Epicurus’ Curious Paradoxical Problem:

Over the past few months I have been having a protracted online conversation with an Atheist friend of mine on the rationality of God’s existence. While I have had some success with him in advancing the Cosmological Argument, there is one objection he keeps advancing which he seems to think is a knock-down argument for the non-existence of God, and it is an iteration of The Problem of Evil.  Simply put, he rejects the possibility of God’s existence based upon the fact that God created a world in which there are people who will ultimately be condemned to Hell, (eternal separation from God).  He asks, “Why would God create humans that, before Creation, He already knew would end up in Hell?”

It is a fair question, and my friend is not the only one to have expressed this sentiment; I have encountered the same general argument in a number of other conversations with Atheists over the years. I appreciate honest Atheists who at least allow that it’s not necessarily a proof for God’s non-existence.  Nevertheless, it is still quite commonly invoked to reject Him when the conversation isn’t going their way.  And so, I thought it worth writing about in order to provide two possible responses for the reader when they encounter some similar argument.

Epicurus stated his objection to Evil quite eloquently nearly 2300 years ago in his oft-cited paradox, which goes as follows: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?  Then He is not omnipotent.  Is He able, but not willing?  Then He is malevolent.  Is He both able and willing?  Then whence cometh evil?  Is he neither able nor willing?  Then why call Him God?”

Firstly, it must be noted that any objection to Evil existing in a world created by God is a strictly emotional objection, and is in no way based upon material evidence or the scientific method which Atheists feign such delight for. To reject God’s existence based upon how He might possibly create is fallacious to the core.  Here is why:  the argument used to deny God’s existence must first assume that God created.

“Does God exist?” “No, because He _______.”  The fallacies in this line of supposed reasoning fall somewhere between Circular, and Question-Begging; the very argument against God presupposes and is completely dependent upon God first existing.  This is extremely poor logic, and it mustn’t go unchecked.

As it relates to my friend, the conversation would look something like this:

Me: Does God exist?

Him: No.

Me: Why not?

Him: Because He created a world in which people will go to Hell.

See how that works? The denial of God first requires God.  Circular Reasoning.

Naturally, nobody enjoys thinking that there are people in this world who will end up eternally separated from God. But, systematically speaking, we haven’t gotten to that point yet; that issue could discussed only after it has been established that God exists.  If they do not see the flaws in their reasoning, or continue to advance their purported argument, the questions to be asked at this point are:  How is God’s existence dependent upon people not rejecting Him?  How is it impossible that God could have created a world in which people would consciously deny Him?

As the reader may well know, it can be easy for the conversation to get derailed into these issues on God’s character and motives when discussing God’s possible existence with an Atheist. I would first encourage the reader to remind them of the main points in this article, which are:

1.) an objection against God which assumes God is logically fallacious, and,

2.) God’s existence is in no way contingent upon people’s acceptance or rejection of Him.

Instead, try to bring the conversation back towards the most basic arguments for generic Theism, i.e. First Cause, Cosmological, Ontological, and Design arguments. After the possibility God’s existence has been established at the most basic level, then the conversation may advance to issues of why God acts in so-and-so way, of His nature, character, motives, and just which God we’re claiming exists.

 

Jason Dudycha (Spring, 2017)

My Testimony

By: Jason C. Dudycha (Fall, 2015)

I grew up with very little spiritual guidance. Granted, I do remember sporadically going to church up until I was ~6 years old, but my only real memory of it is being given a dirty look by an old man when I was misbehaving. After moving to Michigan we went to the occasional Easter or Christmas service, but that was it. We never found a new home church, and because of that there was no real spiritual seeking, no questioning, no community. Simply put, God was not on my radar for many years.

I graduated from Western Michigan University in the summer of 2004 with a degree in Geography. Two years later, during the fall of 2006, I fell into researching “conspiracy” theories. However, my level of engagement was quite superficial – that is, I was aware only of the “mainstream” conspiracy theories, i.e. Freemasons, HAARP, Bohemian Grove, etc. I remember focusing a lot on ‘The Council on Foreign Relations’, which struck me as being particularly damning of the establishment, and I even got my hands onto Edward Bernays’ seminal opus, Propaganda. But, for whatever reason, I was not deeply affected.

After some time, maybe ~1 year, I grew frustrated with all the negativity and pessimism which pervade conspiracy theories, so I shifted gears and began looking more into underground archaeology (pun intended). I began investigating the many historical and archaeological “anomalies” which are well-established and on the public record for anyone to study, i.e. Mount Ararat, Bimini Road, Nazca Lines, Piri Reis map, yet receive zero attention from mainstream sources, i.e. National Geographic, the Discovery channel, or any public school textbook. After some time, I began to realize how the conventional record of human history that has been taught to the past several generations of public schoolchildren has been intentionally censored & molded to fit one specific theory: evolutionary Darwinism. People simply haven’t been made aware of the evidence. However, even a cursorial examination will point one towards the conclusion that the ancient myths might not be “primitive stories” from less-civilized cultures, as modern evolutionary psychologists like to dismiss them as.

Finally, in the spring of 2008 I suffered an immense epiphany and resolved to give away all of my possessions, and hitch-hike across America, not knowing where I might ultimately end up. Call it a walkabout. This was a very free time in my life. My conspiracy studies were put on hold. I spent most of my time rapping & busking on street corners, interacting with self-styled Hippies, gutter punks, train-hoppers, the true fringes of society. It was during this time that I read Autobiography of a Yogi, and was, due in no small part to peer influences, led to believe that all spiritual prophets are essentially the same, all coming to share one general message: be nice. I was led to believe that Jesus = Buddha = Mohammad = Krsna, etc. After all, I had encountered Zeitgeist in my prior “conspiracy studies”, and it seemed so easy to accept. So, I fell into it.

After ~6 months on the road, I found myself in Portland, Oregon, the city of my birth, where I met a fun gentleman who introduced me to the documentary, ‘Soviet Subversion of the Free World Press: An Interview With Former KGB Propagandist Yuri Bezmenov’, recorded in 1984. Thus began my “intellectual awakening,” and my [still-ongoing] research into everything Propaganda. Captivated, I sought all the information I could from Yuri Bezmenov (aka Tomas Schuman), which me led to his publications and lectures:

– Psychological Warfare, Subversion, & Control of Western Society (1983)

– Love Letter to America (1984)

– World Thought Police (1986)

Researching Yuri’s claims and sources led me to the works of various other defected Soviet KGB propagandists, and also to ‘The Communist Manual on Psychopolitical Warfare’. All of these individuals wrote and spoke at length on how they were inserting themselves into American culture, describing in a very positive way their methods of manipulation, and a broad agenda whose ultimate long-term goal was/is to subvert the entire world into one collectivist Utopia.

My Propaganda studies expanded into general behavioral psychology, post-Pavlovian Soviet psychology, brainwashing & mind control techniques, government-funded programs and studies on how to brainwash & control people, and the corruption of and external influences upon the mainstream media. This research went on for no less than one year, during which time I constantly had resources coming and going through my local library’s interlibrary loan program. Some sources included:

– Stanislav Levchenko, ‘On the Wrong Side: My Life in the KGB’ (1988)

– Oleg Gordievsky, ‘KGB: The Inside Story’ (1990), and various other works.

– Vasili Mitrokhin, ‘KGB in Europe & the West’ (2000), and various other works.

– Kenneth Goff, various works.

– W. Cleon Skousen, ‘The Naked Communist’ (1958)

– William Cooper, ‘Behold A Pale Horse’ (1991)

– Fritz Springmeier, lectures and personal interview.

– Ted Gunderson, lectures and interviews.

Around this time, the gentleman who first introduced me to Yuri Bezmenov also introduced me to Lenon Honor, whose early works focused largely on subliminal messages and occult influences within the entertainment industry. Lenon has conducted a number of extremely careful examinations of various pop songs and films, i.e. Rihanna, Jay-Z, Eminem, Michael Jackson, and Disney. He now works with his wife, focusing largely on self-help & positive relationships. Although I don’t entirely agree with the spirituality Lenon now espouses, his early works were definitely a positive influence on my growth, including:

– ‘The Creator, the gods, Evil, and the Manipulation of Humanity’

– ‘What Lies in Plain Sight’

– ‘The Borg Agenda’

Over time I began to notice some recurring themes within the realm of propaganda, such as: the destruction of the traditional family unit, the perversion and demonization of freedom & Capitalism, the promotion of collectivism/socialism, drama/gossip/sports/politics/entertainment industries, race & class wars, and fomenting general malaise. However, there was one theme which kept coming up which quite surprised me: the New Age Movement. Out of sheer curiosity, I decided to once again shift my research gears, this time focusing on the New Age movement. From late 2009 through 2010, my sources included:

– H. P. Blavatsky, ‘The Secret Doctrine’ (1888)

– Alice Bailey, various works

– Constance Cumbey, ‘The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow’ (1983)

– Paul Heelas, ‘The New Age Movement’ (1996)

– Wouter Hanegraaff, ‘New Age Religion and Western Culture’ (1996)

– Duncan Ferguson, ‘New Age Spirituality’ (1993)

– Karen Hoyt, ‘The New Age Rage’ (1987)

– Russell Chandler, ‘Understanding the New Age’ (1991)

– Gary Leazer, ‘The New Age Movement and Education’ (1992)

– Elliot Miller, ‘A Crash Course on the New Age Movement’ (1989)

– David & Sharon Sneed, ‘The Hidden Agenda’ (1991)

– George Maloney, ‘Mysticism and the New Age: Christic Consciousness in the New Creation’ (1991)

– Traugott Oesterreich, ‘ Possession and Exorcism’ (1974)

– Jon Klimo, ‘Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources’ (1987)

– Russ Dizdar, lectures and interviews

In short, the entire New Age Movement’s origin can be traced to two influential women, Helena Blavatsky and Alice Bailey, both of whom openly professed to worshipping Lucifer. Yes, you read that correctly. The shocking truth of the matter is that the heart of the New Age Movement is ultimately founded upon Satanic theology. Don’t forget, I was not a religious person at this point and didn’t really realize what I was stumbling upon.

