mardi 23 décembre 2014

Refuting Sceptics Annotated Bible : Acts 9 (v.26 with "contrary passage")

1) Refuting Sceptics Annotated on Conversion of St Paul (Acts 9:7 with "contradicting passages") ; 2) Refuting Sceptics Annotated Bible : Acts 9 (v.26 with "contrary passage")

Again Sceptics Annotated looks for and thinks to find a contradition or two that isn't there.

Sceptics Annotated : Did Paul go to Jerusalem from Damascus immediately after his conversion?

And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. Acts 9:26*To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Galatians 1:16-17

Sceptics Annotated : Did Paul visit all of the disciples when he went to Jerusalem after his conversion?

Yes.No, only Peter and James.
And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. Acts 9:26-28Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. Galatians 1:18-19

Both difficulties have their resolutions given in Haydock comment in Acts 9.

Ver. 23. When many days were passed. By the account St. Paul gives of himself, (Galatians chap. i.) soon after his conversion he went into Arabia, and about three years after he might come to Damascus. Then it seems to have happened that they were for killing him, for becoming a Christian; and the brethren saved his life, by conveying him down the walls of the town in a basket. After this, he went to Jerusalem, where the disciples knew little of him, and were afraid of him, till St. Barnabas introduced him to the apostles, and gave an account of his conversion. (Witham) --- Many days. That is, three years. For Saul went for a time from Damascus to Arabia. (Galatians i. 17. and 18.) It was on his return from thence, that the Jews conspired against his life, as is here related. (Tirinus)

In other words, the voyage to Jerusalem was right after his second stay in Damascus, not right after the first one right after conversion; and while Acts 9 might give the impression there was only one, it doesn't specifically say so.

Ver. 27. Brought him to the apostles Peter and James. See Galatians i. 18. and 19.

St Luke in Acts 9 doesn't say which Apostles and doesn't specify all of them. Why did he not use "some apostles"? Because Sts Peter and James-the-brother-of-Christ were in a sense THE Apostles, St Peter the chief Apostle of the 12 and the head of the Church Universal, St James chief of the 70 (or those of them who were not of the 12), and preparing to become first Bishop of Jerusalem./HGL

* As in previous, I exchange the link to their Acts 9 comment to a link to the Haydock - and same for Galatians.

vendredi 19 décembre 2014

Refuting Sceptics Annotated on Conversion of St Paul (Acts 9:7 with "contradicting passages")

1) Refuting Sceptics Annotated on Conversion of St Paul (Acts 9:7 with "contradicting passages") ; 2) Refuting Sceptics Annotated Bible : Acts 9 (v.26 with "contrary passage")

Changing Bible references to links to chapters in Haydock, but otherwise citing and linking to Sceptics annotated:

Did the men with Paul hear the voice?

Yes, they heard the voice.No, they didn't hear the voice.
And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. Acts 9:7And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. Acts 22:9

9 : Ver. 7. [...] Hearing, &c. This may be reconciled with what is said in the 22nd chapter by supposing they heard only St. Paul speak, or heard only a confused noise, which they could not understand. (Calmet)

22 : Ver. 9. Heard not the voice. To reconcile this with chap. ix. ver. 7. where it is said that they heard the voice; it may be answered that they heard a noise, and a voice, but heard it not distinctly, nor so as to understand the words. (Witham) --- They heard not the voice of him who spoke to the apostle, but they heard the latter speak; (Acts ix. 7.) or perhaps they heard a noise, which they could not understand. They perhaps heard the voice of Paul answering, but not that of Christ complaining.

Were the men with Paul knocked to the ground?

Yes, they fell to the ground.No, they remained standing.
And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Acts 26:14 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. Acts 9:7

Here the comment to chapter nine gives nothing and the one to 26 only tells us why St Paul specifies "in the Hebrew tongue":

26 : Ver. 14. It is generally supposed that St. Paul addresses king Agrippa in the Greek language, which was the common tongue of a great part of the East. (Bible de Vence)

So, I'll take my stand on my own here.

All fell down. Christ told Saul to rise. The men rose too. And standing up after having fallen down they stood - speechless.

Sorry, probably wrong. Probably they stood up after the shock and saw the light but no man.

Another possibility is that while falling down he thinks the other fell down too, while they didn't, as St Luke will get to know.

On the what they heard question, here is my solution:

  • 1) Before this happens, Saul and the rest are infidel Jews of the Synagogue, bent on persecuting the true Church, the true Qahal : none of them was in a state of grace.

  • 2) While it happens, when all fall down, the future St Paul is treated better than them, since they will later convert after his example, like when seeing his explanation for it worked by Ananias curing his blindness.

    • a) Saul - on his way to becoming St Paul sees the blinding light and so do the others but when looking they see no one - not any more than Saul.
    • b) The others hear the voice as a sound of a human speeking, but do not hear the actual speech, while St Paul on the other hand does.

  • 3) St Paul after they rise and is blind ask the others if they saw and heard it. They are still not Christians, they are not in a state of grace, they want to say sth like "we heard the voice but not the words" but are so shocked they only say "we heard no voice".

    Of course they have time to speak before reaching Damascus.

    Or perhaps they even tried to deny hearing the voice for therapeutical purposes.

  • 4) He converts and they convert when they see him healed from blindness.

  • 5) When he speaks the speech in Acts 22, he tells the story he recalls them as having told him.

    He was human, he was not immune to being fooled into an error on non-essentials. In Acts 22 he speaks as a man and not as an inspired Holy Writer. But St Luke takes his exact words down as an inspired Holy Writer.

  • 6) St Luke has completed part of Acts, gets to Holy Land, does research for Gospel and completes it before completeing Acts.

  • 7) While there the men with him - by now good Christians and in the state of grace, no longer shellshocked, tell him the story (which St Paul perhaps never heard on earth) and he writes Acts 9.

  • 8) St Luke completes Acts after completing the Gospel (see prologue of Acts where he refers to Gospel as already compelted). And of course he put chapter 22, though written earlier, after chapter 9, though written later. Because the events told are in the order Acts 9 before Acts 22.

As Kent Hovind - a good inerrantist, like the Catholic Calmet above cited and like the other commenters in Haydock - once said : "when someone is speaking, pay attention to WHO is saying it!"

There is a passage which if not taken so would indeed contradict all the rest. Someone says - in his heart even - "there is no God". Look up who that is before you come saying this is a contradiction in the Bible, please!

Now, I will have to tell you how I came across this particular problem. Arnaud Dumouch* is unlike me a Frenchman. Like me he is a Catholic - as far as historic confessions go - but unlike me he accepts "Pope Francis" and he is NOT an inerrantist. He also is a radio man, on Radio Maria France.

He actually gave the supposed "contradiction" as a proof that while Scripture is indeed inerrant on DOCTRINE it is somehow not so on history. While doing the research for answering him, I came across the idea of asking him whether he got this supposed contradiction from Sceptics Annotated Bible - it was SO their usual approach. But I haven't done so yet, I googled it and came across the appropriate passage with the two questions in the margin. Btw, while we are at "where did you get it from" I wonder how much THEY took from Sic et Non by poor Pierre Abailard.**

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Timothy Deacon
Martyr in Mauritania

* Répliques Assorties : Arnaud Dumouch II - Inerrance Biblique

** Hint: if a contradiction or supposed such is in Sic et Non, Catholic Churchmen have already answered it WELL before the Reformation. I haven't read Sic et Non, I cannot swear these two are from there.

jeudi 9 octobre 2014

Iron Chariots (site and its eponymous article) : Chariots of iron

Quotes Bible, namely, most pregnantly:

Joshua 17:18 But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.

Eventually they did. There are no Canaanite communities these days.

Judges 1:19 And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

To this they said themselves:

Ray Comfort argued that in the section "he drave out" in Judges 1:19, the "he" refers to the tribe of Tribe of Judah. [1] This is debatable but it still implies that the tribe could not overcome the chariots even with God's help.

Or because, being afraid, they did not confide in it.

DR Bible:

19 And the Lord was with Juda, and he possessed the hill country: but was not able to destroy the inhabitants of the valley, because they had many chariots armed with scythes.

Haydock gives the compilation of comments here:

Ver. 19. Was not able, &c. Through a cowardly fear of their chariots armed with hooks and scythes, and for want of confidence in God. (Challoner) --- Hebrew does not say expressly that Juda could not: quia non ad expellendum, &c. He had not the courage or the will. With God's assistance, what had he to fear? Were these Philistines with their chariots, more terrible than the giants in their fortresses? --- Scythes. Hebrew receb barzel, "chariots of iron." (Calmet) --- The Roman and Alexandrian Septuagint have "Rechab was opposed to them." (Haydock) --- The edition of Basil adds, "and they had chariots of iron," as St. Augustine (q. 5,) reads. A double translation is thus given. (Calmet) --- These chariots were calculated to cut down all that came in contact with them. (Curt. iv.) (Worthington)

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition. JUDGES - Chapter 1

samedi 4 octobre 2014

Dawkins Presumes I am an Atheist about Most Gods ...

“We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”
― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion*

As a Christian, I am not exactly "atheistic about most of the gods."

I am antitheistic about Moloch and Apollo/Shiva - I believe they are demons.

I am humanistic about Krishna, Hercules, Romulus, Odin and Thor and Frey. Possibly about Marduk too, if that could by any chance be Nimrod bragging too much (like Odin did later).

I am angelistic about sun, moon, stars, and nearly all the beings told in Psalm 148 or in the song of the three young men in the furnace to praise God. Properly understanding the entities neither makes them independent of interdependent gods, nor lifeless and mindless matter, but angels fulfilling a cosmic function, as servants of the one true God. St Francis called them his brothers and sisters.

And I am once again antitheistic about cults given to Hercules and Sun-gods. The real soul of that hero is not enjoying the sacrifices, the real angel of that heavenly body is loathing it because it is an insult to his Lord and Creator, to whom he is loyal.

