Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

About Jonathan's Presentation....

First of all, I wanted to clarify something that I said towards the end of class. It was something to the effect of "Yes, wrap it up!" directed to Jonathan in regards to curtailing his presentation. My (humorous) intent was to suggest that we end Jonathan's suffering, not ours! To say that he was facing a hostile audience would be an understatement, and I admire him for sticking his neck out. I also apologize for talking about you as though you aren't in the conversation, Jonathan :-)

I, for one, feel that the point Jonathan is no doubt driving towards is a perfectly valid point to make. I also happen to feel that it ends up being perfectly irrelevant with regards to the issue that many atheists have with revealed scripture. A falsehood/error/inaccuracy/fallacy/ that is transmitted thousands of times in exacting detail is still a falsehood/error/inaccuracy/fallacy. Whether or not we are in possession of an accurate copy of what the authors intended to write is immaterial to the validity of the actual contents of the text.

But I'm sure Jonathan will work thru all of that next time, if we give him the chance. After all, he has been nothing if not a good sport so far, and I look forward to hearing the rest of his presentation.


  1. I agree, Jonathan and the other variant theists in our class have earned our respect and our attention. They'll probably not get our assent, but that's only fair play.

    I also agree: the early exponents of Christianity were doubtless sincere. They really believed. They were really deluded. Generations have reiterated the delusion. And here we are, 2K+ years later, hashing it out in A&P. Kinda funny, isn't it?

  2. The point of my presentation was simply to bring to light some evidence in support of the New Testament. I did not intend to discuss the truth value of the text or the variant beliefs about the text that are represented in our class. Suffice to say, regardless of what you believe about the text, I only wanted to present the idea that it is well documented, consistent, and external sources and archaeology have verified numerous parts of it. So far as the scriptures being erroneous, not divine, or whatever else, that's simply beyond the scope of my presentation.

    Thank you, David, for saying what you did. I understood your intent, though I fully expected to encounter some resistance and hostility. All the same, I was surprised simply at how disrespectful much of the class was in their disagreement. As a class that has always been open to and respectful of differing views, I was deeply disappointed that the same respect was not extended to me or to my presentation. I did not expect or even ask my audience to view the New Testament as I do. I only ask that they listen. My thanks to those of you who did. By the way, David, I still haven't gone and told any horror stories. :)

  3. Hi Jonathan,

    I don't want you to think (at least from my perspective) that we were being resistant or hostile to you personally. I don't recall any ad hominem attacks levied against you and don't think anyone in this class would tolerate that sort of behavior. I personally think you are a great guy and I'm glad you, Jamie, and other theists are in the class to offer your theistic views.

    That being said and in all fairness, I think the problem arose during your presentation when you invited us to agree with the first point you were making, which is necessary in a linked argument. As you know, one of the first tests in Chauncey Sanders method of historical verification is the Bibliographical test where you subject the New Testament to the same set of standards as any ancient text. Obviously, in an academic setting, terms like "truth," "accuracy," "authorship," "evidence," etc. need to be qualified and defined before one can sign off on the first part of a linked argument. So, when you asked if we agreed, many of us wanted further clarification before we proceeded. It even seemed we were arguing amongst ourselves more that we were with you. :)

    I look forward to hearing you argument all the way through tomorrow and please note that any questions at the end will be directed toward your argument and not you personally.


  4. I also felt Jonathan was soliciting a measure of audience interaction, but we're obviously a garrulous group and it got to be too much. I heard nothing ad hominem either, just a lot of critical circumspection and reluctance to give a pass to contentious points without further clarification. We do need to let the presentation flow to its natural conclusion, though. If anyone feels compelled to interject, better raise a hand and let Jonathan decide if he's willing to be interrupted.

  5. I'm sure we could benefit by consciously curbing our garrulity.

    That being said, no one would accuse us of being apathetic or lethargic.

  6. Not at all. If I had to choose I'd take garrulity over apathy and lethargy every time. But today we can restrain our garrulity for a few minutes.

  7. I feel terrible about missing the wrap-up of this presentation. I'll ask Jon on Tuesday about an emailed copy or something in case he doesn't see this comment.

    I do hope that I was not one of those jabbing at your argument...I understood where you were going with the presentation, and goodness was it interesting. I agree that we can verify the New Testament in being written at a certain time in a certain place...but I think we all had a disconnect when we tried to verify the significance of that knowledge. I agree with David; I don't think the end result is relevant. Very intriguing idea and a thoroughly interested approach, but I understand exactly why we all got up in arms about it. Unless Jonathan was trying to prove the validity of the Bible, no one seems interested in whether or not its' writing can be traced back to a time and place in history. It's the validity that we have a problem with, not whether or not it was written when it claims to have been written...or by whom...etc.

    Nonetheless, hats off and a super high five to Jonathan for even an attempt at this type of topic with our bunch. Ya' got guts, dude. :P