Tuesday, August 4, 2020

James Patrick Holding: Libelous according to his own website domain provider InMotion Hosting

Recently i sent the following email to the company hosting the website that Holding had used to libel me, InMotion Hosting, the website that forms a large part of the current libel lawsuit:
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request for removal of a libelous website you are hosting
Barry Jones <barryjoneswhat@gmail.com>
Thu, Jul 16, 3:43 PM
to quality, abuse, legal

Hello,

Your Acceptable Use Policy prohibits your customers from posting libelous information to the websites you host:

from https://www.inmotionhosting.com/acceptable-use-policy

4. Prohibited Uses
---c. Utilize the Services in connection with any tortious or actionable activity. Without limiting the general application of this rule, Customers and Users may not:
Utilize the Services to publish or disseminate information that (A) constitutes slander, libel or defamation, (B) publicizes the personal information or likeness of a person without that person’s consent or (C) otherwise violates the privacy rights of any person. Utilize the Services to threaten persons with bodily harm, to make harassing or abusive statements or messages, or to solicit the performance of acts or services that are illegal under applicable law.

Before that, you said:

The Acceptable Use Policy below defines the actions which IMH considers to be abusive, and thus, strictly prohibited. The examples named in this list are non-exclusive, and are provided solely for guidance to IMH customers. If you are unsure whether any contemplated use or action is permitted, please send mail to abuse@InMotionHosting.com and we will assist you. Please note that the actions listed below are also not permitted from other Internet Service Providers on behalf of, or to advertise, any service hosted by IMH, or connected via the IMH network. Furthermore, such services may not be advertised via deceptive marketing policies, as defined by the Federal Trade Commission Deception Policy Statement.

So one reasonable interpretation of this would be that you will remove any content from any website you host, if you feel that content to be libelous. What else is implied by the phrase "strictly prohibited"?

My name is Christian Doscher. I am suing James Patrick Holding for libel.
Doscher v. Holding, Florida Middle District, 6:19-cv-01322

My prior lawsuit against him proceeded upon many of the same facts published at the same website:
Doscher v. Apologetics Afield, et al, 6:19-cv-00076

That suit is currently being appealed. 11th Circuit: Doscher v. Apologetics Afield, et al, Case No. 20-10736-

The vast bulk of Mr. Holding's libelous statements are found on a website you host:

http://www.lawsuitagainstjamespatrickholding.com/

I initiated the latest lawsuit with a 170-page complaint, see attached. All of the statements about me on that website are libelous either in direct fashion, or by juxtaposition, or by failure to disclose relevant facts thus giving a defamatory impression. You can tell from reading the site that Mr. Holding has perused Court records to gratify his insatiable appetite for spite. While I have not yet sought the sealing of my prior court records, Holding's use of these judicial records is contrary to the Courts' intent:

from Giuffre v. Maxwell, 325 F. Supp. 3d 428, 440 (Dist. Court, SD New York 2018):

Every court has supervisory power over its own records and files, and access has been denied where court files might have become a vehicle for improper purposes" such as using records "to gratify spite or promote scandals" or where files might serve "as reservoirs of libelous statements for press consumption." Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 598, 98 S.Ct. 1306, 55 L.Ed.2d 570 (1978); see also Amodeo II, 71 F.3d at 1051 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted) ("Courts have long declined to allow public access simply to cater to a morbid craving for that which is sensational and impure.").
It appears from your own articles that your company tends to be "Christian" or to view Christianity favorably:

https://www.inmotionhosting.com/employment/latest-news/imh-gives-back

Jesus said slander is a sin that comes from the heart:
19 "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
20 "These are the things which defile the man; (Matt. 15:19-20 NAU)

The apostle Paul required you to disassociate yourself from any so-called Christian 'brother' who engages in the sin of "reviling":
11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler-- not even to eat with such a one.
12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?
13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. (1 Cor. 5:11-13 NAU)
This is a request that you remove the website http://www.lawsuitagainstjamespatrickholding.com/ from public access until this suit is resolved.

I strongly suggest you read the attached Complaint in full before you respond. All of the trifles you might have about ways to spin the website's statements so that they are not necessarily libelous, are false. Holding has no immunity, he cannot use the "opinion" defense, he cannot prove the "truth" of the libels, the libelous statements actually are false in every way that case law says statements can be libelous, and the suit was filed within Florida's two-year statute of limitations. The only reason my prior identical libel lawsuit against Holding didn't go to trial was because the judge falsely accused me of failing to follow the rules, an order that is currently being appealed (but the order of dismissal was "without prejudice" thus allowing me to file the same case again). So not even the prior dismissal can possibly suggest the current suit lacks merit.

Rest assured, Mr. Holding's website contains properly actionable libel, and no trifle of law is going to save him this time. You could not possibly do anything bad, and you could only do good, by removing that website from public access until this case is resolved.

I will be happy to answer any question you might have about the possible truth of the statements. You can become better informed of the best arguments thereto by contacting Mr. Holding's lawyer Scott A. Livingston at:

slivingston@cplspa.com
201 East Pine Street Suite 445 Orlando, Florida 32801
Phone: 407-647-7887

Thank you for your understanding.

Christian Doscher
barryjoneswhat@gmail.com
Attachments area





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This was InMotion Hosting's reply:

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[IMH Legal] #3187: Update to 'request for removal of a libelous website you are hosting'
Inbox
x
InMotion Hosting Legal Admin Team <legal-trac@inmotionhosting.com>
Tue, Jul 21, 4:32 AM
to
[External] Hello, We have reviewed the account and have confirmed that the material or materials listed in the complaint were still present.  
The account has now been suspended. 
At this time we have closed this complaint. 
Our office hours are from 9 AM to 9 PM, Monday through Friday, Eastern time. If you have additional questions or concerns you may respond to this message and we will address those matters. Your correspondence will be responded to in the order that it was received so please allow 1-2 business days to receive your response. Best Regards,InMotion Hosting Legal Admin Team
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The "Complaint" with which I've started the new libel lawsuit against Holding (the one which convinced InMotion Hosting that Holding had violated their terms of service, is 170 pages long, and conclusively proves that Holding has committed perjury in Court at least 10 times, as well as shows that all comments about me which Holding uploaded to that website and elsewhere, were indeed libelous "per se".  Download Complaint here.

Maybe the world's smartest Christian apologist can now "explain" why InMotion Hosting's law firm are "dumbasses" or "idiots" or "morons" for finding his excuses unpersuasive, you know, the epithets that he hurls against anybody else who dare to disagree with his stupid pretentious trifling bullshit.

Or maybe you should ask him whether he plans to make good on his previous threat to simply move the content on the website to another domain, should the first domain remove the material in question.

Or maybe you should ask him how you can be sure your donations to him aren't being used to pay his lawyer to fight this lawsuit.  But read the downloaded Complaint, supra, first, as Holding appears to the be type that will lie about his finances when he thinks he won't get caught.

you can contact Holding at tektonics.org, or his email jphold@att.net

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Cold Case Christianity: Talking with Atheists: A Few Observations from Berkeley

This is my reply to an article by J. Warner Wallace entitled


Brett Kunkle, Sean McDowell and I took students to Berkeley for several years, creating and facilitating trips to challenge young Christians and expose them to the arguments they may eventually face in their university experience.
If you try to inoculate your kids against atheism, you cannot complain if atheists try to inoculate their kids against Christianity. Unless you are a bigot who thinks Christians are always the special exception whenever playing by the rules would get them in intellectual trouble.
We typically invited local atheists to join us on these trips to make the case for what they believe. In the past we’ve listened to presentations from Richard Carrier, Mark Thomas, David Fitzgerald and Larry Hicok.
Then you aren't following the apostolic example.  Google what John said to Cerinthus at the bathhouse, then maybe you'll think twice before inviting the enemies of the gospel to make their case, you non-Christian hypocrite.
After each presentation we had the opportunity to engage the speaker in a question and answer session.
The apostles did not engage in question and answer with those who are already known to be steadfastly resistant to the gospel.  see above.
We also spent several days on the campus of UC Berkeley, talking with students and answering their questions about the Christian Worldview.
Did any of those students ask you how you could ever view sex within adult-child marriages as sinful, given that there is nothing in the bible calling it sinful?  Or do you tour college classrooms because you are more likely going to get softball objections from people who are more interested in getting their degree than in steamrolling Christianity?

You are a frightened coward, Mr. Wallace.  I will debate you any place, any time, any subject of your choosing.  But you are afraid to do it because you don't have the intellectual know-how to keep up when your stuff starts evaporating under cross-examination.  That's right, fool...just keep pushing all that old bullshit that has already been refuted 6,000 times over.  What are you gonna ask next?  Whether atheists can justify absolute morality?  If you are talking with an informed atheist like me, instead of a fool who hasn't figured it out yet, you might trip them up.  I guess that's why you ignore me like you ignore a land mine.  People might not tithe as much to your ministry if they knew how easy it is to refute your kindergarten Christian bullshit.

We met with the campus atheist clubs and sometimes even engaged in public forum discussions. We learned a lot from these trips, so I would like to share a few observations on what I’ve learned from our interactions.
We asked unbelieving speakers to come to our group to spend some time talking about why they are atheists. They were thoughtful, passionate and happy to tell us the reasons for their disbelief. Some offered classic objections to Christianity. Others argued against God’s existence from the problem of evil. After several hours of careful listening over the years, I’ve begun to recognize a number of commonalities in the stories and explanations I’ve heard from a variety of unbelievers on our Berkeley trips. Here are a few of my observations (in no particular order):
Those don't bother the atheists who use MY arguments.
It’s Not Always About the Evidence
Some atheists are not as unconvinced by the evidence as they are upset with believers. We saw a general disdain for Christians as we talked with our invited atheist speakers. They consistently pointed to alleged evils of Christianity (and Christians), even as they developed an evidential case against the existence of God. The evidence from history, science or philosophy isn’t always the underlying issue. Many skeptics are more troubled by a past experience or some perception about a Christian (or group of Christians).
Doesn't matter, you aren't going to show that those atheists are "unreasonable" to say "fuck you" to whatever held them down in the past.  And regardless, too many Christian scholars deny the literal interpretation of biblical hell, thus robbing you of the only basis you have for pretending atheists are in any danger or urgent danger.
Dad Has A Lot To Do With It
I want to be careful not to over-generalize here, but I often found a pattern in these interactions related to the relationship some of these speakers and guests had with their fathers. When asked to describe their relationship with their dads, hardcore atheists often had little good to say about them. One of these speakers said the best thing his dad ever did for him was to die. Many had fathers who were either absent, mean-spirited or overbearing, and (sadly) many of them had fathers who were involved in Christian ministries of one kind or another.
Doesn't apply to me.
Sometimes It’s About Politics
I also find many of our speakers had an underlying belief we, as Christians, are a monolithic conservative Republican voting block. They resented our ability to sway elections, and many of them would self-identify as “progressive” in their political or social ideology. It sometimes seems as though their animosity toward conservative Republicans informed their approach toward us. We are often able to bridge this divide by sharing our common concern for the poor and for the environment. As Christians, we share a broad concern for the world around us transcending politics. Once they realized this, many of our atheist guests softened slightly in their approach toward us.
Sometimes it is more reasonable to do what will make for peace in the land, than to push the fact that your opponent got it wrong.
They Really Do Think We Are Stupid
Sadly, in the early days of our trips to Berkeley, it was clear our invited atheist guests didn’t think much of us as an audience.
How could they?  YOU don't think much of them, if you read your bible.  You think they are idiotic numbskulls who are worthy of nothing except damnation.  So expect us to yell "fuck you" right back, bitch.
On the first mission trip, our guests assumed we would be simple-minded, culturally primitive, scientifically unsophisticated and philosophically illiterate.
You are.  But you keep that hidden by refusing to debate me.  That's right, now move on and write another article about the evils of evolution, you Jesus salesman who takes a commission, you.
These atheists had spoken to other Christian groups in the past, and their experiences apparently left them with this impression (many of them told us this was the case).
What would you rather? That we pretend stupid Christians are intellectually superior?  Sure, we'll do that just as soon as you start saying atheists are intellectually superior.  Deal?
Hopefully our interaction with them over the years demonstrated the existence of Christians who have reasoned though their trust in the claims of Christianity.
You don't answer the question "can atheists be reasonable to reject Christianity?" by simply pointing out that you have reasons to accept Christianity.  Sometimes two people can be equally reasonable to disagree upon a single alleged "fact".  Christianity's reasonableness, if any, does not automatically imply that non-Christians who know and reject the gospel, are thus "unreasonable".
We obviously come to different conclusions about the evidence than our atheist counterparts, but our path toward what we believe travels down a similar rational, evidential road. Our young Christian groups were engaging, thoughtful and evidentially articulate. Hopefully, we were good ambassadors for Christ in a hostile environment.
You were not.  You cannot find anything in the NT that will support your going around inviting those who serve the devil to make their case so you can then sit there asking them questions about it.  But given that you don't think things through very comprehensively, I can understand why you just take up the "American Christianity" sales pitch and make money with it.  Pleasing your customers is entirely possible even if you misinterpret the bible in the process. 
Many skeptics reject the claims of Christianity for reasons other than the strength (or weakness) of our evidences.
And they can be reasonable to do so in some instances.  All  men are not pigs, but if a young woman was recently raped and reacts by calling all men pigs, you can hardly blame her for such inaccuracy.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

my reply to Dave Armstrong on God causing evil

Dave Armstrong takes a shot at Calvinism at Patheos.com, here

Responded as follows:

If God respects human freewill, how could the metaphor of "hooks in your jaws" (Ezekiel 38:4 ff) possibly convey correct theology? What image does the metaphor bring to mind, and does that image harmonize with "God respects human freewill"?
Armstrong cites to Keil and F. Delitzsch, but I doubt he would agree with their interpretation of Ezekiel 38-39:
In the words, “I place rings in thy jaws” (cf. Ezek. 29:4), Gog is represented as an unmanageable beast, which is compelled to follow its leader (cf. Isa. 37:29); and the thought is thereby expressed, that Gog is compelled to obey the power of God against his will. הֹוצִיא, to lead him away from his land, or natural soil.
Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (2002). Commentary on the Old Testament. (Vol. 9, Page 331). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.







Saturday, June 27, 2020

Jason Engwer fails to defend the veracity of Paul's experience on the road to Damascus

Herein I reply to Triablogue's Jason Engwer on the subject of Jesus' resurrection.  Jason's post was from here.

First, it doesn't matter if Jesus really was the true messiah, I have excellent arguments against the "eternal conscious torment" version of hell (such as that the NT contradicts the OT on the point) and therefore, no apologist can pontificate that I'm irrationally ignoring a danger-alarm when I reject Christianity.  As an atheist I already accept extinction of consciousness as my fate, and since the bible teaches that fate for unbelievers, I'm not ignoring danger signals by ignoring the bible.  I ask myself "what if the bible is true!?" about as often as Engwer asks himself "what if the Koran is true!?"

The Christians feel comfortable that there comes a time when you can draw an ultimate conclusion without worrying about the gainsayers.  So they cannot balk at skeptics who likewise draw an ultimate conclusion without worrying to stay up with the latest in Christian apologetics.

Jason's basic problem is common to all apologists:  Whether he will allow a naturalistic inference from the story depends on whether it coheres with the story. In Jason's fantasy-land of bible inerrancy, all inferences that might challenge bible inerrancy are obviously stupid and fallacious.  If Jason were a prosecutor faced with a criminal defendant whose alibi of being home asleep at the time of the murder could not be positively falsified, he would drop charges.  After all, the guy said he was home asleep at the time of the murder, and nobody is able to positively falsify that statement.  You have no rational choice but to accept that testimony.  And yet we know perfectly well that you can reasonably find such a man guilty even if you cannot positively falsify his alibi.
Jason EngwerMarch 23 ·
It's often claimed that Jesus' resurrection appearance to Paul isn't described as a physical appearance in Acts or elsewhere.
That's because the details of the story forbid classifying Paul as an "eyewitness", for if he truly saw the person of Jesus, the details would not fail to support the point.
But it is described as physical, in Acts and in Paul's letters.
Space aliens are also "described as physical". Doesn't mean the testimony foists the least bit of intellectual compulsion on anybody else. And Christianity evolves like Judaism, so I don't really care if the Paul of the epistles testifies to a physical experience of the risen Christ, all he is doing is embellishing his original experience to make it sound more concrete than it really was.
Acts tells us that Paul saw Jesus, not just a light (9:27, 22:14).
Your trouble is the the alleged eyewitness, Paul, never says he saw this person.  Furthermore, Acts 9:27 indicates Paul's seeing Jesus was merely Barnabas' inference, a person who did not have personal knowledge of this Damascus road experience:
 27 But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. (Acts 9:27 NAU)
Furthermore given the details in the story, it is reasonable to suppose Paul leaped from "all evidence indicates it was Jesus" over to "I saw Jesus".  Your problem is that Luke would hardly tell the story the way he did if Paul had "seen" Jesus.

Luke's story details will not permit Barnabas' inference.  In fact, if the light was "brighter than the noon-day sun" (Acts 26:13) and if it blinded Paul (Acts 22:11) we have the perfect right to assume Paul would have done what anybody does when hit with a bright light, and close his eyes.  And since the light blinded him, we can also assume that he would have kept his eyes closed.   In your arguments you frequently refer to what we can "naturally assume", and Paul's keeping his eyes closed until the light disappeared is a perfectly natural assumption.

Acts 9:8 only says his eyes were open when he got up from the ground, it neither expresses nor implies he kept his eyes open the whole time or most of the time.

If you were being tried for murder and the prosecution's only witness said they saw you pull the trigger, but at no time did they provide any detail that plainly alleged they "saw" you pull the trigger, you'd ask the judge the drop the case for lack of evidence. You would not trifle that because the prosecutor is the only one drawing the inference that the witness 'saw', that's good enough.

That Paul never opened his eyes during the encounter is also strongly implied by Acts 26:14.  If you visited a friend and saw them physically, you would never later characterize their talking to you as "I heard a voice..."  So Paul's phrase is reasonable on the assumption that either his eyes were closed, or that he went blind before he heard the voice.  Either way, you aren't going to demonstrate that the theory of Paul never "seeing" Jesus during this encounter, is "unreasonable". 

What do you recommend skeptics do when apologists cannot show some skeptical theory to be unreasonable?
Paul says the same in his letters (1 Corinthians 9:1).
He also admits in the next verse that other Christians did not view him as an apostle (v. 2) which only makes sense if they rejected his story about seeing Jesus on the road to Damascus.  Now we have Christians contemporary to Paul who thought his story was bullshit.  but I'm sure that in your happy bubble world of inerrancy, the only testimony that matters is testimony in favor of your own doctrines.

Paul might have said he saw the risen Christ (v. 1), but he's also a self-confessed liar (v. 20-21).  There is no way Paul could have viewed himself free from the law, then pretend to be under the Law when in the company of Jews, and do all this without giving a false impression of his beliefs.  The Jews knew of a rumor that he set aside the Law of Moses in his Gentile preaching (Acts 21:18-24), so we can safely assume that if Paul ever fellowshipped with Jews, they would not be satisfied with external apperances, or his merely going along with their rituals...they would have asked him whether he believes obedience to the law puts one in right standing with God. 

If he truthfully answered "no", they would thrust him out of the Synagogue as an apostate.  So the only way Paul's "be a Jew to the Jew" strategy could possibly work, is if he falsely confessed to believing in the efficacy of the Law the exact same way that his non-Christian Jewish friends understood it. 

How would you like it if your local Satanist became a "Christian to the Christians" whenever he visited your church?  If you found out he denied the faith, wouldn't you subject him to some seriously clarifying questions before allowing him back in your church?  Or would you just shine him on as he joins the others in singing "Old Rugged Cross"?  If he honestly said he only pretends to be a Christian when among Christians, would you allow him back into your church?  DUH. Once again, the only way Paul could believe his "be a Jew to the Jews" strategy could work, is if he lied to them an affirmed he agreed with them about the salvific efficacy of the Law.
Resurrection in Paul's letters and early Christianity in general involves the raising of the physical body that died, so a physical appearance of Jesus would make more sense than a non-physical one in that context.
or maybe like everything else in Judaism and Christianity, Paul's understanding of his Damascus road experience changed during that time he spent in Arabia (Galatians 1:17).  Gee, eyewitnesses never alter their testimony due to the passing of time, do they?
Similarly, the context of the remainder of Luke and Acts and earlier resurrection appearances in general is a context in which all of the earlier appearances were physical ones.
Sorry, the details in the 3 versions of the story of Paul's experience on the road to Damascus will not permit characterizing it as having the same physicality as other alleged appearances. 
So, it makes more sense for the appearance to Paul to be physical than it does for the appearance to be non-physical.
The fact that you have to argue the point proves Luke's data is sufficiently ambiguous as to render the skeptical position reasonable.

But given the fact that the bible doesn't assign to unbelievers a fate any worse than the consciousness-extinction that I already accept as an atheist, I'm not seeing why I should CARE whether Jesus rose from the dead.  I only bother refuting apologists because I feel sorry for those fundamentalists who experience anguish from their cognitive dissonance (i.e., everything the bible says is true, but actual real life disproves many biblical statements).  Some people just have less tolerance for the "god's ways are mysterious" excuse, Mr. Engwer.  You aren't going to change that by ceaselessly trifling about everything under the sun.

But you also forget that Paul was a stupid mystic who couldn't even tell when some of his instances of flying up into heaven were spiritual or physical (2nd Corinthians 12:1-4).  Incidentally, Paul characterizes that dementia with the Greek word for vision, "optasia"...the same word he uses in Acts 26:19 to characterize his experience of Christ on the road to Damascus.
The objective, physical nature of how Paul and his companions heard Jesus' voice, with different people having heard him to different degrees, makes more sense if the voice came from Jesus' body than if Jesus wasn't physically present.
Then apparently you aren't familiar with the absurd mysticism of Acts.  In a "vision" Paul is able to hear the voice of another earth-bound human being who was, at that exact moment, 200 miles away across the ocean. Acts 16:9.
And passages like Acts 22:15 group the hearing and seeing involved together, suggesting that both the hearing and the seeing of Jesus were of a physical nature.
If that's how the prosecutor had to fix the testimony of the only witness, to say they experienced you shooting somebody else, you'd be asking for charges to be dropped for lack of evidence.  Once again, Paul says he "heard a voice..." which is not the way you describe that talk to another person, if the source of the voice had been a physical person you SAW.  The story details are stilted because what actually happened was not clearly a physical experience.  Of course, I'm reasonable to accuse Luke of fabricating most of the account, such as the detail about the traveling companions partially experiencing this thing.
22:14 refers to the voice coming from the "mouth" of Jesus.
That's Ananias, v. 12, and he didn't have personal knowledge of the road experience.  DISMISSED.  It must suck to be you...the only way you can get "physical" out of the eyewitness's testimony is to smoosh it together with the inferences draw by those who came along and talked to Paul at a later time.
That terminology normally refers to a portion of the human body.
Terminology that says "I heard a voice behind me..." also normally refers to a portion of the human body, but it is still employed the author of Revelation to describe an experience limited to his mind (Revelation 1:10).
Jesus is a human
That terminology normally refers to a person who lacks the ability to float up into heaven solely by non-physical means. Discover, then, the purely Ad Hoc nature of Christian apologetics.  If a prosecutor had to qualify normal terms in a criminal case as often as Christianity requires qualification of normal terms, he would probably be disciplined by the Bar for bringing charges without sufficient probable cause.  And he'd probably be referred for mental health services.
who was speaking in the context of a resurrection appearance,
There is no reason to characterize Acts 9 as a "resurrection" appearance, except of course for your indefatigable need to make everything in the bible harmonize.  This appearance occurred after Jesus "ascended" in Acts 1.  And don't even get me started on how a god of truth would never act in a way that helps a person confirm the truth of their scientifically inaccurate viewpiont that heaven is physically "up there".
which involves a raised physical body, so the reference to a mouth in 22:14 is most naturally taken as a reference to Jesus' being bodily present during the appearance to Paul.
Except that Paul was the sort of person who sometimes couldn't tell whether an event happened only to his spirit, or also to his body (2nd Corinthians 12:1-4).  Any witness in court who admitted this kind of gullibility could never persuade a reasonable jury, especially if their testimony about an interaction with another person had so conspicuously lacked plain indicators of where the other person was, the way Paul's bullshit story of conversion lacks these.
There's no reason to think that something like an anthropomorphism is involved in 22:14.
There's also no reason to believe the story.  Contrary to popular belief, there is no rule of common sense or historiography that says the objective person will accept testimony as true until it can be positively falsified.  Josh McDowell was lying when telling the world about Aristotle's Dictum.  When a stranger on the bus tells you his real pet snake sometimes talks to him in English, trying to get him to commit a sin, you do not assemble a team of investigators to check out the snake, the man, his friends, his family, his possible credibility supports or problems, and then only reach a verdict after careful deliberation.  You call him a crazy cocksucker, and you'd be "reasonable" to do so even if by some freak space-warp his pet snake really did talk to him.
The passage is most naturally taken to refer to Jesus' bodily presence.
A point you wouldn't have to argue if the original eyewitness had made that clear.  Do you also 'argue' that Jesus was a man?
Furthermore, Paul groups the appearance to him with the appearances to others (1 Corinthians 15:5-8),
Yeah, those other appearances that the canonical gospels strangely omit, like the appearances to Peter, then James, then to the 500 at once.  Paul could just as easily be implying he thinks the other apostles' experiences of Christ were similar to his own.  You resist that conclusion by noting the obvious physical nature of the gospel resurrection appearances, but the earliest of these, Mark, said nothing about Jesus being seen by anyone, an argument from silence that is very certain, since if Mark felt anybody saw the risen Christ, he surely would have mentioned it.  James Patrick Holding insists Mark chose to leave the resurrection appearances out of the written version but this is fucking ludicrous.  Shall we think Mark thought the parable of the sower (Mark 3) deserved to be included in the writing, but not the details of the event that is allegedly infinitely more important?

And don't even get me started on how the expectation of the women going to the tomb that Jesus would still be dead on the third day, makes the skeptic reasonable to say they didn't find any of the miracles Jesus did before the crucifixion to be the least bit compelling.

And don't even get me started on how, in light of Luke 24:23, ANY part of the canonical gospel story of Jesus' resurrection might have been a "vision".
and early Christian tradition, reflected in a large number and variety of sources, portrays the appearances to the other resurrection witnesses as bodily appearances.
What are you gonna say next?  The Jews were monotheists, hoping the reader won't read every other page of the NT that shows them being polytheists? 

Sorry, those who denied Jesus' fleshly reality existed in the days of the apostles (2nd John 7), and he says there are "many" such Christians.  Such a movement could hardly have gotten started sufficiently to blossom into "many" or become important enough for John to warn his church against, if denying Jesus' fleshly reality was an obvious stupidity.

Did any heretics deny the fleshly reality of Nero?
Like Paul's writings, the book of Acts portrays Paul as a resurrection witness in the same category as the others (13:31-32, 22:15), and those other witnesses are said to have seen bodily appearances of Jesus.
There is no reason to equate the appearances to the disciples, with the appearance to Paul.

James Patrick Holding has committed perjury at least 10 times

My 5th libel lawsuit against James Patrick Holding starts with a Complaint that is 170 pages long, includes most of the content of the previous Complaints, and proves Holding has committed perjury in a court document at least 10 times.  

Download here, 6 mb.  The part that proves he committed perjury 10 times starts at page 113.

The most egregious of these instances of perjury was what I documented as his "tenth" act of perjury, namely, his having stated in a response to an interrogatory in 2015 that he has "never deliberately intended to insult anyone by his communications", an answer that is followed by his attorney's signature.  See bottom of page 132.  You probably don't need to be told that I then use up 30 pages of the Complaint proving that Holding was not only lying here, he KNEW he was lying when he gave that answer.

James Patrick Holding never deliberately intended to insult anybody?  ARE YOU HIGH ON CRACK?

In a prior settlement offer, Holding proposed that I submit my counter-apologetics book drafts to him for editing, then he would assist me in getting them published.

So you might want to contact Holding and ask him what precedent there is in the New Testament for Christians to help anti-Christians publish anti-Christian works.  jphold@att.net.  Or contact him by responding to one of his videos here.

Maybe he'll do a video on that subject, and shock the Christian world with an argument that Jesus might very well want a Christian to help a non-Christian publish blasphemy.

Then you might want to ask the world's smartest Christian defender of biblical inerrancy why there seems to be a contradiction between his desire to help anti-Christians publish anti-Christian works, and the apostle Paul's belief that anti-Christian speech must be suppressed (Titus 1:11, Psalm 101:3, Matthew 23:15).

UPDATE:
You may wonder whether Mr. Holding now understands that his prior "insult" style of apologetics was sinful.  I think he does, but he is also aware of the problems that bit of honesty creates.  If he admitted his slandering people in the past was sinful, he'd have to apologize to them, or at least to those whom he slandered the most, like me.

Mr. Holding is a big-mouth "know-it-all" who has constructed his internet presence to make sure he is constantly surrounded by decidedly less informed and fawning fans who salivate at his every word.  Apologizing would be a blow to his pride.  When you are plagued with the sin of pride as deeply as Mr. Holding is, you will not do anything that would entail that you apologize to anybody, ever.  If Holding was arrested for deliberately running over a small child in anger, he'd probably become a Calvinist before he ever got into the cop car.  If James Patrick Holding did it, then it cannot possibly be a sin.  But notice how the bible condemns Mr. Holding's filthy slanders and "reviling":


 9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;
 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.
 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler-- not even to eat with such a one.
 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?
 13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. (1 Cor. 5:9-13 NAU)


 18 "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.
 19 "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.
 20 "These are the things which defile the man; (Matt. 15:18-20 NAU)

 3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;
 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
 5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Eph. 5:3-5 NAU)

 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience,
 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.
 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.
 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him-- (Col. 3:6-10 NAU)

I offer more here.  And here.  And here.

See especially my 2017 blog entry providing all the reasons Holding (a closet homosexual) is disqualified, under biblical criteria, from possessing any Christian "teacher" position.  See here.

I also just advertised this post at Holding's YouTube channel, here's a screenshot:

======================----------------------------

I also disclosed the latest to one of Holding's followers "Zachary Cawley", who surprised me with his wisdom in refusing to draw a conclusion until the end of the case:

The following was posted to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbSUszyDIZQ   on August 4,  about 4 pm Pacific Standard Time.

Barry Jones
2 hours ago
Praise Report:  "Christian" apologist James Patrick Holding was sued for libel due to many false statements he posted to a domain he purchased exclusively for the purpose.  The domain provider, InMotion Hosting, agreed with me that the content violated their terms of service, and accordingly suspended the website.

Just how much do you suppose that's going to hurt Holding's defense at trial?

See the details at https://turchisrong.blogspot.com/2020/08/james-patrick-holding-libelous.html

Maybe the world's smartest Christian apologist can now explain why he thinks InMotion Hosting's lawyers are "morons" or "dumbasses", since those are the epithets Holding has, for the last 20 years, hurled at anybody else who dare disagree with his opinions.  Only in this case, InMotion Hosting's lawyers are also disagreeing with the opinions of Holding's own lawyer, Scott Livingston. 
Zachary Cawley
35 minutes ago (edited)
What Holding's case has to do with this vid, I cannot fathom. Regardless, the types of people he calls "morons" are the ones that would not hesitate to hurl insults at him just for being a Christian. In which case, they receive their just desserts when called out for critcal errors in their exegesis of any given biblical text.
 So far as the civil case regarding "libel," it's probably going to end up the same as all the other defamation cases Doscher filed. Does he even have a reputation to speak of?
 EDIT: I find the fact you chose to bring that up here, when I said nothing of Holding and Doscher in the video, to be extremely telling. You are so eager to bring him and his supporters down, you are willing to disrupt the flow of the actual topic in order to do it. That is the impression I am getting, anyway.
 
 Barry Jones
30 minutes ago
@Zachary Cawley yes, he does.  But perhaps the more important concern for you is the bible's teaching that Christian "brothers" who constantly 'revile' others are not qualified to be "teachers", so that you need to stop viewing Holding as a teacher until he repents of his slanders:

 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, OR A REVILER, or a drunkard, or a swindler-- not even to eat with such a one.
 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?
 13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. (1 Cor. 5:11-13 NAU)

Doesn't it bother you that while Mr. Holding wants to be viewed as a christian "teacher", he fails the biblical criteria for such office? 
 Zachary Cawley
19 minutes ago
@Barry Jones Last I checked, he is not a pastor anyway even if what you say is true. Also, I never said he was a teacher, so I have no idea where this is coming from. You have yet to even establish what those "slanderous" accusations were. I will wait for the close of the case to conclude anything, as I was not even aware of this new case you refer to. Quick to hear, slow to speak, in other words.
 Barry Jones
16 minutes ago
@Zachary Cawley You said "the types of people he calls "morons" are the ones that would not hesitate to hurl insults at him just for being a Christian."

I reply:
If he calls them names for the reason you gave, then he is violating NT ethics, which forbid retaliatory name-calling.   1st Peteter 2:21-23.

You said:  " In which case, they receive their just desserts when called out for critcal errors in their exegesis of any given biblical text."

I reply:
You got it all wrong, bro.  the bible specifically forbids you from fellowshipping with "brothers" who constantly "revile" others, 1st Cor, 5:9-13.

You said:
So far as the civil case regarding "libel," it's probably going to end up the same as all the other defamation cases Doscher filed.

I reply:
If InMotion Hosting's lawyer felt the content was sufficiently libelous to deem it a punishable violation of their terms of service, that counts as the professional legal opinion of somebody other than Doscher, that the libelous comments documented in his latest Complaint really are libelous.

You said:
 Does he even have a reputation to speak of?
  
I reply:
You don't understand Florida's libel law.  Florida does not accept the "libel-proof" doctrine, therefore, Florida does not recognize the notion that someone has such a bad reputation that it cannot be further tarnished by libel. 

You are also manifesting your spiritual immaturity.  the issue is not whether I have a reputation to speak of, but whether Holding has violated any biblical ethic applicable to him in defaming me.  He did.  Go ahead, google "bible defamation gossip slander reviling", the bible says nothing good about these vices.

You also forget that Holding's own mentor Gary Habermas stopped publicly endorsing him because of Holding's foul unChrist-like mouth.  Both Habermas and Licona condemn Holding's insulting-style in no uncertain terms, along with Dr. Rorhrbough, founding member of the Context Group, who said Holding's article justifying insulting speech was an "obvious perversion" of Rohrbaugh's work and the NT itself.  I can provide the documentation if you are interested

Barry Jones
11 minutes ago
@Zachary Cawley You said:
@Barry Jones Last I checked, he is not a pastor anyway even if what you say is true. "
 I reply:
that's irrelevant:  you can be a "teacher" without being a "pastor".  So his failing the teacher criteria continues to condemn his ministry, especially given that the express purpose of his ministry is to create "educational" materials.
 You said:
Also, I never said he was a teacher, so I have no idea where this is coming from.
 I reply:
You don't need to say he is a teacher.  Holding holds himself out as a Christian teacher, that's enough, it doesn't require your acceptance before his claim can be refuted from the bible and his own long list of "reviling" sins.
 you said:
You have yet to even establish what those "slanderous" accusations were.
 I reply,
that's why I gave you the link to that latest 170-page Complaint. Read it.
 Here's the blog page with the link, again:
https://turchisrong.blogspot.com/2020/06/james-patrick-holding-has-committed.html
 You said:   I will wait for the close of the case to conclude anything, as I was not even aware of this new case you refer to. Quick to hear, slow to speak, in other word
 I reply:
that's far wiser than most of Holding's followers, who cannot imagine him as anything other than a manga warrior who never does anything worthy of cutting off fellowship.
 
Barry Jones
6 minutes ago
@Zachary Cawley You said:
EDIT: I find the fact you chose to bring that up here, when I said nothing of Holding and Doscher in the video, to be extremely telling. You are so eager to bring him and his supporters down, you are willing to disrupt the flow of the actual topic in order to do it. That is the impression I am getting, anyway.

I reply:
that's the  wrong impression, I had no intention of disrupting a conversation, but I had no other way to get in contact with you, and regardless, if your faith hero is biblically disqualified from holding any office of Christian "teacher", that's probably more important, from a spiritual standpoint, than your youtube notification that you don't want to become involved in a spat between "eso" and "filthy".

Answering Jason Engwer's questions on why skeptics distrust Acts

Jason Engwer of Triablogue posted to Facebook a few questions intended to rationally justify his acceptance of the reports in Acts about apostle Paul's experience of Christ on the road to Damascus.

See here

I respond to each question respectively, showing that skeptics can answer those questions in a way that renders their continued distrust of Acts and Luke reasonable.
Jason EngwerMarch 29 ·

Some of the reasons we have for accepting what Acts tells us about Jesus' resurrection appearance to Paul:
- There's no competing account.
Most modern day "miracles" have no competing account, yet despite their allegedly involving the Christian god, you do not automatically trust them.  Or is that granting you too much?
- Luke's general reliability.
No, the only reason he made sure to get the names of cities and people correct was to make his lies about miracles seem more believable.  All professional liars realize the obvious truth that if you want to make a lie seem convincing, you have to surround it with nuggets of historical truth.  And there is no rule of historiography that requires a person to believe a report or testimony until it can be proven false.  Josh McDowell lied about Aristotle's dictum.

Engwer will carp that anti-supernaturalism is fallacious, but not even he or anybody at Triablogue would believe biblical miracle claims if they were made by people today.  Suppose your single female pregnant neighbor says no man got her pregnant, it was only god, just like with Mary in the gospels.  You know god-damn well you'd be immediately suspicious, would you NOT robotically remain neutral so you could gather the evidence and weigh hypotheses.  Go fuck yourself, you trifling self-deceived liar.
- Why fabricate an account in which Paul's companions don't convert?
It makes Paul look more special and unique.  And his companions more than likely didn't convert, so saying they did carried a risk of being falsified.  And the fact that the companions are utterly unknown and disappear forever from history reasonably justifies the conclusion that if they ever existed, they actually didn't convert...which means they likely did not believe Paul was telling the truth that the experience was Jesus.
- Why fabricate an account in which Paul's companions don't see the risen Christ and don't hear all that was said?
See above.  Why would Mel Tari fabricate tales of Christians walking on water, fire falling from heaven..."
- Why not make the physicality of the appearance more obvious, as with earlier resurrection appearances, like the earlier ones in Luke and Acts?
Because Paul was an absurd mystic who liked the idea of quasi-dimensional nonsense that left him stymied as to what exactly happened and how, such as his experience of flying up in heaven, but being unable years later to tell whether it happened physically or spiritually:
 1 Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.
 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago-- whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows-- such a man was caught up to the third heaven.
 3 And I know how such a man-- whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows--
 4 was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. (2 Cor. 12:1-4 NAU)
And of course, you know that Paul boasted of manifesting the nonsensical gift of tongues more than the Corinthian church, 1st Corinthians 14:18.  So Paul thought talking to himself in a language his mind could not understand constituted his talking to 'god'. 14:14.  He also thought that the time it took for all Christians to float up in the air and be with Jesus would be no longer than the time it takes to blink.  15:52.
- Why make the events so complicated (as discussed above)?
Its hard to juggle the desire to look special, along with the desire to tell a convincing story about a quasi-dimensional event.  Maybe you should interview a few lying eyewitnesses, who could have lied in court in a less complex way than they did?

