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sumskilz - The Immortality of the Soul in the Bible
Post 1

In 1 Kings 19:4 and Jonah 4:8 there is this expression: wayyišʾal ʾeṯ- nap̄šōw lāmūṯ (וַיִּשְׁאַ֤ל אֶת־ נַפְשׁוֹ֙ לָמ֔וּת). Which is "and he asked for his nephesh to die".

I don't think you will find anything explicit in the OT/Hebrew Bible. Judaism is ambiguous about the existence of an afterlife. Various Jewish movements have differed on the possibility precisely because there is no clear scriptural answer.

If you consider the Greek version of Sirach canonical, there is an explicit answer, but a lot of Christian denominations don't consider it canonical, and there is good reason to believe it has been modified. The Hebrew original was written between 200 and 175 BCE most likely in or near Jerusalem. According to the prologue of the Greek version, it was translated from Hebrew in Egypt sometime between 133 BCE and about 110 BCE. The prologue, written by Ben Sira’s grandson, likewise states “Not only this book, but even the Law itself, the Prophecies, and the rest of the books differ not a little when read in the original.”

Hebrew versions of Sirach have been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, at Masada, and in the Cairo Geniza. The oldest extant copy in Hebrew is from the First Century BCE, the oldest extent copy of the Greek version is contained within the Codex Vatinicus from the Fourth Century CE.

There are several differences concerning afterlife between the Hebrew and Greek versions:

Hebrew 2.9 - You who fear the lord, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy.
Greek 2.9 - You who fear the lord, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy, for his reward is an everlasting gift with joy.

Hebrew 7.17 - The expectation of mortals is worms.
Greek 7.17 - The punishment of the ungodly is fire and worms.

Hebrew 19.19 - [no such text exists]
Greek 19.19 – Those who do what is pleasing in him enjoy the fruit of the tree of immortality.

Vanoi - USA elections 2020
Post 2

Quote Originally Posted by Legio_Italica View Post
We can go “no you” for 5 pages but I don’t particularly enjoy that so how bout we just admit you want to pack the Court to benefit your political ideology and I want to not pack it to benefit mine.
I want the court packed to prevent a minority from enforcing its views on the majority. I don't have a problem with conservatives being on the court. I have a problem with a partisan Congress nominating judges over political ideology simply to enforce their ideological views on others. The first two issues conservatives are aiming for are abortion and now gay marriage. Both are supported by the majority of Americans yet conservatives just can't stand that. the will of the people right?

Given that Democrats tend to favor things like censoring offensive speech, restriction of “false” speech

Your first source shows a majority of Americans across all age groups, race, gender, education levels, and political affiliation being against the censoring of free speech.

Your second source also shows both Democrats and Republicans being resistant to the government tackling fake news.

Democrats don't seem to favor censoring speech as you claim.

repealing the second amendment
, and changing the Constitution to abolish the electoral college at vastly higher numbers than do Republicans,
Repealing amendments and changing the Constitution are completely legal and very much what American democracy is.

You yourself have advocated for abolishing presidential term limits and popular elections of Senators. Sounds authoritarian to me.

it’s pretty clear which “ideology” is generally more interested in “upholding Constitutional law” and which considers doing so an ideological obstacle. That’s why Democrats want to pack the Court, in no small part, to make getting rid of/working around ideological and legal obstacles easier. It was also a Democrat Rep which most recently/famously called for the abolition of the Senate. Wrap yourself in the mantle of defending the Constitution if you want, but it’s objectively a weird hill for you to die on.
Whats obvious is that you simply only care for your ideology. Thats why you have a problem with repealing the 2nd Amendment but have no problem taking away the people's ability to vote for Senators and allowing the President to serve indefinitely.

You continue to prove why the court needs to be packed. Conservatives are nothing but a minority seeking to force their views on the majority.

Jadli - How do you fix the US?
Post 3

Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
I think the notion that the US is somehow broken is absurd. Its functioning well for the people who run it.

Cows may think the abattoir is broken, but their opinion hardly matters.
Well, I was of course exaggerating a bit.

Naturally, if there was no better comparisson (like Europe, Oceania, Asian developed countries), you couldnt say much but about US, but there is.

