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  1. #1
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    The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Calling the new testament an "original work" is ridiculous. It clearly draws from earlier myths and legends.

    Now, before we jump into this debate, a few rules about conduct:

    i. Simply because an earlier myth isn't a carbon copy of the new testament doesn't mean it can be dismissed.

    Example:
    "Harry Potter has centaurs and goblins. Both these creatures are from earlier myths."
    "Oh yeah!? Well... well... the centaur story didn't have a boy wizard in it. And the centaurs in Harry Potter were nice and centaurs from history were mean. So Harry Potter is TOTALLY unique and didn't draw from that earlier myth."

    ii. I've noticed in earlier debates on this same subject, apologists have dismissed legitimate arguments of similarity simply because no one had any sort of "smoking gun" document. To go back to the Harry Potter example, this would be like saying, "Well, we need a note in J. K. Rowling's handwriting saying 'I intend to use mythological centaurs in my story' before I can accept that earlier myths about centaurs influenced her story." Obviously, this is a ridiculous argument on the part of theists. If an earlier mythology made a claim about a particular deit, this proves that said claim was desirable for a deity to have. So, we don't need an early church father writing, for example, "add in a virgin birth like those other gods. That'll get people impressed". The fact that virgin births were, for example, desirable traits in other myths proves that it's desirable in the Christ mythology.

    iii. Contrary to what theists would have one believe, there is a world of difference between "Person attempting to record historical events (while adding their own spin to it)" and "Person trying to fabricate a religion with a clear doctrinal ax to grind". If you think these two things are one and the same, please do not participate in this debate. If you think that it's (somehow) impossible for Christianity to be created by BOTH of these sorts of people, please do not participate in this debate. Instead, spend the time you would have spent replying by evaluating your life choices & world view.

    iv. If your argument is, "Sure, characteristic X was in a half dozen myths before Jesus, but with Jesus it ACTUALLY HAPPENED"... yeeeeahhh. You're going to have to prove that with evidence. Very likely, you will be asked to start your own thread. If your argument demands that we re-define what constitutes evidence or sound logic, please don't expect anyone to take your claim seriously. This applies as well to the alleged fulfillment of prophecy. The writers of the Christ mythology had old testament prophecies easily available to them and were fabricating a historical fiction from a few decades back. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to contrive scenarios where prophecies were fulfilled.

    v. Don't complain about intent. What do I mean by this? Some time ago, I pointed out that some of Justin Martyr's writings (more on him in a moment) were highly concerned with the similarities between the Jesus mythology and other mythology. I don't remember who replied, but the gist of the counter-argument was something inane about Justin Martyr's intention. As though intending to write something negates any admission. Hopefully, I'm remembering this wrong and we won't see anything so silly in this debate. If, however, you actually believe that intent can negate a slip up, then I submit you are a doo-doo headed troglodyte and that this accusation is clearly not a violation of ODN rules because my INTENT in this paragraph was to set the parameters for the debate. Because my intent wasn't to insult you, it's impossible that me calling you a doo-doo headed troglodyte is an insult. (and for crying out loud, mods, CHILL. I'm making a point, not intentionally breaking rules or calling people names).

    alllll that being said...

    There was Mithras who so very closely resembled early Christianity that the early church had to address it.

    Justin Martyr says on the subject of Mithras "Wherefore also the evil demons in mimicry have handed down that the same thing should be done in the Mysteries of Mithras. For that bread and a cup of water are in these mysteries set before the initiate with certain speeches you either know or can learn." Martyr was very much aware that earlier religions resembled Christianity. His answer? Demons / the devil had fabricated these earlier religions to try to trick people. Which is still official Catholic church doctrine.

    For having heard it proclaimed through the prophets that the Christ was to come, and that the ungodly among men were to be punished by fire, they put forward many to be called sons of Jupiter, under the impression that they would be able to produce in men the idea that the things which were said with regard to Christ were mere marvellous tales, like the things which were said by the poets. And these things were said both among the Greeks and among all nations where they [the demons] heard the prophets foretelling that Christ would specially be believed in;

    -Justin Martyr, First Apology Chapter LIV (emphasis mine)

    This is why this is part 1 of the argument.

    Part 2 (if it's needed) will be examining all the many similar religions that came before Jesus. (that's where the majority of the guidlines I posted above will come in).