Finally, Engwer and all Christian apologists routinely overlook the fact that the bible itself denies that the doing of a miracle automatically means the wonder-worker's theology is approved of by God, it also says God might give a false prophet the ability to do a miracle, merely to test the people:
 "If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,
 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,'
 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.   (Deut. 13:1-3 NAU)
So even if skeptics granted that Luke was telling the truth about Paul's experience of Christ on the road to Damascus, the fact of the miracle does not mean "Christians 1, Skeptics 0".

By what criteria can a person tell when the theology of a miracle-worker is divinely approved, and when the theology of a miracle-worker is merely a test from God?  Engwer cannot answer this in any objective fashion (what's he gonna say?  Jesus and Paul were nice people?), and therefore, skeptics would remain reasonable to be completely apathetic toward Jesus and Paul even if the skeptics acknowledged that they did genuinely supernatural miracles.

And if Engwer came up with any such criteria, that would be stupid since, what?  Are we supposed to apply that test to the wonder-workers in various Christian denominations to figure out which one is right?  How could we have time to conduct our lives if we were investigating miracle claims like that?

Or will Engwer cite Matthew 19:29 and insist the only rational thing to do is to give up custody of our kids so that we can have more time to obsess about Jesus?  LOL

TRIABLOGUE HAS DONE NOTHING IN 15 YEARS TO REMOTELY JUSTIFY CALLING SKEPTICS FOOLS.  IF YOU THINK THEY HAVE, I'LL GLADLY DISCUSS IT WITH YOU IN ANY INTERNET FORUM OF YOUR CHOOSING. RESPOND HERE OR AT barryjoneswhat@gmail.com




Wednesday, June 24, 2020

My justification of resurrection skepticism to Lydia McGrew

This is my reply to a recent video wherein Lydia McGrew and others discuss the evidence for Jesus' resurrection:

from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06NtOP84rXo&app=desktop

Most Christian scholars say Mark was the earliest gospel. Most Christian scholars say authentic Mark ended at 16:8. If it be reasonable for anybody to adopt the Christian scholarly majority opinion, then it is going to be reasonable for anybody to conclude that the earliest form of the gospel did not mention Jesus actually appearing to anybody. The reasonableness of that position is not going to disappear just because Lydia doesn't agree with Markan Priority. Reasonableness doesn't require accuracy (you think jurors are always unreasonable if they convict an innocent man?), and reasonableness doesn't require that somebody bat out of the ballpark any other theory that disagrees with them.

Hence, skeptics can be "reasonable", even if not infallible, to conclude the resurrection appearance narratives of later gospels are legendary. Read Acts 21:18-24 before you tell me rumors take decades to take root. If we can be 'reasonable' to be skeptical, how could there possibly be any intellectual compulsion on us to worry about that scholar over there, and her disagreements with us?

Do you think Christians stop being reasonable if they know about some skeptic and they refuse to entertain his replies? No.

Then be consistent with your own logic, and stop saying skeptics cannot be reasonable unless they are willing to stay up with the latest in Christian apologetics trifles.

*You* don't have to answer every last skeptical trifle to be a reasonable Christian, and *I* don't have to answer every last Christian trifle to be a a reasonable skeptic of Jesus' resurrection.

Is that fair, yes or no?


screenshot:


Triablogue: Dividing up Christianity is just as easy as we suggested

This is my reply to a Triablogue article by Jason Engwer entitled:

Dividing Up Early Christianity Is More Difficult Than Often Suggested

It's common for people commenting on Easter issues, as well as issues in other contexts, to put one strand of early Christianity against another. They'll claim that a particular belief is found in one gospel, but not another. The Pauline letters have one view of a subject, but a contrary view is found in the gospels.
They are correct.  Apostle Paul taught that righteousness doesn't come from the Law.  Galatians 2:21.  But Jesus not only taught that it does (the context for Matthew 5:17-20 is not "imputed righteousness" but v. 21 ff, which make actual personal righteousness a requirement for salvation), but that anything he taught the original apostles is also required of all future Gentiles, see Matthew 28:20, the part of the Great Commission most Christians miss.  If that is true, then because Jesus ordered the apostles to obey the Pharisee's commands (Matthew 23:3), Matthew also thought the risen Christ required the same of Gentiles. 

And that's how you prove Matthew was one of the Judaizers that Paul cursed in Galatians 1:8. 
And so on. In the context of Easter, we'll be told that Paul had no concept of the empty tomb
Making me wonder what you do with skeptics like me, whose arguments against the empty tomb are far more powerful than that.  1st Corinthians 15 is too convoluted to bother with, and any idiot who believed what you think Paul believed, could have expressed himself more clearly on the point.  Had Paul any concern for the historical Jesus, which he didn't, he could have appealed to the resurrection of Lazarus, and that would have made things as clear as Jesus wanted.  Adding apostle Paul to your Christianity is like getting married to a mentally retarded criminal.  You have to be sick in the head to do it.
or that some portions of early Christianity believed in a form of resurrection that didn't involve the transformation of the body that died, for example.
Ever read 2nd John 1:7?  How could the 1st century gnostic Christians possibly believe in a bodily resurrected Christ, when they asserted that his pre-resurrection body was illusory?   And there you go, a first century group of Christians who saw nothing particularly compelling with the "bodily resurrection" hypothesis.  Hell, even Paul's churches included people who denied resurrection outright (1st Cor. 15:12).
One of the points that ought to be made in these contexts is that the alleged differing strands of early Christianity often express agreement with one another. On the resurrection, Paul refers to how he and the rest of the apostles were in agreement (1 Corinthians 15:11).
FAIL.  That is only Paul alleging that the other apostles experienced things similar to himself.  A quick analysis will reveal serious problems justifying skepticism toward Paul's testimony here:
 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;
 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;
 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. (1 Cor. 15:3-8 NAU)
Paul's list was intended to convey the notion of chronological progression, therefore the appearance to Cephas was first.  But assuming the gospel of Mark really is the written form of Peter's preaching as some church fathers alleged, sure is strange that Peter (assuming he is the same as Cephas) didn't mention his own experience of the risen Christ (didn't the apostles value eyewitness testimony as much as Triablogue does?  If the apostles didn't find it necessary to write 6,000 articles addressing every possible trifle against theiir faith, Triablogue will have to admit there is a serious probability that it's sin of word-wrangling truly does signify a lack of sanctification.  A true Christian cares more about walking in the light, and less about "my arguments are still powerful whether I live in sin or not"). 

It's more strange if Peter did give his testimony and Mark somehow didn't think that part sufficiently important to justify mentioning despite the fact that Peter was the source, and the resurrection of Jesus the capstone of the gospel.  Your conjured up possible scenarios (Maybe mark forgot, maybe this, maybe that) will never be powerful enough to render my skepticism at this point unreasonable. Even stranger, even assuming Mark's long ending is canonical, there is no appearance to Peter there either.  We are fully justified to say the gospels don't mention any appearance to Peter before an appearance to the 12, because the gospel authors did not know of any such appearances, not because they were knowingly suppressing relevant testimony.  They already had a hard case to prove, they would likely regard ALL resurrection testimony, which they viewed as reliable, to be indispensable.  So skepticism toward Paul's resurrection summary is justified.  Contrary to popular belief, skepticism doesn't need to be founded on absolutes anymore than Christian faith does.

