On Humility

I was talking with some people tonight about humility. Most people probably wouldn’t consider me a humble person. It depends, however, on your definition of humility.

As with most things religion touches, I think it has screwed up our idea of humility. The typical conception of someone who is humble is someone who is self-deprecating, self-effacing, deferential – humiliated before GOD.

Merriam-Webster sez:

1: not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive
2: reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission
3 a: ranking low in a hierarchy or scale : insignificant, unpretentious b: not costly or luxurious

But I prefer to think of the word based on its etymology:

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin humilis meaning low, humble, from humus earth; akin to Greek chthōn earth, chamai on the ground.

This is also possibly the root of the word “human“.

You know how much it must irk me to quote from the Christian mythology book but I’ll take poetry where I find it:

Genesis 2:7 And Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.

Where am I going with all this?

I explained to some friends tonight that our bodies are made, as the book says, from dirt – which is just a poetic way of saying that the sperm and ovum which came together to create your body were formed out of the nutrients eaten by your parents which came from the ground. Plants literally eat the minerals out of the ground, the animals eat the planets, and the human animals eat both, thereby eating the “dirt” second-hand. This “dirt” – or as I prefer to call it, these “chemicals” – are what you are. Your entire body is made up of chemicals from the ground. We’re made up mostly of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen (the last three which were all formed in the explosions of stars, which is why Joni Mitchell sang “we’re all stardust”), with some salts and trace elements.


(photo by idan x)

Your brain is also made up of this “dirt”, this humus, and as regular readers know, it is my suggestion that every thought you’ve ever had in your life was 100% the result of a simple electro-chemical event in your brain. Dirt can think! Free will is an illusion. We aren’t in control of chemistry. We’re just along for the ride.

If you accept that this is all you are – that every action you’ve ever done and every thought you’ve ever had was the result of a simple electro-chemical event in the brain – then you realize you are just dirt. That everyone else is just dirt. Just chemical reactions. Hitler. Gandhi. Buddha. Not Jesus, because we know he was probably a fictional character. Napoleon. Jack The Ripper. George Bush. Saddam Hussein. All just dirt. Everything they ever did in their lives, everything you’ll ever do in your life, is governed by the laws of chemistry and physics which all sprung from the Big Bang, 14-point-something billion years ago.

Even that thought you’re having right now – “Reilly is so full of shit, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about” – that, too, is 100% based on the laws of chemistry. “You”, the dirt, had no “control” over it. It’s just chemistry. Don’t feel guilty about it – it’s just chemistry. You have no control over the laws of chemistry (unless, of course, you are a student of Professor Charles Xavier, in which case I grant you special compensation and you can leave class early).

So – that’s my definition of HUMILITY – knowing that you are just humus, just dirt. That everything you do in your life (or don’t do as the case may be) is 100% the result of chemical reactions which started with the Big Bang all that time ago. You can’t take credit for it. You weren’t even there. In fact, most of the atoms making up your body didn’t even exist. They came later.

If I’m right – and if you don’t think I am, come prepared in the comments section below with rational arguments – then you can neither justify feeling guilty or proud or angry or love. Can you love dirt? Can you be angry with dirt? Should dirt feel guilty for being dirt? Should it feel proud for being dirt?

Do you think perhaps this is what the writer/s of the Talmud or Genesis were trying to convey when they spoke of people being made out of animated clay or of the earth? Were they trying to explain that we are all just chemistry? And that TRUE humility comes from that knowledge?

The person who says “I’m not just a chemical reaction – I have FREE WILL! I am in control of my actions!”: is what they meant by a person with pride?

Instead, I quote Popeye: “I yam what I yam”. The dirt that made me is configured in a particular way, thanks to the laws of chemistry, and it is going to do what it has to do. “I” (whatever “I” am) is just along for the ride.

