ETS inerrancy debate featured in “The Economist”

The most recent print edition of The Economist features an article on the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the controversy about inerrancy at its meeting last week. Among other things, the article portrays the ETS discussions as an intramural debate among a dying breed of Christians—a discussion that has no relevance to the modern world, much less to the droves of young people who are leaving the evangelical faith of their parents.

The substance of the article is terribly skewed by the author’s presupposition that science and faith are at odds with one another. Apparently, the author thinks that rattling off the latest advances in the human genome project is all that is required to refute evangelicals who defend a biblical worldview. There’s no serious interaction with the evangelical side of the debate—just summary dismissal.

For readers who want a more faithful account of the relationship between science and Christian faith, I would recommend the following book:

C. John Collins, Science & Faith: Friends or Foes? (Crossway, 2003).

In the meantime as you are reading The Economist article, just remember that there is more to this controversy than The Economist is letting on.

“The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” –Proverbs 18:17

34 Responses to ETS inerrancy debate featured in “The Economist”

  1. Bob Wilson November 26, 2013 at 12:47 am #

    The article is very fair. There is no way to overlook the fact that religion has no verifiable evidence to support its dogmas. Science wins because the scientific method works.

    • Andre du Toit November 26, 2013 at 2:28 am #

      Hi Bob. Kindly explain how (1) matter came into being (2) life was created from non-living matter – both according to the scientific method – which is (1) make an observation, (2) formulate a hypotheses, (3) conduct an experiment, and (4) on the basis of this either accept or reject the hypotheses (or maybe inconclusive?).
      Name maybe three or four dogmas that you refer to that opposes “science”

      • Aaron Ginn November 26, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

        Why does Bob have to provide any such thing to support his claim that “religion has no verifiable evidence to support its dogmas”? His claim is true. If you wish to refute it, why don’t you provide the evidence to do so?

        Bob doesn’t need to explain how matter came into being. Please explain how the god you want to credit for creation came into being, assuming that this god who hides from all natural means of perception even exists.

        We know that matter exists (unless you want to put forth a metaphysical argument on the state of reality) but we don’t know that there is a god at all, much less that the one you worship is the correct one.

        • Andre du Toit November 27, 2013 at 6:16 am #

          Hi Aaron, I somehow missed this. My apologies. The issue at stake is the “inerrancy of the Bible” and from Denny’s comments, the aspect of “science v the Bible” seemed relevant to address.

          With my comment, I “proved” by implication that science is similarly in some cases based on faith rather than experimental proof.

          Evidence of dogmas opposing proper science was further questioned (as science is placed against religion) – a .fairly reasonable request, is it not?

          It is evident that each of us would approach this matter from a different perspective, and debates on these issues have gone on for many years.

          My basic premise is that Christianity is in no way opposed to proper science and has indeed played a major role in establishing it on a sure footing. It is also recognised that there are areas that science cannot express an opinion on matters which is not open to investigation of the natural world- such as the belief in God, angels, Satan, Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice for our sins.

          To however claim that the “supernatural” does not exist, “science” makes a claim in respect of an issue that it cannot express an opinion on with any authority.

      • Bob Wilson November 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

        Yes, the standard “God of the gaps” argument. It’s been addressed thousands of times on youtube and other websites by people far more qualified than me, but basically you are saying that because science has not explained absolutely everything, therefore Jesus, Allah, Vishnu, whatever. But think how far science has brought us. In biblical times, a supernatural being was the explanation for everything–mountains don’t normally explode, therefore when it happens, a god must be very angry. Now we know volcanoes are the result of natural forces, not supernatural ones.

        It’s certainly possible there will be questions, such as why the universe exists,that we will never answer. This will not be evidence that Jesus was divine or that an angel dictated the Qur’an to Mohammed.

        As the article states, modern genetics as well as the evolutionary study of speciation shows that the story of Adam and Eve is scientifically impossible. .There were never only two human beings.

        It’s all about verifiable evidence. Let’s talk Hell. It sounds awful and like Ted Turner, I’d rather not go there. Both Christians and Muslims tell me I’m going there, albeit for different reasons. My response to both is, show me your verifiable evidence that such a place or condition exists. Then we can move on to your verifiable evidence that your favorite book, the bible or Qur’an, accurately predicts who goes there.

