Thursday, July 19, 2012

FacePlant of the Day - Debunking Christianity: One of the worst Christian argument I have ever had the displeasure to argue against

It is truly a blessing when you write a blog post and you get a response - even if the response is disagreeable. I thank God for Jonathan MS Pearce. Not that I agree with him, or the things he posts. but you got to give him some credit for posting his own own blog posts instead of just trying to get me to post what he wants. No, Johnathan Pearce takes responsibility for his failure. Good Job! I find this very interesting. In this post he tries to summarize several days of back and forth and I have to say he did a very poor job of representing my position. He imposes an anachronistic standard of interpretation on the Bible that he would bristle at if someone applied the same standards to his writing. He telescopes time and leaves out details. He would say that I would be wrong to tell him what details he does and does not include, but he seems perfectly alright to accuse the Gospel writers of contradictions or being flat out wrong.

Recently, I posted a piece on biblical contradictions and how Christians harness cognitive dissonance tohelp them find desperate ways in which to defend ideas of inerrancy. I looked to show that they use a circular approach without realising it:

1) The Bible never makes contradictions
2) All alleged contradictions can be harmonised
3) Since the Bible never makes contradictions, all harmonisations are inherently more probable than the idea that there are contradictions
4) All harmonisations stand
C) Therefore, there are no contradictions in the Bible

Here is one example of where Pearce goes off the rails. I have been studying the Bible for years. I have come to the conclusion that the Bible has no contradictions because I haven't found any. A harmonization is not enough.  Either there is an explanation or there isn't. I keep finding out that when I don't understand a discrepancy in the text the problem is me - not the text.

The example of contradiction I gave in the original post was this:

Mark 5:1-2
They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. 2 When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, 

Matt 8:28 
When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. 

Luke 8:26-7 
Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; 

Now for this post i am not interested in the contradiction of place, which seems fairly cut and dry as explained in the previous post.

Not cut or dry. But I have written on this and gone back and forth with Pearce on it. You can find it here: http://mmcelhaney.blogspot.com/2012/07/bible-contradiction-where-did-jesus.html and there: http://mmcelhaney.blogspot.com/2012/07/responding-to-jonathan-pearce-on-divine.html

I would like to concentrate on the number problem:

When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs.

He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons;

So let us move on to this rather obtuse defence (and that is being generous). It comes in the form of a blog post from Marcus McElhaney who was, as far as I can make out, once banned from this site. Since then, he has taken it upon himself to devote most of his blogging to attempting to debunk DC, so to speak. Except he monumentally fails. And he does so with aplomb here. As ever, he continually illustrates Danth's Law, defined here:
States: “If you have to insist that you've won an internet argument, you've probably lost badly.” Named after a user on the role-playing gamers’ forum RPG.net. Danth’s Law was most famously declared in “The Lenski Affair”, between microbiologist Richard Lenski and the editor of Conservapedia.com, Andrew Schlafly, who cast doubt upon Prof Lenski’s elegant experimental demonstration of evolution. After what is widely held to be one of the greatest and most comprehensive put-downs in scientific argument from Prof Lenski, Mr Schlafly declared himself the winner.
So, Pearce does not think he won? Neither do I. Also, I was not banned from Debunking Christianity. I left when GearHedED admitted to being a pig and not worth talking to because I'd be casting my pearls before swine.  Not worth the time. Vocal people at DC are only interested in pontificating about how much they hate Christianity and not really interested in discussion. Don't bother them with the facts, they're "minds" are already made up. Just like John Loftus. Since then I haven't made a single comment on the DC blog. But I have made the comments I wanted to make here. Just like Pearce did today although I have enough class to read and disagree with him on my blog no matter how stupid his ideas are!

The exchanges we have are heavy on the rhetoric due to the long and annoying history we have of arguing stuff. Marcus plays a numbers game, as follows, to circumvent the problem that one Gospel claims there was one demoniac whilst the other claims there were two:
As for the number of men Jesus met and healed. Mark and Luke definitely says that there was one one guy while Matthew says there were two. The thing is how is this a contradiction? A contradiction would be if Mark and Luke had said that there was only one man. They don't. Each of the Gospel contains details that are not in the others. But none of those details contradicts the details in the others. If I tell you that Jack and Jill went to the mall and bought a DVD, but I tell another person that Jill went to Walmart and bought a DVD, did I contradict myself? Nope. I just didn't give the same detail. A contradiction would be if the mall did not have a Walmart. You don't have such a thing in this case.

To which I replied, somewhat rhetorically:
This is the funniest defence I have seen. This was the JP Holding defence I warned you not to use. This is ridiculous because no two claimed numbers that are different can ever be a contradiction because one number is always smaller than the other, and is thus claimed to be a subset of another.

If I said i played football against a team of 10 men the other day (when there should be eleven), you would claim, "that's OK, you obviously meant 11 men since 11 men includes 10 men. Just because you said 10 doesn't mean there weren't 11!"

Ridiculous, silly. You would only see this from someone who can't bear for the accounts to differ. This is so ad hoc and improbable as to literally be laughed at. I laughed at this.

So, as mentioned, you reasons are incredibly improbable and would require redefining language into being used in ways it is not...

Your Jack and Jill analogy is simply a false analogy. it is not numerical.

If I say yesterday in a news report "1 person was shot at a bank robbery" that does not leave the possibility that I could mean "2 people were shot yesterday in a bank robbery".

I would simply be wrong in my first claim.

To which Marcus opined:
I would have said the football team must be 11. You don't know how many men Jesus met unlike you know how many people there should be on a football team. You have to go on what the text says. Again they don't conflict because neither tells you there was only one man. Just because Mark and Luke does not tell us about both of them does not mean they didn't know about him.

I chipped in:
Wow. I can't believe you really believe your own shit. You were unable to rebut my football analogy. In order for you to claim you understanding you would have to qualify. This is absolutely empirically true. If you claim what you do in all seriousness (I honestly don't think you really believe that) you would have to, and I now expect you to, when told any number in any context, ask the commentator to qualify themselves.

Jim: Hey Marcus, I just ate 2 donuts.
Marcus: That's great Jim, but i was having this argument about inerrancy and now I have to ask you whether by 2, you mean 3...or 4... or 5... or 5001...

Jane: Hey Marcus. I just stayed in Vancouver for 6 nights.
Marcus: That's lovely. but by 6 nights, did you actually mean 7... 8... 9... 2546...

Marcus' mum: Marcus, can you go and buy me 2 chairs?
Marcus: Sure.... Here you are.
Mum: Why have you bought me 56 chairs?
Marcus: Well, 56 includes 2 right? So I am technically not wrong.
Mum: Marcus, did I teach you to be such an idiot?

Etc Etc
Marcus is claiming that whenever someone is in a pickle (in danger of contradiction) and they make a numeric claim, then that number can be interpreted as being of any value higher than the actual number quoted. The problem with this is as follows:

1) With the language used, there is no precedent for this happening in normal conversations.
2) There is no reason to believe, and no evidence to believe, that this would be the case in this instance, unless one was desperate enough to want it to be true.
3) This would make no sense, would invalidate, any conversation involving number that people have had and do have.
4) No two numbers can contradict unless, as Marcus claims, the word "only" is utilised.

Go back and read the exchange and better yet the text.Neither Mark or Luke tells us there was only one man. These books existed individually and isolated from one another for years. There are generations  of Christians who only had Mark. Or who only had Matthew. Or who only had Luke. Or only had John.And that means that they would not have known about the second man if they only had Mark or Luke. A discrepancy or a difference in details does not a contradiction make nor  a difference in detail a necessary error. The answer I gave is the same answer that has been given for centuries.  In order to reject it you have to show that Mark and Luke did not know that there was a second man  and/or that they were saying that there was no second man.

Marcus:
I am not arguing against numerical contradiction. I am arguing that Matthew chose to include then number of the demon possessed men Jesus healed on this occasion and Mark and Luke only talks about one of them, I don't know why but this not the only occasion that the gospels differ in details. Different details do not equal a contradiction. I know people like you will disagree but this makes sense. Of the three, which one would be most likely be an eyewitness of the event? Matthew. Notice he was one of the twelve and most likely would have been present and seen the two men with his own eyes. Mark and Luke were not eyewitness to the event and they only spotlighted...

Different details do not make a contradiction if those details do not contradidict. Omitting one man form the account is not a coNtadiction because neither Mark or Luke says that there was only one man there. Don 't like it? Too bad.

Prove that the apostle named Matthew is not the author of the Gospel that bears his name. I dare you.

I am not saying Mark or Luke got anything wrong. You are and nothing to show for it.

