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I know that all of you are comfortable pretending that you have deep levels of expertise in textual criticism, but I doubt any of you reads a single ancient language, or has any formal training. I do not have this formal training, nor am I an expert. I am comfortable admitting this.

However, I've also seen many false statements and widely discredited statements, that should not persuade a studied amateur. Instead what is offered is an avalanche of uncritical arguments and sometimes flat out distortions. It doesn't lend credibility to your extimonies when not a single person has done enough amateur investigation to recognize these. 

 

 

Re: stuff in bold - I did say that I'm not an expert in the history of the first century.  I do have a Ph.D. from an Ivy League university in Greek and Latin, publish in international, refereed journals, and have been to seminary.  I regularly present papers at philosophy conferences.  I'm not a big wheel in academia.  I've been trained to value methodology highly and to seek to be as clear as possible on degrees of certainty with which we're entitled to assert things as true.  So far I have not seen you present anything but your opinion and vague appeals to unidentified authorities.  It would be a help, as I asked earlier, if you'd cite some references of work by non-seminary scholars who accept the bulk of the NT as historical, as you claimed in an earlier post that many do.

 

You also need to come clean on whether you're a biblical inerrantist.  If you are, you need to deal with what looks on all counts like historical falsehoods in the NT (I leave out the OT).  For example, the problem that the NT has Jesus born in Bethlehem of Judea, and there's every indication that it was not a settled municipality at the beginning of the first century C.E.  A similar controversy over Nazareth.  These boil down to arguments from the silence of the archeological record;  there are instances of direct contradiction of NT statements by historical sources that have nothing to gain by contradicting them.

 

Adding:  link on Bethlehem of Judea:  http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmaswwjb.htm

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Can I start quoting Lord of the Rings to start proving it now?

I would like you to respond to HA, in your own words: "Hi Ben,   I’m usually hesitant to engage in a thread that’s already 10 pages long, especially when one individual is having to respond to near

You've got to be kidding, Ben!  Did you not develop empathy at some point during your upbringing?  If not, I'll explain it to you:   Empathy is a mental state wherein one can imagine what another be

 

 

I know that all of you are comfortable pretending that you have deep levels of expertise in textual criticism, but I doubt any of you reads a single ancient language, or has any formal training. I do not have this formal training, nor am I an expert. I am comfortable admitting this.

However, I've also seen many false statements and widely discredited statements, that should not persuade a studied amateur. Instead what is offered is an avalanche of uncritical arguments and sometimes flat out distortions. It doesn't lend credibility to your extimonies when not a single person has done enough amateur investigation to recognize these.

Re: stuff in bold - I did say that I'm not an expert in the history of the first century.  I do have a Ph.D. from an Ivy League university in Greek and Latin, publish in international, refereed journals, and have been to seminary.  I regularly present papers at philosophy conferences.  I'm not a big wheel in academia.  I've been trained to value methodology highly and to seek to be as clear as possible on degrees of certainty with which we're entitled to assert things as true.  So far I have not seen you present anything but your opinion and vague appeals to unidentified authorities.  It would be a help, as I asked earlier, if you'd cite some references of work by non-seminary scholars who accept the bulk of the NT as historical, as you claimed in an earlier post that many do.

 

I would like to add that one doesn't have to be an expert of ancient languages to scrutinize a text.

The texts are now, and have been for a long time, in English, translated by "experts", and then pumped out as Bibles.

Apologists and theologians with alpha-bit soup credentials after their name are not substitutes for an objective evaluation.

His statement was sweeping by declaring that "not a single person" has done enough investigation to properly criticize Christian claims.

This site is filled with people that have spent years investigating these issues.

 

You also need to come clean on whether you're a biblical inerrantist.

Nicely put and to the point.

It's time for the rubber to meet the road.

The answer should clarify things to a much greater degree.

