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oddbird1963 last won the day on December 17 2010

oddbird1963 had the most liked content!

About oddbird1963

  • Birthday 12/25/1963

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    I'm always too broke to have interests. I guess you could say reading. And trying to take over the world.
  • More About Me
    I had been a Christian for 30 years. I finally had it with the constant dial tone from above, conflicts with the facts of science, and the absence of a real "God-factor" from the people of the church. Tired of an institution that can be fully described by sociology, psychology and economics - - - nothing truly supernatural.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    none that return my calls

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  1. When we speak about historical events we can only deal in degrees of probability anyway. Given this, I don’t think I mischaracterized your position at all. You’re moving from possibility to probability and back again. This is exactly the purpose of historical methodologies, to distinguish between the possible and probable. We don’t think Paul told the truth 100% of the time, but few writing in antiquity did. However, there is no reason to seriously doubt the ordinary claims that Paul makes to the point where we cannot reach any conclusions about those claims. We would need competing claims for comparison to discount his. Thus far we have none, other than what the writer of Acts recorded and his claims are quite easily impeached in favor of Paul’s. I’m not convinced you are enough of an authority on either ancient pseudepigrapha or historical methodology to be able to evaluate the quality of a preeminent New Testament scholar’s work on either subject, but you’re certainly entitled to your opinion. That’s not how history (especially ancient history) is done and what weight I give it doesn’t really matter. I’m not a scholar who’s currently active in the field. This is a debate for professional historians. Are you a professional historian or are you just some guy who’s read Earl Doherty’s blog? It depends on the methodology used. Regardless, most professional historians (and by most I mean the vast, overwhelming majority) accept the historicity of Jesus as a given. This may very well prove true if the mythicists can get their shit together and put forward a cogent and comprehensive competing theory that doesn’t rely on unsupported suppositions, assumed interpolations and strained readings of the text. I haven’t seen one yet. As I said before, I’m hopeful Carrier can present one. How do you determine this? What criteria do you use to make the determination that these two things are “just as likely?” I don’t even understand your questions. “What portions?” They are historical documents. They contain information about people, places and events. It is the job of the historian to evaluate that information and determine what conclusions if any can be drawn from them. I don't see why I should take a stab at answering your question "What criteria do you use . . . ? " when you won't even take a stab at answering mine.
  2. 2,000 years ago, someone asked; "What is truth?". Do you have an answer? Hmmm. You know, if I don't have an answer, that still doesn't mean a story from 2000 years ago designed to scare people into falling into lock step with a dogma publishing religious group is "truth." But my off the cuff answer to that question is that truth is what is real. The best starting point to assess what is real is usually some form of rational or scientific inquiry. But, like all anarthrous, conceptual questions, there are endless shades of qualifications, clarifications, exceptions and follow-up needed. There is no "answer" to such questions as "What is truth." "Jesus is the answer" is definitely no answer to the question. I tell you what. Make a truth claim. If I agree with you, I will tell you. If I do not, I will tell you what I think is true. But such a question as you posed is in no way profound or off-putting.
  3. While your explanation for why Paul inserted the reference is certainly possible, what evidence is there to support it? “Other people made stuff up in their writings therefore Paul is making this up” isn’t a valid argument. The evidence is that he wrote a first-hand account about it. As historical evidence goes, that’s pretty good. It’s not an extraordinary claim for a first-century writer to say that he traveled from Damascus to Jerusalem and met with a few cult leaders. As you note Ehrman doesn’t count Galatians among the books whose authorship is in question. It’s odd that you would cite him as he is a staunch defender of the historicity of Jesus. It does bolster the notion of historicity. Does it prove beyond doubt that Jesus existed? Hardly, but it does bolster the notion of historicity. The New Testament contains historical documents, like it or not. Additionally Josephus may provide at least one external source even if we throw out the entire TF, which most scholars do not. Before we start talking past each other, what “Jesus” do you think historians are referring to? As I said in another thread: The RCC's explanation is clearly ad hoc and was necessary to support the tradition of the perpetual virgnity of Mary, which came along much later. H.A. - I believe you're not characterizing my position properly. Perhaps I didn't communicate it effectively. I don't think the argument is “Other people made stuff up in their writings therefore Paul is making this up,” but "Other people made stuff up therefore it is is probable that Paul is making things up to." Maybe Paul didn't make everything up. Maybe he made up just the things he needed to bolster his own credibility. But since we know (from books like "Forged") that making things up as a holy endeavor for a greater purpose was common, we have to include such a possibility in our assessments of what Paul said. Paul may have written Galatians, but why do we think he told the truth 100% of the time? As far as citing Ehrman, his work on the historicity of Jesus has been shown to be a shoddy, unscholarly piece of work. However, that does not mean all his works are shoddy. How much do you think it bolsters the historicity of Jesus? 1%, 20% , 90%? What weight do you give this reference in Galatians in contributing toward an assessment that Jesus was a historical person? I think the historical Jesus historians refer to depends on the individual historian. My position is the whole question of a historical Jesus is lost to us in the fog of history. It is just as likely the Jesus in the Bible is fashioned together from various legends with no single real person behind him as it is that there was an actual guy named Jesus from whom the Bible stories developed. What portions of the New Testament would you characterize as historical documents? What factors qualify them as such? By historical, do you mean that the information contained in these documents is accurate and helpful at determining what actually happened in the first century? Or do you mean merely that the documents are important in the develpment of culture, religion and civilisation throughout history?
