidence around you to believe that an intelligent designer created it than to believe that it all came from absolutely nothing?” This has nothing to do with Ehrman’s scholarship. Insinuating that there is an intelligent designer responsible for things we already have satisfactory scientific explanations for is indeed an attack on science.

You said: As a philosophical aside, I have to say this. If being an atheist means being angry, bitter towards others, and unwilling to go beyond my small worldview, I will choose to believe in a creator, even IF that belief were refuted, which it isn't.

Boris says: Some people just can’t choose to believe whatever they want to. This is the fatal flaw in Paschal’s goofy wager. Paschal wasn’t astute enough to realize that people cannot just decide to believe in something they find to be preposterous. The existence of a creator hasn’t been refuted. But the existence of what you believe to be YOUR creator, a creator who created a man from dirt and a woman from his rib, a creator who flooded the earth with a flood that left absolutely no trace of itself, a creator who killed every first born Egyptian child and animal all on one night and again left no trace of this catastrophe, a creator that took human form and sacrificed himself to himself so that he could then do something else has indeed been completely refuted. You see it isn’t a God that atheists find so absurd it’s the Christian God and all his unbelievable baggage like demons, angels, seraphs, Satan, Jesus, talking animals and vegetation – it’s all just way too much for any sane intelligent person to believe and it always has been. When people point out to me that lots of intelligent people believe in God I always agree. But these people are not and have never been literal Bible believers.

Don Sullivan said...

1. Columbus didn't need to convince anyone the earth was round. Stop reading Washington Irving and thinking it's history. It's not.

2. The comment from Luther towards Copernicus had nothing to do with the earth being spherical, but whether the sun was the center of the solar system. Had not one thing to do with earth being flat. Of course, with this in mind, I agree that Luther was not thinking critically himself considering he had 13 years to review Copernicus' work and understand for himself how it all works out. However, this is also coming from a guy who said the Jews were demons, so I don't put a lot of faith in everything Luther said. You really need to think critically, though, Boris. What you are using as arguments typically doesn't actually line up with what you want it to say.

3. If Jason Long's a doctor, what is he a doctor of? Pythagoras was given credit for postulating a spherical earth as well, some time before Aristotle.

4. Kadur does not mean sphere. It means "like a turban." The "ka" sound is actually a Hebrew word addition noting a simile. The actual word is transliterated is Duwr. Duwr could best be conceptualized as a word meaning "round-about", as there is actually no Hebrew word to define a sphere, neither a word to describe infinite space. Hence, duwr would conceivably be USED to represent a sphere since it meant "round-about." That also explains why the word "chuwg" could be used to represent a circle, a sphere, or an immeasurable space, as used in Job. If you are going to use Hebrew to make an argument, you should know Hebrew, and the fact that you and Dr. Long did not realize that "ka" is a prefix in Hebrew to indicate a simile, tells me that you don't.

5. Science hasn't proven that macroevolution is fact. I have no problem with the overwhelming evidence that microevolution occurs. I have no problem with the concept of a very old earth. I have a problem with the concept of an unguided process accounting for all life on earth. You believe it did, I don't believe so. You don't have the proof that it did whether you believe you do or not. If Stephen Gould and Richard Dawkins can't prove macroevolution, I don't think you will either on Hank Hanegraaff's blog.

6. Your problem is not with God. I don't even think that it has to do with skepticism. I think either you have been really hurt by someone in the church, or don't want the accountability that comes along with being a Christ follower. I really have nothing more to say than that. You figure that out. Rabbis call that type of study, as well as the knowledge that results from it, "halachah."

Boris, I think I myself will call it quits on this subject, as I have dedicated enough time to it already with little fruit borne.

Boris said...

Don,
You said: Science hasn't proven that macroevolution is fact.

Boris says: Macroevolution is simply microevolution over time. The fact that you don't know this reflects a profound ignorance of basic science. Tell me the mechanism that would keep microevolution from becoming macroevolution. Until you can do this you have no case.

Boris said...

Don Sullivan said: Columbus didn't need to convince anyone the earth was round. Stop reading Washington Irving and thinking it's history. It's not.

Boris says: “The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church” – Ferdinand Magellen (1480-1521)

Don Sullivan said: The comment from Luther towards Copernicus had nothing to do with the earth being spherical, but whether the sun was the center of the solar system. Had not one thing to do with earth being flat. Of course, with this in mind, I agree that Luther was not thinking critically himself considering he had 13 years to review Copernicus' work and understand for himself how it all works out. However, this is also coming from a guy who said the Jews were demons, so I don't put a lot of faith in everything Luther said. You really need to think critically, though, Boris. What you are using as arguments typically doesn't actually line up with what you want it to say.