The US definitely had its heights a few decades ago... But ironically, it caused its following present continuos downfall... because lot of americans started to believe their superiority over the rest of the world, which nowadays is definitely not there, especially due to them believing it, and hence not improving anymore. And the clown populist politicians like Trump are continuing to feed those people with their belief, thus the issues that have needed to be solved are not getting solved any times soon. (imho, I was working one summer in USA to able to travel across national parks etc... half americans I met, when being told Im from Europe/Czech Republic, were like... " Oh you are from Europe, that must be terible to live there, do you guys have enough to eat? You are so lucky to be here )

What are the main issues in my opinion?
Well, obviously there are some issues being brought from the history, like The Constitution... which is just absurd. Its like if we took a list of legal laws made by some king in 16th history, allowing inquisition and stuff like that, and were following it till today. Or the way the elections are made, like when for presidential elections people are not voting the candidates, but electors (or whatever are they called), that are then voting the presidents a few months later (and at least once in history they voted someone else than they were supposed to). Thats another medieval thing.... thats how the things worked when there was no internet... the villagers gathered and sent one guy to the capital to speak on their behalf. It is also unjust because then a candidate may won even if he has less votes in total (like Hillary vs Trump)
The two-party political system is so counterproductive(republicans vs democrats). Perhaps it was good idea back then, but nowadays it totally doesnt work. This way, the facts, political honesty, good intentions, etc dont matter at all, because whatever the democrats want, the republicans will always be against. Multi party system is much better, because politicans are not bound by only two anti poles, but everything is possible, various coalitions may be made, there is space for new ideologies, parties and politicians to rise up... And Im not even talking about how totally untrasparent both parties are, its just one big money mashine.
If you are smart, rich, from a good family, with a degree, upper class, etc, the US is definitely the best place for you to go and to get your busines and ideas moving faster, because the opportunities are somewhat endless if you are that, nobody is gonna stop you.
But it also works the other way. If you are a normal/average guy (god help you if you are poor, a non white guy, an immigrant etc), which is like 90% of the people (while the rich own like 99% of everything in USA), it is definitely not the best place to live for you. If you cant find a job, have a bad luck, or especially if you need to go to hospital, the state is not going to help you. USA medical systems is one of the huge issues as well (due to the fact its only for the rich is also the reason why it now didnt have enough capacity to fight the corona, and hence why the insane amount of people have died). One of the issues is the mentality, which I mentioned above... Its ironic that lot of people believe in their countries greatness... why then do they need guns to protect themselves? Why half of the advert posters you see by the roads are lawyers advertisements? Hard to say where it all comes from, but I suspect the educational system is at fault here (and the media, which say either democrats or republicans "truths")... when you make it mandatory for ppl to go to school till 18 (or how much is it), the result is exact opposite of what you get... the students are bored, they dont want to be here, they dont study at all.., and the unis are only for the richmen... mandatory needs to end much sooner, so then the student have to take the responsibility themselves and choose what they do with their lives, and hence all the high school will then be better quality because the teachers will be talking to students who at least a little care to what is he saying... Good education is the cornestone to make ppl able to think independently, dont fall for lies, populism etc....
Anyway apart from that, almost every inspection office (or whatever are these things called) are completely corrupt. Whats a goddamn point of an inspection, that is for example supposed inspect pharmacy, to ensure all the drugs are safe and healthy, when its not doing that because its led by some pharmacy drugs company ex director, and hence over and over there are cases of dangeorous drugs being sold at pharmacies? Why is some kind inspection that is supposed to for example make sure that things are ecological led by some gas companies uncle? And I could go on and on... (the highest amount of prisoners per population, BLM, etc...)