So, I am not atheistic about very many of the gods believed by very many people among Pagans./HGL

* Quoted after : goodread : Richard Dawkins > Quotes

samedi 19 juillet 2014

When a Certain So Called Learning Affirms We Deified Christ Because We Loved Him ...

... it is only repeating what St Augustine* said about the Romans deifying Romulus:

Let us here recite the passage in which Tully expresses his astonishment that the apotheosis of Romulus should have been credited. I shall insert his words as they stand:

« It is most worthy of remark in Romulus, that other men who are said to have become gods lived in less educated ages, when there was a greater propensity to the fabulous, and when the uninstructed were easily persuaded to believe anything. But the age of Romulus was barely six hundred years ago, and already literature and science had dispelled the errors that attach to an uncultured age. »

And a little after he says of the same Romulus words to this effect:

« From this we may perceive that Homer had flourished long before Romulus, and that there was now so much learning in individuals, and so generally diffused an enlightenment, that scarcely any room was left for fable. For antiquity admitted fables, and sometimes even very clumsy ones; but this age [of Romulus] was sufficiently enlightened to reject whatever had not the air of truth. »

Thus one of the most learned men, and certainly the most eloquent, M. Tullius Cicero, says that it is surprising that the divinity of Romulus was believed in, because the times were already so enlightened that they would not accept a fabulous fiction. But who believed that Romulus was a god except Rome, which was itself small and in its infancy? Then afterwards it was necessary that succeeding generations should preserve the tradition of their ancestors; that, drinking in this superstition with their mother's milk, the state might grow and come to such power that it might dictate this belief, as from a point of vantage, to all the nations over whom its sway extended. And these nations, though they might not believe that Romulus was a god, at least said so, that they might not give offense to their sovereign state by refusing to give its founder that title which was given him by Rome, which had adopted this belief, not by a love of error, but an error of love. But though Christ is the founder of the heavenly and eternal city, yet it did not believe Him to be God because it was founded by Him, but rather it is founded by Him, in virtue of its belief. Rome, after it had been built and dedicated, worshipped its founder in a temple as a god; but this Jerusalem laid Christ, its God, as its foundation, that the building and dedication might proceed. The former city loved its founder, and therefore believed him to be a god; the latter believed Christ to be God, and therefore loved Him.

And what St Augustine says about Romans believing the deity of Romulus can be added about Hindoos believing that of Krishna or Norsemen that of Odin and Thor. It is curious that though Rome would in the time of Caesar hardly have believed the deity of Odin, had he appeared there, and tried to make such a claim, or possibly would have believed a deity as devaluated as that given by Cicero for Romulus, as it did a generation afterwards, when Caesar had died, and then tried to force the Christians to accept (c'mon, doesn't mean anything really, no big deal, it is just sentimental nonsense, but be a little human and go along with it), at the same time Sweden around Uppsala was so much more Barbaric. It seems Swedes might really have been believers in Odin, "not of love of error, but of error of love" unless Odin really started off as a hypnotist, in which case it might also have been love of error.

But he does not agree, doesn't St Augustine, that the same applies to Jesus Christ.

The most Christ-hating Jews would claim we deified Him out of love of error. The less rabid ones would perhaps claim we deified Him out of an error of love. But St Augustine says we loved Him because He was God.

Is he inconsistent? Not a bit. He explains the difference very clearly:

There was an antecedent cause for the love of the former city, and for its believing that even a false dignity attached to the object of its love; so there was an antecedent cause for the belief of the latter, and for its loving the true dignity which a proper faith, not a rash surmise, ascribed to its object. For, not to mention the multitude of very striking miracles which proved that Christ is God, there were also divine prophecies heralding Him, prophecies most worthy of belief, which being already accomplished, we have not, like the fathers, to wait for their verification. Of Romulus, on the other hand, and of his building Rome and reigning in it, we read or hear the narrative of what did take place, not prediction which beforehand said that such things should be. And so far as his reception among the gods is concerned, history only records that this was believed, and does not state it as a fact; for no miraculous signs testified to the truth of this. For as to that wolf which is said to have nursed the twin-brothers, and which is considered a great marvel, how does this prove him to have been divine?

Exactly the same can be said of any earthly story of Krishna from the Mahabharata as of Romulus. But of neither one nor the other, nor of Odin, can be said what St Augustine said of Christ.

Now certain people have claimed we also invented the miracles and misinterpreted or invented the previous prophecies "out of an error of love" (except when they go as far as to say we did it out of love of error).

But if so, why is there nothing similar that can be said about the carreers of Krishna or Odin or Romulus or Hercules? The one exception would be Hercules defeating death so as to raise Alcestis. That story can have been plagiarised from Elijah of Tishbe, if not soon after Hercules lived (I think he lived before Elijah), at least between his life and the Tragedian. Otherwise the carreers of all these heroes or "mighty men of renown" are, even according to Pagans, very un-miraculous.

So, if we invented a lot of miracles to substantiate a deity attributed out of an error of love to some human preacher, how come no one else did about their heroes? Odin raises the dead in Valhalla, but he never did so before anyone's eyes in Uppsala. Krishna's soul went to Heaven and was received there as a god by the gods - according to the dream of Vyasa, who probably already believed Krishna divine before dreaming that dream. Nobody claimed that Hercules had risen bodily to Heaven or that Romulus had. Hercules and Krishna's bodies were disposed of by funeral pyres (though in Krishna's case this might be a post-Flood anachronism intruding into a generally pre-Flood story, if my theory of Mahabharata is right). Indeed, Pagans on all boards, Indian as much as the Greco-Romans previously cited by St Augustine, had argued that our resurrected bodies could not go to Heaven:

Chapter 4.— Against the Wise Men of the World, Who Fancy that the Earthly Bodies of Men Cannot Be Transferred to a Heavenly Habitation.

But men who use their learning and intellectual ability to resist the force of that great authority which, in fulfillment of what was so long before predicted, has converted all races of men to faith and hope in its promises, seem to themselves to argue acutely against the resurrection of the body while they cite what Cicero mentions in the third book De Republica. For when he was asserting the apotheosis of Hercules and Romulus, he says: « Whose bodies were not taken up into heaven; for nature would not permit a body of earth to exist anywhere except upon earth. » This, forsooth, is the profound reasoning of the wise men, whose thoughts God knows that they are vain. For if we were only souls, that is, spirits without any body, and if we dwelt in heaven and had no knowledge of earthly animals, and were told that we should be bound to earthly bodies by some wonderful bond of union, and should animate them, should we not much more vigorously refuse to believe this, and maintain that nature would not permit an incorporeal substance to be held by a corporeal bond? And yet the earth is full of living spirits, to which terrestrial bodies are bound, and with which they are in a wonderful way implicated. If, then, the same God who has created such beings wills this also, what is to hinder the earthly body from being raised to a heavenly body, since a spirit, which is more excellent than all bodies, and consequently than even a heavenly body, has been tied to an earthly body? If so small an earthly particle has been able to hold in union with itself something better than a heavenly body, so as to receive sensation and life, will heaven disdain to receive, or at least to retain, this sentient and living particle, which derives its life and sensation from a substance more excellent than any heavenly body? If this does not happen now, it is because the time is not yet come which has been determined by Him who has already done a much more marvellous thing than that which these men refuse to believe. For why do we not more intensely wonder that incorporeal souls, which are of higher rank than heavenly bodies, are bound to earthly bodies, rather than that bodies, although earthly, are exalted to an abode which, though heavenly, is yet corporeal, except because we have been accustomed to see this, and indeed are this, while we are not as yet that other marvel, nor have as yet ever seen it? Certainly, if we consult sober reason, the more wonderful of the two divine works is found to be to attach somehow corporeal things to incorporeal, and not to connect earthly things with heavenly, which, though diverse, are yet both of them corporeal.

Such an argument - on the side of the Pagans about Hercules or Romulus, or for that matter Krishna or Odin - would not have been necessary if anyone had ever claimed to have seen the living bodies of any Pagan gods rise before the bodily eyes of any human witness. Such beliefs about heaven's eternal incapacity to receive earthly bodies may indeed have been a kind of answer to the challenge given by the rising up into Heaven of Elijah before the eyes of Elisæus. Why had their own gods not? Well, calling it impossible - and concluding from there by calling Hebrews liars without much investigation - was one answer as to why.

Yes, St Augustine is much more scrupulously respectful of Pagan histories than modern Atheists or Modernists are of the Hebrew and Christian ones. Their disrespect for the Pagan histories can only be contrasted by the respect for them shown by the Christian:

For even supposing that this nurse was a real wolf and not a mere courtezan, yet she nursed both brothers, and Remus is not reckoned a god.

OK, some Pagans have said: it cannot have been a real she-wolf, since lupa also means prostitute and lupanar brothel, that stepmother of Romulus and Remus must really have been a prostitute. But the Christian St Augustine is less sceptic, he can swallow that it could have been a she-wolf, though he is aware of the rationalisation as well. He only observes, this does not make Romulus a god any more than Remus.

Thereafter he makes an observation about the hasty conclusion of Romulus being a god gaining belief while not being persecuted but in position to persecute - and the belief based on historic facts of the Gospel that Christ was indeed God, not just a god, but God in the full Theistic sense, retaining the belief of a growing Church that was persecuted for it as well as - perhaps even more - its practical consequences, the refusal to call someone "a god" just because it was a great guy or an important person.

Besides, what was there to hinder any one from asserting that Romulus or Hercules, or any such man, was a god? Or who would rather choose to die than profess belief in his divinity? And did a single nation worship Romulus among its gods, unless it were forced through fear of the Roman name? But who can number the multitudes who have chosen death in the most cruel shapes rather than deny the divinity of Christ? And thus the dread of some slight indignation, which it was supposed, perhaps groundlessly, might exist in the minds of the Romans, constrained some states who were subject to Rome to worship Romulus as a god; whereas the dread, not of a slight mental shock, but of severe and various punishments, and of death itself, the most formidable of all, could not prevent an immense multitude of martyrs throughout the world from not merely worshipping but also confessing Christ as God. The city of Christ, which, although as yet a stranger upon earth, had countless hosts of citizens, did not make war upon its godless persecutors for the sake of temporal security, but preferred to win eternal salvation by abstaining from war. They were bound, imprisoned, beaten, tortured, burned, torn in pieces, massacred, and yet they multiplied. It was not given to them to fight for their eternal salvation except by despising their temporal salvation for their Saviour's sake.