The appearance to 500 brothers at one time is recorded nowhere else in the NT, and worse, there can be no intellectual constraint on the skeptic to admit that testimony, since you don't know whether Paul says such a thing based on his own personal knowledge, or if he is conveying hearsay, or if he simply made it up in the typical fashion of Semitic exaggeration, which Flannagan and Copan tell us was the case with the "kill'em all" passages in the OT.

There is no appearance to 'James' in any of the gospels, except of course the Gospel to the Hebrews...wanna go there?  I didn't think so.  Like the atheist who has already decided that miracles are impossible, YOU have already decided that the Gospel to the Hebrews is not worthy of being taken seriously, since you aren't stupid enough to open epistemological doors you'll never close again.  Welcome to the club of smug presuppositionalism.  Maybe God wants you to do something else in life beside spend his money resurrecting demon inspired events for posterity, you fuckin fool.

Paul's using the same word for "appear" (Greek: horao) for all the listed appearances including to himself was dishonest, since the most explicit NT stories about Jesus appearing to Paul, neither express nor imply that he was an "eyewitness" in the sense that the gospels portray the Christ-appearances to the other apostles.  Go ahead, read Acts 9, Acts 22 and Acts 26.  Let me know when you find anything saying Paul saw anything more than a "light from heaven".  I also answered Steve Hays' trifles about the historicity of Paul's Damascus road experience, here.  Paul was NOT an "eyewitness" of the risen Christ.  And it wouldn't matter if he was, the apostolic test for apostleship is not "did you see the risen Christ?" but "were you present among Jesus' followers from the beginning of his earthly ministry"? (Acts 1:21).  You'll excuse me if I reject Paul's criteria of apostleship in favor of Peter's.  Feel free to join J. Vernon McGee in accusing Peter and the church in Acts 1 of defying the will of God, but don't say so publicly, you're liable to get steamrolled with details in Acts 1 you've shut your eyes to.

On the other hand, a theory that Paul wasn't being dishonest in 1st Cor. 15 would require that the manner in which Paul experienced Jesus on the road to Damascus is the way Paul thought the apostles experienced Jesus, which is bad news for you, given the nonsensical "Jesus-was-there-but-didn't-allow-anybody-to-see-him-except-Paul" absurdity, the likes of which would get any case based on similar nonsense tossed out of court, the the Plaintiff sued for filing a frivolous claim.  The reasonableness of the skeptical alternatives is not going to disappear merely because you can trifle about this or that.
To cite another example, see here regarding the likely reference to Luke's gospel as scripture in 1 Timothy 5:18.
Don't forget to tell them that some inerrantist Christian scholars deny the connection:

  It is not likely that Paul was quoting the Gospel of Luke, a document whose date of writing is uncertain. Paul may have been referring to a collection of Jesus’ sayings, some of which appear in Luke’s Gospel.
Lea, T. D., & Griffin, H. P. (2001, c1992). Vol. 34: 1, 2 Timothy, Titus (electronic ed.). The New American Commentary (Page 156). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

But I'm sure that Jason Engwer will still "expect" spiritually dead skeptics to successfully navigate the disputes that conservative inerrantist Christian scholars have with each other.  To think anything else is to give them excuse to deny God, and Romans 1:20 must be upheld to the death, amen?
Paul's letters are referred to as scripture in 2 Peter 3:15-16.
You say nothing here that might intellectually obligate a non-Christian to agree.
An example cited less often, but which has a lot of significance, is the early patristic attestation of how highly John viewed the Synoptic gospels.
Matthew made Jesus into a Judaizer (23:3, 28:20), yet John's gospel nowhere expresses or implies that Gentiles must obey the Pharisees.  Perhaps somebody can have high regard for an author, without agreeing with everything that author said?  Just like Jason Engwer has high regard for Steve Hays, while thinking Hays' Calvinism is an absurd misinterpretation of scripture (or did you become a Calvinist since 2015?)
See here concerning what Papias tells us about John's view of the gospel of Mark.
And just forget about  Papias' credibility problems.  You are here to live through your blog, not "convince" anybody of anything.  Also forget about the fact that you cannot demonstrate that any modern person is under the least bit of intellectual or moral obligation to give two shits about ancient hearsay.  So when we refuse to consider it, we aren't breaking any rules of intellectual or moral integrity. 

It sucks to be you because you are doing more to promote the gospel than even your own god!  Don't tell me God works through you, or I will ask why you don't profess to write inerrantly.  Where does the bible say God's inspiration would affect people of the future to a lesser degree than it did the biblical authors?
(And for more about Papias and his relationship with the apostle John, see here.) Clement of Alexandria cited some elders who commented on John's view of the Synoptics. See here for more about that passage.
Wow, I never knew Triablogue put so much stock in ancient hearsay at third-hand.  Jesus' resurrection is as obvious as the existence of trees.  I faint from fear of your god.  Can I borrow some dust and ashes?  Or are you a dispensationalist?
Notice, too, that much of what I'm saying here holds up even if the traditional authorship attributions of the New Testament documents are rejected. I explain some of the reasons why in my article on 1 Timothy 5:18 linked above, and those principles apply to other documents as well, not just 1 Timothy.
How much would Christianity suffer if it could be proven that the modern person is not under the least bit of intellectual compulsion to give two fucks what the 4 gospels say?  Sounds like a reasonable argument for rejecting traditional gospel authorship, which I can easily make and have made numerous times before, disposes of 4 of those resurrection witnesses, in a circumstance where you don't have very many witnesses anyway, and therefore the loss of 4 witnesses could not possibly be trivilaized, unless you are a Pentecostal Calvinist like Steve Hays, who thinks his personal experience of Christ counts for beans in such a debate.
Similarly, even if you think the elder Papias referred to was somebody other than the apostle John, the fact would remain that Papias was highly influenced by the Johannine documents (as I argue in my material linked above), and he held a high view of the Synoptics.
He also held a high view of talking grapes.  Let's just say I don't exactly lose sleep at night wondering whether Papias should still be believed or not despite his credibility problems.   I've rejected him and you haven't given me the slightest reason to worry I might have been wrong.  The difference between you and I is that I'm always open to dialogue and debate; YOU are just a chickenshit cocksucker who carefully avoids explaining why he won't put up or shut up.

For example, I asked you for all the evidence you had on the Enfield Poltergiest that you think God wants you to endless blog about, perhaphs thinking in doing so you are mirroring the apostles.  I'm still waiting.  Perhaps you have a new theory?  Maybe atheists who want to evaluate the same evidence you do, are not "worthy" to be given access?

 You can tell from my debates here that when I'm involved in formal debate, I use nicer language, so don't hide behind the pretext of "foul language".  I'll talk nicer if that's what you demand, you posterboy for masculinity, you.  And if you demand I talk nicer, I'd love to hear you comment on whether James Patrick Holding's use of foul insulting language and slurs for the last 20 years can intellectually justify a person to be suspicious that his claim to salvation is complete bullshit.

Any fool can post endless blog entries about Christian theology, but direct debate is where you find out whether their blog posts are substantive, or just organized noise.
Furthermore, saying that the elder Papias refers to wasn't the apostle John doesn't change the fact that he was some sort of prominent early church leader who didn't write the gospel of Mark and seems to have operated largely outside of the circles that gospel's author is usually associated with, yet he held a high view of that gospel.
An anonymous person held a high view of an anonymous gospel.  Don't make me put my beer down, turn off the stereo and start trembling in fear before your empty sky.
Rejecting something like Pauline authorship of 1 Timothy or the identification of Papias' elder as the apostle John would weaken my argument, but the argument would still carry some weight.
But you'll never establish that there is the least bit of intellectual or moral obligation upon any modern person to so much as CARE what the gospels say in the first place.  I can make a reasonable biblical case that Jesus' warnings about eternal conscious torment contradict the Old Testament, so that there's about as much danger in rejecting the gospel as there is in deleting spam email.