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29 thoughts on “On Humility

  1. NathanaelB says:

    You make us sound more like golems than humans :-)

  2. Gran Jan says:

    Wasn’t Popeye quoting the God of the bible who said ” I am that which I am” ?

  3. No, I think God was quoting Popeye.

  4. Rob Irwin says:

    Jesus, you’ve gone mad in my absence.

  5. Hey Rob! Long time no hear.

  6. Cameron, nice word play on humus & humility. I get the importance of the materialism you are putting forth, but it is a bit Newtonian. While you are on a Marxist kick you might like to explore *dialectical* materialism.

    “… every thought you’ve ever had in your life was 100% the result of a simple electro-chemical event in your brain.”

    Except that thoughts are influenced by thoughts, books, history, relationships, politics, culture and so on. The brain will not think without its holistic context!

    The material evolutionary survival of the brain is tied to the success of the culture that surrounds it.

  7. Thanks for the pointer towards dialectical materialism, Walter. I really do need to read some Marx.

    You have to consider how the external events you mentioned influence thought. Would you agree they enter our system via the sensory gateways as chemical events themselves? Everything we see, hear, read – this information, this data, enters our brain through a chemical event – light enters the pupil and is focused on the retina by the lens. Light-sensitive nerve cells react to the light. They interact with each other and send messages to the brain.

    Isn’t that all a chemical reaction which, in turn, creates a series of chemical reactions in our brains which we call “thought”?

  8. You are right. Let me tell you about the chemicals I am excreting in my cerebellum. There is a chemical domain, perhaps slightly different from the neurology domain or the biology domain. Each of these discourses has a language that talks about “thought”. They are all “right” and complementary. By analogy you are just looking at letters in a row. Or Pixels on a screen. All of Shakespeare is just scribbles on a page. Not wrong, but hopping levels of discourse like that is useless.

    As psychotherapist I stick to my domain, not because I don’t think brain wave research is useless, or some chemicals might not help occasionally, but I work mostly with Ahas! that come through seeing patterns way beyond vibrations at the chemical level. Fear might be a purely chemical eruption, and a moment of insight such as “I am afraid of being invisible” is also chemical, but discussing these things with a chemist is one thing, and with a psychotherapist who is at home with these patterns & how they hang together with other feelings & experiences and their psychological history and so on is quite another.

    But you know all this, you quote the bible to make a point, not some chemical equations!

    I saw the Dawkins movie the other night, “God Delusion” I have the same beef with him. Everything he says is right, and the religious people he talks to muddle up fact & myth and are hopeless as scientists. But he mixes up levels of discourse. He missed the point that there is a noosphere hovering about (a noosphere discourse level).

    I think atheism and religion get more interesting when they forget about scientific truth, or literalism, and see through the myths to meaning. There is still plenty to debate, I mean do we want a half-dead guy hanging on the walls in schools as an icon of what it is to be great or good? Some censorship might not go amiss there.

    I think those little clay duck people in the photo would be better. Maybe they could be the icon for your church!

  9. Walter, I think you’re totally right that we need to see the meaning as well as understand the process. I spent a few years working with a great therapist and it was certainly helpful.

    What has been more helpful to me though over the course of my life has been understanding that the idea that I have any control over my thoughts or actions is a painful illusion. That’s why I talk about chemistry. Once I understood that my thoughts were nothing more than chemical reactions, I found that most of my anxiety, stress and fear dropped away. Life becomes much easier once we are able to discard the idea that we are somehow in control of our thoughts and actions, as if we had the ability to superimpose our desires on the laws of chemistry.

    I think what the chemistry of my brain forces me to think at any given moment. I do whatever the chemistry of my brain/body forces me to do at any given moment. Why worry or feel guilt or fear? Just do what you are compelled to do and live effortlessly.

  10. John McGuinness says:

    ok,
    So if it is all like you say, chemistry, then there is nothing to stop me as an animal totally at the mercy of my brain chemistry going out and killing another animal who is enslaved by his/her chemistry in a similar manner.

    Interesting….

    Why dont I then, why dont I as a person act on my base animal instincts and rape, steal or kill on a daily basis. It cant be because of any thought of reprecussion, because in the ‘cameronian’ world free thought does not exist.

    Why in a cameronian world would anyone care if I did these things? Why would I get arrested, go before a court of law, be found guilty and go to jail?

    Why would psychotherapy work. If as you say your ‘thought’ processes were an endless series of chemical reactions, why would you be able to change behaviours just by talking to someone ? after all you cant cant retard, facilitate or change a chemical reaction in a beaker by sitting there and talking to it ?

    The whole idea that our ‘thought’ processes are a constantly continuing reaction would suggest that imply that it would continue on as usual unless something else was added to the system. heat coolth (technical term) or another chemical was added to the system

    What this would mean is that once an opinion was formed then there would be no changing it, you could not change your circumstance, once you were a corporate drone, you would always stay a corporate drone with no hope of running your own sucessful media empire for example.

    Why would the books you read today dictate what your doing 5 or 10 years down the track ?

    I know its retorical evidence but the fact that we learn, study, can be influenced by the world around us, have life long friends, consider others when we do things and are actually capable of self sacfrice points to us being something more than ‘dirt’.

    In my mind saying that we cannot control or change our lives is abdicating responsibility for our own actions or inactions.

    As for the god stuff well you know where I stand there Cam

    / end of rant

    J

  11. Nice rant John. :-)

    Let me answer your questions one by one.

    Q. why dont I as a person act on my base animal instincts and rape, steal or kill on a daily basis? It cant be because of any thought of reprecussion, because in the ‘cameronian’ world free thought does not exist.

    A. If by “free” thought you mean thoughts which occur outside of the laws of chemistry, then no, I don’t believe in “free” thought. But thoughts DO exist and they are generated through brain chemistry.
    If your brain was architected in such a way that the chemistry compelled you to do those things, then you would. If you don’t find yourself doing these things, then your brain is architected NOT to do those things, probably due to a combination of conditioning over your lifetime – where neurons have grown which tell you that doing those things will cause you pain – and the benefits of biological evolution that favoured people who didnt have the tendency to become psychotic killers.

    Q. Why in a cameronian world would anyone care if I did these things? Why would I get arrested, go before a court of law, be found guilty and go to jail?

    A. Because the laws of our society are there to protect us from people who do us harm. If your brain chemistry causes you to do harm to others, then you must be removed from society, preferably in a humane way and preferably we will try to treat your brain condition and cure you of your propensity to do harm to others.

    Q. What this would mean is that once an opinion was formed then there would be no changing it, you could not change your circumstance, once you were a corporate drone, you would always stay a corporate drone with no hope of running your own sucessful media empire for example.

    A. But your brain is continually being affected by external influences (see my answer to Walter above). Your neuronal architecture is always in a state of flux. It doesn’t stay fixed. Everything you see, hear, read, is translated via chemistry into the structure of your brain.

    Q. Why would the books you read today dictate what your doing 5 or 10 years down the track ?

    A. Again because this changes your brain chemistry, new neurons grow, etc.

    Q. I know its retorical evidence but the fact that we learn, study, can be influenced by the world around us, have life long friends, consider others when we do things and are actually capable of self sacfrice points to us being something more than ‘dirt’.

    A. Why? The point of my post is that you are just chemistry, aka “dirt”. It’s obvious that chemicals can make cells which exhibit behaviour that may appear complex – this is a whole field of study called “emergence”- but is really nothing more than very simple processes happening across billions of cells.

    Q. In my mind saying that we cannot control or change our lives is abdicating responsibility for our own actions or inactions.

    A. Whatever moral issues you have with the concept doesn’t alter the rules of chemistry, John. If you can tell me how you think you are able to step outside of the rules of chemistry to create “free” thought, then go right ahead, I’m listening.

  12. NathanaelB says:

    Everyone’s a believer.

    You either believe science can explain everything, or you believe that science can’t explain everything :-)

  13. John McGuinness says:

    Cam,
    So what is an example of Free thought outside the rules of chemistry? If you cant tell me then if someone did break from the mould how would we recognize that they were operating outside these rules ?

    Cam this is the first time I have ever heard you use qualification ‘outside the rules of chemistry’. As far as I remember you have always said ‘there is no such thing as free thought’ period.

    I agree with you that the human biomechanical machine is a marvel but I do feel that you sell youself and the rest of humanity short. The way in which the ‘dirt’ is arranged is the thing that makes us special, the same way that the way all the arrangement of the pieces of a car or a jet plane make it more than just a collection of bits of metal.

    I contend that the way we are constructed is the thing that enables our brains to learn and to adapt. it also lets us do things like think logically through problems, reach conclusions, and dare I say it, make decisions which can not only affect us but the people around us as well.

    All within the ‘laws of chemistry’ of course. :)

    J

  14. John,

    As I don’t believe that we can break the rules of chemistry inside our brains, I absolutely DON’T believe there can be any such thing as “free” thought. But if you’re going to fight for it, you need (imho) to demonstrate how that “free thought” would happen outside of the laws of chemistry.

    I have no problem with your statement that the way our brains are engineered allows them to adapt and learn. Of course that is true. We think, logically or not, we make decisions, etc. My point has never been that these things don’t happen. That would be stupid. My point is only that the decisions we make are 100% determined by the laws of chemistry, of cause and effect. There is nothing “free” about it. We are machines. Complex machines, yes, but machines nonetheless.

    And I have found that there is an amazing sense of relief and freedom in accepting this fact. Once we let go of the illusion of “free will”, it’s amazing how easy life becomes.

  15. John McGuinness says:

    …… Whatever ……..

  16. daniel says:

    Just as a bye the bye, what are chemical rules and does each different chemical have it’s own? Do they get punished if they don’t follow those rules? Could they fuck up your thinking process by not following them? Does any thing explain anything except from your own perspective? Are there things that don’t change when they react to something else? Do you aussies have daylight savings ? it kinda blows which I’m sure produces some kind of chemical reaction!

  17. marcelo castro says:

    It’s funny how whenever you question someone on whether there is free will or not, they all seem to want to kill rape or steal. Hilarious.

    But lets be honest here… I kill all the time, maybe not directly always, but somehow, i always do. I kill bacteria or cows(yes, that steak was once a cow) and in some way we all kill each other, through words or conditioning. People kill themselves because of the words that people throw at them. Homosexual teenagers commit suicide because of homophobic words, which most people at some point have always used. Rape, well sex in general is rape with a smile- you don’t ever gently pleasantly penetrate someone – you fuck there brains out. And steal… fuck, don’t get me started there. I’m pretty sure Australia was not always called Australia. I’m pretty sure that this money in my hand or these products that I use did not come out of thin air.

    But, lets go back to the hypocritical world. If you feel like killing someone directly, then there are things called laws that punish those that kill rape or steal.

    But hey… there is no control in either direction. All of it is uncontrolable. Including the act of gaining control.

  18. Cameron Reilly says:

    hehe yeah good point Marcelo. You have to wonder why people don’t object with “but if there is no free will, what’s to stop everyone from doing good deeds??”

    It continually amazes me how much of a fight people put up for the concept of free will and yet can NEVER, EVER put up a single rational argument in defense of it. And yet that doesn’t seem to bother them.

  19. marcelo castro says:

    I rarely get involved in these particular arguements here, because you do such a good job at making your point anyway. But this past few weeks I’ve had heated discussions with some people about free will and other points on the nature of reality. And everyone always goes straight to the darkest place that they can go.

    For example. If there is no free will, then there is no need to carry moments around with you, like as if those moments are owned by you, or that you are somehow permanently scarred by them.

    I had a conversation where I had mentioned that and this particular person started “oh, but what if your leg gets chopped off or your tortured” etc. This guy lives in suburbia, from an upper middle class family, hasn’t even worked in 6 years, spends his entire time getting drunk and watching cricket… and straight away, “what if your eyes are pulled out of your head by a serial killer!!!”

    It reminds me of the Mother Teresa posts here when she passed. And how all she saw was the darkness.

    I should make a point that this person’s language was littered with a religous catholic christian slant though not directly.

    Peoples ideas on what’s happening as apposed to what is actually happening are in such conflict that horror is the immediate response.

    Anyway.

    Cam I was wondering if you’ll give me a bit of advice on things geek-ish. I am buying my first laptop ever this coming tuesday, and I wanted to know what your final verdict on your Mac is. As I will probably go Mac as apposed to Windows Vista non mac based laptop.

    I’ll be using it to make music and short films etc (for now, looks like I’m going to South America for an adventure and investigation this year and I wanted to collect footage and use my laptop on the go). Just a simple thumbs up would suffice.

  20. Cameron says:

    Marcelo, I’ll probably stick with the Mac from now on, so yeah, if you can afford it, go for it.

  21. Billy B says:

    Hi Cam, you’re an amazingly busy philosopher for an omnidirectional sackload of chemicals!

    If life is without point why do you strive so hard to understand it, then believing you have found it to be pointless, strive so hard to convince others? As Shakespeare nearly said in one of his myth books, ‘The philosopher doth protest too much, methinks.’

    Personally I have to say I don’t feel at all stressed by the concept of free will. In fact, I find it quite releasing to be able to believe I can personally influence the part I play in the grand scheme of things. I choose not to try and prove it simply because I can [choose].

    What a strange concept of pride you have. No wonder you call the Bible the Christian myth book if your take on Genesis is representative of what you think it contains. Ignorance of the Bible (or anything else) will never qualify you to pronounce upon it.

    Cheers for the opportunity to fire up the old grey cells!
    Clay (animated)

  22. billy,

    why do I strive? Do I have a choice? As I’ve already explained, no, I am just a series of chemical reactions, so whatever I do (or do not do) is the result of a series of chemical reactions, nothing more.

    Why do you surmise I’m ignorant of the Christian book? I’ve read it many times. And if you are arguing that is a book about myths, I ask you to provide hard evidence for the claims it makes or stories it tells.

  23. Billy B says:

    Hi Cam, thanks for taking the time to reply.

    Please accept my apologies for presuming you were unfamiliar with the Christian book. It was just an impression.

    Faith is a strange thing. We end up exercising it whether we believe in it or not. Its really just a question of where we point it. You appear to have put your faith religiously (see etymology of the word ‘religion’) in this chemistry-only theory for which I suspect hard evidence might be equally hard to come by – not of the chemistry bit which obviously nobody questions, but of the only.

    Surprisingly enough, hard evidence of the existence of the God of the Bible is available to those who want it. My question would be whether you – having attempted (unsuccessfully according to the mythbook) to renounce all personal responsibility on chemical grounds – really want it.

    When Jesus said ask, seek, knock, he meant (and the original greek carries this meaning) that we would have to be persistent and tenacious – I know I certainly had to be – because there are forces out there which are trying their damnedest to block you.

    He also said ‘violent men are taking the kingdom of God by force’. I just don’t think you’ve been violent enough to date.

    Please don’t hit me!

  24. Cameron Reilly says:

    Billy, I am, indeed, quite surprised. What hard evidence of the God of the bible are you in possession of?

    In fact, what hard evidence do you have that this Jesus person you speak of (and you seem to even know what he said and what he MEANT by what he said) even existed?

  25. Billy B says:

    Cam, I am in possession of exactly the same hard evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible as I am for the existence of the Cameron Reilly of this website: personal aquaintance through communication.

    Or, hang on, maybe I’m just imagining you through some sort of sad, lonely, self-deceptive cyberwish.

    I think we can take God fairly literally when he is recorded in Jeremiah 31:34 as having said, ‘ “they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” ‘

    Repentance is the key, if chemical bags can humble themselves enough to repent.

    As to Jesus historical existence, no serious historian would question that today. The reasons go on and on… here are a few:

    Extra-Biblical contemporary records (eg. Josephus, Suetonius).
    Sheer volume of original manuscripts.
    Closeness of manuscript dates to events.
    Multiple eye-witness accounts within canon of Bible.
    Details within accounts suggesting first hand.

    At the end of the day, there is far more historical evidence for the existence of Christ than Julius Caesar, and I’m willing to lay money you don’t question him. All the Romans had to do was produce the body and none of this would have happened!

    I understand why Jesus seems enigmatic to you. I am a former atheist myself, but when you get to know him, you get to know what he meant. But there’s no point in asking me, ask HIM.

  26. Cameron Reilly says:

    Billy

    Your personal communication with me or anyone, imaginary friends included, can neither be construed as ‘hard’ or scientific evidence. How do you know you’re not just imagining the whole thing? I know people who claim to have seen aliens, but I don’t believe them either. To be scientific, you need to be able to do better than that.

    As for Jesus, I’m going to have to disagree with you. There isn’t a SINGLE first-hand eye-witness account of the man or his deeds, not one. Neither Josephus, Suetonius, nor even the writers of the biblical texts even CLAIMS to have seen him with their own eyes.

    MARK:

    The gospel itself is anonymous. It doesn’t say who it is written by. As early as the 2nd century, however, it was attributed to Mark, a disciple of Peter. Most scholars do not accept the Papias citation as a reliable representation of the Gospel’s history, pointing out that there is no distinctive Petrine tradition in Mark. Even if the attribution is correct, Mark was a disciple of PETER, not JESUS. So the earliest source was not an eye-witness to the events and is merely passing along heresay.

    MATTHEW:

    Most scholars do not consider the apostle Matthew to be the author of this Gospel for a number of reasons, including the text being in Greek, not Aramaic and the Gospel’s heavy reliance on Mark. Scholars believe it is a product of the second or third Christian generation. The traditional name of Matthew is retained in modern discussion only for convenience.

    LUKE:

    Nowhere in Luke or Acts does it explicitly say that the author is Luke, the companion of Paul, nor does he say he was an eyewitness. In fact, he states the opposite:

    Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4)

    Scholars don’t seem to me quite sure who Luke was, but one thing we can be quite sure of is that he wasn’t an eyewitness of the events described. Some scholars believe Luke was written as late as 150 CE, because of the following parable:

    But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful. (Luke 12:45-46)

    Mark and Matthew both contains passages that appear to predict that Jesus would return within the lifetime of his disciples. Luke not only omits these stories, but inserts the one above, where Jesus appears to chastise servants for losing faith in the timing of their master’s return. This makes some scholars believe that Luke was written well after people had given up on his imminent return.

    JOHN:

    John’s Gospel is widely thought to be the least historical and trustworthy of all the gospels, mainly because John shows a great difference in the sequence and type of his narrative from the Synoptic (Matt, Mark, Luke) Gospels. However, on first sight it looks as though John can claim the highest authority, as it claims to have been written by John, brother of James, an eyewitness, and unlike Matthew (the only other gospel with an ‘author’ who might be an eyewitness) does not depend upon another gospel for its source.

    Starting in the 19th century, critical scholarship has further questioned the apostle John’s authorship, arguing that the work was written decades after the events it describes. The critical scholarship argues that there are differences in the composition of the Greek within the Gospel, such as breaks and inconsistencies in sequence, repetitions in the discourse, as well as passages that clearly do not belong to their context, and these suggest redaction. Most scholars agree on a range of c. 90-100 for when the gospel was written, though dates as early as the 60s or as late as the 140s have been advanced by a small number of scholars.

    The Jesus Seminar, a collection of 200 biblical scholars and historians who analyzed the scriptures for almost 20 years, concluded that the Gospel of John was the least likely accurate of all the gospels, with almost all of the saying in it attributed to Jesus to be inauthentic. Most of the famous sayings, such as “the Golden Rule”, are plagiarized from earlier sources or later constructs. Certainly some of the sayings attributed to Jesus bear a striking resemblance to earlier philosophers such as Plato or Confucious. The Seminar, which assumed for the purposes of the analysis that Jesus did exist as some sort of wise man who preached a “social gospel”, concluded that of the various statements in the “five gospels” (they included Thomas) attributed to Jesus, only about 18% of them were likely uttered by Jesus himself. The Seminar also concluded that the “acts” of Jesus portrayed in the gospels are equally unreliable.

    So, in summary, we can see that the gospels of the New Testament were, according to most scholars, not written by anybody who knew or even saw Jesus firsthand. Even if Jesus is assumed to have existed, the gospels are, according to the experts, highly unreliable source of factual information.

    And you claim that “there is far more historical evidence for the existence of Christ than Julius Caesar” is just pure nonsense. Not only do we have three contemporary sources, people who saw Caesar with their own eyes and wrote about him, such as the letters and speeches of his political rival Cicero, the historical writings of Sallust, and the poetry of Catullus, we also have Caesar’s own Commentaries (Commentarii) on his military campaigns. None of these things can be said about Jesus. So I don’t know where you get your information, but I’m afraid you are being lead astray.

    As for getting to know him, I gave up talking to imaginary friends as a child. Rational people don’t do such things. People who do are dangerous – to themselves and to the people around them.

  27. Billy B says:

    Hi Cameron

    Sorry for not getting back to you sooner and thanks for taking the time to write such an extensive and well researched reply.

    You have taken your stand so at there’s probably not much point in adding to what you have said, other than to perhaps point out that it does all depend very much on which ‘experts’ you place your faith in (oops! the ‘f’ word). If you have time have a look at this site and see what you think of Dr Craig’s arguments: http://www.reasonablefaith.org

    I felt your final paragraph was perhaps the most revealing, showing that – regardless of your confidence or otherwise in ancient documents – you have decided to persist in your presumption that God (and the risen Christ) are on a level with Ernie the Fluffballoon.
    Bad news if you’re wrong. No news if you’re right.

    Also, not all people who do such things are dangerous. The world is filled with millions of people who have become seriously better people as a direct result of faith in Jesus Christ, many reformed criminals etc etc. Its also full of hypocrites but I don’t really see too many Christian terrorists in the news these days.

    I leave you with the words of Jesus from Matthew 11:25 (KJV), ”At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

    Cheers…

  28. Cameron says:

    Billy, yes bad news if I’m wrong about your God, and equally bad news if I’m also wrong about the aliens not having landed, wrong about Zeus, Mohammed, Krishna, crystal healing, Nostradamus and the other million things that some people believe without evidence. Tell me – do you believe in ALL of those things? Or just one? And if just one, why that one in particular? There is no greater evidence to support your prophet than there is the words of Mohammed. At least we know Mohammed existed, so as far as I’m concerned, he was one up on Jesus.

    I’m browsing the site you linked to and I’m going to read through some of the section that claims to prove the Existence of God. I’ll let you know what I think.

    As for all Christians being dangerous – I’m not suggesting that all Christians are murderers or crazy fundamentalists. What I’m saying is that any person who chooses to ignore evidence and chooses instead to believe mysticism and mythology, is dangerous – to themselves, their loved ones, and to society as a whole. We don’t progress as a species by subscribing to ancient mythology. We progress by examining the facts and making rational decisions based on them. Anyone who chooses to do otherwise is living in a dream world and, as such, a danger, at some level, to the people around them.

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