Sketches on Atheism

Jesus’ Appalling Credibility Problem

credibilityAccording to the Lectric Law Library a credible witness is someone “competent and worthy of belief… an individual capable of knowing the thing thoroughly about which he testifies.” It’s a solid, all-weather definition, and if we are to entertain the claims made by Christians then there has been no greater witness in history than Jesus Christ himself; a sage who personally guaranteed that he spoke for and as the Hebrew god of the Tanakh, Yahweh. “I and My Father are one,” he stated in John 10:30, and to the value of his word he left no doubt: “I came into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:38). Strong words, a robust statement, and certainly something one would expect a god incarnate to say. The headache however here for the Christian apologist who’s left to actually defend the claim is that if we apply the definition of credibility to Jesus he fails it in a specular and unignorable way. Indeed, through the course of his own words Jesus reveals himself to in fact be so incompetent that no court today could possibly accept him as a credible witness for it can be proven that he simply didn’t know what he was talking about.

Now admittedly it is impossible to critique the truthfulness (or indeed usefulness) of the vague and generally superficial sayings which constitute the greater part of the Jesus script handed down through the gospels. One can neither prove nor disprove the worth of an abstract colloquy except for perhaps identifying the thought as original or plagiarised like, for example, the Golden Rule which Jesus was evidently fond of yet it can be traced to multiple sources from 4th Century BCE Mohism (“For one would do for others as one would do for oneself”) to as far back as the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (“Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do thus to you”). In this instance Jesus simply fails a moral test by not identifying the ideas lineage, but of import here are the historical claims he supposedly made; clear and specific statements which can be scrutinized and judged as true or fallacious and from which we can determine his credibility as a witness.

TRUSTBy the gospel accounts Jesus makes a number of historical claims (including a failed prediction of his own second coming), but for the sake of brevity let us focus on just one test case: Moses. In total, Moses is mentioned a whopping eighty-five times in the New Testament with Jesus directly naming him twice in Matthew (including a rather bizarre face-to-face meeting detailed in 17:3-4), and in John 5:45 where he says: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.” Now this is an unambiguous statement; a clear and definitive declaration that Jesus believed Moses was a real person who, we’re told, spent a great deal of time with the god of the Tanakh, who Jesus not only claims to speak for, but also be… and this is when things turn awkward. A century of exhaustive archaeological work conducted across Israel and its environs has revealed that Moses was no more a real historical character than King Arthur, Beowulf, or Sponge Bob Square Pants were real historical characters. Moses, we now know with a great deal of certainty, was a legendary motif; a fable which the majority of Jewish rabbis today openly concede was knitted together in the 7th and 6th Century BCE, and whose birth story was, for example, adapted straight from the far older Babylonian tale of King Sargon of Agade:

 “My humble mother bore me secretly. She put me in a basket of rushes and sealed me in with asphalt. Then she put me into the river…. The river held me up, and carried me to Akki, the irrigator who drew water from the river for the people. As he dipped his jug into the river, Akki carried me out. He raised me as his own son.”

So definitive is the evidence against a historical Moses (and the Exodus he supposedly led) that the second edition Encyclopaedia Judaica concludes that the entire narrative was “dramatically woven out of various strands of tradition… he [Moses] wasn’t a historical character.” Indeed, so definitive is the evidence against Moses that the word “myth” has now even penetrated the thought-to-be-impenetrable walls of Orthodox Judaism. In 2012 Rabi Louis Jacobs sent shockwaves through the Orthodox world when he declared in his book, Torah from Heaven, that Moses and the story surrounding him was little more than a “foundation myth;” an origin dream, not a descriptive historical fact.

dunceNow Jesus’ colossal blunder in naming Moses as a real person is as conspicuous as it is damning to his credibility. It doesn’t, after all, speak too highly of a witness’s authority, intelligence, competence, insight or judgment if he couldn’t distinguish the difference between inventive geopolitical myth and actual historical fact; a history he, as god, was allegedly and intimately involved in. Indeed, if Jesus’ claims are to be taken seriously then there can be zero tolerance for even minor bungles in his knowledge of any earthly event, let alone one he supposedly participated in, and yet here is an oversight so outrageous that it is the equivalent of a charismatic preacher three-hundred years from today proclaiming Batman existed. This bumbling ignorance of basic regional history exposes Jesus (if he indeed existed) to be little more than an amateurish charlatan masquerading as a supernaturally inspired magi… a naïve magician whose word was and is, by definition, thoroughly worthless.

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167 thoughts on “Jesus’ Appalling Credibility Problem

  1. As I read this account John I pictured myself trying to convey it to my friends who are devout practitioners of the faith. As I was doing it I would see their faces develop looks that went from jaw dropping to serious scowls. In the end they finally would be putting their fingers in their ears and chanting la,la,la,la, refusing too hear anymore of facts they knew they could only counter with words that profess the mysteries of God being beyond our knowledge and that I was being influenced by Satan himself.

    But there are those out there who are as I was at one time wanting to have all the facts. Who are struggling with a faith that is built on sand not solid rock as they have been taught. This evidence here will help push them over that edge that finally brings them up to speed about what they have had serious questions of for some time and will enable them to choose to abandon an ancient faith that is indeed more myth than fact.

    Your efforts in this area are greatly appreciated

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    • Thanks, Larry. We don’t have many opportunities to actually critique the words of the character, Jesus, and srutinise them against actual facts… and this one is somewhat awkward for Christians. I’d like to see what excuses apologists come up with to explain this rather large needle in the narrative. I’ve asked Prayson Daniels (a Christian philosopher) to respond, but he’s chosen to not even read it! Go figure 🙂

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      • Challenge accepted. I’m on it!!! Although, I can tell you right now, I’m not calling the Vatican or interviewing 40 ministers. You’re insane. :-/

        This can be approached from a number of ways, from the esoteric (my special-ty) to the arcane (yawn), but as an academic exercise in critical thinking (and hypothicals), it should be fun.

        I can’t really imagine why a Christian, ANY Christian, would be afraid to take these matters head-on. Faith should not be blind. The evidence, as it were, should add up. And if it doesn’t, just do what Newton did and invent an entirely new field of mathematics so that it does. (BTW, if I have to go that route, I’m calling it Quackulous).

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      • Good man! And indeed, as Rabbi Wolpe wrote: “Truth should not frighten one whose faith is firm… A tradition cannot make an historical claim and then refuse to have it evaluated by history. It is not an historical claim that God created us and cares for us. That a certain number of people walked across a particular desert at a particular time in the past, after being enslaved and liberated, is an historical claim, and one cannot then cry “unfair” when historians evaluate it.”

        Of course, I disagree with him regarding god, but I stand with him regarding truth!

