Tom Harpur's book is well-known. And also thoroughly refuted. Harpur is himself merely a journalist, lacking credentials in the relevant subject matter, and is no more credible than his dubious sources. I had supposed you were using Harpur after you mentioned Massey, Kuhn and Higgins.
You will forgive me if I do not agree that Harpur has been refuted, and also forgive me for laughing just a little bit at you, and at this Holding, who writes the way a professional wrestler talks, while I pour water on your hot contention that Harpur is somehow "merely" a journalist:
Tom Harpur, Canada's best known spiritual author, journalist, and TV host. Tom Harpur's books, videos, and columns have made him a compelling spiritual leader for every generation and all faiths. Tom has been a journalist at the Toronto Star covering ethics, spirituality and religion for the past 30 years. He was the Religion Editor for The Toronto Star for twelve years and since 1984 has contributed regular columns to The Star on ethical and religious topics. He: • Won several scholarships at University of Toronto including the Jarvis Scholarship in Greek and Latin; The Maurice Hutton Scholarship in Classics; The Sir William Mulock Scholarship in Classics; and the Gold Medal in Classics. • Attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship 1951-1954. • Studied theology and tutored in Greek at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, 1954-56. Won prizes in homiletics and Greek. • Won full colours in rugger at U of T and an ice hockey Blue at Oxford. • Began career as an Anglican priest at St. Margaret’s-in-the-Pines, West Hill, Ontario (1957-1964); • Professor of New Testament at University of Toronto (Toronto School of Theology) from 1964 to 1971. • Fellow of the Religious Public Relations Council (USA). • Awarded The Silver Medal for Outstanding Journalism by the State of Israel in 1976. • Listed in U.S. Who’s Who in Religion, Canadian Who’s Who, and the most recent edition of Men of Achievement, (Cambridge, England). • Has appeared on major television and radio networks. Was host of the following shows, all based on his books by the same names: - a 10-part series on Vision TV, City TV and The Learning Channel called "Life After Death"; - a weekly hour-long interview programme, "Harpur’s Heaven and Hell"; - a 12-part series on Vision TV: "The Uncommon Touch"; • Author of the following books (eight of which were Canadian "best-sellers"): * The Spirituality of Wine (Northstone Publishing) * The Pagan Christ (Thomas Allen Publishers) * Harpur’s Heaven and Hell (Oxford) * For Christ’s Sake (Oxford) * Always on Sunday (Oxford) * Communicating the Good News Today (Lancelot) * Life After Death (M&S) * God Help Us (M&S) * The Uncommon Touch (M&S) * The God Question (Lancelot) * The Divine Lover (Lancelot) * Harpur vs. Hancock (Lancelot) * Would You Believe (M&S) (published in the U.S. as The Thinking Person’s Guide to God, Prima Press, 1996) * Prayer - The Hidden Fire (Northstone Publishing) * Prayer Journal (Northstone Publishing) * Finding the Still Point - A Spiritual Response to Stress (Northstone Publishing, September, 2002) and two children’s books: * The Mouse that Couldn’t Squeak (Oxford) * The Terrible Finn MacCoul (Oxford)
And so on.An amusingly fallacious read, that Holding.
There is nothing in that source of yours that is not ad hominem
, except the numerous times where Holding inverts an appeal to authority
. Here's another sliver of Holding's preference for style
Our friends in Canada had now and then asked me about a journalist up their way named Tom Harpur, who writes all manner of squishy New Agish columns for the Toronto Star. Harpur's work doesn't get down here to the States easily; in fact his book of interest here, The Pagan Christ [Thomas Allen, 2004] I could not find in local bookstores and it could not be had via Amazon's American site until more recently (I ordered it via the Canadian one). Perhaps that may have had something to do with laws against importing foreign toxic waste.
