Facts That Prove or Disprove the Bible

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by Mirage, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    I was asked in another thread to post facts from a book claiming to prove the Bible's validity. While I still think the person who asked me should just read the book, I decided to make this thread and open a discussion on such facts. A lot of people are quick to assume that there is no evidence that the Bible is true. In this thread I will attempt to show those assumptions to be dead wrong. Additionally, I've included links to several books at the bottom of this thread that go into a lot more detail about the evidence of the Bible/Christianity being true.

    I've been doing some research lately and have come across several very interesting websites that account for quite a few facts that prove the validity of the Bible based on either science, historical records and accounts, and archeology.

    For starters, a very interesting read that would argue that the earth could in fact be millions of years old and not disprove the credibility of the Bible. It's actually a very interesting read:

    AVOIDING A DANGEROUS TRAP | Reasons To Believe

    Next, Biblical accounts of scientific "facts" long before they were ever discovered or even acknowledged by secular and mainstream science (in some cases 3,000 years prior):

    Scientific facts that prove the Bible Text

    Next, third party (Non-Bible) historical documentation of the Birth, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Jesus. Interesting enough, several of these sources are people who hated Christians at the time of their writings. They wouldn't have had much incentive to make up Jesus and then talk about him in their writings.

    Birth: Proof of Birth

    Crucifixion: Crucifixion of Jesus

    Resurrection: Resurrection of Jesus Christ-Historical Evidence

    Additionally, it should be noted that Jesus has the longest biography of anybody in the Encyclopedia according to the above site. They also note the following:

    Here are some archeological discoveries that validate several people and events written about in the Bible:


    Finally, the validity of the Bible vs. other historical documents:

    Validity of the Bible

    Pay special attention to the chart on that page. I'll see if I can duplicate it in this post:

    There is plenty more evidence where a lot of this came from too. That last part references a book titled "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell. There is an updated version with even more evidence titled "New Evidence that Demands a Verdict". It's 800 pages long.

    Another book that Josh McDowell endorsed is called "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist" by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek. This one is 448 pages long.

    Both of the above books are detailed and complex reads. They are also quite lengthy. I have found that in general, most people aren't willing to read 400+ pages about something they are not even sure if they are open to, let alone 800. However, I recently read another book that is a lot shorter than the above two. Granted it doesn't have as much information, but it still provides enough to really get you seriously thinking. It's a very smooth read. I read it in two sittings without getting bored. It's titled "One Heartbeat Away" and it's by Mark Cahill. For those interested in reading this book, I've offered a challenge in another thread where I have even offered to buy the book for you. For more details on that, visit this thread.

    So here's how I'd like this thread to work. First of all, this is a fact thread, not an opinion thread. While you can have opinions based on facts, make sure that you post facts as well. This thread will definitely lead to several intense debates. Please do your best to cite your sources that back your arguments. Obviously I've shown what I feel to be evidence that proves Christianity. If you feel you have evidence to the contrary, feel free to post it. Also, I would also appreciate it if you would address the evidence I've posted. I believe some of it is exceptionally strong and I'm curious to see how it will hold up against some of the more serious atheists and agnostics here. I will do the same with any evidence that you post to support your side.
    Sim likes this.

  2. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    Please let me apologize that I did not read all your sources, which I think are interesting, for the simple reason that I know by reading them, there is not much to gain: Since none of us, neither you nor I nor anybody else here, is expert enough to prove all the claims made there, we will be at the same point where we started, even after reading them -- either you believe what you want to believe (trusting the source), or you don't. Basically, it just boils down to the fallacy of "appeal to authority", we still stand where we stood in the beginning, just can cite names to back it up.

    And there can be no doubt, not even the slightest, that anybody who claims he can "prove the Bible true" is a crook. Nobody can do that. Maybe you can prove true one claim or another in the Bible, but not the Christian faith in general. You can also prove that certain stories in the Bible are based on actual historical events, but we will never know how much of it is true, how much was added, or if certain aspects of the true history have been falsified.

    On the other side, you also find many claims in the Bible which are proven to be false. Just to name one: I remember one guy, I believe in Exodus, wanted to breed moddled cattle out of plain cattle. To do so, he held moddled bark in front of them when they copulated -- et voilà, the offsprings were moddled. It goes without saying that this is scientifically-wise absolute bullsh*t.

    But I want to reply in general: I have no doubt that the Bible contains many stories that are based on historical facts -- in some cases rather accurately, others events are varnished, maybe details added, sometimes interpreted in a certain manner, some may be entirely fictional. Also, I have no doubt that many things today known as scientific facts are in the Bible too -- man has been smart for a very long time already, even before accurate scientific methods were established. After all, it were men who built the Pyramids long before modern architecture, and some native American peoples had very deep insight into astronomy that was by far greater than that of Europeans in the Dark Ages. So I am sure that certain scientific truths had been known back then, which have later been forgotten again, and have only been rediscovered again in modern times.

    But none of that "proves the Bible true". Just because some events or truths are contained in the Bible, that doesn't mean everything in the Bible is true. For example, you cannot scientifically prove the existence of God. That's why it's called "belief".

