Writing James P Holding Off!

My friends,

I have recently started a thread on the infamous Christian website "theologyweb" pretty much announcing the end of any friendship with J.P. Holding of Tekton Apologetics. I want to take this time to air out my opinion of Holding (should he read this, good!). I thought that I could be an "esteemed skeptic" in the eyes of many Christians. I thought that I could be the "model atheist" by winning Holding's respect and trying to be as diplomatic as I could. I confess to being wrong about this. I don't know what I was thinking in trying to befriend Holding and trying to get on his good side. Loftus called it right: he predicted I would see through Holding and turn against him. I admit to doubting it but John was right. I now see completely through him and I wish for little more to do with him.

The fact of the matter is that while Holding has, arguably, good qualities, in my judgement his damning qualities seem to outweigh any good qualities that he has. For one thing, I consider Mr. Holding to be arrogant. He has a arrogant opinion of his own intelligence that is just nausiating. Holding writes off anyone who seems to disagree with him as being stupid. Holding is always insulting people who seem to disagree with him. It's bad enough that he insults fellow skeptics like John, Ed Babinski, Steven Carr, and Farrell Till, but he's sunken to an all new low by insulting scholars like Richard Carrier, Robert M Price, and Bart Ehrman and showing nothing but arrogant contempt for them.

I cannot handle this. I consider Carrier, Loftus, and Babinski to be among my good friends. I have no problem with Holding disagreeing with them but I do not like Holding's abrasive demeanor to them, insulting them, belittling them, and acting childish with his antics. I consider Holding at this point to be a sanctimonious jerk with serious ego problems. I am glad that he doesn't have a Ph.D. degree or he'd be just as arrogant as Jonathan Sarfati, whom I deem pathologically arrogant.

I very much credit Loftus with opening my eyes towards Holding. I wanted to see mostly good in Holding but it's not there. Further, I consider Holding to be a spin-doctor and a bully. I am sorry I wanted to become good friends with him and I don't know what I was thinking (well I do actually, I just don't know how I managed to rationalize it as I did!). The funny thing is that Holding constantly berates critics of the Bible for critiquing it or critiquing the Christian faith and for lacking the scholarly credentials to do so. I can agree that in some cases the criticism is deserved but I don't think that calls for insulting and belittling people. And Holding's degree is what? A Master's in Library Science?

I do not like the fact that he insults/demeans actual credentialed scholars like Carrier, Ehrman, and Price. Holding does nothing but scoff at them. Yeah, right, like they're just so stupid compared to a hyper-intellectual like Holding. Sure!

I have made a decision to discontinue the Scholarly Diplomacy Series with Mr. Holding until, frankly, he grows the hell up! Perhaps I will never have contact with him again. It's possible that I won't speak to Mr. Holding and anytime I have anything to say will be in a critique of some nonsensical garbage he has written that's too good not to critique.

My friends, I am sorry I defended Holding. My opinion of him now is that he is an arrogant spin-doctor of questionable honesty who enjoys insulting people and arrogantly scoffing at those who disagrees with him. I cannot believe that I even wrote a response to a blog post on here trying to defend him by asking blog members on here not to take him so seriously. I would like to offer a bit of friendly advice to people here: don't take him seriously at all. He's a sad joke! Yes, he's a better exegete, than, say, Norman Geisler, but this just goes to illustrate what nonsense Christian apologetics is. It also goes to illustrate that Mr. Holding is better at being a spin-doctor than Geisler is.

I wish to close this post with a note to Steven Carr if he reads this: Steven, you and I have had our differences. There were times when I regretfully didn't put Holding in his place when he insulted your intelligence. To my deep shame and discredit, I didn't do anything. For this I am very much sorry. I completely retract anything offensive I said about you or Farrell Till. I regret that I will never, again, be friends with Till and I have possibly lost your respect without any redemption. I am sorry this happened. Much of it is to my shame and I accept the shame with my deepest apologies. I am dead serious about this. I would like to start over fresh and offer a hand of friendship to you and Till but I can understand if you wish to decline.




Anonymous said...

I knew you were more intelligent than to continue to seek Holding's approval. He is a joke. Only a small band of young men take him seriously. Congratulations! Be the true freethinker I know you to be.

nsfl said...

I just gained a lot of respect for you Matthew.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Matthew! You are a great guy.

I am sorry that it took you this long to come to your "senses" about Holding. It’s really just not worth the effort to debate/befriend him. Might as well hit your head against a cement wall, and that’s not clever, now is it?

When I started questioning my “faith,” I stumbled upon his stuff because I wanted to investigate both sides of the story, and his attitude and lies greatly aided in me finally saying goodbye to Jesus. He doesn't realize it, but he hurts his "cause" more than he helps it.

On a funny note:
I thank “Jesus” for Holding – he would be my reason on “Judgment Day” for deconverting. My blood is on his hands. Oh the sweet irony.

Steven Carr said...