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      • I hear ya. If I were to ever get involved in organized religion at all, I would want to conduct a study of the Scriptures as I did in college, which is by ripping it apart academically and understanding every nuance. Challenge its integrity. Its history. Its merit.

        Christians need to be challenged this way. The Bible didn’t just drop out of the sky in 1611 written in King James English. And the Scriptures weren’t composed in an historical vacuum. Understanding the social context and the multicultural connectivity is as vital as the content itself.

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  2. Dude, that is hilarious. Your logic goes as follows: Person A claims to know person B. I can find no evidence of person B, and some guys I know also can’t find evidence of him, therefore person A is definitely lying.

    Brilliant! You have single handedly destroyed the Christian faith!! How did all those Oxford educated Christians miss this?!?

    Despite your attempt to use legal terms you’re not a lawyer are you?

    BTW Jesus did attribute His saying of the Golden Rule if you bothered to read it – Matt 7:12. He never claimed he made it up – so no, He didm’t fail your little moral test. Here’s a free legal lesson – read the papers that are before the court before making argument.

    Is that you sitting in the corner with the pointy hat….?

    PS: you are building a very nice pile of evidence for the objective and transcendent nature of morality. Thanks!

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    • “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” What are you talking about? As far as I know the Golden Rule isn’t found anywhere in the Tanakh. I, however, can identify at least 8 external sources, including the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (1780 BCE), as well as in the Mahabharata (8th Century BCE) “The knowing person is minded to treat all beings as himself,” in Homer’s Odyssey (6th century BCE), “I will be as careful for you as I will be for myself in the same need,” 6th century BCE Taoism, “Regard your neighbour’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss,” in 5th century BCE Confucianism, “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself,” in 4th century BCE Mohism, “For one would do for others as one would do for oneself,” and was articulated by the Greek, Pittacus (640–568 BCE), who said: “Do not do to your neighbour what you would take ill from him.”

      So, Clapham, I’m interested to hear… How do you explain Jesus not knowing Moses was a fictional character? Do you believe Jesus was who he said he was? Do you believe he was a god? Do you believe he spoke for god? How do you explain this self-proclaimed god getting history so utterly wrong? Now, If you’re going to say because Moses was real (because the bible says so) I might pre-empt you by asking you to produce a single authority on biblical archaeology to back up your claim. I have spent weeks chatting not only to Israeli archaeologists, but also scores of rabbis, and believe me, they ALL say Moses and the Exodus (as detailed in the Tanakh) is a myth. All, except the Orthodox, of course…. but they’re coming on-line and slowly admitting the truth. The fact that Orthodox Rabbis are now confessing to the truth which has been known for decades is quite telling, wouldn’t you say?

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      • I will provide a more measured response this time. And i still apologise for the tone of my previous response. I do find the constant ridiculing sad,e socially when its shown that there is no ground for it. As you are about to see.

        Leviticus 19:18: “….you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

        Ah, so no Jews believe Moses was real except those that believe Moses was real? Didn’t you make a similar allegation before i posted that National Geographic article….? In fact, as i recall, at that stage you said Jews as a whole rejected it and then had to back track from that. You are not the only one who speaks to the Jews ;-).

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      • Ok, so it did appear in Leviticus. Great find. Didn’t your Jesus quote, though, say “Prophets”? Just nitpicking 😉

        I did read that article, and found it interesting. It had nothing to do with the Exodus, though, rather the conquest narrative. Minimalists shouldn’t be discredited, and work by the likes of Prof. Adam Zertal are fascinating to telling the true early history of the Jews. This, however, does not change the fact that there is simply no evidence whatsoever for the Exodus. What minimalists typically avoid thinking about are the concrete settlement patterns and population data which are beyond conclusive. Read Rabbi Wolpe talking about this. He’s very precise. Now, of course, all sorts of excuses are fashioned to try and make the story fit, like the rabbi who suggested that a tribe was deputised to clean up the entire Sinai Desert, but in the end the person making these excuses ends up getting so far away from the actual biblical story that it is no longer recognisable.

        I don’t recall back-tracking on anything.

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      • He was summing up “the Law and the Prophets”. Moses is also regarded as a prophet. And its a summation. But i think you know that 😉

        Sure, there is evidence on both sides, some good, some bad. Personally i feel we would actually make more progress if we stopped mocking each other along the way. Again my apologies.

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      • Again, no need to apologise. Seriously.

        You haven’t, though, answered my questions. Do you believe Jesus was who he said he was, and, if so, how do you explain him not knowing basic regional history… particularly this history; a history he (as god) had quite a lot to do with.

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      • You are asking me stick my nose out so you can punch it, but i will stick it out anyway.

        I don;t believe Moses was real because of direct evidence (obviously). I believe the Bible is true because the bits that i can verify (mostly NT teachings on self) are so true that i believe the rest is true. What the Bible says about me, and about the world out there rings so true to me that i can’t deny it. I find it the most compelling encompassing explanation of life around (when read with science etc). And when i read the OT I find the same ringing. Augustine called it the “clamour of truth”.

        And it has changed me in a way that is hard to put into words. The greatest evidence for it is me -the changed me. But in this, in the pages of the Bible, i have come to know Jesus like i know another person.

        And i find traces of Him all over the place, in the sae way that i find traces of my wife all over our home. This was pretty much the content of my post on stubborn Christians.

        OK – now punch me…;-)

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      • I’d never punch you. You’re entitled to believe whatever you like. However, you didn’t actually answer my question. Upon what do you base your belief that Moses was real? Is it just the bible?

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      • CCT,
        Re “I find it the most compelling encompassing explanation of life around (when read with science etc)” You find an explanation of life … in the Bible? What there is of physical science (very little) is mostly wrong. What there is of biological science, of which there is very little, is somewhat correct if you skip over the God made it and talking serpents parts. And what there is about human nature is equivalent to what could be discerned by aliens from watching a soap opera.

        And all of this “rings true?” I do not disagree with you that we have the ability to distinguish “truth” albeit rudimentary and somewhat easy to fool, but from reading the BIble? maybe you didn’t read the parts I read.

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      • Possibly – I recommend and ESV Study Bible if that’s worth anything 😉

        I’m certainly not going to pretend that i have a handle on every part of the Bible or that there aren’t parts i find puzzling (your blog is great at highlighting them ;-)), I’ve always thought the Bible was ahead of the game in e.g. recognising that the earths as round Is 40:2). I assume you might be referring the miracles, to which have no answer. But i have no answer to the miracles i have seen with my own eyes so what’s a man to do? 😉

        I just can;t see how the Bible is made up – who on earth would make up a book like this? Where almost all of its “heroes” are losers? The Israelites are pot rayed as corrupt, Jesus dies, the apostles are martyred and the followers are called to be submissive to oppressors, accept suffering, embrace poverty (even if the established church seems to have missed that part), told to live for other people. How do you spread a religion that tells you to love your enemies? Who on earth would do that? And who would follow that? A religion that promises virgins in heaven – now that sounds man made. Or one that depends on how good you are -that sounds man made But one that tells you that you have no chance of making it other than by God’s grace, a religion that promises heaven with a crucified guy who everyone deserted, that does;t sound like a man made story.