    It's very dangerous to conflate belief or faith with science, in my opinion. The authors of the Bible did not abide to scientific method. Scientists, as we understand the term today, did not even exist back then. The Bible is a wild, unordered mix of ancient folklore tales, national history chronicles of the Jewish people, myths, scientific wisdom, valuable advice, ethics and ancient laws.

    At the time when it was written, man did not know yet how to differentiate between these different topics -- and neither did they work accurately and scientifically valid. They conflated law with ethical philosophy, hearsay and tradition with natural science, historiography with myths.

    That, of course, doesn't mean at all everything in the Bible is wrong -- on the contrary, much of the wisdom may actually be true, valid and helpful. Just we can never be sure what is, and what is not.

    The Bible is not a science book, and must never be treated as such. By doing so, you do injustice to both science and faith. I remember my religious education teacher back in high school, who also was a physics teacher, who said that "science explains how things are, the Bible explains why they are". When we encountered an apparent contradiction between science and the Bible in class, he would advise us not to read the Bible literally, but to "see the lesson behind it", or "to get the message", because in his opinion, that's what makes the Bible valuable.
    Bananas likes this.
  3. Spooky

    Spooky Registered Member

    I was actually looking for scientific proof of god and not the bible, I don't doubt- no i can't comment because i can't remember anything I've read from the bible lol.

    Anyway, since it's nearly 2 am here i'll only reply to a couple of the facts at the beginning!

    I'd just like to make a comment that as usual, people seem to gleam whatever suits them from statements in religious text!

    What Holds the Earth Up?
    "Three thousand years ago the Hindu scriptures recorded the earth was resting on the backs of several huge elephants. The elephants were resting on the back of a very large turtle that was swimming in a sea. Greek mythology claims that the god Atlas was holding the earth on his shoulders. But our Bible says in Job 26:7 — "[God] hangeth the earth on nothing." What a remarkable statement of fact. The earth is suspended in space. Nothing is holding it up. Job wrote about the same time the Hindu Scripture was written. How did Job know this scientific fact? Only God could have revealed this to Job. The Old Testament prophets wrote as they were moved by the holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). The Judeo-Christian Bible is the inspired Word of God."

    Alright, what holds the earth up is callled gravity and it's not nothing!


    "For thousands of years people believed the earth was flat. If one went too far, he would fall over the edge. This was taught in both Hindu and Buddhist scripture. In the 1500s, the first ship sailed around the world. This proved the earth was round. But the round earth was recorded in the Judeo-Christian Bible long before man discovered it in the 1500s.
    The prophet Isaiah (40:22) spoke of the "circle of the earth." Solomon wrote, "He [God] set a compass [circle] upon the face of the deep." Proverbs 8:27. In our century, Arabs spoke of infidels being pushed over the edge into space. About 3,000 years ago, our Bible said the earth was round. This was not discovered until 500 years ago. Indeed, the Judeo-Christian Bible is the inspired Word of God."

    As i said about the interpretation of religious text at the start, circle = circle, and not sphere.

    Sun, Moon and Stars — Who? What?

    Ancient people were afraid of the sun, moon and stars. They thought they were alive — that they were gods. But over 5,000 years ago, the Judeo-Christian Bible in the first chapter of Genesis pointed out that the sun, moon and stars were created by God. Remember, our God states that He is the one and only God. This proves the sun, moon and stars that He created are not gods.
    Eclipses are an example of what people feared. An eclipse happens when the sun’s light is blocked by the earth or moon. The moon is bright because it reflects the sun’s light. But when the earth blocks that light, the moon looks like it is disappearing. Also, when the moon comes between the earth and the sun, it looks like the sun is disappearing.
    This was frightening to people long ago. Some thought eclipses happened when the moon was mad at the earth and turned its face away. The Chinese believed that an eclipse was caused by a demon or some huge animal that ate the sun and then would give them up again. God told Jeremiah (10:2 KJ): "Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them." God went on to reassure Jeremiah that the universe is under God’s control.
    Later scientists learned that heavenly bodies were not alive and that man need not fear them. Thousands of years before scientists discovered that the planetary bodies were inanimate, the Judeo-Christian Bible contained this scientific fact.

    So it doesn't say that suns and stars aren't gods...It simply they are signs of heaven (?????????How is that any less insane????????)


    The Bottom of the Ocean
    Until modern times people thought the ocean floor was sandy like the desert and saucer shaped—deepest in the middle. This was even true of the pre-1900 geologists. But in the 1900s oceanographers found the sea had many deep valleys or canyons. The deepest canyons were called trenches. The Marianas Trench in the Pacific is so deep that if Mt. Everest (29,000 feet high) was dropped into it, the peak would still be a mile below the water’s surface. There are also underwater mountains. The Atlantic Ocean contains an undersea range of mountains 10,000 miles long.
    In addition, 3,000 years ago the Judeo-Christian Bible spoke of the valleys and mountains of the sea. In Psalm 18:15 (NIV) David wrote of God being the creator of "the valleys of the sea." God asked Job (38:16 NIV): "Have you walked in the recesses [interpretation->valleys] of the sea?" The prophet Jonah was thrown off a ship and spoke of falling to the bottom of the mountains in the sea (Jonah 2:6). (yeah I'm sure people can survive that deep)

    The Judeo-Christian Bible spoke of the valleys and mountains of the sea thousands of years before scientists discovered them. Indeed our Bible is the inspired Word of God.

    And even if it is meant to be interpreted as you believe you can't know that people who wrote this didn't just think differently (no, not because god told them -.-) to what other people were believed to think at this time. It all seems very conveniently interpreted.


    The Paths of the Sea
    In the 1800s, Matthew Maury, an officer in the United States Navy believed his Bible. As a Christian he loved to read the Bible. One day Maury was reading about the dominion man was given over the animals in Psalm 8. He was amazed that verse 8 spoke of the fish and all creatures that swim in the "paths of the sea." "Paths of the sea"— how could this be? He never knew there was such a thing. He was determined to find them. Maury discovered that the oceans have many paths or currents, which were like rivers flowing through the sea. Maury wrote the first book on oceanography and became known as "the pathfinder of the seas"— "The father of modern navigation."
    Maury received his idea about ocean currents from reading Psalm 8:8 which was written about 3,000 years ago by King David. David wrote as he was moved by the Spirit of God and probably never actually saw an ocean.
    Incidentally, Psalm 8:8 also spoke of fish in the "paths of the seas." All fishing boats make a good catch in the currents or paths of the sea. They have learned this is where the fish swim.

    Again, since they are so vague it's easy to interpret them in nearly any way. But kudos to the bible for inspiring this guys work!


    I'll keep going tommorow but for now I need to sleep.

    Just a question, does this mean you believe everything written in the bible to be fact? Or just the parts that happened to be right if you interpret them in a certain way?
  4. MenInTights

    MenInTights not a plastic bag


    I saw some thread where you stated you could not know which religious writings were true and which weren't. While these examples don't prove the validity of the Bible, what they do is dis-prove the validity of other text. So if you are really interested in finding the true word of God and not being an antagonistic, you can start by removing the text that have been proven false.

    And yes, I believe everything written in the Bible.
  5. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    I don't remember that. Are you referring to Pharaoh's dream?

    "When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, 2when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. 3After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. 4And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up." - Genesis 41:1-4

    Well, as I said in the OP the sources I provided do not focus primarily on one specific type of evidence. I didn't even get into the prophecies that came to pass that were written in the Bible thousands of years earlier.

    But take for example the evidence on the second site I posted. It provides text written by third parties that verified the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Historians can agree conclusively that Jesus Christ was an actual person that really lived. They can also conclude from third party historical records that he was in fact crucified. Additionally, within 25 years of his resurrection, the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) were circulated along with the rest of the New Testament. According to the chart I posted, more than 24,000 copies of New Testament writings were circulated within 25 years time. As you can see, no other historical documents prior to this time period even come close, and yet we all have no problem accepting those. So, with 24,000+ copies of various parts of the New Testament in circulation, many written by people who saw Jesus themselves, witnessed the crucifixion and resurrection, etc, we have to ask ourselves a few questions:

    1. Did Jesus really exist? - There is overwhelming evidence to support that he did exist. There is no more reason to believe that he didn't exist than there is to say that Julius Caesar didn't exist.

    2. Was he really crucified? - Again, there are countless third party sources that talk about his crucifixion. Ranging from Roman documents to Jewish documents to early church documents. The Romans wouldn't have written about his crucifixion as fact if they knew it was fake. They wouldn't have wanted to encourage such lies for obvious reasons.

    3. Most importantly, if he really did live and was crucified, was he resurrected? - This is what Christianity hinges on. If this event can be proven false, then all of Christianity is false. Read the page I linked to regarding this. It's quite interesting. Plus, take into account the following:

    -a. Eye witnesses to his crucifixion and resurrection dedicated their lives to spreading Christianity. In many cases, they died horrible deaths and still didn't deny Christ. There deaths are documented in history as well. Why would anybody dedicate their life and in the end be martyred for something they knew was a lie?

    -b. Additionally, their writings were copied over 24,000 times in just 25 years from the time the events they described took place. Where are the writings from that same time period saying that these writings are falsified?

    -c. Jesus' body was never found. Ever. This is a historical fact. Considering he was easily the most famous person to have ever lived, it would have been extremely hard to steal his body and hide it. The Romans themselves set up guards so that nobody could steal the body. In fact, there are no Roman writings that suggest that the body was stolen.

    You missed the point of that page you read. Obviously we know NOW that those observations mentioned in the Bible are true. The point is that these observations weren't even labeled or discovered by scientists until the past thousand years or less. They were observed in the Bible over 3,000 years ago.

    As for the parts that "happened" to be right, that's why that page also references other religious texts from other religions. You will notice that those didn't "happen" to be right. They were wrong. There is quite a bit that "happened" to be right in the Bible. In fact, there isn't one thing that "happened" to be wrong.
  6. Major

    Major 4 legs good 2 legs bad V.I.P.

