RE: virus: quick note

TheHermit (
Thu, 8 Apr 1999 03:26:08 -0500

OK Quick response in line...

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf
> Of Snow Leopard
> Sent: Wednesday, April 07, 1999 7:33 AM
> To:
> Subject: virus: quick note
> To Hermit and other amused readers,
> Due to exam season around here, and the length of response required,
> we will be unable to respond all at once in the immediate future.

As I said, I don't have much time either. I understand completely..

> However, a series of E4C (evidence for Christianity) articles will be
> sent along. Going from the easiest of your arguments to refute to
> the most difficult (which appear to be the mathematical ones), I will
> explain all that I can, research everything else, etc.

> If you can hit-and-run (which I really don’t mind) than I can break
> my statements into e-mail friendly chunks. It’s nice to see the
> Hermit come out of his cave, now and then.

No problem :-) But not all Hermits live in caves. Some are found like this! "Behold! these be grave mysteries; for there are also of my friends who be hermits. Now think not to find them in the forest or on the mountain; but in beds of purple, caressed by magnificent beasts of women with large limbs,and fire and light in their eyes, and masses of flaming hair about them; there shall ye find them." --Liber Al vel Legis, II.24

> Before I actually respond to any of these stimulating arguments, I
> just want to say that I enjoy being on this list. It’s great to
> compete with minds that debate well. At this moment, if I was an
> atheist, I fell that I’d argue Christianity anyway just to have such
> brilliant and entertaining responses. I respect each and every one
> of you as intelligent, rational people who have viewpoints that
> indicate different truths than will ever make sense to me.

I once felt the way that you do. Then I came to my senses :-) But my significant other is lucky enough to feel the same way I do without ever having been exposed to christianity...

> A new argument that I know is only going to make everyone open-minded
> think, and the close-minded angry: (I’m already laughing at the
> hysterical replies you haven’t sent yet)
> This is addressed to all atheists who set eyes here.
> In a way, you’re right.
I know.
> It’s easier to prove NOTHING,

Except in a special environments, such as logic or mathematics, it is impossible to "prove" something absolutely. You can only disprove things absolutely.

> To believe NOTHING,

That is a semi good idea. Of course, it is perfectly viable to stipulate things in order to move beyond a basic point as long as you realise that your foundation has assumptions built into it which you may need to falsify at some later time.

> To trust NOTHING

This is a very good idea. There is little difference between "believe" and "trust". I believe that the speed of light in free space is around 299,792,458 meters per second (I haven't proven this for myself, but this number works for me because I have evidence that I have derived for myself that confirms it - e.g. microwave bounce time to the moon (2.4 seconds or 1.2 seconds each way, and the timing of occlusions of the moons of Jupiter.) I trust my friends not to intentionally harm me (that is why they are friends and if they were to harm me, then they would not be my friends).

> And in a way, you’ll never be disappointed.

You are right. Everything good that happens, and there are lots of good things that happen, is a pleasant surprise.

> But as you think about NOTHING

Here you are so very wrong. While I spend a lot of time considering the nature of "nothing" I am not forced not to think about other things.

> Write about NOTHING,

Do you really think I spend most of my time writing about "Nothing"?

> And do NOTHING,

Wrong again. I have probably helped and taught more people than you have met... and done many more things than most. I fail to understand how you can make this assertion.

> I’m doing something for Someone.

Incorrect puntuation. It should be "someone". I know you mean your "god", but you have not proved that it is anything more than your imagination at work. And even significant works of imagination have small letters preceding them. So you are doing "something" for an imaginary thing. I prefer doing things for myself and others.
> Now, for the most obvious errors…
> << (c) Jehoiachin was 18 (2 Kings 24:8), 8 (2 Chron. 22:2) years old
> when he began to reign and he reigned 3 months (2 Kings 24:8), 3
> months and 10 days (2 Chron. 36:9)>>
> << (g) Lot was Abraham’s nephew (Genesis 14:12), brother (Genesis
> 14:14)>>
> Genesis 14:14, in *most* Bibles says, “Kin”, not brother. The Hebrew
> language may use the same word for both.
> To be honest, I wasn’t there, and I don’t know, like so many other
> things. Ten years difference is big, but likely to be a scribing
> error. Another possibility was that he was the official ruler at age
> 8, and a regent was actually managing things until the boy matured.
> For the 3 months versus 3 months and 10 days, that’s a simple case of
> rounding, same as the PI thing. (Another matter, who said that it
> was a perfect circle?)

Perhaps it is a "scribing error". I did not say that this was not a possibility. Your challenge was specifically "The funny thing is, every Biblical *discrepancy* I've heard of so far can be explained, if one looks though the Biblical world view. I challenge anyone reading this to point out a few, I'll show you what I mean."

