Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

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Re: Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

#16

Post by 1over137 » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:46 pm

vanquish29 wrote:so your saying that there could of been "many" jesus 's sat on a donkey and filmed it by writing it down on paper? they didnt have paper they had to write it down on papyrus and that cost money like 20 sheckels or darnarious, by watching sheep i mean for God sake sheep! that was for work back in that time, no roads just riding on donkeys that the jews saw the coming messiah on that day and they wrote that down and that still stands and has not been refuted, now about the probability that the number is false, of that prophecy coming to be a lie or a fabrication is so blatant bigotry and unreasonable bias the jews knew who it was they saw him he had a multitude of followers i believe it was on palm sunday, a special day for the jews in fact they knew who it was, even if you think it was not him it is still possible that it was Him which it was exactly what the story says in the greek as well as commentary, this is what the archeological discoveries have found surrounding the time of culture back then, you are entitled to believe that the prophecy is false but what would be the intent of math professior and discoveries he has found no prejudice just solid numbers from a Christian that knew math and he still stands and maintains that it could have happends this way.
Do you uncerstand how Prof. Tipler got this estimated number?
The Messiah will enter Jerusalem as a king riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).
One man in how many, who has entered Jerusalem as a ruler, has entered riding on a donkey?
Estimate: 1 in 100 or 1×102.
I view it as only that, an estimate. Rough estimate. Many things are missing to be included in the calculation. I do not view it as a solid number.

Now, I will not ask you to stop accusing other people. Now I will warn you not to do that. Do you view us as biased, unreasonable people? Do you accuse us of committing blatant bigotry?

There is an advice from God himself: James 1:19
19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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Re: Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

#17

Post by vanquish29 » Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:55 pm

your crossing my distinction of the argument, i agree its a rough estimate, i was not accusing all of you of blatant bigotry, the bible has been proven to reliable thats my argument with these numbers i think we get a good faith basis on what happen. i have a hard time people doubting the word of God, i believe the bible to be infallible, i just had a conversation with a Jehovah witness, calling my Lord and savior these ridicules name calling against jesus that got me very offended, they will not listen to the word of God at all, they dont like jesus at all, im gettin off topic but it was not a friendly bible study.

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Re: Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

#18

Post by GenericAtheist » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:02 pm

This is a bad argument to use, because it can so easily backfire.

Why don't people believe Jesus was the Christ?
  • He didn't fulfill all of the prophecies (Judaism)
  • The trinity resembles polytheism
  • The new testament is not trustworthy.
If you believe the new testament, then this number doesn't change your mind about Jesus. If you don't believe the new testament, all of the probabilities are worthless because the stories may be fabrications. If you are Jewish, it doesn't matter how unlikely it is; the messiah must fulfill ALL prophecies or he isn't the messiah. Finally, the fact that something is so incredibly unlikely leaves you open to "well, maybe that's proof that it didn't happen". Notice how astronomically low probability is used as an argument against evolution or natural creation, even though the audience trusts the source material (scientific evidence) as much as you trust the bible.

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Re: Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

#19

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:34 pm

I've been critical of the argument, GA, but your criticism doesn't apply in the least.

1. There is a difference in the claim that Jesus had to fulfill all prophecies and saying He must fulfill all prophecies. That He hasn't fulfilled them all yet doesn't mean He's not the Messiah. To claim He would have had to already fulfill them would be an unwarranted (by the text) theological claim.
2. This is just false and betrays a gross distortion of the Trinity.
3. This is not only an unwarranted claim, but utterly absurd in light of the evidence as we have it.

Moreover, your three facts are not probabilities as the OP was attempting to make. You provided what are essentially three defeaters in and of themselves. Therefore, you've done a poor job at presenting a counter-example anyway.

Beyond that, your closing paragraph is wrong in almost every respect. If you don't believe the New Testament, you are simply intellectually dishonest and have never bothered to look at the actual evidence. You deserve the same intellectual respect as those who claim that we were never on the moon or that the Holocaust never happened (OHWAITGODWINSLAWILOSEYOUWINHAHAHAHAHAHA). I've already commented on the Jewish issue. In fact, the primary objection to Jesus as the Messiah from Jews is not that He did not fulfill ALL the prophecies but that He did not keep the Law. Finally, it's ridiculous to suggest that a low probability makes for proof that the thing never happened. The whole reason the argument is persuasive is that these events DID happen but that they are unlikely to have happened by shear chance. In other words, the point is to get the skeptic to provide a rational explanation as to how Jesus could have "accidentally" fulfilled all the prophecies He did (even if He has not fulfilled all of them yet). The numbers--done correctly, not the way the OP did it--prove that chance is a bad argument. Thus the argument here has absolutely no relationship to the argument from low probability used against evolution. In fact, if you insist that evolution really happened, then following the logic of this argument applied there, evolution makes a good argument for God's existence, because it shows that it is plainly absurd to believe that such an incredibly thing could have happened without being directed by an intelligent agent.

So, if yo want to offer a real, substantive criticism of the argument, read the thread and see what 1over137 and I have already said. Stop using fallacious arguments. It's like my pitching coach once said: "Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes habits." Keep making a habit of using mushy logic and you'll find yourself a rather mushy thinker.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

#20

Post by GenericAtheist » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:04 pm

Jac3510 wrote: Moreover, your three facts are not probabilities as the OP was attempting to make. You provided what are essentially three defeaters in and of themselves. Therefore, you've done a poor job at presenting a counter-example anyway.
Please reread my post, as I think you misunderstood my intention. I was not proposing those 3 points as fact, I was listing some of the common reasons people don't believe in Jesus as the Christ. If this question is to be used as an apologetic argument, then shouldn't it address the reasons not to believe he is the Christ? I'm only saying that these probabilities aren't addressing the issues people have with Jesus, and therefore aren't a good argument to present.
Jac3510 wrote: In fact, the primary objection to Jesus as the Messiah from Jews is not that He did not fulfill ALL the prophecies but that He did not keep the Law.
Are you saying that the Jews believe he fulfilled all the prophecies? The probabilities in this thread do not mention keeping the Law, so I'm confused as to why you would bring it up. One of the Jewish beliefs is that he is not the Christ because he did not fulfill all of the prophecies. The reasoning being that a false messiah will attempt to fulfill (and be somewhat successful) the prophecies, but the qualification for the true messiah would be fulfillment of all of them. If not all of them, where do you draw the line at how many are "enough"? To speculate that the remaining prophecies will be fulfilled in the future does not bolster your case against the Jewish belief. Some of them cannot be fulfilled (such as questions over the lineage of Jesus). Therefore, a Jewish person would not be persuaded by this math, as the likeliness of fulfillment was never an issue.
Jac3510 wrote: This is just false and betrays a gross distortion of the Trinity.
It is certainly not false that to some, the idea of the trinity seems like polytheism. This is specifically why there exists the Unitarian theology. Can you really not see how the idea of three distinct persons resemble three distinct gods? If their objection to Jesus is that there is only "One God", then your best bet is to start describing hypostasis, as these numbers will only convince them as far as Jesus was a prophet.
Jac3510 wrote: This is not only an unwarranted claim, but utterly absurd in light of the evidence as we have it.
I'm not claiming anything other than some people don't trust the new testament. If you already trust the new testament, then you are already convinced that Jesus is the Christ; right? If you do not trust the new testament, then the probabilities hold no water because you question their fulfillment in the first place. I can't imagine there are any people who both trust the new testament, and don't believe Jesus is the Christ. For these people, you only need to convince them the new testament is trustworthy.
Jac3510 wrote: Finally, it's ridiculous to suggest that a low probability makes for proof that the thing never happened.
Exactly my point.
Jac3510 wrote: The whole reason the argument is persuasive is that these events DID happen but that they are unlikely to have happened by shear chance. In other words, the point is to get the skeptic to provide a rational explanation as to how Jesus could have "accidentally" fulfilled all the prophecies
Why must it be accidental? If you intended to send a messenger, do you only have a 1 in 1000 chance of succeeding? Does riding a donkey require such skill that only 1 in 100 can achieve it? These prophecies were known before they happened. The majority of these items are something a normal person could easily orchestrate. Therefore, these are not convincing. You are better off arguing the improbability of raising from the dead and the virgin birth.
Jac3510 wrote: Thus the argument here has absolutely no relationship to the argument from low probability used against evolution
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the argument against evolution from probability is that it is so unlikely that it could not have happened by chance. So unlikely, that the scientists that support it are more likely mistaken in how they interpret their evidence. If you apply that same line of reasoning to this argument, then many people will say "how convenient" and question the credibility of the evidence that the new testament is accurate. In this way, improbability can work against you.
Jac3510 wrote: You deserve the same intellectual respect as those who claim that we were never on the moon or that the Holocaust never happened (OHWAITGODWINSLAWILOSEYOUWINHAHAHAHAHAHA).
Is this how you treat everybody that disagrees with you? Aside from my poor BBcode, I did nothing to deserve having my intelligence questioned. Perhaps you should avoid personal attacks; at least until you understand what the other person is saying.

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Re: Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

#21

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:24 pm

GenericAtheist wrote:Please reread my post, as I think you misunderstood my intention. I was not proposing those 3 points as fact, I was listing some of the common reasons people don't believe in Jesus as the Christ. If this question is to be used as an apologetic argument, then shouldn't it address the reasons not to believe he is the Christ? I'm only saying that these probabilities aren't addressing the issues people have with Jesus, and therefore aren't a good argument to present.
No, an argument does not need to address all the problems people have in order to make a contrary claim. The argument puts forward a positive case that Jesus is the Messiah. Other people's objections are other issues entirely. They need to be dealt with, of course, but on their own terms. It's a simple matter of reason that you do not need to answer every offered objection before affirming an idea, much less that you must do so before you offer positive evidence for a particular claim.
Are you saying that the Jews believe he fulfilled all the prophecies? The probabilities in this thread do not mention keeping the Law, so I'm confused as to why you would bring it up. One of the Jewish beliefs is that he is not the Christ because he did not fulfill all of the prophecies. The reasoning being that a false messiah will attempt to fulfill (and be somewhat successful) the prophecies, but the qualification for the true messiah would be fulfillment of all of them. If not all of them, where do you draw the line at how many are "enough"? To speculate that the remaining prophecies will be fulfilled in the future does not bolster your case against the Jewish belief. Some of them cannot be fulfilled (such as questions over the lineage of Jesus). Therefore, a Jewish person would not be persuaded by this math, as the likeliness of fulfillment was never an issue.
I bring it up because that's not the objection. Regarding prophecies, it is enough to show that Jesus can fulfill them all. Again, to insist that He must already have fulfilled them introduces a condition that is not found in the texts themselves and is illogical to boot.
It is certainly not false that to some, the idea of the trinity seems like polytheism. This is specifically why there exists the Unitarian theology. Can you really not see how the idea of three distinct persons resemble three distinct gods? If their objection to Jesus is that there is only "One God", then your best bet is to start describing hypostasis, as these numbers will only convince them as far as Jesus was a prophet.
That some people grossly distort the idea of the Trinity isn't a problem with the Trinity. I can see how people can misunderstand it, but only because they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Anyone who actually understands the doctrine realizes that Unitarians are simply uneducated on this particular matter.
I'm not claiming anything other than some people don't trust the new testament. If you already trust the new testament, then you are already convinced that Jesus is the Christ; right? If you do not trust the new testament, then the probabilities hold no water because you question their fulfillment in the first place. I can't imagine there are any people who both trust the new testament, and don't believe Jesus is the Christ. For these people, you only need to convince them the new testament is trustworthy.
Again, that some people have an incorrect, uneducated opinion doesn't matter in the least. Opinions are worthless. What matters is warranted claims. The claim that the NT is unreliable is worse than unwarranted. It is absurd, and no reputable scholar holds it. So when a person claims it, then it tells me a lot more about them than it does about the NT.
Why must it be accidental? If you intended to send a messenger, do you only have a 1 in 1000 chance of succeeding? Does riding a donkey require such skill that only 1 in 100 can achieve it? These prophecies were known before they happened. The majority of these items are something a normal person could easily orchestrate. Therefore, these are not convincing. You are better off arguing the improbability of raising from the dead and the virgin birth.
You obviously did not read my contribution to the thread already. Again, I encourage you to do so. It would be one thing if this was a very long thread. It is not. Don't be lazy.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the argument against evolution from probability is that it is so unlikely that it could not have happened by chance. So unlikely, that the scientists that support it are more likely mistaken in how they interpret their evidence. If you apply that same line of reasoning to this argument, then many people will say "how convenient" and question the credibility of the evidence that the new testament is accurate. In this way, improbability can work against you.
Look at the underlined part. That is the point, and that is precisely how this would apply to Jesus' role as Messiah. The arguments are the same in both cases. It is far too unlikely that evolution could have happened by chance (if it happened, it required intelligent agency), and jut so, it is far too unlikely that Jesus' fulfilled all the prophecies that He did by chance (if it happened, it required intelligent agency). So no, improbability cannot work against me.
Is this how you treat everybody that disagrees with you? Aside from my poor BBcode, I did nothing to deserve having my intelligence questioned. Perhaps you should avoid personal attacks; at least until you understand what the other person is saying.
No. It is how I treat people who make unwarranted claims and refuse to do their basic homework. Moreover, I did not question your intelligence. I questioned your intellectual honesty assuming that you do not regard the NT as reliable. If you do regard it as reliable, then the question isn't directed at you.

You could, of course, point out that you have never studied the evidence whatsoever and therefore you have no position whatsoever on the reliability of the NT. I would then ask you if you had bothered studying the reliability of the works of Josephus, Tacitus, or any other secular historian. I would ask you if you believed anything in anciet history. I strongly suspect you have done no such studies and yet you believe much of what you have been told about ancient history. And just so, I would continue to accuse you of intellectual dishonesty. Far from me believing in the NT because I believe in Jesus, I believe the NT because I know how history works and I believe in Jesus following that. It is you who seem to have started with your disbelief in Jesus and have thereby made an unwarranted historical claim.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

#22

Post by GenericAtheist » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:52 pm

Jac3510 wrote: No, an argument does not need to address all the problems people have in order to make a contrary claim. The argument puts forward a positive case that Jesus is the Messiah.
I'm putting forth that this argument does not address any of the problems that people have. I'm stating that if you believe the premises on which the argument is based, then you are already convinced of its conclusion. If you believe those prophecies were fulfilled, and that their fulfillment qualifies Jesus as the Christ, then you are not in need of the probability.

Presenting this argument to someone who disagrees that Jesus is the Christ is fruitless. The argument does not address their concerns since it would be contradictory to believe Jesus fulfilled the prophecies necessary to be the Christ, yet is not the Christ.
Jac3510 wrote: The claim that the NT is unreliable is worse than unwarranted. It is absurd, and no reputable scholar holds it. So when a person claims it, then it tells me a lot more about them than it does about the NT.
Are you claiming that there are no reputable scholars that are Jewish, Muslim, or non-religious? I am not claiming to be infallible, and I am certainly not claiming that anybody who disagrees with me must be dishonest or not reputable. If everybody who disagrees with you is either dumb, crazy, or has a vendetta; how is this argument going to convince them? It won't. For this argument to be effective, you have to believe in the new testament. If you believe, then the argument is pointless.
Jac3510 wrote: Look at the underlined part. That is the point, and that is precisely how this would apply to Jesus' role as Messiah. The arguments are the same in both cases. It is far too unlikely that evolution could have happened by chance (if it happened, it required intelligent agency), and jut so, it is far too unlikely that Jesus' fulfilled all the prophecies that He did by chance (if it happened, it required intelligent agency). So no, improbability cannot work against me.
I think you are missing the point. Jesus was well aware of the prophecies before he fulfilled them. This argument acts as if Jesus was unaware of the prophecies and they just happened to be fulfilled because of his nature. If Jesus was aware, then the fulfillment of these prophecies is not a product of random chance. All of these calculations are invalid because Jesus knew of the prophecies, and specifically stated that he would fulfill them. He didn't happen to ride a donkey, he KNEW he would ride a donkey.

In the same way, evolutionists would reject your improbability argument by saying that it happens do to natural mechanisms (even if those mechanisms were designed). If you think evolution is chance, then improbability causes you to question if those natural mechanisms are valid. If you think prophetic fulfillment is chance, then improbability causes you to question if the record as written is valid. How are you missing the parallel?
Jac3510 wrote: No. It is how I treat people who make unwarranted claims and refuse to do their basic homework. Moreover, I did not question your intelligence. I questioned your intellectual honesty assuming that you do not regard the NT as reliable. If you do regard it as reliable, then the question isn't directed at you.

You could, of course, point out that you have never studied the evidence whatsoever and therefore you have no position whatsoever on the reliability of the NT. I would then ask you if you had bothered studying the reliability of the works of Josephus, Tacitus, or any other secular historian. I would ask you if you believed anything in anciet history. I strongly suspect you have done no such studies and yet you believe much of what you have been told about ancient history. And just so, I would continue to accuse you of intellectual dishonesty. Far from me believing in the NT because I believe in Jesus, I believe the NT because I know how history works and I believe in Jesus following that. It is you who seem to have started with your disbelief in Jesus and have thereby made an unwarranted historical claim.
Your comment specifically mentioned intellectual respect, and then into accusations of dishonesty. I respectfully disagree with you, because I understand that not everybody has the same knowledge and understanding that I do. I also realize I must always question my knowledge and change my understanding when appropriate; and I hope you do too. I am familiar with Josephus, Tacitus, and the others. The references are brief, and do not speak to the miraculous claims in the bible. I believe ancient Egyptians existed, but I don't believe pharaohs were actually deities. Likewise, it's reasonable to hold miraculous claims to a higher standard than the more believable actions of mere men.

