In the thread to a prior post I wrote:
The documents constituting the New Testament are vouchsafed with the blood of the martyrs. Nothing else comes remotely close.
Orloog scoffs and mocks:
The willingness of an Islamic terrorist to become a martyr of his course isn’t a testament for the existence of 72 virgins waiting for him in the afterlife, it is just shows how severe his belief in their existence is!
Many religions have their martyrs. Doesn’t make them all true.
And again, tell me about the dozens of eye-witnesses of the resurrection who were put to death!
And in a response that deserves its own OP — if not a full page ad in the New York Times, KF responded. All that follows is his:
I think your comparison at 103 is so outrageous that it demands application of the mirror-projection principle. In short, would you like to be read in the way you are projecting there? (Which, is at least one motivation for the principle of charitable reading rather than suspicious reading.)
Let me highlight a basic fact: martyr is the Greek word for witness.
It is the Apostles, other early martyrs and confessors who — by peacefully insisting on testifying to what they knew to be true in the face of dungeon, fire, sword and worse, thus literally sealing their testimony with their blood shed by judicial murder or at the hands of vigilantism — rewrote the proper meaning.
In short, solemnly aware that they faced the eternal judgement of God, they refused to recant the eternally freighted truth they knew as eyewitnesses in the first instance.
It is an inexcusable insult to their memory, peaceful sacrifice in witness to truth, and common decency to instantly, invidiously compare such to murderous fanatics who may well be deluded but were in no position to personally directly know the truth of the foundation of Islam.
The two cases are simply not comparable, and you know it or should have easily known it to the point where a reasonable, civil person would not have written as you did.
But, without hesitation, compunction or pause, you projected as above.
You have therefore told us much about yourself, that you care nothing to check credible facts, record and scholarship before dismissing what does not suit your convenience. You have shown utter want of judicious temperament. You have shown utter disregard for truth, reasonable warrant and a suspicious sign of willingness to project false accounts and accusations to your perceived advantage. You have shown a depth of hostility to God and those who served him by peacefully standing up in witness at horrific cost. You have shown the sort of potential for exactly the sort of fanatical violence lurking within by your willingness to project utterly unwarranted invidious associations of peaceful martyrs with murderous fanatics as you did. Indeed, you inadvertently reveal a bigotry tantamount to that of racism or the like in the implied stereotyping, scapegoating, unjustified accusation and demonisation in your remarks.
In short, you have shown precisely the signs and trends that our civilisation had better wake up to and walk away from before it becomes too late.
Bloodily too late.
Eternally too late.
That same injudiciousness showed itself in your implied demand for arbitrarily high “proof” demanded of C1 events by comparison with C21 ones, in 101 – 102 and 104 above.
What is the reasonable context of understanding “best documented” or the like?
Ans: in light of the classical times context, bearing in mind the ravages of time and events.
In that context to have four eyewitness lifetime record biographies, references in over a dozen other similarly early documents, the foundation of a rapidly spreading unstoppable movement (with 500 core witnesses, not one of whom could be turned by the threats or inducements of state agents determined to uproot what they saw as a potential source of uprisings), and more for the life of a village carpenter cum itinerant preacher from a backwaters hamlet of no account is indeed utterly astonishing. (Though it should be noted that such obscurity was actually sought in the first instance to save the life of one targetted by malevolent authorities from birth, as the account notes.)
Further to this, your ignorance about the ability of a community with hundreds of witnesses to an event to control oral tradition for generations, preserving the core accuracy of narratives of key events is on display.
An ignorance backed up by the failure to reckon with the record we have from hostile or at least uninvolved witnesses. Where, at least one of such, having been murderously kicking against the pricks, became the leading missionary of the witness he once harried to the death.
So much so that his tombstone in Rome reads, Paulo Apostolo Mart.
There is a reason why our sons are Paul and our dogs Nero.
The verdict of history is in. In the case of Athens, it is no accident that at the foot of Mars Hill a bronze plaque stands with the speech of Acts 17 on it, the speech once dismissively sneered out of court. And the street running by, passing near Hill, Agora, and Parthenon alike, is named after that Apostle, and then picks up with the name of that city’s patron saint, Dionysius the Areopagits. Yes, the same who had the courage to stand for the truth when he heard it from the mouth of the Apostle.
It is this same Apostle and former arch-persecutor [itself a powerful testimony to the veracity of the message he once made havoc of in the literal sense] who in 55 AD put on record the summary of the common witness of the 500 that we may read in 1 Cor 15:1 – 11. A core testimony that circumstances date to 35 – 38 AD, in the city where events happened, which also happened to be the headquarters for the first circle of official opposition by authorities threatened by the new movement.
Such a record is unprecedented, and nonpareil.
It is not on trial, we are.
I have not bothered to detail the millions whose lives have been transformed for the good by living encounter with God in the face of the living, risen Christ. I will but note that some have played distinguished positively transforming roles in history, and that such are readily to hand all across the world today, if you are but inclined to seriously listen instead of project, demonise and dismiss.
In answer to your selective hyperskepticism, I pose the Morison challenge, by the Barrister of that name in his Who Moved the Stone?:
[N]ow the peculiar thing . . . is that not only did [belief in Jesus’ resurrection as in part testified to by the empty tomb] spread to every member of the Party of Jesus of whom we have any trace, but they brought it to Jerusalem and carried it with inconceivable audacity into the most keenly intellectual centre of Judaea . . . and in the face of every impediment which a brilliant and highly organised camarilla could devise. And they won. Within twenty years the claim of these Galilean peasants had disrupted the Jewish Church and impressed itself upon every town on the Eastern littoral of the Mediterranean from Caesarea to Troas. In less than fifty years it had began to threaten the peace of the Roman Empire . . . . Why did it win? . . . . We have to account not only for the enthusiasm of its friends, but for the paralysis of its enemies and for the ever growing stream of new converts . . . When we remember what certain highly placed personages would almost certainly have given to have strangled this movement at its birth but could not – how one desperate expedient after another was adopted to silence the apostles, until that veritable bow of Ulysses, the Great Persecution, was tried and broke in pieces in their hands [the chief persecutor became the leading C1 Missionary/Apostle!] – we begin to realise that behind all these subterfuges and makeshifts there must have been a silent, unanswerable fact. [Who Moved the Stone, (Faber, 1971; nb. orig. pub. 1930), pp. 114 – 115.]
In short, your selective hyperskepticism and projections speak inadvertent volumes, and not in your favour.
Indeed, so extreme is your behaviour, and so extreme in import is the implicit enabling by failure to police among your ilk, that we must take this as a grim warning of what we are up against.
In short, your behaviour and what we have a right to infer on what it reflects, is a sobering warning.
I would suggest to you and your ilk, that it is time to think seriously again about where you are taking our civilisation.
In a follow up post KF writes:
Onlookers, it is worth pausing to note why it is worth the while to address this seemingly off-topic matter. We are seeing the mindset of the skeptics of design theory. This is an ilk that is resistant to self evident truth and first principles of reason. The weight of primary source historical documents does not budge them, nor the weight of expert scholarship when it does not go where they want. So, when we see the very same objectors dismissive of the significance of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information, that should give us context. KF
PS: Those wanting to understand the sort of irrational hyperskepticism so tellingly on display in this thread will find here on a useful discussion:
PPS: Let me again note as above the 101 survey (which includes a discussion of the minimal facts consensus and also a video) here:
and the remarks by Habermas here:
[A final note from BKA: the emphasis is mine; Orloog should be ashamed of himself for the comparison; I doubt that he is, because one thing I have learned about such as he — they are damned near shameless.]