Thank you for your kind words.

I never lost any respect for you.

We disagreed, but you put forward your views and I put forward my views, and I think there was an honest exchange of opinion, form which I learned.

Matthew said...

Eddie wrote:

"When I started questioning my “faith,” I stumbled upon his stuff because I wanted to investigate both sides of the story, and his attitude and lies greatly aided in me finally saying goodbye to Jesus. He doesn't realize it, but he hurts his "cause" more than he helps it."

Wow! No kidding! Was it something in particular that Holding did or said? Do you recall what it was that he lied about? The biggest thing I think Holding probably lied about was altering a link by Carr and then lying about what he did with it.

"On a funny note:
I thank “Jesus” for Holding – he would be my reason on “Judgment Day” for deconverting. My blood is on his hands. Oh the sweet irony."

If only Holding knew that! I do recall one person on TWeb saying that while he was still a Christian (IIRC, that is) he used to be a fan of Holding until he saw the viciosness in which Holding attacked those who disagreed with him.


Former_Fundy said...


I can relate to what you say. When I first went to TWEB I thought I would take on Holding and I had some lengthy debates with him but it was so frustrating because it is obvious that he is not reall interested in the truth. Its like the famous line from Jack Nicholson's character: "You can't handle the truth."

At the same time, I realize that because of Holding's position, (at least as he perceives it), the great defender of the faith on TWEB, he can't really be seen agreeing with any of a skeptics points. Once he lets the camel's nose in the tent (so to speak) its over for him.

I think his use of insults, etc is so juvenile and it reflects his own insecurity. It took me awhile to learn this too. I rarely go to TWEB anymore because it seems like such a waste of time

Anonymous said...

Please spare me your self-righteous attitude. In your post, you insult Christian apologists in general, a Christian apologist specifically, a young earth creationist (who has nothing to do with the topic at hand), and Christian theists. Wow! You are upset at a Christian a bit rough around the edges (who seems to have a particluar sense of humor that is overlooked), so you then precede to insult others who has nothing to do with Holding. Good job.

Martin Lack said...

I hope you will forgive me for not having the time to read your blog, much of which appears to be about people I have never heard of... but I am really intrigued about one thing...

You claim that you aim is to debunk Christianity, but isn't that a bit harsh if, like me, you just have a problem with Young Earth Creationists?

Unlike you guys, however, I have not "thrown the baby out with the bathwater", but I do wish we could go back 150 years to a time when the majority of Christians considered that believing in 6 days of creation in 4000 BC was as stupid as believing that the Earth was flat.

Before responding to this post, you might like to visit my modest little website. It is nowhere as indigestible as your blog, and this may avoid any misunderstanding.

Kind regards

Martin Lack

Mark Cote said...

May I take the opportunity to say AMEN, personally, after going back and forth with him he actually wasn't that back of a guy, he's just an ice cube. I did a comic strip on him ( I'll email it to any one ask at mrbright@sandiego.com) But as we talked he wasn't so bad. I just wish he wasn't into this god shit.

Hey maybe I'm being to soft on him maybe that big fat spliff and the yummy, plumpy wife have got me all goofy.

Philisophically, theologically,

I hate him.

eh, watcha gonna do?

slaveofone said...

"I thought that I could be the "model atheist" by winning Holding's respect and trying to be as diplomatic as I could."

I don't think "diplomatic" is a term that describes any model atheist in Holding's world-view. I think his definition of "diplomat" is like this: one who tries harder to please people than to present the truth. Whether or not it is better to please people than to present the truth is up to each person to decide for themselves. But, obviously, someone who believes it is better to please people is going to run into conflict with the one who thinks otherwise and vice versa.

To win Holding's respect, one must make well reasoned arguments supported by evidence and backed up by authorities whose statements are themselves supported by evidence and backed up logically and reasonably. If one fails to do this, they aren't going to earn any respect from him. I have seen him show respect to atheists and skeptics and it is because they have proven themselves by their arguments, reason, and evidences.

"I consider Mr. Holding to be arrogant."

I would call him a Positivist. His Positivism determines his entire world-view and looks like "arrogance" to those who are not Positivists. I do not believe he is arrogant. I, myself, do not consider Positivism a good thing.

"The funny thing is that Holding constantly berates critics of the Bible for critiquing it or critiquing the Christian faith and for lacking the scholarly credentials to do so."

I don't think he berates critics of the Bible for critiquing it or the Christian faith, but for critiquing them badly. Holding does not berate those who critique the Bible or the Christian faith well. Of course, to Holding, "badly" means not supported by evidence and lacking logical or rational consistency, while "well" means supported by evidence and having logical and rational consistency.

As for berating critics for not having credentials, I can see both ways. On the one hand, it is good for those who do not know what they're talking about when it comes to certain subjects to not presume to speak as if they do. But on the other hand, not everyone is created (those who don't believe in creation can substitute "evolved" here) equal, therefore different people have different cognitive abilities, intelligence levels, degrees of knowledge, and expertise. We cannot expect people to suspend judgement until they attain certain levels. Everyone has the right and should be allowed the right to make a stand on an issue wherever they happen to be in terms of their own understanding, ability, and experience. Holding's Positivism does not allow for this.

