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Is this an underutilised argument for the existence of God?

August 3, 2014

I was at a conference yesterday and I chatted with a well known Australian preacher Phillip Jensen. We got chatting about arguments for the existence of God and Phillip shared with me an argument that he has used and is convinced by, but he felt hasn’t had much traction. I mentioned I’d try it out on this blog and garner some reactions.

The argument is a form of the argument from revelation and also from providence. Phillip speaks about the way that Israel is promised to be ‘known to the nations’ in Deuteronomy 4. In Deuteronomy 4:5-8 a promise is made to Israel that as they enter the Promised Land that they will be known as great to the nations around them. Because this has happened i.e. Israel has been ‘known to the nations’, it demonstrates that this ‘revelation’ and this prediction is true.

I thought I’d outline the argument and then expand on it.

The argument

Premise 1: ‘If the God of Israel is the true God then his weak and insignificant special people will be a great nation compared to the other ‘superior’ nations around them’

Premise 2: The Jews are a great nation compared to the other ‘superior’ nations.

Conclusion: The God of Israel is the true God.

Comments

The argument requires a little explanation (this is also my first formulation of it, so I’d appreciate some refinement).

The passage in Deuteronomy makes a prediction based on the revelation and providence of God that Israel will be known to the nations for their wisdom and understanding (Deut 4:6). This is a fairly astonishing prediction to make because Israel was the smallest and weakest of the nations vying for space in the ‘Promised Land’. Deuteronomy 7:1 makes is clear that the other seven nations in the land, the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites were all larger and stronger than the nation of Israel. The people of God were the smallest and weakest of these nations. Hence the prediction that Israel will be ‘known to the nations’ made in Deuteronomy 4 is quite astonishing. It is astonishing because a rational person would never expect this small insignificant nation to survive let alone be ‘known to the nations’ in contrast to these larger and more established nations.

The key point that Phillip then makes becomes premise 2 of the argument, that even though the nation of Israel (the Jews) was small, weak and insignificant compared to these other ‘superior’ nations – the Jews still exist today!!

This stands in stark contrast to the other ancient powers. The Hittites, Hivites, Amorites etc, have all vanished from the Earth. When was the last time you met a Hittite? Yet many of us have met Jews!

So in many respects the promise of Deuteronomy 4 has come true! The Jews are known now to the nations around them, and in fact they have outlasted and survived them.

Effectively this argument revolves around explaining why there are still Jews around today as a distinct cultural group. The explanation of the revelation of God and his providence certainly bears consideration.

Now I don’t for a second consider this to be in any way a knock-down argument or a fool-proof explanation. There may be clearly other potential explanations for why Israel existed but not these other nations. Yet the fact that the small and weak Jewish people survive (as a distinct group) in contrast to these other more powerful nations does require explanation.

This might be an underutilised argument for the existence of God because it is relatively weak (there are other potentially plausible naturalistic explanations). But Phillip’s argument certainly does offer food for thought, why should the Jews still exist today?

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From → Bible, History

56 Comments
  1. The reason this argument isn’t getting much traction is because this argument is based on the logical fallacy called circular reasoning.

    Jensen’s argument is uses the Bible as the basis for his proof.

    But where is the proof that the Bible is credible?

    There is none.

    • No, I think you’ve misunderstood the point. The Old Testament has made a prediction – i.e. that the Jewish nation will be ‘known to the nations’. And this has been proved correct, despite the unlikelihood of it happening.

      I admitted the argument isn’t fool proof – but it isn’t because the argument is circular.

      • Robanddi,

        Any nation is known to other nations.

        And what is totally ironic is that Rome destroyed Israel in 70AD and sent the Jews packing (the Diaspora).

        It wasn’t until 1948AD that Israel was restored as a nation by the Christian Allies who had just vanquished Nazi Germany.

        Other Middle Eastern nations, such as Iraq where also carved out and put on the map at that time.

