I read the first dozen articles on that site, and that was only about a third of the way down the main page, but I had had enough. Humphreys, from
what I got out of his writings, is what I think of as a 'selective researcher'. What I mean by that is he starts with a predetermined conclusion in
mind, looks for historical evidence that, with the proper spin on it, appears to support his 'conclusions', and ignores anything that could possibly
The trouble I find with religious researchers is that so few of them are unbiased. The vast majority are like Humphreys, determined to tear down all
religion, or else the opposite; they seek to bolster the claims of religion through equally spurious reasoning as the sort Humphreys uses. (this
problem is by no means limited to religion, unfortunately)
I'm a Christian (so obviously biased against Humphreys and those like him). Still, I think most people, whether for or against religion, can see
this guy is allowing far too much of his own personal opinions to taint his research. He likes to take a few facts and then weave his own stories
For example: (from his articles, word in brackets identifies article, if you go to the website it will be obvious which i refer to)
(surfeit)-KH claims that there was 'a surfeit of jesuses'. Fair enough; it was a common name at the time; the modern name Joshua is derived from
it. However, not one of the Jesuses KH mentions fall within the time frame that Christians assert Christ lived, the closest one being 62 A.D.
Virtually all historians agree that a man named Jesus was born around a few years B.C. (most figures I've seen are 7 to 2 B.C) and died in his early
thirties. He definitely existed, although as to whether he was what he claimed he was, well, that can be debated forever.
(nazareth)-KH says that there was no city of Nazareth before the fourth century A.D. Scholars used to say there was no city of Troy, either, or that
no cities were built in North America before Columbus. We found Troy, and we found loads of pre-Columbian cities in the Americas, such as Macchu
Picchu. That of course does not prove the existence of Nazareth, but it does render his argument rather silly.
(apollo)-according to KH, the changing styles of art over the centuries is a direct proof that Christ never existed. I wonder what Picasso's cubism
'proves', then? Or the idealized Greek art phase, with statues that showed human perfection? Or the stiff Egpytian art style? Or children's
stick-men drawings? You get the point, I think.
(preparing)-nothing of value here to critique, just a bunch of pictures of pagan gods and KH's opinions.
(caesar)-KH presents a bunch of evidence that Julius Caesar was a real person. Sure, I'll concede that. The evidence for Caesar's existence is
pretty clear. So is the evidence for Christ's existence, despite KH's false claims to the contrary. Any historian worth anything knows both were
real people. Were some of the stories about each exaggerated? Probably. Are some of them false? Probably. Today we have people like Holocaust
deniers. I'm not old enough to remember the Holocaust, but I know it happened, and I know not to listen to people who say it didn't, because
evidence shows that it did happen. Evidence shows that Christ was a real person, too. As for the miracles and resurrection, there is no evidence,
but Christ definitely existed. Ask any history professor.
(changing)-I find it hypocritical that KH accuses early Christians and Romans of picking and choosing books for the Bible, when KH is picking and
choosing from history to weave his arguments. Did people change the words of the early gospels? Sure they did. That's undisputed, I think, on both
sides of the fence. How many early works, in any field, haven't been changed, edited, or partially lost? KH assumes that because there are
differences, that every single word attributed to an early gospel writer is automatically false, which is illogical.
(good book)-KH quotes verses where the Bible states striking/curisng at your parents is bad, being a drunkard is bad, lying is bad, bestiality is bad,
etc etc. As far as I am concerned, those are bad things, and KH is wrong to attack them. As for some of the other quotes, such as those on
homosexuality, they neither prove nor disprove the Bible. KH doesn't prove anything one way or the other with this article. Incidentally, I find it
hard to take an argument seriously when a picture of lego people in a threesome position are used to illustrate a point (yeah, he really did do
(circus)-lots more KH opinions. He does make a couple of good points; for example, you should not take the Bible's claim that it is itself divine as
the sole proof. There's hardly any factual information here, just a lot of 'KH's opinion is...'
(12 apostles)-varying accounts of the apostle's lives and deaths apparently proves that they didn't exist. Does that mean Elvis didn't exist,
either? According to KH's logic, it does, but that's obviously foolishness. KH again uses the concept of 'selective researching', looking only
for that which bolsters his claim and discarding everythingthat doesn't back him up.
(neighbour)-lots more KH opinion, with a few misquoted biblical verses to add a semblance of legitimacy to his claims.
(persecution) Jewish war of 66-70AD, Domitian's persecutions, Diocletian's persecutions, Nero's using Christians as scapegoating. That's just
what I remember from the four history courses I've taken in university, apparently four more than KH has, and they add up to more than the '12 years
of persecution' KH claims.
Wondering if there was more persecutions I hadn't remembered, I did an internet search, and found that Nero (64-68), Domitian(90-96), Antoninus Pius
(138-161), Marcus Aurelius (161-180, with year 177 the worst in his reign), Decius (249-251), Gallus (251-253), Valerian (257), Diocletian
(303-305), and Galerius (305-311) . (dates in brackets are all AD, naturally, and are the best dates of the range of persecution I could find; they
do not necessarily represent the years the emperor ruled or lived, merely the years they persecuted Christians, which in some cases are the same)
Adds up to a few more than twelve years, meaning that KH either can't do math or doesn't know history. (makes me wonder which 12 KH was considering,
and how he missed all the others in his research, if even I could find all those) Also, it is commonly accepted amongst historians that there were
ten great persecutions against Christians by the Romans. Google each of those emperors under 'christian persecution ' and you will find the same
info I did. Open any history textbook and you'll find info there, too. I checked a couple of mine. KH seems to have a selective memory when it
comes to reading history, or he would have remembered something as widely known in the historical community as 'the ten persecutions'.
(sin) -mostly KH discusses sexual sins here, plus a few others. Sounds to me like KH is condemning the idea of sin here, almost like he's trying to
justify it. Lots more KH opinion here, too, plus a giant conspiracy theory concerning the Church and sin/confessions. In case you don't buy his
arguments, he adds a picture of a lego guy doing a lego bear, to back up his points.
That was enough for me, I didn't read any more articles after that. I can respect the viewpoint that some people have against Christianity, but I
cannot tolerate it when they use misquoted scriptures, twisted history, uninformed opinion, and blatant lies in order to fabricate a body of so-called
evidence for a pre-formed conclusion. If people want to disbelieve in Christianity, that is their right, but those people should research from
scholarly sources and not Mr. Humphreys, if they want to be informed on the issues.
Personally, I'd like to see some research done where Christians and anti-Christians worked together, but that will probably never happen (they would
kill each other first, lol, then nothing would get done) Basically, the summary of this incredibly long-winded post is, don't trust any one single
source for your information (on any topic), because some of them (like Ken Humphreys) will have no clue what they are talking about.
(sorry about the 2 ad hominem jabs I made regarding the lego stuff, I just couldn't resist, they were so silly for KH to include, I had to make fun
Feel free to comment on anything I said above, just please 'comment thoughtfully', as Al Davison requested. I don't think anyone needs another
mud-slinging religion thread on ATS, there's more than enough of those, already.