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Showing posts sorted by date for query beversluis. Sort by relevance Show all posts

John Beversluis, "The Gospel According to Whom? A Nonbeliever Looks at The New Testament and its Contemporary Defenders" 6

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I'm posthumously posting six chapters from an unfinished book sent to me for comment in 2008 by the late John Beversluis (see Tag below). This is chapter 6, his last chapter on John the Baptist.

John Beversluis, "The Gospel According to Whom? A Nonbeliever Looks at The New Testament and its Contemporary Defenders" 5:2

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I'm posthumously posting six chapters from an unfinished book sent to me for comment in 2008 by the late John Beversluis (see Tag below). This is part 2 of 2 parts of his fifth chapter on the virgin birth narratives. I would disagree with Beversluis that Jesus was good moral person who offered good moral advice, but he was influenced by Thomas Paine and Jefferson's writings. [On this issue see Dr. David Madison's excellent newly dropped book!]




John Beversluis, "The Gospel According to Whom? A Nonbeliever Looks at The New Testament and its Contemporary Defenders" 5:1

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I'm posthumously posting six chapters from an unfinished book sent to me for comment in 2008 by the late John Beversluis (see Tag below). In this fifth chapter Beversluis writes about the birth of Jesus. This is part 1 of 2 parts. I've highlighted a few gems from him.

CHAPTER FOUR: A PREGNANT VIRGIN:

Matthew and Luke are the only Gospels that record the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:1-23 and Luke 2:1-19). Mark says nothing about it and starts his Gospel thirty years later with the appearance of John the Baptist on the scene. The Gospel of John is, as always, a case unto itself. It starts with a famous (and Hellenistically flavored) passage about “the Word” (logos) that existed “in the beginning” and goes on to say that this Word was not only with God, but was God (John 1:1). The only allusion to the birth of Jesus is the subsequent remark that this Word “was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:11)—a remark that is so oblique that anybody unfamiliar with Matthew and Luke would never guess John was talking about the same person whose birth they record in their Gospels. John has no interest in the so-called “baby Jesus.” He sees his birth in cosmic metaphysical terms—as the incarnation of a pre-existing celestial Logos who not only was God, but who also the Creator of universe (“All things were made by him; and without him was not made anything that was made” (1:3). This heavy-duty (and stoically-influenced philosophical) terminology is completely foreign to Matthew and Luke who are comparative lowbrows concerned only with various factual details about the story.

John Beversluis, "The Gospel According to Whom? A Nonbeliever Looks at The New Testament and its Contemporary Defenders" 4

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I'm posthumously posting six chapters from an unfinished book sent to me for comment in 2008 by the late John Beversluis (see Tag below). In this chapter Beversluis makes mincemeat of the characters in the Nativity Narratives as being confused and/or irrational if we take the story as historical truth. I've highlighted a few gems from him.

John Beversluis, "The Gospel According to Whom? A Nonbeliever Looks at The New Testament and its Contemporary Defenders" 3

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I'm posthumously posting six chapters from an unfinished book sent to me for comment in 2008 by the late John Beversluis (see Tag below). Here is chapter three on "The Genealogies of Matthew and Luke." Do not skip this chapter! It's the most thorough taken-down of the inconsistent, inaccurate, absurd genealogies you will find. It deserves to be studied! I highlighted a few awesome statements of his.

John Beversluis, "The Gospel According to Whom? A Nonbeliever Looks at The New Testament and its Contemporary Defenders" 2

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I'm posthumously posting six chapters from an unfinished book sent to me for comment in 2008 by the late John Beversluis (see Tag below). Here is chapter two. As you will read, John conclusively shows that the gospels were not written by eyewitnesses. This alone destroys the credibility of Christianity and its miracle claims due to the fact that miracles, by definition, require more than mere hearsay testimonial evidence.

John Beversluis, "The Gospel According to Whom? A Nonbeliever Looks at The New Testament and its Contemporary Defenders" 1:2

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I'm posthumously posting six chapters from an unfinished book sent to me for comment in 2008 by the late John Beversluis (see Tag below). The first chapter is the largest one by far at 10,809 words! It was sent to me in two parts so I mistakenly thought I had seven chapters.