 

If you are, you need to deal with what looks on all counts like historical falsehoods in the NT (I leave out the OT).  For example, the problem that the NT has Jesus born in Bethlehem of Judea, and there's every indication that it was not a settled municipality at the beginning of the first century C.E.  A similar controversy over Nazareth.  These boil down to arguments from the silence of the archeological record;  there are instances of direct contradiction of NT statements by historical sources that have nothing to gain by contradicting them.

The problems between the Old Testament and New Testament were virtually ignored in the other thread, but that one was locked so perhaps that was the reason.
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I don't understand why you are concerned if you hurt people. I can understand not breaking the law to avoid incarceration, and I can understand avoiding harm to people when there is a possibility of payback, but what apologetic can you offer against harming others when it is in your interest?

 

WendyDoh.gif You've got to be kidding, Ben!  Did you not develop empathy at some point during your upbringing?  If not, I'll explain it to you:

 

Empathy is a mental state wherein one can imagine what another being is feeling, and identify with it.  In other words, if you know what it's like to fall on the sidewalk and hurt your knee, when you see someone else fall you can imagine what they felt and wince because you know what it's like to feel that pain.

 

Similarly, I don't rob people's homes because I don't like the idea of My own home being robbed.  I don't go around hitting people because I know what it's like to be hit, and I don't like it.  I don't break the promises I make, because I've been disappointed when someone else went back on their word.  Their pain is Mine, and vice versa.  Now do you understand?

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I am an expert in textual criticism, when it comes to Biblical texts.

 

I didn't need to go to school to learn about them; I lived them. They were a part of my life, and while the scholars debated the veracity of translations, and the meaning of "The Original Greek (which could also mean...)", original manuscripts, etc; I knew that I had the Spirit of God and He would lead me into all truth concerning this Living Word of God that God had put within me. I was not diverted from my faith by endless genealogies or oppositions of science, falsely so called.

 

Then I became an  an ex-Christian.   barnacleben claims to have first hand knowledge of this too., and I would love to hear that story.

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I don't understand why you are concerned if you hurt people. I can understand not breaking the law to avoid incarceration, and I can understand avoiding harm to people when there is a possibility of payback, but what apologetic can you offer against harming others when it is in your interest?

 

WendyDoh.gif You've got to be kidding, Ben!  Did you not develop empathy at some point during your upbringing?  If not, I'll explain it to you:

 

Empathy is a mental state wherein one can imagine what another being is feeling, and identify with it.  In other words, if you know what it's like to fall on the sidewalk and hurt your knee, when you see someone else fall you can imagine what they felt and wince because you know what it's like to feel that pain.

 

Similarly, I don't rob people's homes because I don't like the idea of My own home being robbed.  I don't go around hitting people because I know what it's like to be hit, and I don't like it.  I don't break the promises I make, because I've been disappointed when someone else went back on their word.  Their pain is Mine, and vice versa.  Now do you understand?

 

 

Maybe he doesn't understand because he doesn't experience empathy (though I certainly hope he does). I certainly hope that barnacleben chooses not to harm others because he genuinely doesn't want to hurt others, instead of not hurting others because of a fear of wrath from some god in the afterlife.

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I don't understand why you are concerned if you hurt people. I can understand not breaking the law to avoid incarceration, and I can understand avoiding harm to people when there is a possibility of payback, but what apologetic can you offer against harming others when it is in your interest?

so without the law and god you would run around and shoot people to steal their things?  Or rape women? Wendytwitch.gif

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I don't understand why you are concerned if you hurt people. I can understand not breaking the law to avoid incarceration, and I can understand avoiding harm to people when there is a possibility of payback, but what apologetic can you offer against harming others when it is in your interest?

so without the law and god you would run around and shoot people to steal their things?  Or rape women? Wendytwitch.gif

 

 

He could probably shoot people, steal their things, and rape women and justify it with "the law".