What really started to intrigue me were Alice Bailey’s political connections through her husband Foster Bailey’s involvement with the United Nations. Bailey’s connections to high-ranking world political officials and public opinion-makers brought to full circle my earlier research on secret societies, supra-political allegiances, and the many notable individuals from these orders who went on to positions of extreme political power and international influence. Finally, it all started becoming clear.

I found it interesting, though, how within the New Age Movement there was/is a marked propagandic push towards the discrediting and diminishing of the historical Jesus of Nazareth. More than any other, Jesus was the only spiritual teacher who was receiving condemnation and vilification from the overall New Age movement. Why just Jesus, though? Why was there no equal diminution of Buddha, or Krsna, or Mohammad coming from these New Agers? In fact, why were these others being so promoted? Upon realizing all of the attention that the New Age movement was giving to Jesus, I then started to ask myself, “Okay, what’s up with this Jesus guy?” This is when I began examining the historical Jesus. I also was venturing into studying the origin & trustworthiness of the Bible, the history of the early Christian church, and so on. Through this process I have become intimately acquainted with the works of the following Christian philosophers and apologists:

  • William Lane Craig
  • Greg Koukl
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Frank Turek
  • Ravi Zacharias
  • Martin Hengel, Acts and the History of Earliest Christianity (1979)
  • Henry Chadwick, The Early Church (1967)
  • Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (2006)
  • Charles Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture (1940)

Keep in mind that up to this point I possessed a very ‘Zeitgeist’-inspired spirituality. I believed in “Christ consciousness”, that Jesus was one in a series of “ascended masters”, on the same level as Buddha, Allah, Krsna, et al.. I believed that Jesus was no different than any other spiritual leader, and was not about to call myself a Christian. However, as I studied the primary sources, and checked & double-checked the trustworthiness & biases of said sources, it became increasingly apparent to me that the life and works of Jesus were no historical fiction. Jesus’ life was not a retelling of earlier pagan virgin birth & resurrection myths, as is widely believed today thanks in large part to the propaganda piece Zeitgeist. Jesus, I realized, made very distinct claims about who He was, the likes of which the ancient world had never known. I eventually realized that the reason Luciferian New Agers are so eager to discredit Christianity is because Christianity alone is the ONLY religion which specifically calls out the Satanic one-world agenda, and warns individuals of what to look out for as humanity grows to forget Christ.

And so, in time I came to call myself a Christian. It was a gradual unfolding, which came from a decidedly cerebral approach. I never had that “saved” moment that so many claim to have experienced. After realizing so many things, after connecting so many dots, I finally realized that I could no longer remain on the fence. I needed to make a choice. I was ultimately galvanized into Christianity through logical, critical thinking. I was convicted.

Thusly, since giving myself to Christ, I have resolved to dispel the propaganda which had led me astray. Today there is not an argument against God’s existence which I haven’t examined; there is not an argument against Jesus or Christianity which I haven’t considered. I have equipped myself, and remain ever ready to defend the Gospel of Jesus from the lies and mis-truths spoken by those who would lead His flock astray. Sources which have aided in this endeavor have included:

– Gordon H. Clark, ‘Philosophy of Science and Belief in God’ (1964)

– David L. Wolfe, ‘Epistemology: The Justification of Belief’ (1982)

– W. Jay Wood, ‘Epistemology: Becoming Intellectually Virtuous’ (1998)

– David Berlinski, ‘The Devil’s Delusion’ (2009)

– Robert Jastrow, ‘God and the Astronomers’ (1978)

– Tom Gilson & Carson Weitnauer, ‘True Reason’ (2013)

– Doug Powell, ‘Christian Apologetics’ (2006)

– Thomas Nagel, ‘Mind & Cosmos’ (2012)

The latest and most rewarding epiphany on my spiritual journey has been forgiving myself, and allowing myself to accept the gift of God’s grace. Having lived in sin for so long, I thought that there was no way a wretch such as myself was deserving of God’s Love and Forgiveness. Sure I appreciated it, but there’s no way I deserved it. Then, I realized how nobody deserves it ! That’s what makes it a gift !! That God would lower himself to forgive those who sinned against Him was/is mind-boggling. I realized that it ultimately came down to forgiving myself. I’ve never had difficulties with forgiving others. However, forgiving myself was the biggest obstacle to my salvation. I eventually realized that, through Jesus’ sacrifice, the penalty for my sin has already been paid. I needn’t live a life of regret and self-loathing. Forgiving myself was my “saving moment”, and accepting the mercy & grace of an all-Loving God has opened my heart and allowed me to grow leaps and bounds since being saved. Praise God !!

It has been a complex and emotional journey, to say the least. Such a transformation is not without its downfalls, though. Without a doubt, one of the saddest aspects of my new faith was how merely calling myself a Christian did, in many peoples’ minds, equate me with the “bigoted, narrow-minded, hateful Christians” that are depicted in the media today. I loathe being a foregone conclusion. It is extremely sad how my faith has led to being alienated and cut off by more than a few friends. These “friends” often grew up religious, but have since turned their backs on God and now simply refuse to have the conversation. The increasing tendency of youth today is to rebel against their parents, which often means the abandonment of religion. I am immensely grateful I was raised without any overbearing religious influence, as I suspect that I would likely have fallen into the same camp.

This is my testimony.

We destroy all arguments and every lofty thing raised against the knowledge of God…

(2 Corinthians 10:5a)

22 Reasons All Scholars Agree Jesus Is Not A Copy Of Pagan Gods

Twenty-Two Reasons All Scholars Agree Jesus Is Not A Copy Of Pagan Gods
By James Bishop – July 17, 2017

http://reasonsforjesus.com/22-reasons-all-scholars-agree-jesus-is-not-a-copy-of-pagan-gods/

As Dan Brown in his book ‘The Da Vinci Code’ writes: “Nothing in Christianity is original.”

But as you can imagine, there are some instances that are vageuly similar. But this does NOT mean that they were copied. Just because two things resemble one another doesn’t mean that one was the source of the other. We have many instances of stories that predate events that contain eerie similarities to future moments in history, but that does not mean the r…[sic]

It is in recent times that a great number of people are claiming that Jesus is simply a rehash of older pagan secretive religions, and of the religions of dying and rising gods. We see this masqueraded as truth in films such as Zeitgeist, The Da Vinci Code and Irreligious which, to the layperson, seem to be factual and convincing.

But how factually based are these claims? Surely anyone can misconstrue evidence to suit their pre-suppositional biases, especially if they don’t want to believe something. The first step for anyone really seeking to understand these allegations would be to consult the scholars in the relevant and necessary fields of expertise. What do they have to say? Is such an issue even on the table of debate nowadays? If so, or if not, then why?

In a nutshell this study will be focused on analyzing these comparisons, the educated opinions of the scholars, and trying to see if anything of these pagan parallels are seen in the Jesus of the New Testament.

Who are the mythicists?

Bart Ehrman, the world’s leading skeptical New Testament scholar, asks: “What is driving the mythicist’s agenda? Why do they work so hard at showing that Jesus never really lived? I do not have a definitive answer to that question, but I do have a hunch. It is no accident that virtually all mythicists (in fact, all of them, to my knowledge), are either atheists or agnostics. The ones I know anything about are quite virulently, even militantly atheist.”

Ehrman is certainly correct in his hunch. One of the leading mythicists of today is that of Richard Carrier, and Carrier happens to be an avowed atheist that writes for the Secular Web. Now Carrier with two or three other proponents are the only few propounding this view of mythicism, they are not even scholars in the relevant fields of expertise – such is seen of Bill Maher (Irreligious), Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code), James Coyman (Zeitgeist), and Brian Flemming (The God Who Wasn’t There).

The allegation in a nutshell:

Proponents of this view, known as mythicists, say that Jesus was nothing more than a copy of popular dying and rising fertility gods in various places from around the world, some of these gods would include Tammuz in Mesopotamia, Adonis in Syria, Attis in Asia Minor, and Horus in Egypt.

It has only been in recent times that the mythicist allegations have been re-established due to the rise of the internet and the mass distribution of information from unaccountable, unreliable sources. In this article we are going to examine these parallels, and see whether or not they stand up to scrutiny.

So, let us uncover the many reasons ‘why scholars know that Jesus is not a copy of pagan religions’. And when I say “scholars” it is not solely those of a Christian orientation but from diverse other backgrounds and religious views as well, including atheists:

1. Professional scholars unanimously reject the claim that Jesus is a pagan copy.

Today just about every scholar in the relevant historical specializations unanimously rejects the notion that Jesus is a copy of pagan gods. It seems that the available evidence has persuaded them against these alleged parallels. For instance, T.N.D Mettinger of Lund University opines:

“There is, as far as I am aware, no prima facie evidence that the death and resurrection of Jesus is a mythological construct…”

J. Warner Wallace, a former homicide detective, who himself looked into the allegations found that “The more you examine the nature of the gods who were worshiped before Jesus, the more you will notice their dissimilarities and the dishonesty of trying to compare them to the historical Jesus.”

Professor Ronald Nash, a prominent philosopher and theologian notes in his writing ‘Was the New Testament Influenced by Pagan Religions?’: “Allegations of an early Christian dependence on Mithraism have been rejected on many grounds. Mithraism had no concept of the death and resurrection of its god and no place for any concept of rebirth—at least during its early stages.” Nash then goes on to say,

“Today most Bible scholars regard the question as a dead issue.”

Another leading New Testament scholar Professor Craig Keener writes that: “When you make the comparisons, you end up with a whole lot more differences than you do similarities.”

JZ Smith, a historian of religion and Hellenistic religions claims that:

“The idea of dying and rising gods is largely a misnomer based on imaginative reconstructions and exceedingly late or highly ambiguous texts.”

