Saturday, 2 February 2008

Steven Carr's Final Reply

John is upset because I 'refuse' to allow the Gospels to be included, while he is certain of their historicity.

John wants a free ride. He gives zero evidence of the historicity of the Gospels, yet wants people to accept them as fact. If John wants the Gospels and Acts to be accepted, he has to give arguments for their historicity. If he has any evidence for stories of people talking to Satan in the desert, or Jesus ascending into the clouds, he should put his cards on the table so that they can be seen. Merely claiming that he has 4 Aces in the form of the Gospels is useless, until he produces these Aces.

But he cannot even begin to put his Aces on the table. Obviously, he is bluffing.

As I said in the very beginning, the Gospels are anonymous works. They never name sources or give any indication of how they know that what they tell are true stories.

My very first response to John included the following, which John has never been able to counter.

The Gospel of Mark, for example, has no attempt at chronology, no indication of who the author was, no indication of when he was writing, and no indication of any sources.

It has none of the markers that ancient historians used to indicate to their readers that they were attempting to write history.

Luke and Matthew both used Mark as a source. They never indicate this and they simply changed whatever they wished in Mark to suit their own private theological agendas.

This is all well-known and elementary knowledge about the Bible, and means that the Gospels simply cannot be read as history. It cannot even be shown that the earliest Gospel was ever meant to be taken as history. They are theological tracts.

Luke is the only person who even attempts to claim he writes history, and much of what he writes comes from Greek literature (such as Homer and Euripides). Or he copies from the Greek translation of the Old Testament. Or he copies from the Gospel of Mark.

Luke probably even used Josephus as a source. The one thing we can be sure of is that, unlike every other serious ancient historian, he hid behind a mask of anonymity and never made any attempt to name sources or indicate how he came to know what he claims is fact.

And these 'facts' include such absurdities as the foetus John the Baptist leaping for joy in the womb when the pregnant Mary entered the room, and a claim that a real man from Macedonia appeared to Paul in a trance, and that a real angel appeared to Joseph in a dream.

All of this was ignored by John.
He has no answer. No Christian ever has an answer. Perhaps it really was a 'frustration' to him to meet an atheist who could so easily refute his claims of the historicity of the Gospels.

John complains that I use Paul.

I do because Paul's letters are primary sources - the sort of sources that historians value most.

Why does John complain that I use the kind of sources that historians value?

Paul was writing to Christian converts who scoffed at the very idea of God choosing to raise corpses.

And yet John complains that Paul's letters are not good enough for him to show that a corpse rose from the grave.

Is that my fault? It is his Bible. Would he like to change it? We have already seen John simply adding words to Paul to make Paul talk about a 'mortal body' in a passage where he never did?

Does John ever ask himself why Paul's allegedly inspired writing never mentions a corpse rising from the grave, or give one single detail that is found in the Gospel stories of Jesus eating fish , having wounds? No. John simply ignores everything he cannot accept or counter.

I more than once pointed out what Paul preached. Paul preached the destruction of the body, not its salvation.

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.'

Paul uses metaphors for resurrection like changing clothes and moving to a new building, because he believed that Jesus left his earthly body behind at the resurrection and moved to a new body. Jesus had changed bodies in the way that we change clothes.

This is why Paul never refers to a corpse rising or the resurrection of the flesh. He did not believe in it.

All of this was just ignored by John, who it seems did not want to debate, only preach.

Debate involves listening to people and reacting to what they say.

John did not want to do that, and just ignored all my arguments.

Or perhaps he just had no answer......

Richard Dawkins often divides his opponents up into 3 categories 'Know-alls' 'Know nothings' and 'No contests'.

This was a no contest. John had no answer to the clear evidence that the very earliest Christians including Paul had never heard of any stories of a corpse rising from the grave.

They did not believe in it.

John has dedicated his life to a mirage.


  1. Excellent work Mr. Carr. Sir would you consider volunteering to do an article for John Loftus's Debunking Christianity blog. John is author of Why I Left Christianity: A Former Apologist Explains

    Mr Loftus is often seeking contributors to the blog. Your writing is excellent, and your argumentation crisp and lucid. If you would like to post one of your articles at, drop Mr. Loftus a message.

    Thanks for a great debate and best wishes to you and yours.

    Robert Bumbalough

  2. I have dipped into the earlier postings and read your final statement with great enjoyment. It has the ring of unanswerable truth.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. He gives zero evidence of the historicity of the Gospels, yet wants people to accept them as fact. If John wants the Gospels and Acts to be accepted, he has to give arguments for their historicity.

    The full argument involves accepting the witness of the Church back then and therefore of its continuation now - where an Anglican clergyman is somewhat hampered by being indebted to the Reformation and a Liberal Theologian to accpting Higher Criticism with its primacy of:

    1 St Paul
    2 St Mark
    3 Source Q (Q=Quelle=Source, but unlike possibly Jairus (=rabbi X?) and Levi (=St Matthew) anonymity is because it is not identified).

  5. Oh, Loftus makes an interesting admission:

    There are three major experiences that happened in my life that changed my thinking. They all happened in the space of about five years, from 1991-1996. They are: 1) A major crisis, 2) plus information, 3) minus a sense of a loving, caring, Christian community. For me it was an assault of major proportions that if I still believed in the devil would say it was orchestrated by the legions of hell.