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I don't understand why you are concerned if you hurt people. I can understand not breaking the law to avoid incarceration, and I can understand avoiding harm to people when there is a possibility of payback, but what apologetic can you offer against harming others when it is in your interest?

so without the law and god you would run around and shoot people to steal their things?  Or rape women? Wendytwitch.gif

 

 

He could probably shoot people, steal their things, and rape women and justify it with "the law".

 

bible law-yes. (god approves nice plunder and rape.) I think he was talking about the real law and that we just avoid crime because we don't want to end up in jail or get stabbed by relatives of the victim.

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 Yes, Bhim. of course I know he is using Dahmer as an illustration of pure evil.

 

 

 

What annoys me is that he doesn't seem to comprehend the injustice of the damn fictional atonement.

 

Anyway, I would like to get Ben down to the real world and that isn't going to happen.

 

 

Ah, I see.  Apologies, then, if I appeared to be patronizing you.  I will give Ben this: a lot of Americans don't know the Bible very well.  As a Christian I used to lament this.  Now I feel it's not such a big deal, since I feel that people should spend more time understanding their own religions (if they have any) and less on meaningless interfaith dialogs with evangelicals.  I suppose it's a bad habit of mine, though, to always default to an assumption that the person I'm talking to knows nothing about Christianity.

 

Yes, I absolutely agree that the redemption found in Christ is in fact a gross injustice.  In principle I don't have a problem with the idea that Jeffrey Dahmer could be "redeemed" by God from his sins.  But I believe that a.) finite sin does not merit eternal punishment and that receiving fairness from God instead of mercy doesn't necessitate eternall hell and b.) divine reward (if it exists) is based on actions more than beliefs.  If Jeffrey Dahmer had dedicated the rest of his life in prison to doing good deeds rather than simply professing faith in Jesus, perhaps I could see this as mitigating his prior evils.  But the idea that he can be saved from any divine retribution by simple belief in Jesus is, frankly, revolting.

 

The basis for Christian forgiveness is that we should forgive others since their transgressions against us will either be punished in eternal hell, or lain on the crucified Christ.  This is as absurd as saying I should forgive a person for punching me in the face because Jesus will either send said person to eternal hell, or God will punch Jesus in the face as vengeance on my behalf.  Neither option is preferable to me!

 

Bhim, I didn't feel like you were patronizing me, I just feel that, as usual, I did not make myself clear.  Its absolutely true that most people don't know the Bible very well. I would say that many of us ex-christians are the exception, though.

 

Anyway, yes, you do understand what i was getting at - that a sort of deathbed confession deal like Dahmer did, is rather revolting.

The whole idea of the Christian god being a just and "righteous" god is completely crazy.

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The repeated references to Jeffrey Dahmer indicates to me that barnacleben is trying to provoke responses (just like a troll - hmmmmmm).

For me, the troll flags were flying from day one. Some people are still engaging with him. Whatever.

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The repeated references to Jeffrey Dahmer indicates to me that barnacleben is trying to provoke responses (just like a troll - hmmmmmm).

For me, the troll flags were flying from day one. Some people are still engaging with him. Whatever.

 

 

I don't understand why a troll would put so much time into posting though just to irritate people. Then again I'm extremely lazy.

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I'd like to see answers to the questions I posed.

your not going to get them

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I'd like to see answers to the questions I posed.

Same here. At the very least, I'd like him to at least confirm that he read my post. Though again, I do recognize he's got a lot of posts to respond to.

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The repeated references to Jeffrey Dahmer indicates to me that barnacleben is trying to provoke responses (just like a troll - hmmmmmm).

For me, the troll flags were flying from day one. Some people are still engaging with him. Whatever.

 

 

 

Well you have my full support to do whatever you need to do to protect us from trolls.

 

I don't engage fundamentalist to change their thinking.  That is impossible.  I engage them to encourage any ex-Christian observer who is struggling with the lies made by fundamentalists.

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I'd say give him more time and see what happens.

 

Maybe we could just not add any more points or post any more questions until he answers the ones already hanging in the wind. If he starts another thread, only respond in order to re-direct him back to this one to tie up loose ends.