There are five parts to it: 1. New Testament Criticism; 2. The Inspiration and Inerrancy of the Bible; 3. Verbal and Plenary Inspiration: A Semantic Nightmare; 4. What Inspiration Guarantees and Does Not Guarantee; and 5. Back to Thomas Paine. In this installment I'm posting parts 4-5. The "contemporary defenders" he criticizes are Norman Geisler and Josh McDowell.

John Beversluis, "The Gospel According to Whom? A Nonbeliever Looks at The New Testament and its Contemporary Defenders" 1:1

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I'm posthumously posting six chapters from an unfinished book sent to me for comment in 2008 by the late John Beversluis (see Tag below). The first chapter is the largest one by far at 10,809 words! It was sent to me in two parts so I mistakenly thought I had seven chapters.

There are five parts to it: 1. New Testament Criticism; 2. The Inspiration and Inerrancy of the Bible; 3. Verbal and Plenary Inspiration: A Semantic Nightmare; 4. What Inspiration Guarantees and Does Not Guarantee; and 5. Back to Thomas Paine. In this installment I'm posting parts 1-3. The "contemporary defenders" he criticizes are Norman Geisler and Josh McDowell.

John Beversluis Required One Textbook in the Philosophy of Religion for 42 Years!

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I'm posthumously posting a few chapters from the late John Beversluis (see Tag below). As I was re-reading his first chapter I found a gem from him on teaching philosophy of religion students. Which book had he recommended to them for 42 years? This one!
If you use Thomas Paines's The Age of Reason as a required textbook in a Philosophy of Religion course, as I have done for many years, your students will not eagerly devour its contents and shower you with tears of gratitude for providing them with this eye-opening experience of what is really in the book they revere as the inspired Word of God. Nor will they be shamed by the astonishingly detailed knowledge of both the Old and New Testaments that Paine and Jefferson possessed. On the contrary, when such students are required to read The Age of Reason and to discuss it in class, they become (by degrees) irritated, belligerent, and finally downright angry. Inter-Varsity and Campus Crusade for Christ types are the most vocal and the most argumentative. I welcome (and even solicit) their objections. Having heard them out, my response is always the same: “I didn’t write The Age of Reason; Thomas Paine did. Is he wrong? Did he misrepresent what the Bible says? I don’t think so. But don’t take my word for it. Go home and read your own Bibles. Check him out. If you can find a single passage that he has misquoted or manufactured or misinterpreted, write an essay in which you convincingly demonstrate his error(s) and I will give you a grade of “A” for the course and urge you to submit your essay for publication in a reputable philosophical or religious journal with my enthusiastic recommendation.” I have been teaching philosophy for 42 years and during that time no Paine-incensed student has ever submitted such an essay. The reason is clear: The Age of Reason is accurate and his documentation is irrefutable.

And the Beat Goes On: More Bluffing and Lying for Jesus

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The misfortune of a flat learning curve  

In my article here two weeks ago, Three Christian Gods Missing in Action, and last week, Bluffing, Talking Piffle and Lying About Jesus, I did not discuss Jesus mythicism, i.e., the arguments made by some scholars that Jesus was a mythical figure. Our resident troll, Don Camp, responded at length to the first article, and my rebuttal was the second. When he jumped back in to continue the conversation, he commented, “Everyone here seems to have bought into the Jesus myth myth.” Which can be done, he pointed out, by “writing off the textual evidence for the Jesus event.” 