"he is an arrogant spin-doctor of questionable honesty who enjoys insulting people and arrogantly scoffing at those who disagrees with him."

I don't think he enjoys insulting people. I think he enjoys responding to asinine arguments and those who propagate them in a way that reveals the pathetic nature of those arguments and those who think asinine arguments are not asinine.

I would call what he does "polemic" instead of "spin-doctoring." He argues for his point instead of against it and he tries to back up his point against those who disagree with it. Spin-doctoring implies tampering and distorting evidence. He may view the evidence in a way that is disagreeable with others, but that does not mean he is spin-doctoring. He has a right to view things the way he does just as much as you and I do. The question is whose view is more coherent, accurate, and consistent in terms of the evidence, reason, and scientific method.

As for his honesty, from what I've seen thus far, he is very honest. He quotes his opponents' arguments verbatim instead of hiding behind generalities. He refers to and quotes from multiple sources and authorities in his own arguments instead of just asking you to trust that when he says the big shots think such and such, that they really do. He freely reveals his finances, degree, former jobs, and almost any other personal information to complete strangers if they only ask (nicely). He doesn't ignore arguments and evidences raised by others but responds to them using evidences, authorities, and reason. He is entirely open and honest about what he believes to be incoherent, unreasonable, or unsupported arguments. None of these things are what I would consider dishonest.

Anonymous said...


Yes, Turkel is dishonest:



His religious fanaticism has blinded him to simple, basic facts about reality. For example, he accepts young earth creationism. This can be seen by the fact that he refers science questions to the Answers in Genesis site, a young earth creationist organization.

"Holding" likes to childishly insult people who try to have discussions with him, yet he is a grown man in his mid to late thirties.


Here are some wonderful quotes from "JP Holding" for your enlightenment:


"Just paste that face on a few posters in the neighborhood, along with some writing samples. Maybe that will help pass you as one of Jerry's Kids."


Note that the term "Jerry's Kids" is used by Turkel as an insult. "Jerry's Kids" are children who are afflicted with muscular dystrophy, a fairly common disease that disables children at an early age and is often fatal at an early age.


"By me, every day, every way, and his rear end has been scattered over more states than the Columbia wreckage."


The Columbia Space Shuttle disaster cost the lives of seven brave astronauts and was a national tragedy, yet Turkel uses the tragedy as the punchline in a joke.


"I don't even care if you use my real name anymore -- had you kept up with my updates, you would know that that is no longer an issue for me." 8/7/2001


"We need Tekton full time. Mr. Walker's impotence and fish-flopping is plain evidence (only the latest!) of this ministry's effectiveness, of the Holy Spirit's movement through these pages. Please submit your testimony and help make full-time ministry a reality. Free my warrior side from its shackles, and let the destruction of strongholds begin in earnest."

http://www.ctm.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=85 (dead link)

"My my yes, we ARE important, and I have not a single illusion either. While you sit on your rear end defending the right to gather wives like stamps, Tekton has produced over 1500 articles in defense of critical issues of the Christian faith like the resurrection, the Trinity, and the atonement; it has answered an average of 100 emails a week for the past 5-6 years, many of them from desperately hurting people whose faith is in danger of being damaged or lost; I’ve had material published in major magazines, and the Tekton ministry has been endorsed by major names such as Lee Strobel himself, on a nationwide radio broadcast. Heck, just check this out:"


"The Secular Web, the leading atheist website, considers Tekton such a viable threat that my name is in there along with the likes of Paul Copan, William Lane Craig, Norman Geisler, Peter Kreeft, C. S. Lewis, Lee Strobel, Alvin Plantinga, R. C. Sproul, and Ravi Zacharias. The only other 'Internet apologist' listed is Glenn Miller of the Christian-thinktank."


Note the ego stroking.


"As a librarian I conducted classes on the use of the Internet, and I always warned my students that it was possible now for any yahoo with access to a computer -- even in a public library -- to sit down and within a few minutes have a site running selling magic tomato juice that cured cancer. No one would be there to stop them for weeks, and in the meantime they could get away with a hefty stash of financing from 'suckers' who took them for their word. The same thing happens, adjusted for context, with religious information, and Glenn's site is yet another example."


The irony is delicious.


"Of course you don't have to 'sort through all this fine stuff' -- this 'fine stuff' is produced as a response to those trying to escape the crystal-clear clarity, trying to get out of the blazing sunshine, by manufacturing excuses and arguments based on thin air. As noted, 'freethinkers' have the unmatchable advantage of being able to throw any argument in the air without backup or investigation (just 'common sense') and claiming implicitly to be an authority. Those of us who are disciplined in our scholarship don't have that option."