        • Andrew Orlovsky November 26, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

          All your questions cannot be answered in one post, but these sites will make you think.

          http://godandscience.org/
          http://str.org/
          http://www.reasonablefaith.org/
          http://www.reasons.org/
          http://www.tektonics.org/

          Read some books by Lee Strobel, (Case for Christ, Faith, Creator, Real Jesus) then read the material of the scholars that he interviews.

          You simply cannot argue that there is absolutely no evidence that supports Christianity.

          • Bob Wilson November 26, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

            I’ve read Lee’s book, the Case for Christ I think it was. It was given to me by my very religious co-worker.

            Sorry, no offense, but it was totally unconvincing. No verifiable evidence at all, just repeated assertions that biblical accounts must be true because the bible says lots of people really saw these miracles.

          • Aaron Ginn November 26, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

            Andrew, I read STR quite often. There’s no “there” there. It’s primarily a website for keeping people in the fold. There are no good arguments that would convince a skeptic. In fact, their frequent use of discredited sources like Stephen Meyer tells me there’s nothing new there and certainly nothing that qualifies as verifiable evidence.

            Strobel’s books consist of lobbing softballs at believers, pretending to argue against them with ewak arguments and eventually assenting to their veracity without a nod to real skeptics.

        • Andre du Toit November 27, 2013 at 3:55 am #

          Of course it is not suggested that because science cannot explain everything, the default position is Christianity/Hinduism or whatever. Science is the process of investigation of that we can verify. As you rightly mention, there are issues that science does not address, cannot explain. That will be the “supernatural” – which we cannot discount for lack of evidence to verify it using methods that measure the natural.

          Adam and Eve ? this very recent article (1 August 2013) states :Almost every man alive can trace his origins to one man who lived about 135,000 years ago, new research suggests. And that ancient man likely shared the planet with the mother of all women.(http://www.livescience.com/38613-genetic-adam-and-eve-uncovered.html) -This is a secular site.

          You are going to hell? Who are we to judge? The answer for me is in the story of the criminal next to Jesus on Golgotha. In his last hours he gave his life to Jesus. Nobody is beyond salvation. All I can really tel you is what the Bible clearly spells out. We are ALL sinners and we are saved by grace, and not because we are any good. Ask my wife if I had a chance otherwise!

          • Bob Wilson November 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

            Ok, if by supernatural, you mean a deistic god–a god who snapped her fingers to create the universe and then went to lunch, leaving us with the impersonal laws of nature that we observe. I think everyone, even Dawkins, agrees science cannot disprove the existence of such a god. Typically, though, that’s not what people have in mind when they pray.

            The article you cite does not support the story of Adam and Eve In fact it says this:

            “These primeval people aren’t parallel to the biblical Adam and Eve. They weren’t the first modern humans on the planet, but instead just the two out of thousands of people alive at the time with unbroken male or female lineages that continue on today.”

            • Andre du Toit November 28, 2013 at 2:36 am #

              Hi Bob. By supernatural I mean anything that does not form part of the natural world we can observe. And yes, it will include God, as well as other such as Satan, angels etc.
              Re Biblical Adam and Eve in the article: Of course they cannot accept that as this would mean accepting part of the story of creation. Then rather claim something which is totally unsupported and a theory, rather than fact. (The new “science”?)
              And no, God did not leave us with only impersonal laws of nature, but invites each one of us into a personal relationship.
              Thanks for the discussion.

  2. Paul Reed November 26, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    “science and faith [aren’t] at odds with one another.”

    It’s like trying to believe in evolution and Christianity at the same time. As Al Mohler once quipped, you are either really confused about what scientists are saying or what Christianity says, or both. The worldviews just simply aren’t compatible.

  3. Andre du Toit November 26, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Real science and Christianity is clearly not incompatible, as evidenced by a (growing?) number of scientists are outspoken Christians, without compromising either real science or Christianity. An example would be Max Planck that stated that both science and Christianity requires a belief in God.There are a fair number of prominent Christian scientists in the following list :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_thinkers_in_science.

    • Aaron Ginn November 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

      Even very smart people can hold contradictory opinions about things. Cognitive dissonance is a difficult thing to overcome.