As we see, the passage begins also by denouncing the weakness to believe a thing just because you will be persecuted if you do not.

Protestants have used this as a model or template for their totally fabulous stories about how certain Catholic dogmas they do not accept came to be accepted in the Church - thereby making the Inquisition against the Albigensians many centuries older than it actually was. And inventing a ghost lineage for the survival of Primitive Christianity into Protestantism, despite the known fact that Protestant Reformers all were born into Catholic families and raised in Catholic Communities. And including the very certainly un-Christian Albigensians into that ghost-lineage (from at least Foxe's Book of Martyrs, probably already done by the nearly Christian Valdensians, since they were exposed to same persecution)**. But the original of St Augustine, about how around the Mediterranean the divinity of Romulus was accepted, remains unshaken by their misuse of the meme, since St Augustine, unlike them, was not lying.

He was perhaps, at the most, a bit sloppy. The Pagan mentality was not like "we don't want to believe Romulus was a god" all over the Mediterranean, - perhaps though in parts of the Greek world - "but Romans force us to, so we will believe it anyway", it was much more like "Oh, the Romans beat us? Then their gods are mighty gods indeed!" - Which was unproblematically extended to such human gods as Romulus.

There is a curious corrolary to this preference of luck charms over truth. It is a preference for corporate over individual immortality. As soon as I had ever got into some kind of contact with a real esoteric - a contact I was not seeking at age 15, and if I have sought it since, it was for amusement and for converting them, liking details that make for conversation like "was there an Atlantis" but definitely not peacefully letting them lecture me on their belief - as soon as this happened, I was informed that souls of the dead, if sufficiently advanced, become "part of God" - a dire heresy, even beyond Cicero in Somnium Scipionis. But such a preference was indeed there even back in the days of Cicero.

I am aware that Cicero, in the third book of his De Republica, if I mistake not, argues that a first-rate power will not engage in war except either for honor or for safety. What he has to say about the question of safety, and what he means by safety, he explains in another place, saying,

« Private persons frequently evade, by a speedy death, destitution, exile, bonds, the scourge, and the other pains which even the most insensible feel. But to states, death, which seems to emancipate individuals from all punishments, is itself a punishment; for a state should be so constituted as to be eternal. And thus death is not natural to a republic as to a man, to whom death is not only necessary, but often even desirable. But when a state is destroyed, obliterated, annihilated, it is as if (to compare great things with small) this whole world perished and collapsed. »

Cicero said this because he, with the Platonists, believed that the world would not perish. It is therefore agreed that, according to Cicero, a state should engage in war for the safety which preserves the state permanently in existence though its citizens change; as the foliage of an olive or laurel, or any tree of this kind, is perennial, the old leaves being replaced by fresh ones.

With such a basic atitude, no wonder if integration becomes more important to you than being aware of and faithful to and accurate about truth, especially when it comes to the divine. No wonder Pagans accepted divinity on very sloppy grounds, but neither Hebrews in OT times, nor Christians since ever did so. Including, as explained previously in this article, when Christians accepted Christ was divine, is God in the most solemn sense of the word, is Creator and Upkeeper of the Universe. And remains so Eternally.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
St Vincent of Paul

* City of God, Book 22
(chapters 4 and 6 are here quoted, 4 in extenso, 6 in pieces)

** Nearly Christian, not quite. Like C. S. Lewis at one certain time, I think Problem of Pain (he had plenty of time to change his mind since, though it is not documented he did), they denied the bodily Resurrection. The ones like the others would, unlike those simply refusing Millenarianism, have been considered by the Millenarian Church Father St Justin as "Sadducees and unbelievers". So, let us hope C. S. Lewis changed his mind. And since we do not know that, that he doesn't get canonised, since sufficient apostolicity of doctrine is not documented.

mardi 3 juin 2014

Easy refutation of Pantheism : God is not Wrong

I was told by the friend of a friend on FB she was God and so was I.

In that case the girls* who contrived to kill a comrade in order to please Slender Man were presumably too.

But that cannot be. Being so deluded happens to created and fallen mankind, not to God./HGL

* Only age twelve! What is Modern School and Harry Potter and Evolution and Atheism doing to our young ones?

vendredi 30 mai 2014

It did NOT take two more years until the next TF challenge ...

1) From Mark Shea to Joseph Atwill, 2) Twelve Pieces of a Doherty Puzzle (it's Too Early to Dismiss Historicity), 3) What about Randel Helms?, 4) It did NOT take two more years until the next TF challenge ...

I looked up Acharya Sanning - because Varg Vikernes and his fan Hermann Cherusci (sic!) so much reminded me of her position.

Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on a Theory of Neanderthals by "Scandinavian V." alias Varg Vikernes

So, having looked up Acharya, one note of hers on TF caught my eye.

The Jesus Forgery: Josephus Untangled by Acharya S/D.M. Murdock

Untangled? Was she giving a theory on how the forgery was done? Was there some stimulating mental wrestling for me to do?

I was a bit disappointed by that side when it came to the article, but rewarded in other respects.

Regarding the TF, as well as the James passage, which possesses the phrase James, the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, Jewish writer ben Yehoshua makes some interesting assertions:

"Neither of these passages is found in the original version of the Jewish Antiquities which was preserved by the Jews. The first passage (XVII, 3, 3) was quoted by Eusebius writing in c. 320 C.E., so we can conclude that it was added in some time between the time Christians got hold of the Jewish Antiquities and c. 320 C.E. It is not known when the other passage (XX, 9, 1) was added... Neither passage is based on any reliable sources. It is fraudulent to claim that these passages were written by Josephus and that they provide evidence for Jesus. They were written by Christian redactors and were based purely on Christian belief."

Yehoshua claims that the 12th century historian Gerald of Wales related that a "Master Robert of the Priory of St. Frideswide at Oxford examined many Hebrew copies of Josephus and did not find the 'testimony about Christ,' except for two manuscripts where it appeared [to Robert, evidently] that the testimony had been present but scratched out." Gerardus Vossius states that, since "scratching out" requires the removal of the top layers, the deleted areas in these mere two of the many copies likely did not provide any solid evidence that it was the TF that had been removed. Apologists will no doubt insist that these Hebrew texts are late copies and that Jewish authorities had the TF removed. This accusation of mutilating an author's work, of course, can easily be turned around on the Christians. Also, considering that Vossius purportedly possessed a copy of the Antiquities without the TF, it is quite possible that there were "many Hebrew copies" likewise devoid of the passage.

Well, first of all, whether TF or something else had been removed from the manuscript could pretty easily be determined by some considerations like the following:

  • If erasure was not done thoroughly, some remains of a text - like the name Iehoshua, Hebrew for Jesus - or other word relevant for context (truth, justice) may have been still visible.
  • One can see if the words after the erasure correspond to the words after the TF in the standard text.
  • One can see if the length of the erasure corresponds to the length one presumes TF would have in Hebrew.
  • And of course, if between the words preceding and following TF in standard text and erasure in two Hebrew copies, no other text variant than TF is known, that speaks very much for the erasure being TF.

Apologists will no doubt insist that these Hebrew texts are late copies and that Jewish authorities had the TF removed. This accusation of mutilating an author's work, of course, can easily be turned around on the Christians.

I have already done so - when defending TF as originally there but originally containing some antichristian stuff that Christians erased.

BUT saying Christians added sth is NOT just turning about the accusation that Jews erased something.

Adding something is rank forgery. No one can evade that evidence. Erasing something is sometimes considered as an act of piety. If, namely, as Hebrews would consider TF, the thing erased was considered as impious by the one erasing.

No, this is not so easy to turn around against Christians at all, if the mutilation is in that case addition rather than erasure. Rather, instead of turning the same accusation just around, this would be making a very much worse accusation.

So, of course I go with Gerald9 Cambrens9 on this one, and with his Master Robert of the Priory of St Frideswide at Oxford.

Also, considering that Vossius purportedly possessed a copy of the Antiquities without the TF, it is quite possible that there were "many Hebrew copies" likewise devoid of the passage.

Once the copies where TF was detected and scratched out had been recopied without the erased passage, there was no problem in multiplying copies and in destroying such as had the TF and were not needed. Vossius was a Renaissance or Baroque scholar, a Humanist, several centuries after Gerald of Wales and even more removed from Robert of the Oxford Priory.

One more question: which language did Josephus originally write in? If Hebrew, why would there by any trace of anything like TF in Hebrew manuscripts, unless it was originally there? And if not Hebrew, that takes away the worth of the many Hebrew manuscripts without the TF.

This was my first gain when looking up Acharya. But there is more.

Here is a list of her authorities - apart from the already cited scholar Yehoshua, who is Jewish and might dislike his Divine Namesake so much as to hope He was not history. I add remarks about what traditions they are from.

Sabine Baring-Gould
Sabine Baring-Gould (28 January 1834 – 2 January 1924) was an English Anglican priest, hagiographer, antiquarian, novelist and eclectic scholar. ... He is remembered particularly as a writer of hymns, the best-known being "Onward, Christian Soldiers" and "Now the Day Is Over". He also translated the carol "Gabriel's Message" from the Basque language to the English. His forename is pronounced 'Say-Bin'.
Charles Warburton
Charles Mongan Warburton (born Terrence Charles Mongan;[N 1] 1754–1826) was a 19th-century Anglican bishop who served two Irish Dioceses.