You will forgive me if I refuse to take this man seriously. :roll:Unfortunately your Holding relies heavily on the efforts of one W. Ward Gasque (et al) and his criticisms of Harpur, to which Harpur has replied with:
Response to Ward Gasque et alThe critical response to The Pagan Christ has been most interesting and stimulating. The individuals range from: * the general professional academic, who despite the explanation at the beginning of the book that it was not written for scholars (hence the minimum of footnotes) insists that the lack of lengthy references, suitable for a Ph.D. thesis, undermines the book's integrity. This is nonsense; * the scholars with some credentials in Egyptology, who have not yet come across the same findings, who haven't read the same sources, but who resist any intrusion into their field. I have come to realize that if you put any ten Egyptologists into a room you'll get ten different opinions on the same data; and * the ultra-conservative and/or fundamentalist Christians, who are always deeply threatened by any ideas that do not support and agree with their traditional beliefs.Ward Gasque fits into the latter category. He is a conservative Christian proselytizer, hence he is biased from the beginning and cannot produce a neutral review. Clearly the book presents a major challenge to his entire position, no doubt accounting for the highly charged nature of his attempted critique. His major criticisms do not stand up under closer scrutiny, and some of them amount to a form of slander. But, he lets off such a shotgun blast that it would be impossible to begin to answer each of his pronouncements. A few cases, however, will serve as an example.Contrary to what most people believe, there is no general unity among Egyptologists. "Egyptology" simply means the study of Egypt, and what I have found is that every "Egyptologist" I have read or heard from has his or her own individual interpretation of the same data and it would be hard to find two who agree. In the Pagan Christ, I have worked extensively with several Egyptologists. It comes down to a question of whose interpretations stand up to scrutiny and common sense.Gasque states that "virtually none of the alleged evidence for the views put forward in The Pagan Christ is documented by reference to original sources." Anyone reading the book will find numerous references to such original sources as The Egyptian Book of the Dead, The Pyramid Texts, the Book of Thoth. The works of the esteemed Egyptologist E. Wallis Budge are also cited, as well as many other contemporary scholars. Critics will always go after sources even if the material presented is factual. They will ignore the mention early in The Pagan Christ that the book was not written for scholars, hence the deliberate curtailment of copious references and notes. They will also not accept that I have the credentials to be considered an expert in the field myself. I have been not just a gold-medalist classical scholar and veteran journalist in the field of religion, but a long-time student of the Greek New Testament (being a former professor of the same) and did post-graduate work in the early Fathers of the Church at Oxford under some of the best scholars in the world. Religion has been the area of my expertise for over forty years. In other words, I am a scholarly expert in my own right, capable of weighing evidence and making my own judgements. I have met and debated with many of the leading religious figures of our time.The fact that the "Egyptologists" in his selectively reported responses had not heard of three of the key sources in the book, despite the fact that their works have been reprinted to this day is revealing. The comment that an early source, Godfrey Higgins, could have "no value whatsoever because hieroglypics had not yet been deciphered" at the time he wrote, is stunningly pompous! According to that theory, Christian writers over the centuries who had no access to the hieroglypics either have all held opinions on Egyptian religion and culture which likewise would have no value. And, the fact remains, that not one of the would-be detractors of The Pagan Christ has read the works of Godfrey Higgins, Gerald Massey, or Alvin Boyd Kuhn. This is not the mark of a truly scholarly critique.By the way, Alvin Boyd Kuhn was not an "autodidact" as Gasque falsely has claimed, but a highly educated man with a PhD from Columbia University. His book, The Lost Light, by Academy Press, New Jersey, bears on its title page the following quote: "This book will be to religion what Darwin's work has been to science" with attribution to President National Library Board, USA.Gasque is critical of my statement that "Paul's Jesus lacks any human quality for the very reason that, in Paul's understanding, he was not a human person at all." But, of this claim there can be no doubt - numerous other writers and authorities over the centuries have noticed the same thing. Paul's Jesus is a non-historical, Gnostic or mystical reality, as brought out extremely well most recently by Earl Doherty in The Jesus Puzzle.His statement that the name Jesus is a Greek derivation of a semitic name "Jeshu'a" borne by many in the first century is grossly misleading. The name Yeshua or Yehoshua is the title of the earliest Hebrew hero, Joshua, many centuries earlier; the Septuagint, (the Greek version of the Old Testament) has the word Jesus about 200 times and it was written c. 300-250 B.C.E.) Yahweh, which is also related to Yehoshua, according to Diodorus Siculus (a primary source) in the first century BCE comes from the Egyptian IAO. I have read Massey and Kuhn on this-which Gasque has not-and he is simply wrong. The origins of Jesus as a name