Would you mind substantiating the claim that the NT was written over 100 years after Jesus died?

Certainly. This is (should be at least) a welcome question to anyone making a claim.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReV0nCuObcs

I understand that Bill Maher isn’t a reputable source, he is an entertainer. Ignore him and listen to Father Coyne, because he is the one who is the reputable source. At about 53 seconds he will give you a timeline encompassing when the scripture was written. That is the important part (for the purposes of this post) of the video. Here is our starting point.

What happened in between 2000 BCE and 200 AD? (I will do my best to provide sources that you can look up)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament

“All of the works which would eventually be incorporated into the New Testament would seem to have been written no later than around AD 150.”

So here is the starting point.

http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/scriptorium/papyrus/texts/manuscripts.html

Peter van Minnen gives some sources at the bottom of his article. He is indeed a good source to use: http://classics.uc.edu/index.php/facultyandstaff/33?ePID=MzY4NTk%3D

So perhaps a revision of my original claim is needed. The New Testament writers may have based their works off of people who actually knew a man named Jesus. However, as Dr. van Minnen has shown us, there has been a lot of scribal errors going into the writings. Since they were copied, or annotated, by other scribes it does not make them first hand accounts. Furthermore, I am sure that anyone reading this will be familiar with King James (the guy who organized the Bible as we read it today). He assembled the best scribes in order to translate the Bible from Greek/Hebrew/Latin into English.
*side note: before King James it was seen as heretical to translate the Bible into a common language (like English) because only the clergy was supposed to be able to read/interpret the Bible for the common people. In the Middle Ages the Church was horribly corrupt (indulgences are only one example).

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How do you go about researching things you don’t know? How do you determine whether your sources of information are reliable?

This is a wonderful and important question. A lot of the information I use comes from notes and text books that I read while studying such topics. In order to be taught in classes by PHD professors, it has to be rigorously investigated and proved by many sources, so I accept what my professors have to say. Not to say  I don’t do my own research, I often do. One thing I am really wary of is using Wikipedia. I do like it, because it gives a great overview of a subject to be researched. It gives a good start, but is by no means definitive. If I use it as a source, I have read the page, and have done previous research about it. To make sure that you are using good sources I recommend using academic sites, like Jstor. If you just search Google and find a site that has some good info I would check to see if it is peer reviewed, check the background of the author of the site, and try to find other reputable sources to corroborate the claims. In short, it takes a lot of staring and a computer screen, reading, note taking, and searching. It certainly isn’t fun, but it is important if you really want to make some good claims. Then if someone wants to question your validity, it is a welcome question.

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A Conversation I Had

So I had a conversation on http://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2013/01/rationalizing-christian/. You can find it at the bottom (or close to it, if people have been commenting). At any rate, here is what was said:
ME: I wouldn’t say the Bible is unhistorical. Its just not representative of the Christian religion until the New Testament. The Old Testament is taken from Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek, and other more ancient religions. The Old Testament is a horrible representative of Christian religion, historically speaking, because it is direct plagarism from other religions. The New Testament, is a farce at best. Let me explain. The NT, when all the documents were gathered, were like merky water. There is so much that is left out of the NT because it didn’t ‘fit’ with how some powerful people believed in it. So they put this merky water through purification to have it declare only what they want it to. Is it a first hand account of Jesus? Not even close. The NT was written in 150 A.D. That is over 100 years after Jesus was crucified. Was Josephus a first hand account? No. He was born around 37 A.D. which is after Jesus was Crucified as well. At best the NT is a 3rd or 4th hand account of the life of Jesus. That doesn’t prove that Jesus rose from the dead any more than a blog about Elvis proves that Elvis never died. It just means that it is plausable that Jesus might have existed around the 1st century. Well so did Arthrongs, Appolonius of Tyana, and many more messiahs so other Jewish sects.

RESPONSE: You first, Gary. Give us reasons as to why anyone should think your assertions are true. Here are some that you made.

Gary asserted that the following is true:

1) There is so much that is left out of the NT because it didn’t ‘fit’ with how some powerful people believed in it. So they put this merky water through purification to have it declare only what they want it to.

2) Is it a first hand account of Jesus? Not even close.

3) At best the NT is a 3rd or 4th hand account of the life of Jesus.

4) The Biblical stories (ask a really good theologian) in the OT are taken directly from ancient Mesopotamian religions.

5) Really, I am an ancient historian. I know what I’m talking about.

I skipped a few things, but the above information is what is more important (pertinent to the question at least).

Here is the answer:

1. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HxdB6LUJZ08
2. The NT was written OVER 100 YEARS AFTER JESUS DIED. Take a history class and you will soon learn what a first hand account is.
3. ^
4. Ask a theologian. Google the epic of Gilgamesh. Also google the name “ziusudra” Let me give you some back ground. All the flood stories occur around a river called the euphrates, which floods every spring. around 2900 BCE there was a 6 day storm which made the river flood even more and it killed a lot of people. Our king, ziusudra, comandeered a local barge, filled it with valuables and rode the river downstream to the Persian Gulf. He laded on a hilltop and gave thanks to God because he was still alive. There is Noah’s Ark for you. There are also many other flood stories along side these two. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_of_Gilgamesh

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziusudra

Google the Tower of Babel, that also isn’t originally Judeo Christian. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_Babel

Gensis: http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=O4MhThxAF7I&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DO4MhThxAF7I

5. I have spent the last 5 years studying ancient history, archeology, anthropology (human evolutionary process).

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Lets Get The Dialogue Flowing

I have been thinking about how to start some sort of dialogue. I hate making people angry because then all rational conversation goes straight out the window. So perhaps you would like to know some more about me and why I had the urge to make such a site. Simply put, I just want to be a better Atheist. I just want to know more. You would be amazed at what you can learn from the questions that people ask, and even more can be learned from researching the answer to someone’s question.  I want to learn more. One problem I have in debating with people is that they say that I don’t know their religion. The problem with that is I DO KNOW THE RELIGION, just not THEIR PERSONAL faith. Everyone has a different perspective of how they see God, or read the Bible, or view on faith in general. Everyone looks through their own lens with these sort of things. I do my best to understand someone’s personal faith if they explain it, but often times it feels like playing checkers with a 3 year old. They keep changing the rules to fit themselves or their argument.

Sorry about the ranting nature of this post. Anyway, hopefully someone will find something to go off of and formulate some questions for me :)

Hope to hear from someone soon!

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Questions Here

Questions Here.

via Questions Here.

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Lets Get Rolling

Ok, so I realize that this blog has just been started and it is not likely that I will get questions too quickly. That’s ok, if you want something to go off of here is my other blog. Now, although I encourage people to ask questions about Atheism and the like I will remind you that respect is earned not given. Disrespect me and I will not respect you. That being said, the inverse is also true: respect me and I will respect you. If you are just trying to tell me that I’m a crack-pot whackadoodle Atheist when you just need some attention, post your question but don’t expect a response. I will not alter your questions in any way shape or form, or take them off, or ban you.
When I get asked a question I will take it seriously. I will do some research if necessary and always try to provide some sort reference. If I don’t have a reference, its probably because its in my area of study (ancient history) and I’ll be able to think of an answer off the top of my head (in which case I’ll still find something that you can look at other than what I have to say).
So go ahead, I’m an open book.

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