Mongan was originally a Roman Catholic who recanted and joined the Anglican community. His brother was a Catholic priest.Terence Mongan was Chaplain of the 62nd Regiment of Foot, before which point he was using the name Charles Mongan.
Frederic Farrar
Frederic William Farrar (Mumbai [sic! = Bombay], 7 August 1831 – Canterbury, 22 March 1903) was a cleric of the Church of England (Anglican), schoolteacher and author.
John Remsburg
John Eleazer Remsburg (January 7, 1848 – 1919) was an ardent religious skeptic in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His name is sometimes spelled Remsberg.

Remsburg was born in Fremont, Ohio, a son of George J. and Sarah A. (Willey) Remsburg. He enlisted in the Union army at the age of sixteen during the American Civil War.[citation needed] On October 9, 1870, he married Miss Nora M. Eiler of Atchison, Kansas. He was a teacher for 15 years, a superintendent of public instruction in Atchison County, Kansas for four years, then a writer and lecturer in support of free thought, his lectures being translated into German, French, Bohemian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Bengali and Singalese.[citation needed] He was also a life member of the American Secular Union, of which he was president from 1897–1900, and a member of the Kansas State Horticultural Society. [citation needed]


Role in Christ Myth debate

In recent years a list of forty-two names from the "Silence of Contemporary Writers" chapter of The Christ (sometimes called the Remsberg List) has appeared in several books regarding the nonhistoricity hypothesis by authors such as James Patrick Holding,[2] Hilton Hotema,[3] Jawara D. King,[4] Madalyn Murray O'Hair,[5] D. M. Murdock and Robert M. Price,[6] Asher Norman,[7] Frank Zindler,[8] Tim C. Leedom et al,[9] as well as appearing in some 200 blog posts[citation needed] regarding the nonhistoricity hypothesis. This Remsburg List was improved upon in 2012 with the book No Meek Messiah, augmenting the number of "Silent Writers" to 126.

[In other words, he originated the stupid argument I have been previously refuting. Which I did with quotes from the good old wikipedia he had no access to.]
Nathaniel Lardner ?
Nathaniel Lardner (6 June 1684 – 24 July 1768) was an English theologian.


Lardner made a case against subordinationism of Samuel Clarke in which the eternal Logos unites with a human body in the man Jesus, opposed to the Trinitarian view. Lardner went further to argue that the New Testament does not teach that Jesus or any element within him pre-existed Mary's pregnancy. According to Lardner the Logos of John 1, was to be understood as a divine attribute, which metaphorically “became flesh” in the man Jesus, and other traditional pre-existence proof texts are interpreted in ways consistent with Christ's not existing before his conception. Lardner analyzes the use of “spirit” in the Bible and concludes that it refers to God, or to various of God's properties, actions, or gifts.[1][2] This view was essentially Socinian.

[In other words an Apostate even from Protestantism.]
Dionysius Lardner ?
[Without citing article, just after looking on it: no. "Dr. Lardner" is pretty certainly Nathaniel, the heretic.]
Karl Theodor Keim
Karl Theodor Keim (December 17, 1825 – November 17, 1878) was a German Protestant theologian.

[Need I look at more? Liberal Protestant of Evangelische Kirche, just as the Nazi clergy of Deutsche Christen a bit later? Not unlike Adolph von Harnack, I presume? I am too disgusted to read the rest of the article!]
Rev. Dr. Hooykaas - see Leidsche Vertaling
De Leidse Vertaling (waarnaar soms nog verwezen wordt in de oude spelling Leidsche Vertaling) is een Bijbelvertaling uit het begin van de 20e eeuw, die grotendeels door professoren van de Leidse Universiteit tot stand is gebracht. Men volgde het formeel-equivalente vertaalprincipe ... De vertalers, Abraham Kuenen, I. Hooykaas, W. H. Kosters en H. Oort, behoorden allen tot de vrijzinnige richting, en beoogden een begrijpelijke vertaling die beantwoordde aan de eisen van de kritische bijbelwetenschap.

[In other words, a Liberal Protestant at the University of Leiden, also infamous for hosting Einstein: "Albert Einstein was known as a professor at Leiden University. Einstein regularly taught Leiden students for a few weeks per year. His first lecture at Leiden was about "Ether and Relativity Theory"."]
Alexander Campbell (clergyman) ?
Alexander Campbell (12 September 1788 – 4 March 1866) was a Scots-Irish immigrant who became an ordained minister in the United States and joined his father Thomas Campbell as a leader of a reform effort that is historically known as the Restoration Movement, and by some as the "Stone-Campbell Movement." It resulted in the development of non-denominational Christian churches, which stressed reliance on Scripture and few essentials.[1]:111 Campbell was influenced by similar efforts in Scotland, before emigrating to the United States.

[I this the right Alexander Campbell?]
Thomas Chalmers
Thomas Chalmers FRSE (17 March 1780 – 31 May 1847), was a Scottish minister, professor of theology, political economist, and a leader of the Church of Scotland and of the Free Church of Scotland. He has been called "Scotland's greatest nineteenth-century churchman".[1]

He served as Vice-president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh from 1835-42.



In his St Andrews lectures Chalmers excluded mental philosophy and included the whole sphere of moral obligation, dealing with man's duty to God and to his fellow-men in the light of Christian teaching. Many of his lectures were printed in the first and second volumes of his published works.[2]

In the field of ethics he made contributions in regard to the place and functions of volition and attention, the separate and underived character of the moral sentiments, and the distinction between the virtues of perfect and imperfect obligation.[2] Religion

At his own request the article on Christianity was assigned to him in David Brewster's Edinburgh Encyclopaedia. The separate publication of this article, and contributions to the Edinburgh Christian Instructor and The Eclectic Review, enhanced his reputation as an author.[2]

Chalmers's writings are a source for argument and illustration on the question of Establishment. "I have no veneration", he said to the royal commissioners in St Andrews, before either the voluntary or the non-intrusive controversies had arisen, "for the Church of Scotland qua an establishment, but I have the utmost veneration for it qua an instrument of Christian good."[2]


Gap creationism

Chalmers popularized the concept of gap creationism,[21][21] also known as the "gap theory". This is a form of old Earth creationism that posits that the six-day creation, as described in the Book of Genesis, involved literal 24-hour days, but that there was a gap of time between two distinct creations in the first and the second verses of Genesis, explaining many scientific observations, including the age of the Earth.[22][23][24] It differs from day-age creationism, which posits that the 'days' of creation were much longer periods (of thousands or millions of years), and from young Earth creationism, which although it agrees concerning the six literal 24-hour days of creation, does not posit any gap of time.

The "New College", as the Divinity School became known, was a centre of opposition to the Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844). Chalmers himself did not mention the work, but indirectly attacked its view of development in writing for the North British Review.[25]
Templeton, citing Acharya now
In the modern apologist work The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel relates a passage from a novel published in 1979 by Charles Templeton, in which the author states, regarding Jesus, "There isn't a single word about him in secular history. Not a word. No mention of him by the Romans. Not so much as a reference by Josephus." (Strobel, 101) Strobel then reports the response by Christian professor Edwin Yamauchi, who claimed that Templeton was mistaken and that there was a reference to Jesus by Josephus. Yamauchi's fatuous response ignores, purposefully or otherwise, the previous ironclad arguments about which Templeton was apparently educated, such that he made such a statement. In other words, Templeton was evidently aware of the purported reference in Josephus but had understood by the arguments of the more erudite, earlier Christian authorities that it was a forgery; hence, there is "not so much as a reference by Josephus." In this facile manner of merely ignoring or dismissing the earlier scholarship, modern believers cling to the long-dismissed TF in order to convince themselves of the unbelievable.

He was not a little facile in dismissing the TF due to this "scholarship"? Anyway, Charles Templeton seems to have died as an Apostate.

 JewsAnglicansEvangelischPresb. /Calv. /Other Prot
Sabine Baring-GouldNoYesNoNo
Charles Mongan WarburtonNoYesNoNo
Frederic William FarrarNoYesNoNo
John Eleazer Remsburg NoNoNoNo
Nathaniel LardnerNoNoNoYes > No
Karl Theodor KeimNoNoYesNo
Rev. Dr. HooykaasNoNoNoYes
Alexander CampbellNoNoNoYes
Thomas ChalmersNoNoNoYes
Templeton, CharlesNoNoNoYes > No

 LiberalApostateOld Age
Yehoshua Don’t knowNo more than other JewsDon’t know
Sabine Baring-Gould Not very ?NoProbably Yes
Charles Mongan WarburtonDon’t knowYesNo
Frederic William FarrarYesNoYes
John Eleazer RemsburgNoYes? Yes!
Nathaniel LardnerYesYesNo
Karl Theodor KeimYesNoYes
Rev. Dr. HooykaasYesNoYes
Alexander CampbellNoNoDon't know
Thomas ChalmersNoNoYes
Templeton, CharlesYesYesYes

 18 th C.19 th C. 20 th C.21 st C.
Sabine Baring-GouldNoYesYesNo
Charles Mongan WarburtonYesYesNoNo
Frederic William FarrarNoYesYesNo
John Eleazer RemsburgNoYesYesNo
Nathaniel LardnerYesNoNoNo
Karl Theodor KeimNoYesYesNo
Rev. Dr. HooykaasNoYesYesNo
Alexander CampbellYesYesNoNo
Thomas ChalmersYesYesNoNo
Templeton, CharlesNoNoYesYes

I may have missed one on Acharya's name dropping list, but I saw no Catholic or Orthodox. I saw exactly one Pagan - the Japanese who did not agree with her. The list is limited to the field of Judeo-Protestantism with its offshot Atheism.

On this note it has been said that Protestantism is limited to Western Culture. Yes. So is Western Atheism. It is not just geographically another location for Atheism different from Confucian and Buddhist Atheisms, it is also different, closer to Mencian Confucianism (which was available to the Enlightenment in translation) but the latter traditionally has no ties with either prolonged antichristian polemics (though involved in persecutions of Christians) and no ties with either anarchist or other revolutionary ideologies.

It is also limited to 18:th C. to the present. Gerald of Wales and Master Robert of the Priory of St Frideswide at Oxford very clearly support TF, and if Vossius admitted to having a copy without it, he is not cited as having used this as an argument to attack TF.

Among Protestants, only Alexander Campbell surprised me totally, since he was founder of one of the Revivalist sects. No liberal. No Apostate from either Catholicism to any Protestantism or from his Protestantism to any kind of non-Christian belief.

These are unfortunately the kind of narrow company which Acharya considers broadminded and intelligent.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
Day after Ascension
30 / V / 2014

vendredi 2 mai 2014

Avoiding Apostasy is Not Endorsing It

First, what do I refer to as "apostasy"? There are many apostasies, and a Christian however duty bound to avoid all of them might fail in his duty and avoid one at the expense of falling into another. So, which apostasy are we talking about?

Gary Bates, this one is for you. The apostasy I suppose you might accuse me of endorsing but which I am really very much avoiding, is one which you have been warning against. Like here:

CMI : Scientific proof we were created by aliens?
The exo-creator idea continues to gain momentum
by Gary Bates
Published: 1 May 2014 (GMT+10)

Or here:

CMI : Did God create life on other planets?
Otherwise why is the universe so big?
by Gary Bates

In a certain modern "cosmos" (or rather concept of it, since the Cosmos itself, as created by God, hardly is "modern"), every star is a sun and every sun is a star, including ours. Some of them are in this idea also endowed with planets. Every planet or at least everyone close to conditions on earth has the capacity to evolve life and every life has the capacity to evolve into sentient and intelligent beings. Another planet somewhere else - in Vega or Orion or whatever - beat us in that race and evolved far enough technologically to get spaceships launched to earth in time for our human genome to be at least partially manipulated or even totally constructed from scratch by that team. This is a very big lie. And coming to it from Christianity is apostasy.

Now, angelic movers to or in every star and planet is something other than biological life on every planet.

Stating someone is either living as the sun or carrying the sun as a lantern and doing so either way under the orders of his Creator is very much not believing in E.T.s. Same with moon, or α Centauri as with the Sun.

In the cosmos I believe to be a correct account of the real one, God created angels in the beginning and on day four gave some but not all of them heavenly bodies to carry. Sun, moon and stars - the latter subdivided into fix stars, comets and planets under the sphere of the fixed stars. What is considered as parallax is really a dance move taken by the angel carrying for instance α Centauri. This is why my idea of cosmos need not at all be as big as the idea of Chris Impey.* I can consider Aristotle with his "cosy" one million miles across the universe as not far from the mark.

That in its turn means I cannot at the same time consider even a real exoplanet meaning a nonluminous but reflective body circling one of the fixed stars as far enough to be big enough to be a real parallel to earth. If I am right the largest exo-planet would very easily be as small as the planet of The Little Prince - a ludicrous environment for evolution to take place in.

This ties in with Romans 8.**

πᾶσα ἡ κτίσις (pasa hē ktisis, ‘the whole creation’) does refer to the whole creation in Romans 8, and Paul cites this as a matter of common, accepted knowledge among his Christian audience. It includes all of non-sentient, moral decision-capable creation—i.e. excluding humans and angels, because Paul goes on in the next verse to talk about the believers’ state, and angels are excluded by οὐχ ἑκοῦσα (ouk hekousa, not willingly) in verse 20—Schreiner (Baker Exegetical Commentary, 1998), is of the view that this excludes any being with a will. So basically what κτίσις denotes in the passage is all of non-human physical creation.

First off, I suppose you mean "moral decision-INcapable creation".

If I am right, the heavenly bodies are perhaps not under the fall, since so closely identified with angelic movers as not to be meant by all creation excluding angels and men. Here is Haydock on Romans 8:19 ...***

Ver. 19. The expectation[2] of the creature. He speaks of the corporal creation, made for the use and service of man; and, by occasion of his sin made subject to vanity, that is, to a perpetual instability, tending to corruption and other defects; so that by a figure of speech, it is here said to groan and be in labour, and to long for its deliverance, which is then to come, when sin shall reign no more; and God shall raise the bodies, and united them to their souls, never more to separate, and to be in everlasting happiness in heaven. (Challoner) --- Waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God. That is, for the time after this life, when it shall be made manifest that they are the sons of God, and heirs of the kingdom of his glory. Several interpreters understand all creatures whatsoever, even irrational and inanimate creatures of this world, which are represented as if they had a knowledge and sense of a more happy condition, of a new unchangeable state of perfection, which they are to receive at the end of the world. See 2 Peter i. 13; Apocalypse xxi. 1. Now every insensible creature is figuratively brought in groaning like a woman in labour, waiting, and wishing for that new and happy state; but in the mean time unwillingly made subject to vanity, i.e. to these changeable imperfections of generations and corruptions, which then they shall be delivered from. (Witham) --- The creature, &c. The creatures expect with impatience, and hope with confidence, to see a happy change in their condition; they flatter themselves that they will be delivered from the captivity of sin, to which man has reduced them, and enter into the liberty of the glory of the sons of God. Not that the inanimate creation will really participate the happiness and glory of the elect; although in some sense they may be said to have part in it, since they will enter into a pure, incorruptible and perfect state to the end of ages. They will no longer be subject to those changes and vicissitudes which sin has brought upon them; nor will sinful man any longer abuse their beauty and goodness in offending the Creator of all. St. Ambrose and St. Jerome teach that the sun, moon, and stars will be then much more brilliant and beautiful than at present, no longer subject to those changes they at present suffer. Philo and Tertullian teach that the beasts of prey will then lay aside their ferocity, and venomous serpents their poisonous qualities. (Calmet) --- Other, by the creature or creatures, understand men only, and Christians, who groan under miseries and temptations in this mortal life, amidst the vanities of this world, under the slavery of corruption; who having already (ver. 23.) received the first-fruits of the Spirit,[3] the grace of God in baptism, have been made the children of God, and now, with expectation and great earnestness, wait and long for a more perfect adoption of the sons of God: for the redemption of their bodies, when the bodies, as well as the souls of the elect, shall rise to an immortal life, and complete happiness in heaven. (Witham)

In 1859 Haydock quoted Challoner (18th C. English Catholic bishop) and Witham (17th C. dito, never set foot in England after being consecrated bishop but rather ordained Catholic priests for Martyrdom and England in Douai or Reims) as saying this applies to "corporal creation, made for the use and service of man" or according to following: "Several interpreters understand all creatures whatsoever, even irrational and inanimate creatures of this world, which are represented as if they had a knowledge and sense of a more happy condition, of a new unchangeable state of perfection, which they are to receive at the end of the world." But St Jerome actually goes on to include creatures at least he considered angelic:

St. Ambrose and St. Jerome teach that the sun, moon, and stars will be then much more brilliant and beautiful than at present, no longer subject to those changes they at present suffer.

That St Jerome of Stridon, famous as Bible translator, considered the stars as having for a kind of soul a kind of angels is clear from St Thomas Aquinas, Prima Pars, Q 70, A 3. Now, St Jerome may have considered that Sun, Moon and Stars shall shine brighter in the New Heaven and New Earth, but he may not have considered they should go through the final conflagration first, at least St Thomas did not when writing things later incorporated into the Supplement of his Summa:°

Article 4. Whether that fire will cleanse also the higher heavens?

Objection 1. It would seem that that fire will cleanse also the higher heavens. For it is written (Psalm 101:26-27): "The heavens are the works of Thy hands: they shall perish but Thou remainest." Now the higher heavens also are the work of God's hands. Therefore they also shall perish in the final burning of the world.

Objection 2. Further, it is written (2 Peter 3:12): "The heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with the burning heat of fire." Now the heavens that are distinct from the elements are the higher heavens, wherein the stars are fixed. Therefore it would seem that they also will be cleansed by that fire.

Objection 3. Further, the purpose of that fire will be to remove from bodies their indisposition to the perfection of glory. Now in the higher heaven we find this indisposition both as regards guilt, since the devil sinned there, and as regards natural deficiency, since a gloss on Romans 8:22, "We know that every creature groaneth and is in labor even until now," says: "All the elements fulfill their duty with labor: even as it is not without labor that the sun and moon travel their appointed course." Therefore the higher heavens also will be cleansed by that fire.

On the contrary, "The heavenly bodies are not receptive of impressions from without" [Cf. Sent. Philosop. ex Arist. collect. lit. c.--Among the works of Bede].

Further, a gloss on 2 Thessalonians 1:8, "In a flame of fire giving vengeance," says: "There will be in the world a fire that shall precede Him, and shall rise in the air to the same height as did the waters of the deluge." But the waters of the deluge did not rise to the height of the higher heavens but only 15 cubits higher than the mountain summits (Genesis 7:20). Therefore the higher heavens will not be cleansed by that fire.

I answer that, The cleansing of the world will be for the purpose of removing from bodies the disposition contrary to the perfection of glory, and this perfection is the final consummation of the universe: and this disposition is to be found in all bodies, but differently in different bodies. For in some this indisposition regards something inherent to their substance: as in these lower bodies which by being mixed together fall away from their own purity. In others this indisposition does not regard something inherent to their substance; as in the heavenly bodies, wherein nothing is to be found contrary to the final perfection of the universe, except movement which is the way to perfection, and this not any kind of movement, but only local movement, which changes nothing intrinsic to a thing, such as its substance, quantity, or quality, but only its place which is extrinsic to it. Consequently there is no need to take anything away from the substance of the higher heavens, but only to set its movement at rest. Now local movement is brought to rest not by the action of a counter agent, but by the mover ceasing to move; and therefore the heavenly bodies will not be cleansed, neither by fire nor by the action of any creature, but in lieu of being cleansed they will be set at rest by God's will alone.

Reply to Objection 1. As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xx, 18,24): "Those words of the psalm refer to the aerial heavens which will be cleansed by the fire of the final conflagration." Or we may reply that if they refer also to the higher heavens, these are said to perish as regards their movement whereby now they are moved without cessation.