Boris says: "The heavens revolve daily, and, immense as is their fabric, and inconceivable the rapidity of their revolutions, we experience no concussion -- no disturbance in the harmony of their motion. The sun, though varying its course every diurnal revolution, returns annually to the same point. The planets, in all their wandering, maintain their respective positions. How could the earth hang suspended in the air were it not upheld by God's hand? (Job 26:7) By what means could it [the earth] maintain itself unmoved, while the heavens above are in constant rapid motion, did not its Divine Maker fix and establish it? Accordingly the particle, ape, denoting emphasis, is introduced -- YEA, he hath established it."- John Calvin, Commentary on the Book of Psalms, Psalm 93, verse 1, trans., James Anderson (Eerdman's, 1949), Vol. 4, p. 7
"To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus Christ was not born of a virgin."- Cardinal Bellarmine 1615, during the trial of Galileo (cited in Wayne Aiken's "Freethought Fortune Cookie".)
The Christian Flat Earth and its Advocates: A List of References from the Library of Congress
Blakeston, Oswell. England's latter-day flatearthists. (The story of a correspondence.) Life and letters, v. 62, July 1949: 9–24.
AP4.L416, v. 62
Bramhall, William. Wilbur Glenn Voliva. In his The great American misfit; 26 bizarre personal histories. New York, C. N. Potter [1982] p. 71–73. port.
CT9990.B7 1982
Carpenter, William. One hundred proofs that the earth is not a globe. [6th ed.] Baltimore, 1885. 39 p.
QB638.C3 1885a
Cohen, Daniel. Is the earth flat or hollow? Science digest, v. 72, Nov. 1972: 62–66. col. illus.
Q1.S383, v. 72
Collamore, R. G. S. His pronouncement: a layman's version, a layman's message. Philadelphia, Dorrance [1924] 157 p.
Q173.C6
Cook, Frederick H. The terrestrial plane; or, The true figure of the earth. [London, 1908] 64 p.
Held by the British Library under shelfmark 8563. b. 52.
Davenport, Walter. "They call me a flathead." Collier's, v. 79, May 14, 1927: 30–31. illus., ports.
AP2.C65, v. 79
"Wilbur Glenn Voliva, the boss of Zion City, knows the world is flat. He can prove it. He doesn't care what you think or what the newspapers say. He's still doing business at the old stand, and business couldn't be better."
DeFord, Charles S. A reparation: universal gravitation a universal fake. Fairfield, Wash., Ye Galleon Press [1992] 62 p. illus., port.
QB283.D44 1992
Reprint of the 3d ed. (New York, Fortean Society, 1931), with a new introduction by Robert J. Schadewald.
"... an attempt to prove that the world is flat."
Edgell, William. Does the earth rotate? [London? 1927] 69 p. illus., port. NN
Flat city. In Odd and eccentric people. By the editors of Time-Life Books. Alexandria, Va., Time-Life Books [1992] (Library of curious and unusual facts) p. 13–l4. illus., port.
CT9990.O33 1992
About Wilbur Glenn Voliva.
Flat earth. New statesman and nation, new ser., v. 9, Jan. 12, 1935: 35–36.
AP4.N64, s. 2, v. 9
Signed Y. Y.
On the views of Henry Edgell, "the most persistent modern advocate of the theory that the earth is flat," who had just died at the age of 73.
Gardner, Martin. Flat and hollow. In his Fads and fallacies in the name of science. [Rev. and expanded ed.] New York, Dover Publications [1957] p. 16–27.
Q173.G35 1957
The part of this chapter dealing with flat-earth proponents is about Voliva and the Christian Apostolic Church in Zion, Ill.
Gates, David, and Jennifer Smith. Keeping the flat-earth faith. Newsweek, v. 104, July 2, 1984: 12. port.
AP2.N6772, v. 104
On Charles K. Johnson and the International Flat Earth Research Society.
Gleason, Alex. Is the Bible from heaven? Is the earth a globe? 2d ed., rev. and enl. Buffalo, N.Y., Buffalo Electrotype and Engraving Co. [1893] xix, 402 p. illus., map, col. plates, ports.
QB638.G56
Goudey, Henry J. Earth not a globe: scientifically, geometrically, philosophically demonstrated. Over 75 arguments and 30 diagrams. Boston, Mass., 1930. 145 p. illus., fold. map.
QB52.G7
Gould, Stephen J. The persistently flat earth. Natural history, v. 103, Mar. 1994: 12, 14–19.
QH1.N13, v. 103
Investigates the relatively recent origin of the notion that scholars of the Middle Ages, with few exceptions, believed the earth was flat.
Hampden, John. The new manual of biblical cosmography; or, Outline of the general system of the universe. London, Beaumont [1877] 15 p. fold. illus.
QB638.H22
The Infidel globe; or, Scientific witchcraft, the emblem of paganism and the refuge of the atheist. [London?] 1884. [4] p.
