How to Refute These Claims?

I was posting on Reddit earlier, asking ex-Jews and ex-Muslims to explain why they crossed over to Christianity. I received this response, and would be grateful for any help on refuting the claims:

"As a son of adam I need to make this very clear.

I think it’s intellectually dishonest for any person who studied Judaism or Islam in depth to leave their respective religions. Maybe emotional or social reasons lead to apostasy but any intellectually honest person who does their homework could never convert to christiantiy. This is according to the founder of Jews for Judaism.

However, even if a person was not a muslim, jew but just studied biblical scholarship this alone is enough for one to not believe in Modern Christianity (blood atonement, triunity, etc.) because it’s rooted in falsehood:
Consensus of Biblical scholars states.
The NT is a poorly preserved document reference Nestle Aland 28th edition New Testament Greek

"Third, this edition reflects a shift in assumptions about what the evidence allows one to reconstruct. Where previous generations, emboldened by a confidence in science which was possible only in the Enlightenment, claimed to be able to reproduce the “New Testament in the Original Greek,” late twentieth century scholars have known that extant evidence reaches only back to the second century, and that for only a scattering of passages. There may be nearly 150 years between the original writing/delivery of a New Testament text and the now-preserved manuscripts. Given the strong dependence on a genealogical method, "
concordiatheology.org/2012/10/a-new-edition-of-the-greek-new-testament/[1]

1b. Christian scribes fabricated deeds and sayings into Jesus’s life. Reference Dr. Craig Evans books on authenticating sayings and deeds of Jesus.
None of the NT contains eyewitness testimony to Jesus’s earthly ministry or can be authenticated back to any of his earthly companions. The authorship are unknown or FLAT OUT forgeries which makes the NT even less trustworthy. Reference Forgery and Counter Forgery by Dr. Bart Ehrman
Jesus did not even believe he was divine. Reference historical Jesus scholarship EP Sanders, John Meier, Paula Fredricksen, etc.
Lastly the vast early diversity in Christianity (in addition to poor record of artifacts) makes it impossible to authenticate what was taught by the Jerusalem (earthly companion of Jesus) apostles. Which christian community inherited the truth (the petrine or paulian traditions).

It’s all speculation with no hard evidence. The second coming of Jesus will clarify all of these points.
There is absolutely no evidence to believe in christianity."

Please define what you believe ‘intellectual honesty’ means for me.
I personally believe there is either absolute truth or there is a lie/lies or degrees of lies (but a lie nonetheless), and that truth is truth and remains truth–Truth is unchangable. Truth is always truth. And that God IS truth.

I’m surprised that someone such as yourself (it says your Catholic) is on a Catholic forum basically posting statements that claim Jesus is a Fake! And Christianity is not real because the statements you have here claim it was all fabricated.
Do you believe the statements and claims you just posted/quoted?

I’m unsure of where your quotes begin or end. Or if you made some of these statements yourself or believe the statements you posted?

Speaking for myself only, I Believe absolutely that Jesus Christ is real and died for our sins. I believe Jesus Christ walked among us, apostles followed him, who started the Church he directed them to start for Christians. And that he gave clarity to the Old Testament teachings.
I believe Jesus Christ died to save us all. I believe because I have faith and have been saved by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I’ve had faith in God since I was a child but not reared in ANY religion. I believe in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

The Romans kept incredible records of the time, and even a few Jewish historians in Palestine wrote down the events of the day. Much of the life of Jesus was passed along verbally though.
I would suppose a person without faith perhaps might not ever believe in Jesus.

Another question: If someone has made up their mind they do not believe in Jesus and it appears they are extremely against anything regarding Jesus other than provable, Concrete absolute evidence, then what do you think it would actually take to change their minds and hearts?

The whole thing is the quote. My writing ends at “claims:”.

The *second *coming of Christ? That’s quite a Freudian slip there!

So his basic argument is that Judaism is reasonable to believe, but christianity is not; and this is based upon the unreliability of the manuscripts.

He says that our earliest manuscripts simply come too late-- less than 100 years is just too far after the events to trust it.

But, of course, we can trust the jews manuscripts. They use the masoretic, of which the earliest manuscript dates back the 9th century.

I guess less than 100 years is too late for the earliest christian texts, but 2000 years for the earliest jewish texts is perfectly fine.

Of course there are earlier Jewish texts, namely the Dead Sea Scrolls, which date to before the first century, but those have the Catholic canon, not the contemporary Jewish canon.

So in essence, manuscripts less than 1 century after the events of Christianity is too late, but the earliest manuscripts accepted by jews today dating to 2000 years later is perfectly reasonable. And of course, we must not forget that we DO have Jewish manuscripts that date back 1000 years earlier than the texts currently accepted by Jews, but we should ignore those manuscripts because they have the canon of the Catholics and not the contemporary Jews.

Yeah, pretty reasonable argument.

