Messianic Prophecies- The Case for Jesus (Part 3)

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Enjoy the podcast:

https://anchor.fm/skeptics-and-seekers

With Part 3 in our series on Messianic Prophecies and my “Jesus or Bust” circumstantial argument, we will focus exclusively on perhaps the most famous Messianic prophecy of all time (according to a traditional Christian understanding at least)- the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53.

Establishing The Argument- Jesus Or Bust Part 3

The Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53);

The Suffering Servant prophecy is arguably the most famous Messianic prophecy ever; it alone has caused many a Jew to see Jesus as the Jewish Messiah and convert to Christianity.  The full song actually starts in Isaiah 52:13 through to the end of chapter 53, but the overall context includes chapters 40-54.

The text in full context speaks of an individual known as the righteous servant (aka. the Messiah) who would be led like a lamb to the slaughter for the iniquities of all, he would be killed making his grave with the wicked and yet be buried with the rich.  However, the most fascinating thing is that the prophecy then speaks of the Messiah as prolonging his days and seeing his progeny- how can a man who is “cut off from the land of the living”, see future generations of his offspring?  The answer is Resurrection!  That’s right, this verse incredibly says that the Messiah will suffer and die for the sins of everyone and then raise from the dead.

Now, this verse obviously means to speak of Jesus, there is no question about the existence of such an unfalsified claimed fulfillment here, however there have been multiple pushbacks from modern Jews and skeptics who try to undermine the clear and obvious meaning of this text.

The Main Objection- The Prophecy Speaks of the Nation of Israel; This skeptical notion can easily be refuted.  That said, there is some truth to the claims of Jews that there are some places in the surrounding context that do speak of the “Servant” which unmistakably refers to the nation of Israel as a whole (Ch. 41:8-9, 42:19, 43:10,44:21 & 48:20 for example); the context speaks of the restoration of Israel after the Babylonian exile.  However, there are other times where the surrounding chapters clearly refer to an individual within the nation (such as Ch. 49:5-7 & 50:10).  In fact, all references to the Servant as being the nation of Israel abruptly stop as of chapter 49 and instead focus the discussion on a specific individual who would represent the nation of Israel and bring to fruition Israel’s divine mission which it had failed to do as the now “blind servant” (contrast this with the Righteous Servant- the Messiah).

By the time we get to chapter 52:13-53, we receive a clear picture of an individual who would suffer and die for the transgressions of his own sinful people while at the same time being sinless himself and who would bring light to the gentiles in the form of God’s salvation and the forgiveness of sins (hardly an accurate description of the nation of Israel which is described as being blind in the surrounding context).  The Resurrection of Jesus is also prophesied in how this Servant would, after death, see “his seed” through the prolonging of his days (“see seed” is meant metaphorically here as this is the only location in the entire Old Testament where this phrase is used and thus dogmatically interpreting it in a physical sense is unwarranted even according to Jewish Rabbis like Professor J. Immanuel Schochet.

Furthermore, the modern Jewish national interpretation of this text did not exist in any ancient authoritative source from the Talmud, Aramaic Targums or any Midrashic literature until Rashi in the 11th century- every ancient authoritative source we have says this text is about an individual and most say that individual is none other than the Messiah himself.

So, Jesus is a perfect match for this prophecy and indeed the only known match here- the nation of Israel cannot be the proper reading of this text no matter what your local Rabbi says!

CONCLUSION:  In closing, there are other objections that have been leveled against this text as well, all of which can and have been easily refuted by knowledgeable biblical scholars.  For now, I think it is enough to have addressed probably the main objection raised by Jews and David himself in response to this and some of the other prophecies I mentioned in Part 2; they simply do not mean what the skeptics want them to; the Hebrew grammar matters and rules out the various attempts to obfuscate the clear meaning of the text which clearly apply to Jesus.

RECOMMENDED SOURCES:

PRO- CHRISTIAN SIDE-  Dr. Michael L. Brown gives a 1-hour lecture on “Isaiah 53, the Rabbis, and the Messiah”  , also a short 10 min video on Suffering Servant not being the Nation of Israel and/or righteous remnant = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J9ByB4UhY ( also for the fuller 2 part discussion where this clip comes from see here = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LorWCJ59CAg & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0mOdiBISU ).  Also a special 5 min video discussing this issue with Dr. Michael Rydelnik, Dr. Michael Brown, Dr. Walter Kaiser, and Dr. Darrell Bock = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GGnRbAJ9U .

CONTRA-CHRISTIAN SIDE- See Rabbi Tovia Singer has 2 one-hour part audio Podcasts on Isaiah 53 (and other issues as well) here = https://outreachjudaism.org/lets-get-biblical-audio-series/  OR a written article by him here = https://outreachjudaism.org/gods-suffering-servant-isaiah-53/ .  Also see articles by Jews for Judaism here = https://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/articles/isaiah-53-a-jewish-perspective/  & https://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/articles/isaiah-53-explained/ .

NEUTRAL SOURCE- Here is a quick 36 min debate on Isaiah 53 with Dr. Michael Brown and Rabbi Asher Meza here = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TTnNYgRyrw.

Let Isaiah Speak for Himself (Skeptic’s View)

Last week I made a plea for readers to let the Jews speak for themselves, and posted insights from a Jewish rabbi. He is not a Jew for Jesus, as the ones Dale is fond of bringing up, but a Jew for Jews and Judaism, which seems to be a rather more honest approach. In the principle of philosophical charity, you try to represent the best and truest view of the opponent. Dale does not do this. He presents fringe views of Judaism to represent the whole. I do not find his efforts convincing, and neither should you.

I will go ahead and post another Jewish source up front:

http://godlesshaven.com/why-isaiah-53-is-not-about-jesus/

It does a better job of taking down the Christian interpretation of Is. 53 than I could. But it doesn’t really matter because Christians like Dale really don’t care what actual Jews professing judaism really think. He is only interested in the minority view. Still, I recommend the article for those who care. I can dig them up all day. And so can you.

This week, I make a plea that we let Isaiah speak for himself, without the Christian gloss. A Christian reads Isaiah with a certain tint this her lenses. Without a Jesus filter, the Jew reads the passage and finds Jesus nowhere in it. What is the difference? We get a few clues from Dales above arguments. So before quoting Isaiah, allow me to quote Dale:

Now, this verse obviously means to speak of Jesus, there is no question about the existence of such an unfalsified claimed fulfillment here, however there have been multiple pushbacks from modern Jews and skeptics who try to undermine the clear and obvious meaning of this text.

(Emphasis mine.)

His piece is chock full of such pronouncements of how obvious it is, and clear, and easy to see. He makes the leap of ascribing motive to the opposition by suggesting we are purposely trying to undermine the clear and obvious meaning of the text. Why would we do such a thing? Either we are stupid or dishonest.

Frankly, that one paragraph should disqualify Dale’s argument. Never-mind the slightly ad hominem undertones. It is written like a person unfamiliar with literature. Modern poetry is almost inscrutable. And it is written in our time, for our culture, by people we know, in a language we understand. Try interpreting a Dillan song. Get back to me on that.

Send the poet back a few hundred years, and we have to get four-year college degrees to figure it out. And we never really figure it out. We are only ever qualified to enter the debate. Send the poetry back a few thousand years, and we are rightfully lost. Interpreting that kind of literature should never be bracketed with words like obvious and clear. The only people who think Jewish religious poetry is obvious and clear are thous who know little about literature, and nothing about Jewish poetry. With his post, Dale identifies himself as one of those.

Let’s pick up the reading at verse 3:

He was despised and rejected by people,

one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness;

people hid their faces from him;

he was despised, and we considered him insignificant.

Was Jesus really despised and rejected by the people? He was followed by crowds, sometimes unwanted, for much of his ministry. He was one of the most famous and beloved people of his time if the gospels are to believed. Was in sick and in constant pain? Did Jesus have fibromyalgia? Christians tell me he was a hearty person who was confident and happy. When did anyone hide their face from him? Who considered him insignificant? This does not sound like the Jesus of the gospels at all.

Now, one could say that he was despised and rejected in the last hours of his life. But that didn’t define most of his short life. And at no point was he ever written as insignificant. Leaders took notice of him from his birth, on his twelfth birthday, and all during his ministry.

Let’s go to verse 5 and I will tell you what I think this passage is referring to:

He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds,

crushed because of our sins;

he endured punishment that made us well;

because of his wounds we have been healed.

Throughout Isaiah, Israel is referred to as the servant. So don’t let the use of poetry trip you up. My personal opinion is that the person in view is the righteous remnant within the larger Jewish culture. Remember that Judaism is a national religion. All Jews could be punished by the acts of some. And all Jews could be saved by the acts of some.

So the servant (the righteous remnant) suffers and bears the sins of the greater culture. But because of their faithfulness, the nation is eventually redeemed. The entire chapter can be read consistently this way. That interpretation may not be obvious. But it does cohere.

Verse 7:

He was treated harshly and afflicted,

but he did not even open his mouth.

Like a lamb led to the slaughtering block,

like a sheep silent before her shearers,

he did not even open his mouth.

…Accept Jesus was rather chatty in the book of John. We have too many sayings from him during the event to say he was silent, too many exceptions.

10

Though the Lord desired to crush him and make him ill,

once restitution is made,

he will see descendants and enjoy long life,

and the Lord’s purpose will be accomplished through him.

When did Jesus have descendants? When did he enjoy a long life? That is an odd way to speak of an eternal being with no descendants.

11

Having suffered, he will reflect on his work,

he will be satisfied when he understands what he has done.

“My servant will acquit many,

for he carried their sins.

Did Jesus need to reflect on his work?

12

So I will assign him a portion with the multitudes,

he will divide the spoils of victory with the powerful,

because he willingly submitted to death

and was numbered with the rebels,

when he lifted up the sin of many

and intervened on behalf of the rebels.”