  4. I can't imagine being married in a church, but I won't rule it out entirely.. I would definitely not allow religious elements in the ceremony. No god-talk, no Adam and Even, no "Sacred Union," or "Two people becoming one flesh" kind of talk. Actually, I can't imagine getting married again. If women aren't actually a form of property any more, then what the hell is marriage for? Men and woman are of equal status (philosophically anyway) and capable of negotiating the terms of their relationship with one another at different junctures in time. Women are capable of working, earning a living, purchasing property and contributing to their own retirement. I mean, I understand the psycological need for a sense of permanence, but I'm not sure why marriage exists any more other than religion still exists and some need to manage how property will be distributed upon death. Can someone enligthen me?
  5. Why do you do it? 1) You're developing into a crotchity old man prematurely? 2) You love to feel the freedom of viewing the wierdness of religion as an outsider? 3) For the same reason you will pick at a sore in your mouth with your tongue? I'm out of ideas.
  6. The best way to deal with Christianity is to speak truth to lies, reality to delusion and present examples, as a secularist (or other type of theist) that living life without a 2,000 year old bedtime story as your rule book will not result in apocalyptic chaos.
  7. But is Paul , who wrote Galatians, a reliable source?* People engaged in name dropping all the time in the New Testament era to boost their perceived credibility. I reccomend Bart Ehrman's book Forged, if you haven't read it already. All Paul's reference means is that there was a popular story about Jesus and his relations that people bought into. In an effort to bolster his authority as an Aposlte, the author of Galatians compared and contrasted himself to the characters in these stories, inserting himself into the narrative. What is the evidence that Paul actually engaged in such conversations and controversies personally in real space and time? What is the evidence that Paul was "ministerially speaking (making things up for a perceived greater purpose)?" All the references in the scriptures indicate is that there is a story that claims that James is the brother of Jesus within a larger story contained in the Bible. That doesn't really bolster any notion of historicity. What is needed to support the historicity of Jesus is reliable sources external to the collection of writings known as the "Bible." And we just don't have those. *I'm not saying Paul didn't write Galatians. I'm just saying that a mention of another person in a narrative is not in itself evidence of anything since there were practices that believers in the early era of the New Testament formation engaged in that were less than reality based.
  8. Great letter! Very well written. Honest, sincere, and thorough. I think those three pastors started to read it, had all their long-suppressed and repressed fears and doubts awakened and quickly shoved it to the bottom of their "in" box or just threw the letter away. The honesty and realism of your words is potent stuff. Those pastors probably quickly became busy dong "ministry work" in an effort to quiet the cognitive dissonance and re-suppress and re-repress their smoldering fears and doubts.
  9. I think rule number one in Ex-Christian life is "Don't beat yourself up!" Just move forward. Those compulsive, anxiety driven prayers will become less and less frequent. Just learn what you can from the experience and move on.
  10. I don't know of any churches that emphasize moral reasoning - they just give up that brain work for "The bible says . . ." And if you raise cases that challenge the "biblical" view, they you run the risk of being accused of "situational ethics" or "relativism." Church and bible morals are passive acceptance of what ancient aggressive patriarchal priests once enforced and what current, conservative society has twisted it into. I think any family that takes the time to have discussions of moral issues with their kids will see their kids grow up with a great moral compass. If a parent encourages and affirms empathy and helps their kids think through the more or less long term consequences of their behaviour the lacking a moral compass shouldn't be a problem. And church won't magically make kids moral. I'm glad you're here on the ex-c forums. And keep sharing your experiences!
  11. Apologists try to assert that Luke, being a physician, would have been so careful and so analytical and so skeptical that what he discovers about the life of Jesu from his sourches must be true and reliable. That's a whole lot of assumptions to make, especially since we have no way to confirm Luke's methodology, character, aptitude and sanity. Being a 1st century citizen of the Roman empire, he could only be as reliable a historian as the historians of the day. But really, he was just a repeater of tales that he chose to repeat. I don't have the sources with me, but I believe his historical accuracy, though emphansized and praised by the apologists, leaves a lot to be desired. Somone else will have to confirm or refute that statement , though.
  12. Just resign yourself to getting up early or staying up late. And try to get enough sleep whenever you can. As soon as it becomes part of your routine, your on your way.
  13. Yee-haw!! You go girl! It's PR time! Have a lot of fun! I'm training for a half-marathon in December. I'm not fast by any means, but I love the way running makes me feel. Just go out there and enjoy being alive and doing what we are uniquely evolved to do!
  14. I wrote the Bible. I was having a bad day. I'm still waiting for the royalties. If women wrote the Bible, there might be a bit more empathy in it, but the premise that a god exists and you must accept that on faith is still a false premise that insists on a bad practice, so nothing good can come from it.
  15. Might I assert that it is not selfish (in the bad connotation of selfish) to want people to understand you and where you are coming from? While some people may be here just for what they can get out of it without regard to other people, most people are in a community like this in order to both understand and be understood. It's part of being human and it is ok.
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