      • Maybe I should have been clearer, but I wasn’t specifically speaking of the ‘political’ nation of Israel – but that the Jews have survived as a distinct cultural and national group. All the other stronger nations around them, e.g. Hittites have died out! It’s interesting isn’t it?

      • Robanddi,

        A great many of the ancient peoples are still around.

        The Egyptians, the Persians, the Chinese, the Maya, many tribes in Africa.

        The Italians (Romans) and the Greeks were a not yet states put the peoples that formed them are still around.

        Rome became Italy and Greece is still Greece.

        The ancient Gaul’s became France.

      • Yes, but none of the nations specifically referred to in Deut 4 (and all those nations were great and mighty!)

      • (also, please feel free to just call me Rob, I have to fix the name but it was connected with another blog with my wife (Di). This blog is just me – thanks!

  2. I fail to see the convincing argument, sorry. It’s nothing else than quite primitive shoehorning. The text is about an ancient country where someone tells the people “Follow this law I give you here and everyone will think you are really cool.” Ok, so what? How many such statements do you think were made? Do you think the Hittites, Hivites, Amorites, etc. have never had anyone say that stuff? So if one of them survives, which is simply chance, their holy text survives too, but the holy texts of the other doesn’t.

    It’s like 10 people do 10 random things for not having car accidents and then they do reckless things on the highway. One of them survives per random chance and now we are expected that paining you buttocks blue protects you from dying in a car crash? Not likely, sorry.

    The statement was quite obviously never meant for millennia later – and let’s not forget, that most of the time, the people were quite unimpressed with the Jews. For most of the time, the country Israel didn’t really exist. So, if we take statistics, the “prophecy” has been true for what…? Let’s say 500 years, including the 50 years Israel exists now? And the prophecy was false for… what? Around 1900 years? More or less? So, the prophecy is approx. 80% wrong…

    • Oh, yes, and a little detail: If your argument was valid, then you would have proven that you really, really quickly should become a Jew, because quite obviously, their law is still valid and they are god’s chosen people…

      • This is an interesting comment, for in the early church one of the key arguments was whether Gentiles had to become Jews before they could become Christians!

        The Jews are still in some ways God’s chosen people And the Messiah I believe is the Jewish Messiah. The Jews were God’s chosen people, yet the promises for God’s people are now for all – Jew and Gentile alike!

    • Yes, I take that point (and I did admit that the argument wasn’t fool-proof). But step back and look that all the other nations would have been saying these arguments from a position of ‘strength’.

      Also, your position would be strengthened if you can find evidence from these other tribes of them making such a statement. If you can do that, I’ll quite readily concede that the argument is weakened considerably.

      The final point is something I clarified with another commenter. I want to draw a distinction between the political nation of Israel and the people, ‘the Jews’. I made the point that we still have ‘Jews’ today. Yet when was the last time we ever met a Hittite?

      Thanks for your comments, they are always valued.

  3. Steven Carr permalink

    What a pity that all the Jews are going to burn in Hell, because they reject Jesus as their Lord. I guess their god made them a great nation and then condemned them to damnation for all eternity.

    I wonder why their god wanted them to be a great nation, and allowed 6 million of them to be wiped out in a genocide….

    One reason this argument is hardly ever used is that it makes Christians look weird – a bit like people who scour Nostradmaus looking for predictions.

    I would advise you not to use it when talking to non-Christians.

    • Steven,

      I think only fanatical cults call for Jewish damnation.

      But I do agree with you about Nostradamus or anyone else whose writings can be used to claim prophesy.

      Jensen’s proof is actually very demeaning to Christianity and the Bible.

      • Steven Carr permalink

        ‘I think only fanatical cults call for Jewish damnation.’

        Well, fanatical cults and Jesus….

        Matthew 11
        And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.

        Jesus condemns entire Jewish towns to Hades – simply because they had no more faith in him than his hand-picked disciples who later deserted him.