Was Jesus assigned a portion with eh multitudes? Did he divide the spoils of victory with the powerful?

Even the best efforts of the gospel writers couldn’t make all these pronouncements in Isaiah match up exactly with Jesus. The chapter makes more sense and is more consistent with a righteous remnant.

And that’s the view from the skeptic.

David Johnson

 

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79 thoughts on “Messianic Prophecies- The Case for Jesus (Part 3)

  1. Apologies for the lateness of this post. You will never know how close the podcast came to not being published at all.

    While I have not shared this with Dale, I am letting everyone know about a decision I have made regarding this series. The fourth installment will be the last. I see no reason to carry this on to a fifth one. Dale can make his case about timing. In that same show, I will make my case for why his case doesn’t matter. The forth show will be extended.

    I apologize for my lackluster performance over the last few weeks. I regret letting myself get roped into it. I think messianic prophecy (along with all other prophecy) is kook theology. It is crystal balls and vague pronouncements from people who sound as if they were stoned at the time. It is a waste of time as there can never be any resolution. This is mental masturbation at best.

    I can address Dales entire case in 15 minutes. So that is what I intend to do next week.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Keep pushing back on the overstatements of “obviousness”, false dichotomies and lack of epistemic humility. I think your decision here makes sense in light of the arch of the series.

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    2. I don’t think you need to apologise for lateness or a supposed lacklustre performance. For the former, you owe us all precisely nothing and for the latter, it has not been noticed.

      I found the series helpful and interesting. In church, it was always made out that the Messianic prophecies are a slam dunk affair and you’re a hard-hearted fool to ignore them. However, as even Dale demonstrates, you have to work pretty damn hard to make a cogent argument and verses can legitimately be spun in many ways. Squint just right, and you can make a vague case for Jesus. Nothing about it is obviously clear. And most people, are never going to bother to go to this level of research, so will discount it at first reading.
      This is what I keep coming back to; It’s just bad communication from God’s PR department.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. One of my biggest problems with prophecy is the fact that there is no way to make headway on either side. As long as a supernatural possibility exists in the mind of the reader, that is the one they will go with. And there is no way to conclusively disprove the supernatural anymore than one can prove the existence of the supernatural. Stalemate.

        I can, and will explain how to come up with an unfalsifiable fulfiment of prophecy. It is trivially easy. Name any prophecy. And I can write you a fulfillment story that can’t be falsified. So what? No atheist that has a non-supernatural explanation will jump the tracks and get on board with a supernatural explanation. Stalemate again.

        Dales argument is worse in that he is not even trying to defend the truth of the claims. He doesn’t care if any of the claims are true for the purposes of this argument. So that makes the whole thing even more pointless.

        So far, he has said nothing that limits the potential list of messiahs from being in the future. That means this series goes for four weeks before he makes a relevant point to his argument. Even then, he will never be able to eliminate the countless messiah candidates before Jesus. Every one of them could be said to have paved the way for the work of Jesus, making them the first part of the fulfillment.

        I can play this game as well as anyone. The difference is I recognize it is just a meaningless game. When there is no way for either side to make headway, it is kind of a pointless discussion. No real evidence one way or the other can be brought to bear on the issue.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. This wasn’t a comment to me, but just one quick correction- I do care if they are true but for the purposes of my argument I just don’t care if I can prove they are true or not so long as they can’t be proven to be falsified- I’m sure that’s a distinction without a difference for you, but I just wanted to clarify that 🙂

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      2. Fair enough Sarah, I will concur with you in that overall it is never a matter of what we learn in Sunday school- “how dumb were they” type deal. Some elements are harder to understand then others, but I do think some aspects are clearer than others and I’ve been trying to base my argument on those aspects specifically as best I can- because its not true that we have to throw up our hands and say “well we can’t know anything about what these prophesies say then”- that is something I hope you will have picked up on as well but if you’ve made up your mind to discount it because of the difficulties then fair enough, will respect your decision but just say maybe check out some of the sources David and I provide before you give up altogether- mine are in video/audio format for the most part so that should be easier than having to read massive amounts of material like what I had to scroll through in preparing the series.

        At the end of the day, I’m glad that you learned something of the complexity of the issues involved in Messianic prophecies, that is a step toward learning the truth and its up to you if you want to take the next step or not 🙂

        Dale

        P.S.- Also, I will agree with you, I didn’t really notice a lackluster performance on David’s end either as we went through verse by verse and covered the objections to all of the objections Jews raise (mostly) on them- so if that was David’s bad performance, not sure I want to debate him when he is on his A-game lol just kidding 😛

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  2. As to some of the feedback I’ve received this week about the Messianic prophecy argument, I just want to say that I appreciate that David and other skeptics don’t take the subject matter seriously and I’m fine with reducing it down to 4 parts instead of 5.

    I will say that I don’t understand David’s claim that he almost didn’t post Part 3, was he honestly unilaterally considering limiting what topics I’m allowed to speak on because he doesn’t like it? I have no interest in some of the things that matter to him- I think some of them are quite silly and kooky myself to be honest (such as debating whether there was a literal snake in the garden for example as though that matters at all in terms of whether Christianity is true or not).

    I’m sorry David regrets doing the shows on Messianic prophecy- but this is a valid and relevant topic of interest that Christians use as evidence to prove Christianity as true and therefore worthy of being discussed and debated whether its your own personal bag or not.

    On a personal note, you see comments like yours and Bryan here are the types of things that usually set me off into becoming defensive (I’m not doing so now at all but rather just pointing out why I’ve lost control and sometimes respond the way I do). But, I hadn’t made any comments on here at all yet, but it seems I’m already being belittled and disrespected (that’s the way it comes across to me at least). Messianic Prophecies are studied by some of the world’s experts amoung biblical scholarship- a heck of a lot more knowledgeable than David, Bryan or me combined, yet I’m a”kook” for bringing it up and apparently my efforts are a complete waste of time and still according to skeptics like Bryan, its the Christian who has a lack of epistemic humility- this strikes me as the type of biased analysis to which Rucker pointed out as being distasteful (not trying to start anything but just giving my honest take as I see it, just as both Bryan and David have done here).

    Now, I might be wrong on this and hopefully David will explain himself more clearly to me in private as to what he is trying to imply here, but there is a concerning undertone in terms of David unilaterally making some changes in terms of limiting or censoring what types of topics we are allowed to discuss on the show; one such, is with regard to my bonus series on the Shroud and on that front believe it or not, it has gotten to the point where I agree with him 100% and we have both come up with a plan to rectify the situation with it. But, if I am also going to be censored as to what other topics I can choose to bring up on the main show itself on my week to choose a topic, well that may or may not be an issue for me depending on what David has in mind.

    Thank you all for listening and providing your honest feedback on this, we are all in this search together and I implore every one of you to remember this when leaving your comments on here.

    Kind regards,

    Dale

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    1. The reason the podcast almost didn’t make it was because of technical difficulties that took two people and an entire weekend to resolve. It wasn’t about the subject matter.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. OK cool, that’s why I asked rather than assuming I knew- I always tend to be wrong as I said myself. That said though, while I will not always be picking topics that always align to your interests, maybe you could give me an idea of what you consider a serious vs. frivolous topic and then I can use that in making my own decisions to make sure I’m respecting your preferences to some degree with some balances.

        As for me, there is no topic (within reason) that I’m not up for discussing regardless of my own interest in it or not, as you are the skeptic and if it is a serious issue, I do want to try and answer it as best I can just as I did with the literal snake in the garden issue 🙂

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        1. For me a serious topic is one where headway could be made one way or another, and doesn’t depend entirely on magic. Take the shroud: We can boil the whole thing down to a single question: How did the image get there. Right now, it is an art mystery. The foremost shroud expert does not believe it is a miracle of any kind. We can only either say we don’t know, or that we believe it was miraculous. Nothing more can be gained from the available facts. Pointless!

          Was a prophecy fulfilled? It is all but impossible to say. Once we allow for a liberal dose of creative interpretation, every prophecy is fulfilled, and thus, none of it matters.

          No matter how hard we work on those subjects, we cannot add anything to the discussion that moves the needle past where it is. Those are what I consider fruitless discussions.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. And if one is going to invoke the supernatural or some “other way of knowing” in order to try to surpass this issue, the burden is on them to establish that these phenomena exist BEFORE getting into any specific instance of them.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. “And if one is going to invoke the supernatural or some “other way of knowing” in order to try to surpass this issue, the burden is on them to establish that these phenomena exist BEFORE getting into any specific instance of them.”

              This would make an interesting episode sinse so many of the others rely on this.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Maybe at some point I will make a note to discuss the possibility of the miraculous at some point (I’m still catching up on promised show topics) but I will make a note on this.

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          2. Fair enough, but I would just say I don’t think you should assume this is the case before going through the motions- you may think you know how its all going to turn out and even if it turns out your right, until you do the hard work of looking into the evidence you will never know.

            Its true the shroud is a mystery, not necessarily an art mystery but how do you know nothing more can be gleaned from the facts, I think there can, it is worth it to try and give that case to see if others agree or not. If you’ve determined the outcome from the beginning on such an important matter then you make a grave error to my mind.

            As to prophecies again same deal- I think its worth it to delve into it and see if what you say is true- is it so lose that every prophecy is fulfilled or not- I don’t think so based on what I’ve presented thus far- I don’t think these prophecies are the interpretational “free-for-all” that you seem to think they are- one ridiculous yet obvious example would be that no one could rationally claim that the biblical Messiah was prophesied to be a Chinese 4-eyed purple people eater- that is just not in the cards given the textual elements that we can establish on a balance of probabilities and I think that there is enough in them to rule out less ridiculous interpretational options as well- and possibly we can narrow it down to Jesus, isn’t it worth it to try and see if this is the case or not.