I took up your challenge and pointed out a few. You decided to "explain them". What you have done is not an "explanation", it is an excuse. If you are saying that there was a transcription error, then I can say that the bible did not say that Mary was a virgin (In fact it does not). This is a transcription error too. I can say that the bible is completely unreliable because it is full of "scribing errors" and you cannot prove my hypothesis wrong. I have simply pointed out a very few cases where there is enough irrefutable internal contradiction to be able to prove that there are "unexplainable" discrepencies. I will say that given your argument, the entire bible may well be in error, and you cannot prove that it is not.

I dug up a few translations... This is not "most"

NIV When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive...
RSV When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive...
KJV And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive...
DBY And Abram heard that his brother was taken captive... YLT And Abram heareth that his brother hath been taken captive...

As for a circle not being a "perfect circle", a circle is charecterised by its circularity. If it is not circular, it is not a circle. PI is defined as Area of Circle/(Radius of Circle)^2. And that has a precise answer which is not 3... A powerful "god" would have known that this objection would be raised. The value given here indicates a degree of ignorance matching the people writing about this god.

> << (h) Joseph was sold into Egypt by the Midianites (Gen. 37:36), by
> Ishmaelites (Genesis 39:1)>>
> At first, this is pretty convincing. However, it is likely that
> Joseph’s brothers sold him to the Midianites, who turned a profit
> handing him over to the Midianites.
Here you are saying something that the bible does not say or imply in order to attempt to explain the discrepency. So using your method, I could say that Paul was "the Liar" and "the Devil" (and unlike you, I can cite contemporary documents to back up my assertion) and you could not disagree. If you are allowed to "make things up" to explain this, then at the least you should cite some reason why your "made up explanation" should be considered.

> <<(i) Saul was killed by his own hands (1 Sam. 31:4), by a young
> Amalekite (2 Samuel 1:10), by the Philistines (2 Sam. 21:12)>>
> “By the Philistines” is not a valid conclusion, check the context and
> you will find that they hung his dead body, it was not an execution.
> As for the other two, it’s possible that Saul tried to kill himself,
> failed, and was then ‘aided’ (or whatever) by the young man.
This has been answered very ably by Eric Boyd. In his letter re: E4C Timestamped Thursday 4/1/99 5:04PM.
In case you missed it, here is an excerpt:

<Start Quote>
The above verses clearly say that Saul took his own sword and killed himself. The one immediatly below says that an Amalekite killed him, and the last clearly says that the Philistines "struck Saul down on Gilboa" (the KJV is even clearer with "when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa" (verse 12)). Even if "an Amalekite" is actually a "Philistine", that still leaves the suicide verse as contradictory.

If you want to maintain something like "he tried to kill him, but failed; the Amalekite tried to kill him but failed, and finally the Philistines slew him", I'm not going for it. The Bible says what it means.

2 Samuel 1:6-10 (English-NIV)
6 "I happened to be on Mount Gilboa," the young man said, "and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and riders almost upon him. 7 When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, `What can I do?'
8 "He asked me, `Who are you?' "`An Amalekite,' I answered. 9 "Then he said to me, `Stand over me and kill me! I am in the throes of death, but I'm still alive.'
10 "So I stood over him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord."

<Hermit comments - note 8 "An Amalekite"...10"I stood over him and killed him" above)

2 Samuel 21:11-13 (English-NIV)
11 When David was told what Aiah's daughter Rizpah, Saul's concubine, had done,
12 he went and took the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from the citizens of Jabesh Gilead. (They had taken them secretly from the public square at Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them after they struck Saul down on Gilboa.)
13 David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan from there, and the bones of those who had been killed and exposed were gathered up.

The words speak for themselves.

<Hermit comments - note especially "where the Philistines had hung them after they struck Saul down on Gilboa." in 13 above>

<Tim's comment proving that his reading ability is about equal to a 15 year old's removed>

The first account is indeed him falling on his sword. The second account is an Amalekite running him through, and the last doesn't give his mode of death, it merely says he was slain by the Philistines. The entire hanging seen is irrelevant. They are merely bringing all the bones together for a common burial, and off-hand happen to mention that Saul was killed by the Philistines. (...)

