The Alien Gospel — Coming Soon to an Earth Near You?

The Alien Gospel

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Discussion Questions

1) Is either the existence of extraterrestrial life or belief in it unbiblical?

2) If they are real, are extraterrestrials from other planets or other dimensions?

3) In light of the limited amount of verified information we have about extraterrestrial entities, are they really benevolent? Why or why not?

4) Does the Bible appear to predict an intimate and widespread encounter with extraterrestials? (Revelation chapter 9 and 12) And could the events described in Revelation (chapters 9 and 12) be misinterpreted as the second coming of Christ?

5) If they are real, are aliens actually demons?

6) Aside from them being a side effect of prolonged drug use, what other explanations are there for legitimate, unexplained extraterrestrial sightings and encounters?

7) What explanation can account for the mass of reported alien messages that are evolution-tinged and heavily anti-theistic?

Never forget that alien begins with “a lie”!

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29 thoughts on “The Alien Gospel — Coming Soon to an Earth Near You?

  1. I don’t think the Bible rules out aliens. It is certainly possible to hold that the Bible is inerrant and that there may be aliens “out there”.

    I don’t see how Revelation could be seriously taken as an encounter with aliens. It seems pretty obvious that it is about Mary, Satan, and Jesus. But I guess I could be wrong. I just don’t think I am.

    I also wanted to ask what you meant about “the limited amount of verified information we have about extraterrestrial entities”–I wasn’t aware that we had any verified information about aliens whatsoever.

    In regards to 5, I don’t think aliens would be demons. If there are aliens, they’d be created/designed beings just like us.

    Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I think aliens are possible, but I think their existence is incredibly unlikely.

    I’ve been reading the book you recommended on here a while back, “Scientific Mythologies” by James Herrick. I’m really, really enjoying it. I’m a huge sci-fi buff and I see where many of his arguments are coming from. I’m working on a sci-fi book which I’m hoping will avoid many of the pitfalls of the genre while sneaking a bit of theology in there. Why not use the “scientific mythology” towards our own goals?

    Thanks for this post, I’ve been really thinking of this stuff recently.

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    • That’s awesome that you got the book, too. You know, he even shows the science fiction + evolutionism that exists in Mormonism about 3 times in there.

      See my reply below for more about “verified”. Of course, I could be tricky and say that DNA itself is of extraterrestrial in origin — that is, it can’t be accounted for by purely natural means.

      Share some more of your thoughts on this subject because it’s becoming more and more pronounced. I was even reading about aliens in a Mandarin language Buddhist newspaper yesterday. (It was a legitimate newspaper, not a tabloid.)

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    • I don’t see how Revelation could be seriously taken as an encounter with aliens. It seems pretty obvious that it is about Mary, Satan, and Jesus. But I guess I could be wrong. I just don’t think I am.

      Well, I didn’t say it was necessarily, just throwing that out there for the sake of conversation since there are elements out there who use the text to prove that point. And if you read chapters 9 to 12, there are some weird things there, especially in chapter 9 verses 3 to 11. Does the description of the creatures there sound like anything terrestrial? And what will be the consequences for us of Satan and his angels being cast out of heaven (Revelation 12:9)? Will we notice anything different? If so, what? Could they be mistaken for the returning Christ and His angels?

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  2. In regards to 5, I don’t think aliens would be demons. If there are aliens, they’d be created/designed beings just like us.

    Aaaaargh!

    I think it would be fascinating to see what effect on the world’s theologies first contact would cause.

    If other dimensional beings existed, how might we know?
    We have no ‘verified’ information about extraterrestrials. What we have are first person accounts and attributed experiences. Perhaps there is evidence secreted away, but who knows? It’s an intriguing idea.

    Is there anything the bible doesn’t successfully predict… after the fact and with just the right interpretation? Funny, that.

    The many answers to 6 is too long for this comment. When no physical evidence is provided, what we have left at best is assertion and assumption that may or may not be true. The default in the face of any extraordinary claim without extraordinary evidence is non belief. “What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.” (Hitchens)

    7. ? For example?

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    • Hey, tildeb! Thanks for coming over here.

      I think it would be fascinating to see what effect on the world’s theologies first contact would cause.

      That’s part of the motivation for this post essentially. What do you think it would do to the world’s theology? I’d be really interested to hear.

      We have no ‘verified’ information about extraterrestrials

      Well, maybe I should choose a different word than “verified”, although I’m not sure of a good substitute. (Any suggestions?) What I meant was there have been detailed reports by reliable witnesses (that is, non-kooky) of things they’ve seen and experienced which can’t be explained to have an “earthly” origin. For example, I know of a highly reliable eye-witness who was a meteorologist for, I think, nearly three decades for the US military. Every supposed UFO sighting or anomaly that happened within those years, he was able to explain — except one particular incident when something went across the sky that could not be explained given what he and his crew currently knew. And if you reference LA Marzulli and his work, you’ll find detailed information about other such instances. There are also certain artifacts which appear (could be earthly in origin) to be of extraterrestrial origin.

      And the reason I threw the “demon” aspect in there is because according to reports (some or all of which may or may not be true), these alien entities reportedly perform bizarre experiments, some which involve the reproductive organs, and genuinely give abductees frightening experiences. Yet if you reference messages reportedly sent by aliens either directly or indirectly through mediums, they often talk about how they are “gods” and here to guide mankind’s evolution (and I’m not granting that the messages are either genuine or even genuinely extraterrestrial). So, if the reports are to be believed — and let me stress that I don’t necessarily believe any of them — then these entities are hurting and scaring humans and working hard to help “correct” our theology.

      For specific examples of evolution-tinged and heavily anti-theistic messages from aliens, you could reference the writing of Benjamin Creme and his organization Share International. Creme has claimed for years to be in contact with alien entities and that their motherships are surrounding earth and visible at this very moment. There are elements of the intelligent design community which propose that life was seeded here by aliens, that, in fact, aliens are the intelligent designers, and life evolved from there. Even Richard Dawkins, not an advocate of intelligent design, proposed this. (see Ben Stein’s “No Intelligence Allowed.”)

      And if you research the concept of “ascended masters”, there is a very interesting (and alarming) intersection between the alien phenomena, religion, and evolution at work there.

      Any thoughts on these things?

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      • …things they’ve seen and experienced which can’t be explained to have an “earthly” origin.

        It’s easy to confuse what is attributed to be true with what is true.

        When we reject the notion that something is explainable in ‘earthly’ terms, we have started our inquiry with the conclusion and this is fatal to honest inquiry. There are many ‘earthly’ explanations; the difficulty is placing them on a scale of probability to be true when we have so little to go by. What we do know is that no asserted claims (that we know of) are backed by good evidence. That’s a pretty good indication that the attributions for extraterrestrialism are not high on the probability spectrum of what’s probably true, probably correct, probably right. We need to remain skeptical and critical of claims that have very little corroborating evidence. After all, it’s okay to be honest and say “I don’t know” when presented with first person accounts of strange goings on.

        A clarification: Dawkins admits that it is possible that life was seeded here on earth, but in no way, shape, or form does this indicate supernatural or even technological designs. We have evolved from common ancestry dating back to pre-Cambrian times because the evidence is very strong. To say that Dawkins is “not an advocate of intelligent design” is like saying Hitler was not an advocate of Jews. What he has always said is that advanced beings with advanced knowledge and advanced technologies would be indistinguishable from what many people would call ‘god’. This is straight out of Arthur C. Clarke’s famous Third Law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” which was altered to make Shermer’s Last Law: “Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God.” Dawkins clearly agrees with both sentiments.

        One of the problems associated with ‘ascended’ beings is the notion of mind/body dualism where many people attribute higher cognitive functions like abstract reasoning to be non material and jump to the conclusion that this somehow presents evidence that higher cognitive functioning is not brain-based. This disassociation is demonstrably false: impair the brain, impair its functioning, impair abstract reasoning. If people’s minds could be separated from its biology, we should have evidence for this hypothesis to take it seriously. As Hitchens likes to say, what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

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      • When we reject the notion that something is explainable in ‘earthly’ terms, we have started our inquiry with the conclusion and this is fatal to honest inquiry.

        Well, again, this sort of statement would be a legitimate criticism and I’d agree with it 100% if I were making such a case. I wasn’t. I wasn’t claiming that from the outset I or anyone else had concluded that such-and-such wasn’t “earthly”. In fact, if you read my example, the meteorologist and his crew were well aware of natural events in the skies. They could account for everything. Then an even happened for which they had no natural explanation; that is, they exhausted possible natural explanations for it.

        One of the problems associated with ‘ascended’ beings is the notion of mind/body dualism where many people attribute higher cognitive functions like abstract reasoning to be non material and jump to the conclusion that this somehow presents evidence that higher cognitive functioning is not brain-based. This disassociation is demonstrably false: impair the brain, impair its functioning, impair abstract reasoning.

        Oh, I’d nearly agree with you. But explaining how something does or doesn’t work doesn’t not necessarily explain how it came to function the way it does, does it? You could easily point out that malfunctioning pieces of a laptop prevent it from working properly. Yet that does nothing to demonstrate the origin of the machine itself.

        I appreciate your input.

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    • PS

      Is there anything the bible doesn’t successfully predict… after the fact and with just the right interpretation? Funny, that.

      That’s a fair and understandable response. But an exaggeration isn’t a genuine criticism. I wasn’t making the claim that the Bible predicts everything that has or will ever happen.

      Since it relates to the subject of the cartoon and the post, I was just wondering out loud whether or not any alien / UFO phenomena might be hinted at in the pages of a book that has a history of predictions recorded within its pages, some of them very detailed and not a matter of interpretations or after-the-fact fiddling.

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      • No more so and, I think a great deal less than current science fiction.