            Otherwise, its like me saying there is no point in even considering the Hiddeness or Immorality of God since I know in advance these arguments are founded on very ambiguous notions of divine psychology, thus no point in even trying to see if we can make any discernment as to whether God is actually immoral given a certain action of not- fruitless discussion to my mind if there ever was one. No, it is by working through the details that one begins to realize perhaps there are some elements which could establish such a conclusion such as if God orders me to rape a women or to torture an innocent baby for no other reason than for fun- if I hadn’t taken the time to look into it and adjudicate on it and just assumed I knew the outcome or answer than very obvious problems would have come about.

            Just curious- would you think I were in the wrong if I said studying the immorality of God in the Bible is a waste of time or fruitless discussion, we all know how murky these kinds of moral judgements can get, right?

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            1. “Just curious- would you think I were in the wrong if I said studying the immorality of God in the Bible is a waste of time or fruitless discussion, we all know how murky these kinds of moral judgements can get, right?”

              I would not say it was pointless, only limited. The limitation is based on how we define what is moral. If we cannot agree on what is moral, then one person can just claim that everything god does is moral. I can’t prove it isn’t. There is some subjectivity to be sorted.

              Beyond that obvious challenge, one can define everything god does to be moral within a particular, interpretive context. So again, we can make no headway because we can never agree on what is moral. So we can have the conversation to show where the differences are.

              The better way to have that conversation is for me to explain to the listener why I believe god is immoral. You can make your case for why you believe he is moral. And we let the reader make up their own mind. That is my preferred format.

              Some subjects are more conducive for conversation rather than debate. And even those conversations have to be limited to certain things. Where we cannot agree, we must simply express our best understanding and leave it there.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Hmm, OK I think that makes sense and I liked how you put it in your last comment about fruitful convos being those where there is at least a hope for progression or inching toward truth or something along those lines.

                That is a good area that maybe people will be left with from the Messianic Prophecies series, because you think the interpretational issues make it the case that no such progress can be made, whereas I think with my circumstantial argument, I do think some progress can be made- so on that front perhaps you might see it as worth it to see if people agree with you or me on the ability of this argument, in principle, to progress our understanding toward truth or not. Hopefully in that light, you might see some value in what we did these past weeks 🙂

                Dale

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    2. Dale, was this reply to me? It’s hard to follow on this board. Not sure I get notifications either. But you speak of David and Bryan and so far that’s all the people who have posted so I guess you mean “me” when you say “you”.
      You seem to refer to a comment of mine, that like Bryan’s, has the propensity to set you off. Nothing I said I would consider belittling or rude towards you. That you have to work hard to make the case is evidenced by the huge amount of research you have done and the numerous disagreements in the field. The only thing that is clear is that it isn’t so clear. People come to a different conclusion. To make it work, you have to dance a lot. That seems to be more of a fact that an attack.

      “relevant topic of interest that Christians use as evidence to prove Christianity as true” that’s the problem. Surely you can understand that the average punter isn’t going to wade through a ton of research. Top level is the Jews don’t get it, the text and can be spun a few different ways.
      Maybe it’s true, but then it’s just not very good.

      As for your other grievances etc, sorry, but they don’t really concern me.

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      1. Hey Sarah,

        None of the comment referred to you at all as I posted it before you had posted anything- it was about David and Bryan’s comments only (as there was only two posts up here at the time I wrote that). If you want to see my comment to you it starts off with “Fair enough Sarah, I will concur…..” other than that nothing I’ve said applied to you at all.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah ok, Fair dinkum. It was the mix between “you” and third person that confused me. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          1. No worries 🙂

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  3. On a personal note,

    There’s your first clue at what’s causing you trouble.

    comments like yours and Bryan here are the types of things that usually set me off into becoming defensive

    That a comment I made that was 1.) not directed at you 2.) not about you or anyone personally 3.) not exclusively about your arguments, causes you to become defensive is, quite clearly, your issue not mine..

    but it seems I’m already being belittled and disrespected (that’s the way it comes across to me at least).

    Feel free to quote me directly and we’ll see if your claim that my words “belittle and disrespect” you hold water.

    Dale, this is getting old. I contend we’ll all be better off if we stick to the arguments and don’t stir up ad hominem drama.

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    1. Bryan, I said I wasn’t trying to start anything with you or David at all- but I was just pointing out where I usually take issue with the comments of skeptics, whether you think that’s my problem or not, I had every right to reach out in a non-defensive way and show where I think these convos have gone in the wrong direction in the past.

      When you say “Keep pushing back on the overstatements of “obviousness”, false dichotomies and lack of epistemic humility. I think your decision here makes sense in light of the arch of the series”- I’m sorry you obviously had me in mind as doing those things and its an unfair and biased characterization of what I and other Christians are doing when we use Messianic prophecies in such an argument. I’m sorry, I feel you have obvious double standards in your assessments- I could provide an example here if you like in case you think I’m just making things up but I don’t think its productive to chase this issue, I’ve said my piece on how I perceived your comment just as you have- so at this point we should both just deal with it and move on.

      So, I feel no shame with my general reply to what you said at all and I would proudly do so again- it was a perfectly apt and moderated response made without any anger or vitriol whatsoever. No ad hominem drama there at all- been there and done that.

      Good bye Bryan- I promise I will restrict my comments to never address you or your comments again and concentrate on others like David, Sarah, and even Darren and I have been having a good convo via email lately, etc. where I think more fruitful dialogue can take place (so no more “hop-ins”) 🙂

      Dale

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      1. Dale, you keep adding to the ledger of evidence that you ascribe critique of your arguments as a personal attack. Again, this is going to make participating in debate excruciating for your interlocuters and painful for yourself.

        It has become clear to me you aren’t interested in good faith debate in this forum. You aren’t playing the part of a seeker here, but as a zealot and preacher. I have no interest in such a discussion so it’s probably for the best you don’t respond to me.

        I see some good rumblings here of having discussions of more basic epistemic principles and true either/or debate. I will stay tuned and watch for those with interest.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. OK Bryan thank you for your thoughts.

          Good bye and take care.

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  4. I’m hesitantly wading in here after watching and listening from the sidelines, but I thought I might be able to offer an independent perspective that could add some value.

    David – I can understand Dale’s frustration. To discount the potential of the topic, relegating it to “kook theology” that is fully addressed in 15 minutes, does have a ring of hypocrisy in the midst of calls for epistemic humility. I put a fair bit of time looking into prophecy in the midst of my deconversion because I saw it as one of the more hopeful avenues for locating a divine fingerprint on the tradition. Though I continue to find it lacking, I still think that it could be a powerful argument if the data would support it – but that, like nearly everything in this domain, is a subjective assessment. Let’s not forget that we’re talking about Jesus _Christ_ and _Christ_ianity, whose very namesake is founded on the concept of a messiah derived from BCE texts and culture, and whose earliest adherents clearly thought it was imperative to make that connection. It really is foundational to the religion.

    Dale – I shared David’s reaction to the certainty that you appeared to be expressing regarding the proper exegesis of the text and the “easy refutation” of contrary views. It is self-evident from the abundant existence of other interpretations, particularly in academia, that the Christian interpretation is far from incontrovertible. That kind of language carries the inference that those who disagree are either intellectually dishonest or inferior, even if that inference is unintentional (as I assume is the case). The response to your argument will be influenced by those undertones, and it paradoxically only serves to weaken the case.

    By making these discussions public, you have both placed a value on the impact the discussions may have for third parties. Obviously we have to prioritize and pick and choose where we put our time, but I think that the value of these discussions is maximized for others when all ideas are treated with charity and exposed to the light of competing perspectives.

    I’ll wade back out of the water now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for commenting. It was quite refreshing. And I hope you stick around and do more of it. The reason I believe prophecy is kook theology is because if you put it in any other context, it is simply fortune telling. So I take Christian prophecy about as seriously as Christians take secular fortune telling. They believe that all other fortune telling is nut-jobbery except for theirs, and for much the same reasons I dismiss Christian prophecy.

      That said, I was a Christian for the vast majority of my life, and a preacher for a lot of that. I know the types of games Christians use to massage prophecy. I was never convinced by prophecy. That is not what I based my Christianity on. I always recognized there were many ways to interpret prophecy. I think Dale is conveniently dismissing the fact that interpretive tricks are used, and that prophecy can be interpreted in many different ways, not just the Christian view.

      This fact is made obvious because the people for whom the prophecies were written didn’t see Jesus in them, and for the most part, despite concentrated evangelistic efforts, still don’t. The way Christians account for that is to say that Jews don’t know how to interpret their own writings. Christians do not have the right to annex Jewish tradition and rob the Jews of their heritage in this way. Christians have done this to many cultures. And it is despicable every time.

      Can I dismiss prophecy in 15 minutes? That is not really what I meant. I meant that I can dismiss Dale’s unique take in 15 minutes. If someone believes in fortune telling and crystal balls, I can hardly talk them out of it. But I can make a case for why Dale’s singular argument does not work.

      To refresh, his argument that messianic prophecy has to be about Jesus and no one else. Second, he lends weight to the fact that the claims made about Jesus are unfalsifiable. Third, he believes that because Jesus is the only one the prophecies could be pointing to, there is some supernatural aspect to it that lends it the weight of truth.

      I can defeat those ideas in this post. But I will wait my turn to do it on the air next time. I hope you stick around and tell me if you believe I succeeded or failed. Either way, I am very happy to hear from you.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Travis, thank you very much for giving your take here and providing what appears to be a very reasoned and balanced perspective/critique- I can’t tell you how refreshing it is and heartening it is for me to see here on the boards 🙂

      As to my shortcomings, fair enough and I do know enough about the scholarship to acknowledge what you are saying about the gray zones of interpreting scripture let alone prophecy- I feel I did correct or qualify what I meant during the recording though, so if you still feel I was not recognizing the nuance, then understand like David I have researched this topic in particular in detail a number of years ago to which I’ve been having to refresh my memory with this series. In large part, the complexities involved are why I don’t try to argue in the traditional way as an argument from fulfilled prophecy but have tried to concoct this circumstantial argument instead to see what can be gleaned from it.

      So, I’ve never said the Christian view is incontrovertible, I’m not sure if how you could get that from my presentation when I’ve explicitly said throughout that is not what I think (maybe it comes from the blog this week but again I had to write this up quickly and so I forget what I said really- I just remember writing that its clear that Jesus can be said to have fulfilled this and that a national interpretation is clearly ruled out- I do think this is the case regardless of how many modern Jewish Rabbis beg to differ), there is a reason know authoritative Jewish source (Talmud, Targums or Mishnah) for a thousand years even thought this national interpretation was the case in Isaiah 53 and always interpreted it as referring to an individual and/or mostly as the Messiah. I also do think the death and rising from the dead is again clear from the text, no one denies this, not even David as he interprets it as the nation would die and rise again as opposed to the Messiah doing so.

      Also, on a couple clarifying points;

      1. Against the righteous remnant- this is an improbable interpretation in my view (not nearly as clearly so) but one reason to rule this out is that the Servant had to have no deceit in his mouth (meaning sinless) no righteous remnant of mere human beings that we know of ever claimed to be sinless or to have never lied but interestingly Jesus is claimed to be such.

      2. David raised a point on the “Prolonging of days” to which I was unsatisfied with my answer. I should have said this doesn’t mean what he claims about the Servant dying again afterwards as this is taking the text hyper-literally and thus mistaken. God the Father is called the Ancient of Days in Daniel but everyone knows this means He is eternal and same could be the case here, “prolonging of ones days” could refer to someone who would rise and live forever after all this is the same of all of us- none of us will die again after being raised on the last day but we shall live forever, same deal here.

      Also just as an aside on the problems of always being hyper-literal (not recognizing the gray zones) is that one could say well it says he would prolong his days, I guess he dies again each night then since it only says his “days” would be prolonged. Obviously one has to read the text in context.

      So yeah, in closing- my circumstantial argument utilizes the clearer prophetic elements, those that are essential to my case and that I think can be established on a balance of probabilities. As to other elements that are more “ify” gray zones, I have provided a reply where each of them could be “equal possibilities/plausibilities” as referring to Jesus and that is all I need to do for my argument to work- I don’t have to establish each element of every prophecy I use in order for my circumstantial argument to work.

      So long as the minimal elements I use are more probably the correct interpretation and the “gray” elements haven’t been proven on a balance of probabilities as not being able to refer to Jesus, both of which I feel I’ve done, then my argument stands. Obviously, there are other ways to refute my argument though.

      Kind regards,

      Dale

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      1. I would love to take down this entire post. But I will just mention one place where you have an obvious blind spot. You talk about being hyper-literal. But you attempt to refute the righteous remnant claim by being hyper-literal about no receit bing found in him. But in poetry, that just refers to an honest person.

        This is perfectly reasonable when contrasting the faithful portion of the nation from the greater part that had devolved into sinfulness. There are plenty of people and groups in the bible referred to as righteous. Yet in other places, there is none righteous, no, not one. Now, who is being hyper-literal to make a strained point?

        Sory for typos. I’m on the train and refuse to edit in these cramped quarters.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. At a 100,00 foot level, how can prophesy fulfillment be impressive when the writers of the stories of the fulfillment had access to the stories of the prophesies being made?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Well one substantive point take down is helpful regardless. Anyways, its not poetry its prophecy- there is a difference there David- you’ve studied the scholarship on literature and how we identify the different genres, so this needs to be corrected here- maybe provide links to the scholars how use higher textual critical arguments to argue this poetry in the same sense of Psalms, I would be interested to see that. You also probably know about the scholarship on the genre of early Genesis as well- some claiming it is poetry based on the highly stylized forms in such chapters from Gen 1-3 for example. I disagree with such scholars on Genesis being poetry, its clearly not, but its clearly not straight historical narrative in the same way as 1 Samuel either but there you were 200% sure the snake and other specific details needs to be interpreted hyper-literally there.

          Anyways, this is a good point to come back on, people are called “righteous” in the OT but never sinless and/or having no deceit in their mouths at all- so I think my point stands here as no mere human being and/or group of human beings has ever been called such apart from Jesus- is this an overpowering argument? No, but I think there is something to it and does make the righteous remnant interpretation unlikely to my mind anyways but the same can be said of any human individual as well- perhaps a subtle hint as to the Messiah’s divinity here.

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          1. You are still trying to defend a hyper-literal reading in the spot you need to be hyper-literal. You say it is not poetry. I don’t think there is a substantive difference between poetry and prophecy. But if anything, prophecy uses a lot of apocalyptic language. That is even further from literal and harder to understand. But what prophetic language most certainly is not is literal, straightforward language.

            And as for your other point, it seems to me that there have been men in the bible who were called righteous, if not sinless. Even that is not to be taken literally. Speaking of history, even that language cannot be taken literally. Were all the enemies of god slaughtered as some places in the bible suggest? the Christian defense is that the language cannot be taken literally. Yet here, you are suggesting this must be a person who has never said anything dishonest.

            As I opined in the podcast, phrphecy is never read consistently. Within the same verse, some parts are read literally while other parts are read figuratively depending on the interpretation you require at the time.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Hmm, I do think that I did provide literal readings to your objections that could apply to Jesus though, so I don’t think I was hoping “in and out” from literal to metaphorical readings unless a metaphorical reading can be considered a literal interpretation of the text as in the case of “seeing seed”- the text warrants this as an “equal option” not me going well its poetry so it doesn’t need to be taken to mean physical descendants.

              As to righteous, you understand about forensic justification, where Christians (as well as OT figures) can be declared “righteous” despite the fact they are actually sinful. That’s why Protestants distinguish between justification and sanctification, one can be sinful or a liar (Abraham lied) but still declared “righteous” by God in a legal or forensic sense- no need to not read the text literally there with such examples.

              But anyways, yeah that is fair enough, I respect that you don’t find the reason persuasive, I just wanted to provide it as it was something I thought about after the fact as I listened to the episode and I wish I had said it. Will give you the last word on this as I’m trying to finish Part 4 to send to you today during lunch time 🙂

              Dale

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              1. Just for fun, I will cast shade on your literal reading about no deceit being found in his mouth. There was actually one occasion where Jesus outright lied by most objective standards. Enjoy reading John 7.

                His brothers ask him if he is going to the feast. Jesus clearly says that he is not because it is not time to reveal himself. But as soon as his brothers leave, Jesus despises himself and goes anyway. Further, he reveals himself at the feast. He lied when it served his purposes.

                Of course, you will say it wasn’t a lie. But if your kid told you that she wasn’t going to the party because she had too much homework, yet she claimed out the window and went after you turned your back, you wouldn’t care about the excuse. You would say she lied.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Interesting but when I looked it up it said this; “You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.” 9 When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee”. So technically it just says he wasn’t yet ready at that specific time to go up to the feast which was true but then when the time was right, he went up there.

                  So seems like he told the truth to me, at the moment his brothers asked him, he said it wasn’t time for him to go and so he didn’t. Now obviously, you could say that this did mislead his brothers into thinking he wouldn’t be going altogether, but the text doesn’t specifically say they thought this and if it did then that is their own fault for making that assumption It seems that sometimes people come to their own false assumptions/conclusions and then try to blame God for their own misunderstandings.

                  Just my immediate sense when reading the text but that type of thing could be a good illustration of hold your horses and not assuming Jesus does fulfill these elements without having read all the relevant material, so good show on that front 🙂

                  Dale

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                  1. Looks like we are playing translation roulette. The one I mostly use reads like this:

                    “8 You go up to the feast yourselves. I am not going up to this feast because my time has not yet fully arrived.”

                    He did not say he was not yet going, but that he was not going, and explained why he wasn’t going. I suspect the “yet” was added to give Jesus an out. But it still doesn’t work. Regardless of the exact words which no one can know, Jesus misled his brothers and intentionally left them with a false impression of his intent. The word we use for that in all other similar situations is “lying.”

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Hmm that is interesting and admittedly confusing- I did use the NASB on purpose though as it is very reliable and not sure which one your are using- the ESV or NASB tend to be more in the formal equivalency camp vs. the more dynamic (looser paraphrasing) translation camp. So, I would side with my translation above yours depending on which version you used.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Apparently, this conversation thread has gotten too long. I am having to use admin settings to reply.

                      This is what I mean by translation roulette. Spin the wheel and see if you get lucky. You have a clear reading of a passage. Then, along comes someone else who insists that you have a bad translation. There is no winning that argument. And I have no intention of entering that debate. I have also done enough reading on textual traditions to know neither of us has the academic horsepower to claim who has the better translation. You ar naive if you think you can.

                      That said, I am happy for a debate to get bogged down into the muck of translations. That only shows how impossible it is for the average person to read it. Get the wrong one, and you might just burn in hell due to a corrupt message. If we can have these problems with English translations, how do you think the ancient copyists managed it and produced a reliable text? I just showed you a text where Jesus clearly lied. Only one word gives Jesus an out, and not a very good one at that. One of the reasons we have so many translations and revisions is to fix some of the theological problems people have had over the years.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    3. I’ll tell you David, that is the only way I ever reply- I just can’t make sense of our comments otherwise, I’m amazed people can wade through it all to find what to reply to, etc. Disqus is clearly superior in comment formatting.