How to fix it?
Well, its extremely hard to say where and how to start, because there are so many issues deeply rooted, and it all seems to be connected anyways, so you cant just take it one by one. And that the decadence is real is clearly proven by clowns lke Trumps. Though, it is often through, that when things reach the bottom of the downfall, they will start getting better quickly... not sure about that in this case, we will see

Apart of obviously fixing the things I mentioned, I think it would help greatly if the USA states became more independent, or even better, fully independent. Lot of issues simply come from the fact, that the USA is so huge... Labelling people as americans is very dangerous, as people from different parts of it are very different, in many aspects. The fact that the USA is so closely tied together brings many issues... for example the media always talk about some general issues that are happening in the whole USA, eventhough it might not affect them all (these general issues also usually what leads the elections...) People need to focus more on whats up with their state, so that it can improve, thats what they should primarily see in the media, and not some made up populist topics that dont even exist. Imho, if the USA truly divided, it would be much better, the states would be more able to focus on their problems, lot of huge issues (such as racial issues, social, issues, different economies, etc) would be dissolved and thus they would all grow better... and also the natural competitivness would make it grow even faster. Governors actually have a lot of power already, but half of people dont even know who their governor is, but due to all the other issues I mentioned it doesnt matter much that they have the power... We could also see recently that the cooperation on state-level has been very problematic, so the "federation" doesnt even work anyway...

And its all sad because USA was meant to be the superpower that keeps the world peaceful, free and a just place. Not anymore I guess

And Im of course by no means saying that other developed countries are perfect place to live, we have lot of issues as well, but mostly they are definitely less major than yours

Himster - What is Truth
Post 4

Christianity, at its core, is Platonism for the masses. The truth behind all of the appearances is simply unknowable/indemonstrable. We are in the cave of shadows and there is no way out. Those who claim to have escaped the cave all disagree; Christians, Existentialists, Hindus, Animists, Materialists, Naturalists, Thomists etc.

Evolution remains the primary scientific obstacle to belief in God.
That's not true. It's only an obstacle to a peculiar species of Christian that is dogmatically opposed to science as a core principle. It is not an issue for the vast majority of Christians or Christianity in general.

The idea of empirically proving anything related to acts and ideas of faith at a minimum misunderstands what faith is. For example, absent the following premise, trying to argue the independent veracity of any of the central tenets of Christianity, namely the divinity of Jesus, is an errand in unfalsifiable sophistry
Absolutely, 100%. Religion cannot and should not endure the realm of objectivity, not only is it a perversion of the essence of faith, it is also an avenue for misrepresentation of religion that inevitably and irreversibly damages the reliability of religion in the collective psyches of mankind.

pacifism - Let's talk about demons
Post 5

Wendigos, maybe? I don't know, most parts of the world have ghosts doing that sort of spooky thing, not evil angels. If that distinction doesn't really matter to you, there may be more examples.

Quote Originally Posted by AqD View Post
been watching the Exorcist show. The Christian demons are hardly scary, nevertheless it's very interesting that all those demon stories across the world share similar traits:

- There are demons or unclean spirits. No religion seems to deny that.
- Their voice frequency is low. Why not high?
- They have superhuman strength or some special capabilities. Why not weak? Or unable to walk or lift arms?
- Yet all their actions are driven by basic desires and emotions. You could easily tell they have no long term goals and no intelligence whatsoever, like a baby.
- Another common trait is scratching with sharp fingernails: that's quite animal like. Do humans do this under extreme situations?

So they're in control, they have superpower but always act retarded? Why?

I wouldn't consider those stories false. If something is just made up, it's unlikely to have re-occurrences with similar characteristics. But there should be some explanations and calling them mentally illness doesn't help uncover the truth.
I will say that a couple Christian friends of mine have told me that they think that some small amount of mental health problems could possibly be supernatural. They were not the type to be dismissive mental health, either. I think there is something to be said about pre-existing cultural perceptions feeding into supposedly supernatural events. People who claim to encounter ghosts or demons or whatever often describe stuff happening that fits with how they already think those things behave. It's my impression that Christians tend to ascribe to demons what many others would ascribe to ghosts. There is some overlap between the behavior of the Hollywood Christian-inspired demon and the vengeful human spirits in less Christian cultures.

In the case of the Exorcist, in Roman Catholic theology, demons are fallen angels that now serve as supernatural forces of evil. Angels are more powerful than regular humans, so we attach evil, powerful associations with them.

I think that the reasoning behind Catholic demons having great physical strength is obvious.

Villain music tend to be written with lower register instruments or sung by bass singers, so a deep voice is usually associated with evil. In music composition, higher notes on low instruments usually work well for a high point in the dynamics, so even high notes on low instruments don't have the same suspenseful, foreboding effect than those low frequencies have. I'm not super familiar with horror genres, so I don't know about horror movie demon's normal motivations, but I wouldn't be surprised if the villain is about as unnuanced as the rest of the cast.