      • Steven,

        It is Jesus who judges, not us.

        And not every Jew in world lived in Capernaum.

      • Steven Carr permalink

        I don’t get your point. Are you saying your Jesus won’t send whole towns down to Hades?

        Are you saying Jesus won’t get the Queen of Sheba to judge entire generations of Jews as worthy of condemnation?

        Matthew 12
        The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it

      • Steven,

        Jesus also said that if your eye be an occasion of sin, cut it out.

        How many self-mutilated, blind Christians do you see walking around?

        The Church (Jesus continued presence on Earth) is strict about sin, nevertheless, mercy is the order of the day.

      • Steven Carr permalink

        I don’t see your point.

        The fact that Jesus said things so stupid not even Christians follow them, is no reason to suppose that Jesus didn’t think he was talking sense.

        But I guess if what Jesus said is not to be taken seriously,and should be ignored, there is no reason to take Deuteronomy 4:5-8 seriously either, and we should ignore that as well..

      • Steven,

        The ancients, since they weren’t dumbed down by mass media, developed very colorful and poetic ways of expression.

        Jesus used a rhetorical technique called hyperbole (high-PER-bow-lee).

  4. As a Deist… I often ponder the idea that both “faith” and “reason” eventually lead to an unknown. I mean… after-all… faith is the belief in something that one cannot prove to be true… and reason requires the implying of logic to support a constant search for facts.
    I consistently use reason to explain the world that I happen to occupy. Wtih this… no amount of reason allows me to show that faith is wrong. Eventually… all known reason leads to an unknown in the Grand universe…. much like faith. So… both faith and reason eventually lead to an unknown.
    Although the Bible, Torah and Quran fill many pages with things that defy Reason… They are all still full of historical attributes. In relation to predictions… reason offers little help.
    Reason is not prophetic. Reason requires facts… Now one may use facts to analyze the prediction, but will be hard pressed to prove the validity of the prediction… unless of course the prediction has an already established time of occurrence. If I say… “I will take a shower sometime.” Reason can only conclude that I will shower… but it cannot determine when… as sometime is not specific. Now… If I say “I will take a shower at 9am.” Reason can conclude that I will shower… at 9am. Since a time is offered, one could further analyze.
    Either way… a great post. I love reading words that inspire thinking… no matter the subject.

  5. The argument is kind of silly. First, what is meant by “great nation”? And doesn’t every group what to believe that they will be great? How is it significant that the Israelites believed that they were meant for greatness? And how does it make any sense to compair the ancient passage to today. The country of Israel isn’t just made up of Jews, and Jews aren’t only found in Israel. Do we think that Jews, who are said to be the decendants of the Israelites, are great? I suppose that depends on who you talk to. I’d say no. Israel as a country does pretty well, and many people believe that it is great. But what does that actually mean in the context of this argument?

    • Steven Carr permalink

      ‘First, what is meant by “great nation”?’

      The ancients, since they weren’t dumbed down by mass media, developed very colorful and poetic ways of expression.

      The Bible used a rhetorical technique called hyperbole (high-PER-bow-lee).

      You aren’t meant to take it literally. Just ignore it, as it is just hyperbole and not meant to be taken seriously.

      • Steven,

        Hyperbole is a way of driving a point home through exaggeration.

        “If your eye be an occasion of sin, pluck it out,” is a hyperbolic imperative that stresses the grave nature of sin.

        Jesus also said, “Don’t cast your pearls before swine,” which is exactly what I am doing in this conversation with you.

        Does that mean I’m calling you a pig?

        Of course not.

        I merely means that I’m wasting my precious time and intellectual treasure on someone who has no idea and desires no idea, of what I’m writing about.

      • Steven Carr permalink

        Don’t cast your pearls before swine is a metaphor – not hyperbole….

        ‘“If your eye be an occasion of sin, pluck it out,” is a hyperbolic imperative that stresses the grave nature of sin.’