                      Lol, David you have no idea what research I’ve done into lower textual criticism (and admittedly have forgotten much about because I don’t the preservation problem of various translations to be an issue at all). That said some translations are better than some others, it depends on what you want to get out of it and I don’t think we need to get into the details here lol. You are going to hate me, but I’ve developed a Molonistic answer to deal with translation/preservation errors and/or issues actually, and its not all Molonistic though, as I think the Bible can have errors in it but as long as they are “discoverable” to be errors and/or at least possible errors than God is not the cause of any “undue confusion”. So perhaps, your translation is valid and it says Jesus lied (which I’m not sure even yours says that but need to see it for myself), then OK cool we have the tools to know that is an error and not true and thus can’t hold that against Jesus being the Messiah- but this is really a topic that requires a whole discussion on its own and to be honest it has been years since I’ve employed it, so I’m a little rusty on the specifics of how my Preservation Problem defense works just off-the top-of-my head at least.

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  5. Setting aside questions of decorum, I do have one more thought to add to this discussion which appears to have been overlooked thus far: the passage in question switches between the perfect and imperfect tenses, with the perfect used to describe the ‘suffering’, and the imperfect used to describe the restoration. Taking the majority view that Deutero-Isaiah was written sometime within the Babylonian exile, this conjugation makes far more sense under the servant = national identity view. The author was speaking of the exile as a completed event, and looking forward to the restoration as an incomplete event. Under the Christian interpretation, we have to adopt the use of the ‘prophetic perfect’ for only those portions of the text prior to the resurrection, and then explain why the imperfect is also used for post-resurrection descriptions. It’s possible that author intended to present a perspective which temporally pivots at the resurrection, but it seems far more parsimonious to understand the author as expressing a perspective contemporary with the act of authorship.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is very good and valid point Travis, taking your point about Deutero-Isaiah (a skeptical perspective) aside, I do think on balance the much clearer translation speaks of the servant as being an individual within the nation (i.e. the Messiah). The other factors just scream that this is the case to my mind based on what I’ve studied at least.

      But I will admit this is an interesting argument which could be used to support a national understanding perhaps but I think it could equally apply to Jesus as well, remember not everything has come to fruition yet despite Jesus having been raised from the dead, so the imperfect could perhaps apply to elements of the Suffering Servant’s mission that have yet to come to pass- it is something to consider though, but it alone isn’t enough to diminish my confidence that the Servant is an individual vs. the nation here.

      Thanks for the valid point of consideration though 🙂

      Dale

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  6. Molinism is neither an actually demonstrated phenomenon nor a universally accepted Christian doctrine. So it comes across as quite the ad hoc defense.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. @Dale (since not all comments have a reply button

    ‘You are going to hate me, but I’ve developed a Molonistic answer to deal with translation/preservation errors and/or issues actually, and its not all Molonistic though, as I think the Bible can have errors in it but as long as they are “discoverable” to be errors and/or at least possible errors than God is not the cause of any “undue confusion”

    Well, my friend, we don’t hate you but we consider you must be extremely limber by now with all these increasingly elaborate contortions. You’re essentially saying, BS is OK as long as we have a mechanism to identify the BS. So when you can no longer support the argument, as long as at some time frame in the future we can know it’s BS, it’s still all good. Please understand this starts looking increasingly desperate from the outside. At least concede that?

    Incidentally, this is a most excellent tool. Get this Molo BS detector patented and take it to the highest ranking Christian u can find to get the ball rolling. This amazing machine will be invaluable to help tranche between competing theological positions. Start it in the gay clobber passages and settle the matter once and for all. Move on to cessationists v charismatic and just keep going till you’ve identified all the BS, since apparently it IS identifiable and one side on these debates is clearly plain wrong. I expect you should be able to unify the thousands of denominations by 2020 at the rate you study. (Incidentally, are there any subjects you haven’t looked at?! Are you doing a theology PHD – how come you have all this time to do this? )

    One random comment ref Is 53. I guess this is where we got penal substitution theory from? However many Christians say that’s a misrepresentation of what happened and refute Penal sub as it makes God out as somewhat of a monster. Ehrman repeatedly states Jesus was crucified for political reasons, and there’s no mention from him (Jesus) it was for our sins. Never mind him taking on our suffering and bearing our illnesses, which I don’t even know what that means as both are still very much with us to this day.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey Sarah,

      Interesting feedback, not sure, I see things the way you do but I do respect your opinion.

      1. Molonism Issues;

      Bear in mind Sarah when I usually employ my Molonistic defeaters, it is almost always in response to a skeptic’s claims that the Bible and/or Christianity must be wrong because of (insert common skeptical objection here); thus, I don’t have to prove Molonism is true, though if it’s the case that God exists and is omniscient, then I think Middle Knowledge and simple Foreknowledge can easily be established given that propositions of this nature do exists without doubt and thus, an “all-knowing” God would know such propositions.

      Now, I get that you and skeptics don’t believe in such a God, but that is beside the point when you are making a claim that Christianity is false because of x, y or z reason- you have to prove such a God probably doesn’t exist first (and/or you can refute one of the other necessary elements/components of my Molinistic defeater such as proving we don’t have libertarian freewill or something) for your claim to defeat my Molinistic defeater and thus leave your original claim that Christianity is false because of whatever problem you want to raise.

      As to my being able to punt to future outcomes as justifying certain non-ideal situations, well this is fully rational to do since the butterfly type effect is known to happen all the time and give a “God’s Eye” view, it is obvious that you as a skeptic have no way of ruling any number of possible justifications for why God does things the way He does- to my mind skeptics suffer from a sort of myopia where they only want to keep things simple and uncomplicated and then Voila! You can now feel comfortable and blameless in rejecting the Christian God; you don’t have to bother yourselves with considering the larger picture. I submit that you can’t do this if you are truly interested in the truth of the matter. So, yes I will concede that things like my Molonistic defense seems to many a skeptic as though it’s a load of fashionable “pig swallow”, but I truly think that the real reason for this isn’t so much with Molonism (even Vaal admits he can’t say anything against it to show its improbable as an explanation- though I think there could be in principle at least- for example just prove we don’t have freewill or God is not omniscient and/or doesn’t have Middle Knowledge- people have at least attempted to do so even if they did fail utterly imo). So, yeah I think skeptics that deny my Molonistic defeater bring their skeptical baggage with them when they evaluate it and reject it not so much on its own merits but because they think (whether consciously or subconsciously) that they have reason to believe one of the components in the argument is in fact improbable to be true but then when asked to identify those said elements and defend why they think so, they don’t want to do it or can’t do it.

      That’s been my experience anyways so far on the boards.

      2. Molonism as the Infallible Lie Detector;

      I gather this whole spiel is more sarcasm than sincere questioning, as nothing in my use of Molonism claims to be able to explain everything, though I do think it is applicable to a variety of issues (i.e. the Problem of Evil, Hiddenness of God, the canonicity, clarity and inerrancy of divine revelation, identifying miracles or signs from God, etc.). But certainly, Molinism has very little to do with the correct interpretation of Scripture or Hebrew grammar even if can be used to explain a separate skeptical objection about God lack of clarity in interpreting those texts.
      As to your question how come, I have all this time, I don’t firstly but my work schedule is very flexible at the moment, most of the time I’m at home and I’m quick to get it done (I don’t have to work 60 hours a week like David does). Secondly, you must always remember a bit of good advice I got, “if one never takes time, how can one ever have time to do anything”- in other words, there is always time to put aside for studying important matters- some have more opportunity than others but still you have the same number of hours in the day that Albert Einstein had, one should always try to make the most of it (I include resting or fun, or watching TV, etc. as part of that mix as well).

      Just as an example, in your case with the Shroud- you tell me you don’t have the time to study it for a year like me- OK that is understandable, but then don’t pretend that you have no time- you could select a single topic and maybe read an article I provide on it one weekend for a couple hours- then another weekend look at another source on the same topic, then put that together and make up your mind based on the info presented there- no one is saying you have to become an Shroud expert before you are allowed to have an opinion on it, I’m certainly no expert either as 1 year vs. 20-40 years worth of study- I don’t think I’m on the same level.

      3. As to Penal Substitution:

      Yeah I think that is an undeniable aspect of the Atonement and Isaiah 53 certainly speaks of or alludes to it, even David and Jews think so- there is modern notions that the suffering that Jews went through in the Holocaust made redemption or atoned for the Jewish people as a whole and hence why God restored the nation of Israel afterward. So, Bart is just plain wrong if he denies penal substitution. Even if he is right about Jesus being a political figure (by which he would also say he claimed to be the Messiah), the Messianic mission incorporated Isaiah 53 albeit some Jews ascribed this to another Messiah known as Messiah ben Joseph (the suffering Messiah) vs. the Messiah ben David (the kingly one that we are all familiar with)- Christians properly understood that there weren’t two messiahs but one who would come twice and thereby fulfill all the Messianic prophecies via two distinct phases in time.

      Anyways, yes I get that Bart is very influential for you, he is a great source, I have his books too, but there is problem if he is your only resource- I think to have an intellectual opinion one needs to have studied both sides seriously, even if that means all you did was look up one scholar from both sides of an issue, that is sufficient if that is all you can do and then decide for yourself. I don’t agree with everything Mike Brown says, I don’t agree with everything Gary Habermas says either, or Barrie Schwortz, etc. I sometimes find that people don’t try to critically work out the issues for themselves as to what they believe is true but merely go with whatever they can find in the scholarship on their own respective sides- Oh he’s a skeptic therefore what he say must be true, will reject anything a Christian scholar says and vice versa. That is often not the case, as Aristotle said the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle and that has been my experience so far as well.

      Take care,

      Dale

      P.S.- We do actually know that the ends justify the means in some circumstances (though not in all cases obviously), I invest my money for retirement rather than spending it at the pizza shop today. So there is nothing implausible or improbable about the fact that at least some deprimental actions today may have future benefits which can be argued to be worth the cost.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not interested in commenting on the specifics of your answer to Sarah. I’m just going to point out that your definition of “defeater” is not useful in any way in actually defeating a skeptical argument. So don’t be surprised if the skeptic doesn’t take your “defeater” seriously.

