Disciples weren't lying because they were tortured

174 posts / 0 new
Last post
Joshua Thanopoulos's picture
1. Let's just pretend that

1. Let's just pretend that the disciples existed and weren't personally prosecuted. They still went to Rome and other cities setting up churches. The fact that they went there, with prosecution present, is testimonial to how much they believed. You said, as others have, "Even if they didn't lie, they could believe in it without it being true". That may be so, but that is not the point of this forum/discussion.
2. "Well, that statement is irrelevant." - How is that irrelevant.
3. "If there are no contemporary source, there are no contemporary sources." Many people don't have contemporary sources.

ThePragmatic's picture
1.

1.
- "They still went to Rome and other cities setting up churches. The fact that they went there, with prosecution present, is testimonial to how much they believed."

I haven't read the history about that, so I don't know how much is actually known. But, in this case I'll take your word for it and continue:

That Churches was built is not proof of anything else than that they built Churches! There is an array of plausible reasons for people to do that, so to say that "it is proof of how much they believed" is clearly to be bias.

And that they did build Churches, is itself not proof for anything regarding Christianity, neither is it unique.
Just try to mention a religious culture that did not erect statues, temples, burial grounds, etc. Mayan, Aztec, Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Roman, Ancient Greek, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc, etc, etc. They all built impressive constructions. I'm quite sure that people took risks to build many of those constructions, especially in the beginning of each religion.

- "You said, as others have, "Even if they didn't lie, they could believe in it without it being true". That may be so, but that is not the point of this forum/discussion."

You're absolutely right.
But you answered my post and then I asked "In what way does the Bible have any credibility for any of it's supernatural claims?", to which you replied. If you wish to avoid the discussion, I can live with that.
I'm not trying to be mean, I'm merely trying to show that your point hinges on how strongly the apostles believed, and that strong belief provides absolutely nothing in ways of credibility to what they believe in.

2.
""Well, that statement is irrelevant." - How is that irrelevant."

The statement was: "Historically 100 years isn't much time."
When it comes to showing the credibility of the Bible, the opinion that a 100 years isn't much time historically, is irrelevant. The gap is still there and the sources still lacks credibility.
And even if there was no gap at all, it could still be built on lies, distortions, false beliefs, etc.

3.
- "Many people don't have contemporary sources."

If you mean that there are others whom we believe in, that also lack contemporary sources:
Quite correct. Lets take Socrates as an example of someone who people generally believe existed, but there is very little actual proof of, and compare with Jesus.

A claim that, a person existed who was a brilliant headstrong person and had a very unusual way of reasoning and discussing, does not violate any laws of physics and is not very hard to believe.
A claim that, a person existed who walked on water, healed others, was raised from the dead, ascended to heaven and was the son of the Creator of the Universe, clearly violates laws of physics and requires a different level of proof.

I can't say that I know that Socrates existed, but it's not at all implausible that he did. It's beyond comprehension how implausible it is that Jesus existed.

---

But my main point is that most believers claim to know that their scriptures are true and that their religion is true (i.e. that their god exists). And my question is:
How can they know? How can they be 100% sure?

Joshua Thanopoulos's picture
1. Apologies for the

1. Apologies for the confusion.
2. Several sources are deemed true, historically, but have much longer gaps than 100 years.
3. "A claim that, a person existed who was a brilliant headstrong person...requires a different level of proof." - Agreed. Let's compare the reliability of Plato and New Testament. The approximate span between original Plato works and the copies spans 1200 years, with only 7 copies. New Testament span is 100 years, 5600 copies and an accuracy between them being 99.5% ~. The 0.5% ~ difference is that some texts read 'Jesus" others 'Jesus Christ'.

ThePragmatic's picture
1. No problem.

1. No problem.
2. I still find it irrelevant. It's the corroboration from other sources (or other forms of proof) that matters. I just mentioned 100 years, because that obliterates the possibility of actual eyewitness accounts, and have to involve spreading through storytelling. Making the source even more unreliable.
3. ""...requires a different level of proof." - Agreed"
You agree that supernatural claims require a different level of proof, then count the number of copies of texts as if that raised the level of available proof? You clearly misunderstand what I'm trying to convey.

A text that makes claims of supernatural events is not proof of what happend, no matter how many copies of that texts were made.
I very much doubt the numbers you present (the number of copies, a 0.5% difference, etc), but the number of copies is (also) irrelevant.

An example:
If we would find massive amounts of geological evidence that matched the description of the flood story in the Bible, you would start to have partially supporting evidence for that story. If the Ark was found, and materials, age, construction technique, etc matched the texts, you would have even more supporting evidence. Here evidence is found that corroborates the texts.

It would still not be anywhere near being proof of the existence of the Christian God. It would only be supporting evidence of the physical events during the flood story. Supernatural claims would requre a massive amount of evidence.

Have you wondered about this:
If you believe the supernatural claims of the Bible, what makes you reject the supernatural claims of the profet Muhammed? Or the supernatural claims in Buddhism? Or any other form of supernatural claims for that matter.

[Edit: Corrected spelling/sentence structure.]

Joshua Thanopoulos's picture
So the problems you gave are:

So the problems you gave are:
1. Lack of corroborating evidence
2. The different level of proof need. What type of different level proof are you looking for? What do you mean by different level?
Edit:
3. My problems with Islam and other is a matter of theology rather than historicity. I am not an expert on Islam or Buddhism historicity, and only slightly better at Christian historicity

ThePragmatic's picture
1. Yes. No contemporary

1. Yes. No contemporary sources and lack of corroboration.

2. Tthe son of the Creator of The Universe lived as a human, born by virgin birth, performed supernatural miracles, was tortured to death, rose from the grave, then ascended to heaven. For me to believe this, It's hard to say what proof would be needed.
But, if your god exists, it should be very easy for that god to prove his existence. I have said that if Jesus himself decended from heaven and punched me in the mouth for not believing, others saw this and I had a bruise afterwards, I would be convinced.
Still, due to the lack of evidece after such an event, I wouldn't expect anyone else to belive me (other than perhaps those who saw it happen).

3. To me, that sounds like you're saying: I believe in Christianity, because I haven't studied other religions.

MCDennis's picture
It doesn't prove the authors

It doesn't prove the authors were not lying. Why would you ever think this is true??

Joshua Thanopoulos's picture
It proves that they were

It proves that they were unlikely to lie, not an absolute.

ThePragmatic's picture
No, it doesn't prove that.

No, it doesn't prove that. You haven't even concidered that they would do such a thing for fame, power or getting their names written down in history. And there's probably a bunch of other possible reasons I haven't thought of.

On top of that, there is no proof that they actually were tortured, so how could you base further proof on a completely unprove scenario?

Joshua Thanopoulos's picture
1. "You haven't even

1. "You haven't even concidered (considered) that they would do such a thing for fame, power...". - What the early Christians preached is found the letters to the churches. What was in the letters is a reflection of what was actually taught, more or less. In the letters was preaching about being selfless, rather than selfish. They didn't seek fame or power of themselves, but rather they're religion.
2. "no proof that they actually were tortured" - Early church history depicts the numerous ways in which the disciples and co. died. However this is proof that you would deny. BTW when I mean torture, I include the crucifixion of numerous early Christians and other diabolical deaths.

ThePragmatic's picture
1. "What was in the letters

1. "What was in the letters is a reflection of..."
Yes, if you believe the letters. Then we are back to square one: What makes you think the letters are truthful?
If they were after fame or power, they probably wouldn't write that, would they?

2. "Early church history depicts..."
Again... that is "proof" created long after the fact. Of course they depict the myth they are the cultivators of... what else?

Joshua Thanopoulos's picture
1. "If they were after fame

1. "If they were after fame or power, they probably wouldn't write that, would they?" - If they were writing to the church they established, there would be not reason to change the theology that they taught, as it would cause confusion to the apostles next paycheck.
2. Hence why I said you would deny it.

ThePragmatic's picture
1. From my perspective, you

1. From my perspective, you are ingoring or relabeling possibilities to make it support the conclusion you want.
2. I'm not denying proof. You are giving the status of "proof" to what could just as easily be depictoin of myths and distorted stories. Again, you are trying to make it support your already decided conclusion.

Joshua Thanopoulos's picture
1. What am I ignoring

1. What am I ignoring/relabeling?
2. Proof that is made long after the event does not make the proof wrong.

ThePragmatic's picture
1. Every other possibility

1. Every other possibility than the one you have decided is the correct one.
2. Your statement is quite correct, but addresses the wrong issue. I'm saying that you're labeling things as "proof" although it can't even be classified as proof to begin with. By the standards you're setting for "proof", there is proof that Greek mythology is true and that Zeus exists.

Joshua Thanopoulos's picture
1. How have I done that?

1. How have I done that?
2. So you think that the criteria I use to trust Eusebius is the same that I would trust the writings of Zeus and co.?

ThePragmatic's picture
1. You simply say: it

1. You simply say: it happened the way you believe it did. All other posibilities, both the ones I have given you and any other posibility, are discarded by you. Why are you not allowing anything else than what confirmes your beliefes to be possible?

