Sunday, December 30, 2007

Stalin and Mao were atheists

Stalin and Mao were indeed atheists.

Stalin/Mao/Pol-Pot were atheists so atheism must be wrong

What is wrong with this argument?

Atheism is a lack of belief, just like sobriety is a lack of alchohol.

We all know that a lack of alcohol causes people to be sober.

Sometimes, drunk people cause traffic accidents.

But very often, sober people also cause traffic accidents.

Should drunkards apologise for all the accidents caused by people drinking alcohol only if we sober people apologise for all the accidents caused by people who had no alcohol inside them?

The claim that Stalin/Mao etc were atheists, so atheism is wrong, is like claiming that being sober is just as bad as being drunk, because look at the traffic accidents caused by sober people who happened to have taken cannabis or speed, or LSD or whatever.

Yes, technically these people who crashed their cars after taking cannabis were technically sober. They had not drunk any alcohol.

So they were just as sober as I am when I drive a car without taking cannabis or speed or other drugs.

This hardly means that being sober is as bad as being drunk.

The same for atheism.

Atheism is a lack of belief in gods.

So Stalin really was an atheist , just as somebody who drives a car under the influence of cannabis really is not drunk.

But so what?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bishop NT Wright on the resurrection

A transcript of NT Wright recent talk on the resurrection of Jesus can be read at Transcript

The New Testament often talks about visions and dreams, and the way people believed that what happened in them was real.

Here is what NT Wright says about claims that people would be believed if they said they had a vision or a dream. 'It's impossible'.

There you are. It was impossible for the author of Luke to believe that Joseph really had been visited by an angel in a dream.

It was impossible for Peter to believe that he had been told in a vision that all foods were clean.

It was impossible for Paul to believe that a real person from Macedonia had spoken to him in a vision.

Here is what John's Gospel says.

John 4:39 'Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did."

Here is what NT Wright says 'Whether we like it or not, women were not regarded as credible witneses within the ancient world.'

Wright trashes the claims of his own Bible in his eagerness to come up with something, anything at all, to support claims that Jesus corpse got up and ascended into Heaven.

And, of course, Wright gives no evidence for any resurrection of a corpse. His only evidence that he puts forward is his faith in his ability to tell us what people of 2,000 years would have written and behaved if they were making things up.

For example, Wright makes the absurd claim that if Jesus had not been resurrected, then early Christians would have called James 'the Messiah'.

That just is not even an argument.

And it goes without saying that Wright has no explanation for why early Christian converts simply scoffed at the idea that God would choose to raise a corpse.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Reverend John Polkinghorne on proof of God

God and Physics

'Polkinghorne pointed out that mathematics has an enduring ability to accurately describe the game of chess and that our brains have a capacity to comprehend abstract concepts – such as checkmates in 7 moves – that he maintains could not have arisen in response to evolutionary pressures. This profound intelligibility, he argued, is itself comprehensible if a rational God has created the game of chess.'

Of course, this is not what is on the pages, but it is just as good a proof that God created chess, as Polkinghorne's 'proof' that God created the world.

How else could the game of chess be so successfully conquered by mathematical algorithims, unless God had created it?

Did chess evolve 'in response to evolutionary pressures'? No. So God must have created it.

Such is the level of logic of leading theologians....

Monday, December 24, 2007

Has Antony Flew forgotten English?

On page 116 of 'There is a God' we read the following.

'The principle of special relativity ensures that forces such as electromagnetism have an invariable effect regardless of whether they act at right angles to a system's direction of travel'.

This is not even a grammatical sentence, whether Flew wrote it or whether Bob Hostetler hacked it out.

I guess Antony Flew has simply forgotten how to write English sentences.

Of course, that chapter was never written by him.

Just 3 pages earlier, 'Antony Flew' talks about 'favorite' (sic) 'cookies' and 'candy'.

An 84 year old public school educated Englishman would never use the word 'cookies'.

Antony Flew has never eaten 'cookies' or 'candy' in his life. He has eaten 'biscuits' and 'sweets'.

The book is a shameless deception.

NT Wright on early Christian beliefs

In 'The Resurrection of the Son of God' , page 330, NT Wright writes 'I regard it as highly probable that this refers, not to people who believe that 'the resurrection' has already in some sense happened to all the righteous, but the people who, on the normal grounds comment to pagan antiquity and post-Enlightenment modernity, deny that any such a thing can happen.'

The 'this' in that sentence refers to the denial by recent Christian converts that God would choose to raise corpses.

Wow! Those Christian converts really saw through the claims of the apostles that God had raised a corpse. They simply denied it.

So why had they converted?

Clearly they had never been converted by any stories of corpses rising.

Wright also claims on page 330 that there is 'no reason' to suppose that these people 'denied any form of future life at all.'

Perhaps Wright should tell us why they refused to take part in baptism for the dead, if they believed that the dead were going to live on.

Even Wright claims on page 338 that baptism for the dead meant that people thought of the dead as 'still in some sense alive'.

So why did some people refuse to take part in baptism for the dead, when Wright produces his claim that there is 'no reason' to suppose that these people 'denied any form of future life at all.'? Surely their refusal to take part in baptism for the dead is a very good reason to suppose that they denied that the dead were still alive.

It is obvious that the converts to Christianity in Corinth believed that Jesus was still alive, but scoffed at the idea of God choosing to raise flesh and blood bodies.

That led them to deny a future bodily resurrection, and any possibility of an after life for themselves, as they believed they only had an earthly body , and they knew exactly what happened to earthly bodies.

Jesus, of course, was a god, and so Christians could believe Jesus was still alive, and could make appearances, and still leave his body behind in the grave.

Paul corrects the Jesus-converts in Corinth by telling them that they will live on like Jesus did, because they will also become life-giving spirits like he did.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Peter Hearty does it again!

Peter Hearty has a truly excellent interim report on the War on Christmas.

You can and must read it Here

Monday, December 17, 2007

NT Wright on the evilness of the material world

The Sea is Evil

Here, the Bishop of Durham writes 'The ancient Jewish writers saw the sea as evil. It floods and destroys the world. It stands between the Israelites and freedom. It rages horribly; monsters come out of it. There is a hint that God had to overcome the dark primal waters in order to create the world in the first place..... the final book of the Bible declares that in the new world, now already begun with his resurrection, there will be no more sea.'

Paul shared the Bishop of Durham's view that the material world was evil, evil in its very nature. 'There is nothing good in my flesh', writes Paul.

Of course, Wright only believes that the sea is evil, but his writings put paid to the lie that ancient Jewish writers regarded the material world as intrinsically good.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Can a scientist believe the resurrection?

The Bishop of Durham, NT Wright, will be giving a talk with this title on 20/12/2007 at the University of St. Andrews Details

I have already emailed NT Wright with 3 Questions , and not yet received a reply.

Here are some further questions, which I am certain the Bishop of Durham will not discuss in his talk on the resurrection of Jesus.

Why did Paul maintain that Jesus had become a life-giving spirit at the resurrection, and implied that all Christians would become life-giving spirits?

Why did early converts to Christianity scoff at the idea that God would choose to raise a corpse?

Why did Paul think it idiotic to even discuss how bodies can come back, go on to remind the Corinthians that what was in the ground was dead, and tell them that resurrected beings were as different to earthly bodies as fish is different to the moon? (Only an idiot wonders how a fish can turn into the moon)

Why did Paul trash the idea that God would raise beings from the dust that corpses dissolve into?

Why was Paul unable to find one detail from anybody’s personal experience as to what a resurrected body was like, instead being forced to work entirely from general principles and theological reflection?

Why did Paul say that God would destroy both stomach and food to people who were allegedly converted by tales of the resurrected Jesus eating fish?

All these questions, and many more, will be ignored by the Bishop of Durham when he trots out the old tired argumemts that have been refuted hundreds of times.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gary Habermas, JFK and the second gunman

Gary Habermas writes 'The early tradition in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 at least implies an empty tomb.' (The Risen Jesus and Future Hope, page 23)

Paul implies an empty tomb?

He doesn't , but so what if he did? How does that get Habermas anywhere when trying to show that Jesus was resurrected and this involved a corpse leaving a tomb?

If I say a second gunman shot JFK, that implies there was a second gun.

Does that mean that sceptics of the second gunman theory now have to explain away the existence of a second gun? That the second gun is now an established fact, and is a point of contention between the parties?

However, if I say that a second gun was found, that implies a second gunman.

And the direct claim of a second gun being found is a much stronger claim to there really having been a second gun found.

It is a much stronger claim to this really having been a point against people who believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

Such a claim of a second gun may not be true, but stating 'There was a second gun, and this implies a second gunman', is a much different claim to saying 'There was a second gunman and this implies a second gun.'

The direction of implication is important.

It is the same with Paul.

If Paul implies an empty tomb, the empty tomb is just an implication, not a fact.

If Paul had stated the empty tomb was a fact, at least that would have been a claim that an empty tomb had been found, and that this was a point of contention.

Habermas' point is useless to him.

And , of course, it was only much later that anonymous Christians began to say that there had been an empty tomb.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Latest on Antony Flew

Antony Flew has written to me, asking me to sell him a copy of Jeffery Jay Lowder's and Robert Price's book 'The Empty Tomb - Jesus Beyond The Grave'

Professor Flew has his own reasons for having copies of 'all important additions to the literature'

As it is almost Christmas, I shall send him a copy as a Christmas present.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

3 Questions to Bishop NT Wright

On 20/11/2007, I emailed the Bishop of Durham, NT Wright with 3 questions about the resurrection of Jesus.

When I get a reply, I will post his answers here.

NT Wright has sent me his reply. I think the delay in replying was due to a mix-up in emails, rather than anything else.

His replies are in Bold , but are not to be taken as his final word on the subject. He was only giving quick replies.

I have made some comments to his replies.


I have 3 questions about the Resurrection, if that is OK.

Paul writes 'The first man Adam became a living being, the last Adam became a life-giving spirit'.

Does the typology mean Paul expected Christians to share in the nature of the two Adams, firstly as what they are now, and secondly as life-giving spirits?

depends what you mean by 'nature'. But no, Paul believes that the
spirit given by Christ, himself the life-giving spirit, will animate the new
bodies Christians will be given at the resurrection (see e.g. Romans

CARR (02/01/2008)
The typology does seem very clear to me. Paul believes all Christians will have the same resurrection as Jesus and become 'lfe-giving spirits'.

After all, Paul says 'And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.'

But I believe Wright is correct to say we will get new bodies.

To replace the old bodies, which were in the image of Adam.

Just as the old body of Jesus was replaced by a new body, leaving the old, dead body in the ground.


Many converts to Jesus-worship in Corinth scoffed at the idea of God choosing to raise a corpse. What evangelistic methods had been used to convert them to Jesus-worship?

The announcement of the crucified and risen Jesus as Lord and Saviour
(see the summaries of the gospel in e.g. Romans 1.3-4 and 1 Corinthians

CARR (02/01/2008)
The Jesus-worshippers obviously still believed what had converted them, or else Paul would have had nothing to do with them.

But clearly they had not been converted by stories of corpses rising.


Were these Jesus-worshipping resurrection-scoffers familiar with Old Testament stories of God breathing life into dead matter to create Adam, or with stories of Moses returning from the grave to speak to Jesus?


very unlikely. They were from a pagan background, mostly, and much of
Paul's work in 1 Corinthians is to get them to think within a Jewish
framework, with the living God as the creator and judge (i.e. the one who
made the world in the first place and will in the end remake it and put it
to rights) rather than fitting Jesus into their pagan thought-forms. (See
Richard Hays' book The Conversion of the Imagination).

CARR (02/01/2008)

Paul can just use the story of Adam from Genesis 2:9 and assume his readers were familiar with it.

Of course, it was impossible for Christians of that time period to be familiar with the stories of Moses returning from the grave to speak to Jesus.

The Gospels had not yet been written.

If Moses really had returned from the grave, all Christians would have been told of it. What else could they have discussed that would have been so amazing? Moses returning from the dead? That would have astonished all Jews, and they would have told stories about it.

But if NT Wright thinks it 'unlikely' that Christian converts had not heard oral tradition stories of Moses (of all people!) returning from the grave, then clearly Paul could hardly have assumed that his readers were familiar with any stories about Jesus.

So why didn't he ever tell them first-hand , personal testimony of what a resurrected body was like?

The answer is easy. Nobody knew what a resurrected body was like.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Earl Doherty on Jesus in Heaven

In this very interesting article Earl Doherty points out how Hebrews 8 and Hebrews 9 take for granted that the shedding of the blood of Jesus took part in a sanctuary Heaven.

So much for early Christian beliefs that Jesus shed his blood on a cross in Jerusalem.

Hebrews 8

We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man. Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer.

Hebrews explains that what this High Priest offers in the heavenly sanctuary is his own blood.

There is no hint of any offering of blood by Jesus on earth.

That came later, when the anonymous author of the Gospel of Mark sat down to write a story.