      Anyway, I would dispute your claim that a growing number of scientists are outspoken Christians. This article states that 93% of members of the National Academy of Sciences are atheist/agnostic.

      http://www.catholic.com/blog/trent-horn/does-it-matter-that-many-scientists-are-atheists

      • Andre du Toit November 26, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

        Hi Aaron. On what basis do you propose that a scientist could hold two contradictory views, where one view would exclude the possibility of the other – without being dishonest and I think ignoring the law of non-contradiction? This also makes the erroneous assumption that real science and Christianity is “incompatible”. Maybe you can provide proof of this?

        It seems that different reports come to different conclusions about the % of “scientists” that do not believe in a “deity”/God. Whatever the percentage, it does not imply truth – as a belief in something does not by implication make it true.
        At some stage it was for instance believed by “scientists” that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch as it was supposedly written before “written” records existed. It was later established that for instance the Code of Hammurabi was written before the time of Moses. Thus, in this example, real science and Christianity is not at odds, with science proving rather than disproving for instance the Bible.
        But maybe you have examples where real science has not questioned but totally disproved Christianity/The Bible (quoted in context)

        • Aaron Ginn November 26, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

          Hi Aaron. On what basis do you propose that a scientist could hold two contradictory views, where one view would exclude the possibility of the other – without being dishonest and I think ignoring the law of non-contradiction? This also makes the erroneous assumption that real science and Christianity is “incompatible”. Maybe you can provide proof of this?

          I can’t prove anything of the sort; however, I think I can convince you that science and faith are incompatible with a question. What evidence would be sufficient to falsify your belief in Christianity? If you say nothing would cause you to reject the christian “hypotheis” you have moved outside the bounds of science.

          Anyway, I don’t care about percentages of atheists in science. The point is that science and faith are incompatible, IMO.

          Regarding your last sentence, I would argue that biology has completely disproved the Genesis creation myth. Geology has disproved the myth of a worldwide flood. Anthropology has disproved the notion that languages developed during the Tower of Babel myth. Finally, archaeology has disproved the myth of a mass Exodus of Hebrews from Egypt. I think that’s sufficient.

          • Andre du Toit November 27, 2013 at 3:25 am #

            Hi Aaron

            Evidence sufficient to prove my belief in Christianity false? Easy – any conclusive evidence that what is stated as fact in the Bible is wrong. Suggestions or questioning facts does not qualify.
            But I do not claim that I can prove everything stated in the Bible as truth. For one, I do not know everything, and secondly Christianity is a “faith” which means that there are issues that I can never prove. Central to the Christian faith is that Jesus died for the sins of those that believe in Him (you can see I am a “Calvinist” lol). I cannot prove that despite having received forgiveness.
            As is the case with for instance faith in macro evolution. It is based on faith in the way matter came about, how life originated, in uniformatism. Thus both rely on faith in something that cannot be proved.
            I am really sorry, but would you kindly be more specific about biology?
            There is evidence that a worldwide flood is more than likely – such as polystrate fossils, marine fossils in even some of the highest continental areas. Thus with evidence supporting a view contrary to your claim, it seems that the best one can say in favour of your argument is possibly that many scientists do not believe in a worldwide flood, but there is contrary evidence which makes it a possibility and thus do not rule it out.
            Babel – Absence of proof is proof of a contrary position? Refer to what was considered fact about written language in Moses’ time. As far as I know, all new discoveries prove rather than disprove the Bible. An honest evaluation of historical facts and apparently building materials used, nature of pottery etc would suggest again that the story of Babel. Secular linguists are puzzled by the fact that languages that language seems to have “evolved” simultaneously in more than one place, but which would support the Bible story of Babel. So in fact, Babel is not disproved and is even consistent with both archaeology and linguistics.
            Exodus: Recent satellite infrared technology discovered evidence of a massive number of people going from the Nile Delta on a route seemingly consistent with the Biblical record.
            This in essence means that the best that those opposed to the Biblical record can provide, is either lack of evidence to support the Biblical record, or ignorance (willful or otherwise) of findings consistent with it. In addition, the original claim to which I have responded has not been substantiated – that it is “science versus the Bible” and “Christian dogma
            In all honesty Aaron, one must conclude that Christianity is not “disproved”. And as far as “the bounds of science” is concerned, the Bible is not primarily a scientific journal, it just claims to be the truth – and which truth has significant implications for everyone.

            Have a great day!

            • Aaron Ginn November 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

              Have a great day!

              Thanks, Andre. You too!

  4. Ian Shaw November 26, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    This just all goes back to people claiming that Biblical proof via eyewitness testimony isn’t considered “empirical evidence” by strong skeptics, when throughout history (even today), eyewitness testimony is used all the time, including whether someone gets imprisoned or not.

    I hear someone say “there’s not empirical evidence for anything that happened in the Bible” and I just have to chuckle.

    • Bob Wilson November 26, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

      Do you believe all the eyewitness testimony for Islam or Mormonism? Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable which is why so often DNA evidence proves people in prison are innocent.

      Have you never attended a meeting and later found many people came away with very different impressions of what happened? I certainly have.

      In both cases, it’s usually not malicious. None of us are objective observers, which is why the scientific method requires double blind studies.

    • Aaron Ginn November 26, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

      None of the gospel accounts are eyewitness accounts. They are all anonymous and the earliest copies date to the second century. So, yes, I would say doesn’t qualify as evidence (or at least strong enough evidence to justify belief in supernatural claims).

  5. Ian Shaw November 27, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    Aaron,

    An eyewitness giving his account to a scribe to write down, would be an eyewitness account, no? Not everyone knew how to write back then. And scribes were expensive as it needed to be done correctly the first time because there was no delete key or eraser. It had to be started all from the beginning.

    Will you then dismiss the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Caesar and Homer as they are even less reliable (in fact horrible accuracy) in their accuracies between the original writing and the earliest copy?

    The fact of the matter is that the New Testament manuscripts are better-preserved and more numerous than any other ancient writings. Because they are so numerous, they can be cross checked for accuracy and they are very consistent.

    There are presently 5,686 Greek manuscripts in existence today for the New Testament. If we were to compare the number of New Testament manuscripts to other ancient writings, we find that the New Testament manuscripts far outweigh the others in quantity.

    The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure, which is incredibly amazing accuracy. In addition, there are over 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000.

    Almost all biblical scholars agree that the New Testament documents were all written before the close of the First Century. If Jesus was crucified in 30 A.D., then that means the entire New Testament was completed within 70 years. This is crucial because it means there were plenty of people around when the New Testament documents were penned, people who could have contested the writings. In other words, those who wrote the documents knew that if they were inaccurate, plenty of people would have pointed it out. But, we have absolutely no ancient documents contemporary with the First Century that contest the New Testament texts.

    Furthermore, another important aspect of this discussion is the fact that we have a fragment of the gospel of John that dates back to around 29 years from the original writing (John Rylands Papyri 125 A.D.). This is extremely close to the original writing date. This is simply unheard of in any other ancient writing, and it demonstrates that the Gospel of John is a First Century document.

    The next closest, is Homer’s Iliad, where the closest copy from the original is 500 years later. Undoubtedly, that period of time allows for more textual corruption in its transmission. How much less so for the New Testament documents?

  6. Aaron Ginn November 27, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    Hi Ian,

    An eyewitness giving his account to a scribe to write down, would be an eyewitness account, no? Not everyone knew how to write back then. And scribes were expensive as it needed to be done correctly the first time because there was no delete key or eraser. It had to be started all from the beginning.

    The earliest possible date for authorship of Mark is about 30 years after Jesus supposedly was resurrected. That’s about as long as it’s been since John Lennon was killed. Can you imagine how the death of Lennon would have been mythologized if we relied only on written records and word of mouth instead of video and audio footage and modern journalistic methodology? Now add in the superstitious beliefs of people who lived during Jesus’ day and it’s quite easy to imagine that the story of a messianic prophet who was killed could morph into the tale of resurrection. Heck, the oldest known manuscripts of Mark don’t even mention a post-resurrection Jesus. It’s easy to imagine they could have been added at a later date.

    Will you then dismiss the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Caesar and Homer as they are even less reliable (in fact horrible accuracy) in their accuracies between the original writing and the earliest copy?