        My comment was aimed squarely at the assumption that the bible HAS a history of successful predictions when there is no good evidence that this is the case. When I look at this so-called evidence, I see a great deal of interpretation made to fit the facts and not the other way around.

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  3. If we found aliens I think theology would be able to account for them. I don’t see aliens specifically ruled out in the Bible. One point of interest would be whether they were in need of salvation as well or not (assuming sentience). Further, if they did need salvation–did Christ come for just Earth, or for other planets? These types of questions would have to be answered, but would hardly be challenges to theistic belief.

    As for the claims that aliens claim to be “gods” who are helping along our evolution–I think that could be dismissed as just as false and evil as thinking Hitler’s “final solution” was somehow guiding our evolution. Such claims would not challenge our theology, they’d only bolster it as we countered them.

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    • Au contraire, mon ami: I think the discovery of alien life would cause a religious crisis given time because it removes humanity from the right to assume a central importance in the unfolding divine plan. After all, if we are made in his image then what are these other critters made from?

      In the same way that the fact of evolution effectively undermines with incontrovertible evidence any claims to divine design and special creationism for humanity, so too does alien life undermine the notion that the world and the life upon it is somehow of ‘special’ and ‘unique’ interest to a universal creative agency.

      Because theology requires no evidential base for belief, I have no doubt that many would simply ignore any evidence contrary to belief but rationalize it away without understanding or appreciating the impact other life would have on this root of theology. Perhaps you haven’t really understood just dramatic this would be on the specifics of particular religious narrative. I suspect on Buddhism could absorb it successfully but the rest would be left scrambling to ‘reinterpret’ their central tenets) After all, this is the way evolution has been treated by the majority of believers: not a great deal of thought how this removes any need for a creator. I don’t see a religious upheaval to cope with this truth: I see vast swaths of religiously motivated people ignoring what’s true in favour of maintaining what they believe to be true. No news here. But the notion of a creator has been effectively undermined and replaced with knowledge that works so many religious believers simply maintain this contrary belief by not thinking about it seriously.

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      • I think the discovery of alien life would cause a religious crisis given time because it removes humanity from the right to assume a central importance in the unfolding divine plan.

        I see what you’re saying. Nevertheless, even if people claimed to find “alien” life, how would we even know that they were telling the truth? (Remember all the supposed “alien” life that has been found on meteorites?

        If an invasion happened, whether real or manufactured, how would we be able to distinguish a real one from a manufactured one (especially in light of how advanced human technology is at this point)? My mind recalls when the US Navy had planned to beam three-dimensional holograms in the skies over Baghdad during the first Gulf War. Also don’t forget that fantastic sci-fi radio drama War of the World and all the hysteria that it created — even when people were told beforehand that it was just a radio drama.

        Because theology requires no evidential base for belief, I have no doubt that many would simply ignore any evidence contrary to belief but rationalize it away without understanding or appreciating the impact other life would have on this root of theology.

        This might be a genuine observation of some circles you’ve interacted with, so I do understand why you say it. (It would especially be true if you’ve ever dealt with Mormons, Buddhists, or Daoists.) However, it isn’t true about Christianity and Judaism. They do have an evidential base for its belief and not all theologies are equal, which is what your statement assumes. How so? The evidence is there — eye-witness testimony; historical records of people and events, many (not all!) of which can be verified by outside sources; artifacts of history. If you want to dismiss the evidence off-hand as you seem to be doing here and on your own blog, well, then do so. But can you then claim that it “requires no evidential base for belief”? And, for what it’s worth, in addition to the aforementioned evidences (notice I didn’t use the word “proof”), personally speaking, I don’t believe in God because of things I don’t know or fear. I believe in God because of the things I do know.

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  4. Regarding my point about attributing and the meteorologists you mention: you write They could account for everything. when this is obviously not true. But like most people, when faced with something unknown we are quite willing to assign an ‘answer’ that involves some unknown agency far too easily. Again, I think it is okay to be honest and say “I don’t know” rather than stick some attributed cause that has no evidence.

    Explaining how something comes to function the way it does is usually a very complex and detailed task. The evidence is often plentiful the closer in time we have. The further we go – following the evidence – the more complex the task. To arrive at a specific starting point is often unknowable because there is no way to trap the evidence to this specific point in time. But that is not to say that the path of inquiry itself is doubtful. My previous comment was to indicate that we have excellent evidence that our biology has evolved on this planet from its earliest times and not from any other… even though an original ‘seed’ may have come from elsewhere.

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    • They could account for everything. when this is obviously not true. But like most people, when faced with something unknown we are quite willing to assign an ‘answer’ that involves some unknown agency far too easily. Again, I think it is okay to be honest and say “I don’t know” rather than stick some attributed cause that has no evidence.

      They were meteorologist. It was there job to know what happens in the sky. When I said “they could account for everything”, I meant that when people reportedly saw UFOs during the time Dr. Martin (the man I was talking about) was working as a meteorologist for the US military, he and his co-workers could know that it was a weather balloon that they had sent up becuase they kept extremely accurate records of when and where they were sent up.

