Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

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bluegreenearth
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Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

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Post by bluegreenearth »

For example:
Hebrews 11:3

3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
There are numerous verses following the one above that equally proclaim, "By faith," something is understood or known to be true. Therefore, in this context, "faith" is being encouraged for use as an epistemology. How does "faith" function to reliably distinguish true claims from false claims or does it fail in that regard? What would demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Christian community that "faith" is not a reliable tool for discovering what is true or false?

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #361

Post by Realworldjack »

Danmark wrote: [Replying to post 352 by Realworldjack]
In other words, what we would come to understand is, this author would have spent decades traveling around with Paul on his missionary journeys....
What is it about the scholarly information on Theophilus that you don't get?

1 Theories about who Theophilus was

1.1 Coptic view
1.2 Roman Official
1.3 Honorary title
1.4 Paul's Lawyer
1.5 Jewish priest
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theophilus_(biblical)

You claimed you did not claim to know who Theophilus really was
I never said a thing about who Theophilus may have been
yet you reiterate he "spent decades traveling around with Paul on his missionary journeys."

Do you, or do you not claim to know who Theophilus was?


Please attempt to read this very carefully, so that we do not have to waste anymore time here. I said,
realworldjack wrote:We have certain evidence THAT THE AUTHOR OF THE TWO LETTERS to Theophilus, would have traveled around with Paul, for decades.
So now, when you read this carefully, and correctly, who is it I am talking about who would have "traveled around with Paul"? Would it be Theophilus? Or, would it have been, the author of the letters addressed to Theophilus?

Next, I did not say, I had never mentioned Theophilus. Rather, I said,
realworldjack wrote: since I never said a thing about WHO Theophilus MAY HAVE BEEN
Okay, so I have never said a word about who Theohilus may have been, because we would have no way to know this. However, we do have certain evidence, of who the author of the letters addressed to him may have been.

I do not know how much clearer this could be?

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #362

Post by brunumb »

[Replying to post 358 by Realworldjack]
However, we do have certain evidence, of who the author of the letters addressed to him may have been.
Who was the author and what is the supporting evidence for his identity.
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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #363

Post by Realworldjack »

brunumb wrote: [Replying to post 314 by Realworldjack]
We have certain evidence that the author of the two letters to Theophilus, would have traveled around with Paul, for decades. With this being the case, we can know this author would have been alive at the time of Jesus, would have known the Apostles, along with the claims they were making, first hand. At the beginning of his first letter, this author assures Theophilus that he had "investigated everything carefully from the beginning", and with the evidence we have seen thus far, we can know that he would have had the ability to do just that.
Please present this certain evidence and demonstrate how it allows would have to actually become did.


First, the only thing you have highlighted would have been, "would have", and I never said "did"?

However, we can know beyond a reasonable doubt that Paul, "DID" in fact travel around the known world at the time, planting Churches, and his letters would be overwhelming evidence that this would have been the case.

We can also know beyond a reasonable doubt that Paul would have had traveling companions along with him, and again his letters gives us overwhelming evidence for this as well.

What we can know to be a fact is, the author of the two letters to Theophilus tells of the journeys of Paul, and actually begins to use the words "we", and "us" when describing the events, as if he is there to actually witness the events. This author uses these words, all the way, and up until Paul would have traveled to Rome, in order to stand trial, and he ends his second letter with Paul being under arrest for some 2 years.

What we can also know to be a fact is, Paul mentions some of his traveling companions in his letters. However, when we arrive to the letters which would have clearly been written while he would have been imprisoned in Rome, we see that Paul mentions the fact that, "only Luke is with me".

My friend, with this being the case, we have certain evidence, that Luke would have indeed been the author of the two letters to Theophilus, which would also clearly demonstrate that this author would have been alive at the time of Jesus, would have known the Apostles personally, and would have known the claims they were making first hand.

This would also tell us that this author would have had the ability to "investigate everything carefully from the beginning", just as he assures Theophilus he had done, because he would have been alive at the time, would have known the Apostles, along with the claims they were making.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #364

Post by brunumb »

[Replying to post 360 by Realworldjack]

You keep repeating things like "would have" instead of saying "did" or 'was". You are just drawing your own biased conclusions rather than providing the actual evidence that definitively leads to those conclusions.
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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #365

Post by Realworldjack »

[Replying to post 318 by benchwarmer]


Did this Theophilus claim to have seen Jesus die and then later see him alive?
This question right here, along with the fact that you continue to make this same mistake over, and over throughout your post, seems to demonstrate clearly, one who really has no understanding of what they claim to be so critical of?

