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.