(Note: Written either by Turkel or Josh Brister)

"Finally, Lowder refers to Drange's argument (though I am told he has mixed this up with someone else's) that '...the mere fact of reasonable nonbelief in the world is evidence for the nonexistence of the Christian god.' I'll put it succinctly: After years of this sort of work, I find that there is no such thing as 'reasonable nonbelief.' The litany of excuses, wild speculations, and other absurdities ground out by skeptics and critics doesn't deserve the adjective 'reasonable.'"


"It's an example of exactly how Western society has become sick and anemic and worthless, trying to escape the judgment and scorn that it richly deserves." 9/9/04


This comment was made in reply to a poster on TWEB. The poster asked Turkel why he was so obnoxious and insulting to people there. Holding tried to justify his behavior by referring to something called the "challenge riposte" paradigm, which is cited in this Tektonics.org article.

Here is an excerpt:

"We shall see that differing rules apply in a situation in which the venue is a public forum, as this site is. Now let us consult Malina and Rohrbaugh to see why."

"Many ancient societies (and we shall see below, certain modern social groups) engage in a process known as challenge-riposte. The scene of such processes is public venues in which two persons or groups have competing honor claims: '...the game of challenge-riposte is a central phenomenon, and one that must be played out in public.' [42] The purpose is for each party to try to undermine the honor, or social status, of the other in an exchange that 'answers in equal measures or ups the ante (and thereby challenges in return).' In the Gospels, Jesus 'evidences considerable skill at riposte and thereby reveals himself to be an honorable and authoritative prophet.'"

The TWEB poster contacted the author-Dr. Malina-whose work Turkel cited in his essay. Here is what the poster wrote to Dr. Malina:

"I'm hopeful I'm not being too presumptuous in contacting you here on such a trivial matter. It's a peeve, really, but I don't like bullies, esp those who claim a divine right to be such."
"There is an apologist(internet and some articles for Christian Research Journal) who cites your writing as justification for what reasonably appears to be abusive comportment with opponents. The only thing he actually cites is the last line in the following paragraph, taken from a short article."

"'Many ancient societies (and we shall see below, certain modern social groups) engage in a process known as challenge-riposte. The scene of such processes is public venues in which two persons or groups have competing honor claims: "...the game of challenge-riposte is a central phenomenon, and one that must be played out in public.[42]"'"

"He's educated, thorough, and really very clever at times but something wrong is lurking there. I can accept a little Schadenfreude but there is too much cruel-intent. The intellectual honesty of his apologetics is another point...but one I haven't the acumen to make."


"FYI: I am now an agnostic but I retain a fondness for Christianity. My wife is a sweetly devout voice, and with her, I don't wish to see it go away but rather become more noble."

This is what Dr. Malina wrote in reply:

"It sounds as though the person you refer to is using my description of behavior in the Mediterranean world of antiquity to sanction his behavior in the 21st century. If that is the case, then he is being silly. We live neither in the 1st century nor in the Mediterranean."
"People have been citing the bible for centuries in the name of some 'My Will Be Done' project (or religion). That some are doing this with my writings is no surprise."

In response to this embarrassing criticism, Turkel attacked Dr. Malina's statement, attacked the poster's comments and promptly closed the discussion thread-apparently in the hope that it would fade into obscurity.


"You repost them to make sure that the emotional impact on the irrational and gullible doesn't fade while I'm carving your guts out on the rational end. I got plenty of time, keep it up." 10/7/03


Note the use of the violent imagery, which is likely tied in to Turkel's view of himself as a holy warrior fighting for people's "souls."


"And you? You’re nothing but a sanctimonious ant with delusions of your own grandeur; you’re nothing but a modern day Hugh waving your swollen member around and knocking people over with it or else disgusting everyone by pointing to it and shouting to everyone to look at it."


"In your arrogance you missed it; you were so busy waving your giant pee-pee around that you bonked yourself on the head with it and didn’t even notice."


"Well, that's Crybaby's fault. He's an expert manipulator, and all I did was make him eat his own upchuck." 12/15/03


"How's your own upchuck taste?"


"Upchuck taste good, Gargy?" 1/6/04


"Suit yourself, but you look funny standing in a pile of doo doo."


"My dog made a better agrument (sic) in the yard this morning! I'll skip all the repeated doggy doo...."


"...nanny nanny boo boo, stick your head in doo doo."


"For you, your smartest movement is a bowel movement."


"A wise person once said that foul language is the recourse of those whose arguments lack force otherwise."


"But understand instead 'faith' as loyalty and 'unbelief' as disobedience."


"You'd be better off going through your daily life and learning to behave like a civilized human being who does not twist, contort, and smear what others say for personal advantage and comfort."


Hypocrisy alert.


"You're a LOSER in life. That must hurt."


"Just take your licks and be resigned to it. You'll end up on the list of the Five Most Embarrassed, Unskilled, and Unaware of It. Up from Ten."