Theophilus, would have been the recipient of the two letters, and it is the author of these two letters we are referring to, not Theophilus. Anyone, with an elementary understanding of the NT would know this, and even if one did not know this, then I would think that it would have become clear when one says, "the author of the two letters to Theophilus", that it would be the author who is being referred to, and not, Theophilus.

Therefore, your question should have been, "did this author" instead of, "did this Theophilus"? It will be difficult to overlook this as I continue through this post of yours, seeing as how obvious this blunder would be. However, let us go on to endeavor to come to an understanding of what we can know about this author, as opposed to, Theophilus.

We have overwhelming evidence that this author would have traveled with Paul on his missionary journeys. This would mean, this author would have been alive during the lifetime of Jesus, and would have known the Apostles personally, which means he would have known those who were making the claims, "they saw Jesus alive after death".

Next, we have very strong evidence that Luke would have indeed been the author of the two letters addressed to Theophilus, which would mean the early Church would have been correct to attribute these letters to Luke. With this being the case, the early Church could have very well gotten the authors of the other Gospels correct as well, when they attribute one these Gospels to Matthew, and another to John, who would have both been Apostles, which would mean we would be reading first hand accounts, from eyewitnesses themselves.

The point I am making is, simply insisting that we cannot know for certain who the authors may have been, would not in any way demonstrate that the authors would not have been first hand eyewitnesses to the things they report. It simply means, they may not have been, but it would also mean, they very well could have been.

So, why would any of this matter? Well, it only matters for those who would simply want to cast some sort of doubt. Because you see, we have just determined that the authors could have very well been eyewitnesses to the things they report, and even if they were not, this would not have a thing in the world to do with, whether what they report would be true, or false. In other words, one can report something that would absolutely be true, and not have been an actual eyewitness.

In other words, those opposed understand that if it could be demonstrated, that these accounts would have been from eyewitnesses, then they have a problem. Otherwise, it would not matter in the least as to whether these folks would have claimed to have been witnesses. Ergo, the only option they have is to attempt to cast some sort of doubt as to whether we may have first hand eyewitness accounts, but as we have seen, this would not have a thing in the world to do with whether we actually do have first hand accounts, from actual eyewitnesses, and it certainly would not have a thing to do with whether the reports would be true, or not.
What you say next is nothing but evidence that Theophilus has first hand knowledge of what Paul was saying. I think that was my point. I'm not sure what yours was.
Again, it is not Theophilus we are referring to, but the point is, we can be confident that this author would have known those making the claims, and would have heard the claims from their own lips.
You've supplied no evidence of witness statements from people seeing Jesus alive, then dead, then alive again.
My friend, you have no evidence in the least, that Mark would not have been the author of the Gospel with his name, nor of Matthew, nor of John, and you have no evidence that Luke would not have been the author of the two letters addressed to Theophilus, while we do in fact have certain evidence that Luke would have indeed been the author.

Again, your point is very weak in that, even if these authors would not have been eyewitnesses, this does nothing whatsoever toward demonstrating what they report would be false, not to mention the fact that you cannot demonstrate that these reports are not from those they were attributed to, and that they very well could have been first hand eyewitnesses.

I mean it is like, we have all these letters contained in the NT, which is evidence of how these folks were living their lives at the time, and we are supposed to believe that they were all walking around reporting falsehoods to each other, simply because we cannot be for certain who the authors may have been?
Correct. Thus we have anonymous sources claiming that other people saw a resurrected Jesus. At best it's second hand hearsay. Not a direct claim from the author that they witnessed any of it.
And again, this would have nothing to do with whether the reports would be factual. Moreover, we very well could have eyewitness reports. Simply because we cannot absolutely demonstrate this to be the case, does not in any way demonstrate that it is not the case.

I said,
realworldjack wrote:and therefore, if we can simply assume, as you seem to do, that these men simply repeated what they have been told, then we can also assume, that the other accounts the author of the two letters to Theophilus was referring to, could have very well included, Matthew, and Mark, which would mean they would have been alive at the time as well, and could have very well known, or even been one of the apostles themselves, which means along with the author of the two letters to Theophilus, they would have had no need in simply reporting what they had been told. Because at least here, our assumptions would be based on some sort of facts, and evidence, unlike the idea you throw out.
To which you reply,
Well, that's a lot of assumptions.
Did you see where I start out by saying, "if we can simply assume, as you seem to do"? Actually, I should have said, "as you do" because you do a lot of assuming yourself. You assume we can come to the conclusion that these men may have simply repeated what they were told by others, and therefore, if we can assume in this way, we can also assume that these claims could have very well been written by those they were attributed to, which would mean, we would indeed have eyewitness accounts.

However, and again, whether we have eyewitness accounts or not, would not have a thing in the world to do with whether the reports would be true, or false. But, if we can simply assume, that we may not have eyewitness accounts, then we can also assume that we very well could have eyewitness accounts.
It's interesting how you are claiming to disagree with me and yet you are agreeing with me at the same time. Did Theophilus claim to see Jesus alive after seeing him die? You seem to be missing this key point in your evidence.
My friend, we do not have a single word which would have been recorded by, Theophilus, which again demonstrates one who knows very little concerning the thing they are so critical about, which speaks volumes.

However, we have certain evidence that the author of the two letters addressed to Theophilus, would have known those who were making the eyewitness claims personally, because we have overwhelming evidence that this author would have traveled around with Paul for decades.

So then, if it is your opinion, that this author spent these decades with Paul, and then decides to sit down after all these events, to write, not one, but two long and detailed letters to one individual, claiming it to be out of concern for this individual, only to write out false information to him, then you are certainly entitled to do so, but it would certainly help if you had some sort of facts, and evidence that may support the fact that this author would have spent decades with Paul on these painful journeys, only to sit down to write out false information to this individual?
And? Someone wrote that other people wrote stuff? Really? That's your rebuttal to me pointing out we have no direct witness statements?
And here is an assumption that, "we have no direct witness statements" when we very well could have. Simply because the writers did not identify themselves, does not demonstrate they would not have been eyewitnesses.

I am not assuming that they were, but you certainly seem to be assuming we do not have eyewitness accounts?
And did I say the claims are false or there are no facts? Well? No. I'm not sure who you are debating at this point.
I never said you were claiming these things to be false. However, if you are not insisting there would be no facts, and evidence in support of the claims, and that there would be no reason to believe the claims, and are rather acknowledging, there would be facts, and evidence in support of the claims, and that there would be reasons to believe the claims, then I do not know what we would be debating myself, because I am not at this point insisting the claims must, and have to be true, but rather that there are facts, and evidence to support the claims, which would mean there are reasons to believe the claims?
Not up for debate? So you have iron clad proof then?
The things I say, "are not up for debate" would be those things for which we have overwhelming evidence in support, and we can know these things to be true, beyond a reasonable doubt, which would mean, any doubt would be unreasonable, and would simply be in order to cast some sort of doubt.
Or do you just have the claims of these authors?
We have far more than, "the claims of these authors" concerning the things for which I say, "are not up for debate". I have already stated that we have overwhelming evidence of the fact that the author of the two letters to Theophilus, would have traveled around with Paul on his missionary journeys, and I have supplied this evidence.

However, let us now take a look at something most folks have never considered. If you will notice, this author begins his second letter, describing the events of the original Apostles, and the things they were doing. He then records that Paul is out attempting to put an end to Christianity, going to extreme means in order to do so. Of course this author then goes on to report the conversion of Paul.

Notice carefully though, when the journeys of Paul begin, we only hear of what Paul is doing, and hear very little, if anything at all concerning what the Apostles in Jerusalem were doing, until, or unless, Paul comes back in contact with them again, and, or, travels back to Jerusalem.

Now, can you imagine why this would be? Well, if this author was indeed traveling around with Paul, all over the known world at the time, then he could not possibly write of what the other Apostles may have been doing, and could have only reported about the actions of Paul, until, or unless Paul would have come back in contact with them.

This my friend, would be on top of the other evidence we have in support of the fact that this author would have been alive at the time of Jesus, would have known, and conversed with those eyewitnesses making the claims, and would have heard these claims from their very lips, and then sits down after all these events, to write not one, but two long and detailed letters to one individual, out of concern for this individual, "knowing the exact truth".

So yes, we do have more than simply claims to support this fact, as well as others. However, it takes a little bit of study, and analyzing of the facts involved, to uncover these facts we can know, for those who are interested in the truth of the matter, as opposed to simply wanting to cast doubt, in order to support what one would rather believe, or not believe.
I never claimed the claims are false or there are NO reasons. Why you keep bringing up this obvious strawman is really telling.
When I say,
realworldjack wrote:However, the fact of the matter is, the objections you bring up, in no way demonstrates there would be no reasons to believe the claims, and they certainly do not demonstrate the claims to be false.
This has nothing to do with accusing you of saying such things, rather, it is simply a fact. If however, you are acknowledging the fact that there would be facts, and evidence to support the claims, and that there would be reasons to believe the claims, then I do not see where we even have a debate, and we would seem to be in agreement.

Because you see, I am not at this point insisting the claims must, and have to be true, and I am also not at this point insisting there would be no reasons to doubt. My problem comes in when there are those who want to insist that I have no reasons to come to the conclusions I have concerning these things. So again, if you are not insisting that I have no reasons to come to the conclusions I have, then we have no debate as far as I am concerned.
You seem to think this is a rebuttal, but you are not rebutting anything I've actually said. I am simply claiming we only have what is written in the Bible and those writings are, for the most part, people claiming what OTHER people have claimed.
No, you are simply assuming that we "only have what is written in the Bible and those writings are, for the most part, people claiming what OTHER people have claimed". Because you see, if we agree that we cannot know who the authors may have been, then we would also have to agree that we cannot know if they would have been eyewitnesses of what they record. In other words, you cannot have it both ways. You cannot insist that we do not know who the authors may have been, and then go on to insist that all we have is, "people repeating what they were told".
Generally, when one has only second hand heresay to go on, one doesn't make major life decisions without first confirming the claims as best as possible. In this case, there is nothing better to support any of it.
My friend, you have already demonstrated that you have a very academic knowledge of the thing you are so critical of, because anyone who has actually sat down to read the content of the Bible, would know exactly who Theophilus would be, since the two letters addressed to him, would take up a good portion of the NT.

With this being the case, it is not all that shocking, to hear such a one proclaim, "we only have second hand hearsay to go on", when we have demonstrated, there are a number of things one can uncover by actually reading and studying the content, which one could not possibly know, if there whole goal is to simply read enough in order to cast doubt.
Rather than address the obvious lack of good evidence, you trot out this strawman time after time.
First, what would be considered to be, "good evidence" would be subjective. Next, as stated above, you do not seem to know very much about what is actually recorded in the NT you seem so critical of, so I really cannot see how you would be an authority on whether it "lacked good evidence".

Having 5 separate claims, of the same exact event, is pretty good evidence, unless of course, you have some facts, and evidence that may suggest these reports would be false, and according to you, you are not claiming the reports would be false.

Having folks make such claims, and continue to do so, well into their old age, facing certain hardships, including persecution, imprisonment, and even death, is pretty good evidence, unless of course you have facts, and evidence that would explain why they would have done such things, which would contradict their own testimony.

Having certain evidence of one who was clearly opposed to Christianity to begin with, going to the extreme to put a stop to it, only to become it's biggest champion, going on long painful journeys, which was causing him such hardships, and landed him in prison late in his life, is pretty good evidence, unless of course you have some sort of facts, and evidence which would explain this behavior that would contradict the testimony of this individual.

Having an author who we have very strong evidence to support the fact that this author would have been alive at the time of Jesus, would have known those eyewitnesses making the claims first hand, and would have heard those claims first hand, from the lips of those making the claims, and also having very strong evidence to support the fact, that this author would have traveled with Paul for decades, and this author after all these events, sits down to write not one, but two long and detailed letters to one individual, claiming that the purpose of these letters is out of concern for this individual, "knowing the exact truth" is pretty strong evidence, unless of course you have some facts, and evidence which would explain to us, why, and how this author would have endured all these things, to then sit down to write out falsehoods, to this individual.

My friend, I could continue on, and on, with these sort of facts, and evidence, which supports the truth of these claims, which demonstrates that it is simply an opinion to claim that we "lack good evidence" and from what we see above, it is not a very good opinion.