2. No, not specifically. I had to check, but I assume you mean the Church Historian who lived 260–340 CE?
So, do you think is it possible that a Church Historian, would exaggurate, leave out facts or even add details as he saw fit? Is it possible that the information that he had, was already skewed, more than 200 years later? Is it possible that a person who lived in a Church ruled society, got his social status through his position and made his living by the Chuch could be bias?

My point is that there is recorded history about Greek Mythology and there were huge buildings, statues, temples, etc built to honor those gods. Now why would people who spread that religion go through such an ordeal and risk their lives to do that? Must it not be a true religion for that to happen?

Joshua Thanopoulos's picture
1. Because that is where I

1. Because that is where I believe the evidence points. Can you remind me what possibilities you offered?
2. I am not an expert of Eusibius and his reliability. What make him unreliable in your opinion?

ThePragmatic's picture
1. Just look a few posts up:

1. Just look a few posts up: here. (Are you just trying to make me dance for you?)

Me: "You haven't even concidered that they would do such a thing for fame, power or getting their names written down in history. And there's probably a bunch of other possible reasons I haven't thought of."

You: "They didn't seek fame or power of themselves, but rather they're religion."

You simply assert that they "didn't seek fame or power of themselves", making only the reasons you find acceptable valid, i.e. the reasons that fit into your already held belief.
I don't intend to be insulting, but that is what is called confirmation bias. To reject that which doesn't fit the predetermined answer.

2. I'm by no means an expert either. But I looked him up and then I wrote a series of questions to you in the previous post, specifically to illustrate what I find unreliable about Eusibius.

Joshua Thanopoulos's picture
1. You are correct if you're

1. You are correct if you're thinking that I already have a belief before you pointed out "You haven't even concidered (considered) that they would do such a thing for fame, power or getting their names written down in history". However, when I wrote that "They didn't seek fame or power of themselves, but rather they're (their) religion", I had proof to back this up. This being that they wrote to their planted churches about being selfless and how to give money, not to the disciples, but those in need and to do good works. To me, this doesn't sound like someone who is doing it to be written down in history, money, or power.

watchman's picture
As you two are going on.....

As you two are going on......I have some information one or other of you may find useful ....

1/ "In the time of Tertullian and Clemens of Alexandria [late 2nd - early 3rd centuries] the glory of martyrdom was confined to St Peter, St Paul and St James.
It was gradually bestowed on the rest of the apostles by the more recent Greeks, who prudently selected for the theatre of their preaching and sufferings some remote country beyond the limits of the Roman empire."
– Gibbon (Decline & Fall, 15)

2/"Bishop Eusebius, the official propagandist for Constantine, entitles the 32nd Chapter of his 12th Book of Evangelical Preparation:
"How it may be Lawful and Fitting to use Falsehood as a Medicine, and for the Benefit of those who Want to be Deceived."

Eusebius is notoriously the author of a great many falsehoods – but then he does warn us in his infamous history:
"We shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity."
– Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 8, chapter 2.

Finally just for your edification ..... a list (one of several) of how the disciples supposedly died .....

1. Peter (aka Simon, Cephas).
"Beheaded by Nero?" No, not really. This legend was dreamed up by the mid-2nd century pope Anicetus (156-166)
when he became locked in a conflict with the venerable Polycarp of Smyrna. Polycarp had tried to win the argument
(over the dating of Easter) by insisting that he spoke with the authority of the apostle John. In response, Anicetus
staked a claim to Peter, and Peter, "Prince of the Apostles", trumps John.
2nd century texts known as the "Clementines" had made Peter the "first Bishop of Rome" and 3rd century invention
gave him a 25-year pontificate – which made it a tad tricky for him to have died at the hands of Nero but, hey, this is "tradition."
3rd century Church Father Origen dreamed up a colourful flourish: Peter, feeling himself unworthy to be crucified the same
way as his Lord, chose option 'B' – crucifixion upside down!
 
2. James, son of Zebedee (James the Greater?)
Acts 12.1,2 says simply:
"Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother
of John with the sword."

Later legend adds the truly extraordinary nonsense that the Roman officer guarding James converted on the spot and elected
to be beheaded beside him! Even later fabrication has James traipsing around northern Spain before he dashes back to
Judaea for martyrdom.
 