"Darn right I am. Responding, rebutting, lashing, destroying, making them cry and whine and get frustrated. You're victim #2,456, Bilbo...Sure has you running for cover, coward. Sure has you in denial. Sure has you refusing to enter the ring. Stay under your rock, burying beetle, the stench of dead meat becomes you."


The following few quotes are from e-mail exchanges Turkel had with fellow Christians.


question: "I have a couple of questions for you, the first of which is this -- how exactly did you come to be interested in apologetics, and what have been your biggest influences in getting to where you are now?"

"JP sez: It's hard to say. Being that I was always something of an anti-socialite who preferred a good book to the company of my 'peers' I think it was only to be expected that I'd engage some sort of academic pursuit. This and the fact that I have worked in libraries for almost my entire 13 years in the workforce are the most likely 'worldly' influences which got me here...that says nothing about 'other-worldly' influences, of course! ;-)"

question: "Also, what is it that possesses you to continually exchange arguments with the Farrell Tills of the world, despite the fact that they're clearly playing out of their league? I've exchanged e-mails with a number of skeptical folks on the creation-evolution issue, and it's very often frustrating because we both have our minds made up and it quickly degenerates from rational argumentation into haggling over definitions of terms or nitpicking about irrelevant details. Does this type of thing happen often in your dealings with skeptics, and if so, how do you handle it?"

"JP sez: My major motivation is to help people who don't realize that the likes of Till are the academic equivalent of a Disney character, but think that because they mouth off so loud, and sound authoritative, they must know something. A sad symptom of post-modernism! At the same time, I have a bit of a "mean streak" (heh heh) that approaches the whole process with the same tenor of a leopard approaching a mouse...."


Hypocrisy alert.


"Re analytical skills: Here again, it may be part of my personal history. I was always encouraged to think for myself and question things, and go find out answers to things for myself to see if they were correct. (Being a son of a member of the 60s crowd may have been a boon in this regard!) At the same time, I had some 'odd' entertainment preferences...when most of the kids my age were reading magazines with pictures of rock stars, I was buying magazines with puzzles and word games in them. Got me teased out the wazoo, but most of those kids are in jail now. :-)"1999


Note the ego stroking.


"One must face the fact that eternal punishment is taught in the Bible, and deal with it."

"This argument asks: How can those who make it into eternal joy be happy knowing that the unsaved are locked forever into eternal torment? It's another heartbreaker, but one suggests that we will, at that point, see things exactly as God sees them -- and realize the justness of the condemnation."


question: "Can you think of any crime so horrendous that it would justify eternal, unrelenting torment, with no second chances ever being given, even if the criminal honestly repents and is completely forgiven by his victims?"
"Yes (x) No ( )"

Turkel: "Aside from the misdirected and incomplete description of 'torment' (see link in 5 above), the matter is simply that before infinite holiness, ANY crime is horrendous enough to justify eternal and equitable response. When the yardstick is perfection, there is no 'second chance' -- and we would maintain as well, no person in eternal punishment who would want to honestly repent, but would keep their rebellious state intact." 2002


"The question remains: What on earth could possess otherwise intelligent and educated people to be so uncritical in their beliefs regarding the existence of Jesus? Here is my advice in the matter: If you have encountered people like this, I highly recommend that you provide a clear presentation of the Gospel, then leave them alone. It is a waste of time to deal with such people (except to the extent that they are deceiving others), we perform no service any time that we so much as imply that their views should be taken seriously. Their views are the result of a fallen and sinful human nature, of rampant egotism and arrogance, and nothing more."


Turkel is referring to those who believe that Jesus Christ is a copy of earlier godmen. As a fundamentalist Bible inerrantist, Turkel vehemently rejects this idea, but, interestingly enough, the first Christian apologists were well aware of the similarities between Jesus and the earlier godmen and believed that these parallels had to be intentional. They attributed the similarities to a satanic plot, or "diabolical mimicry." A more plausible explanation, of course, is that Jesus Christ was indeed modeled on earlier godmen. For more information about this topic, go here.


"It's interesting how challenges to put up or shut up are spun out into 'dominance issues' or 'ego'. Yes, I admit it: I have a desire to crush the ignorant who take life from others. I guess the police have 'dominance issues' too...as do firefighters, editorialists, and journalists....and we should always accuse them of such to reassure us that we aren't deficient in the intellect and knowledge department after all..."


"If you're in hellfire, that's your choice. Getting disturbed about it won't help, but at least if you want to remain stubborn we can keep you from dragging others with you....deceive others into jumping into hellfire with you? I have a REAL problem with that!"


"As if you gave a crap how any Christian behaved, based on your own emasculated standards and a strawman Jesus. No, your stock in trade is lying, deception, ripping faith from others to comfort yourself, and playing the victim, Crybaby."


By promoting Christianity, Turkel thinks that he is saving people from hell. In his own mind, he is a heroic figure.