    However, the above quote from Justin Martyr really makes that all irrelevant. Martyr understood how there were many earlier religions that resembled Christianity. His excuse? "Demons invented them all to trick people". Obviously, this is ridiculous. Demons are metaphors at best. They're not real. But his words are troubling for apologists. If Martyr was referring to just casual similarities, why say that demons did it? No. He's saying that demons created religions that actively resembled Christianity in order to fool people.

    So if you're Christian, this leaves you in a bad place:

    You can disagree with the writings of Justin Martyr and insist that no religions prior to Christianity resembled Christianity. If so, then you're disagreeing with one of the most influential and venerated members of the early church.

    If you agree with his writings, then you have to accept that these earlier religions resembled Christianity. When we look at how flimsy and silly his excuse is, we're left with only on conclusion:

    Christianity was drawn from earlier religions.

  2. #2
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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric View Post
    i. Simply because an earlier myth isn't a carbon copy of the new testament doesn't mean it can be dismissed.
    What criteria exactly would you propose we use to compare one work to another? The Bible is a work composed of symbolic shapes representing vocal utterances that represent meaning. Is it therefore the same thing as any other work using letters?
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  3. #3
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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    What criteria exactly would you propose we use to compare one work to another? The Bible is a work composed of symbolic shapes representing vocal utterances that represent meaning. Is it therefore the same thing as any other work using letters?
    4. Don't play dumb.
    If you can see what your opponent is trying to say but don't like how they've worded it, then SAY THAT. Don't engage in some trollish deliberate misinterpretation of their words. Don't pretend you didn't get it. If you're sitting at your computer and thinking to yourself, "Well he meant X, but how can I reply to make it sound like he meant Y" then you're being a troll. Instead just say something like, "Hey man. That kinda sounded like Y. I can tell you meant X. Here's why I don't agree with X..."
    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...er-at-debating

    The topic of debate is what Justin Martyr said about earlier religions. How we compare things sounds like an interesting topic for another thread. Please start one rather than derailing mine.

  4. #4
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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric View Post
    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...er-at-debating

    The topic of debate is what Justin Martyr said about earlier religions.
    You proposed a specific set of rules, one of which required clarification. I was asking for clarification on that context to understand where you are coming from.

    You implied that any similarity at all was valid (ie, two creatures with the same sounding name are therefore the same, regardless of attribute differences), but failed to provide a limiting principle for that rule, please clarify.

    3. Know your opponent's stance.
    I see the worst violations whenever evolution comes up (though it's not limited to that). The anti-evolution crowd seems to wear their ignorance of evolution as a badge of honor. I can't tell you how profoundly trollish this is. If you can't debate without attacking a line of straw men, then you can't debate. Take the time to understand a stance before you attack it.

    7. Be willing to admit that you're wrong or that you've used a fallacy.
    Yes. We all like arguing and we all like being right. But you're not going to be right all of the time. Be that guy who's man enough to admit it. Or at the very least admit that you bungled an argument by using a fallacy.

    8. Do not engage in "bansmanship".
    Brinkmanship is a term from the cold war. Look it up. Bansmanship is arguing in an obnoxious way deliberately to try to evoke a trollish response from your opponent in hopes a mod will ban hammer them. It's being juuuuust enough of a troll yourself to try to get the other guy to cross a line... without crossing it yourself. If you're at your computer thinking to yourself "How can I word this to really piss this guy off" then you're being a troll.

    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...er-at-debating
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  5. #5
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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Sure. Just post your stance about what I said about Justin Martyr then we'll get into your concerns.

    Honestly, those rules are more in line for the second part of the debate I had planned. Originally, I was going to do it all as one thread, but it was going to be ridiculously long. Like I said: the main issue is Justin Martyr's admission that earlier religions resembled Christianity. Address that and, if we need to, we can worry about the guidelines I posted. I've now asked you twice. Don't expect a reply if your next post would make me have to ask a third time.

  6. #6
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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Please don't put "limiting assumptions" forward in your debate if you aren't willing to at least discuss, refine or support that they should be limiting principles.

    Further, you make a pretty clear error right off the bat, just because Justin Matyr feels the need to counter these accusations does not mean that the similarities are anything but superficial. Mockery, for example, usually bears only superficial relationship to the subject, which is why it is mockery. Matyr is not implying or stating that the acts are anything deeper than mockery which he attributes to demons. You wave off the demons as factually non-existent (without any support btw, which is odd for such a central tenant of your argument) and then completely ignore the obvious superficiality of the comparisons. So another group of people offers bread and water (not even bread and wine) to their adherents and another group uses the term "son" (which isn't even unique within the Bible (rule 3)) and suddenly we have clear causation?