YA 22866 Rare Bk. Coll.
Johnson, Gilbert. The book of light, a brief description of the earth, with a map showing its shape. The earth being flat instead of round, the sun is not stationary but moves. Greer, Mo., 1923. 48 p. fold. map.
QB638.J6 1923
First published in 1890 (7 p. QB638.J67).
Jones, Charles W. The flat earth. Thought, v. 9, Sept. 1934: 296–307.
AP2.T333, v. 9
Finds that educated persons in the Middle Ages knew that the earth is round.
Labbie, Edith. The world is flat. In Those eccentric Yankees. Edited by John Lovell. Introd. by Robert Taylor. Camden, Me., Yankee Books [1991] p. 10–13.
CT9990.T58 1991
About Joseph W. Holden (1816–1900) of Otisfield, Me.
Lindsay, Thomas. Astronomical myths—the flat earth. Popular astronomy, v. 6, Sept. 1898: 405–408.
QB1.P8, v. 6
London. Zetetic Society. Chart and compass, sextant and sundial, latitudes and longitudes, plumbline and pendulum, globe or plane? A letter of remonstrance, respectfully addressed to the officers of the Naval and Mercantile Marine of England and America. [London, 1887] 8 p.
Held by the British Library under shelfmark c. 19. (9.).
Macht, David I. Science and the Bible. Science, v. 114, Nov. 9, 1951: 505.
Q1.S35, v. 114
Letter commenting on Ray's observations on the shape of the earth as implied by Revelation 7:1.
McCready, William D. Isidore, the Antipodeans, and the shape of the earth. Isis, v. 87, Mar. 1996: 108–127. illus.
Bibliographic footnotes.
"That the sphericity of the earth was clearly established in the ancient world is beyond dispute. Apparently unknown to the Babylonians or Egyptians, it was a discovery of Greek astronomy and was generally accepted among natural philosophers by the time of Aristotle. It was the received view of educated Romans as well, including Pliny the Elder. Among Christian thinkers, however, its fortunes are not quite so clear. It was not without significance that the ancient Hebrews, whose views were reflected in Scripture, conceived the earth as a flat disk covered over by the dome of the heavens ... [Isidore's] grasp on the spherical nature of the earth was tenuous at best ..."
Michell, John. Loyalists of the flat earth. In his Eccentric lives and peculiar notions. San Diego, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich [1984] p. 21–32. illus., plates, ports.
CT9990.M5 1984
References (19): p. 234.
The plates follow p. 32; no. [2]–[5] relate to the flat-earth supporters.
Moore, Patrick. Better and flatter earths. In his Can you speak Venusian? A guide to the independent thinkers. [Newton Abbot, David & Charles, 1972] p. 16–29. illus.
QB52.M66 1972
Morse, Charles W. Unpopular truth against popular error in reference to the shape of the earth. Boston, C. J. F. Fletcher, Printer, 1913. 78 p. illus., port.
QB281.M8
Proctor, Richard A. A challenge from the earth-flattening society. Knowledge, v. 4, Nov. 30, 1883: 336.
Q1.K7, v. 4
Proctor, Richard A. The earth-flattener's challenge. Knowledge, v. 4, Dec. 14, 1883: 362.
Q1.K7, v. 4
Proofs (so-called) of the world's rotundity, examined in the light of facts and common sense, by "Search Truth." [London, Zetetic Society, 1882?] 2 p. illus.
YA 22774 Rare Bk. Coll.
"... the world is as God made it, a circular and motionless plane, with the Sun, Moon, and Stars revolving at very moderate distances above it ..."
Quinlan, John E. The earth a plane. London [1906]
Held by the British Library under shelfmark 8563. b.
Randi, James. Flat Earth Society. In his An encyclopedia of claims, frauds, and hoaxes of the occult and supernatural. James Randi's decidedly skeptical definitions of alternate realities. New York, St. Martin's Press [1995] p. 97–98.
BF1407.R36 1995
Ray, Cyrus N. The rectangular earth. Science, v. 113, May 25, 1951: 610.
Q1.S35, v. 113
Letter calling attention to Revelation 7:1 which suggests that the earth's shape is that of a flat rectangle.
Really, is it flat? Moody Bible Institute monthly, v. 30, Sept. 1929: 6.
BR1.M6, v. 30
[Rowbotham, Samuel B.] Zetetic astronomy. A description of several experiments which prove that the surface of the sea is a perfect plane, and that the earth is not a globe. Being the substance of a paper read before the Royal Astronomical Society on the evening of Dec. 8, 1848. By ‘Parallax' [pseud.] Birmingham, W. Cornish, 1849. 16 p. illus.
QB638.R87
