Thursday, July 3, 2014

Historian stuns atheists?

That rag, the blaze ran a story about an interview by Dr. Candida Moss titled "Historian’s Claim About Archaeological Evidence Surrounding the Bible, Jesus and Christianity That Might Stun Atheists". That's a pretty strong claim, so lets see what she has to offer...
Dr. Candida Moss, a historian, professor and expert of New Testament and early Christianity whose research and writings often draw the ire of conservatives and liberals alike, recently said that she hasn’t encountered anything in her extensive research that would lead her to abandon faith in a higher power.
Wait... Their 'historian' is a professor at the University of Notre Dame that received her PhD in 'religious studies'? This isn't off to a good start already. Biased professor at a religious school with a meaningless PhD? Check!
I personally haven’t found anything that makes me want to be an atheist
I don't know... God did it?
There's a shock... A Catholic teaching at a Catholic school whose degree is in religious studies doesn't want to be an atheist. I must state that she's missing the point though. Atheism isn't about grand (empty) offers and promises. It's about embracing reality. And one doesn't just decide to be an atheist. You either believe in God or you don't. I am not convinced by the arguments for God, so I am an atheist. I didn't choose to disbelieve... I just don't.
And I don’t think there’s anything to be afraid of in the study of history.
We can agree there, though it seems that many believers tend to disagree with this sentiment.  And those that do study it often twist it to fit their beliefs rather than follow where it leads. To me that's important, because we should all be seeking the truth... No matter where it leads. So it does irritate me when a believer tries to claim that history supports the Bible, when in all actuality, it doesn't.
It seems to me that he believed himself and his first followers believed him to be the Messiah and the son of God
Oh, Jesus and his followers were convinced? Well color me embarrassed...  Seriously though, so what? There are people that are convinced they can fly. Some people believe they are the second coming of Jesus and have a congregation that believe it as well. Muhammad believed he was God's prophet, and Muslims are convinced of that to be the truth. I don't care if someone believes they are some magical being, or has superpowers. What I care about is if they can prove it.
(on books left out of the Bible/was the Bible compiled by chance) If you believe in the holy spirit inspiring those people … or if you believe in Church tradition and hierarchy … then you have an answer to that, It’s not as if when they decided what would be included they sort of brought those books out for the first time and said, ‘How do you feel about the Gospel of John?
No, they weren't looking at the gospel of John for the first time. But the methods used by the council of Nicaea don't strike me as ones indicative to obtaining the most accurate teachings. Of the issues they discussed, decision was reached by majority vote by the bishops in attendance. They decided the nature of Jesus, which books to compile into the Bible, and which to leave out. You can try and claim that they were inspired by the Holy Ghost, but you still have a problem. The votes not being unanimous every single time would suggest that either the bishops were voting without divine guidance, or the Holy Ghost is screwing with some people by giving them the wrong answers.

Also, the council is even less impressive when you consider what was left in. There are parts of the Bible that are direct contradictions to other parts. Wouldn't you think that their MS God paperclip assistant would suggest that they fix that (and probably a couple thousand times...)?
I just want a more mature kind of faith, a more rational, and reasonable form of faith that can interact with archaeological discoveries and history without having to hide. I think of it as a process of refining. So you learn things and they can be alarming, but just reading the Bible can be alarming … we have to have ways to deal with that, so when I look at these discoveries what I’m looking for is a way to produce a more reasonable faith response.
Well...At least she admits that the Bible can be pretty damn alarming (gruesome even). But she contradicts herself here. She starts out about being more reasonable in faith, especially in relation to archaeology and history. But then she talks more of twisting discovery to fit faith, rather than following discovery where it naturally leads. Sure, you may be able to wrap nonsense in a cloak of science-y words, but that doesn't in any way improve the claim's validity.
she also defended Easter this year, claiming that the holiday — and Jesus’ resurrection — were not stolen from pagans
So that fact that a professor of New Testament and early Christianity doesn't know history is supposed to stun me? Is a Christian stunned when a Muslim says he celebrates Ramadan? Is the average person stunned when a person riding a bike says he enjoys cycling? This is how the article ended, and I still haven't seen the part that was supposed to stun me. Did I miss something, or does the blaze just have an incredibly low threshold for what it finds impressive?

-Brain Hulk

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