3. John, son of Zebedee.
This guy has to be kept alive long enough to take care of Mary, lead the church in Ephesus, write the Book of Revelation and
write his own gospel. He even survives being boiled in oil and is given a natural death!
Actually, John bar Zebedee disappears from the yarn in Acts at the same time his brother James is more dramatically removed
from the story. The last reference to John is also verse 12.2. From Acts 12.12 onward we are dealing with another John "whose
surname was Mark" – a lightweight character who nonetheless is credited with authorship of the first gospel.
The impending demotion of the thunder brothers is actually prefigured in Mark's gospel (and is embellished in Matthew, where
Mrs Zebedee does the talking). The boys ask for front seats in the hereafter. JC is having none of it:
"And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever
we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may
sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.
"Jesus said unto them ... to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it
is prepared. And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John." – Mark 10:35-41.

Thus while the earthly career of Jesus features prominently brothers James and John, "the sons of thunder" (Mark 3.7), the story
of the early church features a new James, "the brother of Jesus", and a new John, a sidekick to Paul and Barnabas (see below).
We know little about either, although the death of James bar Damneus (Josephus, Antiquities 20.9) provides a basis for the colourful
martyrdom of brother James beloved of Christian apologists.
 
4. Andrew, brother of Peter.
Pious invention gives Andrew a wonderful career covering everywhere from Scythia to Greece, from Asia Minor to Thrace. 
This guy, it seems, took option 'C' on the crucifixion menu: on an x-shaped cross. Apparently this allowed him to continue preaching
for 2 days.
 
5. Philip.
Fable places this guy in Phrygia, Carthage and Asia Minor. The fairy tale has a proconsul crucifying him for converting his wife.
Perhaps the love feast got a bit out of hand.
Somewhat confusingly, there are actually two Philips. The original apostle disappears from the tale after witnessing Jesus rise to
Heaven from the Mount of Olives. Philip and the rest of the gang return to the upper room in Acts 1.13. But in Acts 6.5 a second
Philip is chosen as one of the seven given responsibility for feeding widows
 
6. Bartholomew (Nathanael)
What a traveller – India, Persia, Armenia, Ethiopia and southern Arabia! Miraculously he managed to get himself crucified (flayed alive and beheaded!) in both India and Armenia. Pretty impressive stuff. Even when dead his bits got about: a church in Rome claimed most of his corpse but 11th century Canterbury did a roaring trade with his arm! His emblem is the flaying knife. Cool.
 
7. Matthew (Levi son of Alphaeus)
This guy has to be kept alive long enough to write his gospel – at least 20 years after the supposed death of Christ. Credited with 15
years in Jerusalem, then missions to Persia and Ethiopia and, of course, martyrdom in both places. According to Medieval iconography he worn spectacles, the better to count his tax money.
If Matthew, aka Levi, is a son of Alphaeus (Mark 2.14) then presumably he is also the brother of James son of Alphaeus (Mark3.18)?
And yet we are told the lesser James is a son of Mary, sister of the Blessed Virgin and wife of Cleophas (John 19.25). In which case,
the evangelist Matthew is a cousin of Jesus himself! However, Acts 1.13 tells us that the lesser James has a brother called Judas (aka Jude) whereas Mark (15.40) and Matthew's "own gospel" (27.56) both say that James has a brother named Joses. So we now have a regular band of brothers: James, Joses, Judas – plus Matthew/Levi ... which comes mightily close to the supposed four brothers of Jesus himself!
"Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?"
– Matthew 13.55.
 
8. Thomas Didymus (the Twin) aka Judas Thomas or Jude Thomas
Another grand traveller, seen everywhere from Parthia to Kerala in south India. 4th century invention, appropriately enough, gives this 'twin' two martyrdoms, one in Persia and one in India. He even gets a burial in Syria to boot! Yet another resting place, Mylapore, was claimed by the Portuguese in 16th century. Most famous for his "doubt", Thomas inspired a whole raft of pious flimflam: the Acts of Thomas (he built a palace for an Indian king, would you believe), the Apocalypse of Thomas, the Gospel of Thomas, and the Infant Gospel of Thomas.
Now, have you still got any doubts ...?
 
9. James son of Alphaeus (James the Less – or is James the Just?)
The myth-makers really go to town for this guy. Thrown down over 100 feet from the pinnacle of the Temple by "scribes and Pharisees",
he actually survived only to be stoned, have his brains dashed out with a fuller’s club and have his body "sawn asunder" –
all this at the age of 90! Of course, if we don't conflate James the Less with James the brother of Jesus (an identification made by Jerome and later Catholics) all this mayhem belongs with the righteous James and the fate of the lesser James is unknown.
Perhaps it's the being sawn in half which causes the confusion?
 