    Plato’s and Aristotle’s works are interesting from a philosophical standpoint, but they contain little superstition (e.g. Platonic dualism which has been debunked by modern science). They certainly don’t make outrageous claims like people rising from their graves and walking around Jerusalem for example. Homer’s works are among the finest works of literature from the ancient world, but no one is claiming that Odysseus really stabbed a giant cyclops in the eye or navigated his ship between a giant whirlpool and a monster. Whether they are word-for-word transcriptions of what Homer or Plato said is irrelevant because they don’t claim to speak universal truth for humanity. It is essential that the gospels be literally true because Christianity collapses in on itself if they are myths.

    Almost all biblical scholars agree that the New Testament documents were all written before the close of the First Century. If Jesus was crucified in 30 A.D., then that means the entire New Testament was completed within 70 years. This is crucial because it means there were plenty of people around when the New Testament documents were penned, people who could have contested the writings. In other words, those who wrote the documents knew that if they were inaccurate, plenty of people would have pointed it out. But, we have absolutely no ancient documents contemporary with the First Century that contest the New Testament texts.

    That’s simply not true. Liberal biblical scholars date the pastoral epistles as late as the 2nd century. You can reject their claims if you like but your assertion that “Almost all biblical scholars agree that the New Testament documents were all written before the close of the First Century” is demonstrably false.

  7. Aaron Ginn November 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure, which is incredibly amazing accuracy. In addition, there are over 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000.

    Even if this is correct, it still says nothing about the truth claims of said manuscripts. If you start with a myth and carefully make thousands of copies of a myth, you end with with thousands of accurate copies of the originial myth.

  8. Bob Wilson November 27, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    Ian, there are countless youtube debates featuring people like Bart Erhman discussing textual reliability, so I’m not going to get into that.

    For now, let’s stipulate that the New Testament is a perfectly uncorrupted eye witness account of what the first followers of Jesus say they saw. I am still skeptical.

    1) The gospels were written by Jesus’s most devoted followers. We have nothing direct from any other contemporaries. (Yes, I know about Josephus and others. They are not eye witness accounts of the life or miracles of Jesus.) Apply this circumstance to any other figure of history. Suppose we ONLY had narratives of Richard Nixon or Abraham Lincoln from their most devoted and closest aides. Would you assume you had an accurate and unbiased portrait? With no embellishment or airbrushing? Would you assume these accounts fairly presented the opposition? I think not.

    2) The more implausible the testimony, the more I am skeptical. If someone tells me it rained last night, I’m inclined to believe him. If he tells me his dead grandmother came over for dinner, well, sorry, but I’m going to need some corroborating evidence. You mention that a jury sometimes convicts based on eye witness testimony. True, but juries prefer to have corroborating evidence, such as DNA. And they are unlikely to convict if the witness swears to things that violate the laws of nature, such as claiming the defendant jumped over a 20 foot fence. I am simply applying the same standards.

    Even today, people will testify to all sorts of things. We can find people who will give us detailed accounts of their alien abductions. That they prayed to Allah and their child was miraculously healed. Their very sincere testimony doesn’t make their claims true.

  9. Ian Shaw November 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    Bob- Two words- Oral tradition. That was the standard then and was the equivalent of eyewiteness/DNA testimony in it’s time.

    Again, because the original manuscripts were written well before Jesus’ followers/those that heard of him died off, inaccurate accounts would have been disputed. These people would not have willingly sacrificed their lives for a lie/myth.

    • Aaron Ginn November 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

      Bob- Two words- Oral tradition. That was the standard then and was the equivalent of eyewiteness/DNA testimony in it’s time.

      Eyewitness testimony is the most unreliable form of evidence there is. It’s certainly shouldn’t be mentioned along with DNA evidence as if the two are somehow on equal ground. They aren’t.

      Second-hand (or later) eyewitness testimony is even less reliable than first-person testimony. Ever play that kid’s game Telephone?

      These people would not have willingly sacrificed their lives for a lie/myth.

      You didn’t really just say that did you? So did Joseph Smith die for a lie? How about Muhammad’s original followers? People die for mistaken beliefs and causes all the time.

      Regardless, what evidence is there that the disciples actually did die the way Christian tradition states? There is none outside of church tradition which had a vested interest in perpetuating those stories.