Common Soldier - Islamophobia in the West
Post 6

Quote Originally Posted by pacifism View Post

While that is true, I would like to suggest something to you. Hating Israel does not make one an anti-Semite, but the two have a bit of a habit going hand in hand. A correlation, if you will. Ironically, the Muslim world’s hostility to Israel and the Jewish people is a great example of that. But in the same way, people who put use so much of their time and energy criticizing and hating Islam can be correlated with have something against Muslims in general.
The analogy of Israel is a good one. Simply because much of the criticism of Israel is rooted in antisemitism, does not mean it all is, or that there not some legitimate criticism to be made against Israel, which I think you ackniledge. When it comes to Islam, the same people who acknowledge legitimate criticism ofnIsrael brand any criticism of Islam as Islamophobia, yourself included When have younever acknowledged any legitimate criticism of Islam, wiithout making excuses?

But Islam is different - its attrocities effect the entire globe, Israel only effects only one tiny corner of the world, yet it t recieves an enormous amount of attention. Yet people make excuses for Islam they wouldn't for Israel. It is nice ofnyounat least to acknowledge that much of the Muslim criticism comes islamic bigotry antisemitism. What you don't know is that antisemitism in the Muslim world comes from the Koran and Islam itself; you are ignorant of that fact due to your own admitted ignorance of Islam.

That's not what I used it for. Don't get ahead of yourself. I literally never said nor implied that it was. It’s almost as if I quoted a peaceful verse and a violent verse together on purpose. Did you consider that? [/quote]

You are being less than honest, since you wouldn't have to quouted thr verse if you were not trying to imply just that.

Look, I spelled it out: I think religion is a secondary factor for why those countries are the way you are. If you think that’s inaccurate, by all means, show me. But this better not be the best you’ve got.
You repeatedly admitted your claims ignorance of Islam and not well informed on it, so where do younget off making those claims? I have repeatedly given you the evidence, while you have given no evidence but just demonstrate you bias. When all 4 schools Sunni Islamic law call for death for apostates, then Islam is the main factor responsible for the death penalties and other criminal penalties for apostacy in Muslim countries

Religion is not the secondary factor, but the primary factor of why Muslim countries treat religious minorities as second class citizen at best, and apostates and those who criticize Islam are attacked. Islamic religion is the primary, not secondary factor, for most.of the terrorist attacks and why the countries have so many problemsm.

I have been very up front that I am not very familiar with the religion of Islam.
If you are not familar with the religion of Islam as you say, then you have no business making the claims you have, and asserting Islam is not the cause, when you are admitting your ignorace.

It is dishonest to plead ignorance and then make the assertion of Islam teached or does not, but you most certainly did.

I never said or even implied that Surah 9 was abrogated. My point about the 9th surah is that you can’t just quote the Qur’an and say “boom, I’m right”. That’s just bad hermeneutics. You have to show that you are quoting accurately and making a good interpretation.
Again, you are trying to imply that, otherwise you would not have brought up the topic in the first place. Now you are dishonestly changing your tack when you couldn't refute the facts presented to you. The violent actions ISIS, the Taliban and other Muslims groups show the violent intrepretation is a good one. ISIS and Taliban ar other Muslim goups operate in accordance with The Quran and Islam.

When all 4 schools of sharia law call for death to apostates, then interpretations of Quranic verses as calling for.death to apoatates you s a valid one. It might not be how you would interpret the Quran, but that is irrelevant, since you.admit your own ignorsnce on Islam, and in any case, you have no right tonsay the Talibans interpretation is any more incorrect then some so called "moderate" Muslim's one.

A relgion's scripture means whatever its followers think it means and by Muslims' own standard, groups like the Taliban, ISIS are genuine Muslims - they adhere to the 5 Pillars and other universally agreed Mulsim beliefs and practices.