go far back into earliest times and in fact lie behind the much later Jewish terms. Herodotus in Book II c.43 confirms this.He says there is no evidence for the idea that Horus was virgin born. This is simply false. There are various versions of how Horus was conceived, it is true. But, all of them involve a miraculous birth. In one tradition, Isis was impregnated by "a flash of lightening or by the rays of the moon." In The Golden Bough, Frazer tells how Isis conceived "while she fluttered in the form of a hawk over the corpse of her dead husband." In the ancient Syrian and Egyptian rituals of the nativity, the celebrants retired into inner shrines from which at midnight they issued with a loud cry "the Virgin has brought forth!" The Egyptians even represented the newborn sun by the image of an infant, which on his birthday, the winter solstice, was brought out and exhibited to the worshippers. Isis retained her virginity perpetually and was given the epithets "Immaculate Virgin" and "uncontaminated goddess," as well as "Mother of God." By the way, I nowhere suggest that the N.T. Mary was a goddess like Isis, as Gasque says. But, there were so many images and statuettes of Isis holding the baby saviour, Horus, throughout the ancient Mediterranean world that when Christianity finally triumphed these same figures became those of the Madonna and child without any break in continuity. No archaeologist can now tell whether some of these artifacts represent the one or the other.Regarding the age of Osirian religion, which Gasque naively assumes began in 2350 BCE, primary sources (which he declares I never refer to) such as the historian Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus make clear that the oral tradition indicates he "walked the earth" as God's Incarnation thousands of years previously. Osiris was both God and man exactly the same as Jesus. So were a host of other ancient deities. What's more, the Incarnation was also believed in for millennia BCE in Vedic religion. Krishna and Buddha both reflect this widespread belief.Gasque denies that Horus had twelve disciples. This he says is a "questionable claim." However, the twelve disciple gods is a prominent theme in the ancient Egyptian religion (as also in the cult of Mithras). Horus, the sun god, is surrounded by the twelve signs of the zodiac, his "helpers" and "disciples."Gasque says that "according to Harpur there is no evidence that Jesus of Nazareth ever lived ." It's not according to Harpur-despite all the conservative sophistry there's NO solid evidence for him of an extra-biblical kind contemporaneous with the time of Jesus' alleged advent on earth. The fact that Gasque is unaware of this reality or of the many books (which I cite) being written today on this theme, (eg. The Jesus Puzzle, Doherty, The Jesus Mysteries, Freke and Gandy, The Fabrication of the Christ Myth, Leidner, etc.) argues against his own pompous stance of expertise unlimited. If he possesses such evidence, as he implies, he should produce it forthwith. The entire world waits with baited breath for his "incontrovertible evidence" of an historical Jesus' existence.To sum up: Gasque has a problem with my using authors he's never heard of, nor, has ever bothered to read. That's the whole point of the book! It's high time this material was widely known and studied. The Pagan Christ has a timely message for Christianity, other religions, and the world. All the nit-picking and distorting of its message can't change that. What saddens me is the extent to which literalist fundamentalists will go to discredit others who follow the Christ within.Re: James Patrick Holding:James Patrick Holding is a pseudonym used by Robert Turkel to write website articles in defense of biblical inerrancy. For some reason, he doesn't want his real identity to be known, even though almost everyone familiar with his attempts to reply to articles written by Jeff Lowder, Brian Holtz, Earl Doherty, and me (among other skeptics) knows what his real name is. His rationale for concealing his identity was that he worked as a librarian in a prison, so he was afraid that if he wrote under his real name, inmates upon their release might seek vengeance on him for "disciplinary reports" he had written. He was never able to explain why using a phony name to write internet articles, which prison inmates would have no access to, was going to protect him from vengeance seeking ex-inmates who from daily contacts with him while they were in prison already knew his real name.
I have unnecessarily assumed the burden of proof, when it is really the person making incredibly implausible claims who ought to shoulder that burden.
Actually, the original claim is yours -- that god exists -- and therefore the burden of proof belongs to you as well, as you well know. I'm still waiting, btw. I'm interested in seeing if your "proofs" can be made without begging the question. Oh yeah, dialectics is not as much about making arguments, in the way that you mean -- you are confusing dialectics with rhetoric, I think -- dialectics is a means of examining conditions
and arriving at the truth. There are two schools of dialectic analysis, Socratic and Hegelian.
But so far you've only shown your debate skills. I'll give you the last word, lest this become a month long flame fest.
Well, if you can keep your wits there's no need for all that. And I have no interest in the last word; if I am addressed politely I will reply in turn -- it's only polite. :-) In addition to your impending "proof of god's existence" we can also discuss, perhaps, Pierce's The Fixation of Belief
or any of a surprisingly wide range of subjects! :wink:Here. Have a go!http://www.peirce.or...tings/p107.html