        I like your aliens point! What do i mean by truth? I mean the fallen nature of humanity. I mean the fact that evil really exists. That there must be hope.

        These are obviously not things that i can prove. I can debate them and argue for them – but how can i prove hope? I say that i don’t believe the universe is a random place because its not random. Does that prove anything? No, but it adds to the ringing. And i just hear too much ringing.

        Sorry for the rambling! Hope you can pick some sort of a response out of that. Sorry if not!

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      • “What the Bible says about me, and about the world out there rings so true to me that i can’t deny it.”

        “rings true” and is true are are not necessarily one and the same Clap. Each culture and each human being within that culture has a filter by which they decipher “truth”, meaning there are no real absolutes concerning the metaphysical. This ought to be apparent with the numerous faith systems that exist today. Whatever it is that is making humans believe in an ethereal super being is likely being calculated and divined by their environs, not by a solo universal signal from some heavenly realm.

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      • @Clapham,
        Good job bringing out Leviticus 19:18 !
        And great job showing how “Law and the Prophets” counters John Zande’s self-confessed nitpicking.
        So, there DOES seem to be validity to Jesus claim about the Golden Rule.
        In Jesus’ times as now, there were many exegetical methods and he was using one when he (or actually gMatthew and gLuke only) point out the Golden Rule. Heck, even Paul (Gal 5:14) uses the same hermeneutics.

        But, as Zande points out well, this ain’t just a Jewish thing — the Golden Rule is a simple (yet important) insight seen by many cultures and authors millennia before Jesus.

        But I agree, Clapham, Jesus can’t be called stupid on this one. Buying into the Moses thing, though is a completely different conversation.

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      • I wasn’t calling Jesus “stupid,” merely drawing attention to the ideas various lineage. Apologists have a disturbing habit of prescribing the idea as revolutionary and unique to Jesus, when in fact it was a common theme in both literature and philosophy.

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  3. Ah, but his “second coming” prediction came true! When were the gospels written? Shortly after the Fall of Jerusalem ca 70 CE. By then, the writers knew that Jerusalem and the Temple had fallen and that the sacrifices had failed and wrote the fictive “second coming predictions” to associate Titus Flavius as the Messiah and as a son of God (since he got his father Vespasian deified, he was a son of a god). And in this way, by using the fictitious Jesus as a stand in he identified himself (Titus) as the promised Messiah and he got the Jews to unknowingly worship a Roman diety which they had refused to do for so long. So, the prediction was true, it just hadn’t been made until after the facts (which makes for really accurate predictions–“no stone unturned” for the Temple, etc.). For the ignorant, Titus got a pacifist Messiah slipped in to replace the Warrior Messiahs the Jews kept coming up with (come and gone, but the message remained “render unto Caeser,” the Pauline–be good citizens, pay your taxes, don’t make a fuss, etc.). All in all a sweet deal and all it took was some creative writing.

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    • I was talking about this prediction: “I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:28, Luke 9:27, Mark 9:1). All those people died (in a fictional sort of way) without Jesus’s “TRUTH” coming to pass. Bit of a blunder for a god-man, to get his own return wrong!

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      • Yep, and some of those people were alive when Titus showed up with his sword and raised Jerusalem. They saw the coming of the Son of Man and the Son of God in his kingdom (and with his army). This was the point. Jesus wasn’t the Messiah and the Son of God, Titus was. Titus was “one with his father” (he was given the right to rule Judea with his father’s word). Titus fulfilled all of the predictions for the Second Coming as some Christian writers admitted some years later. The gospels have to be read along with Josephus’ Wars of the Jews to see all of the connections.

        Jesus’s vaguenesses become clear when when you realize he was written to paint Titus as the son of god and to get the Jews to worship him.

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      • Yeah, the dude did make a complelling case all the way down to pointing out that the preponderace of names used (over and over, how many damned Mary’s were there? the author explains it) in the NT are the same names as those of the sons of the Maccabees, each of whom took a turn at being a warrior Messiah. So, Titus got endorsed by the Maccabbes, too. Even the weirdnesses in Joshephus start to make sense based upon his premise. And … if the Tanakh is fiction and it is, what kind of bombshell will it be to show the NT is, too.

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      • Hugely! Interesting that you mention the Maccabees. The rabbinate really tried their very best to have them removed from Jewish history. Rabbi Wines book goes into that in some detail.

        Have you been reading about the findings of the Acts Seminar? That is interesting! It arrives at 10 major conclusions, including the Acts weren’t written till the middle of the 2nd Century, and the church did not begin in Jerusalem (for which there is no proof at all), rather in Syria (for which there is ample proof).

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      • From what I understand, as is the case with much of what Jesus said, it has a multilayered meaning. There was some display of Christ’s kingdom at the Transfiguration; another at his resurrection, and the events consequent thereupon; but the great one was when the overthrow of Jerusalem and its temple made way for the full establishment and development of the gospel, putting an end to the first dispensation.

        Among the apostles John certainly survived the destruction of Jerusalem. There seems to be no recondite meaning in the term “standing,” as if it signified “remaining steadfastly by me, adhering to my side;” as, taste of death is merely a periphrasis for “die,” and has not the sense of tasting the bitterness of death, experiencing its sting. It appears to have been originally a metaphor derived from a nauseous draught, which every one must drain. Coming in his kingdom. Not “into his kingdom,” but in the power and glory that appertain to his kingdom. Not that he will personally appear, but his presence will be seen by its effects, the judgment on the Jewish nation, the establishment of a spiritual, yet visible kingdom in the place of the old covenant.

        I know that may sound a little too apologetical, but I think it’s reasonably accurate. Possibly? **shrug**

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      • @ John Zande,
        I totally agree — indeed, I am putting a post up today that says the exact same thing.
        And I do think Clapham made some good points and wanted to emphasize that perhaps a little more loudly than you did.

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  4. Oh, and Jesus could just as well have spoken to “the rubes” about Moses as if he were real because the rubes believed he was real. How far do you think he would have gotten had he told one and all that Moses and Joshua and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat were all made up?

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    • Ah, you raise a great point. If he did know, why not tell everyone? He had nothing to lose, dying was the plan all the while, right… and he would have left an astonishing piece of evidence. I mean, here we’d be, 2,000 years later flipping through a modern biblical archaeology book and say, “WTF! How did he know that!!???” That, sir, would be hard, cold evidence.