        To be a good defeater to a skeptical argument, you have to demonstrate that your defeater is accurate/true.

        So if you don’t feel you need to show that molonism is true, don’t expect the skeptic to take your defeater seriously.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Also notice the repeated claim that skeptics are trying to “prove Christianity false”. This has been a common theme, a basic misunderstanding of skepticism.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Hey Darren,

          That’s cool, thanks for the constructive pushback- but I would just say logically speaking for a defeater to be useful its not the case that I have to prove its true on a balance of probabilities- all I have to do is show that it is “equal possibility/plausibility/probability”- so as long as nothing in my defeater can be shown to be improbable than the defeater accomplishes its task.

          Think of it this way, there could be multiple defeaters (mutually exclusive to each other) for a given claim- just kink of the Kalam Cosmological argument- multiple eternal models could be equally possible defeats my claim the that Universe began to exist, no one has to prove positively that Hawking’s theory is true to defeat the Kalam argument only that it is equally probable/possible to be true.

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          1. The difference is that Hawkins ideas have actual math and evidence that leads us to think they are in fact possible and possibly accurate. Your molonism doesn’t have that advantage.

            If Hawking’s theory didn’t show it it had evidence to support it, then the skeptic wouldn’t accept it as a defeater.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yeah but even with the math, none of that proves its true- that’s why some of the models are said to be “empirical equivalents”, so it shouldn’t matter the nature of the explanations being considered, if they are “equally possible/probable” options then one can’t rule them out. Now when it comes to Molonism or anything involving miracles or God, I know from our convos you rule out the supernatural as explanations from the get-go.

              That is fine, but you have to have a reason to believe the supernatural/God is impossible or improbable to exist and just pointing to the evidence that most of them time natural laws apply normally to most explanations has no bearing on whether a specific instance of event was supernatural or not or whether a supernatural God exists. So, to me, its the same thing with Hawking but I can respect if you disagree, that is fine 🙂

              Dale

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              1. “Yeah but even with the math, none of that proves its true-”

                No but it does demonstrate it has the possibility of being correct. Your “defeaters” don’t. That is the difference. The math supports the argument to show that the argument for it being a defeater is valid. Your molonistic argument has no support to show that it is in fact a defeater.

                “….so it shouldn’t matter the nature of the explanations being considered, if they are “equally possible/probable” options then one can’t rule them out….”

                I guess that is the problem. You have yet to show that your “defeater is “equally possible/probable”. It is just a claim. At some point you have to move beyond just making the claim and show that your claim actually has substance.

                “Now when it comes to Molonism or anything involving miracles or God, I know from our convos you rule out the supernatural as explanations from the get-go.”

                That would because claiming it is supernatural isn’t an explanation. It doesn’t actually explain anything to call it supernatural.

                When someone can actually demonstrate the supernatural is a real thing, and figure out how it is actually supposed to work, that will change.

                “That is fine, but you have to have a reason to believe the supernatural/God is impossible or improbable to exist….”

                My reason is that no one has ever been able to demonstrate that the supernatural is a real thing. And anytime anyone has made testable claims, the claims have always been demonstrated to be false.

                There is a reason, after all, why all the claims about god these days are untestable.

                “….and just pointing to the evidence that most of them time natural laws apply normally to most explanations has no bearing on whether a specific instance of event was supernatural or not or whether a supernatural God exists.”

                Sure, but if you are working on probabilities, it does mean that the supernatural is the least probable reason for something to have actually happened. Combine that with the fact that you can’t demonstrate the supernatural is even a real thing, and the probability reaches 0, if not actually being 0.

                To get back to my original point. When you are making claims you can’t demonstrate are true, or even potentially true, then you are just going to have to live with the fact that a skeptic is never going to accept your defeater as a defeater.

                Empty claims are just not convincing to a skeptic.

                Liked by 3 people

                1. OK thanks for your take 🙂

                  Liked by 1 person

  8. Honestly, mate, it sounds like this: Poof, Pastafarians are the true religion. If you don’t follow Pasta, the great noodle, you will be boiled alive, yet never softened. Pasta, He is good because other Pastafarians have written that he is good. He is also all carbs to all people.
    What’s that you say? evil, suffering and carbs make you fat?! No worries. My bolonistic defeater that I’ve theorised makes it all go away. ALL things end up in the bolonaise sauce anyway so it doesn’t matter in the end. See?
    Prove me otherwise.
    Thus, I don’t have to prove Bolonism is true, because if it’s the case that Pasta exists and is omniscient, then I think it’s fair to say bolonaise goes well with it. Now, I get that you and skeptics don’t believe in Pasta, but that is beside the point when you are making a claim that Pastafarianism is false because of x, y or z reason- you have to prove Pasta probably doesn’t exist first (and/or you can refute one of the other necessary elements/components of my Bolonistic defeater such as proving we don’t always get fat on carbs. You as a sceptic (carb hater) have no way of ruling any number of possible justifications for why Pasta does things the way He does.

    Essentially your text with a few words changed. Does this maybe you a inkling to how it’s coming across?) 😉
    ould you find any of this argumentation remotely convincing to bring you to true light of pastafariansim?
    So yes, Ok, Middle earth knowledge might well be a reasonable explainer if you first grant a ton of other things, though this hobbit ain’t buying it and you wouldn’t either as it doesn’t pass the outsider test which requires people from outside the faith to hear it and think it’s fair enough. People have packed there bags and put their coat on long before you get to these long explanations. I think it’s also shredded itself on occams razor too. The simplest answer to all of this, is there’s no cosmic Dude.

    On the point about freewill. I’ve no idea whether we have free will. Many experiments show we have bodily reactions before anything lights up in the brain and even later after we’re aware of it. I think Harris has written about this in the Moral landscape. I think consciousness may create the experience of free will and agency, but that much may be deterministic in nature.
    Besides, we like to think we’re the rational creatures that base decision making on logical facts, but per Mike Mcargue studies show we’re anything but. Mostly we’re a social/emotion creature that make decisions based on those two factors most of the time.

    Whatever your job is, I want it. What do I have to do to get one? And agreed, we all have the same hours, but is there much point studying like a boss if can’t recall it? I’ve listened to the whole back catalogue of Unbelievable and honestly , if I had to give a lecture on it, it would probably last 25 mins, tops. I’ve pretty much already forgotten most of the shroud arguments anyway (sorry 😦 ). And I don’t want to read more stuff on it as it will be a never ending quest. You’ve demonstrated that to the point we have to know what each scientist preferred dessert is, to make an honest appraisal of their work. Ultimately I won’t solve it and unless someone can demonstrate it can conclusively be dated to 30/33 AD, at this stage, I think I’ve concluded, I don’t much care.
    And that’s OK. And no that does not make me a dishonest seeker. Just a mortal whose very aware of time limits. You seem to be very keen that I dive into this stuff. I’m not so made. In fact, I thank the god I used to believe in I did not waste more than i already did of the best years of life studying this stuff. Well, I did to some point as I had chronic fatigue for 5 years so that kinda freed up a lot of time. But I regret the time spent praying and reading about nonsense like generational curses that might have caused my predicament. And I regret as a teenager I bought in the purity nonsense and I regret I wasted entire Sunday mornings with people I didn’t much like listening to obvious ideas about essentially being nice to each other. And I’m glad my husband had more sense and stopped me tithing too much to the church. and and.

    Don’t waste the best years of your life Dale, This health and vitality you have might be a gonna one day. Or do do that if that’s your character and it brings you joy. 😉 You do you and all that, but I’d rather ski. I doubt Jesus much cares for your study anyway. He pretty much ‘threw shade on the Pharisees ( I have been reliably informed by kids that means to diss something). It’s not even what he said to do in the great commission. He said to feed the poor, be there for the orphans etc. You’re spending significant amounts of your life doing nothing that the teacher said. How does that work?

    “there is modern notions that the suffering that Jews went through in the Holocaust made redemption or atoned for the Jewish people as a whole and hence why God restored the nation of Israel afterward. ” who in their right mind is spouting this, to coin Tara, bullshizzle? I’ve never heard it and a more horrible idea I can not fathom. God had to have the Jews atone with the holocaust?! Wt actual heck?!! Is there someone I can write to about this. I’m incensed. You? Not so much? Just casually slip it in like it’s a ok. *Sarah yells for Tara*

    It’s not necessarily Bart who denies penal substitution. I was talking about LOADS of Christians don’t buy into the monster-god needing to smack something theory. Its BSC for one, presumably gotten from this half-baked prophecy and most importantly of all, Jesus doesn’t say it!

    “I think to have an intellectual opinion one needs to have studied both sides seriously” Dude, I had imbibed nothing but Christian stuff all my life. To even hear out the other side was sacrilege. Being marginally open to the idea the other wide is what made it fall apart. What did one do before the internet anyways? I’ve done my research to the level I’m interested in – think an episode of Unbelievable. I’m pretty sure I’ve more knowledge that the average bod in the pews. I’m not going to go down never-ending rabbit holes. I just, week after week, couldn’t believe the theist arguments weren’t that good and the historicity of the gospels were so shoddy. Then David would point out all the holes and I was like, whaaaat!?

    Anyway my pasta’s ready and the news is on and it’s Brexit extravagansa, gotta go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Sarah,

      But the fact that you think the Pasta example would change my mind means you aren’t understanding the underlying point and this is why I’m right epistemically speaking.

      If I am making a claim that Pastafarian religion is wrong because the Great Pasta is a bad boy or something. And you reply with a Bolonism defeater (assuming that is an equally possible option), then guess what I withdraw my claim/objection to Pastafarianism- that doesn’t mean necessarily that I have reason to believe it to be true, just that I can’t use the original claim as a way to prove its not true. So yeah, I’m perfectly consistent here and would not have a problem keeping Pasta religion as a viable option unless and until some other successful reason to dis-believe and/or believe it was true is offered- until then I remain agnostic; that’s how the logic works.