        So what? Everybody knows that murder is bad. Telling people it is so bad they should pluck out their eyes rather than murder somebody else is not hyperbole – it is a platitude.

        It is not hyperbole to say that entire Jewish towns will be sent to Hades. It is Jesus condemning entire Jewish towns to damnation.

        It is not hyperbole to say that the Queen of Sheba will rise from her grave to judge a generation of Jews.

        It is not hyperbole to say that everybody will be salted with fire.

        It is madness, insanity and lunacy – not hyperbole.

        And if even if it was hyperbole, just giving something stupid a name (like hyperbole) does not stop it being stupid.

        All giving it a name like hyperbole is, is telling atheists that Christians have found a way to ignore bits of the words of Jesus that they just don’t want to be reminded of,

        However, it really is hyperbole to say that Israel will become a great nation.

        Hyperbole as in the sense of this prophecy in Deuteronomy was not fulfilled.

      • Steven,

        As I said before, the ancients were very creative.

        So a statement may at once be hyperbolic and also contain a metaphor.

        That you completely missed the point I was trying to make, only proves my point.

        You don’t care to understand, and even if you did, you couldn’t.

        A conversation with an atheist is the sound of one hand clapping.

      • Steven Carr permalink

        You didn’t make a point. That is why I missed it. All you did was call something a name – hyperbole, or metaphor.

        Naming something is not making a point.

        Did your Jesus condemn whole Jewish towns to a place where he said it would be better to cut out one of your eyes than to go to?

        Did Jesus rant about how everybody will be salted with fire – which is almost meaningless, and if it does have a meaning is a bizarre warning about Hell fire, a place which doesn’t even exist?

        You have to remember that there is no evidence for Hell, so when atheists read New Testament rants about how it is better to cut off a foot than go to Hell, we think that if we want to inflict that sort of thing on our minds, we can go and listen to a street-corner preacher shouting at non-existent crowds of people he thinks are listening to him,

        Jesus sounds just like any street-corner preacher, yelling absurdities that nobody is listening to.

      • Just ignore one of the most important concepts in the argument because explaining it is just to complicated for you? Right, because that’s convincing. Oh, and way to eliminate the possibility of an honest discussion by being an ass.

      • Steven Carr permalink

        It should be ignored, because I have been told by Christians , again and again and again, that the Bible writers used ‘hyperbole’ and ‘metaphor’

        Calling Israel ‘a great nation’ is clearly hyperbole and so should be ignored. It is not meant to be a literal prophecy.

        ‘Oh, and way to eliminate the possibility of an honest discussion by being an ass.’

        There’s the Christian love bubbling to the surface again…..

        The same love that says Jews are damned for rejecting Jesus as their Saviour, while also calling them God’s chosen people…..

  6. Steven Carr permalink

    I apologise for that last bit. Sorry.

  7. “…You don’t care to understand, and even if you did, you couldn’t.
    A conversation with an atheist is the sound of one hand clapping.”

    While I’d like to draw attention to the hypocrisy in some of the comments here, there is a significant point in Steven’s comments that hasn’t been addressed, and that is far more interesting.

    No Jewish or Christian bible reader seems to deny the claim that the Jews were indeed God’s chosen people.

    What I’ve never understood about this is why.

    It is a clear concession that the Judeo-Christian God is not, and was never, omnibenevolent. He must have created other people – in fact, everyone else in the world – to be not Jewish, and therefore not chosen. This is worse than a parent telling one of their children that their favourite child is the other one.
    What kind of a son-of-a-bitch deity does that kind of shit?
    And I’m not being rhetorical. I sincerely want to know the answer to this.
    (Actually, I do know the answer already, and it is ‘a non-existent one’. However, I would like to understand how those that believe the God’s chosen people thing manage to reconcile this with the notion of a God that is not inherently bigoted.)