<End Quote>

> << (l) The Earth does (Eccle. 1:4) does not (2 Peter 3:10) abideth
> forever>>
> There’s nothing wrong with the verses themselves. However, context
> is the key. In the “Forever Earth” case, they’re saying that this
> planet, this dirt wad in space, isn’t going to come to mysterious and
> apocalyptic end where it simply disappears. To say that it does end,
> is saying that life on Earth, or perhaps some spiritual ending
> (Second Coming) will happen according to Peter.
Again, you are the one inventing the words needing to reconcile these two accounts and quoting out of context. Peter does not say anything about "life on earth" he specifically says

2 Peter 3:10 (English-NIV)
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare(Some manuscripts be burned up).

and Ecclesiastes 1:4 (English-NIV) says
Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.

I do not think that something burned up or laid bare would meet anybodies definition of "lasting forever". Bye the way, Peter is closer but still wrong. In some 4.6E9 Years, when our sun dies, the sun's diameter will be larger than the earth's orbit and the earth will cease to exist.

> As for my personal statement that I would not kill for God, I did not
> say that it’s not within God’s limits to take a life, after all, he
> gave that person life to begin with. Since those people were all
> going to die eventually, it makes sense to minimize the suffering of
> others.
You amaze me. This allows anybody to justify murder on the grounds that "life is suffering" and you are ending their suffering without their consent. Not a very high standard of ethics, and certainly not one I would want to see advocated by my neighbours...

> For something yet unmentioned, historians didn’t agree with the
> Biblical account of Daniel 5:1-17 King Belshazzar offered the
> position third in the kingdom. Historical records did not indicate
> the rule of any such man. Then, archeologists found some documented
> historical account that stated that King Belshazzar was co-ruling
> with his father, who handled matters abroad while the younger took
> care of domestic matters. That’s also why he was offered the
> position third in the kingdom (not second).
If you want to raise historical contradictions, being something of an amateur historian, I can argue all day. If you would like a list I can provide several hundreds if not thousands. Please cite a reference for "archeologists found some documented historical account" seeing as it is accepted historical fact that Belshazzar was not even the king of Babylon! There was a lengthy article to this effect in "Archeology" only last year. So this must be very recent news that has not yet reached me. Nabonidus was the king of Babylon at the demise of the Chaldean Empire. Belshazzar was his son.

Rolling straight on from there, here are a few more

"That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom (of Babylon] being about 62 years old." (Dan. 5:30-31 RSV).
See above re Belshazzar.
Darius never took the kingdom nor was he ever king of Babylon. There is no reference to Darius the Mede in any ancient document we have today.
History says it was Cyrus the Persian who conquered the Babylonian empire.

"Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple...." (Dan. 5:2 RSV).
Nebuchadnezzar was not the father of Belshazzar. The Modern Language Version admits as much by calling Nebuchadnezzar his grandfather.

And if you get me onto contradictions with external sources here are a few to "chew' on:

The bat is a bird (Lev. 19:19, Deut. 14:11, 18); Some fowls are four-footed (Lev. 11:20-21); Some creeping insects have four legs. (Lev. 11:22-23); Hares chew the cud (Lev. 11:6);
Conies [Hermit Conies = the hyrax or rock badger] chew the cud (Lev. 11:5); Camels don't divide the hoof (Lev. 11:4); The earth was formed out of and by means of water (2 Peter 3:5 RSV); The earth rest on pillars (1 Sam. 2:8);
The earth won't be moved (1Chron. 16:30); A hare does not divide the hoof (Deut. 14:7); The rainbow is not as old as rain and sunshine (Gen. 9:13); A mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds and grows into the greatest of all shrubs (Matt. 13:31-32 RSV);
The earth has ends or edges (Job 37:3);
The earth has four corners (Isa. 11:12, Rev. 7:1); Some 4-legged animals fly (Lev. 11:21);
The world's language didn't evolve but appeared suddenly (Gen. 11:6-9; and A fetus can understand speech (Luke 1:44).

Still "using" Daniel, only staunch fundamentalists try to erase the handwriting on the wall. In the 5th chapter of Daniel, Belshazzar didn't try to erase the unpleasant handwriting on the wall. He listened and acted accordingly. One would think believers in the Bible would learn from his experience. The Bible is not inerrant with respect to science, mathematics, history or ethics. Many statements in the bible reflect the era in which they were written or edited, and assertions to the contrary are weak at best.

> On the Khomeni thing, I might insight add a shred of tradition that,
> by your definition, was added afterward. At the Last Supper, the cup
> that Jesus said he wouldn’t drink of was the messianic cup.
> Symbolically, if this terrible rabid preacher had taken a sip, he
> would’ve been saying, “I want to be the Messiah in the traditional
> ‘let’s kill some conqueror’s butt’ sense. The triumphant Messiah
> begged for on Palm Sunday fits the description you put forth, an
> insurrectionist with a nervous habit of Torah- thumping. Jesus
> could’ve had that job, the crowds were hysterical- he would’ve had
> the same story as Mussolini, if only he had said the word. Did he
> try? Doesn’t look like it.