Reply to Objection 2. Peter explains himself to which heavens he refers. For before the words quoted, he had said (2 Peter 3:5-7): "The heavens . . . first, and the earth . . . through water . . . perished . . . which . . . now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire unto the day of judgment." The entire text differs somewhat from St. Thomas's quotation; but the sense is the same. Therefore the heavens to be cleansed are those which before were cleansed by the waters of the deluge, namely the aerial heavens.

Reply to Objection 3. This labor and service of the creature, that Ambrose ascribes to the heavenly bodies, is nothing else than the successive movements whereby they are subject to time, and the lack of that final consummation which they will attain in the end. Nor did the empyrean heaven contract any stain from the sin of the demons, because they were expelled from that heaven as soon as they sinned.

Obviously, part of the consideration about stars being brighter is that now they are circling is full circle in less than 24 h., which, together with sun whose full circle defines the night-and-day and its 24 subdivisions, is how time is measured, but afterwards, time will cease insofar as this movement ceases.

This scenario is valid if you accept the Geocentric premisses and that one can do if one accepts that "apparent parallax" (or rather real movement appearing as itself, but interpreted as parallax by Heliocentrics) is caused by angelic movers. This also makes the Distant Starlight problem a non-problem.

Baker on the other hand in 1998 started out saying that stars are inanimate and mindless and therefore concluded they too must in the full sense (needing cleansing by fire) are subject to the curse of Adam.

Is someone living in α Centauri as a soul lives in a body, or holding it as a man or angel (including sometimes fallen angels acting as Poltergeists on a very much lower level) holds a lantern, it is obviously not Han Solo and so obviously does not contradict that all men descend from Adam. It is only when we say that a planet held by α Centauri as Earth is supposedly held by the Sun in its turn holds intelligent beings as Earth holds men, it is only then that we encounter any conflict with the Gospel. One which may indeed have been active in making the late John Templeton apostatise, since Chris Impey is writing on a collective blog called Big Questions which in its turn depends on the Templeton Foundation. And as explained, I do not believe that more than St Thomas Aquinas did. Or Pope St Zachary. He has been accused of having condemned the roundness of earth, when in reality he was condemning E.T.s and therefore also "E.T. phone Rome?" - a paradigm which has become popular with supposed successors of Pope St Zachary:°°

From a letter of Pope St. Zachary (1 May, 748), addressed to St. Boniface, we learn that the great Apostle of Germany had invoked the papal censure upon a certain missionary among the Bavarians named Vergilius, generally supposed to be identical with the renowned Ferghil, an Irishman, and later Archbishop of Salzburg. Among other alleged misdeeds and errors was numbered that of holding "that beneath the earth there was another world and other men, another sun and moon". In reply, the Pope directs St. Boniface to convoke a council and, "if it be made clear" that Vergilius adheres to this "perverse teaching, contrary to the Lord and to his own soul", to "expel him from the Church, deprived of his priestly dignity". This is the only information that we possess regarding an incident which is made to figure largely in the imaginary warfare between theology and science. That Vergilius was ever really tried, condemned, or forced to retract, is an assumption without any foundation in history. On the contrary, if he was in fact the future Archbishop of Salzburg, it is more natural to conclude that he succeeded in convincing his censors that by "other men" he did not understand a race of human beings not descended from Adam and redeemed by the Lord; for it is patent that this was the feature of his teaching which appeared to the Pope to be "perverse" and "contrary to the Lord".

So Ferghil was presumably aware the Earth was round (who said Irish literacy was subpar in pre-Strongbow Erin?), the Pope who came from Byzantium was not but did not condemn it as such (who said Byzantium was superior to the West?), and the crime for which Ferghil was suspected was "E.T. phone Rome" theories. No, E.T., don't bother to phone the Rome of Pope St Zachary! But then again, he had no phones there, the first phones in the Vatican came with Pope Pius XI. However, if grey ones or such had shown their ugly faces in his Rome, they would have been scared back down to Hell with holy water and exorcisms. Not quite what we see in the Rome of these days, is it? How did Rome get there? By agreeing - Pacem in Terris, Roncalli pseudopope, 1963, § 6 which is somehow appropriate - with Baker (1998, how about dividing that number by three, btw!) that stars and such are governed by mindless laws. By diminishing the guardian angels of the stars to highly evolved beings on planets around them - because denying there are, in the first place, such a thing as guardian angels of the stars.

But Pope St Zachary who warned against this even wrote his letter same date as Gary Bates his latest article on CMI.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Athanasius of Alexandria

* Whom I found here:

E.T. phone Rome?
American Morning|Added on November 13, 2009
Summit attendee Chris Impey explains why the Vatican held a five-day summit on the possibility of alien life.

** Cited by Gary Bates and Lita Cosner here:

CMI : Is the whole creation fallen?
Published: 8 March 2011(GMT+10)

*** Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.
ROMANS - Chapter 8

° Newadvent, Summa, Supplement to III Part
Question 74. The fire of the final conflagration
Article 4. Whether that fire will cleanse also the higher heavens?

°° Newadvent, Catholic Encyclopedia
A : Antipodes

Pope St Zachary's letter is thus 1226 years before Gary Bates' article. Did Bergoglio complain about some being "more Papist than the Pope"? Well, if even a non-Catholic like Gary Bates can be more Papist than he (as I presume he endorses the "E.T. phone Rome" thing, he may want to correct this impression if I am wrong), being more Papist than he is not very difficult or challenging. If one is not more Papist than he, one is not getting into Heaven, I should think.

samedi 12 avril 2014

What about Randel Helms?

1) From Mark Shea to Joseph Atwill, 2) Twelve Pieces of a Doherty Puzzle (it's Too Early to Dismiss Historicity), 3) What about Randel Helms?, 4) It did NOT take two more years until the next TF challenge ...

Randel Helms: Gospel of St Thomas (etc, etc, etc) is/are fiction, proving Christians are not reluctant to it, Gospel of St Mark is earliest and was written forty years after the events. In that time it passed through oral tradition, which PER DEFINITION means it was embellished with additions. See, for instance Dieudonné de Gozon, Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, who according to tradition slew the dragon of Malpasso.

We are in the presence of some ideology here.

The "tradition" about Dieudonné de Gozon slaying the dragon of Malpasso did presumably NOT remain oral such up to when Mircea Eliade wrote on it. The latter claims the "genuine historical account" of that same Grand Master of Maltese Knights is innocent of dragons. (I checked on French Wiki: if the account of that particular GM was before a certain date without the dragon story, at least the dragon story was in existance before that date and already concerning a person later GM of the Knights of Malta.)

Concretely this means no doubt that Mircea has found two medieval accounts, one without and one with a dragon. To him, obviously, the one with the dragon has suffered an addition. By passing through tradition. Kent Hovind, alias Doctor Dino, might have something other to say about that matter. "Sure, there were dinosaurs after the Flood too, it is just that in the records they weren't called Dinosaurs, the word is pretty recent. They are usually called dragons."

Then we have the problem whether Christians were or were not involved in writing fictions about Jesus.

By naming Gospels of Thomas, Mary, Philip .... he is supposed to have proven "Christians" - as one homogenous group (rather than pseudo-Christian Gnostics distinct from Catholic Christians) - were not loth to add fictions about Jesus.

This is not valid proof.

Then he repeats the pretty consensus heavy (among Modern Academians) canard of Mark being first (as if 19th C/20th C scholars knew the order of writing of the Gospels better than Papias and Irenaeus!) AND of even he being late and only recording events as filtered THROUGH a tradition of forty years purely oral. This last point proves pretty much that Academic Tradition in Modern Times is a very Fixed Tradition. It does NOT support the idea that oral tradition in and of itself is unstable. And remember it is in high degree oral, from pulpit to students in benches.

His argument for this involves that there were already heretical traditions beside the orthodox ones.

But this is simply because there were people with heretical ideas that were not content with the orthodox tradition which did not support their ideas. Far from proving that oral tradition is of itself unstable, it proves that Christian Orthodoxy was from the very start under attack, not just open but also undercover.

Randel Helms then claims that Paul was ecstatic and saw visions, and noone felt a need to distinguish between these and the historical Jesus. Of course not, if everyone had reason to believe the historical person was in Heaven - after The Eleven saw the Ascension.

What exactly is Randel Helms' epistemological authority for all these allegations?

Norman Perrin has declared that his approach to the Gospels, Redaction Criticism, looks for "redaction of new material" by the evangelists. I write in a similar spirit.

OK, so if a text is younger it is more or less per definition based on an older one plus additions? Can never kind of happen it is shorter than the previous text on same matter or based on another line of transmission? That is the kind of prejudice a real historian (as opposed to a "Higher Critic") can very well do without.

Then we have his take on St Paul and on St John. He thinks the historical Jesus and the Jesus of their visions are clearly different, not at all the same person, no Resurrection and Ascension presumably. He takes as example the things St Paul says about the Gospel he preaches.

For I give you to understand, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For neither did I receive it of man, nor did I learn it; but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12) Now I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand; By which also you are saved, if you hold fast after what manner I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all, which I also received: how that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures: And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day, according to the scriptures: And that he was seen by Cephas; and after that by the eleven. (I Corinthians 15:1-5)

Does this mean - as Randel Helms seems to think or pretend to think - that St Paul knows only of three ways of knowing Christ? Revelation (like his own several ones or St John's on Patmos), tradition (from those having received such revelations, no doubt) and the Scriptures?

Pretty obviously no. St Paul says for one thing that Christ "was seen by Cephas". And later in the same chapter, yes even the very next verses he enumerates other witnesses:

Then he was seen by more than five hundred brethren at once: of whom many remain until this present, and some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen by James, then by all the apostles. And last of all, he was seen also by me, as by one born out of due time.