[Rowbotham, Samuel B.] Zetetic astronomy. Earth not a globe. An experimental inquiry into the true figure of the earth, proving it a plane, without orbital or axial motion, and the only known material world; its true position in the universe, comparatively recent formation, present chemical condition, and approaching destruction by fire, &c., &c. By "Parallax" [pseud.] The illus. by George Davey. 3d ed., rev. and enl. London, Day, 1881. 430 p. illus. CaBViP; CtY; ICJ
Russell, Jeffrey B. The flat error: the modern distortion of medieval geography. In Mediaevalia, a journal of medieval studies. v. 15; 1989. Binghamton, Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies of the State University of New York, 1993. p. [337]–353.
CB351.M38, v. 15
"I first review the evidence that educated medieval people knew the shape of the planet, go on to show how and why the ‘Flat Error' developed, and end with some suggestions about the precarious nature of historical knowledge."
Schadewald, Robert J. The flat-out truth; earth orbits? Moon landings? A fraud! says this prophet. Science digest, v. 88, July 1980: 58–63. port.
About Charles K. Johnson, president of the International Flat Earth Research Society.
Schadewald, Robert J. He knew earth is round, but his proof fell flat. Illus. by W. B. Park. Smithsonian, v. 9, Apr. 1978: 101–102, 104, 106–108, 110, 112–113. illus. (part col.)
AS30.S6, v. 9
"A renowned English naturalist [Alfred Russel Wallace] seeking to convince a nonbeliever, won argument, lost the money."
Scott, David W. Terra firma: the earth not a planet, proved from scripture, reason, and fact. London, Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, 1901. xvi, 288 p. illus., fold. map.
CtY; MdBJ
Serland, F. S. Did the older ecclesiastical writers deny the sphericity of the earth? American Catholic quarterly review, v. 43, Apr. 1918: 340–343.
AP2.A332, v. 43
Points out "that Venerable Bede in the first half of the eighth century knew and taught the sphericity of the earth" and that this knowledge was not dependent on Islamic learning.
Shippey, Chester M. Answers to the common "proofs" that the earth is a globe. Leaves of healing, v. 66, May 10, 1930: 138–142, 184.
BX7401.L3, v. 66
Shippey, Chester M. The true shape of the earth. Leaves of healing, v. 66, May 10, 1930: 158–160, 162–166, 168–173, 175.
BX7401.L3, v. 66
Sifakis, Carl. Voliva, Wilbur Glenn (1870–1942): king of the flat earthers. In his American eccentrics. New York, Facts on File Publications [1984] p. 226–229. port.
CT9990.S53 1984
Sisk, John P. The view from the edge; on the necessity of the flat earth. Harper's, v. 258, Mar. 1979: 127–129.
AP2.H3, v. 258
On the International Flat Earth Research Society.
Smith, Carl Albert. Is the earth a whirling globe? 2d ed., rev. and enl. Northampton [1918] 112 p.
Held by the British Library under shelfmark 8562. aaa. 35.
Wallace, Alfred Russel. [Hampden and the flat earth] In his My life, a record of events and opinions. v. 2. New York, Dodd, Mead, 1905. p. 381–393. illus.
QH31.W2A, v. 2
Wallace, Irving. In defense of the square peg. In his The square pegs; some Americans who dared to be different. New York, A. A. Knopf, 1957. p. 3–24.
CT9990.W3
Discusses Wilbur Glenn Voliva on p. 3–8.
Where are they now? The flat earthers. Newsweek, v. 73, Jan. 13, 1969: 8. port.
AP2.N6772, v. 73
About the International Flat Earth Research Society, then based in Dover, England. The portrait is of Samuel Shenton, the society's general secretary.
White, Andrew D. The form of the earth. In his A history of the warfare of science with theology in Christendom. v. 1. New York, D. Appleton, 1896. p. 89–98.
BL245.W5, v. 1
White, Arthur V. The shape of the earth; some proofs for the spherical shape of the earth given in astronomical and geographical text-books examined, and shown to be unsound. [Toronto?] University of Toronto Alumni Association, 1909. [12] p. illus.
QB283.W5
Reprinted from the University Monthly, Mar. 1909.
[Winship, Thomas] Zetetic cosmogony; or, Conclusive evidence that the world is not a rotating-revolving-globe, but a stationary plane circle. By Rectangle [pseud.] 2d ed., enl. Durban, Natal, T. L. Cullingworth, 1899. 192 p.
QB638.W77
First published in 1897 (46 p. QB638.W769).
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Q1.S35, v. 113
Declares that "the Bible itself nowhere states that the earth is flat."
Woofson, H. Ossipoff. The flat earth and her moulder. Knowledge, v. 5, Mar. 28–Apr. 4, 1884: 213, 233.
Q1.K7, v. 5
The former secretary of the Zetetic Society "promises to show the nature of the deceptions practised by some at least among the advocates of the flat-earth theory."