I was refering to the group that the prototype "Jesus" belonged to. Not the mythical creature you are attempting to defend. And if you look at the position taken by his brother James, head of "the church in Jerusalem", in his disagreements with Paul, you will see that James was definitely the "thumper" you described. Now who knew better? "James the brother of Jesus" or Paul who never met him?

> Quick note on faith, logic and sanity.
> The disciples, (assuming, for the sake of argument, they existed)
> followed Jesus (assuming, for the sake of argument, he existed) for
> about three years.
> They either saw him doing miracles, or doing tricks;
> They saw him being altruistic, or they saw him drop the mask;
> They saw him sinless, or they saw him sinful.
> They saw him rise from the dead, or they saw where they *really* put
> the body***

This is not what history tells us. Do us both a favour and get a copy of "James the Brother of Jesus" by Robert Eisenman, and read it to see the accepted position of modern scholars. Then we can discuss this on an equal footing. Otherwise I will need to write really long articles to try to explain curent thinking for you. I'll address this further in a moment.

> Then, with this knowledge, they put their lives on the line, for
> something that they saw with their own eyes, or something that they
> made up, to serve truth, or just to get themselves into trouble.

I think you exagerate the difficulties that people holding belief had in the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire was belief agnostic and tolerated at least hundreds of religions. Read sy/chapter_15.html . To quote from it:

<start quote>

Less than one in one hundred of the "early martyrs" can be proved to have died for his religion or even existed in it.

Ninety-nine statements in one hundred, at least, in the lives of the martyrs are lies on somebody's part; and we can prove that the writers were almost always clerics.

The Christians, when they obtained power, made more "martyrs" in a century than they had had in three centuries, and in the next one thousand years they made hundreds of times more martyrs than the Romans had made if we include Jews, witches, Albigensians, etc., as we ought, thousands of times more.

<end quote>

Even better is

In any case, does a liar always have a selfish motive? Do parents who tell their children the Santa Claus myth as truth have a selfish motive? Such parents would deny it: after all they give up credit for the gift-giving. Yet does that imply that there really is a Santa Claus? Is this the same order of reality that is claimed for Jesus? If one does not use the word "lie" for such non-truths, then we need not posit a lie upon the part of the early Christians. Paul said "To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law) so that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings. (1 Cor 9:20-23) sounds like Bill Clinton at his worst.

Misremembered details and pious untruths, and second-hand storytelling under pseudonym of supposed disciples convince second-generation believers, who in good faith accept the stories as truth, and transmit them.

What lie ever sent martyrs to their deaths?: What divine emperor's power sent the Kamikaze pilots to their willing deaths? Have not thousands of Muslims died for their faith in Allah as defined by Mohammed? Have not Jews in the Inquisition, and heretics being burned at the stake, refused to compromise their beliefs by agreeing with their tormentors, and thereby forfeited their lives? If such tenacity vouched for the truth of Christianity, it would also vouch for the truth of non-Christianity.

> If
> the early Christians were crazy enough to stick their necks out for a
> lie, then I’d expect even more inconsistencies within a single gospel
> account, and some gospel writers would hide their own crimes. For
> example, why would the gospels talk about the disciples falling
> asleep in the garden? It benefits no one, and hurts the image of the
> disciples.
They were using older stories and incorporated all sorts of myths, not all of the older stories could be erased as they were a part of the verbally transmitted mythos and were not "corrected". Here is another Gospel story

I. I, Thomas the Israelite, tell unto you, even all the brethren that are of the Gentiles, to make known unto you the works of the childhood of our Lord Jesus Christ and his mighty deeds, even all that he did when he was born in our land: whereof the beginning is thus:

II. 1 This little child Jesus when he was five years old was playing at the ford of a brook: and he gathered together the waters that flowed there into pools, and made them straightway clean, and commanded them by his word alone. 2 And having made soft clay, he fashioned thereof twelve sparrows. And it was the Sabbath when he did these things (or made them). And there were also many other little children playing with him.

3 And a certain Jew when he saw what Jesus did, playing upon the Sabbath day, departed straightway and told his father Joseph: Lo, thy child is at the brook, and he hath taken clay and fashioned twelve little birds, and hath polluted the Sabbath day. 4 And Joseph came to the place and saw: and cried out to him, saying: Wherefore doest thou these things on the Sabbath, which it is not lawful to do? But Jesus clapped his hands together and cried out to the sparrows and said to them: Go! and the sparrows took their flight and went away chirping. 5 And when the Jews saw it they were amazed, and departed and told their chief men that which they had seen Jesus do.