    • Skept,

      If you don’t know why the Jews are the Chosen People, then there is no way the Bible can having any true meaning to you.

      Atheists are victims of a learning dogma put forth in the public schools about 20 years ago.

      That very debilitating learning dogma is called constructivism.

      Constructivism means that the learner tailor makes everything in the outside world so that it makes sense to him.

      Consequently, the constructivist learner never learns what things really mean. He only learns what something means to him.

      So the atheist says to himself, “What does the Bible mean to me?” instead of asking what did the authors mean when they wrote the Bible.

  8. “If you don’t know why the Jews are the Chosen People, then there is no way the Bible can having any true meaning to you…”

    If that’s your position, then I’m prepared to be open-minded about it and concede that I could be wrong. So I ask you to please explain it to me here in this forum.
    In your explanation, please make it clear to me in particular how you reconcile God’s claimed omnibenelovence with His discrimination.

    • Skept,

      Not knowing the meaning of Bible because you don’t know why the Jews are the Chosen People isn’t my position.

      It is part of the central theme of the Bible which is God’s plan of salvation for mankind.

      The Jews were not chosen because they are special or elite people

      They are called the Chosen People simply because God chose them as the group of human beings on planet Earth who would finally give rise to Jesus.

      • “It is part of the central theme of the Bible which is God’s plan of salvation for mankind….

        They are called the Chosen People simply because God chose them as the group of human beings on planet Earth who would finally give rise to Jesus.”

        …OK… except that Jews deny this. Only (some) Christians think this is true.
        Keep in mind that it was the Jews that wrote this part of the Bible – not the Christians. And their belief of being “chosen” has nothing to do with “giving rise to Jesus”.

        However, let’s leave this point to one side, because it doesn’t answer my core question.
        You still haven’t reconciled the problem of discrimination on the part of God. Whether you choose a doctrine of Judaism or Christianity, your God denies equality to all people. I want to understand how you find comfort in what appears to be an arbitrary division between those that God selects vs. those that He doesn’t.

      • Skept,

        The Bible is composed of the Old and New Testaments and was published by the Catholic Church at the end of the 4th century.

        The Jews were still all over Sam Hill at that time, so it was the Christians who incorporated Jewish theology into Christianity according to the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles.

        In other words, the Jews don’t get to define Christianity whose doctrine finds its source in God’s plan of salvation for mankind.

  9. “…the Jews don’t get to define Christianity whose doctrine finds its source in God’s plan of salvation for mankind…”

    So let’s leave the pointless argument (about who you claim the bible was written for) to one side, and come back to my question.

    Please explain why “God’s plan of salvation for mankind” is arbitrary in terms of which particular subset of mankind actually gets saved.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Skept,

      Each religion gets to define itself.

      The Jews use the Torah. The Christians use over 40 books that they call the Old and New Testaments.

      Since all men are created equal by nature, it is really unknowable why God chose the Hebrews out of all the different peoples on Earth.

      Maybe the Middle East was a good central location and the Hebrews a little more boneheaded than most.

      Nevertheless, the Hebrews were chosen by God to play out his plan of salvation for mankind. That plan culminated in the life of Jesus.

  10. “…Since all men are created equal by nature, it is really unknowable why God chose the Hebrews out of all the different peoples on Earth. […] to play out his plan of salvation for mankind…”

    Thank you, Mr Silence, let’s say you’ve now convinced me that the Jews were chosen by God to lay the foundations for Christianity. Let us rejoice.

    What you haven’t explained – and I’ve asked at least three time here now – is why is salvation arbitrary and discriminatory?

    You said yourself that “all men are created equal by nature” and that God completed his plan for “salvation for mankind”.
    Perhaps rather than make an assumption here, I should ask you to clarify. Do you assert that there is salvation for everyone? ie., every single person that lives, has lived, and will ever live, is therefore saved? Because I’ve heard compelling rumours that this isn’t the case.