I started with a belief in Jesus, and then lost it through a process of examination. I am still in that process of examination, and it would be great if someone could come around and give a good answer to all of my questions. Believe it or not, I'm posting here to help improve the quality of these arguments. If an atheist or someone of another faith is only presented with strawmen and arguments that require presuppositions, then the position appears weak. GodandScience makes a good effort (mostly) to be thorough, and I feel that participating in strengthening these types of arguments can be a fruitful process. Maybe I'll never be again convinced of God, but I will still enjoy the process.

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Re: Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

#23

Post by 1over137 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:06 pm

GenericAtheist wrote:I started with a belief in Jesus, and then lost it through a process of examination. I am still in that process of examination, and it would be great if someone could come around and give a good answer to all of my questions. Believe it or not, I'm posting here to help improve the quality of these arguments. If an atheist or someone of another faith is only presented with strawmen and arguments that require presuppositions, then the position appears weak. GodandScience makes a good effort (mostly) to be thorough, and I feel that participating in strengthening these types of arguments can be a fruitful process. Maybe I'll never be again convinced of God, but I will still enjoy the process.
I have bad news for you. You may not have all answers on this earth.
I also have good news for you. You do not need all answers.

Anyway, honest intentions for improvement are welcomed.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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Re: Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

#24

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:03 pm

GenericAtheist wrote:I'm putting forth that this argument does not address any of the problems that people have. I'm stating that if you believe the premises on which the argument is based, then you are already convinced of its conclusion. If you believe those prophecies were fulfilled, and that their fulfillment qualifies Jesus as the Christ, then you are not in need of the probability.

Presenting this argument to someone who disagrees that Jesus is the Christ is fruitless. The argument does not address their concerns since it would be contradictory to believe Jesus fulfilled the prophecies necessary to be the Christ, yet is not the Christ.
Wrong. On all counts. We don't reason this way in any area of life, and we shouldn't apply this false standard to theological truth either. It's easy to demonstrate. I could just turn your argument on its head. Since I know that Jesus is the Christ (the math proves it), then your arguments about the Jews and polytheism and the New Testament don't address any of the problems I have with unbelief. So I say that before you are allowed to use those arguments, you FIRST have to show that the math is wrong!

That would be a terrible argument on my part. Neither of us have to do either one first. The fact is that they are separate and distinct questions. All that matters is warrant. Again, then, I am not required to prove the internal consistency of the Trinity or satisfy those people who have a problem with that doctrine before I look at the evidence from the math. What I can do is conclude that the math is right and then see I have a problem with the Trinity and thereby work out the details (in fact, that is much of how the Trinity was developed, historically speaking). That's the way we reason in all areas of formal, orderly inquiry.
Are you claiming that there are no reputable scholars that are Jewish, Muslim, or non-religious? I am not claiming to be infallible, and I am certainly not claiming that anybody who disagrees with me must be dishonest or not reputable. If everybody who disagrees with you is either dumb, crazy, or has a vendetta; how is this argument going to convince them? It won't. For this argument to be effective, you have to believe in the new testament. If you believe, then the argument is pointless.
Of course not. I am telling you that no reputable scholar in the field of New Testament studies will claim that the New Testament is unreliable. There are plenty of people who find it reliable who don't, in the end, accept it's theological claims. But no one who has looked at the evidence says that it is unreliable. It is, plainly, a stupid claim. If you make it, then I know that you have either never looked at the evidence and so are just speaking out of your bias or I know that you have not looked at it honestly and you are on par with Holocaust deniers. If you're in the former camp, then what you need is an education, and we can talk. If you're in the latter camp, I feel absolutely no need to try to justify my beliefs to such an obviously irrational person. Forget trying to convince you. I wouldn't bother wasting my time with you in that case. Pearls before swine and answering a fool according to his folly and such things.
I think you are missing the point. Jesus was well aware of the prophecies before he fulfilled them. This argument acts as if Jesus was unaware of the prophecies and they just happened to be fulfilled because of his nature. If Jesus was aware, then the fulfillment of these prophecies is not a product of random chance. All of these calculations are invalid because Jesus knew of the prophecies, and specifically stated that he would fulfill them. He didn't happen to ride a donkey, he KNEW he would ride a donkey.

In the same way, evolutionists would reject your improbability argument by saying that it happens do to natural mechanisms (even if those mechanisms were designed). If you think evolution is chance, then improbability causes you to question if those natural mechanisms are valid. If you think prophetic fulfillment is chance, then improbability causes you to question if the record as written is valid. How are you missing the parallel?
You're missing the point. If you would stop being lazy and read my original critique of the argument in this thread, you would see that I've already addressed this issue. Now, until you do that, I'm not going to waste my time following this line of thought in our discussion any further. You've made a point with complete ignorance as to what has already been said. I have already addressed this and pointed you to where you can find it. It's not out of context and in an old thread somewhere on this board. It's in this very conversation and is at the root of the very first thing I said to you. It only remains now to see if you are really interested in the process as you claim or if you are just interested in blasting people with poor, uninformed arguments. If the former, I look forward to your comments on my original critique and the discussion we can have surrounding them. You'll find them relevant to your points here. If the latter, I don't have time for you. Sorry. I have a life.
Your comment specifically mentioned intellectual respect, and then into accusations of dishonesty. I respectfully disagree with you, because I understand that not everybody has the same knowledge and understanding that I do. I also realize I must always question my knowledge and change my understanding when appropriate; and I hope you do too. I am familiar with Josephus, Tacitus, and the others. The references are brief, and do not speak to the miraculous claims in the bible. I believe ancient Egyptians existed, but I don't believe pharaohs were actually deities. Likewise, it's reasonable to hold miraculous claims to a higher standard than the more believable actions of mere men.

I started with a belief in Jesus, and then lost it through a process of examination. I am still in that process of examination, and it would be great if someone could come around and give a good answer to all of my questions. Believe it or not, I'm posting here to help improve the quality of these arguments. If an atheist or someone of another faith is only presented with strawmen and arguments that require presuppositions, then the position appears weak. GodandScience makes a good effort (mostly) to be thorough, and I feel that participating in strengthening these types of arguments can be a fruitful process. Maybe I'll never be again convinced of God, but I will still enjoy the process.
I wasn't speaking of Josephus, Tacitus, and other's relative to their comments on the Bible. I was talking to their general histories. Most of what you know about ancient history comes from historical sources. Have you bothered checking to see if they were right in addressing those issues? I doubt it. And yet you believe them all the same. And yet you don't extend the NT documents the same courtesy. That's very telling.

Lastly, look at the part I underlined. I appreciate the fact that you want to deal with the strongest possible positions and hope to point out weaknesses when you see it. That's fine. If, again, you bothered to actually read the thread before you commented, you would have seen that had already been done by Christians on this very board. Yet not only do you come here and attempt to shoot holes in an argument we have already vetted, but you attempt to do so using absolutely awful, hole-ridden logic! Listen to this very carefully, GA: when you claim that you see a weakness, you are presuming that you understand the issue thoroughly enough to offer a critique. And let me tell you plainly. Having seen your contributions so far, you do not know what you are talking about. It is clear that you have never studied the philosophical tradition underlying the Trinity and therefore necessarily the dual nature of Christ. It is clear you know nothing of the manuscript tradition or the arguments surrounding the dating of the New Testament documents. It is clear that you are not familiar with the minimalist approach to the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Your passing reference above to the need for extra evidence when dealing with miracles (along with your ignorance of the philosophical issues at stake) tells me that at best you've read an atheist website or maybe a book or two by Dawkins or Harris or some other such uninformed loon and that in such reading you came across Sagan' long debunked assertion regarding extraordinary claims (which itself was basically pirated by Hume's comments in An Enquiry 10.4). Of course, I doubt you've actually read Sagan or Hume, and so you're probably just parroting something you read that you think makes sense but that does not. And that, in turn, tells me about your criteria for truth or standards to which you subject ideas.

What I am telling you is that you would do very well to stop trying to find weaknesses and start asking questions. Lots of things are not going to make sense to you, and they are not going to make sense to you because you are like a student struggling with basic arithmetic who has accidentally stumbled on a discussion about calculus. Take your time here as an opportunity not to poke holes, but to get educated. Learn from people who actually have studied this stuff (some of us professionally, and some of us teach this stuff professionally).

Or, squander your opportunity and pretend that you know enough to critique something you know nothing about.

Your call.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

#25

Post by GenericAtheist » Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:54 am

Wrong. On all counts. We don't reason this way in any area of life, and we shouldn't apply this false standard to theological truth either. It's easy to demonstrate. I could just turn your argument on its head. Since I know that Jesus is the Christ (the math proves it), then your arguments about the Jews and polytheism and the New Testament don't address any of the problems I have with unbelief. So I say that before you are allowed to use those arguments, you FIRST have to show that the math is wrong!
The only thing I want to say regarding this argument is that the math above relies on the claims of the new testament. If you accept the claims of the new testament, then the math is unnecessary. The calculated probabilities cannot stand on their own as an argument. For someone to accept the probabilities, that person has already accepted the conclusion.

It's like you watched me make a half-court shot with a basketball, and then I start to give you all the probabilities of how likely it is that I was on the court, had a basketball, that it hit the backboard at a certain angle, and that it went through the center of the rim. You have to first accept that I made the basket. After you accept that, what am I trying to prove with the math? If you don't accept that I was at the court, had a ball, and made the basket; how is the math convincing?

I'm not trying to disprove to you the nature of Jesus. This whole thing devolved into me defending the reasonableness of the common objections to the nature of Jesus. In reality, it doesn't matter if they are reasonable. I presented the major hurdles that most non-Christians must overcome to believe in Jesus the savior. Isn't the purpose of apologetics to resolve the problems that people actually have? Nobody is claiming that the prophetic fulfillment (including those not mentioned) is too likely for Jesus to be the savior.
[General questioning of knowledge level, bias, and honesty]
I understand where you are coming from. You are certain of your conclusion, so anybody who disagrees must either not know enough about it or exist in an echo chamber. I could say the same of you, but that direction isn't productive or convincing. These are conclusions I've reached through honest study and inquiry. Since then, I have actually read more religion supporting books in hopes to find compelling reasoning. I don't need books or websites that repeat the position that I already hold. The debates I have watched have not been convincing even with widely respected theologians. I accept general history because it doesn't have an effect on my life, and I gain nothing by questioning it.

I reached my conclusion by considering the following points:
  • No matter what religion I chose, there are more people that disagree with it than support it
  • Most of the philosophical arguments for Christianity are used in the same way for other religions
  • Religious disposition is most strongly influenced by your geography and the religion of your parents
  • Those that have the most understanding of how our natural world works are overwhelmingly non-religious
  • I'd have to accept that many hard sciences are involved in a conspiracy if their conclusions contradict the bible
  • Nobody can actually agree on what the bible says
  • The lack of answers, feelings, or effects on my life after sincere and thoughtful prayer and belief
  • For every "answered prayer", there are millions more suffering despite their prayers
Since then, I've studied biblical history and looked into the philosophical arguments for and against. It's easy to say that someone like me must be ignorant to not see what is so blindingly obvious and convincing to you. However, there are people I can point to who are objectively not ignorant that also disagree with you. Of course the majority of biblical scholars are religious. The few biblical scholars that go against the grain are labeled as fringe, dishonest, or wrong.

Life would be so much easier if I could believe in Christianity. The ideals of everlasting life and a God having your back is great. If it were just a matter of sufficient learning to get me to that point, believe me I would be there. For arguments to be convincing (at least to me), they should overcome personal objections and the objections of other major religions. This argument does neither. These probabilities are meaningless outside of the circle of those who already believe.

The solution you suggest is that I just need to study more and accept that the arguments against God and Jesus have been sufficiently debunked. I see this as akin to asking me to repeat something enough until I believe it. Should God and Jesus not be more obvious? The holocaust is real because you can visit the concentration camps, you can see pictures of the event happening, and there exist people who were there to confirm it. Those who deny the holocaust go to great lengths to try and prove a point that is very poorly supported. Your position is that Jesus had supernatural powers and walked the earth 2,000 years ago. The only writings about those powers are contained within a book where the the contents were essentially voted in by the church. The arguments and evidence for a supernatural Jesus are very similar to the arguments for Mohammad, but those for Mohammad are somehow not convincing. I cannot visit the supernatural Jesus. I cannot find arguments for Jesus that aren't also used for false prophets. The effects of Jesus and a trinitarian God are not testable. Whose position more closely resembles that of a denier?

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Re: Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

#26

Post by 1over137 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:13 am

GenericAtheist wrote: I reached my conclusion by considering the following points:
  • [1] No matter what religion I chose, there are more people that disagree with it than support it
    [2] Most of the philosophical arguments for Christianity are used in the same way for other religions
    [3] Religious disposition is most strongly influenced by your geography and the religion of your parents
    [4] Those that have the most understanding of how our natural world works are overwhelmingly non-religious
    [5] I'd have to accept that many hard sciences are involved in a conspiracy if their conclusions contradict the bible
    [6] Nobody can actually agree on what the bible says
    [7] The lack of answers, feelings, or effects on my life after sincere and thoughtful prayer and belief
    [8] For every "answered prayer", there are millions more suffering despite their prayers
1. So, you need to go with majority?
2. but at least they point supernatural being
3. not my case, am from atheistic family
4. not my case, have phd in theoretical physics and am Christian
5. we would need to speak more about this
6. i can agree with my brothers
7. we would need to speak about this too
8. Does God promise all our prayers are answered?
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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Re: Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