III. 1 But the son of Annas the scribe was standing there with Joseph; and he took a branch of a willow and dispersed the waters which Jesus had gathered together. 2 And when Jesus saw what was done, he was wroth and said unto him: O evil, ungodly, and foolish one, what hurt did the pools and the waters do thee? behold, now also thou shalt be withered like a tree, and shalt not bear leaves, neither root, nor fruit. 3 And straightway that lad withered up wholly, but Jesus departed and went unto Joseph's house. But the parents of him that was withered took him up, bewailing his youth, and brought him to Joseph, and accused him 'for that thou hast such a child which doeth such deeds.'

IV. 1 After that again he went through the village, and a child ran and dashed against his shoulder. And Jesus was provoked and said unto him: Thou shalt not finish thy course (lit. go all thy way). And immediately he fell down and died. But certain when they saw what was done said: Whence was this young child born, for that every word of his is an accomplished work? And the parents of him that was dead came unto Joseph, and blamed him, saying: Thou that hast such a child canst not dwell with us in the village: or do thou teach him to bless and not to curse: for he slayeth our children.

V. 1 And Joseph called the young child apart and admonished him, saying: Wherefore doest thou such things, that these suffer and hate us and persecute us? But Jesus said: I know that these thy words are not thine: nevertheless for thy sake I will hold my peace: but they shall bear their punishment. And straightway they that accused him were smitten with blindness. 2 And they that saw it were sore afraid and perplexed, and said concerning him that every word which he spake whether it were good or bad, was a deed, and became a marvel. And when they (he ?) saw that Jesus had so done, Joseph arose and took hold upon his ear and wrung it sore. 3 And the young child was wroth and said unto him: It sufficeth thee (or them) to seek and not to find, and verily thou hast done unwisely: knowest thou not that I am thine? vex me not.

VI. 1 Now a certain teacher, Zacchaeus by name, stood there and he heard in part when Jesus said these things to his father and he marveled greatly that being a young child he spake such matters. 2 And after a few days he came near unto Joseph and said unto him: Thou hast a wise child, and he hath understanding. Come, deliver him to me that he may learn letters. And I will teach him with the letters all knowledge and that he salute all the elders and honor them as grandfathers and fathers, and love them of his own years. 3 And he told him all the letters from Alpha even to Omega clearly, with much questioning. But Jesus looked upon Zacchaeus the teacher and saith unto him: Thou that knowest not the Alpha according to its nature, how canst thou teach others the Beta? thou hypocrite, first, if thou knowest it, teach the Alpha, and then will we believe thee concerning the Beta. Then began he to confound the mouth of the teacher concerning the first letter, and he could not prevail to answer him. 4 And in the hearing of many the young child saith to Zacchaeus: Hear, O teacher, the ordinance of the first letter and pay heed to this, how that it hath [what follows is really unintelligible in this and in all the parallel texts: a literal version would run something like this: how that it hath lines, and a middle mark, which thou seest, common to both, going apart; coming together, raised up on high, dancing (a corrupt word), of three signs, like in kind (a corrupt word), balanced, equal in measure]: thou hast the rules of the Alpha.

VII. 1 Now when Zacchaeus the teacher heard such and so many allegories of the first letter spoken by the young child, he was perplexed at his answer and his instruction being so great, and said to them that were there: Woe is me, wretch that I am, I am confounded: I have brought shame to myself by drawing to me this young child. 2 Take him away, therefore I beseech thee, my brother Joseph: I cannot endure the severity of his look, I cannot once make clear my (or his) word. This young child is not earthly born: this is one that can tame even fire: be like this is one begotten before the making of the world. What belly bare this, what womb nurtured it? I know not. Woe is me, O my friend, he putteth me from my sense, I cannot follow his understanding. I have deceived myself, thrice wretched man that I am: I strove to get me a disciple and I am found to have a master. 3 I think, O my friends, upon my shame, for that being old I have been overcome by a young child;- and I am even ready to faint and to die because of the boy, for I am not able at this present hour to look him in the face. And when all men say that I have been overcome by a little child, what have I to say? and what can I tell concerning the lines of the first letter whereof he spake to me? I am ignorant, O my friends, for neither beginning nor end of it (or him) do I know. 4 Wherefore I beseech thee, my brother Joseph, take him away unto thine house: for he is somewhat great, whether god or angel or what I should call him, I know not.

VIII. 1 And as the Jews were counselling Zacchaeus, the young child laughed greatly and said: Now let those bear fruit that were barren (Gr. that are thine) and let them see that were blind in heart. I am come from above that I may curse them, and call them to the things that are above, even as he commanded which hath sent me for your sakes. 2 And when the young child ceased speaking, immediately all they were made whole which had come under his curse. And no man after that durst provoke him, lest he should curse him, and he should be maimed.

IX. 1 Now after certain days Jesus was playing in the upper story of a certain house, and one of the young children that played with him fell down from the house and died. And the other children when they saw it fled, and Jesus remained alone. 2 And the parents of him that was dead came and accused him that he had cast him down. (And Jesus said: I did not cast him down) but they reviled him still. 3 Then Jesus leaped down from the roof and stood by the body of the child and cried with a loud voice and said: Zeno (for so was his name called), arise and tell me, did I cast thee down? And straightway he arose and said: Nay, Lord, thou didst not cast me down, but didst raise me up. And when they saw it they were amazed: and the parents of the child glorified God for the sign which had come to pass, and worshipped Jesus.

X. 1 After a few days, a certain young man was cleaving wood in the neighborhood (MSS. corner), and the axe fell and cut in sunder the sole of his foot, and losing much blood he was at the point to die. 2 And when there was a tumult and concourse, the young child Jesus also ran thither, and by force passed through the multitude, and took hold upon the foot of the young man that was smitten, and straightway it was healed. And he said unto the young man: Arise now and cleave the wood and remember me. But when the multitude saw what was done they worshipped the young child, saying: Verily the spirit of God dwelleth in this young child.

XI. 1 Now when he was six years old, his mother sendeth him to draw water and bear it into the house, and gave him a pitcher: but in the press he struck it against another and the pitcher was broken. 2 But Jesus spread out the garment which was upon him and filled it with water and brought it to his mother. And when his mother saw what was done she kissed him; and she kept within herself the mysteries which she saw him do.

XII. 1 Again, in the time of sowing the young child went forth with his father to sow wheat in their land: and as his father sowed, the young child Jesus sowed also one corn of wheat. 2 And he reaped it and threshed it and made thereof an hundred measures (cors): and he called all the poor of the village unto the threshing floor and gave them the wheat. And Joseph took the residue of the wheat. And he was eight years old when he wrought this sign.

XIII. 1 Now his father was a carpenter and made at that time ploughs and yokes. And there was required of him a bed by a certain rich man, that he should make it for him. And whereas one beam, that which is called the shifting one was too short and Joseph knew not what to do, the young child Jesus said to his father Joseph: Lay down the two pieces of wood and make them even at the end next unto thee (MSS. at the middle part). And Joseph did as the young child said unto him. And Jesus stood at the other end and took hold upon the shorter beam and stretched it and made it equal with the other. And his father Joseph saw it and marveled: and he embraced the young child and kissed him, saying: Happy am I for that God hath given me this young child.

XIV. 1 But when Joseph saw the understanding of the child, and his age, that it was coming to the full, he thought with himself again that he should not be ignorant of letters; and he took him and delivered him to another teacher. And the teacher said unto Joseph: First will I teach him the Greek letters, and after that the Hebrew. For the teacher knew the skill of the child and was afraid of him: notwithstanding he wrote the alphabet and Jesus pondered thereon a long time and answered him not. 2 And Jesus said to him: If thou be indeed a teacher and if thou knowest letters well, tell me the power of the Alpha and then will I tell thee the power of the Beta. And the teacher was provoked and smote him on the head. And the young child was hurt and cursed him, and straightway he fainted and fell to the ground on his face. 3 And the child returned unto the house of Joseph: and Joseph was grieved and commanded his mother, saying: Let him not forth without the door, for all they die that provoke him to wrath.

XV. 1 And after some time yet another teacher which was a faithful friend of Joseph said to him: Bring the young child unto me to the school, peradventure I may be able by cockering him to teach him the letters. And Joseph said: If thou hast no fear, my brother, take him with thee. And he took him with him, in fear and much trouble of spirit, but the young child followed him gladly. 2 And going with boldness into the school he found a book lying upon the pulpit and he took it, and read not the letters that were therein, but opened his mouth and spake by the Holy Spirit, and taught the law to them that stood by. And a great multitude came together and stood there hearkening, and marveled at the beauty of his teaching and the readiness of his words, in that being an infant he uttered such things. 3 But when Joseph heard it, he was afraid, and ran unto the school thinking whether this teacher also were without skill (or smitten with infirmity): but the teacher said unto Joseph: Know, my brother, that I received this child for a disciple, but he is full of grace and wisdom; and now I beseech thee, brother, take him unto thine house. 4 And when the young child heard that, he smiled upon him and said: Forasmuch as thou hast said well and hast borne right witness, for thy sake shall he also that was smitten be healed. And forthwith the other teacher was healed. And Joseph took the young child and departed unto his house.