    Most importantly, you are ignoring your own rule on context. Martyr is attempting to convince the Caesar that Christianity is different from these other religions and that its association with them incorrectly is causing them to be unjustly punished. He is not making the comparison himself, he is responding to charges leveled against Christianity as similar to other religions.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  7. #7
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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    What specifically is allegedly similar? What documents are being examined? We need more details other than "Justin made a statement about potential similarities." If this is your entire argument...you are reaching as your conclusion does not follow.
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  8. #8
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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch
    Further, you make a pretty clear error right off the bat, just because Justin Matyr feels the need to counter these accusations does not mean that the similarities are anything but superficial.
    Well, let's try it your way and see if it works for Justin Martyr: "The devils heard that Jesus was coming and so they created religions to fool people, but the religions in question only have a passing resemblance to Christianity... which... uhm... yeah... doesn't make a lot of... Hey, I guess those devils weren't so good a trickery, huh?" It just doesn't make any sense in the context of what he's saying. Say what you want about Martyr, but he wasn't the sort to write in a trivial fashion. He was keenly aware that Christianity closely resembled bits and pieces of earlier myths. The fact that he makes several entries on the subject in his First Apology means these similarities were not trivial.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch
    Martyr is attempting to convince the Caesar that Christianity is different
    Quote Originally Posted by Me
    v. Don't complain about intent. What do I mean by this? Some time ago, I pointed out that some of Justin Martyr's writings (more on him in a moment) were highly concerned with the similarities between the Jesus mythology and other mythology. I don't remember who replied, but the gist of the counter-argument was something inane about Justin Martyr's intention. As though intending to write something negates any admission. Hopefully, I'm remembering this wrong and we won't see anything so silly in this debate. If, however, you actually believe that intent can negate a slip up, then I submit you are a doo-doo headed troglodyte and that this accusation is clearly not a violation of ODN rules because my INTENT in this paragraph was to set the parameters for the debate. Because my intent wasn't to insult you, it's impossible that me calling you a doo-doo headed troglodyte is an insult. (and for crying out loud, mods, CHILL. I'm making a point, not intentionally breaking rules or calling people names).


    ---------- Post added at 02:29 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:21 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    What specifically is allegedly similar? What documents are being examined? We need more details other than "Justin made a statement about potential similarities." If this is your entire argument...you are reaching as your conclusion does not follow.
    I'm sorry, Apok, but you cannot casually dismiss the fact that Justin Martyr acknowledged that Jesus' tale closely resembled earlier myths. These aren't "potential similarities". Look at the context of what Martyr wrote. He's saying that devils heard that Christ would show up, so they invented religions and myths to trick people. If you believe what Martyr is saying, then why would devils create religions that don't resemble Christianity to try to fool people about Christianity? It makes no sense. If you don't believe Martyr, what's your evidence that his words don't mean what they very clearly appear to mean? My argument is supported by evidence from the writings of an early church father. What's your source for your counter argument?

  9. #9
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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    It's not casual...it's called "objective critical thinking." You aren't providing ANY details whatsoever.

    1) What specific similarity or similarities was Justin referring to?
    2) Was it a document that Justin is referring to or oral tradition?
    3) Who was Justin's audience (fellow Christians or those making the accusations of similarities)?
    4) There are 2 "versions" of the Mithraic Mysteries, one pre-Christ and one post-Christ (you knew this of course because you are an objective thinker right?)...which is Justin referring to?

    You make an incredibly vague claim...but refuse to support it in the least? Why is that? I suspect...it's just because you don't really know anything about the religion and were just hoping that some of the less educated members here would fall for the bait. Unless you can provide details of your claim...no reasonable thinking person can be persuaded by it. All it is is you saying "Some guy said X so it must be the case that Y."

    Without context and details, it's an unfounded, fallacious and obviously flawed details.

    So...I challenge you to provide the details by answering the above...else it just proves your argument is not actually an argument at all.
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  10. #10
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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric View Post
    He was keenly aware that Christianity closely resembled bits and pieces of earlier myths.
    Challenge to support a claim. You are making a huge assumption here and you need to support it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    The fact that he makes several entries on the subject in his First Apology means these similarities were not trivial.
    Not when you actual read the document, the entire document is a defense of Christianity as separate from these other religions, the fact that he uses multiple arguments does not mean that he values any one or all of them as deeply similar rather than being say popular or well known as something that needed rebuttal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    v. Don't complain about intent.
    This is exactly why I was asking questions earlier. Please support that intent is irrelevant to his argument. Challenge to support a claim.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  11. #11
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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    1) What specific similarity or similarities was Justin referring to?
    The fact that he's alleging other religions were created by devils to trick people is what's at stake. If you think he's wrong, then post why you think that. But what the circumstances are really aren't germane to the discussion. I don't know what, specifically, Martyr was pointing to and it doesn't really matter. The fact that this passage EXISTS means that the similarities of the Jesus mythology also EXISTS. Otherwise, it would make no sense for him to write what he wrote.

    2) Was it a document that Justin is referring to or oral tradition?
    Red herring.

    3) Who was Justin's audience (fellow Christians or those making the accusations of similarities)?
    See above regarding intent and how it cannot be used to negate a point.

    4) There are 2 "versions" of the Mithraic Mysteries, one pre-Christ and one post-Christ (you knew this of course because you are an objective thinker right?)...which is Justin referring to?
    Straw man. I don't believe that Justin is referring solely to Mithras. There are plenty of other myths for him to choose from.

    You make an incredibly vague claim...
    No. I'm making a very specific claim that you're trying very hard to dodge. The issue is that an early church father of your religion felt so strongly that the Jesus mythology resembled other mythologies that he contrived to claim that devils were responsible for it. Asking "what myths is he referring to" is interesting, but ultimately not germane to the discussion. This isn't some second rate 18th century apologist talking out of his rear end. This is JUSTIN MARTYR. Someone who helped frame what Christianity is. A venerated church father of some respect.

    Now if you think he didn't really mean what he said, Challenge to support a claim. then post that. If not, then address the following: "Justin Martyr inadvertently admits that Jesus' story resembles other earlier religions". Asking "what religions" doesn't cut it for a reply.

    ---------- Post added at 03:17 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:09 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Challenge to support a claim. You are making a huge assumption here and you need to support it.
    It's there in black and white, Squatch. If you think he means something else with his words, post that. But when some of the chapters of his apology are...

    CHAPTER XIV -- THE DEMONS MISREPRESENT CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.

    It's kind of hard to think that it's anything else. Kindly stop invoking the shifting the burden of proof fallacy and address the issue.

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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    ...good grief man. This is just all around bad reasoning.

    The first quote you use says what academics have said, that the stories of Mithras have adopted Christianity's teachings and are passing it off as truth. Somehow...you think this means that Christianity adopted Mithraism...a bizarre yet elementary fallacious line of thought that even someone without any formal (or informal for that matter) education knows better.

    I had hoped for a serious thread...and after a brief discussion in a different thread...I expected this to be just that.
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  13. #13
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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric View Post
    It's kind of hard to think that it's anything else. Kindly stop invoking the shifting the burden of proof fallacy and address the issue.
    That doesn't show he was "keenly aware that Christianity closely resembled bits and pieces of earlier myths." It at most shows that he was aware that others were misrepresenting Christian doctrine.

    If I were to say: "Obama's healthcare law is identical to the protocol of the elders of zion" and you disagree by saying that I am misrepresenting the law, that doesn't mean that you are "keenly aware that the ACA closely resembled bits and pieces of the protocol of the elders of zion."

    So please try again, can you support that he was keenly aware that Christianity closely resembled bits and pieces of earlier myths. Challenge to support a claim.

    Also, while you are typing, could you support your earlier claim like intent is irrelevant to the argument?
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Isn't there ANYONE here at ODN who truly believes that Christianity borrowed from previous pagan religions...and can actually present an argument and provide support for it? I realize that most atheists/agnostics know better...but I also acknowledge the existence of those who just aren't aware of the facts of the matter and get their information from popular atheist blogs, and as such, use this as the basis of their argument. I believe it to be highly flawed and easily refutable...but at least they provide an actual argument and attempt to support their claim. Lately, we've just had a few members making the claim that Christianity is guilty of this...but none of them ever step up to the plate when challenged (and this thread is certainly no exception).

    So...challenge to the atheist community who believe that Christianity is just a rehash of existing pagan religions:

    Present an actual argument (a conclusion reached by supporting propositions). I'd really like to see what you believe is a sound argument against Christianity along these lines.

    Of course, please do so in a different thread as this thread's purpose appears to be rather specific (and already refuted it seems).
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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    So let's sum up:

    Me: "Here's a quote from an early church father (supported with links to his direct writing) that shows that he was aware that earlier religions resembled Christianity."