OK, this means that of the witnesses only himself was - in that capacity - what Randel Helms is here calling a visionary. The rest were what one ordinarily calls eyewitnesses. He says their eywitness is enough, but that his visions and all of the Old Testament match this eyewitness. This would hardly be possible if his visions were just a product of his own imagination.

The preview is cut off when Randel states:

So we must understand that what Luke means by "eyewit-

I supply as probable continuation: nesses" are really visionaries like Paul. Or words of synonymous meaning.

Not at all. St Paul knew a fourth way of knowing Christ, that of the, precisely, eyewitnesses. People who, like St Thomas Didymus, had seen, conversed with and even touched (or at least closely inspected, but even, I think, by obedience, touched) Our Lord after he rose from the dead.

Randel Helms supposed St Paul to be pretty self-occupied if he did not consider it possible that St Paul made a distinction between how he knew himself and how Cephas knew the Resurrection. He did very clearly distinguish, by And as obviously, we do not only have St Paul referring to what Cephas saw, we also have Cephas accepting St Paul. We have an occasion on which it would have been in his interest not to. But St Peter humbled himself before the reproaches of St Paul. He does not go "hey, that guy was not there, what does he know?" - all of St Peter's attitude testifies that St Paul's vision closely matches what he knew and in general what was known by the original Apostles. Through non-visionary means of knowledge.

This chapter is addressed to some among the Corinthians who denied the resurrection: St. Paul, therefore, in order to cure this philosophical opinion, gives them his counsel and advice in this chapter; and lest he might be thought to preach up a new doctrine, in the beginning of his admonitions he informs them that he is preaching no other gospel than what he has always taught, and wherein they believe. (Estius)

Ver. 7. He was seen by James. The time is not mentioned in the gospels. (Witham)

Ver. 8. As by one born out of due time; not born at the ordinary term, meaning after Christ's ascension. He calls himself so out of humility, abortives being commonly imperfect and less than others. (Witham)

So, the main three ways of knowing Christ to St Paul were: eyewitnesses, tradition from those, seeing how it matches all of the Old Testament. His own way of knowing Christ through visions was an extension of the eyewitness way, not the basic mode. However, it was not different enough to disqualify him as an Apostle either.

After all, if the Apostles even after eating a fish breakfast in what could have theoretically been a vision could see they had all had the same one and there was plenty of fish left, St Paul on his side had been blinded by the first vision and then healed from blindness. None of them had a vision that could be "just a vision" or just a dream or just a hallucination. All of them had something to solidly back it up.

And they were not building communities just by saying that. They made miracles which only the supernatural could explain. St Luke saw St Paul raise a boy who had died and broken his neck.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
St Zeno of Verona

Quote from Haydock Comments:

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.
1 CORINTHIANS - Chapter 15

Summaries and direct quotes of Randel Helms:

Randel Helms : Gospel Fictions (1988)
[preview skips p. 5 and breaks off after p. 14]

Twelve Pieces of a Doherty Puzzle (it's Too Early to Dismiss Historicity)

1) From Mark Shea to Joseph Atwill, 2) Twelve Pieces of a Doherty Puzzle (it's Too Early to Dismiss Historicity), 3) What about Randel Helms?, 4) It did NOT take two more years until the next TF challenge ...

I have not read the book - just the twelve pieces of his puzzle.* I hope my answer is not too puzzling.

1) Lateness of Christian Testimony to Historical Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth cannot be found in Christian writings earlier than the Gospels, the first of which (Mark) was composed only toward the end of the first century CE.
I answer:
Admitting that the Gospel of St Matthew was first, it is indeed the earliest Christian piece of writing. I have heard it attributed by Orthodox Historians to variously one and seven years after the main events, as Passion, Death, Burial and Resurrection of Our Lord.

Obviously this would cause some problem for an Atheist.

If a man says that seven years ago there was an Earthquake and All Earth was for Three Hours in Darkness, either that is what happened, or the man will be considered as mad or joking.

I can see why an Atheist, who starts out believing the supernatural events in the Gospel did not happen, would conclude that St Matthew was pretty late.

That being so, is there any case for this, in face of early testimony for St Matthew's priority for any rational inquirer, I mean of course someone not starting out from Atheist prejudice? None as far as I know.

I was just looking at a video with Richard Carrier, in which he came to challenge the consensus that Christ is historical. His point is that Academic consensus can happen (even without intricate conspiracy theories as explanation) with a very bad basis in methodological assumptions, as well as through a consistent misapplication of the good or even not so bad there is in them, so as to make the resulty worse, plus being based on factual errors.

Earl Doherty - I hope you enjoy a good cup of Earl Grey while reading this - is here appealing to a consensus which I thinks suffers very much from these faults. There is simply not any claim from early concerned sources that Mark was both first and late. That claim is very recent in scholarship and arises only after there comes to be an organised disbelief in Christianity.
2) Lateness of non-Christian Testimony to Historical Jesus
There is no non-Christian reference to Jesus earlier than the second century. The two references in Flavius Josephus (end of first century) are unreliable and can be dismissed in their entirety as later Christian insertions.
I have already answered this
Critiques of Testimonium Flavianum

Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Challenged Again on Testimonium Flavianum

It seems I get a challenge on TF every two years. My earlier answers are from 2010 and 2012.

Btw, I was only dealing with one TF, one of the passages. However, Earl Doherty is now speaking of two Testimonia Flaviana. Which is the other one?
3) Ethereality of Early Epistle Mentions
The early epistles such as Paul and Hebrews, speak of their Christ Jesus (Messiah Savior [sic!]) as a spiritual, heavenly being, one revealed by God through scripture, and do not equate him with a recent historical man.
I answer
The charge really boils down to ED only accepting as historical an account of anyone which does not identify that someone as spiritual in any way or Heavenly or as revealed before his arrival by Scripture. And of course a real person can neither be a Christ nor a Saviour, according to ED! Will the Antichrist also be doubted as being a real person because he can be described as Hellish, as well as being revealed before his arrival by Scripture?

This is of course a great refutation of people calling Jesus from Nazareth historical but not admitting these claims, but no refutation at all of Christianity.

Note that the trait "+ spiritual" does not here equal "- bodily." And "+ heavenly" does not equal "- historical."

Romans: Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, [2] Which he had promised before, by his prophets, in the holy scriptures, [3] Concerning his Son, who was made to him of the seed of David, according to the flesh

I Corinthians: Is Christ divided? Was Paul then crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul? and Then he was seen by more than five hundred brethren at once: of whom many remain until this present, and some are fallen asleep.

II Corinthians: And Christ died for all; that they also who live, may not now live to themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again.

Galatians: Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead and For I, through the law, am dead to the law, that I may live to God: with Christ I am nailed to the cross. And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered himself for me. I cast not away the grace of God. For if justice be by the law, then Christ died in vain.

Ephesians: Which he wrought in Christ, raising him up from the dead, and setting him on his right hand in the heavenly places.

Note that if the "setting on his right hand" is indeed "in heavenly places" this does not belittle that the "raising him up from the dead" is something observed on earth. As in I Corinthians.

Philippians: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

Someone may object that Krishna is also supposed to have taken the shape of a man. Now, I do not doubt Krishna was a man. Whoever of the two was God, both were men. But in the case of Christ it is better attested. The Mahabharata poet cannot be certainly identified. We cannot say if he lived a thousand or two thousand years after the events. Krishna seems to have lived before the Flood of Noah. Mahabharata may in Indian culture be ascribed an uninterrupted existence since the events, but they cannot point to a Chronology like ours with all generations from Adam to Christ. Paul can be identified as having died under Nero and as having stoned - indirectly, by keeping the coats of those who did the stoning - a man who had bee among the original disciples of Christ. Paul and Luke were nearly contemporary with Christ. The Mahabharata poet can have been as little contemporary with Krishna and Arjuna as Luke with ... I'd rather say Abraham than Adam, for chronological precision and realism.

However, unlike Christ, Krishna never proved his divinity by rising from the dead. Nor was his ascension into heavenly places ever visible to 11 pairs of eyes (22 eyes, like the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet) as an ascension from earth and disappearance high up among the clouds.

Colossians: And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he may hold the primacy: Because in him, it hath well pleased the Father, that all fullness should dwell; And through him to reconcile all things unto himself, making peace through the blood of his cross, both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in heaven.

If you have not died, you cannot be firstborn from the dead. And heavenly things are not dying unless they are also earthly.

I Thessalonians: And to wait for his Son from heaven (whom he raised up from the dead,) Jesus, who hath delivered us from the wrath to come.

II Thessalonians (this time about Antichrist) For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way. And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, him, Whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.

St Paul is really claiming that Antichrist is not just an evil spirit, but also - once he comes forth - a man, able to show off. A magician. A purely metaphysical Antichrist would hardly have powers of seduction.

I Timothy: For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus: Who gave himself a redemption for all, a testimony in due times.

II Timothy: Who hath delivered us and called us by his holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the times of the world. But is now made manifest by the illumination of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath destroyed death, and hath brought to light life and incorruption by the gospel:

However much Earl Doherty may feel "destroyed death" strikes a mythical tone, the words about "made manifest" and the contrast between them and the heavenly reward preexisting since "before the times of the world" simply will not square with St Paul talking of an only heavenly and only mystical Christ Jesus.

Titus: Not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men, who turn themselves away from the truth.

St Paul implies very much here that he is not in the position of one inventing fables or making himself a human interpreter of what was previously only known among the spirits. He is not Hesiod. He is not Numa Pompilius. He is not a Shaman. Instead of being the Mystic, he is saying the Jews are.

For the grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men;

Pretty comprehensible words if a person touching him with a handkerchief could heal a blind or a lame person or raise someone from the dead with the handkerchief, as is claimed in Acts. Totally incomprehensible otherwise. If he had been mad enough to make such claims without backing them up - who would have believed him?

Philemon: one epistle, at long last, in which there is only a reference to what Christ expects from Paul in Heaven. And likewise no reference to appearing or to Christ's adversary being a real man. Is this what Earl Doherty means?