 

If he never comes back, the thread will just sink anyway and soon be gone into the bowels of Ec-C and that will be the end of it.

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And it's completely mathematically illiterate. (The inverse square thing is an approximation. Here's the more complete version.) And it's also circular reasoning: "Mathematics works because mathematics works. Also God." These conclusions don't follow. However, I do see what he's driving at, mainly that God created everything just so. That's the old Texas Sharpshooter fallacy. We are here, therefore it must be just so. Nope. The only way we can observe it is if we're here. It's like firing a wild shot at the side of a barn, and drawing a bullseye around the bullet hole. Perfect shot. Of course. Absolute tosh.

Its more like firing a bullet into a sandstorm so that it falls to rest on the point of a pin being held by a blind man with the shakes. But linking to a wiki on general relativity doesn't show a failure of the inverse square of gravity. All applied mathematics are approximate. Newtonian physics aren't false just because they don't work for extreme masses.

 

If you really believe that, and have a decent working knowledge of the natural world, the only reasonable conclusion is that God's incompetent at best, or actually EVIL. So, why bother worshipping? Have some examples, on the house. Smallpox. What killed it off for good? It wasn't God. It was science. Why doesn't the Bible, provided by an all-knowing and benevolent God, have stuff like instructions for vaccination in it? That would have been nice. Also, Guinea Worms. Various horrible parasites. Various fun natural instincts. Like obligate siblicide. Oooh - intrauterine cannibalism. No joke. Rabbits are pretty notorious for flipping out and eating their own young.

If you are trying to persuade me that God is evil, you aren't trying very hard. I also eat sharks, and I've no cause to believe that eating them is evil. When humans kill their babies, it is evil because they are attacking the image of God. When bunnies eat their young, it is simply a reasonable way for a rapidly breeding prey animal to conserve energy under stress.

No bunny lives with guilt over eating their young, and no woman forced to eat her dead baby while starving under siege ever escapes it.

 

Oh, and don't give me any of that "it was the fall" nonsense, either. God is supposedly omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent, oh, and "just" whatever that means. So, it was, by definition a set-up. He foresaw it (omnipotent and all). These characteristics just don't go together, given what we observe of the natural world. So, you can have omnipotent, and omniscient, but not benevolent. Or benevolent, but totally powerless. God's either evil, or not God. This thing you believe in simply doesn't exist.
Clearly, death was in the world before the fall. God created prey for the predators, he gives them their food. God also created predators for the prey. (prey usually goes rapidly extinct without predation). Genesis 3 makes it clear that Adam would not die only through access to the fruit of the tree of life. Pain and toil existed before the fall, but increased as a result of it. Animal death isn't evil.
 
But we can see the justice of the creation, because it is destroying us, all of us, without exception. There is God's hand laying waste to us, ravaging us who bear his image with pain, decrepitude, and disease. We try to maximize our pleasure with exercise regimens and diets, pumping ourselves with vitamins and medicine, pretending that the inevitable isn't happening, pretending that if our life is full of pleasures then we'll be pleased to relinquish it in the end. But in truth, the end that comes in the whimpering crush of age is no less tragic than the latest starlet cut off in his prime. We are no more eager to give it up, even as family surrounds us and reassures themselves by reminding us of our good fortune, as if checking off ticks on a bucket list made dying happy.
 
As Jean Cocteau put it in Opium: Diary of a cure, "Everything one does in life, even love, occurs in an express train hurtling toward death." Could you do better than him? To bide your time in a fog of pleasures until the end comes.
 
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.(Rom1)
 
And by our very nature, we hate this God of wrath, this God who is justly destroying us, this God who claims the lives of our parents, children, husbands, wives, and ourselves. We refuse to believe we deserve it. We ridicule his claims of mercy, abounding love, and slow anger, even as he is patient with us.
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Clearly, death was in the world before the fall. God created prey for the predators, he gives them their food. God also created predators for the prey. (prey usually goes rapidly extinct without predation). Genesis 3 makes it clear that Adam would not die only through access to the fruit of the tree of life. Pain and toil existed before the fall, but increased as a result of it. Animal death isn't evil.

 

Wow, your god sounds like a sadistic prick. He creates a system in which animals need to tear each other to pieces to survive. Why the hell would I want to believe in or worship such a monster?

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And it's completely mathematically illiterate. (The inverse square thing is an approximation. Here's the more complete version.) And it's also circular reasoning: "Mathematics works because mathematics works. Also God." These conclusions don't follow. However, I do see what he's driving at, mainly that God created everything just so. That's the old Texas Sharpshooter fallacy. We are here, therefore it must be just so. Nope. The only way we can observe it is if we're here. It's like firing a wild shot at the side of a barn, and drawing a bullseye around the bullet hole. Perfect shot. Of course. Absolute tosh.

Its more like firing a bullet into a sandstorm so that it falls to rest on the point of a pin being held by a blind man with the shakes. But linking to a wiki on general relativity doesn't show a failure of the inverse square of gravity. All applied mathematics are approximate. Newtonian physics aren't false just because they don't work for extreme masses.

 

If you really believe that, and have a decent working knowledge of the natural world, the only reasonable conclusion is that God's incompetent at best, or actually EVIL. So, why bother worshipping? Have some examples, on the house. Smallpox. What killed it off for good? It wasn't God. It was science. Why doesn't the Bible, provided by an all-knowing and benevolent God, have stuff like instructions for vaccination in it? That would have been nice. Also, Guinea Worms. Various horrible parasites. Various fun natural instincts. Like obligate siblicide. Oooh - intrauterine cannibalism. No joke. Rabbits are pretty notorious for flipping out and eating their own young.

If you are trying to persuade me that God is evil, you aren't trying very hard. I also eat sharks, and I've no cause to believe that eating them is evil. When humans kill their babies, it is evil because they are attacking the image of God. When bunnies eat their young, it is simply a reasonable way for a rapidly breeding prey animal to conserve energy under stress.

No bunny lives with guilt over eating their young, and no woman forced to eat her dead baby while starving under siege ever escapes it.

 

Oh, and don't give me any of that "it was the fall" nonsense, either. God is supposedly omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent, oh, and "just" whatever that means. So, it was, by definition a set-up. He foresaw it (omnipotent and all). These characteristics just don't go together, given what we observe of the natural world. So, you can have omnipotent, and omniscient, but not benevolent. Or benevolent, but totally powerless. God's either evil, or not God. This thing you believe in simply doesn't exist.
Clearly, death was in the world before the fall. God created prey for the predators, he gives them their food. God also created predators for the prey. (prey usually goes rapidly extinct without predation). Genesis 3 makes it clear that Adam would not die only through access to the fruit of the tree of life. Pain and toil existed before the fall, but increased as a result of it. Animal death isn't evil.
 
But we can see the justice of the creation, because it is destroying us, all of us, without exception. There is God's hand laying waste to us, ravaging us who bear his image with pain, decrepitude, and disease. We try to maximize our pleasure with exercise regimens and diets, pumping ourselves with vitamins and medicine, pretending that the inevitable isn't happening, pretending that if our life is full of pleasures then we'll be pleased to relinquish it in the end. But in truth, the end that comes in the whimpering crush of age is no less tragic than the latest starlet cut off in his prime. We are no more eager to give it up, even as family surrounds us and reassures themselves by reminding us of our good fortune, as if checking off ticks on a bucket list made dying happy.
 
As Jean Cocteau put it in Opium: Diary of a cure, "Everything one does in life, even love, occurs in an express train hurtling toward death." Could you do better than him? To bide your time in a fog of pleasures until the end comes.
 
