[ExI] Impending Newtonmass...

Fred C. Moulton moulton at moulton.com
Fri Dec 26 07:14:00 UTC 2008

Below are some critical comments that I felt were needed for this
discussion.  In my attempt to be more civil for the rest of the year I
went back and edited my comments to remove terms such as b******t and I
hope that everyone realizes I am addressing the comments and not any

On Thu, 2008-12-25 at 21:31 -0700, John Grigg wrote:
> Damien Broderick wrote: 
> Non-bible scholars believe the whole thing was made up, like Zeus,
> Santa Claus and Xenu. You might as well believe Joseph Smith saw
> angels and golden plates and-- Oh, wait. Well, at least there's
> acceptable independent evidence that Smith *existed*.
> >>> 
> Damien, we both know there is a wide range of
> acceptance/non-acceptance of the historical Jesus among scholars who
> research his life.  I will say that I definitely had an interesting
> time studying this subject online (and on Christmas no less!).  I
> thought the essay below brings up a powerful point by showing the
> massive historical and social impact of Jesus and how such things come
> from the actions of real people on real history and not simply
> figments of the imagination.  
> Merry Christmas!
> John 
> Excerpted from the article, "Was Jesus a Real Person?"

Giving the title of the article without further information in not
useful since there is more than one article with that title.  So what is
needed is the name of the author and where and when it was published and
if possible a URL it is is online.

> The following facts about Jesus were written by early non-Christian
> sources:
First the list is a set of statements which may or may not be correct;
there is not enough evidence to call all of them "facts".  Secondly
notice these "early non-Christian sources" are not specified.  Also let
us be very careful of the term "early"; it is vague and does not
necessarily mean "at the time of the events".  For example Josephus is
often mentioned in these types of discussions and those not familiar
with the background on Josephus should be aware that Josephus did not
have first hand knowledge of the events listed and the earliest
surviving copies of his texts date from centuries later.  And scholars
are still attempting to determine if and to what extent passages were
added by later copy scribes.
> Theologian Norman Geisler remarked:
>         "This general outline is perfectly congruent with that of the
>         New Testament."9 

This statement does not give us much information since as noted
previously what we are seeing may not be confirmation but rather an
interjection and repeated copying of non-contemporaneous sources.

Also is this "Norman Geisler" the same Norman Geisler who is the
advocate of creationism.  From what evidence I have been able to find
this is the case and Geisler is not what I would consider a reliable

> All of these independent accounts, religious and secular, speak of a
> real man who matches up well with the Jesus in the Gospels.

Here is another slight of hand; all we have had so far is one name and
vague references to independent accounts.   So to write about "these
independent accounts, religious and secular" as if a fully sourced set
of credible sources was given is just misleading.

>  Encyclopedia Britannica cites these various secular accounts of
> Jesus' life as convincing proof of his existence. It states:
>         "These independent accounts prove that in ancient times even
>         the opponents of Christianity never doubted the historicity of
>         Jesus."10

First we are not given a citation for the alleged quote so that it can
not be verified.  And even worse the quote does not support the
statement about the Encyclopedia Britannica, the quote is about what has
been reported about the beliefs of some ancient writers not what the
writers of the Britannica may or may not believe.

> Historical Impact 
> An important distinction between a myth and a real person is how the
> figure impacts history.

No. It is difficult to determine if the above statement is just false or
merely so ambiguous as to be useless.

>  For example, the Olympic Games originated on Mount Olympus in Greece,
> home of the temple of the Greek god Zeus. But Zeus has not changed
> governments, laws, or ethics.
> The historian Thomas Carlyle said, "No great man lives in vain. The
> history of the world is but the biography of great men."11 As Carlyle
> notes, it is real people, not myths, who impact history. 

First everyone should be aware that there are various opinions in the
scholarly historical community about the role of great individuals in
history and how historical study is and should be done.  Secondly we
should remember that Carlyle did his work on history in the 1800s and
has been dead for over a 125 years.  So if we are looking for informed
opinion on questions of historical methodology it might be a good idea
to consider some persons more familiar with recent scholarship in the

At this point I am going to stop the point by point discussion because I
am tired and can see no point in wasting further time on refuting
something which I can only describe as poorly sourced, out of context,
filled with non-sequiturs, irrelevant, vague and misleading.


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