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Charity last won the day on May 8

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  1. Have you heard of Dr. David Skrbina who wrote “The Jesus Hoax?” His theory is that Paul, with the help of some who ministered with him, deliberately constructed the lie that the historical Jesus was the savior of humanity. In other words, Paul knew his epistles were not true. His purpose was to go up against the Roman Empire and weaken the influence it had on the common people. I’ve watched the MythVision video where Skrbina explains all this including where the gospels fit into this “hoax.” He also deals with arguments people have against his writings and continues to invite more feedback. A lot is covered so I plan to listen to it again. At this point, I'm just wondering if you've heard of his ideas and if so, what you think of them. The Jesus Hoax (About his book and includes chapter 1) MythVision Podcast - The Jesus Hoax with Dr. David Skrbina
  2. Good point about the resurrection of Lazarus not being significant enough to be included in the other gospels yet in the gospel of John, this account was so important that it caused many Jews to believe in Jesus and as a result, the chief priests discussed killing Lazarus as well. Concerning what happened to Lazarus in the rest of the gospel, Richard Carrier has something to say about this. At the 42:25 mark in his video Why the Gospels are Myth Carrier shows that Lazarus (not John) was the disciple whom Jesus loved and that his presence is noted at Jesus' crucifixion (19:26), the empty tomb (20:2-9) and after Jesus' resurrection (21:7). Then at the 46:00 mark, he makes an argument that the writer(s) of John turned the parabolic Lazarus into a real person in order to correct the problem they saw in Luke explaing why no one actually returns from the dead. (However, I'm not sure that is what Luke 16:26 and 31 is saying.)
  3. Tempting, considering the author's statement, "Accordingly, the celebrity atheist scientist could certainly take a look at the abundance of Near Death Experiences, the Shroud of Turin, bloody Eucharist hosts, and the Guadalupe Tilma. All of these supernatural items have been examined by numerous scientists from around the world, who have concluded that only a miracle from God could have caused them." But, I don't have the stomach for the article and its links at the moment, so unfortunately my funny bone will remain untickled for now. It'd be interesting to see a discussion develop though.
  4. Such a sound, rational video both verbally and visually. It has a different effect than when you hear him say the same things in a comedic way - here, they invoke contemplation, openness and hopefully a desire to discuss them logically - like this one: "I used to believe in God. The Christian one, that is (There are a few thousand to choose from. But I was born in a country where the dominant religion was Christianity so I believed in that one. Isn't it weird how that always happens?). Luckily I was also interested in science and nature. And reason and logic. And honesty and truth. And equality and fairness. By the age of eight I was an atheist." I find the criteria he mentions and his young age at the time outstanding. How many children are told these criteria can be met through believing in a narcissistic, vengeful and inventor-of-death heavenly father and soak it up like a sponge?
  5. Thanks for bringing up Ricky Gervais. I enjoyed listening to some of his videos last night. Found this site of his quotes - it's funnier to hear him say them, but here, they're in one place. Quotes by Gervais Hearing an atheist with a sense of humor talk about atheism is like enjoying a walk in the rain without an umbrella on a warm day - refreshing and nonconforming.
  6. Thanks for sharing such a great song Rocky. Here's a short clip about how a big part of the production came to be.
  7. Again, I feel like I'm late to the party. I'm finding out that Hernandez's view about "good" philosophy being a necessary (or at least a helpful) tool to help Christians understand life and God better is not that uncommon among scholars and some ministries. Just goes to show that up until a couple of months ago, I was still holding onto vp's catchphrase "it's the word, the word and nothing but the word" (or something like that). I guess the bible is fair game for ministers, preachers, and believers to come to their own truth. The likelihood is zero, though, that anyone will find a "truth" that takes all the guesswork and inconsistencies out of God and his promises for our lives in the here and now (IMHO).
  8. Regarding the article " Relationship with apologist changes heart of atheist." As some Christians have become evolutionary creationists because they can no longer deny the science of evolution, I wonder if Hernandez’s teachings on biblical philosophy is a way to get around or legitimize the growing awareness of the gospels being linked to Homer and Paul’s epistles to Plato, Socrates and Aristotle. Here are some quotes from Hernandez’s webpage “Do Christians Need Philosophy?” http://www.erichernandezministries.com/christians-need-philosophy-question-20/ The greatest commandment in scripture tells us to love God with all of our heart, strength, and mind (which literally means your intellectual capacity and faculty of understanding). The first thing to note is that we are commanded to exercise our faculty of understanding as a way of honoring God, being made in His image, as a reflection of His intellect. As a Christian, or as merely a person with a mind, we need tools to help guide our thinking. Philosophy and theology are vital tools that God has given us to exercise such guidance. And as a side note, could we not say that the Holy Spirit has guided us to engage in proper philosophy? The issue here isn’t with philosophy, per say, but in engaging in proper philosophy. We should not think of philosophy as man trying to make up stuff to sound smart. That is what Christians who have bad philosophy tend to do. Philosophy literally comes from the words “philo”, the love of, and “Sophia”, meaning wisdom. So it literally means the love of wisdom, and a quick look at the book of proverbs clearly tells us much about wisdom. Hence, if we have good philosophy, our thinking will be properly guided when we engage in virtually every other field of study. Especially and most importantly, our theology- the study of God. Colossians 2:8...The context of this verse here is Paul speaking to Christians who have had people attempting to persuade them using “hollow and deceptive” philosophy. The key in this verse is to avoid the BAD philosophy, and not simply to avoid philosophy altogether. Lastly, I’d like to address the view that some Christians take by saying, “the gospel is simple, we don’t need philosophy to understand it”. The error again is that this is not only false, but un-biblical. How can we have the audacity to assume that our own thinking is so precise and proper, that we can afford to be intellectually lazy and neglect the very tools (such as philosophy) God gave us to help understand all that He is? Are we really that prideful to admit we don’t know it all and need help? Or are we too lazy and find it easier to simply say, “the Holy Spirit will just tell me.” This is not how Christ lived his life, because he himself grew in wisdom (luke 2:52), and in claiming otherwise, we make ourselves out to be better than Jesus. Such assertions make these people hard to be taken seriously. Philosophy is a gift from God, and a gift that will enrich our lives, our minds, our worship, and our outlook on who God is. This is what it means to love God with our minds.