"Here's a little Freudian slipknot of my own in reply: I have stated previously that with the proposition of the Christ myth there always comes an extreme egomania and an inability to admit one has been wrong."


Irony meter just blew up.


question: "Mary’s family, and really, entire town must have accepted AT HER WORD ONLY that God had made her pregnant, not some man she had been sleeping with. Now I admit that I have an anti-supernatural bias, but really, anyone that would believe this story, is flat out gullible."

Turkel: "Anyone who would think you were capable of speaking with authority on this subject is even more gullible that you imagine! The social conditions of the period were such that a girl like Mary would be under the constrant watchcare of her guardians -- precisely in order to avoid the scandal and disgrace of an illegitimate birth! That means that inevitably, her pregnancy WOULD be investigated, and man after man would be examined and rule out. So much for 'gullible'! Now why don't you explain to us how your thesis is falsifiable and therefore actually worth consideration? If God actually did make her pregnant, how would your (guffaw) worldview be able to admit it?"


Apparently Turkel believes that a claim that a woman was impregnated by a god-a claim found in an anonymous ancient story filled with similarly ridiculous claims-is perfectly reasonable, and that those who are skeptical of the claim have the responsiblity to disprove it.

In his comments, Turkel's displays his hypocrisy. Turkel asks, "Now why don't you explain to us how your thesis is falsifiable and therefore actually worth consideration?" Turkel has been asked just this question in regard to his foundational "thesis" that the Bible is inerrant:


"In Part 1 of this reply, I accused Mr. Holding and his inerrantist ilk of being trapped in a mindset that will simply not allow the Bible to be wrong, no matter how obvious the error or inconsistency, and posed them the following question: 'What would it take to convince you that you were wrong? What, hypothetically, would the Bible have to say to be contradictory? Can you give an imaginary example of two discrepant verses that you would accept as impossible to resolve?'"

"To my total lack of surprise, Mr. Holding's answer to these questions completely sidesteps the thrust of them; he totally ignores the latter two and replies to the first with a response that is essentially, 'More than you've provided.' This is exactly as we should expect from one who has made up his mind and doesn't want to be confused by the facts. He has set his burden of proof infinitely high, so that no evidence real or imaginary could ever meet it - whatever any skeptic poses to him, his answer will always be 'That isn't good enough.'"

Turkel nevers provides an example of what would falsify his "thesis."


"You have yet to do more than posture, kick, scream, whine, and pass gas, as if you were some worthwhile expert in minerals who could respond to an expert like Shanks who has been examining artifacts since before you pooped in your first diaper. Meanwhile talk to the gem experts, the carver, and the geologist. A road gang that beats the crap out of you."


What is extremely humorous about this rant and countless ones like it in the linked page is that Turkel was using them in a quixotic effort to defend the idea that the so-called "James Ossuary" was actually the burial urn of the brother of Jesus. However, the ossuary was not the burial urn of Jesus' brother but was instead an ossuary with a forged inscription on it. The claim that the ossuary was genuine was highly questionable from the start, yet Turkel ignored this and worked himself into a frenzy defending the ossuary as a genuine biblical artifact.

Here is a recent news article on the "James Ossuary."

Here are some comments from Farrell Till on Turkel's defense of the "James Ossuary."


"...I beat him to a pulp..."


"These guys, if they were plopped down in the ANE, would get a spear run through their guts because they offended everyone just asking where the bathroom was."


"You're nothing but a grease-stained, filthy, runny-nosed burger flipper at a fast food joint who rapes popular news articles for rumors and slander that give you cheap jollies."


"No. I am expert with multi-dimensional thinking and also very good at detecting piles of smelly, reeking bulldada coming from the mouths of Saury little losers who use obfuscation to deceive the gullible and cover their embarrassment at having overstated their case and being caught at it...My brain ate yours, spat it out, kicked it around, blew it up with explosives, and scattered it to the four corners of the world."


"Since you merely play psychology games of this sort, and have been exposed as a manipulator, it's little wonder I was able to get you sucked in. You're an amateur at this, Gargamel. Prison inmates are far better at it. Seeing through blatant manipulations, word games, and bluff assertions like the above are just another day at the office. Sorry -- a former fundy preacher who used the same tactics on himself to make excuses for problems he could not solve, is no match for JPH in the analysis department."


"Yaaaaawwwwnnn....I know nothing of ego. Mine is dead."


"As far as the 'mind already made up' issue - that is absolutely correct! Hopefully, the whole reason the non-professional evangelist is wanting to witness is because he KNOWS JESUS CHRIST personally. Their mind IS made up - and why else would you witness?!? The personal experience of Christ is so much more convincing than academic and intellectual discussions!" 2001

http://christianwebsite.com/...CWS Talk! > The Lobby > Open Forum > John 1:18

"I like the analogy of myself to a hurricane..."