10. Jude/Thaddeus /Lebbaeus /Daddaeus
Either a serious clubbing or crucifixion for this mixed up guy in the city of Edessa or Persia. Apparently his fan-club suffered because
his name sounded too much like Judas.
Jude the apostle is often conflated with Jude the brother of Jesus and also with Jude the writer of the epistle of Jude (pay attention,
there will be a test). Yet Jude (the letter writer) identifies himself as the brother of James and as a servant of Jesus, not his brother (Jude 1.1).
He also speaks of the apostles in the past tense, not as if he was one of them (verse 17), so he cannot be identified as one of "the twelve" either.
 
11. Simon the Canaanite/ the Zealot.
Invention came late for this guy. When it did, it was a beauty – crucifixion in Persia and also crucifixion thousands of miles away in Britain. He also managed to preach in Africa. Quite an act to follow.
 
12. Matthias.
Fantasy sends this guy to Syria, Cappadocia, the shores of the Caspian and the "City of Cannibals" (Acts of Andrew and Matthias).
Death by burning. Also death in Jerusalem by stoning – and beheading. Really just makes up the numbers, sometimes merging with Matthew and sometimes swapped out to let Paul into "the twelve."
 
13. Judas, son (or is that brother?) of James.
Nothing yet. Feeling inspired?
 
14. Levi, son of Alphæus.
Refer to his alter ego Matthew.
 
Mark (John Mark).
Though neither Clement of Alexandria (?153-215), nor Origen of Alexandria (182-251) seem to have noticed, Eusebius of Caesarea
(c.263-339) relays the news that the apostle Mark had been "first bishop" of Alexandria and had suffered martyrdom in the "eighth
year of Nero." This would have been 61 AD – rendering the apostle dead before the death of Peter whose memoirs Mark supposedly
wrote up as the Gospel of Mark. "Dragged to death", or maybe not. His bones – well, someone's bones – turned up in 9th century Venice.
 
Luke.
"Hanged on an olive tree." Or, "lived to the age of 84 and died unmarried." Body parts claimed by both Padua and Constantinople.

There you go guys..... all fairly convincing........ or not...

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/lying.htm

Truett's picture
Ah, good ol' Bishop Eusebius

Ah, good ol' Bishop Eusebius and the philosophy he employed in creating his hallmark contributions to humanity: "How it may be Lawful and Fitting to use Falsehood as a Medicine, and for the Benefit of those who Want to be Deceived." I almost forgot where our morality came from. Now I remember...

Joshua Thanopoulos's picture
I know next to nothing about

I know next to nothing about the apostles Judas, Matthias, Jude, Thaddeus, Lebbaeus, Phillip, Daddaeus,Thomas Didymus, James son of Alphaeus, and Bartholomew.
1. You don't seem to have a problem with the martyrdoms of Luke and Mark
2. Levi/Matthew: As far as I can tell, no one knows with certainty how Levi/Matthew died.
3. You don't seem to have a problem with the martyrdom of Andrew, except maybe he was able to survive to talk for two days
4. I can't see many problems with John
5. With James, you don't seem to have a problem with the death in Acts, but obviously expressing a problem with Eusibius saying how James died when you express your own opinion, "Later legend adds the truly extraordinary nonsense"
6. With Peter you say, "Polycarp had tried to win the argument (over the dating of Easter) by insisting that he spoke with the authority of the apostle John. In response, Anicetus staked a claim to Peter, and Peter, "Prince of the Apostles", trumps John". You imply that Anicetus made this up to win an argument. Is the argument the one where they debate over when to have easter?
Chances are I have missed something in ignorance. Can you please tell me if I have missed something?

ThePragmatic's picture
@ UnKnown

@ UnKnown

That's the whole point: You claim to have proof, only because you have already accepted the proof as valid, since it supports the conclusion you already hold.
It's right back to the "Napkin religion". It says that it's true, so then it must be true...

Joshua Thanopoulos's picture
"You claim to have proof,

"You claim to have proof, only because you have already accepted the proof as valid, since it supports the conclusion you already hold." - What is stopping me to believe the same thing about you?

ThePragmatic's picture
A good point. I can't stop

A good point. I can't stop you from believing anything.
But...
Am I making claims that a religious scripture is true?
Am I making claims that I have proof?
Am I trying to argue for how dubious ancient texts quailify for proof?
No, I'm not.

You could flip your beliefs in the Biblical texts around:
If you believe in the texts from The Bible as true, what is it about all other competing religious texts, that makes you believe that they are false?

Joshua Thanopoulos's picture
If I had evidence that

If I had evidence that supports my claim accurately, would you still have the problem you do now?

watchman's picture
@Unknown ....

@Unknown ....

I have no idea.......

Try it........ show us some evidence....

(But I would suggest you start a new thread...this one is becoming a little congested.... )

Joshua Thanopoulos's picture
What is your definition of a

What is your definition of a "Primary Source"?

Pages

Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.