Notice a slight move away towards now defending it in the context of Matthean priority. What Marcus is pleading is that one of the Gospel writers had no need to mention two demoniacs since it must be that only one of them was doing interesting enough stuff to warrant being mentioned.

 Um no. I'm not arguing that Matthew was written first or that it supersedes Mark, Luke, or John. I'm saying that Mark and Luke or not obligated to talk about the second man just because Matthew did. We don't know how much either knew about what details Matthew gave or not given that each was writing to a different audience.

 However, given that the other Gospel writer mentioned him, it looks like both warranted mention.

 And just where do Mark and John mention the other man? Keep in mind that the above text wasn't even written to Pearce. It was directed to another commentator who agree with Pearce. However he neglects to mention that there was another commentator. Does that mean that Pearce and I are in contradiction and that his account should not be considered because he did not mention the second commentator? Nope. There are several other reasons to discount his arguments.
I STILL can't believe you believe that stuff. I think you are merely paying lip service to your own cognitive dissonance.

Your numerical defence is so shoddy it makes me laugh.

If , in a court of law, I claimed I was assaulted by 3 men, and then the defence claimed, or a witness claimed, there were two men who assaulted me, this would be a contradiction that called into question at least one of the accounts. They would NOT SAY "well, three includes the number 2!"

When skeptics deny AGW (sadly misrepresenting science), they use different numbers than the climate scientists. This is to contradict the scientists. You DON'T hear people claiming "well the larger number includes the smaller number!"

I could go on with these analogies which you have failed to defend.

THEY ARE NOT DIFFERENT DETAILS such that one claimed he was wearing sandals and another witness claimed he had blonde hair such that the two pieces of information could be pieced together. There are two claims of the same subject - the numerical value of the demoniacs. If you don't get this, and keep making your rather embarrassing defences, then there is no hope for you... you need to give me concrete examples where people writing history say one thing but mean another, numerically speaking. Tell me where a quote when someone says "the army was 10,000 strong" actually meant something like "the army was 150,000 strong" because 10,000 is a subset of 150,000! You are utterly bastardising the English language. I have illustrated this with many analogies which you have simply ignored.

You are using understanding of the language that is not only not used, but highly improbable, and you don't even have the gall to admit it.

Marcus again:
Neither would a court of law conclude that no assault happened or that either witness is a liar. This is the kind of thing you would expect from eyewitness testimony. Of the three accounts Matthew gives less information about the even than the others - Mark and Luke. The only detail given in Matthew that isn't in Mark or Luke was that there was a second man who was healed. The man who is detailed in Mark and Luke is quite busy in the story and maybe he was only mentioned because he wanted to go with Jesus and the other man didn't ask to go with Jesus. Here is an important point that might help you

"In any case, no contradiction exists. A contradiction occurs only if one statement makes the other impossible and there is absolutely no way for them to be reconciled. For example, let's say we put two apples on a table. Statement 1: There are two apples on the table. Statement 2: There is only one apple on the table. These two statements contradict each other. Now read these two statements: Statement 1: There are two apples on the table. Statement 2: There is an apple on the table. These two statements do not contradict each other. In the same way, the biblical accounts do not represent a contradiction. All three accounts describe demon possession and the power that Jesus has over the spirit world. All three tell us that He made a point to cross the sea to save someone from the demons. All three affirm that there was at least one man who was plagued by demons. The fact that the three accounts differ in some minor details only proves that they were written by three different authors, each of whom chose to focus on a different aspect of the account."


And me again:
Look how you change the frame of the conversation here. I am NOT denying the event happened. I am claiming that one account contradicts the other. In the court case, this would be hugely important, because in one case (3) we have one more person than the other case (2) such that if we believed the 2, and 3 was true, there would be a guilty person walking free. If we believed the 3, and 2 was true, then we would have incarcerated an innocent person.

The point about the biblical accounts is to get someone like you to admit that some of the details might be wrong. They may or may not be important details (this one isn't). But if one can show that unimportant details could be wrong, how can we be sure that important ones are correct?

You are literally defining an ad hoc hypothesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hoc_hypothesis) and you don't seem to understand this.

The problem is, and your next point clearly proves this, is that you depend on the fallacy of equivocation in order to sustain your argument. Your are conflating "immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him" with meaning "at least one". If he meant that, he would have said that. I have shown rather conclusively that by utilising that logic, you would not be able to have sensible conversations normally. I have clearly shown above where equivocation gets you.

You elucidate a pragmatic contradiction similar to a zen koan.

Taken with a traditional and sensible understanding of the words used, it is contradictory. Your attempts to get yourself out of this position is fairly amusing, but it doesn't cut the mustard.

Do you ever, in you everyday life, use this understanding of language? Because you could never have a sensible conversation involving numbers, and you certainly couldn't do maths.

But if it makes you happy that to think this allows you to still hold that Mark 5 and Matthew8 don't contradict each other, then go for it. You are only deluding yourself.

Marcus then starts to get even more ridiculous, claiming that early Christians would have had a different understanding of number. Of course, he does this whilst providing no supporting evidence:
 
As for how this plays out in how we talk to one another today. We don't. But for centuries, this was not a problem. Because in that culture it would not have been looked at the way we see it today. The bottom line neither Matthew, Luke, or Mark tells us anything about the event that makes either account false...

You haven't shown that either Matthew, Mark, or Luke are wrong. All you have managed to prove is that they tell the story with different details. The details do not conflict, but taken together you get a complete picture about what happened. What part of Matthew saying that there were two men, make anything that Mark or Luke said impossible to have happened? Nothing. Ont top of that for there to be something wrong in either account you would have to show that Mark and Luke did not know about the second man. You can't. Sorry, but going against the Word of God invites failure.
Um nope. I'm not saying that they did not understand the difference between one and two. I'm saying that they would not balk at Matthew saying that there were two men, while Mark and Luke give a great deal of detail of only one of them plus all the information that Matthew gives except for the total number of men Jesus healed in the incident.

Notice the complete lack of any supporting evidence for his claims. And finally, for this post, though it goes on, me again:
"As for how this plays out in how we talk to one another today. We don't. But for centuries, this was not a problem. Because in that culture it would not have been looked at the way we see it today. "

What a load of ad hoc BS. Please provide evidence of this. By the way, I ran a little experiment the other day. I heard, in conversation, numbers used about 47 times throughout the day. Of them, not a single conversation would have made sense with your understanding of the language.

Not 1.

0%.

I have never before seen such flagrant flailing. It's dishonest, to be honest.

I actually used this thread in teaching someone about logical fallacies. I copied and pasted the replies. He sent me back emails saying how much he laughed at your answers. That they define ad hoc.

Dude, you are so far out on this, it's not funny. You have 0% evidence that people use language like this and then try to assert they do.

Maths depends on numbers having different and discrete numerical value.

Language depends on it.

You don't realise that in order to claim that a number is a subset of another number, you HAVE to talk about the set to begin with.

eg:
15 hooligans were hanging around the football ground. One of the hooligans...

or

a hooligan...

walked up to the policeman.

The second option is still stretching it. YOU CANNOT without any context at all simply say:

A hooligan walked up to the policeman...

When another account says:

2 hooligans walked up to the policeman...

and expect people not to see a contradiction. This is how language works. You are SPECIAL PLEADING your case for a use of language for which you are providing no proof of it being probable (or even possible without equivocation).
It's all so obviously petty. I realise it has no great consequence. What is fascinating is the cognitive dissonance on show. You really get a feel, in a conversation like this, for how the Christian mind works. The answer is irrationally, a priori siding with the non-contradictory theory even if it is inherently far less plausible (and arguably impossible) than the theory that the bible may well be errant. 

Cognitive dissonance is Pearce's because Matthew is not in contradiction with with Mark or Luke.

Rather than accept that one and two are contradictory in any normal understanding of the sentences, Marcus' dissonance makes it far more plausible that:

1) Any use of a number can actually mean any number higher than the quoted number

I never said that. The Language Mark and Luke use does not tell us that there was only one man. 

2) This is the case irrespective of surrounding grammatical constructions (or lack thereof)

"When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, " 

So what part of this phrase means that there was not another man.  Let us check Luke,

"And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons;"

And what have I missed. Where did Luke say that there was only one man?  

3) That this wouldn't cause undue conversational confusion, even though we can clearly see it does

For centuries a lot of Christians were not confused.

4) That people actually do this, even though I have anecdotally shown that they don't

I'm not arguing that Matthew, Mark, or Luke were confused about how many demoniacs there were. I'm arguing that Pearce is when there is no reason to be. 

5) That early Christians had a different numeric understanding than modern ones

I never said that. Pearce did. 

6) Matthew priority

Nothing I said means categorically that Matthew was written first.  We don't really know which one is written first. Many people believe they have really good reasons they think Mark was written first but they can't really prove that there was a "Q" source or that Mark or Luke copied from Mark. There are many hypothesis-es and opinions but I see no reason to think that these accounts disagree in the slightest.

7) That there were two demoniacs, but one was just not doing a lot

Fits what the text actually says. 

8) That Christians who did not have access to both accounts would still have an accurate understanding of what went on

I never said that all Christians would know that there were two men. I don't think it's even really necessary to know that there were two men to get the point of the story. 

So on and so forth. He HAS to believe all of the above is more plausible than:

This is exactly what I mean about Pearce misrepresenting me.  He claims that there are eight people that seem implausible. I don't believe any of these things as being true. Pearce understand what I have written no better than he understands the Bible. 

1) The two accounts are contradictory in that claim.

Whoah, bring in good ole Ockham for a shave with his Razor, please. What an elegantly simple hypothesis I just brewed up! It is sad to see potentially rational beings be so evidently irrational. Just remember, if anyone uses a number in conversation of writing tomorrow, that according to Marcus, they could be inferring any number higher than the one provided. Who needs accuracy!

Pearce would have a point if there was indeed a contradiction. Let again requote something Pearce interesting left out:

A contradiction occurs only when one statement makes the other impossible. If Mark or Luke said that only one demoniac came to Jesus while Matthew says that two came out, that would be a contradiction. If there are two demoniacs, there is certainly at least one; therefore, there is no contradiction.


Debunking Christianity: One of the worst Christian argument I have ever had the displeasure to argue against
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92 comments:

  1. Yawn.

    "This is exactly what I mean about Pearce misrepresenting me. He claims that there are eight people that seem implausible. I don't believe any of these things as being true. Pearce understand what I have written no better than he understands the Bible."

    You need to read up on Bayes' Theorem and its application of probability.

    The prior probability of that use of language is low. In fact, you have not given me one example of when this has been used and how it is more plausible than the alternate hypothesis.

    You advocate an entirely implausible use of language that is only logically possible (and not remotely plausible) when you accept an equivocation of terms. This makes your argument only even remotely possible when it is built on a fallacy.

    FAIL.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was not banned from Debunking Christianity. I left when GearHedED admitted to being a pig and not worth talking to because I'd be casting my pearls before swine.
     
    Ed said that to ensure that you would leave!  That episodes was one of the most transparent instances of someone (you) trying to save face because their pride would not let them back down on terms other than their own. 
     
    Your arguments were routinely shredded at DC, and then you were ignored, and when you weren’t ignored, you were ridiculed, and rightly so.  Then you told Ed you’d leave if he admitted he was pig, he did so gladly, and then you acted like you won.  It was hilarious.  And sad.
     
    But you are a cautionary tale.  A person who’s moderately intelligent, but made into a complete moron by a desire to believe certain things (certain things that aren’t even required by many Christians to be Christian mind you!!!!).
     
    If I’m not mistaken, your belief is that the NIV and the KJV and any other translations are not inerrant per se, but the original autographs are (this is handy for you since we don’t have them, “You cnnot pr0ve its wrong in oirngal!!1!”).  So in this case, since it’s clearly a contradiction, why not just punt to the translations being wrong and the autographs not?  Why defile yourself like this?

    ReplyDelete
  3. As another poster has said, in being equally as wrong as you.

    "Notice how he uses a number value for statement 1 and not for statement 2. As stated they don't contradict, there is an apple on the table. Completely different if he wrote that there was 1 apple on the table."

    Kevin, this may seem sensible on a quick glance, but this actually makes little sense. 'An' is an indefinite article, as opposed to 'the' being a definite article. By saying 'a' or 'an' we are actually inferring a numerical value to an undescribed item. 'A man' is a singular man who has yet been specified. 'The man' is a singular man who has previously been specified. Such that "a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him" infers a singular man who has yet been mentioned. It is now incumbent upon you, or Marcus, to show when using an indefinite article could possibly mean 2. Each and every time it is used as far as I know it indicates a singular item. Remember, the other account says "two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. 29 And they cried out, saying," thus implying that two men are doing things together, both of them crying out, where Mark only says one (a man) did this.  

    "A man walked up to me yesterday and hit me" does not mean that there could have been two men who did this. 

    "An apple fell off the table"  means a singular apple fell off, not two. In order to think it is one apple out of many  requires MORE INFORMATION. Such like "An apple fell off the table, leaving the others in tact" or "One of the apples fell off the able" but this requires the definite article as opposed to the indefinite article.

    "A bus crashed into a car yesterday" cannot be interpreted as perhaps meaning "two buses crashed into two cars yesterday"

    "An intruder broke into my house last year" does not imply more than one otherwise one would say "several intruders..." etc

    I could go on ad infinitum. The point, I think, is rather clear. In order to take on his claim of grammatical understanding, it would need to be set out differently, or he would need to show examples of this that are not false analogies and that clearly show this as a widely understood usage, otherwise the equivocations still stands.

    Also, you do realise that "a" and "an" derive for the Old English for... "one".

    Oh, and if you were still unsure:

    The word some is used as a functional plural of a/an. "An apple" never means more than one apple. "Give me some apples" indicates more than one is desired but without specifying a quantity. This finds comparison in Spanish, where the singular indefinite article 'un/una' ("one") is completely indistinguishable from the unit number, except where it has a plural form ('unos/unas'): Dame una manzana" ("Give me an apple") > "Dame unas manzanas" ("Give me some apples"). However, some also serves as a quantifier rather than as a plural article, as in "There are some apples there, but not many." 

    wiki, emphasis mine.


    This grammatical understanding should put this whole episode to bed. You cannot, as it said, infer plurality from an indefinite article.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Jonathan Pearce

    You advocate an entirely implausible use of language that is only logically possible (and not remotely plausible) when you accept an equivocation of terms. This makes your argument only even remotely possible when it is built on a fallacy.

    This grammatical understanding should put this whole episode to bed. You cannot, as it said, infer plurality from an indefinite article.


    I'm not arguing that Mark and Luke magically really mean that there were two men who met Jesus and were healed. Mark and Luke only talk of one men and do not talk about the second man. I am saying that had it not been for Matthew we would not know that there was a second man involved. The failure is yours to understand what the Gospels are saying. Again it's not a contradiction due to the definition of what a contradiction is. Once more for the simple-minded:

    A contradiction occurs only when one statement makes the other impossible.

    Deal with it.

    @Ryan Anderson

    Ed said that to ensure that you would leave! That episodes was one of the most transparent instances of someone (you) trying to save face because their pride would not let them back down on terms other than their own.

    I know that's why he said it. It's not pride that has made me refrain from continuing commenting at Debunking Christianity. It's honesty. I said that if someone was stupid enough to admit that they were a pig, then I'd stop wasting my time. This was after one of the commenters (not GearHedEd) accused me of disobeying the Bible by "casting my pearls before swine". I agree that it was my fault because I didn't think anyone would be stupid enough to admit being pig. But it frees me too. So problem to me. I did win. He's a pig. He admitted to being a pig...lol. How is that a win? That is what sad. And given that Jesus cast demons into a herd of swine, maybe I shouldn't be so surprised.

    The really funny thing is that you are too silly to see just how silly GearHedEd is and I'm not surprised because you actually think that my "arguments were routinely shredded at DC". That's the real laughable parts. I was never ignored. Every time I wrote something, someone responded. Sometimes more than one. At least until the the whole "pig" thing. People seemed unwilling to go there and I thought that if anyone was really that stupid like Ed, others who were more clear thinking would distance themselves saying that they weren't pigs and that the scripture was misapplied. But I guess they thought that it was applied correctly and I shouldn't talk to the pigs at Debunking Christianity.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't understand you.

    Do Mark and Luke know of two men?

    If not, by 'a man' they mean 1 man.

    If they do know of the other man, they still only claim 1 man. This is in direct lexical contradiction to the usage of "a man" if you think they infer there were more than one, as cited above.

    Either way, it is a contradiction. The only way it can't be is if you use the fallacy of equivocation.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You have to now tell me exactly which version you think is used. And in so doing, if Option one (the writers did not know of others) this is a contradiction. Such that if I claim there were 2 men robbing a bank, and another eyewitness claims there were 3 and there were 3, then I would be proved wrong and my testimony contradictory (numerically).

    If option 2, whereby they knew there were others, but deemed him / them (both accounts, by your logic, could infer anywhere up to infinite demoniacs and you would be unable to prove otherwise, such is the stupidity of your argument) unworthy of mention, you then need to establish which an indefinite article is used to signify a singular item and no other extraneous info (such as 'of them' or 'a man out of many') was not mentioned.

    Remember, the story CLEARLY insinuates one man and one man only:

    Mark
    They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. 2 When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, 3 and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones. 6 Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 7 and shouting with a loud voice, he *said, “[a] What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” 8 For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he *said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now there was a large herd of swine feeding [b]nearby on the mountain. 12 The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.” 13 Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.

    14 Their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and in the country. And the people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 They *came to Jesus and *observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “ legion”; and they became frightened. 16 Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine. 17 And they began to implore Him to leave their region. 18 As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might [c]accompany Him. 19 And He did not let him, but He *said to him, “ Go home to your people and report to them [d]what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis [e]what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.

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  7. Whereas Matthew clearly insinuates two people doing all the things Mark claimed of one:


    28 When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. 29 And they cried out, saying, “[y] What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before [z]the time?” 30 Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them. 31 The demons began to entreat Him, saying, “If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32 And He said to them, “Go!” And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters. 33 The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, [aa]including what had happened to the demoniacs. 34 And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.



    You are on a hiding to nothing.

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  8. If they do know of the other man, they still only claim 1 man. This is in direct lexical contradiction to the usage of "a man" if you think they infer there were more than one, as cited above.

    Either way, it is a contradiction. The only way it can't be is if you use the fallacy of equivocation.


    And that is why you are confused. There is nothing in Mark or Luke that tells you that there was or wasn't a second man. If all you had was Mark or Luke, you would not know anything about a second man. This isn't a contradiction. It is a different amount of detail. Mark and Luke give far more detail of the one man than Matthew gives for both of them. The only thing that Matthew tells us that Mark and Luke does not is that there were two demoniacs. You should really really consider your opinion, because that's all it is. You have not shown that the texts conflict with each other only that you think that they should have told the story with all the same details. No need to say that.

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  9. Marcus, you seem to be saying that if someone, standing in Lower Manhattan on September 11th 2001 saw a plane flying in to the WTC, they panicked, fled, and never looked at a TV, computer, or newspaper again, if they insisted that An airplane flew into a building in Lower Manhattan that day, they're testimony would not contradict all the other reports from that day.

    Is this where you stand?

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  10. That depends. Is the witness swearing up and down that there wasn't a second airplane hitting the world trade center that morning on September 11, 2001? Or is the witness saying that an airplane hit the World Trade Center? Because a plane did hit the World Trade Center that day. The thing is I'm saying that if all you had was that one witness you would not know about the second plane and if you could not ask the witness you would not know why he/she did not mention the second one. It's a different detail not a contradicting detail.

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  11. This is EXACTLY where you stand:

    Any two testimonies including two numbers that are different from each other can never be contradictory since one number is always bigger than the other and the smaller number could in fact be referring to the bigger number because it means, by default, "at least..."

    I have shown, in all my analogies, that this is ridiculous. It is also NEVER used as a meaning. The burden of proof, since you are using a non-consensus view of language, is to show:

    1) that this is a plausible understanding and equivocation of language (provide supporting evidence)
    2) show that it is, in this case, a plausible equivocation of language.

    As it stands, it is fallacious (equivocation).

    Your squirming in answer to Ryan shows exactly how ad hoc your answer really is.

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  12. You still don't get it. Neither Mark or Luke tell us that there was not a second man. You cannot claim that that Mark or Luke were intending to say that there was no second man. They focused on only one. This is not the only example where Mark and Luke talk only about one man Jesus healed (Mark 10:45-52; Luke 18:35-43) where Matthew says that there were two. (Matthew 20:29-34) You erroneously seem to think that Mark and Luke intends to tell us how many people were involved in the incidents instead of something important about one of the men in each incident. It's really sad that you think you can tell them how to write and miss the entire point of what they are saying because you want to reject what they say.

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  13. Neither Mark or Luke tell us that there was not a second man.

    This is fine, and you have the very weakest of legs to stand on if one assumes Matthaen priority. But with Markan priority and the documentary hypothesis your entire house of cards falls apart.

    Since you're really only trying to convince yourself here, your real argument is not with us, but is with every scholar who holds Markan priority and the documentary hypothesis. Long row to hoe if you ask me.

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  14. This is fine, and you have the very weakest of legs to stand on if one assumes Matthaen priority. But with Markan priority and the documentary hypothesis your entire house of cards falls apart



    The point of contention is: Are Mark and Luke in contradiction to Matthew? No because Mark and Luke are not telling us that there was not a second man. That's it. It has nothing to do with which book was written first or who copied what from what. It's silly. I'm not arguing against Markan priority in any way and it makes no difference in answering if the texts contradict each other or not. I think you have lost focus on what the discussion is about.

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  15. "You still don't get it. Neither Mark or Luke tell us that there was not a second man."

    This is one of your many problems. You do not understand the indefinite article. I have given you a piece which quite clearly states that a/an cannot refer to more than one. It means - as in, it is a synonym for - one, and one only. By saying a man, one is making a numeric observation akin to saying 7 men. If I said 7 men did X, and you said 5 men did x, we would have contradictory accounts of x.

    You special plead a case here which entails equivocating on the indefinite article so that it could mean more than one.

    You cannot do this. I understand perfectly what you are saying. Only, the language does not permit you to do this.

    Therefore, since language does not allow you to do this, you must provide evidence of this happening to support your case. You have not done so.

    On the other hand, I have provided evidence that your case DOESN'T happen.

    And you still repeat the same tired comments.

    To be more precise, an indefinite article refers to a count noun and denotes a singular previously undefined number of that count noun.

    It cannot refer to a plural.

    You are implying it refers to a plural by implication. You would need to supply me with evidence from the text that it is doing this. However, it gives the same account as the other Gospel but the other Gospel has two people doing the actions.

    This is what Mark says (it's like teaching a child):
    "I implore You by God, do not torment me!”

    This is what Matthew says:
    " Have You come here to torment us before [z]the time?”"

    So not only do we have a numerical contradiction, but Mark claims the speech in singular, whilst Matthew claims in plural.

    To deny this is to look rationality in the face and run away sheepishly.

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  16. I am not saying it does. Neither Mark or Luke make reference to the second man. That's not what is at issue. I'm saying that Neither Mark or Luke are saying that there was not a second man. Nor are they saying that there is a second man. That is why there is no contradiction. Neither of them are contradicting Matthew,.

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  17. I think you have lost focus on what the discussion is about
     
    Not at all, you are missing the forest for the trees here.  In fact, your main defense above is that the Matthew author was an eye witness.  Given the dates, and Markan priority (and a lot of other reason), it’s not likely the Matthew Author was actually eye witness. 
     
    So we have a non-eyewitness writing 50 to 60 years after an event, relying on Q and Mark for source material.  The most plausible explanation given this is that the Matthew author completely made up the second daemon possessed man for effect, theological reasons or some other unknown reason.   
     
    Not to mention your main defense is completely nullified. 

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  18. So we have a non-eyewitness writing 50 to 60 years after an event, relying on Q and Mark for source material. The most plausible explanation given this is that the Matthew author completely made up the second daemon possessed man for effect, theological reasons or some other unknown reason.

    Prove it.

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  19. Think of it this way.  You have one scenario where there is a clear contradiction, then you have another scenario where there is technically not a “contradiction” (but it still simply doesn’t make sense for authors to write that way). 
     
    And then you say “There is no contradiction”.
     
    An honest person would say “Well, there might not be a contradiction, but there is still a vigorous debate on ancillary issues that would have an impact on if there is or isn’t”. 

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    Replies
    1. An honest person would say “Well, there might not be a contradiction, but there is still a vigorous debate on ancillary issues that would have an impact on if there is or isn’t”.

      well I guess you are not honest because you said that there is contradiction.

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  20. No, it is you making claims that you can't back up.

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  21. I definitely say there is a contradiction because to agree with your silly argument is to claim no 2 numbers can ever contradict each other - another point you have not commented on.

    Plus the fact that the speech that followed contradicts the claim of a speech from the other Gospel. One has one man, and then one man doing and saying stuff. The other has two men and two men doing and saying THE same claimed stuff.


    This is what Mark says (it's like teaching a child):
    "I implore You by God, do not torment me!”

    This is what Matthew says:
    " Have You come here to torment us before [z]the time?”"

    So not only do we have a numerical contradiction, but Mark claims the speech in singular, whilst Matthew claims in plural.


    So i could even claim they contradict on what the man said! You have no leg to stand on here.

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  22. " Have You come here to torment us before [z]the time?”

    Alright, I retract my position of half-assery. It's definitely a contradiction in any case.

    Obviously though, Marcus will hide behind the "it's not exactly the same phrase" Alamo, but why in the world would one of them say "do not torment me!” and then both of them say " ave You come here to torment us before the time?”. It's not Aeschylus.

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  23. Personally, I'd love to see Marcus write a version of the gospels that contains EVERYTHING, I'd pay money for that.

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  24. So what have we learned today?

    1. Ryan Anderson is Indeed unable to honestly read the text.

    2. Jonathan Pearce is unable to follow the argument but we will try again anyway.
    A. I am not saying in any way that mark or Luke is saying that that there were two men.
    B. Mark and Luke are not trying to tell us how many demoniacs there were or how mand blind men were there in these instances. Their purpose is to tell us something about one of the men in each incident.
    C. Neither Mark or Luke are telling us that there was only one man being healed in each incident. No contradiction.
    D. Given that we see two such incidents tells us that the difference in detail is intentional and not a mistake due to incompetence.

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  25. No, no really, give it a shot, put together your own version of the gospels where everything is included. I dare you...

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  26. I underestand your argument, it's just terrible.

    "B. Mark and Luke are not trying to tell us how many demoniacs there were or how mand blind men were there in these instances. Their purpose is to tell us something about one of the men in each incident. "

    This is the key to your equivocation, but you have to provide evidence for this reading of the text because it is the least probable reading of that phrase. As mentioned, no such reading of that indefinite article phrase is known, and I have provided lexical accounts declaring it cannot. By saying "a" they mean 1. So, in order for you to claim they were not making a numerical statement and that they weren't interested in number, and in order for it to be accepted as being able to mean more than one, you have to supply supporting evidence, both internally from the gospel and externally to show that this can be utilised.

    Secondly, because you have ignored previous calls, you need to explain the speeches WHICH YOU HAVE NOW IGNORED MULTIPLE TIMES.

    All you do is repeat the same assertion - but the assertion requires evidence to back it up. Ad hoc excuses are by their very nature less mathematically probable (see Proving History), and require stronger evidence to support them. You have provided nothing.

    PLEASE DO SO.

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  27. @Ryan Anderson

    Just because you think that there are so many contradictions in the Gospels that a single story can't be understood from them doesn't make it true and millions of people have disagreed with you. If you want to see it done, I don't have the inclination to spend my time doing it but there are many people who have already done it. I suggest you look up their work and learn how to read.

    @Jonathan Pearce.

    You claim you understand my argument yet you keep saying I saying things that I am not.

    As mentioned, no such reading of that indefinite article phrase is known, and I have provided lexical accounts declaring it cannot. By saying "a" they mean 1.

    Last time I am going to say this: I am not disagreeing with that. That is not my argument at all that Mark or Luke was talking about two men.

    So, in order for you to claim they were not making a numerical statement and that they weren't interested in number, and in order for it to be accepted as being able to mean more than one, you have to supply supporting evidence, both internally from the gospel and externally to show that this can be utilised.

    I am not claiming that Mark or Luke are trying to talk about two men. Neither is JP Holding. No one is arguing that they are saying one but meaning two.

    Again, Mark and Luke are only talking about one of the men or the two that Matthew discusses. There is no contradiction because neither accounts makes the others untenable or contradictory. You find this issue more than once: Mark and Luke saying Jesus healed one man but Matthew saying that there were two. You just want a contradiction when there isn't one. Mark and Luke and Matthew are supporting each other with different details not contradicting details. Saying that there is one man here does not mean that there was no second man even if he isn't mentioned or referred to. I don't understand what you are finding so hard to understand.

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  28. ...and millions of people have disagreed with you.

    I suspect these millions of people either aren't worried about it or haven't thought about it.

    I don't have the inclination to spend my time doing it...

    Because you know you can't. Or perhaps you are scared. I've read more than one Deconversion story that starts with trying to reconcile the gospels. It's not a big deal until you actually put pen to paper and give it a go.

    @Jonathan Pearce.

    You claim you understand my argument yet you keep saying I saying things that I am not.

    As mentioned, no such reading of that indefinite article phrase is known, and I have provided lexical accounts declaring it cannot. By saying "a" they mean 1.

    That is not my argument at all that Mark or Luke was talking about two men.

    No one thinks this is your argument.

    I am not claiming that Mark or Luke are trying to talk about two men. Neither is JP Holding. No one is arguing that they are saying one but meaning two.

    You are saying they are talking about one of two men, but not mentioning the second man. We get it. However, with that in mind, go back and reread Jonathan's comments. It's extremely bizarre to use language in that way, there's no evidence to suggest anyone actually uses language in that way and simply put, it's not used in that way.

    Like I've said, if you read it your bizarre way, there is no contradiction (but it's bizarre, remember), but the bottom line is there actually is a contradiction. Especially given the context and further dialogue in the verses.

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  29. Because you know you can't. Or perhaps you are scared. I've read more than one Deconversion story that starts with trying to reconcile the gospels. It's not a big deal until you actually put pen to paper and give it a go.

    Where is yours?

    You are saying they are talking about one of two men, but not mentioning the second man. We get it.

    No you don't. I'm not suggesting that Mark or Luke knows about the second man. I don't know if they know about him or not because they are only talking about one of them. Th3e only reason we know that there were two is because Matthew. Omitting one of them is not a contradiction because neither Mark or Luke tells there wasn't another man. Your charge of contradiction is from silence. You don't know whether they know there was a second man or not. And your "bizarre" use of language is not all that unique given that Mark and Luke did the same thing twice regarding two different incidents.

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  30. Ryan is right, we get you, but this is your problem:

    "Again, Mark and Luke are only talking about one of the men or the two that Matthew discusses."

    They are not talking of one of the men, they are talking about one man. Here is your equivocation, plain as daylight. In order to hold to your reading, there needs to be more grammar. Such as "one of the men". Instead we have "a man". This, on its own and with no extraneous information, has never meant "one of the men" in any similar context or that there are more of the item present. In order to have this reading, you must support it with evidence.

    Can't you see this? You are equivocating "a man" with "one of the men" which we can clearly see since you say it every time. This is NOT what the Gospels say!!!!! It is also never the reading of the indefinite article.

    But what really annoys me is that I have asked for not only the supporting evidence for this over 3 times, but I have asked for comment on the speech 3 times, and you have remained silent. The only reason for this must be because you have no answer.

    We ALSO know that they could not have meant "one of the men" (not only from the fact that the indefinite article is never used like this) by point of fact that they claim the single man says a speech which involves him talking in singular form about himself to Jesus. However, Matthew has 2 men talking in plural form about the exact same thing (ie the same speech) to Jesus, thus contradicting the words spoken.

    So not only does the lexical evidence point to a contradiction (since 1 cannot equal 2) but the contextual evidence from the speech also points to the fact that some Gospel writers thought there was 1 man, and another thought there were 2.

    Now, if the other two Gospel writers didn't know about this other man, this is still a contradiction since they claim one man did x and said y whilst Matthew claims 2 men did x and said y. Example:

    Jim claims "Harry said a man came up to him and said 'If you don't give me your money I will kill you'"

    Jane claims "Harry said 2 men came up to him and said 'If you don't give US your money WE will kill you'"

    In this case, as mentioned before, the claims are contradictory and would be entirely scrutinised in a court of law - they could indeed lead to entirely different criminal investigations. Jim's claims, without any extra information, are in conflict with Jane's claims. Are they looking for one or two men? Who is right? If they have caught one man who is saying nothing, do they need to look for another? Who is more trustworthy? And so on.

    This is plain and simple. Even if you accept, weirdly, that Mark and Luke either knew there were 2 or didn't but it still doesn't contradict, then the speech of what is said STILL DOES contradict.

    So no matter which way you have it, they contradict.

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  31. Your charge of contradiction is from silence.

    Not at all. See Jonathan's comment about the possessed man's use of the singular pronoun and the possessed men's use of the plural pronoun.

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  32. Where is yours?

    It no longer exists since about 1/4 of the way through it was clearly gibberish.

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  33. They are not talking of one of the men, they are talking about one man. Here is your equivocation, plain as daylight. In order to hold to your reading, there needs to be more grammar. Such as "one of the men". Instead we have "a man". This, on its own and with no extraneous information, has never meant "one of the men" in any similar context or that there are more of the item present. In order to have this reading, you must support it with evidence.