If someone doesn’t even bring up abrogation in their interpretation without prompting, then the defense of that interpretation is so barebones that it needs work.
If the verses are being intrpretated that way by Muslims, then it is valid intrepretation. Violent Muslim groups like ISIS, who follow.rhe Quran, clearly follow thr violent intrpreations - that other Muslims interpret the verses differently, since there is no universal Ialami authoriy like a pope wh has the right to say the ISIS interpretation is wrong.

You do know what a dictatorship is, right?
What are you trying to say? That the Shah was not a dictator? Or that the Iranian Islamic.Republic is not a dictatorhsip?

If you are saying that the Islamic Republic is not a dictatorship, then you saying that bigoted laws like death to apostates are not being imposed upon the people, but have popular support due Iranians Islamic beliefs.

If you saying that the Iranian Islamic Republic is a dictatorship, then the example the Shah show the Iranian people are capable of kicking out dictators, so it must be, due to the Iranian public Islamic beliefs, executing 16 years old girls for adultery (but not the men they commit adultery with) and sex with 10 years old girls is not bad enough to overthrow the dictatorships. While many Iranians might oppose thr Islam policies, many do support itm

I believe all of these. Did you really think that I wouldn’t?
What does it matter what you believe? You admit you are not well informed on Islam. The fact is many, the majority I would say, support most of these points.

Note, if you believe in sharia law, then you are a bigot, since non Msulims.are treated as inferiors in sharia.law.

All Muslim countries, not some, treat as second class citizens. Many even so called "moderate" Muslims don't believe Muslims should be allowed to leave Islam. Most Muslims believe the Quran is the verbatim word of Allah, and most Muslims accept the 6 hadith collections as authentic, such as Bukhari.

What you believe is irrelevant if you are not a Muslim as you imply, and even if you were, your belief would still be irrelevant, since your beliefs don't represent most Muslims.

But I would like to suggest that in your haste to denounce Islam you are at risk of not recognizing the moderating or even progressive movements within Islam when it’s due..
And your haste to make excuses for Islam and not recognizing that even many "moderate" hold views which are intolerant unacceptable delays the reforms.Islam needs. Why would Islam change if Islamic apologist like you keep making excused for Islam and refuse to admit there is any problem?

Even though you have acknowledged that they exist, you don’t really seem to care.
You don't even admit that Islamic terrorist has anything to do with Islam, and you demonstrate you don't care about the people Muslims kill.

I have heard you condemned the killing of non Mulsims by Muslims - let us hear you condemn the genocide of Armenians by Muslims and the large scale killings of Christian Assyrians without making some excuse.

You should care because ending extremism is the goal here. I think the main difference between us here is that you choose to care about the extremists and basically ignore the modernists, and I do the opposite..
You care far more about "islamophobia" than the far greater number of victims Muslims. What you refuse to admit the problems with Islam.are not confined to what you call extremist. All Muslim countries treat non Muslims as second class citizens. If all Muslim countries are just extremist, then you need to redefine extremist, since you are saying th majorty of Muslims worldwidemare extremist.

And if say there are no democratic Muslim countries, that says something negative about Islam. But if you admit there are democratic Muslim countries, then even moderate Muslims approve of treating non Muslims as second class citizens, and that is a problem with even moderate Muslims you refuse to admit.

To get a little political, I think that actively welcoming the more moderate and modernist Muslims into our countries is an important part of moderating and modernizing Muslims as a whole. If we act too combative towards Muslims and Muslim-majority countries, we run the risk of letting any progress we’ve made so far just unravel as they respond in kind and become more anti-Western.
Large numbers of Muslims have been let into western countries and Muslim countries have not become less bigoted toward non Muslims, nor has therr been any kind of csmpaign to treat non Muslims.as full equals. If anything , discrimination against non Muslims.has increased. All that increasing number of Muslims into western countries has done is increase terrorist attacks in those.

You have things backwardsn- it is Muslims who have been combative toward non Muslims from the beginning. Wiping out whole Newish villages, as Muhammad himself.did. It.was Muslims who spread from Arabia stealing, raping and enslaving in the name Islam both the Persian and Byzantine empires. Istsnbul to be a Christisn city before Muslims stole it and turned.one of the greatest christian church into a mosque.

Massacres like the Armenian Genocide or that of Christian Assyrians are excused by apologist, and Muslim have been persecuting non Muslims like the Yazidis for.a long time, ISIS is not killing Yazidis because of what western countries did https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persec...dis_by_Muslims

I think you’re being inconsistent in your argument.
. I bring up the past as well as what is happening today to show.the attocities committed by Muslims are a consistent feature of Islam, that he problem is not just anfew bad apples in Islam, problems deeply rooted in Islam itself.

The attrocities committed by Muhammad and his cronies set the example that modern Muslims like ISIS members are following today. If modern Muslims.were not following the exsmples of Muslims in the past, then what Muslims did in the past would be irrelevant, but modern Muslims are following the examples of the past Muslims committing their attrocities, so it is relevant.

In other areas, you have talked about how Islam is bad because of what certain Muslims are doing today, and that today is what matters. But you also keep bringing up stuff from hundreds of years ago. Historical events wouldn’t matter to you if you’re only concerned about what’s happening in the modern day.
As I said, the past was brought up because it gave an example that Muslims today are following. When Muslims kill cartoonist pokijg fun at Muhammad, they are following the example.of Muhammad himself.

I explained all this before, perhaps you could actually read what I wrote. I explained it all before how Islamic terrorist actions of the past set an example that many Muslims today follow, and that therefore makes the Muslims pasts relevant today. Furthermore, the point you keep bringing up while ignoring what I said is rather hypocritical for Muslim apologist, who always bring up the Crusades, which is irrelevant, since nobody is following the example of the Crusades today.

You keep bringing up colonialism, which is more than a generation in the past, so your argumentnis just being hypocritical to say the past doesn't count, since you insist on blaming all the Muslims problems on the colonial past.

That was a joke about a conspiracy theory. I hope you find your sense of humor one day.
A true Muslim apologist, that you can find matters of genocide and rape by Muslims matter to joke about.

Like I said to the other guy, it doesn’t matter that European imperialism didn’t last “that long”, it matters because it created the status quo in the Middle East that we are now dealing with, and it was not good thing for the region. The fact that the Middle East had already “fallen behind” and couldn’t fight off the imperialists doesn’t mean that what the Europeans did was remotely acceptable. Not unless you think might makes right.¬
The same stardard should apply to Islamic imperialism as European, but with double standard.you and all Muslim.apologist, you never do. Countries and cities like Egypt and Alexsndria used to be Christian before Islamic imperialism. Istssnbul was a city built by Christians and the Haiga Sophia was one of the greatest Christisn before it was stolen by Islamic imperialism. Apparently, you think imperial is ok when it is practiced by Islam.

The Muddle.East is backwards because of Islam - for 3 centuries, Islam opposed the use the printing press, and thr printing press was mostly unused by Muslims due to religious opposition. Islamic opposition to lending and borrowinf hindered economic development in the Islamic world. It was only in the 19th and early 20th that most of the Mideast fell under European control, long after the Islamic world had become backwards.

After decolonization, popular movements sought to purge the region of its “Western imperialism” (including Israel), and pursue a kind of pan-Arabic unity and socialism. That was back when invading Israel was popular. Ultimately, I think you could describe this as a political movement with secular motivations. When that mission clearly failed by the 1970s, then those countries turned to a fundamentalist Islam from the political power vacuum, and you have status quo that exists today. Unlike the invasions of Israel, this era is marked by a protracted guerrilla-style resistance against Israel that exists today. If it wasn't for the failure of the first post-colonial movement, we wouldn't be where we are at now. But if it wasn't for colonialism, there wouldn't be a failed beginning post-colonial movement, now would there?
If if weren't for Islam's rejecting of the printing press and modern lending and borrowing that hinder the Islamkc world technical and economic development, Europe would never have been able colonize the region in the first place. The same religious factors that hinder thr Islamic world development before the 19th century are at work today. I would say Islam was the problem, then and now.

Contemporary foreign policy in the Middle East is basically centered around the existence of Israel, the shift from European withdrawal to an American presence in the region, and how important controlling oil reserves were when the Middle East was developing its economy. To be blunt, imperialism played a pretty substantial part in each of those. European powers created Israel. European powers sought oil so badly. European powers cared more about extracting wealth than raising the standard of living of the people in the region – like any colony.
ISIS has nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with Islam. The crisis in Syria and Libya is not due with Israel.