    I think he was talking about Genesis 30-31 when Jacob flees from Laban.
  7. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    Ok, I was way off. That's definitely what he was referring to. :lol:

    I did some research on this just now and found an interesting article on the subject. It should be noted that Jacob was a trickster. He basically figured out a way to get what he wanted while looking like he was being honest.

    http://faculty.washington.edu/snoegel/PDFs/articles/Noegel 20 - JANES 1997.pdf

    Otherwise, it could also be argued that it was a miracle. I mean, science can't explain a man walking on water or raising from the dead after being stabbed through the heart either. Just because science can't explain miracles doesn't mean they didn't occur by supernatural means. I mean, that's why we have the word "supernatural" in the first place.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2010
  8. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    No, the Pharaoh's dream is not the story I mean. I was wrong, it's in Genesis, not in Exodus. Took me a while to find it, but I've looked it up: Genesis 30:37-43.

    The guy in question is Laban. This excerpt suggests that plain white sheep will breed mottled or black offsprings when they look at mottled bark when copulating.

    Obviously, this is not scientifically accurate and rather falls into the category of "magical thinking". Of course plain white sheep can breed black or mottled offsprings, but certainly not because of visual stimulation during the copulation.

    (I'm sorry for not posting the exact quote. I have a Bible in German language only at hand. But I am sure you can look it up easily.)

    I guess the teacher I mentioned would say the essential part of the story is not this detail, and it doesn't need to be true to get the point across -- that Laban got wealthy on cost of his brother, by being smart and playing a trick on him.

    Because of the war dreams I mentioned in another thread, I have studied the topic of prophecies quite a lot -- mostly non-Biblical alleged prophecies, though. And I agree that it's frightening how much of it seems to perfectly describe events that had not taken place when the prophecy was made, yet has become history in the meantime.

    But the problem is, most prophecies are so vague that when you search long enough, you will find an historical event that fits. And you always need to fill the gaps by interpretation.

    But a good prophecy is only good and can be considered genuine premonition, when it accurately predicts an event before it takes place. To assign real events to it in retrospect doesn't say much. And so far, all alleged prophecies I have seen fail to deliver that.

    Yes, I have heard that too. As far as I know, according to contemporary historical and archeological science, the existence of Jesus is considered historical fact. Scientists have found evidence Jesus is a historical person, and that his crucification took place.

    That doesn't mean the details described in the New Testament are necessarily accurate -- details may have been added, others exaggerated, some even entirely fictional.

    You probably know better than I how long after Jesus' crucification the gospels were written, but if I remember correctly, the first was written 25 to 30 years later, the latest even around 80 to 100 years later.

    We're talking about an age here when the conversation of documents was rudimentary at best -- there were no audio tapes to record Jesus' preachings, no cameras and only the fewest people could even read and write. So the content of the events described in the gospels was necessarily based on oral tradition and hearsay. Even if I believed in God, I would still have reason to question the validity of these reports, because it was not God who passed down the gospels to man, but it were fallible humans who wrote them, and it were fallible humans who had passed it from one to another orally, before it was finally written down.

    You know how rumor can spread, change and expand with time -- every person who passes it to the next may change or add a detail, view it through the glasses of a particular interpretation, or exaggerate it. Well possible Jesus did no wonders at all, but just was a remarkable, outstanding human being, who was considered a savior by many. Then he even became a martyr -- so it wouldn't take me wonder in the slightest if those who adored him, but had never seen him in person, exaggerated his deeds and capacities very much.

    Simple answer: They didn't know it was a lie. Maybe it wasn't even a lie in the first place, but just a misunderstanding due to a lack of crucial information.

    Imagine, for example, after Jesus was crucified, the rumor spread that he was dead. But he wasn't dead yet, and was taken down from the cross. Then some who had heard the initial rumor happened to see him again alife -- et voilà, the myth was born Jesus has been resurrected. We can't blame these people for lying -- when you don't have other sources than just rumor, and also strongly admire the person who believed to be dead, the idea is not far-fetched to assume he is in God's grace and has been resurrected, in that situation.

    As I said above, most of these people most likely never met Jesus in person, but only knew about him from exaggerated hearsay. In a time when it's impossible for the individual to get the information necessary to prove or disprove hearsay, such oral tradition is the only source of information they had. And when then, in addition to this exaggerated hearsay, Jesus preachings hit a nerve in many people of that time (which wouldn't surprise me at all, because I believe the Sermon on the Mount still has a lot to offer even today), I can very well imagine they would risk their lives for this new religion.

    First, the burden of proof lies with the person who makes a claim in the first place, it doesn't lie with those who question the claim. When I claim "the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the world", it's up to me to prove it, not up to you to disprove it. When I cannot do that, you have no reason to assume my claim is true.

    Also, as I explained above, I don't think the events were deliberately falsified.

    And I don't think the Bible is a good historical source for the deeds of the historical person of Jesus: The writings you mention are those written and circulated by Jesus' followers -- which is an unreliable source, as explained above. As far as I know, there are no non-Christian sources which claim Jesus had been resurrected.

    But you are right, there is no proof to the contrary either. And there is certain evidence for the fact that Jesus at least existed. So it may very well be true -- but for me, the clues suggesting that are too vague and unreliable to be considered proof. As long as it's neither proven, nor disproven, I go with "Occam's Razor": The explanation that needs the fewest variables is the best one. Miracles or the supernatural are way too big variables for my taste, so I go with the hearsay variant, until I see proof for it.

    That Jesus' body was never found is no proof that he has vanished. As far as I know, there is not even any evidence or clue for the claim he didn't die at the cross -- so when even that is not sure, how can we be sure that his body finally vanished after his alleged resurrection?

    Don't forget Jesus was not considered one of the most famous people in history yet at that time -- for the Romans who crucified him, he was just an annoying criminal among many, who happened to be admired by a then small religious sect. So it's unlikely the Romans considered him important enough to track his fate and death and record files on it.

    I don't know how often and how many people were crucified at that time -- maybe a dozen per month? We don't have evidence for all the others who were crucified, but that doesn't mean there were not many crucifications. Just like the lack of evidence for his dead body is not proof that it didn't exist.

    But again, as said above, it isn't disproven either, of course. But the burden of proof lies with the one making the claim, not with the one questioning it.
    Mirage likes this.
  9. Spooky

    Spooky Registered Member

    I don't doubt jesus existed, I'm sure he was a very intelligent guy with some very good ideas.. What I doubt is the divinity and you know.. god.

    Forgive me if I'm missing something.. But some parts of the bible are just total er, for lack of a more crude word.. False.

    Here's one

    "Mark 16:17-18 (Today's New International Version) And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."

  10. ExpectantlyIronic

    ExpectantlyIronic e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑

    I visited the second link, and noticed the author of that page was claiming Biblical verses calling the Earth a "circle" were meant to indicate it was a sphere (the Earth isn't really a sphere, but close enough...). Circles and spheres are not the same. In fact, the belief that the Earth was a flat disk (i.e. circle) was pretty common back in ye' olden times. The Hindus thought it was a disc sitting on the back of a turtle, as the article points out. Which reminds me of a story. A scientist or secular philosopher (accounts differ, and Bertrand Russell is often named) was giving a lecture, and an old lady stood up and told him quite confidently that he was wrong, and that the Earth was a disc being held up by a giant turtle. The lecturer asked the lady what was holding up the turtle, and she smiled and said, "you thought you had me, didn't you? Well, I'm no fool. It's turtles all the way down!"

    Also, the Earth was known to be a sphere since ancient times. Not everyone knew it, but sailors and the like had noticed the horizon. The whole "the Bible says the Earth is a circle" thing was about as far as I got, as far as reading the links in the OP is concerned. Though, I also noticed in the OP mentions the Reader's Digest Book of Facts listed some things about Jesus as facts. Really? The Reader's Digest Book of Facts? The leading authority on condensing articles and books? I mean, I guess I can't argue with that. Once they say something's a fact, it's etched in stone.

    Anyways, I'm sure I could go through and individually address absolutely everything posted, but you can see from this post how I reacted to what little I did read. Maybe I could get something of a Reader's Digest style summary of all the high-points of everything posted in the OP? The real zingers that'll leave me scratching my head in puzzlement and shock? The whole shotgun approach to making a point doesn't do it for me. I don't say, "well look at all of that! Some of it has to demonstrate the intended point, because there's just so much!" I mean, I could perhaps fill a truck with literature on the luminiferous aether, but that doesn't change the fact it was all rendered bullshit.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2010
    Sim likes this.
  11. k3rm0r

    k3rm0r Registered Member

    the bible is true as a story yeah sure i can belive that. but as many ppl do know. a old story has lies in it, that grow as it comes from person to person. and they add stuff..

    just look at this fish i cough it weigh 1kg.. by the time it reaches 100 ppl the fish i cought is gonna be a whale at a gazillion kg's.
  12. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    Yeah that was pointed out after I posted that. I replied above right around the same time you did. You might have missed it.

    Did you ever do any research on the prophecies of the Messiah? It's difficult to look at the life of Jesus as described in the New Testament and not be impressed. He fulfilled over 400 according to the writings in the New Testament, which have more third party backing than the writings of any other ancient document from that time by a LOT.

    The earliest was within 25 years. And there were over 24,000 accounts written (New Testament portions, not just the life of Jesus) within those 25 years. That's more accurate and more extensive than any other writing from that period or earlier. If we can't accept the New Testament as fact, which has almost 40 times more copies of out during its first 25 years than even Homers Iliad, which had 643 copies over 500 years, and every other ancient writing before its time, then how can we accept ANYTHING written before it as fact?

    A few things though:

    1. If can easily be argued that God inspired the New Testament to be written as is.
    2. All of the "gospels" were written by men who claimed to have seen him and lived with him. Many of these people were martyred. Have you ever heard of anybody who was willing to go through a horrific death for a lie?
    3. Read what I said above about the 24,000 copies of NT documents vs other old writings. The fact that there are 24,000 copies alone makes changing and exaggeration quite difficult, since one would have to destroy all other copies before being able to pull that off.

    According to what Luke wrote, Peter and the other apostles claimed to have the necessary crucial information:

    "Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”

    "Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men! The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”" - Acts 5:27-32

    They claimed to be witnesses, and then were later martyred. There are over 24,000 copies of what they wrote during that time, but nothing written by anybody else that would lead anybody to assume that they became irrational and in many ways completely mentally unstable after the crucifixion. They would have had to have gone completely insane to spend the rest of their lives promoting something that they knew was a lie, and sticking to that lie to the point of being executed for it. Not just one of them either. Quite a few of them. In fact, there isn't one account of any of the disciples/apostles admitting to this "lie". Every last one that was martyred stuck to their story up until their executions.

    Interesting point, but then again how can you be absolutely 100% that the burden of proof lies with those who claim the Bible is true? One could argue (and I will) that with whom the burden of proof lies would depend on which claim was made first. That God is real and that the Bible is true, or that he isn't. We can look at ancient writings to gauge this, but just because something is written first doesn't mean it made the first claim. Certainly stories would have been passed down from generation to generation in ancient history just as they are today.

    And if we were to stick to writings to see who made the first claim, we'd still have to find ancient writings written before 1473 that claimed atheistic views. Otherwise, "There is no God" is by default the defending position. Is this a fair statement to make?

    Why would there be any non-Christian sources that claimed that Jesus was resurrected? Even at the time when his resurrection was said to have taken place, those who ended up believing it "i.e. Paul", became Christians. According to the Bible, Jesus was seen by over 500 people after his resurrection. His death had been confirmed and a lot of these people, even his own disciples were careful about believing that it was truly him, since they had seen him killed with their own eyes. The Romans speared his heart and saw blood and water flow out of his side separately. I don't think it's too bold of a claim to say that anybody who witnessed such events and then also witnessed the person raised from the dead would stay non-Christian.

    According to the links I posted, the existence of Jesus is equally or more historically verifiable than the existence of Julius Caesar. Few historians would make the claim that Jesus never existed. As for miracles and supernatural stories, there are countless accounts of such occurrences within history. I have even witnessed some myself as I have described in other threads.

    His death was of a far more political nature than a simple common criminal. In fact, the Romans were well aware of the rumors circulating that he would rise from the dead. They did two things specifically to ensure that his body was not stolen. First, they sealed the tomb. Anybody who broke this seal and entered to steal the body would be subject to execution. Second, they stationed rotating guards at the tomb night and day. According to the Bible, his body was "gone" within 3 days of being placed in the tomb. There wasn't a single report of anyone attempting to steal the body. Roman writings are quiet on the issue. Granted, it would have been an embarrassment to them and best left out of "their history", but consider this: The level of security around his tomb would have made stealing his body a huge task involving many people. Most likely the people who were closest to him, his disciples. The ones who had a huge stake in his claim of being the Son of God. This goes back to the fact that many of them died horrible deaths due to their claims. There isn't one recorded record of a single one of these "eye witnesses" changing their story or backing down on their claims, even to the point of brutal execution, in some cases being crucified themselves.

    If he wasn't the Son of God, who he claimed to be, then he wouldn't have been a good guy of any sort. He would have been the biggest deceiver in the history of mankind. Here's what C.S. Lewis (former devout atheist) said on the matter:

    "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. ... Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God." - C.S. Lewis

    Can you prove that anything said there is false? I can make the claim that it is true. Here's just one example. They will place place their hands on sick people, and they will get well: http://www.generalforum.com/religion/my-friends-burnt-hand-healed-instantly-71336.html

    I will check the Hebrew word used. I am not an expert, but perhaps there was no word for "sphere" at the time? Again, I'm not making that claim, but I will check. Perhaps Bordie knows.

    By the time the New Testament reached 24,000 copies (way more than 100), the content was still the same. This is a verifiable fact.
    Sim likes this.
  13. Swiftstrike

    Swiftstrike Registered Member

    The Bible was written by man. I doubt it's historical accuracy since it is a compilations of books written by several authors over a long period of time. Men I believe with an agenda.

    There are too few accounts from other parties regarding Jesus outside the religious texts. I would think that if scholars and scribes would spend time writing about Plato, Aristotle, Egyptian Pharaohs, Alexander the Great, etc. There would more historical accounts of Jesus outside of the religious scriptures.

    Note there were several gnostic gospels that apparently didn't "make the cut" regarding the tales of Jesus. The gospel of Thomas and Judas are the first that comes to mind. Should we view the Bible as 100% historically accurate when men were the individuals who selected various passages, by various authors, over longs periods of time to be compiled together?

    I think it is foolish to interpret the Bible as historical truth and historically accurate. There was no great flood, the earth is an old planet, Jesus apparently disappeared for about 30 years doing who knows what (why didn't they write about that!), Job couldn't possibly have recreated a family so quickly, the devil never physically appeared to Jesus in desert etc. Tunnel-vision would be the best way to describe such views held by, disappointingly, many Christians. I think many Christians who neglect overwhelming scientific evidence that the Earth is a very old planet are letting their belief's cloud their judgment. You can't negotiate or compromise with this type of ignorance and stubbornness.

    But I do accept that there were some historical truths in the Bible. I also believe that much of the stories carry values and teaching are relate-able to humanity in general.

    That being said I still doubt that Jesus' "miracles" cant be scientifically explained. I doubt that the image of Jesus most Christians envision ever walked the Earth, but I don't necessarily doubt his existence. Didn't the Romans track their executions? There are a few non-biblical writers who do take notice of Jesus, 4 as I understand it. I still think that's too few for a man whose impact on the world is so lasting and has affected so many individuals.

    I think Marx is the only man in history to come second. Probably Mohammad is third.
    Sim likes this.
  14. Tucker

    Tucker Lion Rampant

    God does not guide men's hands in propagating the Bible. This is a verifiable fact. One proof found in the common knowledge that many variants are in use today, coloring doctrines and igniting endless debate between factions. Another, more satisfyingly tangible bit of evidence is the infamous 1631 edition of the KJV:


    Odds bodkins! How did God let the printer miss that?

    Not a rhetorical question. There's a fascinating read on Wiki cataloging all sorts of Bible blow-its.

    However, I entered this thread not at all to disparage the Word; rather, to challenge the notion that it could ever be "disproved" (to imply 'discredited') as a whole. There's nothing in the [logistically laughable] tale of Noah's Ark which can taint for me the simple perfection of a little axiom somebody surely enlightened for his day must have come up with: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

    I'm waiting for a "How many angels fit on the head of a pin"thread next, I really am. All other irrelevant minutiae seem recently sifted on these pages. And yet, in all this, is there one trace of exemplary Christian love? The Jesus I've read about was a philosopher and a scholar, but through His attributed ideas and His reported ability only in underclass Aramaic He is seen clearly to be neither apologist nor academic. One doesn't need to be those things, in order to understand such an intuitive message. In fact, it may be better not to have one's head so full of argument that there's no room left for healthy doubt. To my mind, any man who lets others point his path and doesn't examine every step along the way for himself is as good as blind.
  15. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    Ok, so maybe the apparent interpretation which contradicts science is based on a error in translation. In that case, this is not an example for a scientifically inaccurate statement in the Bible.

    Also, of course, we cannot disprove the possibility of a miracle. If it indeed was one, then again it's a matter of belief: Since miracles cannot be scientifically proven, they cannot be treated as fact, and those who believe in miracles can believe in this miracle too without being able to prove it. And those who don't believe in miracles have no reason to believe it took place.
    The problem is, the only source for this we have is the scripture. And again, the questions regarding its reliability mentioned above are a problem here.

    It's well possible that those who wrote the Gospel, respectively those who had orally passed the stories about Jesus' deeds before it was written down, deliberately added these details, because they were convinced Jesus was the pre-visioned savior. First it was a rumor, then this rumor was passed from one person to the next, and everybody added another detail to the interpretation Jesus is the Messiah -- although Jesus may have never claimed it himself, and although he may have never done many of the things the rumor claimed he had. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    We don't have other, non-Biblical sources to confirm these claims.

    The number of copies doesn't say anything about the accuracy of the original material. It just means we can be pretty sure the NT has existed in the form we know today back then already.

    As for other ancient texts: Nobody treats them as "fact". They are treated as sources, and science acknowledges there are problems to be considered that come with any source, regarding reliability, agenda of the author, etc. Christians who believe the Bible is literally true don't do that with the Bible, and that's the problem I have with it.

    In science, history and archeology, certain historical events described in ancient texts are only considered "most likely accurate" (not fact!) when there are many different sources confirming them. The more different authors, who most likely did not just copy their works, describe a particular event, the more likely it is it did take place. And often, the degree of accuracy is unclear, that's why many historians then mention the uncertainty and are very diligent by making their sources transparent. A historian who doesn't cite his sources and doesn't mention deficits regarding accuracy of these sources is not a good historian. Questioning a source is the very first obligation for a historian.

    For example, a good historian would not write "the first Punic War started 264 BC", but "according to Titus Livius, it started 264 BC. The fact that Polybios confirms this date makes it appear valid. But there are certain problems regarding the accuracy of Polybios, because we only have fragments of his work at hand. Titus Livius, on the other hand, cannot be fully trusted regarding the interpretation of the war, because he was writing for the Roman Emperor and wanted to please his view of Greece".

    In fact, many details of other ancient texts are not considered "truth", but there are well-known deficits in them, which have been discovered when contradictions were found with texts written by other authors. In some cases, it's unknown which of the sources is right.

    When it comes to fictional works, like Homer or other Greek myths or plays, we don't take it as fact anyway. It's fiction. The only question is how valid are the versions we got of it today, if they were changed when copied.

    I see no reason to treat the Bible with any less caution than other historical documents of that age: And it's obvious that it never was a historiograhic document in the first place, but written by people with a strong agenda, the agenda to strengthen their belief and to do missionary work to convince people of their faith.

    Well possible, but again, this is belief, not fact. It cannot scientifically proven (God cannot be proven in the first place). Well possible that you have the subjective feeling that the scripture must be divine when you read it -- but others may lack this feeling.

    We don't have proof either that it was not God, but Satan who inspired those who wrote the Gospel. Or Thor. Or Zeus. Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    It's absolutely fine to believe the Holy Spirit was at work here. I respect that. But it's a belief and not fact.

