So you believe … ? 9.30am Tuesday

“Do you think he will come today?” “I have a hope – not a belief. I have a hope he will.” “I don’t.”

We were taking about a real person doing real work in our real garden for a real agreed price with real consequences to our living and home life. The hope was of that happening today. The “not a belief” was a lack of “certainty” that the real person will really turn up today and begin work. The hope was in our choice of contractor and the contractor’s hoped-for integrity (as well as skill to do the job).

“Is the bible an historically accurate record”

Yesterday I punched in a google search – a yes/no question for a yes/no answer.  I was keen to see others’ answers – as well as keen to see who answered.  Of the first couple of pages of results, only two gave a  yes/no answer.  One of those was “click bait” (a religious organisation with no answer at all), and the other was a Genesis sect (who “proved” creation in six days was correct “because the bible proves it was 6 x 24 hours”).

And – without exception – all the results were from those “of faith” – those who believed the bible is the Word of God – that there is a God and a Jesus and Holy Spirit – those known as “Christian believers.”  The not-theists were missing from google.

They have been present over the last ten posts (and more) in asking “Yes or no?”

If I think something then I should be able to explain it so that you understand it. If I hope something I should be able to tell you why I have that hope. If I believe something I must be able to validate and illustrate evidence to prove that belief is real. And that makes my hope a certainty we can agree is a certainty in real terms.  Which means that if I think something there must be good reason for me having even that thought.

But what I did bump into (in those two pages of results) was this:

“Ehrman–Licona Dialogue on the Historical Reliability of the New Testament”
From February 19, through May 6, 2016, hosted an in-depth dialogue on the historical reliability of the New Testament between biblical scholars Bart D. Ehrman and Michael R. Licona. The dialogue is now complete, and comments are still open on each portion of the dialogue.

If the weight of words lends credibility – this has much credibility!  And (as so often is the case) this is a debate between two “cultural believers” – one current – one “ex”.  Both brought up with the bible and Christianity (in some shape or form).  Because isn’t cultural Christianity (or cultural “faith” in countries “of faith”) how almost all of us are brought up?

So I invite you to join me in working through this debate between Ehrman and Licona.

Because isn’t “biggie Christian belief” of “reliability” and “real” whether Jesus is … real ?  Whether both the dying AND the rising is real … whether the miracles ARE real?  Because isn’t that when “cultural belief” becomes very personal belief?  When I live my life with a “not of this world but as real as this world” belief?

And an aside:

What caught my attention in both introductions is this: (paraphrased): That both seek truth. That both are prepared to lose their “faith” which was a real part of their lives.  That both “follow the evidence” with determination and integrity.  And that both find different evidence and a different truth.

I was reminded again of why the bible works if you believe before the bible.  The bible is not the belief.  The belief is not the bible.  Belief is reinforced or undermined by seeking the truth in the bible.  And what is truth (and what is belief)?  And why is “yes/no” so elusive (and so frustrating to those that need a yes/no)?


“Do you love me?”
“Yes I love you.”
All is well in my world.

Isn’t that just another “belief” in something “out of this world” as well?

Because I have found that debating “Prove to me that you love me, what love is, how you evidence that love, why you believe my version of love is not as fulfilling as your version of love, and please do it in words that convince me beyond all reasonable doubt …”

… Is not the way to a long-term relationship.

I have found “to love and be loved” is the starting point.  Because “external” answers are just that – external.


7 thoughts on “So you believe … ? 9.30am Tuesday

  1. Mike Licona is well-spoken, an excellent apologist who know his bible inside out and backwards and can recite it better than Captain Long John Silver’s parrot.
    He was fired from two academic positions after writing in his 2010 book that the resurrection of the saints at the time of Jesus of Nazareth’s crucifiction should not be read as a literal, historical event.
    Norman Geisler and his band of merry fundamentalist men were at the forefront of a group demanding that Licona print a retraction. He refused and was axed from his position not that long after.

    He comes across (on his videos) as a really nice guy. Sadly he is an evangelizing fundamentalist ( mostly) and because of this a giant arse hat.

    I am sure you know who Ehrman is?
    Licona cannot hold a candle to Bart regarding the reliability question.


    • Hi Ark, love the objective comments: “a giant arse hat” and “sadly” being another example of cool thinking! 🙂

      Just finished Ehrman’s detailed response:

      He puts into words some unstated “discomforts” I have (of those “proving” the bible is historically accurate). Mostly I a finding a curiosity here. One that needs a post (of length to verbalise – sorry!) 🙂

      And (my preference) the response will be to Erhman words, and I guess when I read Licona, a response that is different again.


      • Wotcha , Paul!
        How the Gehenna are you this glorious Wednesday?

        After a while one’s patience runs thinner than piss and vinegar with fundamentalists who still try to punt the bible as ”historically reliable” and claim that the gospels were actually authored by people called Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
        Such disingenuous behaviour is reprehensible and you wonder why I go full tilt at some of these dickheads.

        There you are preaching Love and Flowers and Peace Signs and all things Feeling Groovy, while fundamentalist Dickheads are still lecturing to kids that the frakking Resserection of the make believe man- god, Jesus of Nowhere was a real live historical event!!!

        And the New Trend in Christian Enlightenment (sic) seems to be, ”Oh, we are not religious , or even Christian in the old sense, we are Jesus followers ”.
        Maybe this is in response to the growing realization that *Paul ( whoever the Hades he was, if in fact there is a ”was” in the first place) was the founder of the Christian religion and not the Lake Tiberius Pedestrian.

        It also seems to be quite trendy to dismiss the miraculous nonsense of the Old Testament as simply myth in light of undeniable physical evidence that shows a definite alternate history of ancient Canaan, one that is becoming ever more clear as being totally at odds with the bible.
        And of course, there’s Human Genome Project.
        I am surprised Collins is not suffering cognitive dissonance.
        ”Poof! Well there goes Adam and Eve and Original Sin, Boys and Girls. Now what we gonna do?”
        ”Keep on lying. It’s worked okay so far, hasn’t it?”

        Now all that has to be done is to get such trendy Jesus Followers to recognise that as we can regard the Old as nothing but historical geopolitical fiction then it’s about bloody time the world regarded the New in exactly the same light .
        Except for the New it’s considerably worse in fact, as apologists ( I am loath to use the world scholars when referring to disingenuous arse hats like Licona, Habermas, Craig, et al) are fully aware of the corrupt nature of the agenda they continue to push.

        How’s that for a Wednesday Morning Rant?



        • Pretty good! 🙂

          And, other than the “subjective embroidery” you always add, I cannot dispute your eloquence.

          “Now all that has to be done is to get such trendy Jesus Followers … ” And that seems to be where we part company: the doing. And I have hopes one day that even that might be something we can agree on! 🙂


          • Well, acknowledging the truth of anything can sometimes be difficult for many of us, and for those who have trusted implicitly and invested a fair part of their lives in the lies they have been fed it is often traumatic to let go.
            However, by all accounts the grass is sweeter on the other side of the fence, largely because there is a lot less manure.
            Surprisingly, truth as a growth medium might appear difficult to get started but once it takes hold it surpasses the nonsense of make believe and lies in leaps and bounds.

            If you actually study the words of the make-beleive Lake Tiberuius Pedestrian you soon realise they were not quite as Hunky Dory as they are made out to be.
            The character is on occasion quite the nasty piece of work in the way he commands people, and as far as passing on good old fashioned common-sense he was a bit of a nob to be honest.
            And what sort of superhero allows himself to be crucified?
            Bit short on the old grey matter, methinks.


            • “Well, acknowledging the truth of anything can sometimes be difficult for many of us, and for those who have trusted implicitly and invested a fair part of their lives in the lies they have been fed it is often traumatic to let go.”

              Might be described as cutting both ways.

              Something I am seeing in this dialogue is that “ex-Christians” have the same vested interest in being right as have “Christians” (re historical reliability). There are books on both sides – quoted sources on both sides – and a huge industry all consumed by “proof”.

              All over someone who does not exist.


            • Oh, I agree, it might very well be.

              However the Christian faith ( as are all religions citing as fact a creator deity) is based on a foundation of lies, as well you are aware, Paul.
              Science is generally self-correcting all the time, and doesn’t generally shy away from its responsibilities in this arena.
              The religious peddlers and especially those of a fundamentalist bent are simply willfully ignorant or outright liars.

              Ex Christians generally want to see things put right so those that are still in the loop can get out as unscathed as possible without some of the trauma they experienced.


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