Michael Bird, who is on the editorial board for the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, as well is a Fellow of the Centre for Public Christianity, clearly shows his annoyance when he writes:

“Now I am normally a cordial and collegial chap, but to be honest, I have little time or patience to invest in debunking the wild fantasies of “Jesus mythicists”, as they are known. That is because, to be frank, those of us who work in the academic profession of religion and history simply have a hard time taking them seriously.”

As Bart Ehrman, atheist professor of Religious Studies at UNC, has said:

“The alleged parallels between Jesus and the “pagan” savior-gods in most instances reside in the modern imagination: We do not have accounts of others who were born to virgin mothers and who died as an atonement for sin and then were raised from the dead (despite what the sensationalists claim ad nauseum in their propagandized versions).”

Professor James Dunn in his article on “Myth” in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, writes: “Myth is a term of at least doubtful relevance to the study of Jesus and the Gospels.”

2. Experts in the field unanimously agree that Jesus lived and that we can know things about him.

The most credible New Testament, Biblical, historical, and early Christianity scholars today, from all backgrounds of belief, agree wholeheartedly that Jesus existed. Of course the debate arises in what we can know about Jesus but of which is irrelevant to this discussion. This very much separates Jesus from many of the dying and rising gods that often have no place in history as historical figures.

As the once skeptical professor Bultmann penned: “Of course the doubt as to whether Jesus really existed is unfounded and not worth refutation. No sane person can doubt that Jesus stands as founder behind the historical movement whose first distinct stage is represented by the oldest Palestinian community.”

As Paul Maier, a former Professor of Ancient History, likewise remarks:

“The total evidence is so overpowering, so absolute that only the shallowest of intellects would dare to deny Jesus’ existence.”

Professor Craig Evans, widely known for his writings on the historical Jesus, says that: “No serious historian of any religious or nonreligious stripe doubts that Jesus of Nazareth really lived in the first century and was executed under the authority of Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea and Samaria.”

Even leading anti-Christian skeptic, professor Bart Ehrman compares mythicism to young earth creationism: “These views are so extreme [that Jesus did not exist] and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.”

Grant says, “To sum up, modern critical methods fail to support the Christ-myth theory. It has ‘again and again been answered and annihilated by first-rank scholars.’

As The Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History of Western Michigan University Dr. Paul Maier wrote in an article on whether or not Jesus existed:

“No, he didn’t!” some skeptics claim, thinking that this is a quick, powerful lever with which to pry people away from “the fable of Christianity.” But the lever crumbles at its very first use. In fact, there is more evidence that Jesus of Nazareth certainly lived than for most famous figures of the ancient past. And yet this pathetic denial is still parroted by “the village atheist,” [and] bloggers on the internet.

Skeptics should focus instead on whether or not Jesus was more than a man. That, at least, could evoke a reasonable debate among reasonable inquirers, rather than a pointless discussion with sensationalists who struggle to reject the obvious.”

So, if anything, the claim that Jesus never existed as a historical figure is viewed as an absurdity and is not even on the table of historical scholarship. Burridge and Could suggest an absence of such thinking in professional scholarship: “I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that (that Jesus did not exist) anymore.”

3. We actually know very little about these pagan secretive religions

As of history it seems that these pagan religions were really only known by those in the relevant communities, and most of whom had no intention of sharing it with outsiders. Of course this would leave modern historians in a tricky situation, as we can know only little snippets of who these groups really were, and what their practices were like. As Bart Ehrman explains:

“We know very little about mystery religions – the whole point of mystery religions is that they’re secret! So I think it’s crazy to build on ignorance in order to make a claim like this.”

C.S Lewis, a former atheist who looked into the issue himself, write that “The Pagan stories are all about someone dying and rising, either every year, or else nobody knows where and nobody knows when.”

As I quoted in the same manner in point 1, J.Z. Smith, a historian of religion and Hellenistic religious scholar writes: “The idea of dying and rising gods is largely a misnomer based on imaginative reconstructions and exceedingly late or highly ambiguous texts.”

If we have late and ambiguous texts, a lack of these texts, and many of these texts postdating Christianity, then where, may I ask, are these mythicists getting these alleged parallels from? As J.Z. Smith notes above, it comes from highly speculative “imaginative reconstructions” solely in the minds of the mythicists who have anti-religious/Christian agenda.

4. Most of what we know of secretive pagan religions comes after Christianity, not before it.

If it is true that most of what we know of these secretive religions postdates Christianity, then why, may I ask, are mythicists propounding the view that these texts predate Christianity? Why do they claim that the early Christian community copied elements of these secretive religions when they could not have?

Professor Mettinger of Lund University, and the majority of other scholars in the relevant fields, hold that there were no dying and rising gods before Christ, or before the advent of Christianity in the early 1st century: “The consensus among modern scholars — nearly universal — is that there were no dying and rising gods that preceded Christianity. They all post-dated the first century.” Mettinger goes on to say that: “The references to a resurrection of Adonis have been dated mainly to the Christian Era.”

Scholar Edwin Yamauchi writes that: “the supposed resurrection of Attis doesn’t appear until after AD 150.” And in the case of Mithra, professor Ronald Nash himself opines that: “Mithraism flowered after Christianity, not before, so Christianity could not have copied from Mithraism. The timing is all wrong to have influenced the development of first-century Christianity.”

Historian Gary Habermas has said:

“I DON’T KNOW ANYBODY WHO THINKS THAT DIONYSUS IS PRE-CHRISTIAN, NOT THE RESURRECTION PORTION.”

5. The Jewish were a people who refrained from allowing pagan myths to invade their culture.

Many times in the Old Testament the Jews would reject their one true God, and engage in idolatry. We know of this because it is reported in our biblical texts but no evidence suggests that this happened in 1st century Palestine when Jesus was living. In fact, the New Testament overwhelmingly confirms that the Pharisees were very strict in application of the law (Paul, as a former Pharisee & prior to his conversion, went to the extent of authorizing the killings of early Christians for their blasphemous claim of a risen Jesus.

Knowing this it hugely strains my belief that they would encourage paganism influences). Philosopher William Lane Craig writes that “For Jesus and his disciples they were first century Palestinian Jews, and it is against that background that they must be understood.”

Professor Ben Witherington notes that: “This notion was not a regular part of the pagan lexicon of the afterlife at all, as even a cursory study of the relevant passages in the Greek and Latin classics shows. Indeed, as Acts 17 suggests, pagans were more likely than not to ridicule such an idea. I can understand the apologetic theory if, and only if, the Gospels were directed largely to Pharisaic Jews or their sympathizers. I know of no scholar, however, who has argued such a case.”

William Craig goes on to say:

“The spuriousness of the alleged parallels is just one indication that pagan mythology is the wrong interpretive framework for understanding the disciples’ belief in Jesus’ resurrection.” And that: “…anyone pressing this objection has a burden of proof to bear. He needs to show that the narratives are parallel and, moreover, that they are causally connected.”

Craig concludes: “It boggles the imagination to think that the original disciples would have suddenly and sincerely come to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was risen from the dead just because they had heard of pagan myths about dying and rising seasonal gods.”

Professor Sanders likewise seems to suggest that Jesus is best made sense of within the world of the 1st century Judaism “…the dominant view [among scholars] today seems to be that we can know pretty well what Jesus was out to accomplish, that we can know a lot about what he said, and that those two things make sense within the world of first-century Judaism.”

Professor Martin Hengel notes:

“Hellenistic mystery religions … could gain virtually no influence [in Jewish Palestine].”

6. The New Testament canon is history unlike much of the pagan secretive mysteries

The gospels and the other literature of the New Testament are our most reliable sources of information we have on Jesus. The gospels, for example, are classified as Greco-Roman biography. Graham Stanton of Cambridge University writes: “I do not think it is now possible to deny that the Gospels are a sub-set of the broad ancient literary genre of ‘lives,’ that is, biographies.”

Also, the distinguished New Testament scholar Charles Talbert in his book ‘What are the Gospels’ speaks highly of another influential book that influenced scholars of the true genre of the gospels; he claims that “This volume ought to end any legitimate denials of the canonical Gospels’ biographical character.” Likewise David Aune, a prominent specialist in ancient literature, opines:

“Thus while the [Gospel writers] clearly had an important theological agenda, the very fact that they chose to adapt Greco-Roman biographical conventions to tell the story of Jesus indicated that they were centrally concerned to communicate what they thought really happened.”

What further corroborates the fact that the gospels texts are biographical literature is archaeology. As Urban von Wahlde, a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, concluded that archaeology “demonstrates the full extent of the accuracy and the detail of the Evangelist’s knowledge…. The topographical references …. are entirely historical …. some [parts of the gospel] are quite accurate, detailed and historical”

Professor Ehrman also comments that “If historians want to know what Jesus said and did they are more or less constrained to use the New Testament Gospels as their principal sources. Let me emphasize that this is not for religious or theological reasons—for instance, that these and these alone can be trusted. It is for historical reasons, pure and simple.”

What this shows is that the gospels are routed in history and that they are inspired by an actual person of history: Jesus of Nazareth.

7. Unlike the pagan secretive religions, Jesus is an ancient figure we can actually know about, what he thought of himself, and what he did as a historical figure of history:

Whether one holds that Jesus was really the Son of Man, thus God himself, or just a religious genius of the 1st century, we can both glean facts about his life, and ministry – according to the scholars. Professor Craig Evans informs us of scholarly consensus:

“…and so the consensus is, look, Jesus existed, he was Jewish, he wasn’t out to break the law. He was out to fulfill it. Jesus understood himself as the Lord’s anointed, that is as the Messiah.”

Professor Sanders states that: “Historical reconstruction is never absolutely certain, and in the case of Jesus it is sometimes highly uncertain. Despite this, we have a good idea of the main lines of his ministry and his message. We know who he was, what he did, what he taught, and why he died. ….. the dominant view [among scholars] today seems to be that we can know pretty well what Jesus was out to accomplish, that we can know a lot about what he said, and that those two things make sense within the world of first-century Judaism.”

Sanders goes on to say explain that miracle healings and exorcisms are part of what we can know about Jesus: “I think we can be fairly certain that initially Jesus’ fame came as a result of healing, especially exorcism.”