 

Strange, my topic wasn’t Jesus mythicism, and I doubt very much that “everyone here” at the DC Blog accepts it, but this was Mr. Camp’s attention grabber. He doesn’t seem to grasp that many of us accept that there might have been a Galilean peasant preacher, but whoever and whatever he was has been hopelessly obscured by the layers of myth, folklore, fantasy, and magical thinking piled on by the gospel writers. A real Jesus could have become mythicized. Virgin birth and resurrection, for example, are symptoms of that. In the Wikipedia article on resurrection beliefs in the ancient world, we find this:

Preface and Introduction to "The Gospel According to Whom?" by Dr. John Beversluis

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[See the Tag below for my introduction to these series of posts]. When I looked again at the book files that the late John Beversluis sent me in 2008, he included a Preface, an Introduction, and not six but seven chapters. Here for the first time are his Preface and Introduction. What he wrote is as good as I remembered! It's also more timely today than it was thirteen years ago.

John Beversluis Has Died at the Age of 86, But He Will Speak from the Grave!

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John Beversluis was 86 years old when he recently died. His life was lived between these two days, November 10, 1934 and May 22, 2021. From his obituary we read:
John received his Ph.D from Indiana University and his Bachelor of Arts from Calvin College. He taught Philosophy and Ethics at Butler University (Indianapolis, IN), Emory University (Atlanta, GA), California State University, Fresno, Clovis Community College, Monterey Peninsula College, the University of the South (Sewanee, TN), and Grand Valley State College (Allendale MI). He participated in three National Endowment for the Humanities seminars for College Teachers: at the University of Illinois (Urbana, IL), the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Texas. He presented papers at the American Philosophical Association, various universities in the United States, and at Oxford and Cambridge in the United Kingdom. While at Oxford he also presented several papers to the Oxford C. S. Lewis Society. His publications include works in the areas of Ancient Greek Philosophy (focusing on Socrates and Plato), the Philosophy of Religion, Kantian Ethics, and Philosophy and Literature. SOURCE.

In 2008 I got to know John in an exchange of emails. I had contacted him about his masterful book, C.S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion: Revised and Updated, which had just been published by Prometheus Books (PB) on November 29, 2007. I had bought it and loved it. Let me tell you this interesting story.

Ten Lessons From Randal Rauser On How Not to Lose Gracefully

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Dr. Randal Rauser and I co-wrote the debate book, God or Godless?, according to which, on most accounts he lost. So he's reviewing his own book on his blog. That's not bad in itself, so long as its educational. One should learn from failed attempts, yes. But he's whining, mischaracterizing and special pleading his case. Typical Christian apologist.

Take for instance his review of chapter five. In that chapter he wanted to debate whether science is a substitute for religion. *Cough* Commenting after the fact on his blog he adds:

An Update on Why William Lane Craig Refuses to Debate Me

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Let me update the reasons why William Lane Craig refuses to debate me. So far none of them make any sense at all. [Before commenting on this present post read that one]. When I was a student of his he told his class something I thought was odd at the time. This was back in 1985 at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He said "the person I fear debating the most is a former student of mine." No one can speak for Craig, only he can. I'm not saying he fears me. He may fear my influence though, which is an extremely high recommendation given the atheist scholars he has debated over the years. My question is why does he single me out as the one person he refuses to debate who has a reasonable set of credentials? All I want is a reasonable answer. Again no one can answer this question but him.

So here's the update. Yesterday I got an email from a Christian who comments here at DC. He said he was going to ask Craig after a talk why he won't debate me. Later he emailed me back with Craig's answer. It doesn't make any sense either. Actually, I would really be pleased if after every talk of his someone asked him why he refuses to debate me. ;-) Listen, you would think that someone of Craig's scholarly credentials and intellectual prowess would be able to give a reasonable answer to this question. Why can't he? THAT'S MY QUESTION! And why is he offering so many different reasons? You would think he would stick to one story. But he changes his story so many times you know something is up. My honest guess is that he's groping to find a consistent way to exclude me while at the same time not excluding others he has debated, or plans to debate. He's having a hard time of it, that's for sure. Left unstated is the real reason he refuses to debate me. What is that reason? So here is his most recent answer.