"Sweet stuff. Hits the nail right on your head. :D Incidentally with over 800 articles on my site, over 1500 books read, my 'armchair' is one of those types made of oxblood leather; in the meantime, ye who sit on the stool in your undershirt burping and spilling potato chips on the floor hasn't got your first credit." 9/6/02


"You did lie, if you said what you said you did, and if you don't want to be called one, don't misrepresent my position."


Hypocrisy alert.


"It's been demonstrated at every turn, corner, square, circle, and moment that all you do is mouth off in ignorance, picking and choosing reports you like and then concocting rationalized defenses and shifting burdens of proof to save your bacon."


Hypocrisy alert.


"I am finding you an extraordinary waste of otherwise productive time. Loaded questions like 'Are you acknowledging defeat?' are transparent manipulation attempts by you, and, along with postures like 'that's not in the Bible, bah' make you an opponent unworthy of someone of my caliber."


As you can see, Turkel is quite impressed with himself and is happy to let people know it.


Islamic Gorilla: "Scholarly argument? I haven't seen you actually make any yet."

Turkel: "No need to unsheath any real weapons here when all there are is ants to step on." 1/1/04


"I took XXXXXX to heck and back and laid him out like a gutted fish on this one ages ago." 4/28/03


question: "Would you go on war raids with specific orders to kill women and children?"

Turkel: "Yup. Pass me my Hackenstabber 3 Iron, boy." 4/4/01


"It's also a debate where you're being slammed, hammered, beaten to a pulp, whipped, canned, processed, poured out, and horribly mutilated."


"Just admit you have no answer and save yourself decades of painful embarassment and the huge zit of being reamed by me further from the face of your existence." 12/30/03


Mark Cote said...

At one time my dealings with J.P Holding formerly known as Robert Turkel, prompted me to put together a comic book starring him.

Weird thing is he's personally not such a bad guy, just wish he could snap out of the Jesus thing.


Anonymous said...

Matthew, good, you're here. We've never spoken to each other, but when you were on TWeb I had filed you away in my mind as being one of the *good* atheists that I would want to interact with when I got around to such things. So when you said you were leaving, I was disappointed! Especially since there wasn't really a way to contact you. I was also disappointed to find that when you said you were leaving, you meant it! (Unlike good ol' John. ;) So I was glad to run across this site again last night and discover that you're part of it. Anyway, I still haven't gotten around to interacting with skeptics on apologetic issues, so for now I'm just posting to say hi. :)

Andy (aka Taran Wanderer)

Matthew said...


I am pleased that you decided to drop a friendly note. I am glad that I struck you as being one of the good atheists at TWeb and that you enjoyed reading my posts. I don't recall having encountered you there but I am glad that decided to contact me here!

If you would like to discuss some apologetic issues with me, I'll be more than happy to providing that enough time opens itself up. Currently, I am trying to finish this quarter for school and I am also working on a detailed reply to Jason Engwer.

If you'd like to have a good discussion or, hell, if you just want to shoot the breeze some time, I'll definitely make time for it!



Farrell Till said...

Matthew, I am glad that you were finally able to see through Robert Turkel. You suggested that you think you may have alienated me forever, but that is not so. I would be glad to hear from you again.

Farrell Till

Anonymous said...

yvI'm a Christian, but I do agree with you about Holding. He doesn't seem to be following Biblical principles with those who disagree with him. He hands out "Screwball" awards on TWEB, and I don't recall Jesus doing anything similar or the Apostles. Holding and his supporters point to the Old Testament to support Holding's quips and such, but as Christians, we should be guided by the law of love, and treating others as they would have us treat them. It is very sad, indeed, that many non-Christians may be turned away from Christ due to such behavior. Meng

Anonymous said...

I agree that James Holding needs to show love, it is ridiculous how he rudely defends some aspects of the Christian faith. But, I really don't understand why you are so concerned about debunking Christianity. I mean if you are an agnostic or an athiest why do you care if Christianity is false. I mean if there is no God, than who really cares. Why are you wasting your life caring about someone else's ideas. If this life is all you get go party have fun, live it up until you die cause according to you what you do in your life is really not going to matter when you are dead.
I guess maybe you see yourself as a defender of truth. But hey, what is truth if there is no set standard. Besides why fight for truth if it is not going to help you in the long run? Who cares if you are right, that there is no God, you and the "believer" are going to end up in the same spot anyway....dead. Let the Christians have there so called "fantasy." I suppose you want to enlighten people, to show them the truth, but when you do, how is that going to change their life, really, is it? Are they going to be able to go to sleep at night with the comforting knowledge that they are a mysterious accident, waiting for time to kill them? Who really cares about "truth" if it really doesn't benefit in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Thank you sooo much for writing this Matthew!!!

Here are just a few links about the dishonesty of JP Holding exposing why he & his entourage cannot be trusted & why anyone claiming to hold any credibility while using him as a source can't be trusted either. Anyone who uses JP Holding as a source or reference for anything deserves absolutely no credibility whatsoever & should be humiliated & embarrassed for it. So, don't take my word for it...see it for yourself.