Don Sullivan said: Jason Long's a doctor, what is he a doctor of? Pythagoras was given credit for postulating a spherical earth as well, some time before Aristotle.

Boris says: Christians denied the ideas of Pythagoras, because they disagreed with the Bible’s claim the earth is flat and immovable. Check the references from the Library of Congress and you will see that this is true.

Don Sullivan said: Kadur does not mean sphere. It means "like a turban." The "ka" sound is actually a Hebrew word addition noting a simile. The actual word is transliterated is Duwr. Duwr could best be conceptualized as a word meaning "round-about", as there is actually no Hebrew word to define a sphere, neither a word to describe infinite space. Hence, duwr would conceivably be USED to represent a sphere since it meant "round-about." That also explains why the word "chuwg" could be used to represent a circle, a sphere, or an immeasurable space, as used in Job. If you are going to use Hebrew to make an argument, you should know Hebrew, and the fact that you and Dr. Long did not realize that "ka" is a prefix in Hebrew to indicate a simile, tells me that you don't.

Boris says: First of all I’m a Jew. I can read ancient Hebrew well enough to tell that you cannot. Like your claim to be able to read Koine Greek your claim to be able to read ancient Hebrew cannot be believed. Your integrity is shot with me fella. Kadur means sphere. Case closed.

Don Sullivan said: Science hasn't proven that macroevolution is fact. I have no problem with the overwhelming evidence that microevolution occurs. I have no problem with the concept of a very old earth. I have a problem with the concept of an unguided process accounting for all life on earth. You believe it did, I don't believe so. You don't have the proof that it did whether you believe you do or not. If Stephen Gould and Richard Dawkins can't prove macroevolution, I don't think you will either on Hank Hanegraaff's blog.

Boris says: Macroevolution is indeed a fact and the Theory of Evolution is an explanation of this fact. The existence of transitional fossils is the proof of the facts of macroevolution. If the ancestor of the modern horse Miohippus evolved from its predecessor Mesohippus, then surely there must be examples of transitional fossils that would show characteristics of both, or perhaps an intermediate stage. I use the horse example because the fossil record of horses is exceptionally well represented with many finds. If evolution is true, shouldn't there be examples of transitional stages between Miohippus and Mesohippus? The creationists say that there are not. Well, there are, and in abundance. You can tell people that there aren't, but you're either intentionally lying or intentionally refusing to inform yourself on a subject you're claiming to be authoritative on. Kathleen Hunt of the University of Washington writes:
A typical Miohippus was distinctly larger than a typical Mesohippus, with a slightly longer skull. The facial fossa was deeper and more expanded. In addition, the ankle joint had changed subtly. Miohippus also began to show a variable extra crest on its upper cheek teeth. In later horse species, this crest became a characteristic feature of the teeth. This is an excellent example of how new traits originate as variations in the ancestral population.

Don Sullivan said: Your problem is not with God. I don't even think that it has to do with skepticism. I think either you have been really hurt by someone in the church, or don't want the accountability that comes along with being a Christ follower. I really have nothing more to say than that. You figure that out. Rabbis call that type of study, as well as the knowledge that results from it, "halachah."

Boris says: I have a couple of Yiddish words that describe you. You people always make the same comments to me. I wish I had a dollar for every time a Christian decided some person in the church must have hurt my feelings. I don’t take people who believe in the Christian God seriously and I never have even as a child. I’m not going to be accountable to any religious or philosophical system. Like most Jewish people I do not believe that such a person as Jesus Chris t ever existed. This supposed person is not mentioned in any Jewish literature or by even one contemporary Jewish or Roman historian. Jesus Christ is no more real than the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus.

Don Sullivan said: Boris, I think I myself will call it quits on this subject, as I have dedicated enough time to it already with little fruit borne.

Boris says: You’ve never been able to convince an adult atheist of anything but your own superstitious nature. Why should I be any different?

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