Hebrews (ascribed variously to St Paul or St Barnabas): God, who, at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, In these days hath spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world.

Since the rest of chapter one is very solidly rooted in Heaven, I remind Earl Doherty that "plus heavenly" does not mean "minus bodily". Then I observe that as the prophets were historical persons and perceived by everyone as being such, by implication this means people had actually heard Jesus Christ speak.
4) Platonism and Semiticism of Cosmology
Paul and other early writers place the death and resurrection of their Christ in the supernatural/mythical world based on Platonic and Semitic cosmology, and derive their information about these events, as well as other features of their heavenly Christ from scripture.
I answer
There is a Red Herring here. OT Scripture is not invoked as describing a merely cosmological person and as only source of information. It is invoked as giving information matching the one known from the history of Christ as he was alive.

And if the real cosmology is Platonic and Semitic to the extent that it is so in the epistles of St Paul, then I cannot see how setting events in this cosmology would invalidate the information about them as historic information.

Of course, if you start out with the theory that these cosmologies include one "supernatural/mythical world" distinct from the mundane one, you are in trouble. There is no trace of a supernatural world being the place where myths are set, except very rare ones about the relations of our mundane world to that supernatural one. Usually myths are set HERE.
5) Ancient World View Reflected in Paul
The ancients viewed the universe as finite and multi-layered: matter below, spirit above. The higher world of the heavens was regarded as the superior, genuine reality, where spiritual processes and heavenly counterparts to earthly things were located. Paul's Christ operates within this system.
I answer
Sure they did. Prove them wrong.

Besides, even if they were wrong, their placing the events in this wrongful setting would not making their descriptions non-historical.

Assume a flat earther were reporting about Christopher Columbus (there were noone such in position to be reporting, but assume there had been such). "In the year of Grace One Thousand Four Hundred and Ninety-Two, Christopher Columbus, misled by the demon to believe the earth is a globe, set out with three ships. By a very great Mercy of Providence, he did not reach the rim of the world, but stopped in an island which he called Hispaniola, and came back in March the next year, getting into Lisbon by a storm, and proving by the fact of bringing back selvatic men that he had indeed reached some land outside Christendom."

This would be - and we would know it - set in a cosmology which is false. This does not mean we would have any reason to doubt that Christopher Columbus made these voyages if we only had the words of Flat Earthers for them.

But to get back to some seriousness, I view the world as finite and as multilayered. Matter having a lower degree and spirit a higher degree of actuality and of causality. I think the ancients were simply right. Prove me wrong. If. You. Can.
6) Mystery Cults and Ahistoricity of their Saviours
The pagan "mystery cults" of the period worshipped savior (sic!) deities who had performed salvific acts. Under the influence of Platonism, these acts came to be interpreted by the cults as taking place in the supernatural/mythical world, not on earth or in history. The Pauline Christ was similarily regarded as undergoing death and resurrection in the heavenly realm. This new Christ also shared other mythological concepts current in the ancient world.
I answer
There is no trace of any Pagan Mystery Cult placing death in the heavenly realm. It is by definition deathless, for Hebrew, Pagan and Christian alike. Earl Doherty is inventing a background culture which he cannot prove was there.
7) Son = Logos = a Concept à la mode
The most prominent philosophical-religious concept of the period was 'the intermediary Son': an emanation of the ultimate transcendent God who served as a spiritual channel between God and humanity. Such intermediary concepts as the Greek Logos and Jewish personified Wisdom were models for Paul's heavenly Christ and Son, who took on an additional, sacrificial role under the inspiration of scripture.
I answer
Once more, this is perhaps good enough for an Atheist, for one believing such Son-ship must be non-factual and describe an un-real figment of erroneous imaginations.

This is not in any way an argument against Christianity.

If our religion is true, we would expect that not just Hebrews but also Pagans were somehow prepared to receive the truth when it came. Platonism is part of the preparation for the Gospel.

Even more. To Plotinus who rejected Christianity, the Mind was not Son of the One or the Good. His concept of Logos is not a concept in which a Father to Son relation has any role. Instead, to Plotinus, the Mind is inferior to the One, because it is self aware. Because one can affirm something about it. This Platonic idea is incompatible with Christianity and pretty much the model for the Arian heresy. And the Gospels could not be proven to support it, believe me, Arius tried really, really bad.

Or, do NOT believe me. Read Newman's well documented History of the Arians of the IV Century.
8) Gospels and Acts Unreliable from One Source
All the Gospels derive their basic story of Jesus of Nazareth from one source: the Gospel of Mark, the first one composed. Subsequent evangelists reworked Mark in their own interests and added new material. None of the evangelists show any concern for creating genuine history. The Acts of the Apostles as an account of the beginnings of the Christian apostolic movement is historically unreliable, a second century piece of legend-making.
I answer
It is modern scholarship which is unreliable and derives its "information" from one logical source: the refusal to believe the truth of it.

So far from studying the question and rejecting the truth because the evidence is against it, they reject the truth first and judge the evidence by improbable conjectures about it, calculated to support that rejection.
9) Gospels Symbolic Not Historic
The Gospels were not written as historical accounts, but present a symbolic representation of a Galilean kingdom-preaching sect, combined with a fictional passion story set on earth, presumably meant to allegorise the heavenly Christ's death and resurrection in the supernatural realm. They are constructed through the process of "midrasch," a Jewish method of reworking old biblical passages and tales to reflect new beliefs. The story of Jesus' trial and crucifixion is a pastiche of verses from scripture, and has nothing to do with "history remembered."
I answer
First off, this completely contradicts the previous charge. Saying a text is an unreliable factual account and saying it is not meant as a factual account at all are two incompatible charges against its factual reliability.

It is like claiming at once that a text is Lord of the Rings by Tolkien and that it is The Vatican's Holocaust by Avro Manhattan. It cannot be both at the same time.

Second, the heavenly Christ cannot have died unless he became an earthly Christ. Death is not in heaven. As previously already said.
10) Does "Q" Give you any Cue?
"Q" is a lost sayings collection extracted from Matthew and Luke, and made no reference to a death and resurection, or soteriological role for its Jesus. It can be shown to have no Jesus figure at its roots, some of which roots were ultimately non-Jewish. The Q community preached the imminent coming of the kingdom of God and the arrival of the heavenly Son of Man as an End-time judge, and its traditions were eventually assigned to an invented founder who was combined with the spiritual Christ Jesus of the Pauline type in the Gospel of Mark. The case for the existence of Q is much superior to any alternative explanation for the common material in Matthew and Luke.
I answer
Especially if you start OUT with excluding a Historical Jesus as the real source, right?

Again, we are dealing with a charge contradicting a previous one. One source only and one source plus another one are not compatible.

Also, in order to explain a Community well known from its beginnings, like most other ones, he now invents (or the Academics that he follows invent) a lost community of which we have no trace except the changes they wrought by fusion with the known community which is supposed to have changed from a never asserted more primitive state. In terms of logic this is an atrocity.
11) Christ is So Complex He Cannot Have Been a Real Person!
The initial variety of sects and beliefs about a spiritual heavenly Christ and Son of God, some with a revealer role, others with a sacrificial one, shows that this broad movement began in many different places, a multiplicity of largely independent and spontaneous developments based on the Jewish scriptures and other religious expressions of the time, not as a response to a single individual or point of origin.
I answer
Usually persons are considered as mythological props because they are too flat to be real persons. Here we have the opposite charge!

Mercurius is often these days considered a pure myth because his only remaining role (openly on earth, as opposed to "in the consciousness" of people as "messenger of the gods") is to have been a magician. And an author of the books attributed to Hermes Trismegistos. Obviously a magician like Hermes Trismegistus cannot have written Hermes Trismegistus. That is so obviously a flat and unreal personality with only one role to play. So he is a myth. Then one goes on to say "but the books of Hermes Trismegistus have some kind of author" and modern Academia has hey presto invented a new character which has only one role to play. Which means he should be regarded as mythical, on the same criterium they apply to Hermes Trismegistus.

BUT here we have a Man (not to mention that this Man is God Himself) treated as a mere myth, because He is too complex to be a real person!
12) Letting Gnostic Gospels Prove the Orthodox Ones were Not Meant Literally - I Presume.
Well into the second century, many Christian documents lack or reject the notion of a past human man as an element of their faith. The type of Christ belief which became later orthodoxy developed only through the course of the second century to eventually gain dominance toward its end. Only gradually did the Jesus of Nazareth portrayed in the Gospels come to be accepted as historical and his 'life story' real.
I answer
The Gnostic pseudo-Gospels like the one inscribed with the name of St Thomas are indeed from this kind of timescale. I e later than the real and Canonic Gospels.

However, it is a big mistake to speak of early Christianity and Similar Stuff as One Movement rather than as Many Communities. Any text which explicitly rejects Historic Existence of Christ as Jesus from Nazareth is not from the Church but from the Gnostics. The Gnostics are another Community. Another Community is Not the Same One.

And the fact that there was a very definitely organised Church or Communion of Churches is very apparent from the Epistles I just cited from. Precisely as it is from Acts. Or from Martyrologium Romanum. Or from St Irenaeus. Or from St Ignatius of Antioch. Or from Didaché. That latter piece of writing mentions the fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays. This was not done by Gnostics, as far as we know. It was and is done by Catholics (at least Four times a Year, plus Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, plus Abstinence on Fridays, and that is the Latin Rite which has alleviated the fasting discipline). We can pretty safely conclude Catholics are the same Community as that of the Didaché.

And as Communities do usually know something baout the way they were founded - a certain Civic Community knows uit was founded by a Declaration of Independence and a Bill of Rights to justify it, both from 1776 - we can conclude It also knows how It was founded. It is not something which reasonable people cannot accept. BUT Earl Doherty is rather in the category of Naturalist Pseudo-Philosophers, and therefore we cannot know if he will accept it.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
St Zeno of Verona

* From: Earl Doherty : Jesus, Neither God Nor Man - The Case for a Mythical Jesus