    Squatch: "I want to quibble about rules."

    Apok: You haven't even ADDRESSED the issue, man. What's your deal? You make a big issue about having support and references for this discussion. I provided them. I showed that Justin Martyr wrote about how Christianity resembled earlier religions. You haven't even ADDRESSED THAT. You haven't even TRIED. You seem to be under the impression that if I can't cough up which religions Martyr was referring to, this (somehow) excuses you from having to address the issue it brings up. It doesn't. I also love how you made a big stink about providing sources, but when it comes to the actual debate, you've avoided the issue and provided NO SOURCES OF YOUR OWN. None. Nada. You're arguing like Justin Martyr is some shmuck you can just ignore. He's not some whack job christ-myther, Apok. He's one of the people who helped shaped Christianity into what it is today.

    So if you think him saying (paraphrasing) "Our religion closely resembled other religions. So much so that I have to make lame excuses for it" is something you can just dodge or dismiss, you are SORELY mistaken.

    What happened to you, man? I've never known an Apok that I had to argue with to ADDRESS an issue. I was expecting to be knee deep in quotes & links from apologists insisting that Martyr's words mean this or that other than what I say. This dismissive argument... it's a sad one, man. This is a sad day for ODN.

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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric View Post
    So let's sum up:

    Me: "Here's a quote from an early church father (supported with links to his direct writing) that shows that he was aware that earlier religions resembled Christianity."

    Squatch: "I want to quibble about rules."
    Or, to phrase it alternately.

    Zhav: Part 1: Arbitrary and Capricious Rules
    Part 2: Unsupported assumption about the content of a work meaningwhile ignoring one of my own rules for debating, understand context.

    Squatch: What does this rule mean? Can you refine what is and is not covered by it?

    Zhav: ZOMG!1!! Just answer the question, the rules (60% of my OP) aren't really important.

    Squatch: Glaring assumptions in the OP that lead the conclusion to not follow the premise

    Zhav: WTF? Why didn't you follow my arbitrary and capricious rules?!?!?

    Followed by Zhav refusing to support his statements.

    So come on Zhav, make the argument. I leveled a pretty obvious analogy and here you are ignoring it, shying away because you realize how far off your are. Debate the issue, not the posters.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Part 2: Unsupported assumption about the content of a work
    Can you tell me how many more times you're going to post in this thread without offering an explanation for why Justin Martyr acknowledged that earlier religions resembled Christianity? Just a rough ballpark number? Alternately, can you tell me what I need to say in order to get you to present an on-topic post? I love how you're allowed to complain about what I've posted, but when I ask you to reply to the main point of the op, you just get to ignore it.

    ---------- Post added at 05:12 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:01 PM ----------

    I mean, if the answer is "never" just say so, and I'll just put you on ignore... since, in that scenario, there's no reason to interact with you if you're just in the thread to not talk about the main op.

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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Here's the problem:

    Quote Originally Posted by zhavric
    Me: "Here's a quote from an early church father (supported with links to his direct writing) that shows that he was aware that earlier religions resembled Christianity."
    No...it doesn't say that and that is what we've been telling you. We realize you THINK it says that...and because of that...we've been challenging you to actually support it. But you won't for some reason. Regardless of the reason, the lack of support is sufficient for us to conclude that this really is a dead issue.
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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric View Post
    Christianity was drawn from earlier religions.
    All of that, just to state the obvious in conclusion? Yes, Christianity was drawn from an earlier religion: Judaism. No one contests this. What's your point?

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    Re: The bible: not so original (part 1)

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Here's the problem:


    No...it doesn't say that and that is what we've been telling you. We realize you THINK it says that...and because of that...we've been challenging you to actually support it.
    Of COURSE that's what it says. It's right there in black and white, Apok: " [demons] put forward many to be called sons of Jupiter, under the impression that they would be able to produce in men the idea that the things which were said with regard to Christ were mere marvellous tales,". Translation "Demons invented earlier religions to trick people into thinking Jesus was nonsense". Sons of Jupiter refers to incarnate godmen walking around on Earth. There's nothing else it can mean, Apok. You're shifting the burden of proof. If you think it means something else, TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS AND SUPPORT IT WITH EVIDENCE.

    ---------- Post added at 05:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:36 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinBrowning View Post
    All of that, just to state the obvious in conclusion? Yes, Christianity was drawn from an earlier religion: Judaism. No one contests this. What's your point?
    My point is that your early church fathers don't agree with you.

 

 
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