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  5. Re your 12:10 am comment about evidence and theology and christianity’s evidential base for its belief.

    You claim there is evidence in the form of eye-witness testimony; historical records of people and events, many (not all!) of which can be verified by outside sources; artifacts of history.

    What is this evidence for? That jesus was an historical figure? Fine. That many of the geographical references in the books of the bible are real? Fine. That jesus was the son of god and died for our sins? No. That he rose from the dead after 3 days? No. That he performed miracles? No. That someday he will return and judge us for our deeds? No. All of these are not supported by the evidence you suggest.

    I am not ‘ignoring’ the evidence you bring forth in any kind of “off hand” manner. I am being honest about what that evidence actually supports. Put another way, the faith aspect of christian beliefs would not require faith if the evidence was sufficient. It is because the evidence is insufficient that faith is required. You cannot ‘know’ if the attributions made by certain individuals several millennia ago assigned to jesus are true. To claim this is so is not honest. You may believe them to be true because you choose to do so and not because the attributions are backed by convincing evidence. But what we do know is that many accounts differ in significant and important ways, thus rendering none of them as trustworthy enough to claim it as knowledge.

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    • That jesus was the son of god and died for our sins? No. That he rose from the dead after 3 days? No. That he performed miracles? No. That someday he will return and judge us for our deeds? No. All of these are not supported by the evidence you suggest.

      Can you say that you are being “honest about what the evidence actually supports” when you discount the entirety of the eye-witness reports as being untrustworthy?

      You do dismiss them by saying “what we do know is that many accounts differ in significant and important ways, thus rendering none of them as trustworthy enough to claim it as knowledge”. Now, that’s interesting, but is it fair and, to use your word, “honest”? Differences, however significant, do not equal contradictions and even if a part of the eye-witness accounts was shown to be incorrect (and I’m not granting that), that does not automatically mean the entire record is wrong. (I would be really interested in how exactly you study history, especially historical documents. And I’d be even more interested in how you established any event or person of history.)

      The events of the Old and New Testaments didn’t happen in a corner. They happened in or around the bridge to the ancient world — Israel. There’s plenty of intertextual and extra-biblical evidence (I didn’t say “proof”) to lend credibility to the accuracy of the records. Of course I’m sure you’ve already examined that evidence, right? You’ve read the New Testament through, right? (Please answer this question.)

      I’ll assume a “yes” and then ask these questions: What do you do with all the references to historical people, places, and events recorded in it? Do you just dismiss them as false? On what basis?

      Put another way, the faith aspect of christian beliefs would not require faith if the evidence was sufficient. It is because the evidence is insufficient that faith is required.

      I’m sorry. You must have Christianity confused with Mormonism or Buddhism or the belief in macro-evolution. Your definition is a caricature of faith or a wrongly defined one. To a Christian, “faith” = “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). It presses us to look forward BUT it’s based on evidence – things that happened now and in the past.

      I don’t have “faith” that Jesus was an historical figure — it can be shown from multiple non-Biblical sources, if that were all. What do those sources say about Him?

      Two quick examples:

      1) Paul L. Maier, professor of Ancient History and chaplain at Western Michigan University, shows the arrest warrant for Jesus is still preserved in Jewish literature, the Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a), an act which is even hinted at in John 11:57.

      2) The much disputed passage about Jesus in Josephus (Antiquities 18:63) has been proven authentic through the work of Jewish scholar Professor Shlomo Pines who discovered it in a separate Arabic manuscript tradition. It reads like this:

      At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon their loyalty to him. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive. Accordingly they believed that he was the Messiah, concerning whom the Prophets have recounted wonders.

      I don’t have “faith” that Jerusalem or the Jewish people exist. They are there all through history even until today. I could say the same about many of the other people and places mentioned in the Old and New Testaments. It’s not a matter of faith, but of history.

      If none of those sources existed and none of the people or places in the New Testament existed in history and/or reality, then I would be operating under your definiton of “faith”. But, thankfully, we’re not. As Paul Maier said in his article, History, Archaeology and Jesus:

      Mythical personalities are not involved in authentic episodes from the past. Nor do they leave hard evidence behind.

      And if you’re going to propose an alternative theory, then it’s got to account for all the evidence that has been left behind.

      You cannot ‘know’ if the attributions made by certain individuals several millennia ago assigned to jesus are true. To claim this is so is not honest. You may believe them to be true because you choose to do so and not because the attributions are backed by convincing evidence.

      So, you’ll be “honest” and admit that the inverse also applies to you, right? Can you “know” if the attributions made by certain individuals are not true? You choose to do so, claiming the evidence is untrustworthy and not sufficient.

      And I noticed that you altered your requirements, going from “evidence” to “convincing evidence”. So, which is required, “evidence” or “convincing evidence”, that is, evidence which suits your particular requirements? And since you’ve obviously got some standard in mind, let me ask: What would be “convincing evidence” for any of the claims of the New Testament, in your opinion?