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      • And he would have been stoned for blasphemy before his mission got off of the ground. But, in any case, we are discussion only plot points in a Roman melodrama. None of those writings address historical events except as window dressing.

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  5. My first thought is to say, “Save your breath.”
    But on second thought I am glad you are not. Keep exhaling about the nonsense and maybe just maybe one or two more will inhale the truth!

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  6. Nice piece, John.

    It is careful work like yours that will eventually dispel the toxic mythology that is so pervasive in our societies. As you well know, this is not a short, not an easy, and not a particularly rewarding process (in terms of measurable progress). Yet it is a necessity that the rational world must undertake.

    Take care,

    Arb

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  7. I’d like to imagine that it will be like a avalanche. Everything is fine until that one extra flake of snow gently falls from the sky.

    Then, *Boom* the whole side of the mountain lets loose, upsetting the status-quo and revealing an exciting new (and less foolish) terrain afterwards.

    🙂

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  8. Surely Jesus would have automatic immunity in a court of law just because of who his daddy is, also being that oaths of truth have to be sworn in the name of said ‘Daddy’?

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    • Did you look under the bed? When I can’t find something, that’s the first place I look? All snarkiness aside, when people use that phrase (finding my religion) they generally mean finding their parent’s religion, because how many of the 4200 religions and their thousands of variants can possibly be looked over before saying that one has found it?

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      • Ah you know me not Mr.Prius! 🙂
        There is always a heavy dose of sarcasm involved whenever I comment, taking me at all seriously can be serious indeed!
        I am really not religious in the slightest as you may have gleaned, or not, from my frequent comments on JZ’s blog, although granted I have been a bit remiss of late.
        I think I found my religion in a past life somewhen, died and then totally lost it.

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  9. Well done, Sir, once again. I wonder how long it will take for the Moses+Exodus=Didn’t Happen equation to become common knowledge. It’s like a gentle wind has been slowly uncovering an ancient truth, but the pilgrims continue to shuffle past it, never thinking, or caring, to look down.

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    • Monkey, so good to see you again!

      Well, it’s been 12 years since Rabbi Wolpe delivered his famous Passover Sermon, and popular culture still hasn’t caught up. Maybe when more rabbis start speaking publically things will move along at a great tick… until then….

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  10. JOHN ZANDE says Upon what do you base your belief that Moses was real? Is it just the bible?

    CLAPHAM COMMON TREE says:
    November 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm
    yip.

    Archaeologists and all those in related fields spends several lifetimes trying to prove the bible is historically accurate and when even they are forced to admit it is largely fantasy, and present their findings, evangelicals and their ilk fold their arms, pout and whine, “S’not true, nyer, nyer, nyer. Moses was real ‘cos it’s in my bible. So there . An’ if you don’t stop bein’ mean, I’m tellin’ on you. How d’you likes them apples, eh?”

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  11. It has been quite a while since I left organized religion and made my peace with the non-existence of a personal god… and yet John, when I read this post, flawless in its logical progression and conclusion, I cringed! Almost a reflex… I cringed as if it were an anathema. Every once in a while I am surprised by the lasting side effects of religious indoctrination. It is sad really. So, thank you for plugging away at it.

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  12. Actually—and you only have my word on this—I read many years ago an anecdote from the First World War about some Brit officer having to lead a bunch of chaps to attack an enemy outpost (Turks, Huns—whatever was flavour-of-the-day then and there) when he remembered his Bible. Looked it up and apparently two or so thousand years earlier some other officer had the same mission in the same place, and found a pass or whatever, which was apparently so well described the WW1 guy used it and so sneaked up on the enemy and fell upon them like wolves to the fold or whatever it is.

    My point being, if this is true then it proves the Bible. So there~!

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    • Evidently!

      But no one is trying to deny there are real place names/things in the bible. There are real place names in Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October (and real technology, too) but that doesn’t make The Hunt for Red October true.

      Where things turn odd is when a character names a fictional character as real. Now, what will be utterly hilarious is if/when it’s found that Jesus was in fact a literary creation then we’ll have the situation of a fictional character talking about a fictional character who was enslaved by a fictional dictator but freed by a fictional god…. what on earth will our ancestors think of us…

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  13. A lot of Jesus’ quotes are offered by people who never actually heard them (by Paul, for instance), and as such therefore constitute hearsay, which is inadmissible in the court of law (at least in the US).

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  14. What I find a bit frustrating about religions is, that research or even facts do not really matter when they are set against faith. Some people will always prefer their prejudice on any matter. You may tell the religious Christians, that the Genesis is an obvious fairy tale by ignorant people, but ignorant people (and some willfully ignorant people) will simply not give up on their favourite fairy tale. Same goes for other Pentateuch stories. They will simply start a run around on semantics. Or disregard any evidence that contradicts their “chosen” faith. Wich they have chosen, because their cultural heritage makes it more plausible than all the other equally ridiculous and utterly unverified claims about supernatural.

    A nother thing is, that a fairy tale may be inspiring in a good way even if you recognize, that it is not true. Why would anyone even want to believe that Sauron is a real entity, or that Gandalf was a historical character? Is that story not inspiring even though you are aware, that there is no Valinor in wich to retire when the world’s pain makes you weary?

    Why would anyone even want to believe that Aslan is a real entity and that the four Pevansies children were real characters? The amount of worship the Evangelical Christians offer to C.S. Lewis these days seems to predict, that in a few hundred years there will be someone making apologetics, like WWII really happened and a lot of kids were sent to the country when evil Mr. Hitler bombed London and as these are historical events. And since you can not disporve the possibility, that a supernatural cupboard might lead to a extradimensional universe the story must be true. In fact for it not to be true C.S.Lewis would have to have been either a lunatic, or a lier, if he was not telling the truth…

    Ultimately, even if the Moses story was true, and parts to wich the Jesus character in his own story refers to were true in archaeological sense, that would not do anything to prove a god exists. Any god, be that the war god Sabaoth, Baali the lord, El the head and father of divine pantheon, Elah the revered one, Elohim children of El (as a pantheon), or Yahweh the invisible god, that claims to exist as a voice inside the heads of some psychotically behaving individuals, or any at all.

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  15. I don’t think one can rely on the Gospels (especially John) for accurate quotes from Rabbi Jeshua. Probably the only things he may have said are in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew & Luke), which may have come from a book of Sayings (The Q source), which was revised many times as situations warranted.
    Bottom line….ya can’t believe any of it as actually have happened.