    So what? You are assuming that Mark and Luke are interested in telling you how many men were there instead of something about what happened.


    It no longer exists since about 1/4 of the way through it was clearly gibberish.

    Always could tell you were a failure. That's what happens when you are godless.

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  34. Marcus; if Mark was written first, and Matthew is not written by an eye witness and is based on Mark (grant the ifs for arguments sake), then how was it Matthew knew there were two guys?

    Always could tell you were a failure.

    Marcus, you can't fail if you don't try. Give it a shot, post your results here...

    That's what happens when you are godless.

    Is this prosperity gospel that you are peddling now???

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  35. Let’s put this in perspective for Marcus:  If I published something today, twenty six and a half years after the fact, that said two Space Shuttles exploded on January 28th 1986.  Marcus, could not look to the vast body of evidence that tells us only the Challenger exploded that day, because I would imagine not a single report bothered to say “Only the challenger exploded and no other shuttles exploded today” or the like.  No report would say that because it simply wouldn’t make sense.
     
    Marcus doesn’t seem to understand that his way of thinking, his epistemological standard, is the same one that holocaust deniers, 9/11 truthers and every other conspiracy nut uses to justify their untenable and unevidenced belief. 

    In short, you can always reconcile away a contradiction, but you should not.

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  36. Marcus; if Mark was written first, and Matthew is not written by an eye witness and is based on Mark (grant the ifs for arguments sake), then how was it Matthew knew there were two guys?

    Really illogical. Why should I think that Mark was written first? It's only been popular over that past 200 years that people have been accepting that. How do you know that Matthew was not written by an eyewitness? Where is your skepticism? How do you know that Matthew is based on Mark? How do you demonstrate that is true? Tell me...what color kool aid is that you are drinking?

    Marcus, you can't fail if you don't try. Give it a shot, post your results here...

    You mean like you tried your Christian life? No wonder you failed.

    Is this prosperity gospel that you are peddling now???

    What do you think failure and success are? I am not talking about obtaining and maintaining material wealth. That is not what success is. I am defining success as becoming what God has predestined you to be and living out that purpose.


    Marcus doesn’t seem to understand that his way of thinking, his epistemological standard, is the same one that holocaust deniers, 9/11 truthers and every other conspiracy nut uses to justify their untenable and unevidenced belief.

    This is almost the dumbest example i have ever heard. It assumes that the Synoptic Gospels come from a single source while the differing details points to that we don't have a single source. The reason why this isn't like denying the holocaust or 9/11 truthers or the really bad 1986 Challenger disaster is that for each of these things we have more than one source just like we have for the Gospels. Ryan, do stop drinking the Kool Aid...and back up your conclusions for the premises you are using for the conclusions you are drawing.

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  37. Why should I think that Mark was written first?

    We've been over that, use your incredibly granular tags to find the post and review. But, unless you are completely dishonest, you have to admit that many scholars hold this position (and the position that the Matthew author was a non-eyewitness) and it's in the realm of possibility. But more importantly, remember the part where I said grant the ifs for arguments sake? There was a question at the end of that comment that you appear to be trying to dodge.

    It's only been popular over that past 200 years that people have been accepting that.

    QM's only been "popular" for 80 years or so. I wasn't aware that popularity or duration of acceptance was a factor in whether something was true or not.

    The reason why this isn't like denying the holocaust or 9/11 truthers or the really bad 1986 Challenger disaster is that for each of these things we have more than one source just like we have for the Gospels

    The analogy is fine, I am on record stating there were two shuttles that exploded on January 28th, 1986. Using the standard of language and documentation that you are using to justify your position that the gospels are not in conflict concerning the daemon possessed individual(s), please explain how you are able to conclusively demonstrate that any of the other reports about the Challenger contradict my statement.

    I'll await your squirming...

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  38. But more importantly, remember the part where I said grant the ifs for arguments sake? There was a question at the end of that comment that you appear to be trying to dodge.


    I don't need to dodge because if you were honest you would be able to show that Matthew did copy Mark, that Mark was written first, and that Matthew was not an eyewitness. You just assert it and claim that it's a possibility because that is what many scholars have concluded. So What? Many scholar disagree.

    I wasn't aware that popularity or duration of acceptance was a factor in whether something was true or not.

    Nope. I'm not saying that. I'm saying that none of your premises you have stated about Matthew are true and you can't demonstrate that they are true.

    I am on record stating there were two shuttles that exploded on January 28th, 1986. Using the standard of language and documentation that you are using to justify your position that the gospels are not in conflict concerning the daemon possessed individual(s), please explain how you are able to conclusively demonstrate that any of the other reports about the Challenger contradict my statement.

    I know there weren't two shuttle explosions because I am living witness to that day. I have many sources that say that there was only one and none that says there was more than one. As for the demoniacs who were healed we have no evidence from Matthew or Mark that says that there was only one.

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  39. I know there weren't two shuttle explosions because I am living witness to that day. I have many sources that say that there was only one and none that says there was more than one.

    Squirm away!!! I didn't ask if you "know" it or not, plus, I was talking about a secret soviet shuttle accident that occurred on the same day, I know about it, but you wouldn't (yOU cant pr0ve it didnt happen!!!!1!). I asked you to conclusively demonstrate that any of the other reports about the Challenger contradict my statement, using the standard you are apply to the gospels of course...

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  40. You should frame this in a way more realistic way. Are you saying that there was another shuttle that exploded the same day and that you are reporting it twenty-six years afterward? Further are you stating that your scenario is similar to the discussion of Mark and Luke vs Matthew? Are you that dumb?

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  41. You should frame this in a way more realistic way.

    No, it's fine. I think your problem (of many) is that you think a pig daemon is more "realistic" than a Soviet cover-up.

    But again, try to focus. It's not about "realism", it's about you demonstrating that any report about the Challenger accident actually contradicts my claim, regardless of whether my claim is true or not.

    Now, before you get hung up on that last part, bear in mind that the truth of my claim is irrelevant to this exercise, since, as I'm sure you are aware, the establishment of a contradiction simply means both claims cannot be true. It doesn't mean that either claim is necessarily true. Also, if you establish there is no contraction between two claims, it likewise does not mean that either claim is necessarily true.

    Let that sink in for a moment Marcus: the bible is chock a block full of contradictions, but even if it wasn't, that wouldn't establish the truth of a single claim in the bible.

    I have little hope you'll be able to grapple with this honestly, especially since you think " Im a b@dass so Ill just beat up Nazis!!!1!!one!!!" is an valid answer to the Murder at the Door scenario!

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  42. It is not "fine". You need to clearly state the claims you are expecting to be evaluated in your example. And how this scenario is relevant to the same discussion as to how many people Jesus healed of demons - that is what I mean by "realistic".

    Let that sink in for a moment Marcus: the bible is chock a block full of contradictions,

    You have yet to prove that.

    but even if it wasn't, that wouldn't establish the truth of a single claim in the bible.

    We agree there. But if there were contradictions in the Bible it would be evidence that no claim in the Bible is true. Which is one of your tent-pole arguments, is it not? For having so much stake in concluding the Bible is unreliable and false you have no evidence to support such a conclusion.

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  43. It is not "fine".

    That's cool, can understand why you'd want to avoid the exercise.

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  44. What exercise? I'm asking you for clarifications. What is it you are asking to be evaluated? I'm not avoiding anything. I'm asking you to clearly define what you are talking about.

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  45. Marcus; OK, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.  Let’s take this one step at a time.
     
    A)  I claim a second space shuttle blew up on 1/28/86.
    B)  There are countless reports about the Challenger accident occurred on 1/28/86.  But none of them say “Only the space shuttle challenger blew up and no others” 
     
    Now, do you feel my claim is contradicted by the countless other reports mentioned in B?
     
    That’s all.  Forget Daemon pigs for the moment.  Just answer the above. 

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  46. Now, do you feel my claim is contradicted by the countless other reports mentioned in B?

    I don't think that your claim is contradicted by B. A second shuttle explosion may not contradict the other reports. Your claim could be contradicted by other evidence and more evidence would need to be considered before dismissing your claim. For example: was the other explosion in the same place, at the same time? How is your credibility? More thought and time and research would need to be done before dismissing you as a lunatic (most probable),

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  47. "I'm not avoiding anything."

    Hmm. For about the fifth time:


    Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 7 and shouting with a loud voice, he *said, “[a] What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!”

    and

    And they cried out, saying, “[y] What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before [z]the time?”

    How is this not a contradiction - either it was 'he did this and he said "me" or it is 'they did this and one of them said "us"'.