      If I might add, I do find it odd that someone such as yourself who believes in evolution would point to historical documents as being untrustworthy and the evidence for the claims about Jesus insufficient and then accuse someone you don’t even know of “not [being] honest”. Why? Look at the history of the theory of evolution which you promote. It has been filled with demonstratable frauds and half-truths, yet you still choose to believe it. No one has ever observed macro-evolution, yet you choose to believe it.

      Will you admit to those things?

      And let me pull this conversation back to aliens. It is the belief in evolution, in fact, that provides much of the fuel to the UFO / alien phenomenon. After all, if intelligent beings evolved here, then they could have evolved elsewhere. What do you think? And if aliens do exist, would they be atheists?

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  6. Joshua, your comment is very long so I’ll keep my response to just a couple of points.

    I granted the historical reality of Jesus. What I did not grant was that anything you’ve offered is in fact evidence of his supernatural abilities. There are people today in India making similar claims and I don’t automatically assume the claims are true because the person is real or that where he makes the claims is real. There must be something more than heresay. A reliance on heresay is – as I’ve pointed out – cause for doubt.

    Yes, I’ve read many versions of the bible.

    Whenever someone answer the request for evidence with the old canard “You can’t prove it is NOT so,” is simply avoiding the request. Do you have to prove room temperature fusion does not work to refute the lack evidence that it does? There are an infinite number of impossible and unlikely things you cannot disprove, which lends credence to none of them. It’s an argument of desperation in that in falls on someone making a truth claim to back it up. There is no evidence that Jesus performed miracles other than heresay.

    Your attack on evolution is right out of the creationist’s handbook as soon as you introduce the ridiculous term ‘macro’ evolution. It shows a vast ignorance of what evolution is. But there are many examples that can address your criticism here if you’re actually interested (which I suspect you’re not). I ‘believe’ in evolution in the same way that you ‘believe’ in gravity. No god is required and no shifting caused effects into the mystical realm of the supernatural by some magical mechanism immune from inquiry. When you say the history of theory of evolution is ‘filled’ with half-truths and frauds, you reveal the state of your knowledge to be slight. Modern biology (and all its applications) is based on this theory being true in fact. Your attempt to undermine it is pitiable because it what you rely on is false and has been thoroughly debunked by minds far more able than mine. Again, this truth is widely available and easily accessible for the curious through the home page of the link I sent. Obviously, your education in this regard is terribly limited and this is a shame when it is so to protect religious beliefs from the advancement of science. As I said, the evidence for evolution is incontrovertible. You’d know this if you actually studied it and understood the theory and how it informs human knowledge. To add insult to injury contrary to religious beliefs that insist on some form of special creationism, evolution works and that’s why in the battle with religious ignorance, evolutionary theory will win out in the end.

    So of course I think we have good reasons to suspect other life will be carbon based, that it will be subject to evolution, and that our gods will have no home with extraterrestrials.

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    • Man, your latest post is a classic! Done in the common atheist tone, that is: with nose fully pointed upward. It ignored the bulk of my lengthy reply (I won’t make that mistake twice.) and it, like the previous one, is filled with personal digs, only this time you went from judging my level of honesty to my level of education, neither of which you know anything about. How very “scientific” I must say!

      I thought so much more of you before these last two posts.

      Now, I live in a mostly Buddhist society in the Far East and work as a part-time translator, so I encounter a lot of people for whom English is a second or third language. I know how delicate language can be and how easily misunderstandings can occur. So I’m not sure if you skipped parts of my reply entirely or you misunderstood parts of it. You paint a caricature of my position regarding the claims about Jesus in the New Testament. You seem to have selectively, shall we say, “overlooked” my constant insistence that you look at all the available evidence and what it entails. I even went to the trouble of giving you two. Did you even read them?

      Whenever someone answer the request for evidence with the old canard “You can’t prove it is NOT so,” is simply avoiding the request.

      Yawn. I’m not saying, “You can’t prove it is NOT so.” Neither am I saying that followed by a “Nanananaaana!” while putting my thumbs on my cheeks and sticking my tongue out. How do you explain the evidence that we have?

      It’s an argument of desperation in that in falls on someone making a truth claim to back it up. There is no evidence that Jesus performed miracles other than heresay [sic].

      Hello, again? The evidence. What do you do with the evidence? You want to describe it as “hearsay” — but, again, how does your opinion explain the available evidence? What evidence do you have to show that it’s nothing “other than hearsay”? Do you want historical records? Do you want geographical evidence? What kind of evidence do you want?

      I’ll take you up on your offer, man! Without using Google, give us the name of one guru in India who has made similar claims to those about Jesus. However, it can’t be the person themselves making the claim. It has to come from other people.