XVI. 1 And Joseph sent his son James to bind fuel and carry it into his house. And the young child Jesus also followed him. And as James was gathering of faggots, a viper bit the hand of James. 2 And as he was sore afflicted and ready to perish, Jesus came near and breathed upon the bite, and straightway the pain ceased, and the serpent burst, and forthwith James continued whole.

XVII. 1 And after these things, in the neighborhood of Joseph, a little child fell sick and died, and his mother wept sore. And Jesus heard that there w as great mourning and trouble and he ran quickly and found the child dead: and he touched his breast and said: I say unto thee, Child, die not, but live and be with thy mother. And straightway it looked up and laughed. And he said to the woman: Take him up and give him milk, and remember me. 2 And the multitude that stood by saw it and marveled, and said: Of a truth this young child is either a god or an angel of God; for every word of his is a perfect work. And Jesus departed thence, and was playing with other children.

XVIII. 1 And after some time there was work of building. And there came a great tumult, and Jesus arose and went thither: and he saw a man lying dead, and took hold of his hand and said: Man, I say unto thee, arise and do thy work. And immediately he arose and worshipped him. 2 And when the multitude saw it, they were astonished, and said: This young child is from heaven: for he hath saved many souls from death, and hath power to save them all his life long.

XIX. 1 And when he was twelve years old his parents went according to the custom unto Jerusalem to the feast of the Passover with their company: and after the Passover they returned to go unto their house. And as they returned the child Jesus went back to Jerusalem; but his parents supposed that he was in their company. 2 And when they had gone a day's journey, they sought him among their kinsfolk, and when they found him not, they were troubled, and returned again to the city seeking him. And after the third day they found him in the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors and hearing and asking them questions. And all men paid heed to him and marveled how that being a young child he put to silence the elders and teachers of the people, expounding the heads of the law and the parables of the prophets. 3 And his mother Mary came near and said unto him: Child, wherefore hast thou so done unto us? behold we have sought thee sorrowing. And Jesus said unto them: Why seek ye me? know ye not that I must be in my Father's house? 4 But the scribes and Pharisees said: Art thou the mother of this child? and she said: I am. And they said unto her: Blessed art thou among women because God hath blessed the fruit of thy womb. For such glory and such excellence and wisdom we have neither seen nor heard at any time. 5 And Jesus arose and followed his mother and was subject unto his parents: but his mother kept in mind all that came to pass. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and grace. Unto him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Does this not sound like the same genre as the gospels you know? It is a gospel, "The stories of Thomas the Israelite, the Philosopher, concerning the works of the Childhood of the Lord." from New Testament times, though it was not included in the canon that makes up the New Testament. Is it myth? One would think that even, or especially, the Christians would admit of its mythical nature, despite its twelve-year-old's Jerusalem-trip tie-in with the canonical gospels. It would take a foolhardy Jesus-believer indeed to claim that Jesus would strike a playmate dead and the playmate's parents blind. The realism, with a mischievous kid, and parental complaints, is no less than the canonical gospels' in which people are raised from the dead, water is turned into wine, and demons are cast out of people into pigs. Why do you give your bible more credibility?

> James and John were either fighting to be second and third in heaven,
> or second and third most wanted in the province of Palestine.
What are you trying to say?

> *** Read the gospel account again, Matthew 27 63-66, where the chief
> priest request that the tomb is sealed, and that guards are posted.
> Roman soldiers were trained quite well in holding a square foot of
> hand against an enemy, and could be executed if they failed in their
> duty. I doubt that anyone doing a nightly watch would sleep long
> enough for a group of untrained, bumbling fishermen to steal a body.
> Moreover, the seal on the tomb was also Roman. Break a Roman seal,
> they find you, and you die. It was insanity, pure and simple. There
> is no way that such a body could be stolen.

Your note here is not new, it is simply a rehashing of the same discredited arguments of Josh McDowell, F. F. Bruce, Gary Habermas, and other evangelical "apologists," so an exhaustive rebuttal of Perman's arguments should assure readers of his article that the very best evidence Christians can present for the foundation doctrine of their religion is woefully inadequate to convince rational people that the resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact.