St. Francis, LOL thanks for pointing that out. I missed it! And yes its an interesting slip.

OP, I see you answered One of my questions, can you answer my other questions?

Understanding that you are just reposting what you’ve read, I would say the author of this piece has no evidence to believe in Judaism or Islam as well. Where does the OT come from? What evidence does Islam have (outside of their own books) for belief in Allah? The Jews didn’t even have a canon until the early Christian church developed their’s and the Koran came 500 years after the Christian canon.

Here is where all that jibberish in the OP fails.

Christian faith is not based on intellect, scholarship, extant Greek, eyewitness evidence, genealogical method, record of artifacts, authentication, petrine or paulian traditions or even a poorly preserved document known as the New Testament.

My faith is in a man who walked out of his own grave and how he changed my life.

Before I knew that man I was lost, an addict, angry at the world. I met that man in the confessional when I made a 37 year confession. Now I am free of addiction (with the possible exception of coffee) and have patience and peace in spite of life’s hardships.

I would believe in Jesus if the Bible never existed.

The guy who wrote all that can choose to be a son of Adam. I choose to be a child of God.

-Tim-

So basically the consensus here is either:

  1. The claims of the Jews and Muslims are just as unsupported by historical evidence and biblical scholarship as Christianity is, so they are all on bad footing.

or

  1. You believe what you believe, and facts/evidence/scholarship don’t matter.

Personally, I’d suggest to the person on reddit that the claims of the Old Testament are not supported by historical evidence, so if they were truly being intellectually honest they would not turn to Christianity, but rather they would have to turn away from both Judaism and Christianity (and Islam, which fares no better than the other two). But I don’t think that is the answer you are looking for. :wink:

:confused:

Uhh, there’s a ton of evidence for the historicity of the Old Testament. Not every event can be proven, but the overall large picture of a tribe of Jews being surrounded by other tribes, and the conflicts they had, the leaders they both had, etc can all be verified by archaeology. The argument here is over the authenticity of the manuscripts changing too much over time.

Ah, I should have clarified that there is no real historical evidence for events in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, or Deuteronomy. But you are right in that the authenticity of the other manuscripts of the Jewish canon is marred by changes over time, translations, lack of vowels and word separation in the original manuscripts, lack of manuscripts from antiquity, etc.

These fragments now increase our holdings as follows: we have as many as eighteen New Testament manuscripts from the second century and one from the first. Altogether, more than 43% of all New Testament verses are found in these manuscripts. But the most interesting thing is the first-century fragment…

It was dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers. He said he was ‘certain’ that it was from the first century. If this is true, it would be the oldest fragment of the New Testament known to exist. Up until now, no one has discovered any first-century manuscripts of the New Testament. The oldest manuscript of the New Testament has been P52, a small fragment from John’s Gospel, dated to the first half of the second century. It was discovered in 1934…

How do these manuscripts change what we believe the original New Testament to say? We will have to wait until they are published next year, but for now we can most likely say this: As with all the previously published New Testament papyri (127 of them, published in the last 116 years), not a single new reading has commended itself as authentic. Instead, the papyri function to confirm what New Testament scholars have already thought was the original wording or, in some cases, to confirm an alternate reading—but one that is already found in the manuscripts.

dts.edu/read/wallace-new-testament-manscript-first-century/

In light of this, the number of ancient writings containing the New Testament is staggering. To date, over 5800 Greek New Testament fragments have been found (Taylor, 2012). Over 10,000 Latin New Testament manuscripts dating from the 2nd to 16th century have been located. The earliest are in fragments that cover a substantial amount of the New Testament. Some manuscripts have also been found in a number of other languages, including Coptic, Syriac, Gothic, and Arabic. Taking all languages together, over 25,000 handwritten copies of the New Testament have been recovered. But there is more. Almost the entire New Testament could be reproduced by quotes from the ancient church fathers. “So extensive are these citations that if all other sources for our knowledge of the text of the New Testament were destroyed, they would be sufficient alone for the reconstruction of practically the entire New Testament” (Metzger & Ehrman, 2005)…

The older manuscripts are very important because there are fewer copies between them and the one first written. **The span between the original writing and the earliest copy is minimal when compared to others in ancient writing. **“We have copies commencing within a couple of generations from the writing of the originals, whereas in the case of other ancient texts, maybe five, eight, or ten centuries elapsed between the original and the earliest surviving copy,” (Strobel, 1998). By comparison, the average classical author has at least a 500-year gap between the writing of the original and the earliest copy (Slick).