      I look forward to seeing who you give us…

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  7. In response to Man, your latest post is a classic! Done in the common atheist tone, that is: with nose fully pointed upward. It ignored…

    I have pointed out repeatedly that heresay is not evidence. The bulk of your comment uses only heresay as evidence in regards to miracles performed by jesus. There is no other evidence. There is no evidence he was born of a virgin. There is no evidence he turned water into wine. There is no evidence he was raised from the dead. There is only heresay. There is as much ‘evidence’ for these claims as there is for watching the magician’s helper get sawed in half only to be magically reattached by the end of the act.

    You know that you cannot reanimate a three day old dead body. You know that tissue degrades and produces toxins when in decay. You know that you flotation only occurs when the weight of the water displaced exceeds the weight of the displacer. Yet you suspend your knowledge of these facts in the particular case of jesus because you believe heresay that he did these extraordinary things. That’s all you have to go on, and similar claims of magical powers are made all the time… a very popular and common occurrence in India where many swamis who make similar claims to magical abilities are treated like rock stars. Debunking their powers is a growing reality TV theme. Yet millions are faithful adherents, believing like you the many reports of miraculous powers they exhibit that defy biology, defy physics, and defy chemistry as we know them to be. What you are doing is privileging the jesus claims while ignoring the lack of cohesiveness in the gospel accounts. One would think these claims, if true, would be of such astounding value that these authors could have at least got their stories straight. That they did not is a good indication that none are trustworthy enough to add any more value to the claims themselves.

    You say I do find it odd that someone such as yourself who believes in evolution….. This is a remarkable sentence. I do not believe in evolution the same way you believe jesus was god incarnate. You would have me think that all understanding, all knowledge, equates with the same kind of belief as religious faith. That’s dishonest. You do not believe in gravity: you accept it as a fact of life adn work within that constraint not because your belief determines it to be true but because gravity will teach you a harsh lesson if you fail to account for it. After all, you don’t leave your home by way of a second story window because sometimes gravity is true and sometimes it isn’t; you always leave in a way that will allow you to have contact with the ground to prevent sudden and damaging acceleration. How would you look upon someone who suggested the fact of gravity was really just a question of a person’s beliefs similar to a religious preference? Wouldn’t you find that bizarre? And to then be subjected to a comment about micro and macro gravity that tried to justify the claim that gravity is just a belief as if the argument had merit, how would you respond? What conclusions would you reach about the person’s level of education, level of critical thought, level of dealing with knowledge in an honest way who insisted that belief in stories contrary to the laws of biology, physics, and chemistry were legitimate but that knowledge based on these sciences was questionable? Wouldn’t that raise a bit of a red flag in your mind? It certainly does in mine.

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    • Congratulations! You’ve done it. You’ve convinced me that theory of evolution is true by comparing it to law of gravity. After all, experiments to test the law of gravity can be proposed and then tested in a lab repeatedly. Then any person — even those with the pitiful low IQ such as I have — can see its effects on matter. That is exactly like the theory of evolution. Wow! Why didn’t I see that? Thank you so much! I had not seen it before you have so eloquently pointed them out to me between the personal insults which, incidentally, solidified your intellectual superiority and genuine regard for mental engagement.

      I really can’t thank you enough, friend.

      And thank you for pointing out that every record, written or otherwise, that doesn’t meet your stamp of approval is “not evidence” and is, as you’ve so very rightly implied, not worth the paper it’s written on. And we won’t care that the silly Arab-speaking people in Israel call Bethany “El-Lazariyeh” (The Place of Lazarus) or that a section of Damascus is still called by them “Deraya” (The Vision). They’re all probably in on the deception, too. After all, I will now not forget that there’s no evidence whatsoever of the miraculous. You say it doesn’t exist and, by golly, that’s good enough for me.

      So, beginning from now, I will shut up and only believe that true science and truth are linked only to a theory — no, no – a law! Eh, I guess “theory” or “law” What’s the difference, huh? — which tells us that life came from non-life — a simple fact that any thinking person can see happen every day. Biogenesis-smiogenesis, I shall now say!

      Now, after you’ve helped me so much, I feel that I owe you something. Is piece of mere advice payment enough for such a wonderous, pardon my words, “epiphany” that your replies have inspired? Take your keyboard to the nearest computer repair shop they might be able to help you get that “rant” key unstuck.

      With a handshake,

      Joshua, NoApologiesAllowed

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  8. Rather than get mad, get educated. It’s okay not know stuff. But if you want your opinions to be informed, then the least you can do is learn from criticism. Your knowledge has very large gaps and you serve no one’s best interests by pretending the fault lies elsewhere.

    In scientific language there is no greater confidence than the level of theory. That you do not know this but make fun of the term shows the gap I’m talking about. This is good explanation and clarification. In a nutshell a ‘law’ is a description (usually in mathematical terms) whereas a ‘theory’ is an explanation of those laws. That’s why the theory of gravity contains a law of gravity. They’re not the same thing, hence the terms.

