Since a vital element of “plagiarism” is chronology, let’s see you line out the most significant myths in detail, and cite the primary sources with chronology. Make sure to check the original languages for translation foibles, and read critiques from prominent conservative scholars. Most Christ-myth proponents rarely do.
The much vaunted “Christ-myth” argument is a bag of wind.
I have dealt with such “parallelomania” at length in my Manifest in the Flesh.
That is the common schlock, Jefe, exactly as Kersey Graves himself would have peddled it. Not even Blavatsky argued that poorly.
As for my duanting conditions, since you have not seen a single primary source, nor compared the details of actual myths with the writings of the New Testament, then the claim is pretty empty, isn’t it? Citing generalities is child’s play. I want to see a real concrete parallel - and make sure its genealogical and not merely analogical.
Devil’s in the details. I can understand being at work and all. And I can understand why someone with such a pitiful belief to defend would refer to actually looking at the textual data as “somewhat ridiculous.” Embarrassing, would be a better term.
And if you won’t read my book, then get The Origin of Paul’s Religion by J. G. Machen. He’s dead and won’t receive a dime from it.
Or, read Metzger’s 1968 article on the matter:
You did refer to “signs of copying . . . such as . . . ” in an earlier post. It was this clearly stated belief about the signs of copying that I insulted. I did not insult you personally, only your argument.
[quote author=“Jefe”]2) Did I in fact say documented citations were ridiculous, or did you simply alter my sentiment to reflect this attitude in an attempt to strengthen your supposed ‘righteous outrage’.
You called my “list of conditions” “somewhat ridiculous” - a list the thrust of which was to actually cite your “signs of copying” from datable texts. So yes, it appears to me that you did in fact say it.
And I would repeat the suggestion that you read Machen and Metzger on the subject. Who knows, maybe you’ll get converted and then donate to some organization like American Vision. Maybe your employer would even let you do it during work.
While I think that Jefe’s list is interesting and deserving of more investigation, Carstonio is correct that this kind of argument is largely irrelevant to the truth of Christianity.
The parallels between religious myths should be studied in detail be experts trained in literature and history. (And by people without a stake in any particular judgment as to the similarities of the myths). But such analysis, whatever the outcome, cannot prove that Jesus was not the son of God.
The aim of atheist arguments must be at the logical coherence of religious beliefs and at the epistemological foundations of belief.
If Jesus really was the son of God, if God really exists and has a plan for all of us, I would expect there to be evidence of it. If God wants things of us, He ought to make it clear what He wants. But it is impossible for anyone to know what God wants of us. We are all ignorant when it comes to God and His plan. We have our beliefs, our hopes, our fantasies, but nobody knows what God is or what He wants.
It seems to me that anyone who wants to claim that he knows what God wants is under an obligation to demonstrate that this claim is true. But this is precisely what no religion has been able to offer. No religious person that I know of has ever offered a demonstration that his own claims concerning God’s plan are true.
In a world of multiple and conflicting religious claims, it is vital that we remain critical of claims about the supernatural. Evidence is key. Without evidence of what God wants of us, it is not honest to declare that one knows what He wants. And unless we know what God wants, it is useless to try to fulfill His Plan.
Actually,l I’ve lost track of the arguments in this thread but if plagairism diminishes an argument, we don’t have ot look to other “born of virgins” myths.
Luke and Matthew clearly plagiarize Mark and Source Q although though they make some significant chnages to parts they apparently didn’t like, (Matthew didn’t like Christ’s last words in Mark and Luke or the list of Jesus ancestors in Luke. Luke spread some of the Q sayings throughout his book. Matthew made them the Sermon on the Mount. Deuteronomy plagiarizes the earlier supposed books of Moses. There are two stories through the books of Mosesout which the Deuteronomist tried to combine. Thank God 10 tribes got lost or we’d have 12 versions)
Like most of the attacks on Sam Harris this one doesn’t argue with rationality of his arguments but attacks him. If you ever watch him in debate or speech its amazing that he can remain so calm and rational when he is dealing with irrationality and personal attacks rather than arguments. Also, I still think he was good in “Meet the Fockers” in spite of the critics.
First of all, I have not written, to my remembrance, that plagiarism would diminish an argument. In fact I have written above to the contrary. it would be perfectly possible to plagiarize a true argument, and thus be right by proxy. I only point out the scandal of the situation, IF it does exist.
Luke admits up front that he compiled sources (1:1-3).
Mark very likely recorded Peter, and Matthew was an eyewitness - and we might expect two eyewitness accounts to correspond. I realize there are a few assumptions here, but they are traditional, and certainly not implausible ones. Not to mention the Christian claim that scripture was inspired.
As for Q. While it remains a useful hyposthesis to many scholars, there has never been a single shred of manuscript evidence to support the existence of the documents. Do you believe it exists? There’s alot you have to take on blind faith in order to maintain the liberal critique of the Bible. Very little in any subsequent archaeology since 1850 has supported the old Tubingen (et al) line.
Not especially. Not that I was impugning your integrity yet. I might be guided in an evaluation of the sincerity of your beliefs by many things. Referring me to what you have written as a form of argument is not a great start where I am concerned. Who has vetted your work?
Isn’t it also true that if there really are facts at issue, then personal integrity is irrelevant? If everyone knows the facts, then nobody’s lying makes one whit of difference. The fact is that it is Christianity which produces nothing that compels belief in its mythology or persuades anything but blind obedience to its instruction. The claims of any of thousands of other “belief” systems are no less persuasive, and that is what its critics are beginning to mention these days.
Perhaps you would care to list the compelling facts for us! An eternity in heaven or hell for sheep and goats respectively? I think somebody else thought of that one first. A “savior” that rescues us from original sin? How so? Persuade me that the concept is in any way unique. You may have to show me the money.
You are left attempting to hold the critique of Christianity to account armed with nothing but weak attempts to frame the debate as a discussion among equals.
[quote author=“dumanis”]But it is impossible to erase some element, so way, of fear from the moral equation. I have not completely worked this out, but someone will always be there to enforce the rules.
I am waiting with baited breath for you to work this one out. Any time. I am aware of the difference between a real cop armed with a truncheon and, say, an invisible sky god armed with an invisible sky truncheon.
To argue that lying is wrong “because we have the prima facie obligation to tell the truth to other rational agents,” is to argue that lying is wrong because lying is wrong.
Not my argument, but I’ll try to tweak it so it looks good to me: We do not “have” a prima facie obligation to tell (or believe) the truth. We ‘find’ it prudent to tell the truth (when facts are at hand, but are not available to all) since we understand the effect it might have on us were the situation to be reversed. I think that is what it means to be a “rational agent”. If we do not understand the reciprocity, one could make the case that we are not entirely rational. I think we do the best research we can and then rely on trusting others. Morality does not save us the obligation of due diligence and understanding the “doubt” part of “reasonable doubt”. Theistic morality looks like nothing so much as a way to wriggle out of living with the obligations of due diligence and reasonable doubt in order to get to the other side of the equation in what we believe.
I am satisfied with an evolutionary origin for “rationality”. We talk about it a lot, but nobody ever really compares it with anything that might serve as a standard of “rationality”. You can fool some of the people some of the time; we can fool ourselves some of the time. I think Freud said that.
To apply this to any examples in the discourse between theology and atheism, one must first presume that any “facts” are at hand. There is no such thing as lying when no facts are present. Making promises on which no one can deliver is another can of worms entirely, especially if the aim of the promise is to induce fear and obedience. Call it intimidation if you like, but I do not place it under the rubric of “lying”.
I did read your previous post (it was no bother), where you said you
think christian scholars should acknowledge them?
Well, all I’m trying to do is point out that they have been acknowledged for 150 years.
And do you really think I expected you to be able to meet my criteria, and write something that detailed? That “daunting” list was meant to keep you from immediately posting the kind of overblown comparative religions mush that you did. You did anyway. I put red flags all around the trap - you stepped in anyway.
Machen will be hard to find in a local library. Hope there’s a seminary or major university nearby. Metzger can be found on the web, as I linked above.
Hey we have something in common - eclecticism!
[quote author=“Jefe”]Perhaps there are certain wisdoms or truths that are universal and independent of organized religion, particular scripture, or other man-made mythology. I think it would be interesting to see separate, unconnected examples of similar ethical teachings…though I would hesitate to attribute this similarity to a deify figure.
Joseph Campbell described the deities and heroes and other elements as symbols for deeper philosophical ideas. Perhaps the source for those ideas is human experience and not deities.
[quote author=“Jefe”]Being the ‘story-teller’ species that we are, i don’t think it would be too large a stretch to see cautionary tales and just-so-stories from early traditions of verbal histories evolve into didactic mythology and ethical plays. That would be an interesting investigation indeed!
I agree. One can view Genesis as a metaphor for the development of human sentience and civilization, but the story put such a negative spin on these. Maybe the early humans felt that knowing about death was an enormous burden. And being tied to the land by agriculture meant giving up the relative freedom and excitement of the hunter-gatherer life, although the latter meant a struggle just to survive.