Times are changing, you won't be scaring anybody into heaven if I can help it.   Now tell yourself the Holy Spirit allowed me to post this rebuttal piece because he wants you to think of new creative ways to convince yourself that you can stand up to my debate challenges without needing to actually debate.

Reply to Steve Hays replying to Greg Bahnsen on the resurrection of Jesus

This is my reply to a Triablogue article by Steve Hays entitled:

Is it improper to argue evidentially for the Resurrection?
A friend asked me to comment on an old article by the late Greg Bahnsen:
https://answersingenesis.org/apologetics/the-impropriety-of-evidentially-arguing-for-the-resurrection/
However, a serious difficulty arises when the epistemological significance of the resurrection is separated from its soteriological function. It is correct to hold that God’s raising of Jesus from the dead saves us both from sin and agnosticism, but it would be mistaken to understand by this that the epistemological problem could be handled independently of the (broader) moral problem which is at its base. It is with regret that one notices neo-evangelicals severing the justifying efficacy of Christ’s resurrection from its truth-accrediting function. In reality, the latter is dependent upon the former. Only as Christ’s resurrection (with its ensuing regeneration by the Holy Spirit of Christ) saves a sinner from his rebellion against God and God’s Word, can it properly function to exhibit evidence for God’s truthfulness.
i) The significance of the Resurrection is multifaceted, so it's a question of which facet it is deployed to prove. It has an soteriological value but also evidential value. By raising Jesus from the dead, the Father vindicates the mission of Jesus, confirming who he claims to be. If Jesus was a false prophet, God would leave him to rot in the grave.
Then apparently Steve Hays forgot about that bible verse that says God may allow a false prophet to work genuinely supernatural miracles.  See Deuteronomy 13:1-3.  Apparently, the doing of a real miracle does NOT end the discussion about whether that person's message is what God wants the hearers to accept.

The problem for the Christian apologist at that point is how spiritually dead people are supposed to figure out which workers of genuinely supernatural miracles are approved by God, and which workers of genuinely supernatural miracles are false prophets god is using to test people.  Especially if spiritually alive people such as Catholics and Protestants cannot even agree on whether God has caused Mary to miraculously appear in modern times.

ii) The reversal of death is an overwhelming phenomenon, 
Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and his turning a few fishes and loaves into enough to feed 5,000 people is also an overwhelming proposition, yet curiously, today's apologists reserve the mighty change in the disciples solely to Jesus' last alleged miracle, his rising from the dead.  What fool would trifle that there is an important difference between watching your messiah friend raise a 4-day dead decomposing corpse back to life, and your messiah friend being alive three days after he died?

ii) Due to common grace, some unbelievers are more reasonable than others. They retain more common sense. 

thanks for supplying me with all I need to justifiably blame god for my inability to see things your way.  I didn't deserve to be born into a sinful human race, but if your god made it happen anyway, then your ideas about what's morally "good" are probably too deranged to suppose you could profit from rebuttal.

Furthermore, since inductive argumentation is dependent upon the premise of uniformity, and since this premise can only be established by a Christian presupposing the truth of Scripture (for Hume’s skepticism has yet to be countered on anything but presuppositional grounds), the “evidentialist’s” argument is really presuppositional at base anyway. The non-Christian has no right to expect regularity in nature and the honest skeptic knows it; so, an inductive argument for the historical resurrection could only have been probative force for one who granted the truth of Christianity already. 
It's true that induction presents a paradox for secular philosophy. 
it's also a paradox for the inerrantist Calvinist who is sure that the stranger's claim of gold fish who audibly testify to the gospel, is false, but who nevertheless cannot absolutely deny that possibility due to his belief that stranger things have happened.

ii) It's true that many atheists raise a classic uncomprehending objection to the Resurrection by laying odds–as if this should be treated the same way as a naturally occurring event. 
It's true that many Calvinists raise a classic uncomprehending objection to the "god made my gold fish speak to me in English" report from the stranger on the bus, by laying odds, as if this should be treated the same way as a naturally occurring event.
i) It's true that there's often not enough common ground between Christians and some unbelievers to make a case for the Resurrection that an unbeliever will find convincing. 
then you disagree with Van Tilian Calvinist Jeff Durbin, who insists that unbelievers are quite sure that Jesus rose from the dead, they just don't wish to admit it because they like to live in rebellion against their creator.

ii) But this also raises the problem of the criterion. Which enjoys priority: criteria or paradigm examples? If you witness a miracle, you don't begin with criteria but with the event itself. 
Then you obviously disagree with Gary Habermas, Mike Licona, William Lane Craig and other evidentialists who start with criteria.  A fracture in the body of Christ likely more significant than whether you all agree that Tabasco sauce tastes great.

iv) I don't think it's necessary or realistic for a Christian apologist to assign odds to the case for the Resurrection. We simply marshall the available evidence. It is what it is. There's no need to conjure up an artificial statistic regarding the degree of probability. 
Then you disagree with all modern historians, including all apologists who defend the resurrection of Jesus in terms of probability, such as Gary Habermas, Mike Licona, and William Lane Craig.  You are horrifically naive, to say that the evidence "is what it is".  Do you need to be told why tautologies never promote the cause of truth?
v) I'd add, as I've mentioned on several occasions, that there's an overemphasize on scrutinizing ancient documentary evidence. While that foundation is indefensible, Christianity is a living religion with a living Savior. Jesus answers prayer. 
Let me know when you find any such case that you think is the most impervious to falsification.

Jesus appears to people. 
Really?  What's your best evidence?  I'm ready to discuss it bit by bit.  Consider yourself challenged to put up or shut up.

Christ’s resurrection does not entail his deity, just as our future resurrection does not entail our divinity! And one could not argue that the first person to rise from the dead is God, for on that basis Lazarus would have greater claim to deity than Christ! The evidentialist may prove the resurrection of Jesus, but until he proves every other point of Christianity, then resurrection is an isolated, irrelevant, “brute” fact which is no aid to our apologetical efforts. Only within the system of Christian logic does the resurrection of Christ have meaning and implication; and that system of logical entailment and premises can only be used on a presuppositional basis-you do not argue into it. 
That's too ambitious and quite artificial. Take the actual eyewitnesses to the Resurrection.
If you could show that anything in the NT comes from "actual eyewitnesses to the Resurrection", you might have a point.
They didn't prove every other point of Christianity to acknowledge and be revolutionized by what they saw. They didn't have to operate within an explicit system of Christian logic.
yes, they did, you are to reject all forms of logic except those which lead to apostle Paul's version of Christianity.  see Colossians 2:8.   True believers do not merely accept the evidence, they have been transformed by the renewing of their mind, Romans 12:2.  And they maintain such belief by automatically avoiding any gainsayer after the second warning, see Titus 3:9-11.
i) But the Scriptures were not enough. Disciples had to actually witness the Risen Lord to be convinced.
But the risen Christ still blesses blind faith.  Ask yourself what "do not see" means in John 20:29.  I suppose the reason John dishonestly placed his own theology in Jesus' mouth was because Jesus stopped appearing to people, and he needed to answer the concerns of converts asking "if Jesus appeared to you, why doesn't he appear to me?"
ii) An apologist has no control over the mindset of the unbeliever. Either God will open the eyes of the unbeliever or not. The duty of an apologist is simply to marshal the evidence that God has put at our disposal and leave the results to God.  Posted by steve at 11:30 AM
Then since you think the bible is best source of information possible, you are making Christianity unnecessarily complex if if you do anything more than quote bible verses to unbelievers to fulfill your apologetics obligation.  Perhaps your desire to go beyond the bible actually signifies you don't seriously think the bible is "sufficient", and you are just deceiving yourself by saying you think the bible is "sufficient".

James Patrick Holding: Libelous according to his own website domain provider InMotion Hosting

Recently i sent the following email to the company hosting the website that Holding had used to libel me, InMotion Hosting, the website that...