    Again,

    So not only does the lexical evidence point to a contradiction (since 1 cannot equal 2) but the contextual evidence from the speech also points to the fact that some Gospel writers thought there was 1 man, and another thought there were 2.

    Now, if the other two Gospel writers didn't know about this other man, this is still a contradiction since they claim one man did x and said y whilst Matthew claims 2 men did x and said y. Example:

    Jim claims "Harry said a man came up to him and said 'If you don't give me your money I will kill you'"

    Jane claims "Harry said 2 men came up to him and said 'If you don't give US your money WE will kill you'"

    In this case, as mentioned before, the claims are contradictory and would be entirely scrutinised in a court of law - they could indeed lead to entirely different criminal investigations. Jim's claims, without any extra information, are in conflict with Jane's claims. Are they looking for one or two men? Who is right? If they have caught one man who is saying nothing, do they need to look for another? Who is more trustworthy? And so on.

    This is plain and simple. Even if you accept, weirdly, that Mark and Luke either knew there were 2 or didn't but it still doesn't contradict, then the speech of what is said STILL DOES contradict.

    So no matter which way you have it, they contradict.


    RESPOND.

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  48. Oh, and:

    "They *came to Jesus and *observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “ legion”; and they became frightened."

    Not "one of the men" but THE VERY MAN.

    You are sorely beat here.

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  49. Jonathan Pearce, you still struggle to come up with a good analogy. Let me help you. If you want to make it more like the situation in the Gospels, you should respect Christian tradition and be ready to explain why you reject it. For example, from the second century on the church has said that Matthew was written by the apostle named Matthew who had been a tax collector - making the claim that his account of what happened here eye-witness testimony. Luke makes no such claims of being an eye witness but having had interviewed people who were there. The same with Mark. tradition tells us that Mark interviewed the apostle Peter who was also an eye-witness to the event. I see no reason why you would have a proble with Peter

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  50. a problem with Peter or Luke's source talking about one of the men and not mentioning the other. Matthew is just giving additional detail. It really does not matter if I fail to convince you that this is not a contradiction because that does not demonstrate that you are right only that you cannot follow a simple argument. I also find it laughable that you claimed that there is no consistent use else where as an example of giving information on the numbers of people at an event, yet when I pointed out that the same dynamic between Mark and Luke respective to Matthew shows up elsewhere neither you nor Ryan Anderson even acknowledged the point. And when I asked if it was a contradiction in your post on Debunking Christianity when you mentioned arguing against me but never mentioned the presence or input of Ryan Anderson, you never answered that question. Curious that you would say nothing about him given your track reord of asking for help.

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  51. So, rather than answer the question, you disingenuously squirm.

    The two accounts clearly contradict each other in what the demoniac says, because the accounts differ in what demoniacs were there.

    Until you address this, your comments are simply white noise or frankly, entirely irrelevant shifting of the burden of proof and red herring. This is now, I think, 6 requests which you have not answered. This makes you look desperate.

    So, again:

    Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 7 and shouting with a loud voice, he *said, “[a] What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!”

    and

    And they cried out, saying, “[y] What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before [z]the time?”

    How is this not a contradiction - either it was 'he did this and he said "me" or it is 'they did this and one of them said "us"'.


    We have two writers making positive claims on speech. They differ. Therefore, one of them must have been wrong and the two claims contradict eachother.

    Just deal with it, stop chasing your tail in circles.

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  52. Seriously, the Matthew author exaggerated what the Mark and/or Luke author originally said. Why is this so hard for him??????

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  53. What was the Matthew authors motive for exaggerating twice (at least, and in the same way)? Do any biblical scholars explore this?

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  54. @Ryan Anderson and Jonathan Pearce
    Still gnawing away at that bone, are we?

    @Jonathan Pearce
    How is this not a contradiction - either it was 'he did this and he said "me" or it is 'they did this and one of them said "us"'.

    So let's get this straight: you think that Matthew is saying that both of the two men were talking at the same time? or was it only one talking for the both of them? Do you really mean to say that you have never seen a report regarding a group doing certain actions but it was one of the persons acting or speaking for the group? This is all there that was happening in the Mark and Luke accounts. Just like you have managed to not mention Ryan Anderson in your blog post, Neither Mark or Luke mentioned the other man. If they are contradicting Matthew, then you contradicted what really happened. You seem real desperate to see this as a contradiction when there isn't one. Don't forget that you have neglected that neither Mark or Luke describe the events in any way that makes Matthew's account impossible (ergo: a contradiction).

    @Ryan Anderson
    What was the Matthew authors motive for exaggerating twice (at least, and in the same way)? Do any biblical scholars explore this?

    1. It is your assumption that Matthew's account is an exaggeration.
    2. You can't prove that Matthew is not an eye-witness account.
    3. Sounds like you have more googling to do.

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  55. Don't forget that you have neglected that neither Mark or Luke describe the events in any way that makes Matthew's account impossible (ergo: a contradiction).

    I think "the very man [singular] who had had the “ legion”", does just that.

    Still gnawing away at that bone, are we?

    However, what I particularly enjoy is how you can just bury your head in the sand and then when enough time has passed, say something like that. It probably makes you feel better, but it doesn't fool anyone.

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  56. I think "the very man [singular] who had had the “ legion”", does just that.

    And who else do you think the other people would be referring to other than the man who was possessed. Not all the men in the area needed to have demons cast out. Matthew just adds the detail that Mark and Luke does not tell us. I see no problem here. It is definitely yours. The Bible is right and you are wrong.

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  57. AND YOU HAVE STILL IGNORED MY POINT.

    7 times now. Keep going - it's funny.

    So they speeches contradict each other. They disagree on what was said.

    So, again:

    Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 7 and shouting with a loud voice, he *said, “[a] What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” 8 For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he *said to Him,
    ...
    15 They *came to Jesus and *observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “ legion”; and they became frightened. 16 Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine

    and

    And they cried out, saying, “[y] What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before [z]the time?”
    ...

    The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, [aa]including what had happened to the demoniacs.




    This is clear indication of what was going on. Even if your crazily improbable thesis was correct, the accounts STILL contradict in the speeches.

    No matter what, the speeches indicate an entirely different story.



    A man came up to me and said "Jonathan, please kill me. Do not let depression torment me any longer" And so I killed him, and left his body there.

    compared to

    Two men came up to me and said "Jonathan, please kill us. Do not let depression torment us any longer." And so I killed them and left their bodies there.


    How can these accounts not be contradictory?

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  58. Marcus; do you honestly think that it played out like this...

    There were two daemon possessed men. And one Daemon possessed man said "What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!”

    And then both daemon possessed men said "What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”

    This is what I meant when I challenged you to put pen to paper and write a single, all inclusive narrative.

    I don't mean for you to explain it away, or reconcile it in your mind, I mean for you to actually write a narrative that works.

    At this point, I understand that you have a much lower standard for what "works", but are you up for the challenge?

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  59. @Jonathan Pearce

    A man came up to me and said "Jonathan, please kill me. Do not let depression torment me any longer" And so I killed him, and left his body there.

    compared to

    Two men came up to me and said "Jonathan, please kill us. Do not let depression torment us any longer." And so I killed them and left their bodies there.


    How can these accounts not be contradictory?



    A contradiction would be one account where you killed them and another that you didn't kill them.

    An account that says that there was one and another that says there were two is not a contradiction. Either way - You would be a murderer. Jesus didn't kill anyone he healed two men of terrible afflictions.

    @Ryan Anderson.

    Matthew explains what happened as if someone who was there would see it. Mark and Luke gives the details regarding the one who was talking. Why are the both of you having so much problem with this.

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  60. So that would make the quote by the Mark and Luke authors is inaccurate.

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  61. So, assuming inerrancy, either Mark 5:7 and Matthew 8:29 were said verbatim, but the Mark author made no mention of what was said in Matthew 8:29 and the Matthew author made no mention of what was said in Mark 5:7.  Even though it’s mostly, but not exactly the same thing.
    He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”

    “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

    So Marcus, take a stand.  Which one of the above was said and which was not?  Or were both said separately but not reported by other gospel writer? 
     
    If your answer is the later, then I really would like for you to write a reconciled, all inclusive version of the gospels and post it on your site. 

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  62. Only if you would call Pearce not mentioning your presence in his blog post about this discussion a contradiction.

    Or If you would call the following scenario a contradiction:

    One Account: 5 people were doing karoke at the party last night.

    Other account: There was a dude doing karoke art the party last night.

    Is that a contradiction? Nope.

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  63. Marcus, there is actual quoted dialogue that is either pointlessly and wierdly repeated, or there is a conflict.

    Try rereading my post and giving it another go.

    In your opinion, which quotes are correct? Or are they both correct?

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  64. One Account: 5 people were doing karoke at the party last night and they sang "we are the champions..."

    Other account: There was a dude doing karoke the party last night and he sang "I am champion..."

    Is that a contradiction? It is.

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  65. You changed the scenario to be a contradiction because there is no song "I am the Champions", therefore we know that the second account is a contradiction to fact and can be ignored.

    This isn't the case with Mathew, Mark, or Luke. I think you are really naive to think that all the dialogue in the Gospelsis intended to be verbatim, when that is not how they were intended. I also think that the example I gve fits the situation way more closely. Here is another.


    Account one: Five people claimed "We sang karoke last night at William's Birthday party. We sang: "We are the champions"

    Account two: I sang Karoke last night at Bill's Birthday Party. I sang: "We are the champions"

    No Contradiction.

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  66. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  67. You changed the scenario to be a contradiction because there is no song "I am the Champions"

    Wow... Simply wow...

    Marcus, very slowly now...

    One Account: On July 30th at 5pm, two men saw Marcus outside of Starbucks and they said "we read your blog and we think you are learning impaired"

    Other account: On July 30th at 5pm, a man saw Marcus outside of Starbucks and he said "I have read your blog and I think you are learning impaired"

    Now answer the original question, which is very simple. Do you think one quote is inaccurate or do you think both quotes were said, once by one daemon possessed man, and then again, by the two daemon possessed me?

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  68. Simple, Ryan, there are two men and there is no contradiction with the accounts, just their conclusions with facts. If there were two men, there was at least one. But in such a scenario, I could not rule out demon-possession. It would explain such a stupid conclusion - not the only explanation but a possible explanation. Only one of the men were speaking in each account. I don't see why you seem to be unable to mentally process this.

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  69. Marcus, you're trying too hard.

    Only one of the men were speaking in each account.

    How can that be the case when it says "they said".

    Write it out, pretend it's stage direction. I can't wait to see the results.

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  70. Do you really think that they were speaking in unison? Like a Greek chorus? LOL. That's real pathetic.

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  71. Do you really think that they were speaking in unison?

    No. Daemons don't exist, so...

    But since you're the one that believes this crap actually happened, you need to block this out, so it's clear what was going on in the narrative.

    If they weren't speaking in unison, then one man was needlessly and weirdly repeating the other. If one man wasn't needlessly and weirdly repeating the other, then one of the quotes is inaccurate.

    Which is it?

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  72. You are the one claiming the contradiction that Matthew was saying that two men were talking but Mark and Luke say there was one man. I'm not. In both cases only one man is talking. In no other case would you assume that people would be needlessly and weirdly repeating the other in unison. Too much "twilight zone" for you.

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  73. In both cases only on man is talking.
     
    OK, now we’re getting somewhere.  Now we need to clarify some things…
     
    In Mark 5:7/Luke 8:28 and Matthew 8:29, there are two different, clearly distinct things that are said, I think even you would have to admit that the below are not the same words…
     
    1) “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!”

    2) “What do you want with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
     
    Now, were both of these phrases uttered by two different men or was only one of them spoken and the other is an inaccurate rendering of the actual dialogue?

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  74. Not the same words. Agreed. The meaning is the same. There is no contradiction in the thoughts being expressed. So what? Are you expecting complete and total verbatim agreement? Really? Seriously? Why?

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  75. Actually, you may want to reread Mark 5:7/Luke 8:28 and Matthew 8:29 as the meaning of the second sentence is quite different.

    Would you agree that you do not know what was actually said by the daemon possessed man?

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  76. so...asking to not be tortured before the appointed time contradicts with asking not to be tortured. Yup...I see the contradiction. Your command of logic is admirable (snicker)

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  77. Why do you think the line in Matthew indicates he's asking not to be tortured. That is not what it says at all.

    Its clear that you do not even know what was alledged to be said, but I'll ask again, would you agree that you do not know what was actually said by the daemon possessed man?

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  78. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

    So the only way you could possibly see that line as contradicting Mark is to assume that Demons like to be tortured.

    And we do know what The conversation between the demons and Jesus consisted of.

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  79. So the only way you could possibly see that line as contradicting Mark is to assume that Demons like to be tortured.

    Don't get hung up on the word "contradict" and the dictionary definition.

    Do those two sentences mean the same thing? Clearly "Don't torture me dude" and "have you come here to torture me" do not mean the same thing.

    Again, I think you are probably forced to assume one possessed man is saying one thing and the other the other. But then you have to answer what was actually said (if anything), and you cannot answer that with any reasonable level of certainty.

    Also, we shouldn't assume anything, especially about beings who can't be demonstrated to exist, but if Milton is any indication, I would say yes, they probably do like to be tortured...

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  80. 1. No need to think one man said one thing or another
    2. There weren't just one or two demons - but thousands. How do you know that it wasn't more than two demons who spoke? You don't. They could have even been in the same man.
    3. Milton was not writing under divine inspiration and I have no reason to think that his depiction of hell is remotely accurate.
    4. The demons are going to be suffering right next to you, according to the Bible because of your rejection of Christ. Congratulations.

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  81. 1. Since there are different quotes in Mark/Luke and Matthew, either a) someone said one and someone else said the other, b) both men said them or, most likely c) THE WHOLE THINGS MADE UP!!!

    2. There were two men, who were speaking. Focus...

    3. No one, in the history of the world has been writing under divine inspiration. The sooner you figure that out, the better off you will be. But assuming the bible was, YoU Cnt PROVE dimons dont like torture!!!!11!

    4. Apparently you like making up stuff too, just like whoever it was that wrote Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

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  82. 1. I don't think you can conclude both men said them because they were possessed at the time. You can't show that it didn't happen.
    2.According to the text they were possessed - you need to remember the point of the text.
    3. Get off the circle in your reasoning.You have to demonstrate that there has been no divine inspiration before you assert it.The story proves that demons don't like torture. They'd rather run off a cliff than go where Jesus was getting ready to send them. Your arguments get more pathetic.
    4. I haven't left the text and you can't seem to keep your objections straight..

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  83. Marcus said... "You have to demonstrate that there has been no divine inspiration before you assert it."

    And then comically, in the very next sentence said "The story proves that demons don't like torture."

    Very good Marcus, yes, the text proves that. Good job.

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  84. You stated that there has been no divine inspiration and provided no evidence to support nor prove your claim.

    I stated that demons don't like torture and demonstrated that the Bible gives evidence that demons don't like torture. In contrast you got nothing.

    Do try to keep up.

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  85. Marcus, the bible is not evidence for daemons any more than Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is evidence for Hippogriffs. 
     
    Also, you still have no idea what the word “prove” means. 

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  86. You haven't demonstrated that the Bible is not fictional so your retort is empty. You don't know what "proof", "evidence", or "demonstration" is.

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  87. Thanks for catching my error. It doesn't change the fact that you still have not shown that the Bible is fictional or contradictional I realize believing otherwise helps you sleep at night but it won't help you ultimately

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  88. Dictionary.com:

    contradiction - A person, thing, or situation in which inconsistent elements are present.

    I have not read this thread for well over a week. Man, it's funny. Proper funny. Marcus, you have been pwned. You equivocate and even more obviously squirm out of trying to answer direct questions.

    Now, empirically, we have shown that the two accounts contradict on what was said. This is the law of non-contradiction in logic. Matthew claims A1 is said. Luke claims A2. A1 and A2 cannot both be true. Therefore, there is a contradiction.

    But the larger point about how many demon-possessed men were involved in the story is still unanswered by you. All you keep doing is presenting false analogies by trying to reduce the two stories to their respective out of context single sentences. This is how you try to get away with your equivocation. However, though that equivocation doesn't stand anyway, it has EVEN LESS traction when left within the confines of its context. ie the rest of the passage, speech included.

    You simply appear like an ostrich, burying its head in the presence of rationality. This has gone from the worst argument I have ever heard to something quite possibly worse....

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  89. Mr Pearce a week away in no way seems to help you. You are still lost. I think the reason you think there is a contradiction says more about your comprehension than the text. But let's give your cognitive faculties the benefit of assuming that they exist and that you are honest in your conclusion and ask what is your underlying presuppositions that might be the cause of your obvious block in understanding the test? Judging by what you are saying you are expecting that the Matthew, Mark, and Luke have to verbatim repeat everything that was said in the exact words that was said. Why? I see no reason to assume that. The Gospels writers were not not tape recorders or video cameras. That is not what it means to be inspired by God or a required quality of infallibility. God is right. The sooner you gety that the better you will be.

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