I mean, how do we explain all these things above? Did they simply fall out of the sky? Are we to suppose, these ordinary men, were going around spreading falsehoods, writing letters among each other at the time, with no concern, nor any idea, that what they were writing at the time, would ever be read by anyone else other than the intended audience at the time, and they certainly had no idea about the Bible, which demonstrates that they could not possibly have been writing in order to be contained in any sort of Bible, and somehow, someway, this Jesus they were proclaiming, who left nothing in writing himself, somehow is proclaimed by modern magazines today, to be the most influential man in the history of the world, all on account of some ordinary fishermen, some 2000 years ago, began to spread falsehoods, concerning their leader, who was crucified?

My friend, I would accept, and be perfectly fine with someone saying. "they do not believe the claims". However, it is beyond my imagination how anyone can honestly say, "it is lacking good evidence"? Well, it is not really "beyond my imagination", because I can indeed imagine such a thing from one who is desperately seeking to cause any sort of doubt, in order to support what it is they would rather believe.
What I would like is at least some corroborating evidence from disconnected sources. Got any of that? Well no, or it would be trotted out every time these kinds of debates come up.
My friend, we have 5 separate reports, of the same resurrection. Can you demonstrate how they would be connected? I will also point out the fact that, simply because they report the same events, would not in any way demonstrate they would be connected. Many folks can report the same event, and not be connected in any way.
And the written witness reports of this from among these 3000 folks is where? Oh ya, nowhere. We have ONE written account that there were 3000 folks. Wow, super convincing.
And again we demonstrate that we have very little knowledge of what we are so critical of.

It is a fact, that many Jews at that time would travel from all over the known world to Jerusalem on religious holidays such as Pentecost. Ergo, when Peter is said to get up to address the crowds, it would have been Jews from all over the world, and many of them who believed, decided to stay in Jerusalem, instead of going back to their own home country.

This is why it is recorded that, many of the believers who resided in Jerusalem began to sell their land, and give it to those who were in need, (those who decided not to return to their own home country).

Can you imagine any other reason why these folks would feel free to simply sell their land? Could it be the fact that Jesus had predicted the destruction of Jerusalem, and these folks understood there was no need in hanging on to this land?

At any rate, this is also why the Apostles were said to have to appoint different men, in order to take care of those Jews who were from other parts of the world, which is exactly where Stephen comes into the picture, which is exactly who Paul consents to his death, and we are to suppose this author of the letters to Theophilus, sits down to write all this stuff, which would be fictitious?

You see, you can continue to simply question anything, and everything, but eventually the facts, and evidence is going to caught up with you, and it will be seen that this is all you are doing, on top of the fact that it is quite obvious that you do not posses a whole lot of knowledge concerning those things you are attempting to question.
Face it, what we have is little more than second hand claims for the most part.
Here is a good example. If we agree that we cannot know who the authors may have been, then we cannot say, "what we have is little more than second hand claims for the most part", because the authors could have been first hand eyewitnesses.

Ergo, either you can say, "we know who the authors were, and this is how we know they would not have been witnesses". Or, you acknowledge that "we cannot know who the authors were", which would demonstrate, that we cannot know if the information would have been from the actual witnesses, or not?
It's the best there is and it's not convincing in the least and certainly not 'good' evidence.
I agree. If one simply reads bits, and pieces of the material contained in the NT, and really does not understand what it actually is, then I can certainly understand such a one coming to such a conclusion.

However, if one were to actually sit down to analyze, and study all the facts, and evidence involved, in order to determine what all would have to be involved for these reports to be true, as opposed to what all would have to be involved in order for these reports to be false, they may actually come to a completely different conclusion.

The question for all of us here is, are we simply attempting to find reasons to support the position we now hold? Or, are we really attempting to dig in to determine what all would have to be involved for the claims to be true, as opposed to what all would have to be involved in order for the claims to be false? This can only be answered on a personal basis.
It may be evidence and it may provide some reasons, but it's certainly not multiple direct witness statements.
I believe you are making statements that you cannot back up? Maybe, it would be better for you to say, "it certainly cannot be demonstrated to be multiple direct witness statements", because I do not know how you would be able to demonstrate that they "certainly would not be"?
Which was the ENTIRE point of my post to which you responded. Nice dodge I guess.
No my friend, I am still here, and I am not dodging. If it seems that way then I apologize. But I will attempt to answer anything you wish, but as you can see, I have a lot of work ahead of me, and you will have to wait in line.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #366

Post by Realworldjack »

marco wrote:
Realworldjack wrote:

Okay, you have some explaining to do? Exactly how in the world can one say, the information contained about the life, death, and resurrection would not be "thorough, or detailed"? How would it be, "dishonest, or disreputable"?