Papyrus 52 (P52), which contains a small fragment of John’s gospel, (18.31-33, 37-38) is considered to be the earliest copy of New Testament text. Discovered in 1934 by C. H. Roberts, it is believed to have been copied no later than 150 AD but no earlier than 100 AD. “Nothing is unreasonable about assigning a date of 100-125 for P52. If John’s gospel was written in the 70’s or 80’s, we have a fragment 20-25 years removed form the autograph” (Comfort & Barret, 2001). Newly discovered fragments from Egypt have been recently found, one of which may date to the first century. The oldest piece contains verses from Mark’s gospel. The others, dating into the second century have portions of Luke’s gospel and letters from Paul. One fragment contains a sermon from Hebrews 11. The contents of these fragments are still being examined and subjected to dating methods. Scholars hope to publish their findings by late 2013 or early 2014 (Wallace, 2012).

bible.ca/ef/topical-the-earliest-new-testament-manuscripts.htm

That’s not quite what I said.

What I said is that the earliest manuscript accepted by Jews today is the Masoretic text, which dates to the 9th century.

We have texts from far earlier, but their canon is akin to the Catholic canon, and not the contemporary Jewish canon.

So if a Jew wants to argue manuscripts with a Catholic, he’s on the losing side of the argument.

Obviously there is historical evidence of the Torah. We know from archaeology that the places and people groups within the narratives all existed. We have evidence from Egyptian tombs of the Hebrews being slaves in northern Egypt.

Well, the thing of it is this–our faith is not based on the Bible. For Catholics the Bible is but one part of Sacred Tradition. It is not the source of our faith, but a witness to it–to something already established, not something we researched a book to find. The Church was established by Christ on his Apostles. They baptized and taught as Jesus commanded them to do mostly by preaching the word, not by writing things down. The NT writings are witnesses to these things, especially the Gospels. The Epistles deal mostly with Church matters of discipline and morals. And Revelation is a vision of St. John, which again, is a witness to something God revealed to him. So, picking at words and verses for authenticity is really pointless if one is looking to “prove” anything. Just so you don’t waste time and energy going up a dead-end. :slight_smile:

Well we have pieces of the NT from the first century AD. And the fragments and pieces get more and more numerous as time goes by. And something to be pointed out from all these fragments and complete copies is that there is no differences (other than small typo differences) between them.

It’s impossible for there to be this many fragments and whole copies, with no differences, found all over the Mediterranean and Middle East, without them being true copies of the originals. If there was something new added or something deleted, you would see differences start popping up in copies which were found far away from each other.

The whole premise is false.

Fair enough. I embellished slightly with additional information. :slight_smile:

I do however dispute the “obviously” claim. Real places are named in the Torah, but that only means the authors were aware of those places. I’m not aware of any evidence, in tombs or otherwise, that Hebrews were slaves in Egypt or that there was even a significant exodus of Hebrews out of Egypt. Do you know of some specific examples?

Thank you for you testimony of the real living presence of Jesus and your real personal relationship with him.

I do not know much about specific examples, but one should realize that we are talking about the events that are supposed to have happened rougly three and a half thousand years ago. We have very little evidence for everything that happened then. What do we know? Mainly the data about reigns of ancient rulers, which was fastidiously noted by scribes. It doesn’t mean that nothing else happened then.

I suppose that arguments ex silentio may work in today’s world, where everything is recorded and can be easily accessed, but when we talk about 14th century BC it is hardly a sensible idea.

God bless you, V.

There is way too much there to go into things point by point.

However, consider that no one doubts the authenticity of Caesar’s Gallic Wars. And yet the earliest mss. we have dates to the 10-11th century. The same with most–if not all–of the other books from classical Greece and Rome. If I have made a nice new copy, why would I keep the tattered original? Much like today, if I have a tattered paperback of a book printed in 1950, and I buy a new copy, why would I keep the old one? I wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean the replacement copy is false.

I don’t think there is much doubt the the scholarship of Metzger, Ehrman, et al. is accurate. I think there are something like 30,000 variations in the New Testament mss., most of course, just being misspellings or transposed letters. But some variations are significant, and it seems clear that some words, phrases, and even stories, are the additions of later copyists (who were trying to clarify what they were copying according to their own understanding).

Now to Bart Ehrman (now an atheist), all those variations are deeply disturbing, as they should be to anyone who thinks that God is somehow preserving his actual words and not allowing mistakes to creep in. However, that’s not the position of the Catholic Church (look up “inspiration” and “revelation” in the catechism or Vatican II documents). In the Catholic view–which is very logical and common sense–the Church came first; the New Testament came later (St. Paul’s epistles began to appear c. 50 AD; Mark c. 60 AD; Matthew and Luke c. 80 AD; John c. 90 AD). So obviously the Church was around long before the epistles and Gospels. So the Church decided which writings would be officially accepted (canonical), and the Church decides the interpretation.

So when someone comes along and questions a verse or passage’s authenticity, the correct answer for a Catholic is “So what?” If you read Garry Wills’ book on the Gospels, that’s exactly what he says.

But ultimately, you can’t “prove” the authenticity of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. You either believe what your parents taught you or weigh the evidence and choose to believe or not believe. Religion isn’t mathematics. There are no proofs.

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