    First, I am not sure to which degree it's historically discovered who actually wrote the Gospels. Well possible the authors never witnessed Jesus themselves, in person.

    As for lying: I've explained that above already. I don't think these people deliberately falsified or lied when writing the Gospel. They probably strongly believed in it. But that doesn't mean it actually happened the way they describe it. As I said above, it was an age without photography, audio recording and only very few people with writing and reading skills, and the main source for people back then was rumor and hearsay.

    That's true, and I agree it's unlikely the gospels were changed much after they had been written down. But that doesn't negate the potential problems with their tradition before they were written down for the first time -- the source material may have been inaccurate in the first place (as explained above).

    But again, the only source for these claims is -- again -- the Bible. It cannot be confirmed by non-Biblical sources.

    And it has often happened that people spread a lie, when they believed it served a higher goal.

    I'm not saying I'm sure that has happened. We don't have proof these claims are wrong. I just say that the Bible alone is not a reliable source, and since there is no proof that God, miracles or the supernatural exist, I think it's much more likely that lies were written down, either deliberately, or involuntarily and according to the best knowledge of the authors.

    Yes, but when these stories were passed from generation to generation, the according people did not even know scientific method yet, they did not know logic, and they have never proven their claims.

    The existence of God simply cannot be proven, thus there is no reason at all to believe he exists. If it were different, everybody could just make absurd and heinous claims and then force people to disprove them, and keep the entire world busy for the rest of human life -- and this obviously doesn't make sense.

    As I explained above: Why does the burden of proof lie with me, when I claim the Flying Spaghetti Monster created earth? Why isn't it up to you to prove that's not the case?

    No it's not, because at some point, the claim that God exists must have been made the very first time. And it has never been scientifically proven since then.

    Only if God had been proven to exist before 1473, the burden of proof would lie with the one making the claim he doesn't exist.

    Also, atheists who claim "God has been proven not to exist!" are just as wrong as Christians who claim "The existence of God is proven!". God can neither be proven nor disproven. That means atheists cannot claim the lack of his existence is proven, they can only claim there is no reason to believe he exists, because his existence has not been proven.

    At least that's my view. I cannot say I am 100% sure God does not exist. I just have no reason to believe he does, because I have never seen any supporting facts for this claim. If I'd ever come to see proof for the existence of God, that might change my mind. But as it stands, I have just as much reason to believe in the existence of God, as in the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Invisible Pink Unicorn, or any other claim that's not backed by proof.

    If that's the case, it's a pity then, because that leaves us with the only unreliable source we have.

    Unfortunately, this explanation, as valid as it may be, cannot be proven either -- if you made the claim it does prove anything, it would be circular logic.

    Agreed, I do think Jesus was most likely a historical figure. But there is no proof that he was any more than a human being, an influencial preacher and the founder of a sect that became a huge religion eventually.

    The problem with supernatural stories: I explained my view on it in the other thread. The problem with these events is, they have never been proven to exist. You can always use the lack of reliability of the person reporting it, deficits of human mind, coincidence or deliberate lie as alternative explanation.

    Again, it's something you either believe or refuse to believe. There is no proof.

    All you say is mere speculation. We have no sources that shed light on what really happened, or which can be the basis for speculation. We simply don't know what really happened.

    And we can't conclude anything from the lack of sources on the topic. Everything is possible.

    Not necessarily. Maybe Jesus never claimed to be anything more than just a preacher. Well possible the detail Jesus himself claimed to act and speak for God, and claimed he was the Messiah, was later added to the gospels by people who passed this a rumor before it was written down. It wouldn't be the first time the followers of an important leader perceived him as more potent and important that their leader himself did.

    This quote only makes sense when the tradition of the gospels is indeed factual truth. If it isn't, Jesus might very well have been just a wise, great moral teacher who never claimed to be anything more than just that.

    In the end, we are again where we started: We cannot prove or disprove the Christian faith -- we can just believe or refuse to believe it.

    I respect your belief, especially because you have experienced events for which you think the supernatural is the best explanation, but I don't see any reason to believe it myself, and I have never experienced anything that can only be explained by the supernatural.

    Since I don't believe in the supernatural, I cannot accept miracles, and believe other explanations are more likely: That Jesus was just a man who was adored by many for his teachings, who then, due to rumor, attached supernatural powers to their image of him, much of it in restrospect. They also added details to make it appear he was the Messaih previsioned in their old scriptures. The Gospel is the result of this tradition of exaggerated rumors. Certainly, the Bible contains a true core, and is not entirely fictional, but we cannot know which detail is historical truth and which is not, which detail is exaggerated or fictional and which is not.

    I respect your belief that the Christian religion delivers the best explanation for what happened. Since you have made experiences you could explain best by God's intervention, it makes a lot of sense you chose this explanation.

    But I remain skeptical. I don't say "it's proven God does not exist", because it cannot be proven God does not exist, just like it cannot be proven he does exist. And if evidence was discovered for the existence of God, I might change my mind. But as it stands now, I prefer explanations that don't rely on supernatural factors.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010

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