Stanton, a former prominent and widely respected New Testament scholar, once opined that “Few doubt that Jesus possessed unusual gifts as a healer, though of course varied explanations are offered.” Tomson, a lecturer in New Testament Studies claims that: “Although he apparently considered himself the heavenly ‘Son of Man’ and ‘the beloved son’ of God and cherished far-reaching Messianic ambitions, Jesus was equally reticent about these convictions. Even so, the fact that, after his death and resurrection, his disciples proclaimed him as the Messiah can be understood as a direct development from his own teachings.”

Professor Robert Grant explains that “Jesus introduced a very singular innovation. For he also claimed that he himself could forgive sins.” Grant goes on to say that that: “Jesus lived his last days, and died, in the belief that his death was destined to save the human race.”

The late scholar Maurice Casey wrote that: “He believed that his death would fulfill the will of God for the redemption of his people Israel.”

Again Professor Sanders believes that we can know that Jesus’ post-mortem appearances really convinced his earliest followers of his resurrection: “That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgment, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know.”

What this illustrates is that we can actually know quite a lot about the Jesus of history, according to the experts. In other words the majority consensus of historians is that Jesus actually existed, that we can actually know what he set out to accomplish, and what he seemed to have thought of himself.

This is unlike the sketchy traditions we find in the secretive religions. Sometimes scholars are highly uncertain about the existence of some of these historical figures behind a few of the pagan religions.

8. The Jesus of history does not fit the profile of someone that would be a myth.

In many aspects of Jesus’ life he was unique. This was evidently so compelling to those in his day that they followed him and often to their deaths and in their sufferings. Today scholars continue to be surprised by Jesus, as historian Edwin Judge notes:

“An ancient historian has no problem seeing the phenomenon of Jesus as an historical one. His many surprising aspects only help anchor him in history. Myth and legend would have created a more predictable figure. The writings that sprang up about Jesus also reveal to us a movement of thought and an experience of life so unusual that something much more substantial than the imagination is needed to explain it.”

C.S Lewis, best known for his essays on Christianity and for the fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia, regarding the Gospels comments: “All I am in private life is a literary critic and historian, that’s my job. And I am prepared to say on that basis if anyone thinks the Gospels are either legend or novels, then that person is simply showing his incompetence as a literary critic. I’ve read a great many novels and I know a fair amount about the legends that grew up among early people, and I know perfectly well the Gospels are not that kind of stuff.”

Yet at the very center of our gospels we have the activities, the life, the ministry and the person of Jesus. Much of what is recorded in the gospels is concretely based in the historical record.

9. Much of these secretive pagan religions have little to do with concrete history.

Edwin Yamauchi, a well known Professor history, notes that “All of these myths are repetitive, symbolic representations of the death and rebirth of vegetation. These are not historical figures …”

Similarly, Professor and biblical exegete William Lane Craig writes that: “In fact, most scholars have come to doubt whether, properly speaking, there really were any myths of dying and rising gods at all!”

It would thus prove difficult to draw parallels to Jesus from these pagan myths that had little to do with history in the first place.

10. Evidence of dishonest pseudo-scholar work – Dorothy Murdock:

Another known mythicist would be that of Dorothy Murdock; someone I’ve interacted with her on her Facebook page, YouTube channel, as well as also having consulted some of her articles on her personal website. When I tried to point out faults in her arguments she accused me of being a sexist and a chauvinist; she then banned me.

However, banning me is no remedy for crappy work. For example, there is one lengthy back and forth debate between here and prominent historian Mike Licona. Licona really does a solid job of critiquing Murdock’s work. In fact, some of the quotes below come from Licona in that interaction while many others hail from scholars he consulted in certain, relevant fields of expertise.

Firstly, agnostic Professor Bart Ehrman (no friend of Christianity) upon review of Murdock’s book (The Christ Conspiracy) opines that:

“It is filled with so many factual errors and outlandish assertions that it is hard to believe the author is serious.”

He goes on to write that “all of Acharya’s major points are in fact wrong”, and that “Mythicists of this ilk should not be surprised that their views are not taken seriously by real scholars, mentioned by experts in the field, or even read by them.”

Atheist historian Robert Price (a fellow mythicist) calls Murdock’s book “sophomoric.” He also commented that her book is

“a random bag of (mainly recycled) eccentricities, some few of them worth considering, most dangerously shaky, many outright loony.”

In her book, Murdock claims that Jesus was a copy of one the Hindu god, Krishna. In fact, Murdock is even willing to take this further in her book ‘Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled’. However, regarding this point that Krishna was crucified before Jesus, Edwin Bryant, Professor of Hinduism and translator of the Bhagavata-Purana (life of Krishna) responds by saying:

“That is absolute and complete non-sense. There is absolutely no mention anywhere which alludes to a crucifixion.” Bryant then writes that:

“She doesn’t know what she’s talking about! Vithoba was a form of Krishna worshipped in the state of Maharashtra. There are absolutely no Indian gods portrayed as crucified.”

And regarding the alleged parallels that Murdock tries to draw between Hinduism and Christianity, Benjamin Walker in his book ‘The Hindu World: An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism’ says that: “[t]here can be no doubt that the Hindus borrowed the tales [from Christianity], but not the name.”

Murdock further claims that Christianity has failed in India because “the Brahmans have recognized Christianity as a relatively recent imitation of their much older traditions.” To this, Bryant simply commented, “Stupid comment.”

In his critique, New Testament historian Mike Licona goes on to say that:

“Murdock’s claim that Christianity has borrowed substantially from Hinduism is without merit. Her claims are false, unsupported, and exhibit a lack of understanding of the Hindu faith.”

In addition to Krishna, Murdock cites similarities between the Buddha and Jesus as an example of how Christianity has borrowed from Buddhism. Professor Chun-fang Yu, a specialist in Buddhist studies, comments: “[The woman you speak of] is totally ignorant of Buddhism. It is very dangerous to spread misinformation like this. You should not honor [Ms. Murdock] by engaging in a discussion. Please ask [her] to take a basic course in world religion or Buddhism before uttering another word about things she does not know.”

Subsequently, in a similar attempt by so many mythicist, Murdock tries to downplay one of the two references to Jesus within the work of 1st century historian Josephus Flavius (the passage on John the Baptist & Jesus’ brother James). She writes: “Although much has been made of these ‘references,’ they have been dismissed by scholars and Christian apologists alike as forgeries, as have been those referring to John the Baptist and James, ‘brother of Jesus.’”

In return Mike Licona comments that:

“Murdock’s claim is grossly naïve as well as false. Josephus’ passage on John the Baptist is regarded as authentic and is hardly disputed by scholars. Edwin Yamauchi, Professor of History at Miami University writes, “No scholar has questioned the authenticity of this passage, though there are some differences between Josephus’s account and that in the Gospels . . .”

New Testament scholar, Robert Van Voorst of Western Theological Seminary likewise comments that the passage by Josephus on John the Baptist is “held to be undoubtedly genuine by most interpreters” and that “scholars also hold [it] to be independent of the New Testament.”

Professor John Meier likewise says that Josephus’ mentioning of John the Baptist & James is “accepted as authentic by almost all scholars” and that it “is simply inconceivable as the work of a Christian of any period.” Jewish scholar, Louis Feldman of Yeshiva University and perhaps the most prominent expert on Josephus comments on this passage claims that: “There can be little doubt as to the genuineness of Josephus’ passage about John the Baptist.”

Therefore, Murdock’s comment that this passage has “been dismissed by scholars and Christian apologists alike as forgeries” is demonstrably false.”

In her work, Murdock claims that myth enveloped early Christianity due to “the signs or constellations of the zodiac.” In response to this Noel Swerdlow, a Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago responds that:

“…she is saying something that no one would have thought of in antiquity because in which constellation of the fixed stars the vernal equinox was located, was of no significance and is entirely an idea of modern, I believe twentieth-century, astrology.”

Mike Licona in response to Murdock claiming that Jesus never existed in history provides a challenge: “I challenge Ms. Murdock to name someone other than Jesus who lived in the first century (e.g., Augustus, Tiberius, Nero, etc.), who is mentioned by 17 writers who do not share his convictions, and who write within 150 years of his life. No first century person was as well attested as Jesus”

Things became even worse for Murdock when Mike actually researched the sources that she had cited behind her work: “Practically all of her sources are secondary rather than primary sources. For example, she quotes Adolf Hitler as saying that it was his Christian convictions which led him to attempt to exterminate the Jews. Where did Hitler say this? We cannot know from reading her book, because her source is The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets! On still another point, she quotes Otto Schmiedel. However, when you look at the endnote, you find that her source is Rudolf Steiner, a mystic.”

Licona then goes on to give an analogy regarding Murdock’s work: “It is like someone arguing that terrorism is justified and cites ten terrorists claiming that terrorism is just. However, this does nothing to support their position that terrorism is justified; only that some believe that it is. It also indicates that she has not checked out the claims of her sources, but rather uncritically accepts what they say.” Licona concludes:

“But in terms of this book being a responsible account of the origin of Christianity, it is unsalvageable.”

11. None of the mythicists are actual scholars in the relevant fields of expertise.

Knowing this it should well encourage a pause for some thought. What we find is that no scholar in any of the relevant fields (independent of their personal worldview beliefs) holds to these radical views. Professor of New Testament Studies, Ben Witherington, explains that:

“Not a single one of these authors and sources are experts in the Bible, Biblical history, the Ancient Near East, Egyptology, or any of the cognate fields….they are not reliable sources of information about the origins of Christianity, Judaism, or much of anything else of relevance to this discussion.”

Historian John Dickson of early Christianity and Judaism, likewise informs that: “anyone who dips into the thousands of secular monographs and journal articles on the historical Jesus will quickly discover that mythicists are regarded by 99.9% of the scholarly community as complete “outliers,” the fringe of the fringe.”

Scholard Michael Bird goes on to explain that mythicists are fringe atheists that no-one takes seriously: “There is a reason why this view is the sole possession of an energetic bunch of fringe atheists and has never been entertained as a possibility by experienced and respected scholars working in the field of Christian Origins.”

It seems that many of these mythicists are known to be atheists, and of the atheist crowd that is vocally anti-religion/Christianity. I suspect that this is why many of them are proponents of the mythicist theory. Such would also make sense, as what better way is there to try to discredit a religion than to attack the person behind it, in this case Jesus? As Professor Mettinger writes, I believe likewise:

“From the 1930s. . . a consensus has developed to the effect that the ‘dying and rising gods’ died but did not return or rise to live again. Those who still think differently are looked upon as residual members of an almost extinct species.”

12. Jesus’ virgin birth is unique

One of the events many Christians around the world celebrate on December 25th is that of Jesus’ birth. Of course no-where in the Biblical record does it anywhere allude to this specific date of Jesus’ birth; we simply do not know when Jesus was born. The 25th of December date is also allegedly a breeding pool for the mythicists alleged parallels.

Thus in the context of the uniqueness of Mary’s virginal conception the prominent Biblical scholar Raymond Brown concludes: “No search for parallels has given us a truly satisfactory explanation of how early Christians happened upon the idea of a virginal conception…”

And for those who claim that Mithras, a pagan god, was born of a virgin in the exact same manner as Jesus was Professor Manfred Clauss of ancient history explains that “The sequence of images from the mythical account of Mithras’ life and exploits begins, so far as we can make out, with the god’s birth. The literary sources here are few but unmistakable: Mithras was known as the rock-born god.” Unless rocks count as virgins we do not have a parallel here.

And following his own critical examination of this allegation, Louis Sweet writes: “After a careful, laborious, and occasionally wearisome study of the evidence offered and the analogies urged, I am convinced that heathenism knows nothing of virgin births. Supernatural births it has without number, but never from a virgin in the New Testament sense and never without physical generation, except in a few isolated instances of magical births on the part of women who had not the slightest claim to be called virgins. In all recorded instances which I have been able to examine, if the mother was a virgin before conception took place she could not make that claim afterward.”

In his book ‘The Virgin Birth’ Thomas Boslooper notes that: “The literature of the world is prolific with narratives of unusual births, but it contains no precise analogy to the virgin birth in Matthew and Luke. Jesus’ ‘virgin birth’ is not ‘pagan’.” Again, William Craig informs his readers that

“The Gospel stories of Jesus’ virginal conception are, in fact, without parallel in the ancient Near East.”

If anything Jesus’ radical virginal birth is explicitly unique.

13. Jesus’ death had a radical impact on his disciples; a feat that no pagan god can boast.

In an article for the New York Times Peter Steinfels, an American journalist and educator best known for his writings on religious topics, questions what could have drastically changed the lives of so many after Jesus’ death:

“Shortly after Jesus was executed, his followers were suddenly galvanized from a baffled and cowering group into people whose message about a living Jesus and a coming kingdom, preached at the risk of their lives, eventually changed an empire. Something happened … But exactly what?”

Even the skeptical New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman, notes that “We can say with complete certainty that some of his disciples at some later time insisted that . . . he soon appeared to them, convincing them that he had been raised from the dead.”

Skeptical New Testament scholar E.P Sanders writes:

“That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgment, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know.”

Rudolph Bultmann, hailed to be one of the most influential scholars of the New Testament writes:

“All that historical criticism can establish is that the first disciples came to believe the resurrection.”

Luke Johnson, a New Testament scholar at Emory University, goes on to say that: “Some sort of powerful, transformative experience is required to generate the sort of movement earliest Christianity was.”

Dale Allision another prominent New Testament scholar, and ancient historian notes that, “I am sure that the disciples saw Jesus after his death.”

What makes this case even more compelling is that these very same followers, and the skeptics Paul and James, underwent persecution for this proclamation. Several even went to their deaths as a result. I struggle to believe that a mythological being could have so drastically changed the lives of so many men.

14. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is unique.

As an event of history, especially within the context of the 1st century Judaism, the resurrection of Jesus was a unique once off event. Knowing this the alleged parallels that the mythicists seem to draw between Jesus and the pagan gods are spurious.

Professor Bart Ehrman believes that “there’s nothing about them [Hercules and Osiris] dying and rising again.” and “It is true that Osiris “comes back” to earth …. But this is not a resurrection of his body. His body is still dead. He himself is down in Hades, and can come back up to make an appearance on earth on occasion.”

Likewise Professor Mettinger concludes that: “there were no ideas of resurrection connected with Dumuzi/Tammuz” and…[sic]

“The category of dying and rising deities as propagated by Frazer can no longer be upheld.”

According to Professor Edwin Yamauchi: “there’s no resurrection of Marduk or Dionysus …… there was no real resurrection of Tammuz.”

In agreement Jonathan Smith writes that:

“There is no unambiguous instance in the history of religions of a dying and rising deity.”

Professor Mettinger again says that “While studied with profit against the background of Jewish resurrection belief, the faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus retains its unique character in the history of religions. The riddle remains.”

Professor Ronald Nash illustrates his view on the alleged Mithras Jesus parallel: “Allegations of an early Christian dependence on Mithraism have been rejected on many grounds. Mithraism had no concept of the death and resurrection of its god and no place for any concept of rebirth—at least during its early stages.”

Theologian Norman Geisler demonstrates the overt differences between Jesus and other pagan gods, as in the case of Osiris: “The only known account of a god surviving death that predates Christianity is the Egyptian cult god Osiris. In this myth, Osiris is cut into fourteen pieces, scattered around Egypt, then reassembled and brought back to life by the goddess Isis. However, Osiris does not actually come back to physical life but becomes a member of a shadowy underworld…This is far different than Jesus’ resurrection account.”

This tells us that scholars see these alleged parallels as not actually parallels at all.

15. The notion that Jesus is a copy parallel of Mithras is rejected by scholars.

Some claim that Jesus is a copy of Mithras, they claim in the following comparisons that Mithras was:

1. Mithras sacrificed himself.
2. He was resurrected.
3. He had disciples.
4. Mithra was born of a virgin on December 25th.
5. He was called the Messiah.
6. He was born from a virgin.

Firstly, this is questionable since very little is known about Mithraism because no texts have been found or none exist. What we know comes from archaeology in the form of hundreds of discovered Mithraean artifacts, as well as in the writings of Christians and other pagans in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.

Secondly, scholars have found no clear evidence of Mithraism until the mid to late 1st century, after Christianity was established. Therefore the early Christians could not copy anything, as there was nothing to copy in the first place.

Thirdly, the comparisons are spurious on all levels. As for starters Mithras did not sacrifice himself at all, and no-one actually knows if or how he died. Scholars seem to think that Mithras was killed by a bull. This killing of by the bull seems to be the source of the Mithraic ritual, known as taurobolium, of killing a bull and allowing the blood to drench the worshiper.

Now, there may be parallels between this ritual and Jewish animal sacrifice, or the Christian Eucharist, but the earliest reference to the ritual is the middle of the 2nd century – these comparisons, even if accurate, are spurious, and post-date Christianity. As Ronald Nash notes: “Indeed, there is inscriptional evidence from the fourth century A.D. that, far from influencing Christianity, those who used the taurobolium were influenced by Christianity”

As, in the first place, we have no record of Mithras actually dying, there is no record of him being resurrected either, especially not in the way like Jesus seemingly was. And the claim that Mithras had disciples is incorrect, there is no evidence that he existed as a historical figure, and there is no evidence that he had any disciples. He was seen as a god, and not as a human.

Fourthly, Mithras was not born of a virgin, unless we count rocks as virgins. As Clauss, a professor of ancient history at the Free University of Berlin, in his book ‘The Roman Cult of Mithras‘ explains: “The sequence of images from the mythical account of Mithras’ life and exploits begins, so far as we can make out, with the god’s birth. The literary sources here are few but unmistakable: Mithras was known as the rock-born god.”

Fifthly, I would encourage anyone to forward primary evidence that Mithras was referred to as the “Messiah”, because there is no evidence of this. As Professor Gary Lease has noted: “After almost 100 years of unremitting labor, the conclusion appears inescapable that neither Mithraism nor Christianity proved to be an obvious and direct influence upon the other”

Professor Edwin Yamauchi concludes: “We don’t know anything about the death of Mithras…We have a lot of monuments, but we have almost no textual evidence, because this was a secret religion. But I know of no references to a supposed death and resurrection.”

Here is a full article debunking the alleged parallels between Jesus and Mithra.

16. That Jesus is a copy of Horus is rejected by scholars.

Some claim that Jesus is a copy of Horus, they claim in the following comparisons that Horus was:

1. Born on December 25
2. Mary, Jesus’ mother, is a copy of the Horus account.
3. Born of a virgin.
4. Three kings came to adore the new-born “saviour”.
5. Was a saviour.
6. He became a child teacher at the age of 12.
7. Like Jesus, Horus was “baptized”.
8. He had a “ministry”.
9. Had twelve “disciples”
10. Was crucified, was buried for three days, and was resurrected after three days.

Horus was born during month of Khoiak, this would be either October or November, and certainly not December 25 as the mythicist claims. We should also note that we don’t actually know when Jesus was born, and it most likely was not on the 25th of December. This alleged parallel should be rejected.

Secondly, Horus was born to Isis, and there is no mention in history of her being called “Mary” at any time or place, or by anyone. Even worse for those using this as an alleged parallel is that “Mary” is an Anglicized form of her real name which is actually Miryam or Miriam, therefore, “Mary” was not even used in the original biblical manuscripts! Someone is clearly making up nonsense.

Thirdly, Isis was not a virgin. Isis was actually the widow of Osiris and conceived Horus with Osiris. In fact, we read: that “[Isis] made to rise up the helpless members [penis] of him whose heart was at rest, she drew from him his essence [sperm], and she made therefrom an heir [Horus].” (Encyclopaedia Mythica)

Fourthly, there is no record of three kings visiting Horus at his birth. This becomes even more questionable when we find that our gospel accounts don’t even state the actual number of magi that came to see Jesus at his birth. Fifthly, Horus was not even a savior by any means; he did not even die for anyone like Jesus did.

Sixth, I would challenge anyone to produce a single piece of primary evidence that tells us of Horus being a teacher at the age of 12. There is none that scholars have ever found.

Seventh, Horus was also not “baptized”, at least not like Jesus was at the hands of John the Baptist in the Jordan river. The only account of Horus that involves water is one story where Horus is torn to pieces, with Isis requesting the crocodile god to fish him out of the water. That clearly sounds like a baptism doesn’t it?

We have no account of Horus ever having a “ministry”, especially not one like Jesus’.

Horus also did not have 12 disciples. According to data, Horus had four demigods that followed him, and there are some indications of 16 human followers and an unknown number of blacksmiths that went into battle with him.

Subsequently, there are different accounts of how Horus actually died, but none of them ever involves a crucifixion.

Lastly, we have no accounts of Horus even being buried for three days. We have no accounts of Horus being resurrected, and especially not in the bodily form as Jesus was. There is no account of Horus coming out of the grave with the body he went in with. Some accounts have Horus/Osiris being brought back to life by Isis and then becoming the lord of the underworld.

All these alleged parallels are spurious at best.

17. That Jesus was a copy of Dionysus is rejected by scholars

Some claim that Jesus is a copy of Dionysus, they claim in the following comparisons that Dionysus was:

1. Born of a virgin.
2. Born on the 25th of December.
3. Turned water into wine.

Again, as noted, point 2 can be dismissed because we don’t know when Jesus was born.

Secondly, there are two common stories of Dionysus’ birth. One story involves the god Zeus, who is his father, either impregnating the mortal woman Semele, or impregnating Persephone (the Greek Queen of the underworld). This has nothing to do with a virgin birth. In the other narrative there is also no virgin birth.

However, the second narrative seems to be a copy of the Genesis biblical because it appears to describe what the book of Genesis said thousands of years before. In this narrative of Dionysus’ birth it describes fallen angels, and then impregnating human women. Either way, there’s nothing here to be a parallel of Jesus.

We are all likely familiar with the miracle story of Jesus turning water into wine but was this a copy from the pagan god Dionysus, as some have alleged? No. Firstly, Dionysus gave King Midas the power to turn whatever he touched into gold. Also, he gave the daughters of King Anius the power to turn whatever they touched into wine, corn, or oil.

But this should hardly be surprising as Dionysus was the god of wine. However, there do seem to be stories where Dionysus supernaturally fills empty vessels with wine, but the actual act of turning water into wine does not occur. There’s no parallel here either.

Here is a full article debunking the alleged parallels between Jesus and Dionysus.

18. That Jesus is a copy of Krishna is rejected by scholars

Some claim that Jesus is a copy of Krishna, they claim in the following comparisons that Krishna was:

1. Born of a virgin.
2. That there was an infant massacre.
3. That there was a star in the East that guided the wise men to his birth.
4. Was crucified.
5. Was resurrected.
6. Krishna’s father was a carpenter, like Jesus’ father.

Firstly, never is a virgin birth attributed to Krishna. In fact, his parents had seven previous children. Some mythicists claim that Krishna was born to the virgin Maia, however what we find is that this is incorrect as according to our Hindu texts Krishna is the eighth son of Princess Devaki and her husband Vasudeva.

In the Gospels we read that King Herod felt threatened by Jesus’ birth, and that resorted to killing the infants in Bethlehem. Yet, is this a copy from a narrative concerning Krishna?

Not, it isn’t. Instead what we find is that Devaki’s six previous children were murdered by her cousin, King Kamsa, due to a prophecy foretelling his death at the hands of one of her children. This narrative tells us Kamsa only targeted Devaki’s sons, and never issued a command to kill male infants, unlike the gospel accounts. We read in ‘Bhagavata, Book 4, XXII:7‘ “Thus the six sons were born to Devaki and Kamsa, too, killed those six sons consecutively as they were born.”

Thirdly, what about the star and the wise men? This is a questionable parallel since Krishna was born in a prison and not within a stable. Further, his parents bore him in secret.

Some have even alleged that Krishna was crucified like Jesus was, but crucifixion is never once mentioned in any Hindu text even though we are told how Krishna dies. We read that he was mediating in the woods when he was accidentally shot in the foot by a hunter’s arrow. Maybe because the arrow that pierced his foot was wood, much like was Jesus’ cross, I suppose means Krishna was crucified?

What about a resurrection? Firstly, we have zero evidence that Krishna descended into the grave for three days and appeared to many witnesses like Jesus did, as the mythicist claims. Instead, the actual account says that Krishna immediately returns to life and speaks only to the hunter where he forgives him of his actions.

Nevertheless, there are obvious differences between the resurrections of Jesus and Krishna’s appearance to the hunter who killed him. These are:
•Jesus’ resurrection defeated the power of sin and death. Krishna’s resurrection had no real effect on mankind.
•Jesus appeared to approximately 500 eye witnesses in the New Testament. Krishna appeared only to the hunter.
•Jesus rose from the dead three days later. Krishna immediately returned to life.
•Jesus did not ascend into Heaven until after the Great Commission. Krishna immediately “ascended” into the afterlife.
•Jesus was aware of what was to take place. Krishna had no foreknowledge concerning his death.
•Jesus ascended into a physical realm (Heaven). Krishna transcended into a mental state (or inconceivable region). The concepts between Heaven (Christianity) and Nirvana (Hinduism) differ greatly.

Lastly, what about Krishna’s father? Was his father, Vasudeva, a carpenter like Jesus’ Earthly father was? It is true that Krishna’s father was also said to be a carpenter, yet this is not suggested anywhere within our actual Hindu texts. What we are told is that Vasudeva was a nobleman in the courts of Mathura as he was married to Princess Devaki. However, when Krishna fled the wrath of Kamsa with his foster parents, we are told his foster-father Nanda was a cow herder: “Thou art the most beloved of Nanda, the Cow-herd” (Bhagavata, Bk 8, I, pg 743).

No parallels.

19. That Jesus was a copy of Attis is rejected by scholars.

Some claim that Jesus is a copy of Attis, they claim in the following comparisons that Attis was:

1. Born of a virgin.
2. Born on the 25th of December.
3. Crucified.
4. Was resurrected.

Before anything is to be considered the accounts we have of Attis are wide ranging and thus are not very reliable.

First off we can see that Attis was not born of a virgin. In fact, according to this legend, Agdistis arises from the Earth as a descendant of Zeus. Agdistis gives birth to the Sangarius river which brings forth the nymph, Nana, who either holds an almond to her breast and becomes impregnated by the almond or sits beneath a tree where an almond falls into her lap and impregnates her. Nana later abandons the child who is then raised by a goat. We are left to assume Attis was conceived from an almond seed which fell from a tree as a result of Zeus’ spilled semen. Not a virgin birth.

Again, as mentioned before, the 25th of December has no significance at all, we don’t know when Jesus was born, therefore, any alleged parallel cannot, logically, be a pagan parallel.

Thirdly, what about a crucifixion? Again, this is clearly questionable. We see that Attis castrates himself beneath a pine tree and thus dies from bleeding to death. Attis castrates himself after he is made to go insane before his wedding by Agdistis. Subsequently, his blood flows onto the ground from his severed penis and brings forth a patch of violets. How is a crucifixion remotely hinted at here?

Fourthly, was Attis resurrected like Jesus was? There are different accounts of this. In one narrative we find that Agdistis is overcome with remorse for what she had done (causing Attis to castrate himself and die because of it), and thus requests for Zeus to preserve the corpse of Attis so that it never decomposes. That is not a resurrection.

In the other account Agdistis and The Great Mother carry the pine tree back to a cave where they both mourn the death of Attis. Any resurrection story doesn’t surface until much later when Attis is transformed into a pine tree. Being transformed into a tree is vastly different from Jesus rising in bodily form from the dead.

Here is an article addressing the alleged parallels between Jesus and Attis.

20. That Jesus was a copy of the Buddha is rejected by scholars

Some claim that Jesus is a copy of Buddha, they claim in the following comparisons that Buddha was:

1. Born of a virgin.
2. There wise men at Buddha’s birth.
3. Presented with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
4. Born on the 25th of December.
5. Descended from a royal lineage, like did Jesus.
6. Crucified.

First off, Gautama was not born of a virgin, he was born to Suddhodana and his wife, Maya, of 20 years. Another reason for rejecting that Maya was a virgin is because she was the king’s favorite wife. The ‘Acts of the Buddha‘ shows us that Maya and her husband Suddhodana having sexual relations (for example, “the two tasted of love’s delight…”).

Secondly, there seems to be no mention of wise men at all in the Buddhist texts. There also seems to be no record of these specific gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. What is, however, mentioned in a writing that post-dates Christianity we are told the gods (not wise men) gave Gautama sandalwood, rain, water lilies, and lotus flowers for gifts – these are Buddhist symbols, and have nothing to do with Christianity. This is also not surprising as royal births are often celebrated with festivals and gifts in Buddhist culture.

Again, we are not told the birth date of Jesus, so this cannot be a parallel.

Unlike Jesus, Gautama was an immediate royal descendant born into privilege. Jesus was a distant descendant of King David born into poverty. They are basically opposites.

There seems to be no mention of a crucifixion in any Buddhist source. In fact, we are told that Gautama dies of natural causes at the age of 80. His followers accompany him to a river and provide him with a couch: “Be so good as to spread me a couch… I am weary and wish to lie down…’ Then the [Buddha] fell into a deep meditation, and having passed through the four jhanas, entered Nirvana.”

21. That Jesus was a copy parallel of Zoroaster is rejected by scholars

Some claim that Jesus is a copy of Zoroaster, they claim in the following comparisons that Zoroaster was:

1. Born of a virgin.
2. Tempted in the wilderness.
3. Began his ministry at age 30, like Jesus.
4. Sacrificed for mankind’s sins.

There is no mention of a virgin birth in any Zoroastrian text nor do the events of Zoroaster’s birth seem to have any relation to Jesus. In fact, there are two different accounts of his birth. In one narrative Zoroaster’s parents, Dukdaub and Pourushasp, were a normal married couple who conceived a son through natural means. Zoroaster is described as laughing when he is born as well as having a visible, glowing aura about him:

“[Zoroaster] had come into the posterity…who are Pourushasp, his father, and Dukdaub who is his mother. And also while he is being born and for the duration of life, he produced a radiance, glow, and brilliance from the place of his own abode…” (Denkard, Bk 5 2:1-2)

In the other narrative, which is a later text, an embellishment is added by the Zoroastrian followers. In this narrative we are told that Ahura Mazda (the main deity of Zoroastrianism) implants the soul of Zoroaster into the sacred Haoma plant and through the plant’s milk Zoroaster is born. Nothing here is like a virgin birth.

But was Zoroaster also tempted by an evil spirit to renounce his faith with the promise of receiving power over the nations, like Jesus was? This story is evident in the Vendidad, a Zoroastrian text which lists the laws regarding demons. However, this was written well after the life of Jesus somewhere between 250 – 650 AD. Because of this late date the early Christian scribes could not have copied anything in this text. What we do read sounds strikingly familiar to Jesus’ 40 days in the desert; according to ‘Vendidad Fargad 19:6‘:

“Again to him said the Maker of the evil world, Angra Mainyu: ‘Do not destroy my creatures, O holy Zarathushtra… Renounce the good Religion of the worshippers of Mazda, and thou shalt gain such a boon as…the ruler of the nations.’”

Like Jesus, Zoroaster was believed to have begun his teachings at the age of 30. Though Zoroaster technically came out of seclusion at the age of 30 to begin his teachings, he was shunned and ignored for 12 years until his religion was accepted by King Vishtaspa. However, the story surrounding Jesus differs greatly.

Jesus attracted followers instantly, and Zoroaster was believed to be killed around the age of 77 while Jesus was killed at the age of 33. Any parallels become questionable on the basis that Zoroaster is not mentioned in texts until to around 225 AD; that is almost 200 years after Christianity had already been in circulation.

Lastly, was Zoroaster’s death spiritually significant? It is believed Zoroaster was killed at the age of 77 after being slaughtered on one of his temple altars by Turanian invaders, however this aspect of his life is debated by scholars. Either way, his death was never believed to atone for sin or to hold any other spiritual purposes.

22. Jesus’ crucifixion in comparison to other alleged deities is unique.

Kersey Graves in his book ‘The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors’, names the following as crucified deities, and therefore, the crucifixion of Jesus is a pagan copy. Well, let’s analyze these “crucifixions” to see if they actually, firstly, are crucifixions. If, in fact, they are crucifixions then we should compare them to Jesus’ crucifixion, and see if they are the same:
•Mithras – Mithras was carried into heaven on a chariot, alive. This is not a crucifixion.
•Bali – There are various accounts regarding Bali’s death. One says that he was forced down (bodily) into the underworld after being deceived by Vamana, an avatar of Vishnu. In other accounts, Bali is said to have been released and granted kingship. No crucifixion occurs in either story.
•Romulus – Romulus was not crucified, but rather is said to have been taken up into the heavens while still alive.
•Quirinus – No accounts seem to indicate him dying.
•Iao and Wittoba – there seems to be no information regarding the deaths of these two figures in any original sources.
•Orpheus – He was not crucified, but said to have been killed by Dionysus’ frenzied maenads after refusing to worship any god but Apollo.
•Bel – He is often associated with Zeus, and no accounts seem to indicate his death.
•Prometheus – He was chained to a mountain where an eagle ate his liver on a daily basis, as punishment from Zeus. Hercules would later free him. No crucifixion.
•Indra – There are different accounts of Indra’s death. In one narrative he is swallowed alive by a serpent called Vritra. Vritra then spits him out at the commands of some other gods. Because Indra is saved by the gods there is no death, nor a crucifixion.
•Dionysus – There is no crucifixion, instead he was eaten alive by Titans during infancy.
•Esus/Hesus – His followers would participate in human sacrifices by hanging a victim from a tree after disembowelment. There is no mention of a crucifixion.
•Attis – Attis bled to death after castrating himself below a tree.
•Alcestis – Alcestis agrees to die for her husband after he makes a deal with the gods. When the time comes, Alcestis is described as being in bed. The gods are touched by her devotion, take pity on her, and reunite her with her husband. No crucifixion is indicated here.
•Tammuz – He was allegedly killed by demons sent by Ishtar after she found him on her throne. Not a crucifixion.
•Krishna – Krishna was never crucified as he was shot in the foot with an arrow while he was meditating in a forest.
•Osiris – Osiris was tricked by Set, then sealed into a chest, and dumped into the Nile. The method of crucifixion was not even invented by this time.
•Questzalcoatl – Quetzalcoatl is never crucified at all. In one narrative he burns himself alive out of guilt for sleeping with a celibate priestess. In a different narrative we are told he was burnt by fire that was sent by the gods.

9 Signs That You Might Be An Intellectualy Dishonest Atheist

May 9, 2014 By Andy

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“Reality is a cocktail of fantasy” Micah Purnell.

We lie to ourselves all the time. I lie to myself about how good-looking I am. I like to imagine that ‘I’ve still got it’. And then I walk past a reflection of myself that I wasn’t expecting to see, and before my brain has chance to readjust to my idealised view, I catch a glimpse of what I actually look like – how other people see me. And it hurts; so I blot it out as quickly as possible.

We all construct our own truth. It’s our way of getting through life. And when a lie gets told and retold, eventually the real truth gets suppressed and our constructed truth becomes our reality.

A great example of this is the film Shutter Island (Spoilers ahead). In this film, Leonardo di Caprio is a man driven insane by the death of his children and murdering of his own wife. Unable to cope with the truth, he constructs his own reality where he is a renowned detective. The doctors at the mental asylum where he is housed decide to use this constructed reality in their favour, and set up a false trail of clues for “Det. Teddy Daniels” to follow – which ultimately lead to the uncomfortable truth that he is not in fact a detective, but is the asylum’s most dangerous patient. At the climax of the film, he rejects the real story in favour of his created universe – and is lobotomised!

So what about you? What if the worldview you’ve constructed is false? And what if you’re missing a greater truth – and, unlike in Shutter Island, a better truth? Here are some signs that you might be intellectually dishonest when it comes to the question of God.

1. You only read/watch what you already agree with.  The books/blogs you read – or videos you watch – fit in with your existing worldview and serve simply to confirm your own prejudices. You deliberately stay away from anything that might challenge you. You start to unfollow people who post things on Twitter and Facebook that you disagree with. This is telling. When we truly feel comfortable with what we believe, we can happily imbibe contrasting or conflicting views. If you’re so sure you’re right, then why do you shy away? There’s a chance that you’re strengthening the foundations of a belief that you’ve built upon the sand.

2. “People who disagree with me are stupid!” That’s why you don’t read or watch anything Christian – they’re so obviously deluded. But it’s not that, is it? Psychologically, when we don’t want to be challenged by something, we need to convince ourselves that it is ridiculous. We need to alienate it and dispose of it. So we start using extreme words like stupid or irrational, which help us distance ourselves from the challenge. This is where terms like Magic Sky Clown and Jewish Zombie come from. By reducing Christianity ‘ad absurdum’, we don’t need to worry about its potential truth. We wrap ourselves in protective labels.

3. You get angry with those who disagree. You swear at or shout down people in conversation, or walk away from a discussion. You convince yourself that your anger is righteous at how immoral their viewpoint is, but is that really true? Anger is what happens when we don’t feel in control and try to re-exert our own power in a situation. Think of any scenario where you’ve lost your temper and you’ll see it follows that process. It’s an emotional response, not an intellectual one. It’s a sign that you’re out of your depth, that you don’t know everything. People sure of what they believe and confident of its truthfulness tend to remain calm in conversation. “I get angry ‘cos they’re stupid!” you might say. See bullet point 2.

If you’re getting angry when talking to Christians, maybe you’re not quite as clued up as you thought you were. That’s OK – just follow the path where it leads.

4. You use words like ‘rational’ and ‘logical’ and ‘free-thinking’ to describe yourself. These words are like verbal placebos. They create a pleasant feeling of security in us without actually proving us to be any of those things. However, calling yourself logical and rational doesn’t somehow magically transform all your ideas into logical, rational ideas.

5. You deliver statements as though they are questions. But you’re not really looking for the answers. A question like ‘How could God allow so much suffering?’ is a good question, but it doesn’t automatically follow that he wouldn’t. The answers to these questions are hard, of course, but they’re out there, if only you’re prepared to look.

Have you considered that maybe you’re using the question to shield yourself from the answer?

6. You use ad-hominem attacks. When you fear that someone ‘on the opposing side’ is more knowledgeable in their viewpoint, or you run out of your own arguments, you try to undermine them by criticising their moral character or appearance. Looking to devalue what someone has said because of something you don’t like about them is a common trick, but totally dishonest. It also commits the genetic fallacy, but I’m probably an idiot for saying that.

7. You quote famous atheists, without being able to back up their arguments. Dawkins, Hitchens, Bertrand Russell. In place of delivering your own ideas and thoughts, you simply quote something that one of your heroes has said. The problem is that you find it much more difficult to build on those sound bites when pushed. An example of this would be ‘You’re an atheist when it comes to Zeus. Atheists just go one God further’. How would you respond when informed that this is a joke, not an argument? What’s your follow-up argument?

See what I mean? A quote from an atheist is not in itself an argument for atheism. We all need to be careful that emotive, persuasive language doesn’t replace actual argumentation.

8. You use generic catch-all phrases which show your poor hand. Everybody knows Jesus never existed’, or ‘It’s a scientific fact that science has disproven God’ work here. Statements like this are usually a dead giveaway that you haven’t really looked into what you’re talking about. Usually, whatever it is that ‘everybody knows’, everybody doesn’t know it – you wouldn’t have to say that if it were the case. And usually, ‘everybody knows’ really means ‘I don’t know’. Top academic debaters don’t go around saying ‘everybody knows’, in the same way that serious scientists don’t talk about science disproving God. For people who do know what they’re talking about, this sort of conversational device just calls your own bluff.

9. You never really critique your own beliefs. Attacking, ignoring or sneering at other viewpoints is often a way of deflecting attention away from yourself. Sadly, despite what we’d like to believe about ourselves, most people in our society aren’t won over by reasoned, rational arguments, but by advertising. Are your reasons for believing what you believe genuinely rational and considered, or are they simply a verbal manifestation of how you feel? And are your reasons for rejecting other worldviews equally rational, or does the idea of a God who has more power than you simply create a negative emotional reaction, which you then reject? Does it cut up your desire for autonomy, or conflict with your trust that you are in control?

My belief is that, if you do any of these 9 things, you may be confusing your intellect with your emotions. Crucially, the reasons most people give for rejecting Jesus are almost never as rational and well-thought-out as they think, but instead a sort of advertising slogan for their desires.

How we feel is not always a good gauge of truth. The truth doesn’t always underwrite our feelings, but often wounds them.

How will you deal with that? What do you want? Your truth? Or The Truth?

Because The Truth might be better than you think.

 

#atheist #atheism #honesty #reason #truth #logic #philosophy

 

http://www.cvm.org.uk/blog/demolition-squad/9-signs-that-you-might-be-an-intellectually-dishonest-atheist/ )

Should We Trust Reason? A Brief Defense of the Laws of Logic

April 7, 2015 By Khuitt

Shortly after launching my blog, the point of which is to pursue truth through reason, I was told by some friends that I trust reason too much. These friends were both fellow philosophy majors, and they have had a few more courses than I have, so I was intrigued and ready to listen to what they had to say. The reason they gave for distrusting reason was the usual one, the laws of logic cannot be justified. I kicked this idea around in my mind for a while, but never really made much progress.

A short time later I was in a discussion on Facebook and I responded to a friend’s question about whether or not he should be able to defend everything he believes (I think the answer is that he should be able to do so). Eventually, I mentioned the laws of logic and my friend replied by asserting that I was saying that we should ground our beliefs in the laws of logic, while I gave no justification for the laws of logic themselves. In other words, my friend wanted a justification for the laws of logic which he assumed I was taking for granted. After all, many people do seem to take the laws of logic as foundational principles that cannot be supported or questioned, so I can see why he would assume that I would be no different.
I, however, think that with careful consideration, the laws of logic can be proven to be true. I am probably a little too bold to take on such a topic in a blog post, but here goes nothing.

There are three laws of logic:

1. The law of identity: Something is equal to itself
2. The law of non-contradiction: Two contradicting statements cannot both be true
3. The law of the excluded middle: Either something is true or it is false

In order to justify all three laws, I think it is important to start with the law of non-contradiction.
That is because the opposite statement is self-defeating which means we can deduce the law of non-contradiction via argumentum ad absurdum.

Consider the following premises:

1. Two contradicting statements can both be true.
2. “No two opposing statements can both be true” is the contradiction of Premise 1.
3. If Premise 1 is true then the statement “No two opposing statments can both be true” is true. (By applying Premise 1 to itself)
4. The statement “No two opposing statements can both be true” is false if its contradiction (premise 1) is true (applying the statement to itself)
5. Premise 1 is true (Assumed)
6. Premise 2 is false (Premise 4)
7. Premise 1 is therefore false because it would only be true if its own contradicting statement could be true. Its contradiction is false (Premise 6), therefore Premise 1 is false.

In other words, the possibility of contradictory truths disqualifies itself because its own contradiction cannot be true. Because two truths cannot contradict themselves, we can say that no two contradictory statements can be true, and the law of non-contradiction is justified. 

We have the law of non-contradiction is true, so we can now apply it to the other laws of logic and our job just got a whole lot easier. 

Let’s use the law of non-contradiction to prove the law of identity.
The law of identity would say that something is itself. If the law of identity is not true, then something is not itself. Something obviously has to be something, otherwise it would be nothing. Something cannot be nothing, because that would be a contradiction and we have already shown the law of non-contradiction to be true. Something must then be something, and we must now talk about something in particular that we will call P. P must be itself. If P is not P then somebody simply got confused and wrongly labeled something P (perhaps a lower-case q). This would simply be an error in judgment, and it has no bearing on the law of identity. So P is P, but if the law of identity is false then P is P and not P at the same time. This would be a contradiction, and since we have already demonstrated the truth of the law of non-contradiction we know that two contradicting statements cannot both be true. Therefore, P is either rightly labeled P and is itself, or P never was P and is not P but is still itself. If it was not itself, then it would simply be something else that was itself. If it was not anything, then it would simply be nothing at all. Since something cannot be itself and not itself at the same time, the law of identity is true given the falsity of the opposite. 

This brings us to the final law of logic which is the law of the excluded middle. This law is very similar to the law of non-contradiction in that it simply says that P is either P or not P and it cannot be both. In other words, I am either reading this sentence, or I am not. I cannot be doing both at the same time (I dare the reader to try). The law of the excluded middle is not hard to prove after we have proven non-contradiction. If I said that you are both reading and not-reading this sentence at the same time, then I would be contradicting myself. Since I am contradicting myself, both statements cannot be true, and there is no middle ground (except in the possible sense that you are reading this sentence and not paying attention, but that is not the kind of middle ground we are talking about).

Since there is no middle ground in contradictory statements in that a statement is either true or false (A statement cannot be true along with its contradictory statement), the law of the excluded middle is proven.

The keystone of this entire argument is the law of non-contradiction. If the law of non-contradiction is proven false then the other two laws fall with it. However, the law of non-contradiction can be proven true, and along with it the other two laws. Therefore, we do not have to assume the laws of logic are true. We simply have to think about them a little bit. Because the laws of logic can be justified, we can continue to trust our reason as long as it is properly applied. The proper application of reason, rather than the merit of reason itself, is where the fun is really at.

#logic #reason #philosophy

http://nowleavingplatoscave.org/2015/04/07/should-we-trust-reason-a-brief-defense-of-the-laws-of-logic/ )

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Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Scientism

May 8, 2014 By William M. Briggs

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Hey. It’s Science.

The other day on Twitter, I saw somebody quote approvingly these words by Neil deGrasse Tyson:

The good thing about Science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.

This received many favorites, re-tweets, and various (coarse) approbations. Evidently, this phrase produces a visceral glow in its fans, or perhaps the feeling of belonging to a group advanced beyond the benighted masses who, wallowing in their ignorance, dare to doubt Science. 

Only here’s the thing. The phrase doesn’t mean anything. It’s emptier than our federal coffers. If you doubt this, try substituting other words for science:

The good thing about Philosophy is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.

The good thing about History is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.

The good thing about Economics is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.

The good thing about Art is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.

Each of these propositions are just as true as Tyson’s original; which is to say, each is as meaningless or as confused.

Has every theory promulgated by Science, which is to say, by individual or groups of scientists, been true? Obviously not. Therefore Science isn’t always true, and you’d best believe that. Has every theory put forth in Philosophy, History, etc. been true? Certainly not. Though some have. Is every painting or novel or poem been valuable? No. But some are. And so on. 

“Oh, but Science is self-correcting. That’s why it’s true.” 

Is it? If so, it is an admission that it has things to correct; which is to say, Science knows it is often in error, and therefore what it puts forth should not always be believed in toto because what it says might very well be false and in need of correction. 

And then Philosophy, History, etc. are self-correcting, too, and we know this in the same way we know Science is self-correcting. That is, we have seen in these fields errors identified, new evidence augmenting the old, new (or rediscovered) theories supplanting old ones, and so forth, just as happens in Science.

Example? In History, take the absurd fiction that Giordano Bruno was murdered by the Church for holding forbidden Scientific views, which Tyson presented as truth (in cartoon form) on his Cosmos show. This tale has been (yet again) corrected, this time by our friend Mike Flynn (see Reply to Objection 6; and more in depth here) and also by our friend Thomas McDonald. Will Tyson recant? 

“What I really meant was Science was truer than any of those other things.”

But truth is truth: epistemically, no truth can be higher than another; all truths share the same logical status. Ontologically, truths can be ranked, such as in a moral or ethical sense (it’s true you should not murder your neighbor, it’s truer you should not nuke a city for the fun of it). Sorting truth in that way thus admits Science is not the highest truth, because matters of ethics and morality belong to Philosophy, which is itself fed by History, Economics, and Art. Science can only say what is, Philosophy can say what you ought to do.

Damon Linker at The Week has noticed Tyson’s scientism, too:

[Tyson says] undergraduates should actively avoid studying philosophy at all. Because, apparently, asking too many questions “can really mess you up.”

…He proudly proclaims his irritation with “asking deep questions” that lead to a “pointless delay in your progress” in tackling “this whole big world of unknowns out there.” When a scientist encounters someone inclined to think philosophically, his response should be to say, “I’m moving on, I’m leaving you behind, and you can’t even cross the street because you’re distracted by deep questions you’ve asked of yourself. I don’t have time for that.”

You need philosophy to lead an examined life, even in the presence of Science. It is easiest, and surely safest, to imbibe casually your morality from the culture, especially from what you see in social media. And majority rules is always the answer, isn’t it? Science can’t answer that question, so it really isn’t worth asking, let alone answering. Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? What is best in life? All have the same answer. Science!

Could Tyson’s next career be the replacement to the Scientific Ethicist ?

Update To save me retyping it here, see the comment I made to George Wolfe about the so-called truth of the Scientific method. Welcome Hacker News folks. I hope you can agree that proving Tyson’s comment has little or no meaning is not an “attack” on Science. It is an attack on scientism, which is very different. 

See also the comments from kikito, who offers a valid rebuttal on Linker’s story. Given his correction, I have modified my own uncharitable aspersion about Tyson at the end of the original piece (I suggested Tyson would agree with the penultimate paragraph).