The Heavens Declare
The Glory Of God
Steve Whirledge

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From: Positive Atheism <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: Steve Whirledge
Subject: Re: PA-via_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: Friday, September 24, 1999 5:02 PM

Please explain to me what you mean when you use the word God.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: Positive Atheism <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: Steve Whirledge
Subject: Re: PA-via_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: Sunday, September 26, 1999 5:35 AM

Of course I do. Can what you call "truth" be verified? Is it self-evident?
 

Can you eliminate all alternate explanations for the existence of the universe?

In other words, how do you know this to be a fact?

Please make your case that the universe was created by an intelligent being.

After this, please make your case that this being is spirit (including an explanation of what spirit means).

Finally, please justify your claim that this creator is necessarily "God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit." I have heard many, many creator-claims, and others have told me that a different god created the universe. How do you know it was these three particular gods who created the universe?
 

This does not make sense in that it seems to be self-contradictory: if this being is all-knowing, then it knows what will take place in the future. However, if this is the case, then this being would be powerless to interfere what inevitably is to occur. Please explain how this can possibly be.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: Positive Atheism <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: Steve Whirledge <turnorburnrcg@email.msn.com>
Subject: Re: PA-via_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: Monday, September 27, 1999 1:01 AM

Lay them on me. I'm ready.

I've heard this parroted again and again -- baldly stated as fact -- but it has never been shown to me.
 

Make your case for the following:

1. That manuscript evidence demonstrates that the Bible is not of human origin (we'll leave out the divine part for now, since we cannot get a description of "divine" beyond "all-powerful and all-knowing" -- which I have shown makes no sense).

2. That archaeology demonstrates that the Bible is not of human origin.

3. That fulfilled prophecy demonstrates that the Bible is not of human origin

4. That statistics demonstrate that the Bible is not of human origin.

We must agree on the criteria for demonstrating that the Bible is not of human origin. For this, let us use a passage from the Bible itself: Deuteronomy 18:21-2. "And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."

Let us agree that one prophecy that fails to come to pass disqualifies a prophet, but also that a few prophesies which do come to pass do not necessarily show the prophet to be telling the truth (because even Edgar Cayce and Jeanne Dixon got a few right, and we all know about the loose interpretations of the vague and vacuous quatrains of Nostradamus in that they can be made to say anything). We will need very specific prophecies of extremely unlikely events which cannot possibly have been described as "fulfilled" after the fact.
 

Early Christian Fathers commonly believed that Ezra compiled the Old Testament and described this process as him having received a revelation much in the same way that followers of Mohammed describe his alleged revelations. Very few biblical scholars allow this wide a time frame for the writing of the Bible. You will need to make the case that these scholars and Fathers were mistaken. Your case will need to be particularly strong because to allow this wide of a time frame would overthrow much of the scholarship that has been done over the past 200 years.
 

I have shown that there is a vast inconsistency between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.

I am also prepared to argue that the world views between the Old Testament and the New Testament differ in several essential matters.

Furthermore, I am prepared to show that the Gospel accounts show evidence of having been revised from earlier to later books. The author of "Luke" revised "Matthew," itself being a revision of "Mark."

The descriptions of the doctrine of salvation (soteriology) between the various New Testament writings vary on several significant points. (Are you ready to explain why Christianity's core doctrine, the doctrine of atonement, is conspicuously absent from both "Luke" and "James"?)

Finally, I am ready to show that the various attempts to interpret the psychedelic experience known as "Revelation" differ so widely as to conclude that this book cannot be understood. As such, it cannot be said to be consistent with anything.
 

I'll see if I can find a used copy at Powell's as I do not want to give these authors any of my money. I had quite a few laffs with Patrick Glynn's God: The Evidence, particularly with his overkill attempts to convince the reader that he was once a bona fide atheist of the philosophical variety. I became disgusted with Josh McDowell's patent dishonesty even while I was yet a Christian, and preferred the self-consistent apologetics of Cornelius Van Til -- which only holds if you are already Christian.

Hopefully Strobel's book, which the publisher says is "written in the style of a blockbuster investigative report" and which the publisher calls "apologetics at its most imaginative" lives up to the clues dropped herein: the "investigative report" motif is very effective at catching gullible people unawares -- as evidenced by the popularity of such television programs as Unsolved Mysteries and the Fox television network special "Signs from God; Science Tests Faith" that was shown on July 28, 1999. And I just love "imaginative" apologetics!

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: Positive Atheism <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: Steve Whirledge
Subject: Re: PA-via_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: Monday, September 27, 1999 11:54 PM

This is just an empty claim. It is no better than your last post. Please give me details; please give me facts; please show me some examples; please cite your references. Otherwise, it would be just as foolish for me to believe you as it would to believe the claim of Raël who says he visited Jesus in a space ship.

It is easy for a preacher to stand at the pulpit and state claims such as this.

The vast majority of the manuscripts that Josh McDowell mentions date from the middle ages, which only tells us that a lot of copies were made during the middle ages -- a time when many of these other classics were viciously suppressed by the then dominant Christian Church.

Nobody can date the earliest Gospel, "Mark," earlier than between C.E. 70 and C.E. 90 -- a full 40 to 60 years after Christ is alleged to have died. This period is also after Jerusalem was wiped out, leaving virtually no Jewish followers of Jesus left to dispute anything that the Gospel writers may have said. The Gospel writers' word went virtually unchallenged.

(One group, the Ebionites, claimed to be the remnant of the Jerusalem Church. They said that Paul was an opportunist and that Jesus and his original Jerusalem followers never claimed him to be divine. We can gather from Galatians and from Acts 15 that there was a schism of some sort between Paul and the Jerusalem Church leadership.)

Even if we had the original manuscripts and knew who wrote them, this does not mean that the story told in the text is historically accurate.

Finally, none of this says anything about your claim that "the Bible can proven to be divine in orgin rather than human in orgin through manuscript evidence." It is this claim that I have asked you to demonstrate for me. I refuse simply to take someone's word on this one. I want to know; otherwise, I have no business believing your claim and remain an atheist.
 

Nothing said. Absolutely nothing said at all. You merely mentioned the word. That's it.

You told me that "the Bible can proven to be divine in orgin rather than human in orgin through ... archaeology." Again, which archaeology demonstrates that the Bible is not of human origin?
 

Mark 1:2 says, "It is written in Isaiah the prophet: 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way.'" Can you tell me where in Isaiah this is said?

The Bible god (allegedly) told Isaiah to promise Ahaz that his enemies, Rezin and Pekah would not harm him. Isaiah 7:1-7 says:

"In the days of Ahaz ... king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remali'ah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but they could not conquer it.... And the Lord said to Isaiah, "Go forth to meet Ahaz ... and say to him, 'Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remali'ah. Because Syria, with E'phraim and the son of Remali'ah, has devised evil against you, saying, "Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Ta'be-el as king in the midst of it," thus says the Lord God: It shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass.'"

Alas, Ahaz and his forces were slaughtered by Rezin and Pekah, if I Chronicles 28:1-6 is to be believed:

"Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.... Therefore the Lord his God gave him into the hand of the king of Syria, who defeated him and took captive a great number of his people and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hand of the king of Israel, who defeated him with great slaughter. For Pekah the son of Remali'ah slew a hundred and twenty thousand in Judah in one day, all of them men of valor, because they had forsaken the Lord, the God of their fathers."

Isaiah then offers a sign, which Ahaz refuses, saying, "I will not put the Lord to the test." This sign, concerning the birth of "Emmanuel" [Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz], was later mistranslated by the Gospel writers to become the so-called Virgin Birth prophesy. Why did the "inspired" writers of the Gospel accounts base an entire prophesy upon a mistranslation from the Greek Septuagint version, rather than upon the Hebrew version?

So, now, since Isaiah told Ahaz that his two enemies will not prevail, but II Chronicles says that they did, in fact, prevail, this makes Isaiah a false prophet.

What did you want me to read in Isaiah? and how does this prove that the Bible is not of human origin?
 

No. You did not explain a thing about statistics. All you said was that "the Bible can proven to be divine in orgin rather than human in orgin through ... statistics."

A statement is not an explanation, and a statement is certainly not an argument or a demonstration or a proof.
 

Again: You claimed to me that: "the Bible can proven to be divine in orgin rather than human in orgin through manuscript evidence, archaeology, fufilled prophecy and statistics." I want to know:

You need to back up your claims, not simply smile and repeat them.

Since you are the one making the claims, it is your responsibility to back them up.

If you cannot make a good case for your claim, I have no business believing that you are telling the truth.

If you don't know if a claim can be shown to be true, and you repeat it as fact anyway, you are guilty of falsehood according to Abraham Lincoln, who wrote: "It is an established maxim and moral that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false is guilty of falsehood, and the accidental truth of the assertion does not justify or excuse him" (chiding the editor of a Springfield, Illinois, newspaper).
 

If you make a concerted effort to address my questions above (either that, or retract your above claims as falsehood), I will send you my current statement on origins.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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