      As to Occham’s razor- well that only applies if you are being honest and considering all the evidence not just your narrow definition of the evidence (namely, the one objection you raise), you also have to consider all the positive and negative evidence to rule out the Great Pasta first.

      As to freewill- OK so you don’t know one way or the other, so you can’t use that aspect of the defense to argue my Molonistic defeater is improbable at least unless you can prove otherwise.

      On my job, Lol trust me you don’t want it, I work for a major charity which is good, but then the pay is no so good. As to looking into things, OK well if you just refuse to want to learn and grow in this department then that is fine, but then don’t look confused on Judgement Day when God asks why didn’t you take just 2 hours out of time to look into something and write notes or something to help you remember a single thing that could cascade into eventually revealing his truth to you. If you don’t see value in pursuing the truth about Him then why should He make it easy for you and seek you out.

      The Great Commission- what are you talking about? “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” That sounds like what I’m trying to do to me, saving souls is way more important than saving physical lives even if the two are not mutually exclusive.

      As to the Holocaust- oh brother Sarah, relax yourself. If you want to complain about this notion, then complain to the ultra orthodox and orthodox Jews themselves, they are the ones that say this about themselves- let me guess you assumed this was an idea I made up or believed in, right- next time maybe ask before you call in Tara.

      Finally, as to the Penal substitution thing (friendly sarcasm alert in what follows)- OK whatever, I guess you are an expert and know it all then, you obviously surveyed every scholar in history (past, present and future) and know better than the rest of us mere mortals- how foolish of me, I didn’t realize some Christians actually deny the notion of penal substitution, thanks for the heads up, I can’t believe I was so wrong on that, if only I had discovered the proper methodology of just saying- “look over there, this guy denies this or that doctrine, must not be true then” sooner, I could have been on the ski slopes this whole time. Obviously, you can’t decide truth that way Sarah but that seems to be a major way people try to refute my opinions which I arrived at via critical thinking and evaluation of what people had to say and then deciding for myself what I thought was true- what a complete waste of time, I see it now 😛

      I will let you enjoy your meal, but I mean you’re the one taking issue with me and my arguments and commenting to me, I never initiated this convo, you did lol, so yeah enjoy your the meal and Brexit garbage (will you dang people just get on with it already, stop with the back and forth, you voted to leave the EU so do it and shut up already- not aimed at you but the politicians really) lol.

      Bye,

      Dale

      Like

  9. If molinism can be a defeater, can atheism? Naturalism? Hinduism?

    Like

  10. Some on here seem to be confused as to what “defeaters” are and how they work, so just wanted to provide a couple helpful sources that will properly explain them and how they work (please take some time to educate yourselves before critiquing my use of Molonism to defend arguments against the truth of Christianity).

    Search for “defeaters” in the Sources;

    1. https://www.iep.utm.edu/ep-defea/

    2. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evidence/

    3. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/justep-foundational/

    4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defeater

    5. Also for a religious context (with regards to properly basic beliefs via the inner witness of the Holy Spirit for the truth of Christianity but the principles of defeaters can be applied to objective evidences as well), see Alvin Plantiga’s book “Warranted Christian Belief” Chapter 11 on Defeaters on p.291-303 = http://home.sogang.ac.kr/sites/sgphilobk21/%EC%9E%90%EB%A3%8C%EC%8B%A4/Lists/b8/Attachments/3/warranted_christian_belief_alvin_plantinga.pdf .

    Thank you, I hope this will give people a better understanding of how defeaters work in general and allow you to become more knowledgeable in my application of them to claims against the truth of Christianity going forward 🙂

    Dale

    Like

    1. There is a lot of text there. Can you point me to the spot where it says you can use a claim that has no substance to it as a defeater?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Darren,

        No, I’m not going to do that and not trying to be a smart aleck, but I’m doing this on purpose for a couple reasons actually- now what you ask about is in there albeit not explicitly but implicitly- the answer to your question is in the sources if you can put the pieces together.

        Hint look for the different types of defeaters for example. Defeaters don’t have to be proven true to work (I assume from your other posts that this is what you mean by no substance)- Hawking can’t prove his model is true at all, only that it is equally plausible (according to him)- that doesn’t mean his defeater is invalid or has no substance. That only comes about when you can prove that a defeater is somehow improbable to be true in some way, then you can claim the defeater doesn’t work.

        Like

        1. “Hint look for the different types of defeaters for example. Defeaters don’t have to be proven true to work (I assume from your other posts that this is what you mean by no substance)-…”

          Ok, then I will go ahead and follow your lead for defeaters. My defeater for the supernatural ever being an answer to anything is pixies. They prevent the supernatural from acting in the real world, even a god. So there is no way that the supernatural can ever affect the physical world.

          According to you I don’t have to demonstrate that my defeater has any substance to it, so I guess all your arguments fail due to my defeater.

          And while you sit there thinking of all the reasons as to why you won’t take my defeater seriously, realize those are the exact same reasons why skeptics aren’t taking your defeaters seriously. We view god and the supernatural in the same exact light as you view my pixies, and for the exact same reasons.

          At some point you have to demonstrate that the claims you are making are actually true. Unless of course you don’t care if anyone takes you seriously. In which case carry on.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. OK here is how I would show that your defeater is improbable to be true and hence why it doesn’t show the supernatural is not possible.

            1. Aren’t pixies themselves supernatural entities?- So their existence (as per your own defeater) would provide a defeater of your own defeater.

            2. Also, its improbable, nay impossible, that created beings like pixies could prevent an omnipotent God from acting in the world (obviously the omnipotent God part needs to be an “equal possibility” for my defeater of your defeater to work here).

            But here are a couple examples of how I would attempt to defeat your defeater without even trying to prove that God exists, etc. which if I do prove my defeater-defeater is probably true in that an omnipotent God does in fact exist, well then right there would prove your pixie defeater against the supernatural is wrong right there.

            But even without proving my case, all I have to do is show that there is an “equal possibility” that an omnipotent God exists and then your “defeater” to the possibility of the supernatural based on pixies preventing God from acting supernaturally in the world- this is logically impossible.

            So thus, I have a defeater for your proposed defeater and hence, why I would not logically say the supernatural is improbable and/or impossible based on your pixie notion.

            Like

            1. “1. Aren’t pixies themselves supernatural entities?- So their existence (as per your own defeater) would provide a defeater of your own defeater.”

              Actually no. By using my emerald isle interpretation, there is nothing about what is being claimed that would require them to keep themselves out. Or you can take the blue diamond interpretation, which says they keep themselves out of the physical world as well.

              But there is no contradiction there.

              “2. Also, its improbable, nay impossible, that created beings like pixies could prevent an omnipotent God from acting in the world (obviously the omnipotent God part needs to be an “equal possibility” for my defeater of your defeater to work here).”

              Actually this isn’t true. As everyone knows, pixies are immune to all supernatural power, no matter how powerful. Sure god is “omnipotent”, but he still can’t do the logically impossible, and effecting a creature that is immune to his power would be logically impossible.

              “…well then right there would prove your pixie defeater against the supernatural is wrong right there.”

              I already explained that it doesn’t disprove my pixie defeater because omnipotent only means able to do those things that aren’t logically impossible. And it would be logically impossible for a god to affect something that is immune to his power.

              “So thus, I have a defeater for your proposed defeater and hence, why I would not logically say the supernatural is improbable and/or impossible based on your pixie notion.”

              Except you haven’t given a defeater to my defeater. As explained above.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Lol nice try.

                1. No sense whatsoever actually, are they supernatural themselves or not- if no, they are natural beings then how can they have a property of preventing all supernatural events, this requires supernatural events exist to be prevented from occuring in our universe.

                2. Omnipotent means all powerful within the laws of logic, true and so if you could prove that pixies have a property of being immune to supernatural power then OK, that still wouldn’t prove God couldn’t do supernatural events on non-pixies. Pixies are also not omnipresent like God is, pixies don’t have God’s aseity and/or necessity meaning that a logical contradiction erupts since God would have had to create them in the first place meaning the supernatural did work on them in that instance to bring them into existence. Also God is necessary to conserve these pixies in existence and thus they can’t be immune to the supernatural.

                I win! 😛

                Like

                1. “1. No sense whatsoever actually, are they supernatural themselves or not- if no, they are natural beings then how can they have a property of preventing all supernatural events, this requires supernatural events exist to be prevented from occuring in our universe.”

                  You don’t justify how god has the properties that he has, so following your lead, I don’t have to justify how the pixies have their properties. Just think of them as super-supernatural creatures.

                  There is nothing that says they have to keep themselves out along with everything else. So you are just swinging at windmills with this one.

                  “2. Omnipotent means all powerful within the laws of logic, true and so if you could prove that pixies have a property of being immune to supernatural power then OK,…”

                  I don’t have to. Per your rules I don’t have to prove that the claims are accurate or true. They are defined as being immune to supernatural powers. Plus they are able to extend that immunity to the physical world.

                  “…that still wouldn’t prove God couldn’t do supernatural events on non-pixies.”

                  Actually it does, they prevent god’s power from reaching the physical world. By definition.

                  “Pixies are also not omnipresent like God is, pixies don’t have God’s aseity and/or necessity meaning that a logical contradiction erupts since God would have had to create them in the first place…”

                  That is actually false. The pixies are not created beings. They are the logical necessary result of the supernatural existing. So logically they can not ‘not exist’ if the supernatural exists.

                  I know that your theology teaches that god is the only necessary being, but the pixies prove that your theology is wrong about that. They are also necessary beings. And there are a lot more of them than just your god. And given that they are timeless, they don’t have to be omnipresent, they just have to know what is going on in the physical world. They have a “spidey sense” for the physical world that alerts them to what is about to happen in enough time for them to stop it.