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    • Sounds reasonable. I however think most of the parables are real… I just don’t think they came from one person, rather a Gnostic crisis cult who used these metafictional microstories as the preferred means to impart their doctrinal message.

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  16. (1) This is a fantastic post — thank you kindly.

    (2) I had to look up ‘Lectric Law Library. Maybe your regular readers already know it, but it is a hilarious bizarre site. Gladly, this whole post is not based on it. But the notion of “Competent and Worthy of Belief” sounds like a very bizarre definition to go with the bizarre site. But the point that Jesus, a god, offers unreliable information is important.

    (3) Even the Jesus-puppet was tricked by the Moses story — excellent.

    (4) Christians treat the Bible as a whole, and thus arguing with them on their own terms can help them see through their silly beliefs. But their “Bible” is not a whole and is made by many writers. In your post, it is clear that gJohn & gMatthew made their Jesus-puppet purger himself by witnessing about Moses. I wonder if gMark or gLuke did? gMatthew edited stuff to make it Jewish, so we’d expect this literary device — makes you wonder if his earlier readers also knew it was just a device. gJohn was trippy anyways.

    If I weren’t such a lazy bastard, I’d look it up but I was curious if the Moses thing was used by gMark and gLuke. Maybe Jesus wasn’t untrustworthy, just his salesmen.

    Hard to keep clear the puppet-masters and the myth source (real or otherwise).

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    • As for Legal definitions, Ralph is the man!

      Moses: as far as i know it is just these few places. I had thought there was a reference in Luke, but buggered if i can’t find it now. Abraham, on the other hand, is dotted throughout, especially in John. Muslims are in the same boat. Mo blunders continuously in the Qur’an naming Moses and Abraham like they were snow flakes falling… Whoops!

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  17. What Jesus said, “If you believed Moses…” was about the believers, not Moses. Jesus of the NT gospels liked to riddle people. He was clever. He could’ve meant, “If you’re crazy enough to believe Moses boy have I got a story for you!” As for credibility, it, like beauty, is in the mind of the beholder.

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      • I thought I answered that. IF one believes Moses story, it follows they’d want to believe what Moses forecast regarding Messiah. Jesus was talking to Jews who tried to live by the Torah, which contains Moses teachings.

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      • Nah, I’m not buying it. What Jesus should have said was: “Hey, I’m going to tell you something…. Moses never existed. That story was all made up about 600 years ago. Abraham and Joshua, too… It’s all bogus!”

        If he knew (if he existed) that would’ve been some pretty impressive evidence.

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      • Jesus spent a lot of time refuting and refusing the Torah. He made fun of and cut down religious folk. He did as he pleased and then spun it’s interpretation for example, the law said to stone adulterers. He said anyone without sin was welcome to cast the first stone.

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      • By that example then it wouldn’t have been out of character at all to tell everyone the truth. Seems he just didn’t know the actual history of the Jewish people.

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      • For me the example demonstrates his point that we’re all in the same imperfect boat, which the Torah had pointed out. Now he showed a better way. Souls evolve.

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  18. @Miss Keene,
    I think your point is well made. Let’s say Jesus bought into the myths of his time and used them. I think there are various Christian ways of getting around the issue even if the Moses/Exodus stuff was a myth — depending on what sect of Christianity addresses it.
    For instance:

    Jesus may have been 100% God but also 100% Man — it is a mystery we can’t understand. And with that, God may have surrendered knowing the future, having complete knowledge of the world or religion. Thus, Jesus not knowing modern stuff could be reasonable. Instead, Jesus was pointing to the deep important principles.

    But for literalist Christians, John’s criticisms are spot on. I don’t think the Bible NEEDS to be taken the way John is taking it in his typifications. But maybe I am confused and mistaken.

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  19. @ John Zande,,
    BTW, John, I was just reading Vridar (a mythicist) who is writing against the rhetoric of the majority
    The Argument by Consensus or the Bandwagon Fallacy. So, when you write here:

    a fable which the majority of Jewish rabbis today openly concede

    I know you are not trying to argue from consus at all, but instead just show the reader that they may be surprised at how many Jews themselves think the Moses-Exodus story (and others) is a fable. You are not presenting it as evidence but as something to help get the reader to possible consider doubting the her/his own literal interpretations.

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    • Indeed, that was my intent, but you make a valid point and a good caution. I didn’t know the extent of the Jewish rabbinic rejection of the bible, so it was a point i wanted to get across; hence the string of quotes.

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      • Yeah, I am very bad at my understanding of the varieties of Jewish takes on the Tanakh. I attended synagogue for a year (when exiting Christianity) and was shocked at the variety of opinion — atheist to literalists (rare) — and yet everybody was still buddies. But that was a Reformed synagogue — and as you know, there are also lots of flavors of Judaism.

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      • It took my head quite some time to stop doing summersaults after learning there were atheist rabbis. Now i see how that’s perfectly fine, but to a layman it sounds (at first) preposterous.

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      • But here is the sting:

        When you say “to a layman it sounds (at first) preposterous”, I am not sure it does to ALL laymen — or even to most. But if you are raised in a “Believism” religion where right-belief is the key to salvation and belonging, then maybe those “laymen” would see it that way. BUT, if you are raised, Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, Shinto and many other faiths (already > 1/2 world population), it might not be preposterous at all. Instead, they see their “religion” (itself, as a word, a recent invention) as containing social bonding, relationships and morals as central — not right belief.

        So, you may be a bit blind to what you feel the intuitions of others should be since your experience is naturally limited.

        I had those limited intuitions until Hinduism started taking down my Christianity.

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      • I read that article. Good stuff.

        By “layman” i was meaning the average person who knows next to nothing about Judaism and even less about the various movements. In this sense i was a “layman,” and was pleasantly surprised by what i discovered.

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      • Right, I agree.

        I agreed that your use of “Layman” “person who knows next to nothing about Judaism. That is not my point.

        Buddhists, Hindus, Confucians and other such not beliefist religionists would be “Laymen” too — by your use.

        I am pointing out you don’t have “Layman” intuitions, you have “Ex-Evangelical Layman” intuitions. The distinction is drastically important. Well, at least for my point which is a common correctional to atheists who overreach on what they pretend to be objective generalizations about some thing called “Christianity” or worse, about “Religion”.

        Sorry, may be this is off topic and not pertinent. Though I obviously think it is.

        [again, scrolling through and searching your comments to find comment and place a new one is tough with hierarchy — you didn’t respond to that comment so I thought I’d mention it again in case it got lost or buried.)

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  20. BTW, John, I think I lost a comment here because of the hierarchy which only allow three levels and all the scrolling needed to find conversations. Hierarchy of comments destroys the chronology of the comments and obscures lots of stuff. I wrote here on its other short comings. You have such a popular blog that you get tons of comments. On sites with only a few comments, hierarchy is not bad.

    Anyway, just for your consideration. Great job here, btw.

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  21. Pingback: Preface, A Case for Accuracy in the OT | The Interminable Pond

  22. And “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?”

    When four men carried one sick of the palsy into the home where Christ was (actually they had to let the guy down through the roof) they expected Christ to provide for the man’s immediate need … healing. But Jesus, knowing much more than those realized the guy needed forgiveness of sins before healing his physical body. So, he simply said to the man, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”
    But there were “lewd fellows of the baser sort”, men such as the writer of this blog post, who were vexed with Christ telling the guy his sins are forgiven … by Him. “Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?” murmured the very smart self-righteous “gentlemen”. They were partially correct in that only God can forgive sins. But like other ignorant and deceived men they couldn’t grasp the power of Christ.
    To demonstrate His credibility and His authority to forgive sins Christ answered (paraphrasing) “Hey, I could have just said ‘rise up and walk’ and it would have been just as easy as saying ‘thy sins be forgiven thee’.”
    Yeah, there was no actual evidence that the guy’s sins were forgiven … until Christ demonstrated His power and authority and credibility with this … “I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.”
    And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all.
    The evidence that Jesus had the authority to forgive sins and His credibility and believability of His power was immediately confirmed. The guy rose up and carried his bed away … sins forgiven.

    It behooves you to “weigh your words”.

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    • Well, let’s just say you can keep your threats to yourself, OK.

      Now, do you have a eyewitness account of this event you detail? By the sounds of things many people saw it… I’m sure someone who was there must have jotted down a word about it? Could you paste the links to these witness testimonies? Thanks.

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      • Oh dear drenn1077, and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind and empty as a sieve trying to hold water?
        What would be credible to you? Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution? When I think about it you probably are the strongest argument supporting his theory.

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      • Obviously nothing you have will be adequate or credible, Cry. Darwin’s theory of evolution has withstood the test of time, it’s science; if need be will can be corrected if new information emerges. Your faith is a very poor tool with which to discern the truth. Religion, belief, only changes when science and reason force it to do so. Faith, belief, and religion withers in the wind of science.

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    • Oh great, holy Cry-and-Howl: didn’t your puppet Jesus say something about self-righteous people like you.
      “beyond delusional”
      “”lewd fellows of the baser sort”, men such as the writer of this blog post”

      Your “witness” is detestable — perhaps your fellow Christians can help your fake spirit-infested pride.

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  23. From a Facebook “GOD”, pretty funny guy…

    And now the answers to Ask God:

    1. HUMAN: Where in the Middle East did they find a Mexican guy named Jesus?

    GOD: In a little town called Bethlehem, which was just bursting with Mexican migrant workers.

    2. HUMAN: If you bite a zombie first does it become human?

    GOD: No, it just growls and proceeds to bite down hard on your neck, you stupid stupid moron idiot.

    3. HUMAN: If Jews are your chosen people, why did you give them such a tiny piece of land and surround them with people that want to kill them?

    GOD: Hey, I never actually gave them any land, okay? I just showed Moses a land of milk and honey once. It was actually just the back of a Cheerios box. By that point Moses could barely see.

    4. HUMAN: Why did Christians steal the Pagan winter holiday?

    GOD: So they could steal most of the pagan followers. It worked.

    5. HUMAN: Why do people care more about a dead celebrity than they do for the people around them who are suffering?

    GOD: People always care a lot more about something if they see it on TV, because TV is the most important thing in the world, right? Right? RIGHT?!? Come on, everybody knows that.

    6. HUMAN: How did Adam and Eve populate the world without incest???

    GOD: They didn’t. There was rampant incest back then. You’re all inbred hillbillies.

    7. HUMAN: How did you manage to get a virgin pregnant?

    GOD: Very carefully.

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    • Right, and I’m supposed to be impressed by an evangelical Christians appraisal of biblical archaeology how, precisely?

      I’ve presented this challenge to other Christians, so it seems applicable here: present a SINGLE reputable archaeologist (preferably an Israeli who holds current tenure and has led digs and has had peer-reviewed papers published on those digs) who will categorically state, in writing: “Moses was a real historical character, the Jews were in Egypt, there was an exodus of some 2 million people followed by a triumphant military conquest of Canaan.”

      This challenge extends to find a SINGLE non-Orthodox rabbi who’ll also commit to this statement. Actually, if you can find even an Orthodox rabbi who’ll state this, in writing, I’d be suitably impressed.

      Over to you…

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    • John,

      >> I’m not asking the reader to listen to the Christian author’s appraisal above. Let him/her look at the archeological findings and decide for himself/herself.

      >> You are claiming that the story of exodus is not true. You provided the following arguments:

      1. because the archeologists haven’t found anything extra-biblical that proved it did happen — answer: lack of evidence isn’t necessarily evidence of lack. we don’t know yet. perhaps, the evidence has not yet been unearthed. this has happened many times before when the bible was questioned many times of its historicity and proved the skeptics wrong when evidences were discovered. and lack doesn’t necessary mean zero. here’s some pieces to the puzzle — http://www.bibleandscience.com/archaeology/exodus.htm
      2. because a certain rabbi said so — answer: the opinion of one rabbi or a group of rabbis is still an opinion. i can respond to you by saying that there are still rabbis out there who believe in the historicity of the exodus.

      >> the burden of proof is always on the accuser. so back to you: give me an archeologist (preferably an israeli who holds current tenure and has led digs and has had peer-reviewed papers published on those digs) who when said that the exodus is not historical and merely a myth – claims that he is not speculating, giving a guess, an opinion, or providing a theory. this challenge extends to find a SINGLE non-orthodox rabbi who’ll also commit to this statement.

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      • Ummm, no… the Burden of Proof is always on the person making the positive claim which is, in this instance, the person saying the Exodus was a real historical event.

        So, my challenge stands: present a SINGLE reputable archaeologist (preferably an Israeli who holds current tenure and has led digs and has had peer-reviewed papers published on those digs) who will categorically state, in writing: “Moses was a real historical character, the Jews were in Egypt, there was an exodus of some 2 million people followed by a triumphant military conquest of Canaan.” This challenge extend to a Jewish rabbi.

        Now, surely if there was even a hint of truth in what you say then it must be EASY to find an Archaeologist and a rabbi who’ll back you up. I mean, I’m not asking for ten experts or an entire University department, just a single, reputable archaeologist will do.

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  24. Ummm, no… the Burden of Proof is always on the person making the positive claim which is, in this instance, the person saying the Exodus was a real historical event.

    >> that may be true, but in this blog, you are the one claiming, as if it is already decided, that the exodus is a mere myth. so unless you are willing to erase everything in this blog, you should take up my challenge: give me an archeologist (preferably an israeli who holds current tenure and has led digs and has had peer-reviewed papers published on those digs) who when said that the exodus is not historical and merely a myth – claims that he is not speculating, giving a guess, an opinion, or providing a theory. this challenge extends to find a SINGLE non-orthodox rabbi who’ll also commit to this statement.

    > if you can’t, then this argument is over.

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    • I’d love to learn more on this topic in a systematic way. I have a very poor memory and can’t hold it all in my head.

      Over at Debunking Christianity, we have this:
      http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-biblical-lie-exodus-exposes-jesus.html

      A Christian Apologetic site has this:
      http://www.bibleandscience.com/archaeology/exodus.htm

      I agree, without references, support, naming who you are interviewing, such claims will only persuade the already persuaded.

      Mind you, I am of the persuasion that it is a myth — a totally fabricated story. AND, concerning “Burden of Proof”, the real burden lies with the pro-Moses camp since it is a remarkable claim. The anti-Moses camp can dismiss more easily.

      BUT, if we are more interested in persuading, and not winning a debate (where there is no real prize), then more info would be most helpful — a list of books, interview, point by point refutation and such. But that is lots of work.

      Why don’t you take the Debunking article, and debate it point by point on your own blog, Mellow?

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      • Hello Sabio,

        I’m glad you have an open mind for these things. I am more than glad to take up the challenge over the debunking christianity and write about it. This is a good thing, since all are but looking only for the truth. Jesus said:

        And ye shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free. – John 8:32

        I will review the article when I get home this weekend and will research on it. I am at the office and works as a network engineer and some sites are blocked, including the debunking site.

        Hello John,

        Nevermind the challenge. Humbly but with all honesty, I find your arguments if not invalid, based on ignorance.

        This blog for example questions Jesus’s credibility because he quoted Moses as a historical person. However, you concluded that Moses is a myth primarily because a certain rabbi, a Jew has admitted Exodus never happened. The problem with that is that no one, much more a Jew who practices Judaism is credible to represent Christianity. Remember, if you will look at history, the Jews as a nation are the people who crucified Jesus and even to this day rejects him as the Messiah. (Although, many Jews today are now acknowledging Jesus as Savior).

        Sure, they are the people who God gave the laws and the covenants:
        “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of law, and the service of God, and the promises; – Romans 9:4

        Yet Christians and Jews look at the same Old Testament Scriptures and the Jews can’t identify that it is Jesus who is the Messiah spoken of by their prophets:
        “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry land: he hat no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgement: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the trangression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and intercession for the transgressors.” – Isaiah 53:1-11

        Isn’t this the same gospel the Christians are proclaiming? And why are we not surprised? Haven’t God prophesied with His foreknowledge that this same Jesus will be rejected by his own people, the Jews (Israelites)?
        “The stone which the BUILDERS REFUSED is become the head stone of the corner”. – Psalm 118:22

        …so that the grace of God can extend to us, the Gentiles.
        “Jesus said unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the BUILDERS REJECTED, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be TAKEN FROM YOU, and GIVEN TO A NATION bringing forth the fruits thereof.” – Matthew 21:42-43

        And so they missed the Messiah, and even to this day keeps on looking for His coming… (If you wish to know more of the Scriptures of Judaism, and the prophesies of their Messiah, let me know. I can also show to you, how ALL of these were fulfilled by Jesus, even with the SPECIFIC details, and even the SYMBOLIC FIGURES of their CEREMONIES (For example: Do you recall how God told the Israelites to sacrifice a lamb? Well, according to the Scriptures, Jesus Christ is our Lamb. It hardly was a coincidence that, from the time of Jesus’ birth, he was identified with these harmless creatures. He was born in a stable, a place where little lambs could be sheltered. His first visitors were shepherds, men who cared for lambs and made sure that they came to no harm. We are told that Bethlehem, his birth city (critics say this is forgery because Luke and Matthew knew about the prophesy), was commissioned by the high priests as a place to raise lambs for use in the Temple sacrifices. John Baptist said of Jesus:
        “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29

        The Passover lamb could have no defect.
        – Jesus was sinless.
        The lamb had to be a male.
        – Jesus was a man.
        The Passover lamb was to put to death in the place of the first-born.
        – Jesus died in our place.
        The blood was applied to the door posts and lintel of the house.
        – Trusting in what Jesus did on the cross do we find safety from eternal death.

        And I can list many more….

        With these said, I find it really illogical for you to use a rabbi who even just states an opinion — to represent Christianity.

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      • Errrm, Melow… Moses (and the Patriarchs) being a fictional character is the overwhelming consensus position of pretty much every biblical archaeologist on the planet, pretty much every biblical scholar on the planet, and pretty much every Jewish rabbi on the planet… including some Orthodox rabbis.

        I’m sorry, but facts are facts, and you are on the wrong side of the evidence. You should perhaps try reading a book, something other than the bible and you might learn something and not embarrass yourself by talking nonsense. Just a suggestion….

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  25. @ John,
    Though I tend to believe you, John. Do you have anything resembling empirical data to support the claim that: “the overwhelming consensus position of pretty much every biblical archaeologist on the planet, pretty much every biblical scholar on the planet, and pretty much every Jewish rabbi on the planet… including some Orthodox rabbis.”

    Has someone made a list of those — it would be cool if they did. Links to resources would be great too. Because as you say, this is key to the doctrines of many Christians. Liberal Christians, of course, don’t care at all if it is myth, probably — they’d find some way to be OK with that fact.

    Like

    • Empirical evidence is the sheer number of archaeologists, scholars and rabbis who stand solidly behind the statement. Hence my open challenge to find an archaeologist or rabbi who DOESN’T hold this position… a position best summarised by these three quotes:

      “The Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Most of those who are engaged in scientific work in the interlocking spheres of the Bible, archaeology and the history of the Jewish people and who once went into the field looking for proof to corroborate the Bible story now agree that the historic events relating to the stages of the Jewish people’s emergence are radically different from what that story tells.” (Prof. Ze’ev Herzog)

      “I think there is no serious scholar in Israel or in the world who does not accept this position. Herzog represents a large group of Israeli scholars, and he stands squarely within the consensus. Twenty years ago even I wrote of the same matters and I was not an innovator. Archaeologists simply do not take the trouble of bringing their discoveries to public attention.” (Professor Magen Broshi, Archaeologist at the Israel Museum)

      “Defending a rabbi in the 21st century for saying the Exodus story isn’t factual is like defending him for saying the Earth isn’t flat. It’s neither new nor shocking to most of us that the Earth is round or that the Torah isn’t a history book dictated to Moses by God on Mount Sinai.” Rabbi Steven Leder of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple.