Date of birth? Activities between the ages of 10 and 30? Description of the man? Trade and occupation? Education? Adolescence? Strengths and weaknesses? Visits to other countries? Military experience? Death dates of parents and siblings?

We are supplied - in apparent seriousness - with birth details going back to Adam.
We have recorded conversations of him when there appears to have been no witnesses.
One of the reliable biographers tells us that one of the incidental details at crucifixion time was the walking about of corpses.
A young man was sitting in his tomb - no, it was two angels.

How much of this is "thorough" and "detailed"? When they try to give us a specific detail that historians can check, such as the Roman census, or the ruling king at Christ's birth, we find errors.

The Slavs have a saying: "A horse would laugh."


I may be mistaken, but I believe that it would have been you who opened an OP, asking if the authors of the Gospels, would be considered historians? I do not know how this could possibly be the case?

As an example, if we take what has been entitled, "The Gospel of Luke", and "The Actions of the Apostles", and if we were to read them in the exact way in which they would have been written, we can clearly see, we are reading letters which were written from one individual, and addressed to another individual.

With this being the case, this author would not have been writing as an historian, since most historians are writing for a much wider audience. Of course there are folks who refer to the author of these two letters as an historian, but the fact of the matter is, he was writing letters to a particular audience, which would demonstrate he is not writing as an historian.

In fact, at the beginning of the first letter, this author explains to Theophilus, exactly why he is writing this letter, and he claims that it would be out of concern for Theophilus, "knowing the exact truth".

With this being the case, this author cannot be said to be writing as an historian, since he is unconcerned with anyone else reading the content of this letter, other than, Theophilus.

In fact, the overwhelming majority of the material contained in the NT, can be demonstrated to be letters, addressed to audiences at the time, with no concern, nor any idea that anyone else would ever read what was being recorded, besides the original intended audience. Moreover, all of the letters, that would have been addressed to particular audiences at the time, the audiences being addressed, would have already been believers.

Ergo, it may in fact be the case, that the little bit of material which would be left, may have as well been addressed to particular audiences at the time, who would have already been believers, with no concern, nor any idea, that anyone else would ever read these things, other than the original intended audience.

With the fact that the author of the two letters to Theophilus, would have been addressing one who already believed, then this author has no need in explaining things, such as identifying exact dates, etc., since he knows his audience very well, and is confident that his audience knows him very well, and trust what he has to say.

The point being made here is, if one is writing a letter to a close friend, or loved one, then they would write in a totally different way, then if they may be writing to a wider audience, who may not know them all that well, and may require more information.

As an example, if I were to write a letter to my wife, I would be well aware of the fact that she knows me very well, and I would have no need in attempting to convince her I am telling the truth concerning any matter, and therefore I could simply report to her the facts, being confident that she has enough trust in me to report the facts correctly, no matter how extraordinary the report may be.

So then, if years later, someone were to run across a letter which I would have written to my wife, would they complain that I did not give her enough information? Or, would they understand exactly what I say above, and come to understand that I have no reason to give my wife all these other details, which may be required if I were addressing a wider audience?

In the same way, the authors of the letters contained in the NT, owe nothing to us, since they were not addressing us. Of course, one may say, "these letters written to audiences at that time are not convincing enough to me", but this would have nothing whatsoever to do with whether what they report to their audience at the time, being true, or false.

The whole point here is, when we read the things contained in the NT, we need to keep in mind that these authors were not writing to a wide audience, attempting to convince this audience of the things which were being recorded, since the audiences, would have already been believers.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #367

Post by marco »

Realworldjack wrote:


We have overwhelming evidence that this author would have traveled with Paul on his missionary journeys. This would mean, this author would have been alive during the lifetime of Jesus, and would have known the Apostles personally, which means he would have known those who were making the claims, "they saw Jesus alive after death".