    • Skept,

      Salvation isn’t discriminatory.

      Why do you think that it is?

      • “…Salvation isn’t discriminatory.”
        OK, so I gather you are a Universalist, then: Everyone gets into heaven when they die.
        This view runs counter to bulk of reformed Christian – in particular, Calvanist – opinion, which teaches the doctrine of Limited Atonement.
        Don’t get me wrong – the Limited Atonement viewpoint is clearly deeply flawed. However, why is the threat of Hell described so frequently in the Bible if no one goes there?

      • Skept,

        The Bible says that God judges people according to their deeds.

        And recently, Pope Francis caused a scandal when he said that there was even hope for atheists who followed their conscience.

        So though heaven is open to all, our getting there depends on the fruit we bear while we are alive.

        That theme runs through the entire Bible.

      • Plenty to add to this discussion (and I am preparing a post which deals with your objection specifically), but I think that salvation is not ‘discriminatory’ i.e. it doesn’t preference one particular group over another another. i.e. Greeks, Jews, slaves, free, men, women, black, white, Asian, etc – there is no discrimination in this sense at all.

        So what do you mean by ‘discriminatory’? Are you talking about why some are saved and others aren’t?

        As an atheist, I’m wonderingg why are you particularly worried about this?

  11. “…The Bible says that God judges people according to their deeds.
    […]
    That theme runs through the entire Bible.”

    OK, but I assume you realise that this is counter to all reformist Christian teachings (eg., google: Sola Fide). Romans 3:28 (for example) makes it clear that faith is required for justification.
    Furthermore, while most Catholics believe in the ‘good deeds’ thing, traditional Catholic teachings still emphasise the need for faith as well as good deeds.

    If you believe that people get into heaven on the basis of being good while alive, that’s fine. You ought to be aware though that this is not scriptural, nor is it accepted by any major branch of Christianity.

  12. “…The Reformation did more for atheism than all the wicked Medici popes ever could…”
    Ha! This is a point I might even agree with you on.
    However, scripture does support the doctrine of Limited Atonement. It also supports the ‘good deeds’ thing (eg., James 2:17). The bible is fundamentally inconsistent in this regard, and I’m still staggered by how otherwise intelligent people take things from it seriously and literally. However, I digress…

    Rob:“…So what do you mean by ‘discriminatory’? Are you talking about why some are saved and others aren’t?”
    Yes – correct. I think you posted this before my other response popped in, and I suspect you already know my views on this.
    Salvation is necessarily discriminatory, assuming you believe in the need for faith in salvation, because God has apparently chosen to reveal himself only to a limited subset of the human population.

    “…As an atheist, I’m wondering why are you particularly worried about this?”
    Obviously I’m not worried about it personally at all, because the notion that my soul will suffer in hell after I die is perhaps the most outrageously ridiculous piece of Christian teaching I can think of (and there’s a pretty big list to choose from. 😉 )
    The reason why I bring it up is because Christians use their scriptural teachings to try to persuade the rest of us of the ‘truth’ that they can see. You’ve done this yourself with this post – tried to make a persuasive argument for the existence of God based on an ambiguous prophecy from the Old Testament. (Your original argument is invalid and I suspect the premises may be unsound, btw, but I’ve been diverted onto a side branch of discussion in this thread. Sorry!)
    Anyway, the point is that as long as Christians persist with arguing logic and philosophy from the Bible, it makes sense to point out the some of the most significant philosophic and logic failings from the same source in response. The whole issue of God’s discrimination in salvation is a relevant one, given the context of God making some initial choices about which ‘nations’ would thrive vs. those He apparently chose to be crushed.

    • Skept,

      Anything written is open to interpretation.

      That includes the Bible.

      Consequently, the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura (scripture only) is a farce.

      Jesus never wrote a word.

      And Christianity was going strong for centuries without a Bible canon.

  13. Matthew Kennedy permalink

    Seriously I cant believe that there are people who still question the credibility of the Bible.

