Comments on: The Skeptic’s Problem of Coherence http://www.logosapologia.org/the-skeptics-problem-of-coherence/ Defending the Faith, Evangelizing the Eschaton Sun, 23 Apr 2017 18:13:56 +0000 hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 By: Cris Putnam http://www.logosapologia.org/the-skeptics-problem-of-coherence/comment-page-1/#comment-608 Wed, 26 Jan 2011 19:59:16 +0000 http://www.logosapologia.org/?p=1040#comment-608 I certainly need those metaphorical dodge ball skills with all of the fallacies being thrown my way!

1) As I already explained in my post the NT cannon is the product of many years of critical scholarship and debate. It is very disingenuous for you to imply that it is accepted uncritically.

2) You are making my point for me. “”I simply pointed out from the New Testament, itself, that Peter, perhaps the leader, was shown to have lied on an occasion when it was in his self-interest to do so” The fact that scripture records this embarrassing truth speaks to its candid honesty. If the disciples were crafting a legend, they would not have included this. Thanks for pointing out the brutal honesty of the accounts. “What conspiracy theory?” Your conspiracy theory that Jesus did not die on the cross. You’re right it is ridiculous.

3) It’s a well evidenced historical fact. 1) it is reported in all 4 Gospels 2) Josephus 3) Tacitus 4) Lucian 5) Mara bar Serapion. Not to mention that it is evidenced by contemporary hostile eye witnesses, the Jews did not deny that he died on the cross, they said the disciples stole the body. Implicit in their polemic is his death by crucifixion or there would be no need to steal the body. As well as it is also logically incoherent with the other minimal facts, for instance using you own objection to Peter’s integrity, why would Peter lie and deny knowing Jesus if he never died? It’s incoherent. You are on the extreme fringe of skepticism.

4) I quoted you twice rejecting testimony based on the simple fact that the source was from believers. We must recognize the difference between understanding why something is believed verses understanding why something is true. Recognizing the bias of an author does not automatically merit the conclusion that he has distorted the facts. In fact being they saw this a duty to God they were likely more careful to be honest.

5) I have shown that some of your arguments are fallacious and thus logically incoherent. It is easy to be a skeptic. Perhaps you are simply a brain in a vat and all of this is a simulation. I hope you don’t lose any sleep worrying about that.

It seems to me that you might hope that all of this energy you have put into disbelieving might somehow get you off the hook when you face Jesus in judgment. Unless you have led a sinless life, I really think it will make you even more accountable Thom. You have plenty of evidence you just reject it. Jesus died for the ungodly like myself. Only the sick need a physician, so he is not going to reveal himself to self satisfied skeptics. He will reveal himself to the humble, those who recognize their need.

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By: thom waters http://www.logosapologia.org/the-skeptics-problem-of-coherence/comment-page-1/#comment-607 Wed, 26 Jan 2011 18:50:06 +0000 http://www.logosapologia.org/?p=1040#comment-607 Cris,

I imagine that you were a good dodgeball player in your day. Apparently that wasn’t too long ago, as you continue to play the game. Additionally, you continue to misrepresent my position, which, if done intentionally, would be cause for ire and impatience.

1–I thought we were discussing stories and accounts in the New Testament with regard to which ones you reject. I am only left to believe that you accept and believe everything found therein.

2–You write, “You assert that Jesus did not die (are you a Muslim?). You indirectly assert that the disciples or that the NT documents are fabricated. However, you have no evidence that these God-fearing men, whose main aim in life was to emulate the character of Jesus, lied and fabricated their testimony. I don’t think anyone should accept your unsupported conspiracy theory.” You have brought me to the point of near exasperation if not to a rending of garments and a gnashing of teeth. You, not myself, brought up the character of these men. Among other things you stated that they were not liars. I simply pointed out from the New Testament, itself, that Peter, perhaps the leader, was shown to have lied on an occasion when it was in his self-interest to do so. At this point I don’t know what you believe about the New Testament. Having been presented with this story regarding Peter you now leap to their testimony (about the Resurrection?) and say that I have no evidence that they lied or fabricated it and that no one should accept my conspiracy theory. What conspiracy theory? Really, Cris, this is ridiculous. Do you just dream these things up, or do you find them on cue cards?

3–I am not a Muslim, but you could drive me in that direction. I have never asserted that Jesus did not die on the cross. This began as a discussion on “Minimal Facts.” I simply stated that based on the documents we have I believe it more reliable and, indeed, a statement of fact that one Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. Anything more than that is more a statement of belief than a statement of fact. The end. You apparently disagree. That’s fine. Of such life is built.

4–Your statement regarding the genetic fallacy is “Something should be rejected because it comes from a bad source.” That does not represent nor could it ever represent my position. What actually represents my position is that something should be understood or examined from the context in which it comes and from whom. For that reason, something should be “questioned”, not simply “rejected”. That’s simply a good approach towards anything you read or hear. If you don’t understand that, then nothing could be said to convince you otherwise. It’s really a simple concept. Reading is the beginning to all knowledge, Cris. Questioning is the beginning to all truth. P.T. Barnum said that there’s a sucker born every minute. And, Cris, we’re all suckers. The best way to combat it is to question. You can disagree. I’m sure you do.

5–Finally, as a skeptic, I have no problem of coherence. It might, however, be your own problem and that it begins with Faith and understanding when, as a believer, Faith begins. Again, nothing wrong with Faith. I just believe that it might begin sooner than you imagine.

Hope you will be well, Thom.

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By: Cris Putnam http://www.logosapologia.org/the-skeptics-problem-of-coherence/comment-page-1/#comment-606 Wed, 26 Jan 2011 14:52:18 +0000 http://www.logosapologia.org/?p=1040#comment-606 Wow you are so sensitive, I only pointed out your repeated fallacious reasoning I did not attack you personally. I suppose your repeated denials warrant further discussion and evidence.

“I have never simply discounted something because we find it in the New Testament. That would be both unscholarly and fallacious. ”

You resort to the genetic fallacy quite often and yes your assessment is correct, it is both. But actually not because “it’s in the NT”, as you argue below “because it is from believers”, which amounts to the same thing. You attack the source not their testimony. “We can not trust the testimony of believers.” It seems like a non sequitur as well because of course they would be believers since their testimony is true. You seem to indirectly argue that reliable testimony would only come from a non believer. Seems pretty ludicrous. Anyhow, Tacitus certainly qualifies and was in a position to know that Jesus died having the Roman records at his disposal, but you won’t accept him either. Direct quotes of your fallacious reasoning:

“Consequently we are left with only these partisan, biased, passionate accounts written by believers who claim that Jesus died. Did he actually die? Who knows. These statements of belief written by believers who want us to believe say that he did.”

“Having said that, the only sources we have who mention that Jesus died are those sources from the community of believers. The creed that Paul cites, as I have mentioned before, is a statement of belief. That’s what creeds are. Read the many creeds associated with Christianity. They talk about many things believed in the Faith.”
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Genetic Fallacy. This is a special type of reductive fallacy in which the single issue focused on is the source or origin of an idea. The argument demands, “Something (or someone) should be rejected because it (or he) comes from a bad source.” This is an attempt to belittle a position by pointing out its inauspicious beginnings. “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” One form of this is refutation by psychoanalysis. It searches the secrets of the past for hidden motives to determine whether a proposition has any truth to it. By this criterion, we should not believe our model for the benzene molecule because its founder based it on a dream of a snake biting its tail.

Norman L. Geisler and Ronald M. Brooks, Come, Let Us Reason : An Introduction to Logical Thinking (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1990), 107.
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You assert that Jesus did not die (are you a Muslim?). You indirectly assert the disciples were liars or that the NT documents are fabricated. However you have no evidence that these God fearing men, whose main aim in life was to emulate the character of Jesus, lied and fabricated their testimony. I don’t think anyone should accept your unsupported conspiracy theory.

Now you are using a tactic of attempting to paint me as gullible because I do believe the NT. Yet there have been many examinations and debates concerning the cannon of scripture. Most of the work has been done by the Church fathers, very learned men who were much closer to the sources than you or I. I trust that they got it right and that the NT I hold today is reliable. So I have warrant to believe it. I would refer to FF Bruce The Cannon of Scripture for support.

“Better still, what appearances or so-called appearances (whatever is meant by that) of the risen Jesus do you suspect might not be true? And, why?”

The appearances in the gnostic texts from Nag Hammadi, The Second Treatise (Logos) of the Great Seth and the Apocalypse of Peter, because they are extremely late and do not agree with the eyewitness testimony that we have in the canonical literature. These gnostics were driven by an agenda other than the Gospel and their message was self serving. The accounts are fantastical and incredible. Thus I reject them.

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By: thom waters http://www.logosapologia.org/the-skeptics-problem-of-coherence/comment-page-1/#comment-604 Tue, 25 Jan 2011 20:33:14 +0000 http://www.logosapologia.org/?p=1040#comment-604 Goodness, gracious, Cris, you seem to have allowed your emotions to overtake and consume you. It almost appears that your last post is a personal attack. One thing that seems to be true is that you should never allow your emotions to overtake you during a dialogue or debate. It might cause you to say things that you would otherwise not say and/or regret later. At the very least, it might affect your reason and judgment. Three things:

1–“You just wave your hand and discount the source because its (sic) biblical. This is the genetic fallacy and you really ought to have grown out of it after so many years.” On the contrary, I suspect that my position is more objective and decent than your own because there is much to learn from biblical literature with regard to “data” and “information”. I have never simply discounted something because we find it in the New Testament. That would be both unscholarly and fallacious. On the other hand I would like to know, for example, what stories or accounts of stories in the New Testament are ones that you question or suspect might not be true? Better still, what appearances or so-called appearances (whatever is meant by that) of the risen Jesus do you suspect might not be true? And, why? Let’s hope you have some with meat to them. Let’s hope you simply don’t believe something because it’s in the New Testament. Now that would be fallacious.

2–Referring to the disciples you state, “They had nothing to gain my (sic) manufacturing false testimony. These were men of character, who sought to please and feared God. They were not liars. There’s no good reason to discount them and you have provided no evidence for such a conspiracy.” I have never mentioned anything about a “conspiracy” with regard to anything. I find it particularly interesting how often you jump to things or ideas that I suppose you have encountered before and then wrongfully, I believe, assume that it has been said or even implied in our conversation. After a while, this becomes rather wearisome. Since you and not myself mentioned the character of the disciples, let’s pursue this statement of yours made in the emotional heat of battle, I suppose. It’s nice to know that you know so much about the character of these men most of whom are mentioned by name only. Your homework assignment is to write a paper on Matthias. Be sure to include both the good points and bad points of his character. Interestingly enough, we do have some interesting information on the character of Peter, and it might be somewhat at odds with your announced characterization of these men. We do know from New Testament documents ( I’ll omit references, you can look them up) that Peter was apparently a hot-head, contradicted Jesus, could be given to violence including cutting-off another man’s ear with a sword, and, lo and behold, was a man who lied if he thought it in his best interest. Now, see what you have gotten us into.

3–I believe it can be demonstrated that the referenced story containing the so-called spear thrust (John 19:28-37) might not be historically true or accurate. You apparently interpret that to mean that I am calling into question the character of that author. Not at all. It has to do with the author’s overall Christology and is not meant to impugn his integrity at all. It finds its meaning in Christology and not historical fact. As a historical “fact” I believe it can be questioned with good reason and argumentation.

Anyway, I believe my skeptical approach to the beliefs of others is both an honorable and decent one that seeks only some small kernels of truth. If small kernels of truth lead people to Faith and Belief then those truths are to be welcomed when no harm is done to others.

If you don’t want to write the paper on Matthias that’s okay. At least shed some light on those New Testament stories or accounts that you don’t believe, especially those related to the Resurrection and so-called appearances.

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By: Cris Putnam http://www.logosapologia.org/the-skeptics-problem-of-coherence/comment-page-1/#comment-602 Tue, 25 Jan 2011 18:04:57 +0000 http://www.logosapologia.org/?p=1040#comment-602 Simply restating a fallacious argument does not make it a valid one. The fact that accounts are written by believers has no bearing on whether or not they are true or trustworthy. You just wave your hand and discount the source because its biblical. This is the genetic fallacy and you really ought to have grown out of it after so many years. They had nothing to gain my manufacturing false testimony. These were men of character, who sought to please and feared God. They were not liars. There’s no good reason to discount them and you have provided no evidence for such a conspiracy.

Also, the fact that John’s gospel is later than the others is also a non argument. Would you have me believe that an old man like John could not recall witnessing the spear in Jesus side? That seems like poor form. Of course he would remember it, and being that his intent was likely not anything medical – the fact that modern Drs can infer medical data evidencing death is compelling.

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By: thom waters http://www.logosapologia.org/the-skeptics-problem-of-coherence/comment-page-1/#comment-598 Mon, 24 Jan 2011 20:21:47 +0000 http://www.logosapologia.org/?p=1040#comment-598 Cris, thanks for your last e-mail.

While I disagree (what a surprise) with most of it, I appreciate the intent and fervency that lie behind it.

In some ways I think you continue to inadvertently make my case for me with regard to the crucifixion of Jesus, which I still maintain is the correct Minimal Fact #1–One Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. I believe it to be a true statement with regard to what we know. You make a final appeal to the Gospel of John and to a story found only in that account, which is, I believe, the most distantly removed gospel in time from the actual events. The appeal to a single story found only in one account written by a believer whose expressed intent is that the person reading the account become a believer seems to have little to recommend it. This is especially true if the story noted can be called into question, which I believe can be done quite easily with this one. However, to mention the “genetic fallacy” notation. It has been over 35 years since I took my first logic and philosophy class as an undergraduate before starting my Masters work, but I think you might have misrepresented this. It is actually your own logic that falls victim to the genetic fallacy. It would go like this: Your belief in the resurrection of Jesus comes from and is dependent on your need and the ability of John’s story in John 19:31-37 to prove the death of Jesus on the cross.” However, if I could demonstrate to you or if we learned tomorrow that this story were completely fabricated, you would still believe in the Resurrection of Jesus. Just a thought, but I believe that is how the argument goes.

I think you might have misrepresented my position when you said, ” . . . it seems just as absurd, if not more, to argue against Jesus’ death by crucifixion as a fact of history.” I don’t believe I have argued against it, per se. Christian apologists, on the other hand, are directly arguing for it. I simply contend that from what we have at our disposal, the “fact” that one Jesus of Nazareth was crucified can be argued quite convincingly. The case for that statement is quite compelling. The “fact” that one Jesus of Nazareth was killed by Roman crucifixion is much less compelling. My research leads me to the conclusion that this statement is much more a statement of belief than it is a statement of “fact”. Can I prove the negative, that Jesus did not die? A tall order to be sure, and one that seems to elude my own abilities. On the other hand, can you prove the positive nature to that statement? Hardly, would be my response.

Ultimately, I think that most of us believe what we believe for reasons that transcend argument. It is not often that we allow ourselves to be argued off a position or belief that we hold. As a skeptic, my job is to chip away at the edges hoping to uncover something previously kept hidden, not known, or not previously observed. I learned some time ago to always question the official story or account of something. It’s why many of my generation questioned and still do question the Warren Commission Report on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Unfortunately, we have no single account or story on the life and death of Jesus. We have multiple accounts and stories written apparently by a diverse number of authors from the community of believers. At times this makes my job more difficult, but at times it makes my job easier.

One final word. Your reference to the life and ministry of Jesus foreshadowed some 1,000 years in advance in the Old Testament is a point worth pursuing. I find it immensely intriguing that the finest Jewish exegetes from whom the OT scriptures come never at any time before the coming of Jesus ever imagined from their understanding and exegesis of these documents that the long awaited Messiah would die and be resurrected individually. It wasn’t until after Jesus that a group of people began preaching his Resurrection and sought proof and validity for this belief in scriptures that had never before been interpreted in this way. This is most fascinating because the founders, holders, and exegetes of these documents had no tendenz or bias when they approached them. They were simply trying to understand what was being said about the Messiah and what they could expect. It wasn’t until Christianity that these documents were re-exegeted and this was done with a specific intent which was to “prove” that what happened to one Jesus was actually foretold in these documents. The re-exegesis of these documents, however, was done with intent and through a new filter of belief. And to this day the finest Jewish exegetes still maintain their position and the Christian Community theirs. We find two divergent realities living and breathing side by side.

Let me know if you are interested in any further discussion. I can assure you it would be uniquely different.

Thanks for your time, and best of everything. Thom.

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By: Cris Putnam http://www.logosapologia.org/the-skeptics-problem-of-coherence/comment-page-1/#comment-597 Mon, 24 Jan 2011 13:37:05 +0000 http://www.logosapologia.org/?p=1040#comment-597 Thom I’m so sorry you were offended that I lumped you in with Vinny. I am typically faced with replying to many folks at once, and sometimes the skeptical objections all blur together. But really it seems just as absurd, if not more, to argue against Jesus death by crucifixion as a fact of history.

Medical Doctors have reviewed the Gospel testimony concerning details of Jesus’ passion and verified that what was described is evidence of death. A detail like plasma and water separating as the heart sack was pierced, is not what John was thinking but science can now infer it from his description. So the science backs the claim. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlSMedSYNM8 Details and peer reviewed medical evidence is provided in the video.

You said, “the only sources we have who mention that Jesus died are those sources from the community of believers.”

This is known as the genetic fallacy in logic. It’s a fallacious way to argue. Like many skeptics you really straw man the concept of faith, Christian faith is evidenced based – not a leap into the dark. Faith in a Christian sense is properly understood as trust. I read Jesus’ transcendent teachings, see the character of his disciples words and the fruit that has resulted from them and place my trust in it. I trust it because it bears good fruit , in fact Christian values have molded the Western world for the better of humanity. I study the OT and see how Jesus’ life and ministry was forecast 1000 of years in advance I can clearly see evidence that scripture transcends human ability.

That’s evidence, not a leap into the dark. To deny its veracity in spite of the Gospels, epistles and historical sources is a leap into the dark with no evidence. There’s simply no evidence for it being a misunderstanding / conspiracy. I would argue that your disbelief is much more an non-evidenced leap into the dark. I just can not muster that sort of blind faith. I prefer evidence. I trust Jesus.

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By: thom waters http://www.logosapologia.org/the-skeptics-problem-of-coherence/comment-page-1/#comment-596 Sun, 23 Jan 2011 01:37:48 +0000 http://www.logosapologia.org/?p=1040#comment-596 Cris, thanks for the response.

Of course, you do not agree. I did not expect you to agree. I expected you to take the exact position and to make the very defense that you made. It comes with being a defender of the Faith. However, it takes the very appearance of someone trying to defend something as the first and foremost objective. Within your Faith you find yourself at the point of rest, commodity, and reputation, and those things can often prove to be obstacles on the road to discovering or considering other possibilities. Truth as a possession can be difficult to relinquish.

I believe it is a simple truth to acknowledge that one Jesus was crucified. Tacitus assists us in the making of this statement. You want him and other non-Christian sources to say more, but they can’t. Citing the reference thoroughly demonstrates this. When he says, . . . “Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus . . .” And, indeed, Jesus did suffer this extreme penalty of crucifixion. You insist on inferring a death from this or gladly assume that it is implied. You read it through the lens of Belief, because that is what you believe. Nothing I could ever say could get you to see it differently.

Having said that, the only sources we have who mention that Jesus died are those sources from the community of believers. The creed that Paul cites, as I have mentioned before, is a statement of belief. That’s what creeds are. Read the many creeds associated with Christianity. They talk about many things believed in the Faith. They talk about believing in the world to come and the judgment to come. Sure they talk about things that happened in history, but they do not rely on “facts” in order to believe. Do you think for one moment that when Peter was preaching in Acts that Jesus was raised from the dead that people said, “Prove to us that he was dead and then we’ll believe?”

Modern man is not like that. We want proof, or, at least, what we think is proof. We’re sophisticated. We are more inclined to Reason and Thought. Think about it: The Minimal Facts Approach to the Resurrection. We want things to be proven to us as Fact. Anything less than than will be found wanting. There is a reason that Christianity and all religions are a matter of Faith. It’s not called the Christian Reason.

Unfortunately, just my opinion, your position and approach get you dangerously close to that much to be avoided position that, “The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it.” Nothing wrong with saying and believing that one Jesus was crucified. At what point does Faith enter the equation? If you want it to enter later than history might be able to support that’s fine, I suppose. You are still, nonetheless, being led by the belief and beliefs of those who came long ago.

I have researched, investigated, and debated the Resurrection of Jesus for over 30 years now. I will leave you with a thought that you can mull over. The discovery of the Empty Tomb creates the greatest obstacle in defending the Resurrection of Jesus.

By the way, you made no mention of lumping me in that special group of people who make some argument concerning how little we know of Jesus. After lumping me in the group of people who had apparently said that, you said it was an absurd argument. As I pointed out I have never said anything of the sort and took exception with your lumping me with those people. I’m sure you simply forgot. I accept your apology.

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By: Cris Putnam http://www.logosapologia.org/the-skeptics-problem-of-coherence/comment-page-1/#comment-592 Sat, 22 Jan 2011 19:15:05 +0000 http://www.logosapologia.org/?p=1040#comment-592 No I do not agree. It’s as sure as any fact in ancient history, probably more sure than most. The sources explicitly report that he indeed died and was buried. The creed in 1 Cor. 15:3 ff. is believed by most scholars to go back to the time of the event and it states “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.”

The Gospels also report that he died and his body was wrapped and put in the tomb. The evidence is clear from eyewitnesses that he died. Then there’s the embarrassing details about Peter denying the Lord and the disciples running and hiding after his death. This is not the sort of thing that the disciples would make up if they were creating a legend. It gives their testimony high credibility. Then we have secular historians, in particular Tacitus, who had full access to the Roman records. Here is an excerpt from Habermas:

Cornelius Tacitus (ca. AD 55–120) was a Roman historian who lived through the reigns of over a half dozen Roman emperors. He has been called the “greatest historian” of ancient Rome, an individual generally acknowledged among scholars for his moral “integrity and essential goodness.”

Tacitus is best known for two works—the Annals and the Histories. The former is thought to have included eighteen books and the latter to have included twelve, for a total of thirty. 2 The Annals cover the period from Augustus’ death in AD 14 to that of Nero in AD 68, while the Histories begin after Nero’s death and proceed to that of Domitian in AD 96.

Tacitus recorded at least one reference to Christ and two to early Christianity, one in each of his major works. The most important one is that found in the Annals, written about AD 115. The following was recounted concerning the great fire in Rome during the reign of Nero:

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed.

From this report we can learn several facts, both explicit and implicit, concerning Christ and the Christians who lived in Rome in the AD 60s. Chronologically, we may ascertain the following information.
(1) Christians were named for their founder, Christus (from the Latin), (2) who was put to death by the Roman procurator Pontius Pilatus (also Latin), (3) during the reign of emperor Tiberius (AD 14–37). (4) His death ended the “superstition” for a short time, (5) but it broke out again, (6) especially in Judaea, where the teaching had its origin.
(7) His followers carried his doctrine to Rome. (8) When the great fire destroyed a large part of the city during the reign of Nero (AD 54–68), the emperor placed the blame on the Christians who lived in Rome. (9) Tacitus reports that this group was hated for their abominations. (10) These Christians were arrested after pleading guilty, (11) and many were convicted for “hatred for mankind.” (12) They were mocked and (13) then tortured, including being “nailed to crosses” or burnt to death. (14) Because of these actions, the people had compassion on the Christians. (15) Tacitus therefore concluded that such punishments were not for the public good but were simply “to glut one man’s cruelty.”

Gary R. Habermas and Gary R. Habermas, The Historical Jesus : Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ, Rev. Ed. of: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Jesus. (Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co., 1996), 187.

Also : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlSMedSYNM8

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By: thom waters http://www.logosapologia.org/the-skeptics-problem-of-coherence/comment-page-1/#comment-589 Fri, 21 Jan 2011 17:38:04 +0000 http://www.logosapologia.org/?p=1040#comment-589 Cris,

Somewhere along the line someone might have said “We don’t have that much written about Jesus”. However, I have never said anything like that. It would be nice if you refrained from giving the appearance that I might have said something as stupid and as uneducated as that. To call something a repeated argument and to then associate someone with what on the surface is an obviously stupid statement is less than gracious when it is absolutely not true that the someone never said that or even suggested it.

Let me say something about ancient sources that you said I simply ignored. You state and correctly so that , ” . . . historians don’t have the luxury of calling whoever they please.” That is correct. However, you can only work with the documents we have at hand. We can’t, however, use these documents to support conclusions that they simply can’t.

An example:

Minimal Fact #1 for many apologists is that Jesus died by Roman crucifixion. In addition to the gospel accounts these apologists cite ancient authorities Josephus, Tacitus, Lucian, and others. These ancient sources do only what they can do and that is make reference to one Jesus being crucified. They say nothing about Jesus’ death, because they can’t. They offer no attestation to the Christian claim and belief that Jesus died by crucifixion. Consequently we are left with only these partisan, biased, passionate accounts written by believers who claim that Jesus died. Did he actually die? Who knows. These statements of belief written by believers who want us to believe say that he did. Is it a “minimal fact” that he did? I suppose it could be if you accept “minimal proof”. Go back and read my first e-mail.

Minimal Fact #1 is actually that Jesus was crucified. It is not that Jesus died by Roman crucifixion.

Do you agree that these ancient sources are not able to attest to a death of Jesus by means of crucifixion? If so, by what means do you adhere to or support this Minimal Fact #1 that Jesus died by Roman crucifixion? Remember, I am not saying that he did or didn’t die by this means. I am simply taking exception with this belief as a statement of a “minimal fact.”

Thanks.

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