Posts Tagged ‘New Testament’

Bishop John Shelby Spong debates William Lane Craig on the resurrection

27/03/2010

manicstreetpreacher applauds the world’s greatest atheist Christian.

This will be a quickie, I promise.  I first listened to Bishop John Shelby “Jack” Spong on Premier Christian Radio’s Unbelievable? at the end of last year.  He was a breath of fresh air, a joy to hear.  If only all believers were like him.  And since he upset Scottish Presbyterian Calvinist (!) pastor and author of The Dawkins Letters, David Robertson, when DJ Justin Brierley read out the listeners’ reactions on a subsequent show, he must be doing something right.

Spong’s Palm Sunday 2005 debate on the resurrection of Jesus against Christian apologist, William Lane Craig, is well worth watching or hearing.  Not in the sense that Spong “wins” the debate against Craig.  But because he rises above Craig’s petty attempts to rationalise his fairy tale and explains the philosophy of being an atheist Christian.

Although credit is very much due for exposing Craig’s dishonest reliance on authorities who are in fact at opposite ends of New Testament scholarship spectrum, the real treat is Spong recounting a story from his friend, the late, great astronomer, Carl Sagan, who pointed out that if Jesus left the Earth at the speed of light on his ascension to heaven, 2,000 years later he still would not have left our Milky Way galaxy!

I’ll leave it there.  Just download and enjoy.

Audio / Video

William Lane Craig and Robert Price debate the resurrection

06/01/2010

manicstreetpreacher urges you to listen to the most hilarious opening speech he has ever heard!

On a previous post about William Lane Craig’s attempted slur on Richard Dawkins’ views of religious child abuse, I linked to a YouTube video that quoted former evangelical turned atheist writer Robert M Price‘s slating of Craig.  I duly linked to Price’s article below the video.  A commenter (who I have now banned from my blog and deleted all his comments for rudeness, nitpicking and generally being an annoying troll!) called Price a “crank who couldn’t even get anyone at the Jesus Seminar to accept his ideas”.  He suggested that I listen to the debate between Price and Craig held at Ohio State University in 1999 on whether Jesus rose from the dead.

I have listened to the debate, and while Craig of course doesn’t say anything new whatsoever and the debate runs out of steam by the Q & A, Price delivers an absolutely extraordinary opening statement (starting at 22 minutes on the tape) by lambasting Craig and everything he stands for.

Price quotes Craig’s book Reasonable Faith at length to show that Craig’s apologetics is founded on the presupposition that Christian faith is supported not by reasoned argument, but from God’s assurance to the reader that it is true.  If the reader does not accept the book’s arguments, all that means is that Craig is a poor apologist not that there’s anything wrong with the Gospel.  As Price summarises:

Dr Craig then freely admits that his conviction arises from purely subjective factors.  To me it sounds no different in principle from the teenage Mormon door-knocker: he tells you that the Book of Mormon was written by ancient Americans because he has a warm swelling feeling inside when he asks God if it’s true.

Only towards the end does Price spend about two and a half minutes actually discussing whether or not Jesus rose from the dead.

Stupendous!

See also Price’s appearance in Brian Flemming’s 2005 documentary film The God Who Wasn’t There discussing dying and rising gods in ancient mythology.

That bleedin’ Luke census again!

28/12/2009

manicstreetpreacher: dog/bone.

Naturally, I was very happy to be given another mention on the 26 December 2009 edition of Unbelievable?, featuring Christian barrister Charles Foster and atheist scientist Robert Stovold. However, I was a little frustrated that the presenter Justin Brierley and the participants didn’t quite get my point about the mystical census in the Gospel of Luke.

While there is some ambiguity over whether a census of any kind took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria and whether he held office more than once, the points I was driving at in my email to Justin before the show was that Roman censuses were:

  1. Based on property ownership of the living, not the dead.
  2. Not based on remote genealogies, let alone false ones.
  3. Local censuses of provinces, not the entire Roman empire.

The reason why I am so insistent is that during my first appearance on Unbelievable? in September 2009, my “scholarly” opponent, Andy Bannister from London School of Fairyology, said that Dawkins, Hitchens etc. had “been machine gunned to the wall by ‘scholars’ of all stripes” by objecting to the apparent nonsense of having the population return to the home town of a distant ancestor because apparently people at that time were not as mobile as they are today we actually have records of such arrangements.

Being a tad green back in the day, I let it go.  However, a friend who had listened to the show emailed me to say that Bannister was talking rubbish.  I emailed him my friend’s comments and he did not respond.  Further research showed that this is actually a common objection by historians (as opposed to “scholars”) of all stripes and not something the Oxford biologist made up off the top of his head.

Despite repeated requests on my blog, Bannister has so far declined to cite a source for his assertion.  Funny.  At first, he seemed like such a straight kinda guy.  Rather like Tony Blair…

Justin did actually ask me to do the show but alas, I did not have enough holiday time till the end of the year.  Besides, I find biblical scholarship rather dense and unexciting.  Robert did a much better job than I could have done.  I had no idea, for example, that Josephus referred to Hercules as if he was a real person.  Kudos Stovold!

For those of us how can’t be bothered with textual criticism, below are the videos of a couple of excellent can-sized expositions of the Gospels’ historical dating botch-ups.

The Jesus Timeline Part 1

The Jesus Timeline Part 2

Lukeprog over at Common Sense Atheism may be a fawning Craigophile, but he does at least post some cracking material from the ‘Tube!

Sam Harris: Of Miracles

20/12/2009

manicstreetpreacher supplies the video of Sam Harris ending all “scholarly” arguments of the reliability of oral tradition and who-first-started-to-believe-what-when.

I have referred to Sam Harris’ debunking of the reliability of the Gospel’s reports of the miracles of Jesus Christ on several previous posts.  This clip is from a debate he participated in with fellow “New Atheists” Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett at La Ciudad de las Ideas in November 2009.  Dinesh D’Souza, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Nassim Taleb were speaking for the God-squad.   Robert Wright was a neutral agnostic.

The video of the full debate is here: