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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Gospel of John is proof? (Philosophy)

I am in no way siding on any religion nor standpoint, but sometimes, I could not help but laugh on some of the craziest ideas and presumptions coming out, sadly, from my fellow Christian brothers.

Here is one, which I had found from Richard Dawkins' site. By the way, for those who doesn't know the guy, Richard Dawkins is a professor on Biology, and the author of Atheist books including "The God Delusion." In short, he is an atheist and a famous scientist.

And as much as Christians get bombarded with ridicule and insults by Atheists, the guys who were suppose to be holy are no different. They've also attack the Atheists with bashes, unfortunately, most of these bashes are unreasonable. To give an example, read the argument below:

intellectual dishonesty and Damn Lies!
Hello! I am referring to your book, God delusion! I aleady sent you an email about your book, and you have not cared to answer my questions?? I specifically asked you two questions:
1. Jesus death & Resurrection ! Disciple John as eye-witness account! written in his gospel in around 70AD after Jesus' death. This event was foretold in the old Jewish Talmud (Old Testament 700 YEARS BACK. any arguments??? DO YOU WANT MORE PROOF???
2. John's gospel. do you believe it or not????
Go read the Gospel of John and you will realize that 8 authentic miracles are described!
any questions on these///
have a good day. Please reply!
Now, what exactly makes this argument unreasonable? The claims do not match the opinions of the experts, moreover, this is a subjective presumption, meaning it simply relies on personal knowledge or opinion rather than supporting evidence.

This type of argument is called Argument from ignorance or argumentum ad ignorantiam or "appeal to ignorance," where "ignorance" stands for "lack of evidence to the contrary." It asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false, it is "generally accepted" (or vice versa). This represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes a third option, which is that there is insufficient investigation and therefore insufficient information to prove the proposition satisfactorily to be either true or false. Nor does it allow the admission that the choices may in fact not be two (true or false), but may be as many as four, (1) true, (2) false, (3) unknown between true or false, and (4) being unknowable (among the first three).

Obviously, this tactic was use as an attempt to shift the burden of proof away from the claimer and into the opponent (the Atheists).

Fact Finding

Upon further research, I find out that the Gospel of John is an account of the public ministry of Jesus. It begins with the witness and affirmation by John the Baptist and concludes with the death, burial, Resurrection, and post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus. This account is fourth of the canonical gospels, after the synoptics Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Note, the gospel's authorship is anonymous. Its Chapter 21 states it derives from the testimony of the 'disciple whom Jesus loved.' Along with Peter, the unnamed disciple is especially close to Jesus, and early-church tradition identified him as John the Apostle, one of Jesus' Twelve Apostles. The gospel is closely related in style and content to the three surviving Epistles of John such that commentators treat the four books together, yet, according to most modern scholars, John was not the author of any of these books.

Raymond E. Brown did pioneering work to trace the development of the tradition from which the gospel arose. The discourses seem to be concerned with the actual issues of the church-and-synagogue debate at the time when the Gospel was written c. AD 90 (90 CE). It is notable that, in the gospel, the community still appears to define itself primarily against Judaism, rather than as part of a wider Christian Church. Though Christianity started as a movement within Judaism, gradually, Christians and Jews became bitterly opposed.

John focuses largely on different miracles, including resurrecting Lazarus, which were given as signs to engender faith. Synoptic elements such as parables and exorcisms are not found in John. It presents a realized eschatology in which salvation is already present for the believer. The historical reliability of John is debated, particularly by secular scholarship. In contrast, Grace-oriented churches argue for the total pre-eminence of John.


The gospel identifies its author as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." The text does not actually name this disciple, but by the beginning of the 2nd century, a tradition began to form which identified him with John the Apostle, one of the Twelve. Today, the majority of scholars do not believe that John or any other eyewitness wrote it, and trace it instead to a "Johannine community" which traced its traditions to John; the gospel itself shows signs of having been composed in three "layers," reaching its final form about 90-100 AD (CE). According to the Church Fathers, the Bishops of Asia Minor requested John, in his old age, to write a gospel in response to Cerinthus, the Ebionites and other Hebrew groups which they deemed heretical. This understanding remained in place until the end of the 18th century.
  1. An initial version based on personal experience of Jesus;
  2. A structured literary creation by the evangelist which draws upon additional sources;
  3. The final harmony that presently exists in the New Testament canon, around 85-90 AD (CE).
In view of this complex and multi-layered history, it is meaningless to speak of a single "author" of John, but the title perhaps belongs best to the evangelist who came at the end of this process. The final composition's comparatively late date, and its insistence upon Jesus as a divine being walking the earth in human form, renders it highly problematical to scholars who attempt to evaluate Jesus' life in terms of literal historical truth.

Error in writing

Among others, Rudolf Bultmann suggested that the text of the gospel is partially out of order; for instance, chapter 6 should follow chapter 4.
4: 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.
4: 54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.
6: 1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.
6: 2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
Chapter 5 deals with a visit to Jerusalem, and Chapter 7 opens with Jesus again in Galilee since "he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him" — a consequence of the incident in Jerusalem described in Chapter 5. There are more proposed rearrangements.

Gospel with Numerous Authors

One possible construction of the "internal evidence" states that the Beloved Disciple wrote an account of the life of Jesus. However, this disciple died unexpectedly, necessitating that a revised gospel be written. It may be that John "is the source" of the Johannine tradition but "not the final writer of the tradition." Therefore, scholars are no longer looking for the identity of a single writer but for numerous authors whose authorship has been absorbed into the gospel's development over a period of time and in several stages.

The hypothesis of the Gospel being composed in layers over a period of time had its start with Rudolf Bultmann in 1941. Bultmann suggested that the author(s) of John depended in part on an author who wrote an earlier account. This hypothetical "Signs Gospel" listing Christ's miracles was independent of, and not used by, the synoptic gospels. It was believed to have been circulating before the year 70 AD (CE). Bultmann's conclusion was so controversial that heresy proceedings were instituted against him and his writings.

Nevertheless, scholars such as Raymond Edward Brown continue to consider this hypothesis a plausible possibility. They believe the original author of the Signs Gospel to be the Beloved Disciple. They argue that the disciple who formed this community was both an historical person and a companion of Jesus Christ. Brown goes one step further by suggesting that the Beloved Disciple had been a follower of John the Baptist before joining Jesus.

Source: Gospel of John, Wikipedia


The book of John, being authored by numerous anonymous authors make it unreliable. There is doubt that it was doctored to match an ideology that was present on the community that wrote it. Therefore, it cannot serve as supporting evidence. However, religiously-minded people rely on faith rather than evidence, which often make their statements nonfalsifiable. Such nonfalsifiable arguments do not need further debate that's why Dawkins didn't even bother to respond to his emails.


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