  9. I wondered about this when I read the article "Relationship with apologist changes heart of atheist," so I tried to find the debate Daniel Nieto mentioned in that article. It looks like Aron Ra (atheist) and Eric Hernandez (Christian apologist) have done two debates; one on faith and one on the soul. I think it's the debate on faith that may be the one in question. It seems to be well known because there is a portion where Aron Ra is accused of "losing his mind over a simple question and yelling at Hernandez." A very popular 16-minute clip on YouTube focuses on this portion and uses gimmicks to make fun of Aron Ra. Hernandez shows it at the top of his home page for Eric Hernandez Ministries. It all just looks like a PR promotion for Hernandez. Aron Ra seems to discuss this debate in an hour-and-a-half video which I have only started to watch in order to find out what was said to be wrong about his definition of faith. I also want to see how Hernandez operates in his role as an apologist.
  10. Being curious myself, I have googled both the term and Hernandez (who declares he is one) and could not find a definition or explanation. My conclusion is that this "title" is simply one Hernandez invented for himself and may be explained as follows. Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996. A 2019 article titled "In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace" says "Data from Pew [Research Center] between 2020 and 2021 reported that nearly half of millennials surveyed (49%) described themselves as Christians, the most of all religions, another 10% identify with non-Christian faiths and four in 10 now identify as religious 'nones.' I'm guessing that Hernandez, who is a Baptist apologist, sees himself as a specialist in targeting millennials in order to get them "saved" such as Raf's second post about the conversion of the atheist Daniel Nieto shows. Why would he want to do this? One reason might be that getting 28-43 year olds converted increases the probability that their children will be brought up in religious homes and as a result, reverse the increase of "religiously unaffiliated" which has consecutively occurred over the past 5 generations.
  11. The article does show that atheists can change their beliefs and become a Christians just as Christians can change their beliefs and become an atheist. Quotes of Nieto from the article: “I’m really into philosophy, and when I started hearing Eric talk, he was pointing out things I’d never thought about before." “Eric was hitting me with the concepts and philosophies that Aron didn’t know about." "I’m so glad I never gave up and threw myself into the fire of philosophy to learn more.” ("Fire of philosophy" here does not come with a definition. Google offers some but who knows if they are what Nieto meant.) “I’ve come to the conclusion that Christianity is the only way I’m going to make an impact, spread the truth and try to save the world." (Common Christian talk) “I feel like I have a different mission in life, and that’s to go down that philosophical road and keep looking for God.” ~~~~~~~~~ Hernandez has done a couple of debates about the "soul" and one of the Texas Baptists' statements of belief is that they believe in "Soul competency, accountability, and responsibility." Without learning more about how Hernandez integrates philosophy into Christianity, it's impossible to know why Nieto says Hernandez answered his questions about spiritual matter and the soul that no church had ever been able to do.
  12. Thanks Rocky. Your post falls in line with another thought I've been having - have I been too judgmental and/or opinionated with my posts. Each of our realities about God and the bible is uniquely personal although we might connect with the thoughts and feelings of others. I've reviewed what the Socratic Dialog Method is and how it's used which has been helpful. The trip I mentioned earlier will not happen for at least two more months so there's time to think on the reality of living life without relying on a non-existent god for his protection. I've ordered the two books I referred to in my previous post and am now reading the available sample of "The Illusion of God's Presence" on Amazon. The author begins by giving a few interesting anecdotes to explain where he's going with the contents of his book, and so far I find it pretty relatable. I've posted it below if you or anyone else is curious about this topic. https://www.amazon.ca/Illusion-Gods-Presence-Biological-Spiritual/dp/1633880745 https://www.amazon.ca/Illusion-Gods-Presence-Biological-Spiritual/dp/1633880745 Hopefully, one of the two above will bring up the site.
  13. This post relates to my previous one about God's protection. I'm calling this one "easier said than done." I’ve been thinking about the next time I take the 5-hour drive to visit my son and his family, this time without the comforting thought of having God’s protection while driving on very busy highways most of the way. I’m trying to think rationally to get over the nervousness, but it continues to persist. This morning I happened to listen to the YouTube video called “Belief and the Brain: a Psychiatrist and a Neuroscientist on Evolution and Religion.” Seth Andrews had two guests on his podcast: - Dr. Andy Thomson, a psychiatrist and author of "Why We Believe in God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith," and - Dr. John Wathey, a computational biologist, neuroscientist, and author of "The Illusion of God's Presence: The Biological Origins of Spiritual Longing." They discussed, among many other things, why the concept of God being a heavenly father can become such a compelling desire and need for bible-believing people. It concerns the neural circuitry which evolved to “program the infant brain to expect the presence of a loving being who responds to the child's needs.” That innate feeling is triggered again in adulthood through religion because of the Father-son relationship that is fundamental to biblical teachings. The strength of these adult feelings is quite similar to the strength one had as an infant. IOW, there’s not just a psychological reason for a believer connecting with an all-loving and ever-present Father but a strong biological one as well. This explains why Christians are so unwilling to let go of this concept, and why it can also be difficult for one who has deconverted to let go in certain scenarios even though they know it's just wishful thinking. Replacing illogical thinking with rational thinking requires some concentrated work to be done.
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