#27

Post by 1over137 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:33 am

I just came across this and thought it is suitable here:

It's from C.S.Lewis
It is true that some people may find they have to wait in the hall for a considerable time, while others feel certain almost at once which door they must knock at. I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do get into your room you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light: and of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and panelling.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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Re: Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

#28

Post by Kurieuo » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:55 pm

1over137 wrote:I just came across this and thought it is suitable here:

It's from C.S.Lewis
It is true that some people may find they have to wait in the hall for a considerable time, while others feel certain almost at once which door they must knock at. I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do get into your room you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light: and of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and panelling.
Always has a way of describing it in such a descriptively palatable way to the lay person. I much envy Lewis' ability at times.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

#29

Post by jlay » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:38 am

Thanks for sharing your reasons. I'm going to address these point by point, and I'm going to be candid where I see error in your thinking. Please don't take it the wrong way. If I didn't care what you thought, I wouldn't bother answering.
GenericAtheist wrote:
No matter what religion I chose, there are more people that disagree with it than support it. (Statistical fallacy. If no one agreed that 2+2=4, it would not change whether or not the answer was true.)
• Most of the philosophical arguments for Christianity are used in the same way for other religions (I seriously question this claim. Certainly, one would expect monotheistic religions to share some if not many philosophical arguments. What are you appealing to here? Futher, the Bible itself does not ask you to trust Christ because of an extrabiblical philosophical argument.)
• Religious disposition is most strongly influenced by your geography and the religion of your parents (Genetic fallacy. Just because I was born and raised in a democracy doesn't mean there aren't valid reasons to believe that democratic government is better than another alternative. I don't need to be born in China or adopt communism to know this is the case.)
• Those that have the most understanding of how our natural world works are overwhelmingly non-religious (As well as being another statistical fallacy, it is a faulty appeal to authority, and further I believe it to be simply false. In fact, new research shows that even those who accept evolutionary theory are still likely to believe in God.)
• I'd have to accept that many hard sciences are involved in a conspiracy if their conclusions contradict the bible (What specific scientific testing has been done to falsify the Bible? I would be interested to see that study. I am aware of many philosophical claims made from those within the science community, but that of course is a different story. )
• Nobody can actually agree on what the bible says (First of all, the Bible is a library of books, not one book. And. this is a prejuducial claim. Further, the failure of people to agree has no bearing on whether the claims in the books of the bible are true or not. Even further, I would feel safe to say that pretty much EVERY believer on this forum agrees on the essentials. But, even if we didn't, it wouldn't change the veracity of the claims in the Bible. Truth is not determined by consensus.)
• The lack of answers, feelings, or effects on my life after sincere and thoughtful prayer and belief (I've just exampled that every previous 'answer' you are basing your rejection on, is built upon either fallacious reasoning or bad information. How should that make you feel? I am not doubting your sincerity, but people can be sincerely WRONG. Sincerity is only effective when conbined with right thinking.)
• For every "answered prayer", there are millions more suffering despite their prayers (There is simply no way to measure how many prayers are answered or unanswered. I'm probably more skeptical on this that you. Your own answer implies that SOME prayers ARE answered, while others aren't. OK, who answered them? In this case you are basing your belief on whether God will conform to your rules. Example: "God, if you are real, then do this or that, and I will believe." The problem is that there is nothing scripturally to think that this would work. In this case, you are first imposing your own truth (what you think God should and shouldn't do, etc), and in turn thumbing your nose at how God has chosen to reveal Himself. We don't do this in the real world. If we want someone to answer us or provide us something, then it would be wise to come to them on their terms and conditions. What should we expect if we stubbornly ignore these methods and start making demands on them.
If you sincerely asked God to reveal himself, then perhaps you ought to look around and ask why you were led here, where people can lovingly and intelligently correct your error and point you in the right direction? So, HERE is the answer. Our feelings can betray us. Faith is NOT a feeling. Feelings may follow faith. You seem to have demanded the opposite. Let's say that you experienced a feeling. Well, what would happen later when the feeling subsided? Doubt would come and you would begin to question whether your feelings were valid or not. When my favorite sports team wins, I experience incredible feelings. But the feelings don't last. And whether the team won or not, or whether the game actually happened, isn't contingent on whether or not I experienced said feelings.
Last edited by jlay on Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Mathematical Probability Jesus was the Christ

#30

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:39 pm

A thread about the mathematical probability that Jesus was "the Christ"?
What will they think of next?

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