So I will dignify it with a response, but a response which, like the argument, is "borrowed" from : html

<start quote>

The Guard

McDowell argues that the resurrection is the best explanation for the experience of the Roman guard sent by Pontius Pilate. (Pilate allegedly sent a Roman guard to Jesus' tomb.) However, there are good reasons to doubt the alleged fact of the Roman guard. First, McDowell relies heavily upon a literal reading of Matthew as his only source of evidence. This may be an apologetic legend. Second, it is unlikely the Roman soldiers would have gone to the Jewish authorities (as Matthew 28:11-15 reports) instead of the Roman governor, Pilate, to whom they were responsible. The Gospel of Peter (11:43-49) has the guard reporting to Pilate.

Third, Matthew's story about the guard is also unlikely because it states that the guard accepted a bribe from the Jews. However, given what we know about Roman soldiers, this is extremely unlikely. As Mattill (p. 273) writes:

It also seems most unlikely that soldiers could be persuaded by any amount of money to take the risk of death for falling asleep on guard. If they admitted their sleep they were as good as pronouncing their own death sentences. Besides that, if they had fallen asleep, they would not have known that the disciples had stolen the body. Thus it is an insult to the intelligence of the priests to attribute such a proposal to them.

Next, the phrase "to this very day" which appears in Matthew 28:15 suggests that the author was writing many years after the events he was describing. Thus there was sufficient time for the origin and growth of the legend of the guard (Mattill 273).

Finally, and perhaps the most serious objection that can be raised against the guard story is that if the disciples did not grasp the importance of the resurrection predictions, then the Jews, who had much less contact with Jesus, would not have grasped them either (Craig 1984, 277).

Even the conservative William Lane Craig was forced to admit (Ibid., 279) that "there are reasons to doubt the existence of the guard at the tomb." In fairness, I should mention that in that same article Craig gives some strong arguments in defense of the guard story which lead him to conclude that "it seems best to leave it [the guard story] an open question" (Ibid.). However, I think that these four objections have a cumulative nature which are compelling and sufficient grounds for rejecting the guard story.

<end quote>

> May (God/ The Squid/ The Oyster/ The Unicorn/ NOTHING) bless you all.
> -Joy
> PS I didn’t ask for this, until someone directly confronted me, I did
> not even say that Christianity was the right way on the list.

I will requote you "The funny thing is, every Biblical *discrepancy* I've heard of so far can be explained, if one looks though the Biblical world view. I challenge anyone reading this to point out a few, I'll show you what I mean." If that is not "asking for this, then what is?

> I
> figured it would be too intolerable to such a tolerant, open-minded
> bunch of individuals. The statement “This is the bare definition of
> Christianity…” was only to state that the point is not the two
> hundred or so laws, nor the tiny squabbles of doctrine. I could’ve
> made an example of other religions, I happen to be most familiar/
> comfortable working with the truth.

I think you had best explain what you mean by "working with the truth"?

> In addition, when someone said
> “Here’s the basis of Buddhism” there was no problem. If I had said,
> “here’s the primary meme of Squidism or Rabbitology” you wouldn’t
> have violently attacked those. May I then conclude, by your
> behavior, Mister Hermit, that you were forced to sit through one too
> many church services?

Not at all, I am not amenable to being "forced" and as I have been director of a choir I guess that at one time I chose to inflict them on myself. Why assume anything other than an enjoyment of challenges and discussion?

> Perhaps you knew someone who died in a
> religious struggle. If either is true, you have my sympathy.
> Otherwise, quit trying to act like the high-and-mighty, all-
> tolerating oracle that you project yourself to be.

You are quite wrong. I am very tolerant of any behaviour that does not cause harm. The overwhelming evidence created by 1,700 years or so of Christianity is that it is far from harmless, so my toleration for it is a lot lower than my tolerance for example of Buddhism, a religion with which I hqave fundamental dissagreements as I believe life is very good and preferable to the alternate*) which despite it's vastly greater age (founded in the 6th century BCE) has not to my knowledge encouraged its adherents to injure other people due to their beliefs.

> (I still respect
> you, by the way. It’s just that nobody’s ever as tolerant with us as
> with anything else.

THere might be reasons. Have you tried to imagine what they might be?

> I realize that maybe some people who had their
> Christian vaccine and decided to play church may have been jerks.
> However, there are overly zealous factions of every belief system.)

Probably. That is in the nature of people. However christianity, despite being numerically inferior seems to have had vastly more than their fair share of zealots. Perhaps it has something to do with their founder? Or their sanctimonious attitudes? Or even their infuriating assertions of superiority when all of the evidence indicates the reverse. Why, during the one period when the church really ruled Europe do we talk about the "Dark Ages"?
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He [Buddha] came to see the human situation as one which was fundamentally unsatisfactory (Dukkha). He not only meant the obvious bodily aches and pains and emotional sufferings. He also pointed to the very nature of life here on Earth which never leads or can ever lead to everlasting happiness or peace.