'James Patrick Holding, the Want-to-Be Apologist'

'Dishonesty by Robert Turkel (J.P. Holding)'

'A Reply to J.P. Holding - G.A. Wells'




Anonymous said...

I always have a problem when I see a skeptic complain about a Christian no matter what the reason is. They say this person is a terrible Christian, this person doesn't know what he's talking about? To do so I think a skeptic needs to counter it with another Christian to show how much of a failure Holding is. I've seen Richard Carrier complain about the writings of C. S. Lewis and Josh Mcdowell and it doesn't mean anything because it sounds like if your a Christian you'll never make him happy.

I'll give an example from a Christian perspective towards atheists.

I think the writings of Dan Barker have little credibility to them at all and I think Richard Carrier's book Sense and Goodness without God is one of the lamest attempts at skeptical analysis of God I've ever read.

On the other hand I enjoy reading the writings of Jeffery Jay Lowder, I love Bertrand Russell and I often read Michael Martin's Case Against Christianity alongside when I read Case for Christ.

You see how easy that is? So Matthew I might take you more seriously if you told me which Christian writings you respect otherwise I don't know for sure if your complaints against Holding are done to deflect another reason.

Insanezenmistress said...

Funny thing is, i have holding on my list of pro christian sites. I admit i thought he was ... un christian to say the least, but i took him for a scholar(sp- obviously i's not) and over looked his personality.
But in the interest of fair and balanced inquiry, i would read his stuff and hum in agreement then immediatly seek his rebuttal. That is how i found your site. I greatly enjoy your site. And i am fast out of christian appoligetisists but i have a bright new list of atheist ones, and i am in better company.
What gets me is how i was a christian ( albeit strugleing to retain my brain while being one) and NEVER saw these things. I wonder how you people found them, the contradictions, the Bible studies prooving Jesus could not be Jehova's sacrifice, heck even the gospel contradictions, that seemed to escape my eyes. I have remarked that i am about 10 bible studies away from being a rabid atheist now.
Now, i am hungery for scripture, my pastor would be proud, but i am sure he would not dare to study form MY notes.
Forgive the rambleing of this post,i confess, i would love someone like any of you to actaully talk with during this time of utter dissillusionment.


Bill said...

Jessy, you're more than welcome to email me to hash some of this out. Click on my profile.

DennisDiehl said...

I had a brief encounter with Turkel after writing "Questions Your Pastor Will Hate."

Within two exchanges he was mocking, insulting, name calling and an over all discredit to whatever need he has to speak for God.

However, he did call me "High Priest of Markuk" so that was kinda cool since I have not had a title since leaving the ministry.:)

Jim said...

"The Challenge of Jesus is certainly one of challenge. No one in all honesty, really knows what brought about the creation of all species of life on this planet. We will most likely never know. But to say it is a God who communicates with mankind is a little hard to come to grips with. The reality is that those who believe in God believe so by faith.
There also could be other forms of life in other galaxies that we have no idea of at this point in time.
If we look at Abraham's God of the Jewish Hebrew Tanach or the Old Testament, then Abraham's God has the Jews (Judaism) as "his chosen people." Christianity is also of Abraham's God, but we find that only Christians who believe in Jesus are the redeemed, and that this Jesus is God. (trinity scenario) As we delve further there is another religion who follows Abraham's God of the Old Testament, and that is Islam. Islam teaches that any person who is not a Muslim is an Infidel. So Abraham's God is a God of confusion to say the least.
Each of these three religions claim to have the sole "truth."
In addition, both Judaism and Islam reject outright that Abraham's God came to earth as an infant a mere 2000 years ago as a redeemer for Christians only. So where is the reliable documented secular evidence for Jesus? There are many respected Theologians who would like to know the answer to this puzzle as well.

Unknown said...

Wow, I did not realize that there was so much debating back and forth between atheists and christians on the web. I have several degrees from biology to philosophy and economics with minors in math and geosciences, but after reading all of these sites, I have to be honest, even after having the top overall score in my evolutionary biology course and historical geology course, I still have many doubts about the aging techniques and saw a lot of problems with the evidence that was given to me. Even the evidence given against Jesus and the claimed resurrection just doesn't seem good enough for me. I can try to psychoanalyze my doubts but it doesn't help my doubts about what is said here by atheists for some reason. Does anyone else think that maybe Jesus may have really been who the bible says he was and really did resurrect from the dead. I seem to think it could be true and that maybe the earth is younger. All of this evidence and rhetoric just doesn't seem to convince me for some reason. And I have no crutches needed. I was always the smartest guy in my classes, one of the best looking guys able to have almost any girl in the school, was a great tenor in my rock band, and was an allstar in sports. I liked to have fun, travel, help folks out, drive a BMW etc. etc. and I still see problems with the atheist arguments. Weird I know. Anyone else like this?

Anonymous said...