    The works of Herodotus had a 1,300 year time lapse between when it was written and the earliest known copy of which there are only 8 in existence, and who questions its authenticity?
    Thucydides also has a 1,300 year time laps between when it was written and its earliest copy and again there are only 8 copies in existence but its authenticity is also not questioned.
    Tacitus has a 1,000 year gap between when when it was written and the earliest known copy and there are an impressive 20 copies of this work available, not questioned.
    Caesar’s Gallic War has a 950 year gap, 9-10 copies in existence and its authenticity is again not questioned.
    Livy’s Roman History has a measly 900 year gap between when it was written and the earliest known copy, and there are 20 of these copies in existence, again no question as to its authenticity. All these were written between 488BC and 100AD.
    And then we have the New Testament of the Bible. Written originally between 40-100ad, the earliest copy in our hands dated 130ad, and full manuscripts held from 350ad. Time lapse or gap between the two 30-310 years, and only 5,000+ Greek copies on hand, 10,000 Latin, and 9,300 other all from this time frame. And yet the Bibles authenticity is under question. Anyone see a problem here?

    • Steven Carr permalink

      That is truly an astonishing argument, confirming the stereotype of a Christians as people who struggle with logic.

      Are you claiming that if National Enquirer publishes a million copies of its newspaper, that guarantees that prints factual stories?

      • I think you miss the point of Matthew’s argument. He’s not saying the number of copies made make it credible, but that we have good reasons to believe that what we have was actually written (more so than any other ancient document).

      • Steven Carr permalink

        The number of copies makes it certain that what we have was not what was originally written. You just have to look at any decent Bible translation and it will have footnotes on every page telling you there are alternative readings in different ancient manuscripts.

    • Steven Carr permalink

      ‘…the earliest copy in our hands dated 130ad’

      Guess what? Your boast of ‘the earliest copy’ is a manuscript that doesn’t contain the word ‘Jesus’.

      Guess what? According to your facts that you yourself chose, the earliest copy of the New Testament doesn’t contain the word ‘Jesus’.

      And still people don’t believe! Amazing, isn’t it? You show them manuscripts where the name of Jesus is missing throughout and they still don’t believe Jesus flew into the sky on his way to Heaven.

      • Not quite sure what your point is here? The earliest copy contains the words of Jesus (I think part of John 18)

      • Steven Carr permalink

        Are you claiming that (I quote) ‘the earliest copy’ (sic) of the New Testament contains the word ‘Jesus’?

    • Steven Carr permalink

      You want to compare the NT to Livy’s Roman History, do you?

      Livy’s Roman History tells us about Romulus and Remus, who didn’t actually exist?

      Is there even ONE story in the New Testament that shows any of the credulity, superstition and fabrication that we find in all other ancient writers, for example Livy?

      Were the NT writers the only ancient historians who didn’t talk about people who never actually existed?

  14. Matt Kennedy permalink

    My point Steven wasn’t to say that the content of the bible is provable, it was to say that the New Testament, when put up against other pieces of work of a similar time, can hold its authenticity and integrity. If your are arguing against that then you honestly don’t really know what you are talking about, and are in fact just arguing for the sake of arguing. The strange thing is that your argument would now not be against Christians but against the acceptable scientific methods put in place and accepted by all scholars, religious or secular, when dealing with the authenticity of such ancient texts. Don’t confuse authenticity of text, with proof of content. If you actually read what I have written, it had nothing to do with the content (that’s a different argument), it had everything to do with authenticity. From your response to rob, I see that you read into things what you want and actually not what has been written, please don’t make the same mistake here.

  15. Ed Atkinson permalink

    Let’s look at the verses this is based on: Deut 4v5-6 “See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”

    The Old Testament teaches that the Isrealites did not observe the decrees and laws carefully. So the prediction should be that they were and are not said to be a great nation. The prophesy failed.

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