    Honest inquiry about, say, life means you follow the evidence where it leads. Many big brained people have dedicated their lives to just this and we have a vast body of knowledge from their efforts… knowledge we now rely on and that has proven consistently that this is trust well placed. Your flu shot makes no sense if evolution isn’t true. Your laryngeal nerve makes no sense if evolution isn’t true. Your genetic information makes no sense if evolution isn’t true. The fossil record makes no sense if evolution isn’t true. But it all lines up beautifully and is fully explained by the theory of evolution. This theory allows us to successfully predict where to find transitional fossils. It explains all the data. That’s what a theory is supposed to do and it has withstood more than 150 years of rigorous and sustained testing. All the data supports it. All. And the applications we derive from it work consistently and reliably well.

    Pointing out that you don’t appreciate what informs evolutionary biology nor recognize just how central it is to modern medicine that works is not a rant, Joshua, but an exposure of your lack of knowledge. Your criticisms have been thoroughly debunked many times over but you seem unaware of this; instead you feel justified in promoting the same old canards as if they had scientific merit. They don’t. They are factually wrong. And you can correct this lack on your part.

    But the most disturbing part of this exchange is how strenuously you use religious faith to motivate and sustain this lack of knowledge. You have a huge gap and you are more than willing to fill it with pseud-answers based on faith rather than knowledge. This shows me that you care far more about what you believe to be true over and above what is true and wish to pretend the two are the same when they are not. I think this an intellectual fault but one that can be overcome should you ever choose to switch allegiances.

    By all means believe what you want about jesus and his supernatural abilities, but understand that your beliefs don’t make the claims true. If you only recognize that fact, then this exchange will have proved worth the effort.

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    • You don’t make me angry, tildeb, man. I was laughing as I typed my last reply and just trying a different method of response to see how you’d react. You’ve displayed intellectual snobbery and your posts show that you have little regard for history and the historical method. So I will leave your replies here to showcase that for all future visitors. And if you are/were a science major (chemistry, biology, etc.), then I can understand that you wouldn’t have worked with texts. So the ignorance would be understandable.

      Also, the caricature you paint of me in regard to my knowledge of science is really self-defeating. In your attempt to (mis)infer anything from my replies, you are demonstrating that you can draw (mis)information from a written text — just as long as it’s not from the past or about Jesus, right?

      By the way, the link that you left shows that there is a distinction between “theory” and “law”, hence different words to showcase different meanings. (Words have meanings!)

      But the most disturbing part of this exchange is how strenuously you use religious faith to motivate and sustain this lack of knowledge. You have a huge gap and you are more than willing to fill it with pseud-answers based on faith rather than knowledge. This shows me that you care far more about what you believe to be true over and above what is true and wish to pretend the two are the same when they are not. I think this an intellectual fault but one that can be overcome should you ever choose to switch allegiances.

      Another unsubstantiated rant? (Webster’s definition of “rant”: to talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory manner.) You’re always welcome to make comments here. So, in any potential future engagements, can you please stick to the topics?

      But interestingly, there are two points of your last post that I do agree with.

      It’s okay not know stuff. But if you want your opinions to be informed, then the least you can do is learn from criticism. Your knowledge has very large gaps…

      I agree with that, tildeb. I do need constructive criticism because my work, interests, and education are in technology and Far Eastern languages and religion. So, given that, I’m sure there are many other areas that I don’t know much about because there are so many things out there to learn. That’s why I’ve got this blog and that’s why I add discussion questions to the cartoons. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being educated and being involved in the education system is: The more I know, the more I learn how much I don’t know. And that is humbling. I even used to visit the Richard Dawkins forums to get some mental stimulation, but in the end not one of the people wanted to have a discussion on the topics, it was also personal, just as your comments have gotten. Even former atheist Richard Morgan notes this in a recent interview he did. (Why don’t you take a listen to it?)

      But what about yourself? You know the claims about Jesus aren’t true, just hearsay. You know that evolution happened / happens. You know that God doesn’t exist. But please admit to us one thing you do not “know”.

      (Not that I expect you to answer this because, honestly speaking, judging from your posts here and elsewhere on the ‘net, humilty doesn’t seem to be one of your strong points and you ignored most of my other questions. [Still waiting on the name of that Indian guru!] I found that quite interesting given your tagline, “the ideas more important than the private details about the people who say them.” Interesting indeed, in light of your insults. Does that make you a hypocrite?)

      So go ahead, man, recommend the best online apologetic for the theory of evolution you can find; something that you think articulates the veracity of the theory of evolution the best. Share it with us!

      And, man, I’d totally agree with you that “beliefs don’t make the claims true.” Consider it yourself. It applies to anyone and everyone equally. Where does all the evidence point? (And that’s what I ask everyone reading these posts to consider.)

      You’re free to reply, but I’m not required to respond because after these lengthy responses (I usually try to stick to 2 only), I really need to move on.

      If you feel attention-deprived, my apologies!

      By the way, what is/was your major? What is your occupation?

      Joshua

      Like

    • The links are all appreciated and I do look at all them. If I didn’t like challenges or intellectual stimulation, I wouldn’t live where I live or have 3 occupations.