To draw concrete conclusions from all these suppressed conditions is nonsense. You cannot say he DID travel with Paul but, curiously, would have (had he not broken a leg maybe.) The author would have been alive (had he not died.) And assuming he lived he would have known the apostles (had he met them) and known them "personally" (had he been introduced and kept up the acquaintance). And all this "means" he would have known those who lied about angels and corpses rising from the dead and walking about. Does this intimate knowledge of fictional writers make their fiction true?

This would have been a good argument had it not used "would have" so often.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #368

Post by marco »

Realworldjack wrote:


The whole point here is, when we read the things contained in the NT, we need to keep in mind that these authors were not writing to a wide audience, attempting to convince this audience of the things which were being recorded, since the audiences, would have already been believers.
There is a difference between the gospels, which were written as a sort of record of Jesus and the epistles, which are letters addressed usually to church groups. You made a claim that we have full details about the main character, Christ, and I pointed out that we do not. Unfortunately you again entered into a soliloquy about the ghost, Theophilus. The whole point as you put it, is that the ridiculous claims made for Christ remain ridiculous even if Theophilus is proved to have been a millionaire backer of the emerging Christian society.

It remains a mystery how you can have read something about two letters sent to somebody called Theophilus and are able to claim that the resurrection is, under reasonable considerations, true. It would seem that had Theophilus not been born, Christ would not have risen.

As for your statement above: the gospel writers were undoubtedly trying to communicate that what they wrote actually occurred. They occasionally lied, it would seem.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #369

Post by Realworldjack »

Danmark wrote:
Realworldjack wrote: Why there are folks who continue to want to make such comparisons is beyond me, since one would have nothing whatsoever to do with the other? The question is, "what did Paul gain, or have to gain"?
1st, the comparison is obvious. Both men created religions.
2d, To gain power, prestige, influence, fame, support of a growing community.

But it presents a false question to imply there is only a single motive or that such people are purely logical.


1st, the comparison is obvious. Both men created religions.
This is completely, and utterly false. As we have it recorded, Paul was out to put to stop to a particular religion, and then converted to this very same religion, demonstrating that he did not "create this religion".
2d, To gain power, prestige, influence, fame, support of a growing community.
And the question remains, what evidence do we have that Paul gained any of these things? According to Paul, here is exactly what he received.
2 Corn. 11:23-28
in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.
So, do we have any evidence this would be false? And again, what evidence do we have that Paul would have gained any of the things you suggest above? In other words, we have the evidence here, along with the report of another Biblical writer, that this is what Paul actually received from what he was proclaiming. So, what evidence do we have that would suggest otherwise?
But it presents a false question to imply there is only a single motive or that such people are purely logical.
I never said such a thing, and am rather looking for some sort of facts, and evidence that Paul may have somehow benefited from the way in which he was living out his life, which may bring us to some sort of "logical" conclusion that he may have been proclaiming these things for some other reason than, it was simply true?

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #370

Post by Danmark »

Realworldjack wrote:
Danmark wrote:
Realworldjack wrote: Why there are folks who continue to want to make such comparisons is beyond me, since one would have nothing whatsoever to do with the other? The question is, "what did Paul gain, or have to gain"?
1st, the comparison is obvious. Both men created religions.
2d, To gain power, prestige, influence, fame, support of a growing community.

But it presents a false question to imply there is only a single motive or that such people are purely logical.


1st, the comparison is obvious. Both men created religions.
RWJ:
This is completely, and utterly false. As we have it recorded, Paul was out to put to stop to a particular religion, and then converted to this very same religion, demonstrating that he did not "create this religion".
This is your opinion, but that is all the credence I can give it. Certainly Saul was, according to 'Luke', an enemy of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. But that does not mean Christianity had been established as a religion. There were a variety of opinions about who Jesus was, and his significance. Then Saul had his sunstroke, or epileptic fit, or whatever it was that induced his claim to have had a supernatural vision which he reported after 3 days of delirium and blindness. He then went about the region preaching and writing about his experience and new belief which became the cornerstone of the new religion we today call 'Christianity.'
This is precisely the same pattern Joseph Smith followed in creating the religion known today as LDS. Whether either or both were crazy or frauds or a mixture of the two is not the point. That they, like L. Ron Hubbard, or Muhammad, created new religions is not rationally disputed.

What IS disputed is whether any of these religions accurately relate or faithfully explain the existence of a supernatural 'God.' I am certain you are not persuaded by my response, but ask yourself 'What would have happened to Christianity if 'Luke' and Saul had written nothing.?'

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