  10. Ian Shaw November 27, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Aaron,

    Manuscript
    Papyri p52
    (John Rylands
    Fragment)
    Contains John 18:31-33,37-38
    Date
    Original Written circa 96 A.D.
    MSS Date circa 125 A.D
    Approx. Time Span 29years
    Location-John Rylands Library, Manchester, England

    I could continue to give examples of these with sources. Even with your “liberal” scholars, the consensus majority state they were written before the close of the first century. But I won’t bother you with facts.

    Plainly put, if you dismiss the New Testament as reliable information (including that of historical nature-which even the strongest agnostic would find hard to refute), then they must also dismiss the reliability (and historical nature) of the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Caesar if only on the basis of the timeframe between the original manuscript and the date of its first copy.

    Cited-Deissmann was convinced that p52 was written well within the reign of Hadrian (A.D. 117-38) and perhaps even during the time of Trajan (A.D. 98-117)” (Footnote #2 found on pg. 39 of The Text of the New Testament, by Bruce M. Metzger, 2nd Ed. 1968, Oxford University Press, NY, NY). Bruce Metzger has authored more than 50 books. He holds two Masters Degrees, a Ph.D. and has been awarded several honorary doctorates. “He is past president of the Society of Biblical Literature, the International Society for New Testament Studies, and the North American Patristic Society.”

    • Aaron Ginn November 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

      We’re all predisposed to side with those who provide evidence that fits our preconceived notions. I’m guilty of it too. You and I can throw sources back and forth at one another and we won’t get anywhere because we start from different places. Regardless, anyone reading this thread can do their own research with a search engine and a free afternoon. We’re at an impasse regarding the historicity of the NT canon.

      The question a person should ask himself is this: does the evidence justify the type of claim being put forth? What you propose is that a god became a man and sacrificed himself for the benefit of humanity. The only sources that corroborate this incredible story are 2000 year-old scraps of papyrus with unknown authorship. To think that a god who wants to reveal himself to the world would use such sketchy means to communicate this amazing work stretches credulity to its breaking point. As Hume states “…belief should be proportional to evidence.” The evidence for what christianity proposes is so minute that the only way one can justify belief in it is to set aside all rationality and just “accept it on faith”. But that makes christianity exactly like every other religion that has ever existed. There’s no reason to choose it over any of the others except that it is part of the culture in which you have been raised.

      Perhaps god just hates rationals and skeptics. If so, I guess I’m part of the reprobate because I do believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Christianity doesn’t meet that bar. It doesn’t even come close.

  11. Ian Shaw November 27, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    Shoot, even a very large liberal university in Ann Arbor MIchigan holds manuscripts of papyri 46 (Chester Beatty Papyrus), which contains many NT epistles and even that liberal university holds that the originals were written between 50 and 70 A.D.
    – University of Michigan library

    • Aaron Ginn November 27, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

      Shoot, even a very large liberal university in Ann Arbor MIchigan holds manuscripts of papyri 46 (Chester Beatty Papyrus), which contains many NT epistles and even that liberal university holds that the originals were written between 50 and 70 A.D.
      – University of Michigan library

      You’re straw manning my argument. Where did I ever say that any of the contents of this particular papyrus were not written during the time in question? Your assertion was, and I quote:

      “Almost all biblical scholars agree that the New Testament documents were all written before the close of the First Century.”

      I specifically mentioned the pastoral epistles as parts of the NT which contradicted your assertion. You’ve provided nothing to dispute that. I ask you now to provide hard evidence of your assertion that almost all biblical scholars agree that the pastorals were written before the close of the first century. If not, then admit you made it up and attacked a position which I never asserted nor tried to defend.

  12. Bob Wilson November 27, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Ian,

    I’m not saying the followers of Jesus were lying. Even today, in a scientific age in which we are taught to be more skeptical, people continue to believe things which objectively are not true. Any yes, some of them are willing to die for these beliefs. Suicide bombers kill themselves for Islam. The followers of Bob Jones (900 of them!) fed their own children cyanide on his say-so because they believed in him.

    • Aaron Ginn November 27, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

      The followers of Bob Jones (900 of them!) fed their own children cyanide on his say-so because they believed in him.

      I think you meant Jim Jones. Bob Jones University has its issues but mass suicide is not one of them. 🙂

      • Bob Wilson November 27, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

        Oooooops, LOL!

        Yes, of course you are correct!

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