More Evidence Christians Just Don't Think

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They don't! Not most of them anyway. All they do is defend God not matter what. It's like they are defending themselves or something, and people always do that whenever threatened. We know people create their own religion, their own gospel, and their own God in their own image. We know this! Whatever they believe then God agrees with them about everything. Do you doubt it? Then read this study. So no matter what the problem is they will defend their God because they are defending themselves. Why? Because they are God. God is them. They are one with God anyway. They think the same things. They feel the same things. Argue against God and we are arguing against them. So they take it personally. And nothing we say can penetrate that 200 foot thick impenetrable castle wall around them to fend off attackers. Not even a bunker bomb. Want more proof? Here 'tis.

More On Being Passionately Self-Promoting in an Oddly Humble Way

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Dinesh D'Souza's new book is out, Godforsaken: Bad Things Happen. Is there a God who cares? Yes. Here's proof.In it he does not mention my arguments against a good omnipotent God, even though he has read my book Why I Became an Atheist, and said to me that it contained some things he "hadn't considered before." David Wood's chapter on the problem of evil in Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science,likewise ignores my work. I debated them both so they know of it. It's hard for me not to conclude that they are ignoring it because they cannot answer my arguments. ;-)

On Being Passionately Self-Promoting in an Oddly Humble Way

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Since David Marshall describes me as "being passionately self-promoting in an oddly humble way," I thought I wouldn't disappoint him by doing it again. ;-) One thing I've noticed is that people are reading my anthologies The Christian Delusion (TCD) and The End of Christianity (TEC) more than my magnum opus Why I Became an Atheist (WIBA), probably because of the wonderful blurbs and contributors. So to help remedy this let me offer just three blurbs about WIBA:

You Can Now Pre-Order My Revised Book, WIBA

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Click here: Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity.It has 536 pages, a 110 more than the previous edition. It's such a massive revision my publisher is treating it as a new book.

What's Wrong With the Courtier's Reply of PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins

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Trust me, I'm very thankful for the brilliance of PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins. There's no doubt about that. In some sense they are my intellectual heroes. But the Courtier's Reply as an answer for theology needs to be discussed critically. First off, I do not expect anyone to understand any particular theology in order to reject it. We all do this easily. I doubt very much anyone understands all of the religions they reject. I don't. No one does. We reject them all for the same reasons, because they have not met their own burden of proof. So I agree very much that neither PZ Myers nor Richard Dawkins needs to fully understand the various forms of Christianity in order to reject them all. They can certainly use the Courtier's Reply, and for them it's legitimate, as it is for me when rejecting Hinduism, which I know little about. Christians do not fully understand the other Christianities they reject, so why should anyone expect this from skeptics?

But here's the problem. PZ Meyers and Richard Dawkins, and others, have the clout to recommend those of us who do understand the various Christianities that exist who know how to debunk them on their own terms. But perhaps, and I'm only suggesting perhaps, they are so committed to the Courtier's Reply when it comes to their own lack of understanding of Christian theology that they don't realize this will not do if they want to change the religious landscape. If they do, then may I humbly suggest they recommend the work of Biblical scholars like Robert Price, Hector Avalos, Bart Ehrman and others like them, as well as philosophers like John Shook, John Beversluis, Richard Carrier, Keith Parsons, Matt McCormick and others like them. But they can't do it, because they are committed to the Courtier's Reply, and that's a shame. I can embrace the Courtier's Reply when it comes to religions I reject. But given the power and influence of Christianity in particular, they need to recommend and embrace those of us who know it and argue against it. The Courtier's Reply may some day be the blanket response to religion. It isn't yet. Until then let them recommend those of us who do understand the dominant religion of our land, both philosophers and biblical scholars. It takes all of us together with all of our talents, all of our knowledge, and all of our abilities.

Guest Post by Douglas Groothuis on the Problem of Evil

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I have a number of Christian scholars I regard as friends that I allow posting here at DC for comment (hit the tag "Christian Scholars" to see a few of them). Doug is writing his magnum opus titled, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Christian Faith, which should be out by August of this year. He emailed me and asked that I publish a short article of his on the problem of evil which appeared in The Christian Research Journal, asking for comment. He'll have a chapter on this topic in his book too.

After reading it I responded: