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semlogo

What are the implications if the BoA is false?

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It seems to me that if God lied and the BoA is not what He claimed it to be that the entire universe would have collapsed by now. Since that hasn't happened...

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With the facsimiles you have the resurrection/redemption, the journey/ascension, and the coronation. This isn't a historical novel, it's novel history. We could go into an infinite regress of reasons why we should or shouldn't accept the BoA as scripture.

We know that Joseph Smith by and large did not produce the Book of Mormon with the plates in view, but rather used the plates as a catalyst to advance the process of divine revelation. I am open to the idea of the papyri having a much less direct role in the process of translation than many might accept.

The catalyst interpretation focuses more on the revelatory nature of the BoA.

I for one find the ancient concepts within the BoA more compelling than its actual relationship to the papyri. (e.g. geocentrism, heavenly ascents, stars and divinity, divine councils, multiple deities, cosmic rebellions, etc.) This is probably why I don't keep up with the various papyri arguments as well as I should.

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No need for hypothetical proof. It was already proven false in the 1960's when the papyrus was discovered. The traditional understanding of the translation was proven false anyway. We have the catalyst hypothesis now and that can't be falsified.

I have been watching this phenomenon closely since the "rediscovery" of the Joseph Smith Papyri in 1967, and know of no such "proof." Of course, "proof" is in the eye of the beholder. QED

You will notice that, since that time, there has been no diminution in the size of the LDS Church (quite the opposite), which is one of the reasons why I say that no one would notice -- even if such hypothetical "proof" were claimed (as it has been claimed by a number of people, including you).

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44Foxtrot

For many (perhaps most) who leave the Church, the Book of Abraham is one of the heavier straws on the camel's broken back, ranking right up there with polygamy and polyandry. It provides some of the best evidence a critic could have that Joseph Smith did not possess the prophetic abilities and authority he claimed.

The BoA is a component of the Mormon belief system from which many who remain in the Church, including some apologists, are beginning to distance themselves. Current handling of the BoA problem by the Church is starting to look like a rear guard action.

So my answer to your question is that, in due time, Joseph Smith's BoA will probably be of no greater importance to the average (active) Mormon than Brigham Young's Blood Atonement, or McConkie's Mormon Doctrine.

If the matter were to be decided in a court of law, one would need to establish the credibility (or lack of credibility) of the defendant. For scenes in the JSP for which we have the "translations" of Joseph Smith, these "translations" bear no resemblance whatsoever to those of qualified Egyptologists, including Michael Rhodes, who is LDS.

Thus, while we may not have all of the papyri that were in Joseph Smith's possession, in those several examples where we can check his ability to translate, including names of characters in scenes from the papyri, the meaning of the scenes themselves, and even the Kinderhook plates, etc., we find not a single example supporting Joseph Smith's claim that he could translate ancient languages. What we do find, even in comparison to LDS Egyptologist translations, is that Joseph Smith was simply making it up as he went along.

I claim that this fact is already recognized among apologists, who have transitioned to a rear guard action, and that is why we have principal BoA apologists such as John Gee making statements to the effect that Mormonism does not depend on the BoA.

So I will say again; in my humble opinion, such statements as that by John Gee are preparatory to moving the BoA out of the spotlight in order to take some of the heat off, just as Mormon Doctrine, Blood Atonement and the priesthood ban for Blacks have been rescinded or moved to the side to take off the heat.

Foxy,

I circulated a detailed examination of Facsimile 2 in 1975, none of which was refuted (in public or in private) by any of the recipients -- which included prominent anti-Mormons who had been very vocal in their condemnation of both the BofA and of Joseph Smith. I have yet to see any evidence which would justify your above statements.

.

You really ought to allow the Egyptologists you name to speak for themselves, unless you are quoting them (and that should include anyone else who is party to this debate, who might not share your particular views). It is clear to me that you have misstated the views of both Rhodes and Gee, and that you have ignored the positive correlations which they have drawn. I'll give some quick examples from both Mike Rhodes and Val Sederholm:

BOA 1:1, the names ?????? and ?br?m on two separate late demotic papyri from Thebes, accompanying a lion couch scene and a Wd3t-eye (Rhodes, JSH-TYL, 6, citing Betz, Greek Magical Papyri, lviii; Johnson,

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How could you tell if the translation was "false"?

If you could not tell, what does it matter?

In the usual way that one checks up on translations.

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Nah.... let me explain better...

What I sorta mean is we don't know how direct the translation is - and so even if the papyrus doesn't translate to what the BoA says, there are other ways translation could have taken place.

In other words, if we limit oursleves to a direct translation process, then it may cause problems. If we look at it more as a 'power of God' thing... or perhaps as a 'indirect substitute papyrus', we won't be in such a bind every, I think. After all, if God can make writing appear on a compass (Liahona) which works based on faith, I'm sure this would be pretty easy for him to do. For with God, nothing is impossible =).

Even today though, the direct hasn't been disproven, so I leave both options open =).

That doesn't really make sense, but no matter. I'm not interested in that discussion in this thread.

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It would mean Joseph lied. Where that would lead is anyones guess.

That's one interpretation. Another is that he tried and failed to make a translation.

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Respectfully, please save your 'true vs false and here's why' debates for your own threads. This thread is for discussing implications only. Thanks!

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kolipoki,

Your quotation of John Gee's 2009 FAIR conference lecture presents an opportunity to make some observations about Gee's remarks. In what follows I do not assume that Gee speaks for all Mormons; however, you seem to have quoted that lecture with approval of his claim that the LDS religion does not stand or fall on the Book of Abraham, which is the focus of my questions.

Gee ticks off a list of five points that he says are "those things that need to be defended":

  1. God exists.
  2. Jesus Christ is His son.
  3. He talked and still talks to men through the power of the Holy Ghost.
  4. Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of the world.
  5. The atonement is available to us through our trust in Jesus, our turning from sins to obeying the commandments of God, our taking upon us sacred covenants, following the Holy Ghost, and continuing to follow this course to the end of our lives.

Well, depending on what certain key words in these statements mean, most evangelicals could agree with all five points, though we would probably have to quibble over some aspects of the third and fifth points. But what is remarkable is how theologically nondescript these five points are--how lacking in anything specifically or explicitly LDS. Then, almost as an afterthought, Gee writes,

"For the purposes of apologetics in this dispensation of the gospel, I would add a sixth: The Book of Mormon is true, and by that I mean that it was a record of God's interactions with an actual ancient people."

Completely missing from the essentials that Gee says Mormons must defend is one word about Joseph Smith, the LDS Church, or its living prophet (though he could be included among the "men" to whom Christ talks "through the power of the Holy Ghost"). You might think this is implied by the affirmation of the Book of Mormon, but there are people who think Joseph was a fallen prophet, or that he had been called only to translate the Book of Abraham and not to be a prophet and religious leader at all.

Gee asserts:

"The Book of Abraham is not central to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church survived for the first fifty years of its existence without the Book of Abraham as part of the scriptural canon."

This is an odd argument. By this reasoning, Joseph Smith--History is also not central to the restored gospel, since it was canonized at the same time as the BOA. Yet its claims are clearly central to the LDS Church's faith now. In any case, there is a bit of a straw-man argument here. From the supposition that the BOA is not "central" (however that is defined), it does not follow that it is not essential or crucial that the BOA be authentic. If Joseph Smith claimed that the Book of Abraham was an English translation of text from the papyri in question produced by divine inspiration through his gift of translation as an act of his calling as a prophet of God, and if this turns out not to be the case, that would seem to undermine Joseph's claim to be a prophet of God. Gee knows this is the main issue, but he completely ducks it.

Gee then quotes the following statement from Joseph Smith:

"The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it."

If this makes the BOA a mere appendage to your religion, then it makes everything else that is distinctively LDS appendages to it as well. Again, all orthodox Christians affirm that Jesus Christ died, was buried, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. If these are the only fundamentals, then we orthodox Christians get all of the fundamentals right!

According to Gee, "Of the 102,037 scriptural citations in General Conference since 1942, the Book of Abraham has been cited a mere 731 times, less than one percent of the citations." This sounds like impressive support for Gee's attempt to marginalize the BOA in Mormonism, but it is actually a good example of the misuse of statistics. Let's put Gee's figures (which I will accept at face value as correct) in perspective. The Book of Mormon runs 531 pages. Doctrine & Covenants runs 294 pages. The BOA takes up only 15 pages out of the 61 pages of Pearl of Great Price. Thus, the BOA takes up 15 pages out of 886 pages of LDS scriptures, not counting the Bible, or 1.7% of the non-biblical LDS scriptures. This makes the fact that the BOA is cited in 0.7% of the scriptural citations seem not particularly disproportionate. If we add the Bible (which in the LDS edition runs 1590 pages), then the BOA takes up 15 pages out of the 2476 pages of the four standard works, which is 0.6% of the total standard works. Now the percentage of citations of 0.7% seems quite in line with the relative length of the BOA. Gee points out that various books in the Book of Mormon are cited at least twice as often as the BOA, but the same problem applies in these instances. For example, 1 Nephi is cited almost exactly twice as often as the BOA (1477 compared to 731), but what Gee ignores is that 1 Nephi, at 53 pages, is three and a half times as long as the BOA! By Gee's reasoning, then, 1 Nephi is less important to Mormonism than the BOA. Alma is more than ten times as long as the BOA but is cited less than five times as often. In short, Gee's statistical argument is completely misleading.

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In the usual way that one checks up on translations.

What if what he called a "translation" was "just" a revelation he thought was a translation?

Have you ever had the experience of staring at some moving water or into a fire, and having thoughts come into your mind? It is a common experience.

Were you "translating" the fire? Suppose he received revelations while looking at the papyri and thought they were "translations"?

In fact there are some spiritualists out there who receive "revelations" by looking at

. If you have ever looked into right brain/left brain research, you know that the right brain is the visual, non-verbal and creative "side" of us, the left brain being logical and verbal. Many have experienced the idea that their "best thoughts" come while driving or doing some kind of visual activity.

It is my personal belief that this was the case with Joseph who had an uncanny ability to use visual "props" (seer stones, papyri) to receive revelations.

What he thought were "translations" may or may not have been "real" translations.

Of course whether or not they were from God can only be ascertained by the Holy Spirit- I have received MY answer, but it is up to each of us to receive our own.

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What if what he called a "translation" was "just" a revelation he thought was a translation?

Then the translation was false. Even if the revelation was true.

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Then the translation was false. Even if the revelation was true.

So what then?

Who cares? Why even bother with a thread?

Respectfully, please save your 'true vs false and here's why' debates for your own threads. This thread is for discussing implications only. Thanks!

It seems you are contradicting your own instructions

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Foxy,

I circulated a detailed examination of Facsimile 2 in 1975, none of which was refuted (in public or in private) by any of the recipients -- which included prominent anti-Mormons who had been very vocal in their condemnation of both the BofA and of Joseph Smith. I have yet to see any evidence which would justify your above statements.

.

You really ought to allow the Egyptologists you name to speak for themselves, unless you are quoting them (and that should include anyone else who is party to this debate, who might not share your particular views). It is clear to me that you have misstated the views of both Rhodes and Gee, and that you have ignored the positive correlations which they have drawn. I'll give some quick examples from both Mike Rhodes and Val Sederholm:

BOA 1:1, the names ?????? and ?br?m on two separate late demotic papyri from Thebes, accompanying a lion couch scene and a Wd3t-eye (Rhodes, JSH-TYL, 6, citing Betz, Greek Magical Papyri, lviii; Johnson,

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So what then?

Who cares? Why even bother with a thread?

It seems you are contradicting your own instructions

You misunderstood - I'm not saying the translation IS false - I'm saying it would be in that scenario.

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Mr. Bukowski,

I think I'll reply to you on this issue. You wrote:

What if what he called a "translation" was "just" a revelation he thought was a translation?

Good question. And what if what he called a revelation was just his imagination?

You wrote:

Have you ever had the experience of staring at some moving water or into a fire, and having thoughts come into your mind? It is a common experience.

Having thoughts coming into my mind is a common experience regardless of what I am doing.

You wrote:

Suppose he received revelations while looking at the papyri and thought they were "translations"?

If he could be mistaken about them being translations, he could be mistaken about them being revelations. If the process is anything like having thoughts come into one's mind when staring at a fire, the likelihood of those faux translations also being faux revelations would seem quite high.

Suppose he received what he thought were revelations when he looked at the stone in his hat, but he thought they were translations of the gold plates. Is that an equally valid supposition, from your point of view?

You wrote:

In fact there are some spiritualists out there who receive "revelations" by looking at
.

Let the record show that you, not I, compared Joseph's revelations to spiritualists getting ideas while looking at TV static.

You wrote:

What he thought were "translations" may or may not have been "real" translations.

Correct. And what he thought were "revelations" may or may not have been "real" revelations.

You wrote:

Of course whether or not they were from God can only be ascertained by the Holy Spirit- I have received MY answer, but it is up to each of us to receive our own.

There is no "of course" about it. Besides, if Joseph Smith could be mistaken about what the Holy Spirit was telling him was the nature of his inspiration, then you could be mistaken about what the Holy Spirit is telling you about whether his revelations/translations were from God.

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Mr. Bukowski,

I think I'll reply to you on this issue.

Oh lucky me. That means I get to reply to your silliness until you decide to disappear and "ignore" me again.

If he could be mistaken about them being translations, he could be mistaken about them being revelations. If the process is anything like having thoughts come into one's mind when staring at a fire, the likelihood of those faux translations also being faux revelations would seem quite high.

I don't know how you dare to bring up "faux" revelations when you don't even have a clue why the Bible is "true".

How do you know the whole Pentateuch is not a "faux revelation"??

Because "Moses wrote it"? What was he doing when he wrote it, and how do you even know he did?? Heaven forbid he was looking into a fire!

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Mr. Bukowski,

Total deflection. I think I'm actually getting used to it.

You wrote:

Oh lucky me. That means I get to reply to your silliness until you decide to disappear and "ignore" me again.

I never disappeared. But I did decide to ignore your repetitive posts about the Trinity being Neoplatonic, or Platonic, or Aristotelian, or all three, or whatever brand of Greek philosophy you wished to say at any given time.

You wrote:

I don't know how you dare to bring up "faux" revelations when you don't even have a clue why the Bible is "true".

How do you know the whole Pentateuch is not a "faux revelation"??

Because "Moses wrote it"? What was he doing when he wrote it, and how do you even know he did?? Heaven forbid he was looking into a fire!

I think we can be pretty sure Moses didn't write the Pentateuch while looking into a fire. I suppose you are trying to be clever and alluding to Exodus 3. But Moses wasn't mistaken in thinking that when he looked into the fire he was seeing the text of an ancient treatise by Abraham in what was really just some caravan trader's price list.

I accept the Pentateuch as Scripture on the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose view of the Pentateuch is clearly made known in the Gospels (treating them as historical sources, not necessarily as themselves Scripture, though of course they are). And I accept what Jesus Christ taught about the Pentateuch because I am convinced that he rose from the grave, vindicating his claim to be the Son of God and to speak authoritatively on all such matters. So you see, I do have a clue why the Bible is true.

Now, I have answered you, and in this exchange so far you have not answered a thing I said, but only tried to deflect the issue. Feel free to go back to my previous post and take a stab at answering it directly.

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I accept the Pentateuch as Scripture on the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose view of the Pentateuch is clearly made known in the Gospels (treating them as historical sources, not necessarily as themselves Scripture, though of course they are). And I accept what Jesus Christ taught about the Pentateuch because I am convinced that he rose from the grave, vindicating his claim to be the Son of God and to speak authoritatively on all such matters. So you see, I do have a clue why the Bible is true.

All of those "claims" are in the Bible.

So you believe the Bible because what is in the Bible, testifying of itself, right?

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I think we can be pretty sure Moses didn't write the Pentateuch while looking into a fire. I suppose you are trying to be clever and alluding to Exodus 3. But Moses wasn't mistaken in thinking that when he looked into the fire he was seeing the text of an ancient treatise by Abraham in what was really just some caravan trader's price list.

So you are disputing that Moses had a spiritual experience while looking into a fire, and that spiritual experience became the basis for the Ten Commandments, and further revelations.

Incidentally, I am shocked that you would think that the Book of Abraham papyri are "just some caravan trader's price list."

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Now, I have answered you, and in this exchange so far you have not answered a thing I said, but only tried to deflect the issue. Feel free to go back to my previous post and take a stab at answering it directly.

Good question. And what if what he called a revelation was just his imagination?

What if indeed? I don't care because the Holy Spirit has confirmed to me that the Book of Abraham is the word of God.

And what Moses revelation was just his imagination?

You have nothing but circular logic- that the Bible testifies of itself.

There.

Now I have responded to your original post.

Your turn.

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Mr. Bukowski,

Your responses were not serious. To illustrate, you wrote:

So you are disputing that Moses had a spiritual experience while looking into a fire....

No, I was not disputing Moses' experience. What I said was this: "I think we can be pretty sure Moses didn't write the Pentateuch while looking into a fire.

That having been said, Moses' experience in Exodus 3 was not what most people usually mean by a "spiritual experience." He saw something with his ordinary eyes that caught his attention, and when he went to investigate, he heard God speak to him from the burning bush. This is what the text reports. It does not suggest in any way that Moses stared into the fire and had a spiritual, inner experience in which thoughts came to him.

You continued:

...and that spiritual experience became the basis for the Ten Commandments, and further revelations.

The "basis"? You're playing with words here. The "basis for the Ten Commandments" was God supernaturally carving the words on stone tablets and giving them to Moses. You do have Sunday school in the LDS Church, don't you? Moses didn't stare into the fire and have the words "Thou shalt not steal" come mysteriously into his mind.

You wrote:

Incidentally, I am shocked that you would think that the Book of Abraham papyri are "just some caravan trader's price list."

No, you're not, because you know I said no such thing. But a caravan trader's price list is about as culturally and generically far removed from Genesis as the Book of Breathings by Isis is from the Book of Abraham.

I asked: "And what if what he [Joseph Smith] called a revelation was just his imagination?" You replied:

What if indeed? I don't care because the Holy Spirit has confirmed to me that the Book of Abraham is the word of God.

Okay, if you don't care if Joseph Smith was just imagining the Book of Abraham, and if you can accept as God's word a book that someone simply imagined was what he erroneously claimed it to be, then my work here is done. You have willingly and openly asserted your right to believe nonsense--and I will not stand in your way.

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You misunderstood - I'm not saying the translation IS false - I'm saying it would be in that scenario.

No Semlogo, mfb is saying it doesn't really matter if the translation is directly from that papyrus, or whether that papyrus was a sort of 'helper object' in allowing him to translate things from long ago.

In other words, the process doesn't matter. That it is revelation does. It might not be a translation of that papyrus, but I believe it is a translation of something. More with Rivers post.

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No, I was not disputing Moses' experience. What I said was this: "I think we can be pretty sure Moses didn't write the Pentateuch while looking into a fire.

That having been said, Moses' experience in Exodus 3 was not what most people usually mean by a "spiritual experience." He saw something with his ordinary eyes that caught his attention, and when he went to investigate, he heard God speak to him from the burning bush. This is what the text reports. It does not suggest in any way that Moses stared into the fire and had a spiritual, inner experience in which thoughts came to him.

Wow.

That one bears repeating.

Moses' experience in Exodus 3 was not what most people usually mean by a "spiritual experience"

He sees a direct manifestation of God's presence and it isn't a "spiritual experience"?

You know the only reason I even respond to you is your apparent credibility in Anti-Mormon circles. So now you are saying that seeing a manifestation of God himself is not a "spiritual experience".

Joseph's first vision qualifies at least as much as Moses' according to your logic, but he actually saw God bodily, not as a "burning bush" and also with his "ordinary eyes".

All we have as evidence for either story was what Moses wrote and what Joseph wrote.

You don't even seem to understand the point of this. You still haven't addressed how you know what Moses wrote was true except by the circular argument of "it's true because it's in the Bible, and Jesus was resurrected.

Fine but that is using the Bible to prove itself! I am not going to let go of this point until you address it.

The "basis"? You're playing with words here. The "basis for the Ten Commandments" was God supernaturally carving the words on stone tablets and giving them to Moses. You do have Sunday school in the LDS Church, don't you? Moses didn't stare into the fire and have the words "Thou shalt not steal" come mysteriously into his mind.

Do you understand the word "basis"? It means it is what all the rest stands on. If Moses did not have a spiritual experience- it all crumbles into dust.

And we cannot know that by any means other than the testimony of the Holy Spirit! Of course I know the commandments came later. I have learned to read and everything!

I asked: "And what if what he [Joseph Smith] called a revelation was just his imagination?" You replied:

Okay, if you don't care if Joseph Smith was just imagining the Book of Abraham, and if you can accept as God's word a book that someone simply imagined was what he erroneously claimed it to be, then my work here is done. You have willingly and openly asserted your right to believe nonsense--and I will not stand in your way.

Your "work here" is not "done" it is over.

You now have repeatedly avoided answering MY question which is how do you know that Moses was not just imagining his experience- if it ever even happened in the first place- or for that matter how do you know there ever even existed an actual human named "Moses" who allegedly did all the things recorded in the Bible??

I have spiritual confirmation of the truth- you have circular arguments which don't even make sense.

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Mr. Bukowski,

You wrote:

Wow.... He sees a direct manifestation of God's presence and it isn't a "spiritual experience"?

You're twisting. I explained what I meant by a "spiritual experience" in this context. I was assuming some continuity in our discussion. I assumed that you would remember that you had earlier claimed that Joseph Smith might have had a spiritual experience when he looked at the papyri akin to someone having thoughts strangely entering their mind as they stared into fire. What you described there was an internal experience, practically mystical (you even compared it to the experiences of spiritualists). So my point, which you ought to know full well, is that Moses' experience in Exodus 3 was not a "spiritual experience" in that sense.

I think you know this but are desperately obfuscating.

You wrote:

You know the only reason I even respond to you is your apparent credibility in Anti-Mormon circles. So now you are saying that seeing a manifestation of God himself is not a "spiritual experience".

No, I didn't say that. I said it "was not what most people usually mean by a 'spiritual experience'" and explained exactly what I meant. See above.

You wrote:

All we have as evidence for either story was what Moses wrote and what Joseph wrote.
isk censure

There are evidential disparities between the two stories, but I don't have the time to detail them for you at the moment. I'm pretty sure I did so in an earlier post some months back. I can do so again if it would be potentially helpful.

You wrote:

You still haven't addressed how you know what Moses wrote was true except by the circular argument of "it's true because it's in the Bible, and Jesus was resurrected.

Fine but that is using the Bible to prove itself! I am not going to let go of this point until you address it.

Okay, but if you don't admit afterward that I have addressed it, you will fully discredit any claim to be serious in this discussion. My claim is not that Jesus was resurrected because the Bible says so. I can show on historical grounds that Jesus rose from the dead without treating the Bible as inspired. Evangelical scholars have been doing this for generations. The Gospels and other NT writings, especially Paul's, are treated as historical documents, and their testimonies weighed using historical methods of analysis to determine what we can know historically about what happened to Jesus. Simply approaching the documents critically, we can show that (1) Jesus was crucified by order of Pontius Pilate in early April, AD 33, (2) his body was buried in a nearby tomb, (3) the tomb was discovered by friends and enemies to be empty a few days later, (4) the body was never found, (5) Jesus' disciples had experiences they were convinced were appearances of the risen Jesus, (6) Saul of Tarsus, while an avowed enemy of the Christian movement, had an experience that he was convinced was an appearance of the risen Jesus to him, and (7) these experiences motivated the disciples to risk censure, persecution, and even death in order to spread the message, despite the fact that (8 ) none of the disciples ever became wealthy, powerful, or otherwise materially benefited from their story. The combination of these facts, ascertained from the sources without assuming their inspiration or complete truth, leads to the conclusion that the evidence clearly shows that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples. This argument is not circular; it does not beg the question.

You wrote:

You now have repeatedly avoided answering MY question which is how do you know that Moses was not just imagining his experience- if it ever even happened in the first place- or for that matter how do you know there ever even existed an actual human named "Moses" who allegedly did all the things recorded in the Bible??

I don't claim to have direct physical proof for everything that Moses did, although I am aware of evidence (not yet published, unfortunately) that substantiates far more about Moses than you might suppose. (I'm sorry, I can't elaborate.) But I accept the Old Testament on the authority of Jesus Christ, as explained earlier.

Now, please acknowledge that I have answered your questions. We've been down this road before, may I remind you, where you have alleged that I didn't answer you even after I responded numerous times. I hope that can stop right now. If not, I will truly have to ignore you even when I'd rather not.

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You're twisting. I explained what I meant by a "spiritual experience" in this context. I was assuming some continuity in our discussion. I assumed that you would remember that you had earlier claimed that Joseph Smith might have had a spiritual experience when he looked at the papyri akin to someone having thoughts strangely entering their mind as they stared into fire. What you described there was an internal experience, practically mystical (you even compared it to the experiences of spiritualists). So my point, which you ought to know full well, is that Moses' experience in Exodus 3 was not a "spiritual experience" in that sense.

I think you know this but are desperately obfuscating.

Rob,the point is how do you KNOW what Moses did and what he experienced- if it an "internal" or "external" or any kind of experience at all??

You seem not to be understanding the question! All you have is the word of a series of books put together by men, translated and written by men which you believe are consistent with each other. I am not going to debate the consistency of the Bible- I agree that it is consistent. The entire point is that we have no way of knowing it is true except from its self-referential testimony of itself!

No way except God himself testifying of it to each of us- THAT is what my testimony is based on.

You have not answered this argument. Your argument is still self-referential

No, I didn't say that. I said it "was not what most people usually mean by a 'spiritual experience'" and explained exactly what I meant. See above.

The entire point is that we cannot know that there was a real person who had any kind of spiritual experience at all- much less arguing about what kind it was!

There are evidential disparities between the two stories, but I don't have the time to detail them for you at the moment. I'm pretty sure I did so in an earlier post some months back. I can do so again if it would be potentially helpful.

Whatever. If you think it will help your case, knock yourself out.

I am adding underling to the next quote.

Okay, but if you don't admit afterward that I have addressed it, you will fully discredit any claim to be serious in this discussion. My claim is not that Jesus was resurrected because the Bible says so. I can show on historical grounds that Jesus rose from the dead without treating the Bible as inspired. Evangelical scholars have been doing this for generations. The Gospels and other NT writings, especially Paul's, are treated as historical documents, and their testimonies weighed using historical methods of analysis to determine what we can know historically about what happened to Jesus. Simply approaching the documents critically, we can show that (1) Jesus was crucified by order of Pontius Pilate in early April, AD 33, (2) his body was buried in a nearby tomb, (3) the tomb was discovered by friends and enemies to be empty a few days later, (4) the body was never found, (5) Jesus' disciples had experiences they were convinced were appearances of the risen Jesus, (6) Saul of Tarsus, while an avowed enemy of the Christian movement, had an experience that he was convinced was an appearance of the risen Jesus to him, and (7) these experiences motivated the disciples to risk censure, persecution, and even death in order to spread the message, despite the fact that (:P none of the disciples ever became wealthy, powerful, or otherwise materially benefited from their story. The combination of these facts, ascertained from the sources without assuming their inspiration or complete truth, leads to the conclusion that the evidence clearly shows that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples. This argument is not circular; it does not beg the question.

Gosh, Rob- honestly I want to be nice about this, but that whole paragraph is totally circular! Just read what you wrote and I underlined.

First, you say that "my claim is not that Jesus was resurrected because the Bible says so"

Second, you say you will use the books of the Bible itself as "historic documents"

You then say that the historic documents you are using (The Bible) prove the resurrection!

All you are doing is saying that "Jesus was resurrected because the Bible says so"- precisely what you said in the first place you would NOT do!

And then you have the nerve to say that "this argument is not circular"???

Now, please acknowledge that I have answered your questions.

How can I do that Rob? You have answered NOTHING! You are still using the Bible to prove the Bible.

We've been down this road before, may I remind you, where you have alleged that I didn't answer you even after I responded numerous times. I hope that can stop right now. If not, I will truly have to ignore you even when I'd rather not.

I saw this coming in my first post to you.

Oh lucky me. That means I get to reply to your silliness until you decide to disappear and "ignore" me again.

It is what you always do.

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