      Now, if you don’t mind, I’m still waiting for 2 things:

      1) name of 1 Indian guru — either currently living or from history — about whom people are making similar claims to those of Jesus (evidence to back up a claim);
      2) the best online apologetic (apology / written defense) for the theory of evolution you can find; something that you think articulates the veracity of the theory of evolution the best.

      Share them with us!

      Joshua

      Like

  9. I wrote What I did not grant was that anything you’ve offered is in fact evidence of his (jesus’) supernatural abilities. There are people today in India making similar claims and I don’t automatically assume the claims are true because the person is real or that where he makes the claims is real. There must be something more than heresay. A reliance on heresay is – as I’ve pointed out – cause for doubt.

    You responded Without using Google, give us the name of one guru in India who has made similar claims to those about Jesus.

    I would have to use Google, I freely admit. I’m not good with names. But I’ve seen and heard and read of Indians who claim similar supernatural abilities as raising the dead, magical healing, levitating (which is how one would walk on water, I presume). I watched a clip about some committee or group dedicated to revealing these frauds do so only a few weeks back on Indian TV, so I know I made this claim in good faith, meaning that many people make supernatural claims about their abilities but not one – not one – can prove them. James Randi has a million dollar reward for anyone who can. No one in about 30 years it has been on offer has succeeded. Coincidence? So my point remains that claims (whether historical or not) of supernatural abilities is not evidence for those claims being true.

    Your second point that uses the term ‘apologetic’ to define a science is really over the top. That’s like me calling you a ‘militant’ faithist simply because you believe in god. The term is meant only to insult without any merit. I’ve already sent you the link for TalkOrigins which covers evolution thoroughly enough even for you. But you know and I know that you will not grant any truth value to the results of honest inquiry by this branch of science because you have already decided it cannot be true. Yet you will turn to its applications (like antibiotics) in a heartbeat and trust them with your life if your life hangs in the balance because you also know that good science is a highly reliable indicator of what’s true in fact. That’s why antibiotics work… based fully on the theory of evolution that you so cavalierly pretend to reject. So don’t play this game. You have no intention of honestly questioning why your religious beliefs are contrary to what is true in fact. And that IS the truth, isn’t it?

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    • Your second point that uses the term ‘apologetic’ to define a science is really over the top. That’s like me calling you a ‘militant’ faithist simply because you believe in god. The term is meant only to insult without any merit. I’ve already sent you the link for TalkOrigins which covers evolution thoroughly enough even for you. But you know and I know that you will not grant any truth value to the results of honest inquiry by this branch of science because you have already decided it cannot be true. Yet you will turn to its applications (like antibiotics) in a heartbeat and trust them with your life if your life hangs in the balance because you also know that good science is a highly reliable indicator of what’s true in fact. That’s why antibiotics work… based fully on the theory of evolution that you so cavalierly pretend to reject. So don’t play this game. You have no intention of honestly questioning why your religious beliefs are contrary to what is true in fact. And that IS the truth, isn’t it?

      You’re just simply wrong and misguided, tildeb. Your whole defense of your position seems to be resting on your invisible and incorrect notion of my level of education and honesty, which were neither the topic of this cartoon or the thread. (By the way, you still failed to reveal to us what your major was and your occupation. And you don’t even use your real name. Hmmm.) That is hilarious — and somewhat pitiful. And because of that, I enjoy putting your words in blockquotes. I want to make sure that all the visitors here see them because they show both your foolishness and how baseless are your rants. You even incorporate concepts such as “truth” and “honesty” as if objective moral standards can exist in your philosophical framework. Hey, I’m just a random combination of chemicals reacting to chemical impulses, so why hold me accountable or condemn me?

      But you have improved, man. I noticed that you are now capitalizing proper nouns (sometimes) and you spell “hearsay” correctly. (This are just observations, not character assaults. We all spell words wrong.) So any progress is good, in this case.

      Thank you for these classics!

      And let me say that I went back to my previous post and reworded it (nobody wants your feelings hurt now), changing “apologetic” (apology) to “written defense.” Now will you answer the specific question with a specific answer or are you just going to resort to telling me that you saw some show on TV about some guy who said some words*? I’ve been to talkorigins before. The site is HUGE. So choose one really, really good written defense — I almost said “apology” — on the site and share it with us.

      *By the way, I think I’ve seen the documentary you hint at. The claims about the men involved originated with the men themselves. Providing a name was just the first step in this particular point of the exchange. Since you didn’t complete the first step, we have no need to move on to the next.

      Did you look at any of the articles I posted? I’d hate to think you didn’t because then you’d be condemning yourself with your own words. Tsk! Tsk!

      It is very obvious from the fact that you are avoiding the bulk of my questions and not considering (or even looking at, possibly) the few evidences I submitted to you (Readers take note!) that you are not interested in an exchange of ideas, only sledgehammer rhetoric and unsubstantiated personal rants.

      It’s been only slightly interesting, but you’ll get no more of my time in this thread, man. Really.

      Joshua

      Like

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