For those in quarantine with 3+ hours to kill…

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    To build on the argument by Reg, there is this portion from the work of Mangasarian on the resurrection. It’s a conversation between a skeptic and disciple/ believer

    How long have you known Jesus?

    I have known him for one year.

    And I for two.

    And I for three.

    Has any of you known him for more than three years?


    Was he with his apostles for one year or for three?

    For one.

    No, for three.

    You are not certain, then, how long Jesus was with his apostles.


    How old was Jesus when crucified?

    About thirty-one.

    No, about thirty-three.

    No, he was much older, about fifty.

    You cannot tell with any certainty, then, his age at the time of his death.


    You say he was tried and crucified in Jerusalem before your own eyes, can you remember the date of this great event?

    We cannot.

    Were you present when Jesus was taken down from the cross?

    We were not.

    You cannot tell, then, whether he was dead when taken down.

    We have no personal knowledge.

    Were you present when he was buried?

    We were not, because we were in hiding for our lives.

    You do not know, therefore, whether he was actually buried, or where he was buried.

    We do not.

    Were any of you present when Jesus came forth from the grave?

    Not one of us was present,

    Then, you were not with him when he was taken down from the cross; you were not with him when he was interred, and you were not present when he rose from the grave.

    We were not.

    When, therefore, you say, he was dead, buried and rose again, you are relying upon the testimony of others?

    We are.

    Will you mention the names of some of the witnesses who saw Jesus come forth from the tomb?

    Mary Magdalene, and she is here and may be questioned.

    Were you present, Mary, when the angels rolled away the stone, and when Jesus came forth from the dead?

    No, when I reached the burying place early in the morning, the grave had already been vacated, and there was no one sleeping in it.

    You saw him, then, as the apostles did, _after_ he had risen?


    But you did not see anybody rise out of the grave.

    I did not.

    Are there any witnesses who saw the resurrection?

    There are many who saw him after the resurrection.

    But if neither they nor you saw him dead, and buried, and did not see him rise, either, how can you tell that a most astounding and supposedly impossible miracle had taken place between the time you saw him last and when you saw him again two or three days after? Is it not more natural to suppose that, being in a hurry on account of the approaching Sabbath, Jesus, if ever crucified, was taken down from the cross before he had really died, and that he was not buried, as rumor states, but remained in hiding; and his showing himself to you under cover of darkness and in secluded spots and in the dead of night only, would seem to confirm this explanation. You admit also that the risen Jesus did not present himself at the synagogues of the people, in the public streets, or at the palace of the High Priest to convince them of his Messiahship.

    Do you not think that if he had done this, it would then have been impossible to deny his resurrection? Why, then, did Jesus hide himself after he came out of the grave? Why did he not show himself also to his enemies? Was he still afraid of them, or did he not care whether they believed or not? If so, why are _you_ trying to convert them? The question waits for a reasonable answer; Why did not Jesus challenge the whole world with the evidence of his resurrection? You say you saw him occasionally, a few moments at a time, now here, and now there, and finally on the top of a mountain whence he was caught up in a cloud and disappeared altogether. But that “cloud” has melted away, the sky is clear, and there is no Jesus visible there. The cloud, then, had nothing to hide. It was unnecessary to call in a cloud to close the career of your Christ.The grave is empty, the cloud has vanished. Where is Christ? In heaven! Ah, you have at last removed him to a world unknown, to the undiscovered country. Leave him there! Criticism, doubt, investigation, the light of day, cannot cross its shores. Leave him there!


    Then be careful what verses you pick and choose. I don’t see an novel advice in any of his teachings. But, as I mentioned before when I listed 50 foul quotes by him, you need to also hate your own family to be a follower (Luke 14:26) because he came to break families apart (Matt 10:35-38). You have to love him more than anyone else. “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me”. He even commanded people not to go to their own parents funerals. “Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead”.

    These are all from the Gospels. Good old families values!



    Simon Paynton

    I agree, be careful what you pick and choose.  It’s notable that Jesus never hated on homosexuals.


    Simon Paynton

    this portion from the work of Mangasarian

    I think this is consistent with the idea that he appeared as a ghost to his loved ones.  Mary Magdalene is said to have seen him crucified.

    The Russian music video you get when you Google “Mangasarian” is awesome.



    Simon, the Kool-Aid? You’ve ingested it. Haven’t you?

    You said you don’t need to buy into the whole package to be able to get benefit from it. Do you feel the same for Nazism? Is it okay to come away with the cherries of Nazism? If not how do you distinguish Christianity?

    You are not simply removing the cherries and discarding the pits. You think Christianity has contributed A LOT to the sum of love and charity in the world. Excuse me for a moment while i retch!

    One merely need examine the history of Christians to evaluate your love and charity claim. No need to sift through the verbiage. We all know that it is behavior that counts. Lets see. Christianity contributed mightily to the holocaust and the long history of anti-semitism. So much love there. Although estimates vary, after Christians got into the new world they shared their love with indigenous people by committing a genocide. How Christian and merciful when we acknowledge that the peoples of America that were here first were able to receive the sacraments and know of the sacrifice JC made! Then there is the history of colonialism in Africa. Okay, yeah, a bit of exploitation perhaps. That slavery thing was a bugaboo but the Christians eventually got it right when they first banned the slave trade and later outlawed slavery. Lets not mention Belgian Christians in the Congo with their little excesses. Without the superior teaching from proper ethics of Christianity that might never have occurred. And yes we can go back further and point to those crusades as an exercise in bloody well knowing that the TRUE faith is to be predominant at all costs. And when Jerusalem was taken you could have launched a boat supported by the blood. Also the inquisitions have given moderns a solid foundation in administering torture. And while naysayers of Christianity love to point out that science was retarded by Christianity it is also true that the science of torture was advanced by Christianity. It is fun to thumb through a book of christian torture devices. So inspiring.

    And then there is the mindset of Christians. Without that good book would those self same marauders, rapists, slave traders, executioners, day to day ho hum judgmental pricks, inquisitors, imperialists, sexists, haters of homosexuality etc existed/exist? At the same rate? Executing their love without compunction?

    I am pretty sure Reg is correct that substantively the Jesus love is unwarranted. And sure you can cherry pick and differ in your evaluation. But to support Christianity is to support a blight on civilization. Christianity is about a rejection of the natural world. Faith is not optional. Authoritarianism is not optional. The whole Luther idea that reason is the devil’s whore is contrary to all that is good about humans. Thus the true adherents don’t get to pick and choose what is good and what ought to be discarded using their superior intellect. Imagine a philosopher who tells you to STFU and leave your intellect at the door. That philosopher is going to give you an account of the world that explains everything, that tells you how to live, what to do, what not to do and is filled with contradictions and is irrational. Will you defend that philosophy and cherry pick a few nuggets? No wait. Lets also suppose that philosopher has infected the masses and caused unspeakable cruelty and diminution in the value of countless lives. Is your defense justifiable?


    They present no evidence. They keep falling back on the Bible to “prove” their points. They often claim that the works of Tacitus and Josephus confirm Biblical events even though those references are all shown to be added to their works long after they authors died and are also shown to be historically inaccurate. (I can explain how and where another time).

    I was totally underwhelmed by it. I have heard must better arguments in much better presentations. There was too much repetition in it and too many appeals to authority. What annoyed me most was their claim, more than once, that modern historians would almost 100% agree that the Bible is historical accurate, especially the works of Paul.

    Mostly using the Bible to make their points while taking about the vast array of non-Christian sources which they seldom reference. Stand back everyone. There is nothing to see here.

    I have just spotted a bear strolling into the forest and I am off to investigate what it could be doing.


    Simon Paynton

    That philosopher is going to give you an account of the world that explains everything, that tells you how to live, what to do, what not to do and is filled with contradictions and is irrational.

    Love is rational.  I agree that the Church proudly has done, and continues to do, bad things.  But whether it’s wickedness or misguidedness, they do a ton of good too.  It’s like the moon: a dark and a light side.



    Simon i was not isolating the church. Instead it was an examination of your love and charity claim. Nevertheless what is it that you claim the church has done that is good and would not be in equal or greater measure in a secular society divorced of political/religious ideology?

    You did not answer or counter any of my points.


    I was forced to skip through some of it when I realized that I had chewed my left arm off down to the elbow. I was expecting the usual appeal to miracles as “evidence” for the resurrection. If all his other miracles were real and they must have been because thousands of witnesses could not be mistaken, then why would the greatest miracle of all time not also be real?

    Normally I would reply to this by introducing Hume and his writings about miracles but I would have used ideas by Annie Besant this time. She was one of those “New Atheists” from over 100 years ago when she wrote:

    No philosophy, no religion, has ever brought so glad a message to the world as this good news of Atheism.

    On Miracles (as proof of Divinity);

    It is remarkable that Jesus himself laid but little stress on his miracles; in fact, he refused to appeal to them as credentials of his authority, and either could not or would not work them when met with determined unbelief. We must notice also that the people, while “glorifying God, who had given such power unto men,” were not inclined to admit his miracles as proofs of his right to claim absolute obedience: his miracles did not even invest him with such sacredness as to protect him from arrest and death. Herod, on his trial, was simply anxious to see him work a miracle, as a matter of curiosity.

    This stolid indifference to marvels as attestations of authority is natural enough, when we remember that Jewish history was crowded with miracles, wrought for and against the favoured people, and also that they had been specially warned against being misled by signs and wonders. Without entering into the question whether miracles are possible, let us, for argument’s sake, take them for granted, and see what they are worth as proofs of Divinity.

    If Jesus fed a multitude with a few loaves, so did Elisha: if he raised the dead, so did Elijah and Elisha; if he healed lepers, so did Moses and Elisha; if he opened the eyes of the blind, Elisha smote a whole army with blindness and afterwards restored their sight: if he cast out devils, his contemporaries, by his own testimony, did the same. If miracles prove Deity, what miracle of Jesus can stand comparison with the divided Red Sea of Moses, the stoppage of the earth’s motion by Joshua, the check of the rushing waters of the Jordan by Elijah’s cloak?

    If we are told that these men worked by conferred power and Jesus by inherent, we can only answer that this is a gratuitous assumption, and begs the whole question. The Bible records the miracles in equivalent terms: no difference is drawn between the manner of working of Elisha or Jesus; of each it is sometimes said they prayed; of each it is sometimes said they spoke. Miracles indeed must not be relied on as proofs of divinity, unless believers in them are prepared to pay divine honours not to Jesus only, but also to a crowd of others, and to build a Christian Pantheon to the new found gods.



    Yeah, as thousands lie suffering and gasping for their last few breaths, I suppose the miracle worker Jesus is sawing logs or something.


    Simon Paynton

    what is it that you claim the church has done that is good and would not be in equal or greater measure in a secular society divorced of political/religious ideology?

    That isn’t the point.  The “Jesus” end of things is an additional source of love and charity.  We need, or want, both secular and any other source we can get.

    Faith is not optional. Authoritarianism is not optional.

    It’s all optional.  Jesus remains an exemplar and role model for humanity.  Even if he did say a few wacky things and clearly didn’t like families for some reason.  As a human being, he can’t have been expected to get it all right.

    The difference between, at least, Jesus, and the nazis is that the nazis set out explicitly to do evil (putting oneself first at the deliberate expense of others), while Jesus sacrificed (allowed himself to get crucified) for the sake of “God is love”.  The two are polar opposites.  He also rejected repressive, legalistic societal norms.

    The one area I think his ethics are weak in, is standing up for oneself.  I think this leads to a tendency in Christians today to be rather passive aggressive and repressed in their anger towards others – or macho and bombastic.  They don’t seem to handle it properly.



    The “Jesus” end of things is an additional source of love and charity. We need, or want, both secular and any other source we can get.

    But Jesus offers us nothing new. It is not a new source if it a repeat of what others had said previously. Biblical ideas about forgiveness are not practical. They are too absolutist.  Why would I forgive the man that deliberately murdered a child?  He talks of honoring ones parents but is at times disrespectful to his own mother.  He says we should not call people fools but does so on several occasions himself. I can list several more examples of him “not practicing what he preaches”. Biblical morality is not of a high enough standard for me to refer to it as a useful source of instruction.  Any “good” bit to pick from are far outweighed by the “bad” bits. I would not let a child read it.



    I do object to the word “homosexuality” in the above and the sticker should be amended to reflect that. I was once involved in a campaign in France to make these stickers mandatory and it read much better. I will see if I can find it.


    Simon Paynton

    Biblical ideas about forgiveness are not practical. They are too absolutist. Why would I forgive the man that deliberately murdered a child?

    Game theory teaches us that forgiving 100% of the time leads to cooperation falling apart, as other people just walk all over us.  It also teaches us that forgiving most of the time is optimum for cooperation.  I think it’s useful to think in terms of partner control and partner choice – attempting to turn a bad partner into a good one, and if that fails, finding a new cooperative partner.

    At the same time, I think that Jesus’ emphasis on forgiveness was an innovation: the prevailing ethos was “an eye for an eye” which is destructive of both sides.  Source: Jesus and Philosophy, Don Cupitt.

    I agree that it seems hypocritical of Jesus to preach honoring one’s father and mother, and not to do so himself.  However, this doesn’t invalidate the rest of his teaching.  It’s not like he was a criminal, or Donald Trump.



    Simon, you say Jesus is an additional source of love and charity, and that we need secular and any other source.

    It is behavior that counts. Not words. Over the centuries Jesus was near and dear in the hearts of Christians. Notwithstanding their love of Jesus they have proven themselves to be vicious, the exact opposite of the things you uphold. They were at their most vicious, ruthless and sadistic when apotheosis of JC was greatest.

    We need to avoid perpetuating Christianity or any other religion. You are doing just that in your small way. Any system of thinking that relies on authority, requires faith and mythology is inimical to our advancement as a species. To use a cliche, the proof is in the pudding.

    In examining the substance of JCs message any value that is derived from passages that are consistent with better values is obviated by contradictory messaging. If one’s message is not consistent it is worthless and the tendency among adherents is to absorb the aspect of the message that involves despicable behavior. If JC says be kind and love but says smite those guys over there and rape the blah blah, the love and kind messaging is drowned out. And rightfully so. The specificity and lack of justification in being arbitrarily and capriciously brutal renders the be kind and love subordinate and situational.

    My point in comparing Christians and Nazis is the similarity in committing atrocities and the similarity in group-think. Again Simon, it is behavior that counts. Is it okay to extract Hitler’s message, or aspects of his message? If not, why is it ok to extract JC?

    You seem to have a Jesus fetish. Is there a reason you hold onto it so tenaciously? Why not extol reason as a path to better ethics?

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