                  “I win!”

                  Definitely a good try, but the pixies are apparently a defeater for more of your theology that I originally thought.

                  Like

                  1. Lol cool, actually I am able just based on my own modal intuitions to rule out the pixies then since you define them as being necessary beings, I know that’s not true via my own modal properly basic beliefs whereas God is real. So, I’m good.

                    But interesting, why don’t you announce your conversion to pixie-ism now Darren, sounds like you are basically trying to make the failed argument for quasi-gods in the ontological argument which has been refuted but not going down that road again until I do the Ontological argument on the show itself 🙂

                    Thanks and look forward to hearing your thoughts on Round 2 of the Shroud- if you’re still listening to that but if not, then now worries 🙂

                    Dale

                    Like

                    1. “Lol cool, actually I am able just based on my own modal intuitions to rule out the pixies then since you define them as being necessary beings, I know that’s not true via my own modal properly basic beliefs whereas God is real. So, I’m good.”

                      Sure, but given your rules, your modal intuition doesn’t prevent the pixies from being a defeater. It just means that you aren’t going to take the defeater seriously, just like skeptics aren’t going to take your defeaters seriously. And mostly for the same reasons.

                      “Thanks and look forward to hearing your thoughts on Round 2 of the Shroud- if you’re still listening to that but if not, then now worries 🙂”

                      The shroud doesn’t really interest me. Until someone can demonstrate that magic is even a real thing to begin with, I have a really hard taking neutron flux or authentic shroud seriously. You can blame it on my modal intuitions if you like. 🙂

                      Like

                    2. No, it does for me as this defeater for your pixie defeater makes it improbable to be true- I just can’t show it to you like in the same arguing the objective route via logical inconsistencies with omnipotent God, etc.

                      Like

                    3. “No, it does for me as this defeater for your pixie defeater makes it improbable to be true-”

                      Sure, it does for you, That just means it is your opinion that it is improbable. Your opinion doesn’t have anything to do with actual probabilities.

                      But on the bright side, you now have an understanding of why the skeptic isn’t going to accept your defeaters as defeaters.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    4. OK happy to resolve the convo here with your last word 🙂

                      Like

                    5. Lol, he says while posting in response to my post. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

    2. Those are good links, ones I’ve read before.

      Here’s a link to philosopher Tyler Wunder’s review of Plantiga’s WCB and discussing defeaters.

      https://infidels.org/library/modern/tyler_wunder/warranted.html

      And here’s a link to a book review of a fervent multi-philosopher/apologist debate on Molinism. There are strong critics of Molinism, Christian and not.

      https://apologetics315.com/2013/06/book-review-molinism-the-contemporary-debate/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know I’m ignoring your comments, but regardless of our personal issues, I will just acknowledge that I’ve seen these myself and they are good sources for people to utilize to educate themselves on the Molonism and/or Defeaters issues in addition to the ones I provided.

        So thank you for sharing them for people on here.

        Dale

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I want to object to David’s criticism and offer support to Dale’s cumulative case. As Dale stated in one of the episodes (Part 2 or 3?), this methodology is routinely used in a court of law when attorneys are building a case. The cumulative case approach is completely valid.

    I do agree with David, though, that it’s a little tricky to refute a cumulative case (until the wrap-up). So, I’m eagerly awaiting David’s rebuttal at the conclusion of part 4.

    That said, I’ve read the articles posted by both David and Dale but haven’t taken time (yet) to read the comments.

    I came across a short booklet online earlier this week, ‘Questions Skeptics Ask about Messianic Prophecy.’ It covers some of the arguments Dale has presented (Micah 5:2 and Isaiah 53), as well as a couple of others. I noted that the writer doesn’t make conclusive statements such as “It’s obvious…..” Rather he encourages the reader to consider the ‘striking similarities’ between OT prophecies and Jesus of Nazareth as portrayed in the Gospel accounts. The 1st century Jewish writers of the gospels were convinced that these ‘striking similarities’ could not just be dismissed. In fact, they passionately proclaimed these similarities, declaring that Jesus was, indeed, the long-awaited Jewish Messiah.

    Here’s the link to the booklet if anyone would like to explore 3-4 passages in a little more depth:

    https://d3uet6ae1sqvww.cloudfront.net/pdf/discovery-series/questions-skeptics-ask-about-messianic-prophecy.pdf

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Excellent, thank you for sharing that for people on here to look into and as I told you in private, thanks for your appreciation of the topic and for having the interest and respect to look into the sources that both of us provided.

      I’m sure, David appreciates hearing about you having taken advantage of the blogs and the sources we provide as much as I do 🙂

      Dale

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Hello old friend. Welcome back. You are always welcome here.

      Cumulative cases are indeed tricky. One of the problems is that every point has to work. And in my opinion, that has not been the case so far. I have disputed a number of the individual points. So how many points have to be falsified before the cumulative case is deemed full of holes?

      Justin Brierley literally made the case in his chapter on suffering that though it could conceivably be a point for the atheist, Christians shouldn’t despair because they have so many more points. So even if one goes against them, they have a mountain of other cases. But in a cumulative case, each point has to stand or the whole thing falls. You can’t win by simply throwing in more bad arguments than your opponent. The one with the most arguments doesn’t win, but the one with the better, truer arguments.

      I feel like Dale is just trying to win by including the largest pile of arguments. He has given himself four weeks to make his case and allowed me one week to respond and make my own. I obviously cannot respond to every individual argument. And even as we get ready to record week 4, Dale has yet to make a single point that addresses the defeater I put out there in the first week. He is finally getting around to it. And I still don’t think he succeeds. But anyone following the series will see that he has four weeks of material to my one. He must have the stronger case.

      In fact, I will not even take that week. I will rebut and make my counter case with what time I have in week four. While I agreed to the format, I think it is a highly objectionable sham. Even giving Dale four weeks to make a case, he has yet to make one indisputable point that actually sticks. I don’t think I even have to respond at all to his so called case. But I have prepared a response all the same. And we will see where it goes.

      You refer to the writers of the gospels are passionately proclaiming that Jesus fit the messianic description. This is because you look at the gospels and accept them as inspired writings of unbiased observers and recorders of the facts as they happened. You must know that I do not.

      These stories were written long after the purported events. All the messianic-fulfilling details were written in after the fact. And most Jews didn’t think Jesus was the messiah. In fact, the crowds that followed him for bread and fish were the ones shouting that he be crucified. So forgive me if I ignore their testimony. Oh, did I mention that his own disciples abandoned him. They were clearly not that convinced.

      I would also remind you of the countless messiahs that came before and after Jesus. Every one of them had their own John the Baptist that proclaimed them the messiah. They had prophetic fulfillments. And they had even more people than Jesus willing to give their lives for the cause. They would have had texts proclaiming their messianic fulfillments had their movements survived a bit longer. But they all had a good enough claim to being messiah that both religious leaders and peasants followed them and hailed them as such.

      I will present one or two of them as exhibit A for why Dale’s case fails completely. So while there were a handful of unorthodox Jews willing to call Jesus messiah, he was not the only one, and had far fewer followers among actual Jews than most other candidates.

      We also have the problem of fulfillment. As even Dale admits, the prophecies have not yet been fulfilled. But he concludes that the check is in the mail. Great! The same could be said for all the other beheaded messiahs. They got the ball rolling. And they will come back to finish the job.

      Now, can I show that Jesus doesn’t even qualify as a candidate? I doubt it. The power of the interpretive brush is too strong. It can be used to show that I am the messiah. But I will even take a swing at discrediting Jesus’ claim. He was to have a momentous birth. But that very idea is disputed by both Paul and Mark, the first two to write about it. They present Jesus as having a natural, uneventful birth. There is reason to believe that the first two chapters of Matt were later additions. So it wasn’t just Mark who wrote him as merely human.

      If we have reason to believe that the only stories of an unnatural birth were fraudulent additions, we can eliminate Jesus as a candidate. For there was nothing momentous about his birth.

      I can talk about all the reasons Jews of the day did not see Jesus as the messiah. He failed their many tests for a messiah as well. They don’t consider him a failed messiah. For them, he wasn’t even a candidate. I’m not sure that anyone was based on prophecy. But we know that the way prophecy was read, they saw plenty of messianic candidates. That is how I will argue.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s the difference between picking from a buffet to make a meal compared to layering up a piece montée to make one single cake.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Great analogy. Evid3nc3, an atheist youtuber of yore, had a good framework for thinking about God belief as a “mega-belief”.

          Like

    3. “The 1st century Jewish writers of the gospels were convinced that these ‘striking similarities’ could not just be dismissed. In fact, they passionately proclaimed these similarities, declaring that Jesus was, indeed, the long-awaited Jewish Messiah.”

      Also keep in mind that the vast majority of 1st century Jewish people weren’t convinced.

      Like

  12. P.S. I just happened upon Jonathan McLatchie’s website, Apologetics Academy. His guest, Anthony Rogers, is doing a webinar tomorrow (Dec. 8), a biblical portrait of Israel’s Messiah. Very timely.

    Here’s the link re: times, etc.
    http://apologetics-academy.org/online-training/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, I heartily recommend the Apologetics Academy as it has detailed discussion and Q&A from various scholars on various topics- in fact in my Part 4 Messianic prophecies blog i provide the link to Dr. Michael L. Brown discussing Messianic prophecies on the show via YouTube- see here = https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKJ_EeoOeUtCyRT4g8OUlkQ/videos and/or for the Mike Brown on Messiah Prophecy here = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKAnY1ULEWc 🙂

      Enjoy everyone, Joyce you are just too fast for me, as I had this link as a source in Part 4, but I guess I will give people advance notice given your mention of Apologetics Academy- a class one resource for those interested in truth 🙂

      Dale

      Liked by 1 person

    2. But McLathchie killed Johnson if Stephen Law’s website is to be believed. 😉

      Like

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