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    • Rabbi David Wolpe
      “virtually every modern archaeologist who has investigated the story of the Exodus, with very few exceptions, agrees that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way it happened, if it happened at all.”

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  26. @ Mellow,
    When you post your replies to Debunking, please stop by my blog and make a comment and I will follow your name like to your site. [oh yeah, be sure to react to the content of my post when you do or contact me through my contact tab]

    Like

  27. Btw, I gave you a link to a guy who felt the archeology was there and he argued why. Your responses could be:
    (a) He is wrong and here is why
    (b) He is a minority
    (c) He is not a real Biblical archeologist

    You can see the potential problems, I’m sure.

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    • I don’t see a name anywhere on that article from the Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies. Who wrote it? What are his/her credentials? What happens in Christian evangelical circles is an awful lot of conjecture made to sound sciencey. This is precisely why I propose the challenge… a challenge, I might add, no one has been able to answer. There is just one “reputable” archaeologist who I’m aware of who tries to make a claim for the Jews being Egypt: Kitchen. His problem is he’s an evangelical Christian (immediately suspect) and he’s an Egyptologist and has never led any digs, let alone any in-the-ground research in the Sinai or Israel. He “re-interprets” texts, throws in a lot of imagination, and says “Proof!” No one takes him seriously, although he does hold tenure in some minor English university.

      Thing is, Christians simply ignore the overwhelming evidence against the Pentateuch and conduct a sort God of the Gaps exercise, and that can be maddening to anyone who actually looks at the whole picture. Take for example the simple camel. Camels are mention 25 times in relation to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Sounds fair enough until you ask an archeozoologist. Here we learn that camels were not domesticated in the Levant until (at the earliest) 1000BCE. Moreover, camel trains weren’t common through Judah until the 7th Century… Precisely when the story of the Patriarchs was written.Simply put, there were NO domesticated camels in the alleged time (late Bronze Age/early Iron Age) of the Patriarchs.

      Like

    • Just researching it a little further myself and i see there might be some contradictory evidence. It’s not strong, some camel hair rope was found in Egypt dating from the time of the Patriarchs, but this is not proof in and by itself camels were domesticated as beasts of burden as described in the bible… or in the numbers. 1 Chronicles 5:21, for example, mentions 50,000 camels.

      Also the Philistines. Exodus 13:17-22: “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country….” Small problem here: the Philistines didn’t arrive on the Eastern Med until 1,100 BCE at the very earliest. That is an unarguable archaeological fact.

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  28. Small problem here: the Philistines didn’t arrive on the Eastern Med until 1,100 BCE at the very earliest. That is an unarguable archaeological fact.

    When someone says something is “unarguable”, my bullshit antennae shoot up reflexively. What defines a “Philistine”? What do you mean by “arrive”?
    Nothing is unarguable, my friend — well, unless you are religious.

    Again, I probably agree with all this Moses stuff — as you know I explore similar stuff in the Indian Epics. But I do enjoy exploring the issue of how folks weigh and discuss evidence or lack there of — folks on both sides: myth-lovers and myth-rejecters.

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    • It’s unarguable because no one has ever presented any case against their arrival date… arrival in Canaan. Their cities have been well-excavated and the dates all line up: 1,100 BCE, possibly, just possibly 1,200. You’re right, though, to have a BS detector. Lot’s of emotion attached to these things so people will be prone to present only the case they wish to present. Like i said, God of the Gaps arguing.

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  29. Excuse me, sir, but Batman DID exist! I have here a copy of sacred text from… a long time ago, called “Detective Comics #27” which contains the origin story of Batman in words and pictures. See — it’s all written down. What more proof do you need? Check and mate! ;D

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      • Just finished reading Adam’s God’s Debris. A real brain twister but in a good way. Some things I agree with (or have parallel delusions that happen to coincide!) and others seem a little far-out. I took a sabbatical from university this year for a couple of reasons, one being the somewhat dogmatic political stance that accompanied some of the teachings. I’m studying psychology. Thought experiments like this help me develop different perspectives which I think is a good thing. I appreciate your suggestion to read this.

        Care to share your thoughts after reading it?

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      • Not dissimilar to yours. Of all “god” games this one is perhaps the most logically appealing, although it’s not truly original. The Vedas have Purusha blowing himself to bits to create the universe, too. As far as I know the idea of reassembly is unique, and I think that’s what piques most people’s attention. Its appealing because it plays into this human dream of wanting to be part of something bigger, something magical, something mystical and more powerful than mosquitoes, pot plants, and cheesecake. As its not logically inconsistent (or inherently contradictory to what we presently understand of the history of the universe) it passes the giggle-test and in many ways satisfies our need to not be terrified of conscious annihilation.

        On that note, as you’re a professional in this field (good to know), what are your thoughts on Terror Management Theory?

        Like

      • I apologise for the delayed response. I haven’t forgotten your question regarding TMT. The databases have been down for the past couple of days. I wanted to get a history of the research to fully understand its application. I learned a few tidbits that you may already be aware of:

        According to the handbook of theories of social psychology, it can be traced back to 3000 BC, the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. The first person to put the basic points of TMT together seems to have been the Greek historian Thucydides. Around 400 BC, he was focused on understanding the vicious inter-group with feeling secure, and being bad and worthless with dread. Early research seems to follow this theme.

        I’ll continue researching once the databases are up and running. BTW, can’t imagine a world without cheesecake.

        Like

      • You’re not going to believe this, but I wrote an entire six-part comedy series years ago following a man who had 6 days left to live and his subsequent search for cheesecake! The first episode was produced as a radio play on the ABC… yet that turned out to be an exercise in “what not to do when producing a radio play.” 😦

        Wow, seriously WOW… I had no idea TMT went that far back. Well, more correctly, TMT has shaped human behaviour since the beginning, but I didn’t know people were talking about it so far back. I was certainly thinking about doing a post on it, and you’ve got me even more excited now. Let me know how your research goes and where it leads you.

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  30. Happy New Year Brother. Glad to be back and your new post is brilliant. Also thanks for suggesting me “God’s Debris”. In fact, I thought I’ll share one more observation I made after the read.

    The essential idea of God’s Debris is quite relevant to human personality. Rarely but mostly during our younger days we ended up doing things not knowing where it’s going to lead us and at times we stopped doing, something we did for years, for no reason, just abruptly, best we make of it is we got bored, someone out there gives up a secured profession, your trip to India/Nepal, I’m sure that was not a planned-out trip nor you had a darn clue what was in store for you and we badly wanted that escapade/runaway into the unknown.

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  31. Pingback: This Pain — It Is A Glacier Running Through Me | Victoria N℮ür☼N☮☂℮ṧ

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