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.(Rom1)
 
And by our very nature, we hate this God of wrath, this God who is justly destroying us, this God who claims the lives of our parents, children, husbands, wives, and ourselves. We refuse to believe we deserve it. We ridicule his claims of mercy, abounding love, and slow anger, even as he is patient with us.

 

 

 

.... Seriously ... no wonder I love animals when there are pieces of shit that believe things like this in the world! 

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Its more like firing a bullet into a sandstorm so that it falls to rest on the point of a pin being held by a blind man with the shakes. But linking to a wiki on general relativity doesn't show a failure of the inverse square of gravity. All applied mathematics are approximate. Newtonian physics aren't false just because they don't work for extreme masses.

 

Hi Ben, here's another reminder about my post in the other thread that I hope you will read (particularly the part about miracles performed by those whose teachings contradict the words of Jesus):

 

http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/57632-what-is-the-gospel/page-10#entry878215

 

As to this business about the inverse square law, I think this is a line of reasoning that will ultimately lead us nowhere.  No one thinks Newtonian mechanics is false (except certain classes of creationists who dispute heliocentrism and the shape of the earth).  As was stated, it was an approximation.  There are things that it doesn't explain, such as the precession of the orbit of Mercury, gravitational lensing, and a couple other effects I could mention.  If you continue arguing this, you're going to waste a lot of time since you haven't proved the assertion "the number is 2.0 rather than 2.0....., therefore God exists."  I believe that God exists, and even I don't believe your statement on purely logical grounds!  Honestly I'm surprised that you don't exploit the elegance of general relativity to demonstrates that God exists.  Some Christians do indeed believe this.  I went to graduate school with a rare evangelical Christian who was also a good scientist.  He thought that GR was a demonstration of God's creative power.

 

And really this goes to show the problem with using science to prove the existence of God.  I've never been one to think that science and faith are at odds (I do believe that science is specifically at odds with Christianity since it shows that the Bible makes patently false truth claims).  But you believe the inverse square law proves that God exists, and my old colleague thought that the generalization of this law proves the existence of God.  At some point I have to ask: what doesn't prove that God exists?

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If you are trying to persuade me that God is evil, you aren't trying very hard.

 

 

There is no amount of effort that can persuade the willfully ignorant.

 

 

 

When humans kill their babies, it is evil because they are attacking the image of God. 

 

What the fuck?!?!    So if there is no God (and thus no image of God) then you are perfectly fine with killing human babies?  Death to babies if there is no God?

 

Behold the dangers of self delusion!

 

 

 
 
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.(Rom1)
 
And by our very nature, we hate this God of wrath, this God who is justly destroying us, this God who claims the lives of our parents, children, husbands, wives, and ourselves. We refuse to believe we deserve it. We ridicule his claims of mercy, abounding love, and slow anger, even as he is patient with us.
 
What God?  You can produce no God.  You can produce no evidence of God.  Paul was dead wrong.  There is no wrath being revealed from heaven.  Christianity suppresses the truth.  Nothing spiritual is plain which is why religious leaders have to come up with lame excuses.  God has shown nothing.  Invisible things CANNOT be perceived.  The Bible verse you quote is a lie.  And it is child's play to use the Old Testament to prove that in the FICTION God did not show mercy, have love, was quick to anger and at times was quite impatient.
 
 
 
 

 

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And by our very nature, we hate this God of wrath, this God who is justly destroying us, this God who claims the lives of our parents, children, husbands, wives, and ourselves. We refuse to believe we deserve it. We ridicule his claims of mercy, abounding love, and slow anger, even as he is patient with us.

 

The claim of "mercy, abounding love and slow anger" is bogus, Ben.  There is no evidence for your god, and you too are destined for the oblivion of death no matter how hard you pray.

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Ben,

 

Still waiting for references to publications by ancient historians et al. who accept the basic historical accuracy of the NT and are not evangelicals or employed by seminaries.  You suggested the generality of such scholars accept the NT as historically reliable - we are entitled to ask for citations.

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