But Islam does play a key role in the problems in the Middle East, ISIS and Iran being a big contributor, and in both, Islam plays a central role.

Duptar - What is Truth
Post 7

This article is a defense of the Christian theory of truth. Time does not permit me to cover all relevant ground in one piece. I will hone in on the reliability of Scripture, the resurrection of Jesus and the perceived conflict between science and faith.

Of all the questions that could ever be posed to a mortal man, none has such a bearing on his future as “what is truth?” For centuries, philosophers, scholars, and laymen have debated the answer to this question. In today’s postmodern, morally relative culture, we often hear there is no such thing as absolute truth. Because we are all raised in distinct social settings and family upbringings, it is considered uncivilized and even offensive to suggest absolute truth exists.

Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer took the question a step further with his notion of “true truth”. In essence, truth corresponds with reality, and that reality is determined by God. Christ revealed in the Scriptures that He is “the way, the truth and the life”, i.e. truth is embodied in all that Jesus did and said. Although many simple truths exist, the earthly life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ point to a truth above all other truths- “true truth”. Truth of this kind compels us to act and conform in an appropriate manner. It leads to answers for some of life’s other puzzling mysteries, such as “what does it mean to be human?” and “what is our purpose?”

To further illustrate the relevance of the topic, consider the wisdom of Winston Churchill, Andrei Sakharov and Malcolm Muggeridge taken from Ravi Zacharias:

Quote Originally Posted by RZIM
Winston Churchill once said that the most valuable thing in the world was the truth. So valuable is it, said he, that it needs to be constantly protected by a bodyguard of lies. Mr. Churchill made that remark in the context of intelligence and counterintelligence efforts during the Second World War.
I’ve always thought that the most powerful weapon in the world was the bomb and that’s why I gave it to my people, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the most powerful weapon in the world is not the bomb but it’s the truth.-Andrei Sakharov
Quote Originally Posted by RZIM
Yet even so, truth is very beautiful: more so I consider than justice-today's pursuit which easily puts on a false face. In the nearly seven decades I have lived through, the world has overflowed with bloodshed and explosions whose dust has never had time to settle before others have erupted. All in purportedly just causes....The lies on behalf of which our wars have been fought and our peace treaties concluded! The lies of revolution and of counter-revolution! The lies of advertising, of news, of salesman-ship, of politics! The lies of the priest in his pulpit, the professor at his podium, the journalist at his typewriter! The lie stuck like a fishbone in the throat of the micro-phone, the hand-held lies of the prowling cameraman!
The Resurrection of Jesus

The Christian faith stands and falls on the historicity of Jesus’s resurrection. So central is it to Christianity that the apostle Paul, when explaining doctrine to the Corinthian church, claimed if Christ did not raise from the grave, we are still dead in our sins and faith is futile. (1) Jesus’s multiple claims that He would be put to death and raised on the third day mean nothing if the resurrection can be disproven.

To be clear, the resurrection of Jesus is not to be confused with bodily resuscitation seen elsewhere in the Bible, such as Elijah resuscitating the widow’s son in the book of Kings. Whereas a resuscitation involves restoration of life to a mortal body so that death will be experienced again, Jesus was resurrected to an immortal body that would not wither or be corrupted. Such a feat implies an act of God in bringing about the resurrection.

Surprisingly, since around the 1970s, consensus has emerged in the theological regarding a few gospel claims pertaining to the resurrection events. William Lane Craig offers an illustration:

But a remarkable change came about during the second half of the twentieth century. The first glimmerings of change began to appear in 1953. In that year, as we have said, Ernst Kaesemann, a pupil of Bultmann, argued at a colloquy at the University of Marlburg that Bultmann’s historical skepticism toward Jesus was unwarranted and counterproductive and suggested reopening the question of where the historical about Jesus was to be found. A new quest for the historical Jesus had begun. Three years later in 1956 the Marburg theologian Hans Grass in his influential Ostergeschehen und Osterberichte subjected the resurrection itself to historical inquiry and concluded that the resurrection appearances cannot be dismissed as mere subjective visions on the part of the disciples, but were objective visionary events.

Meanwhile the church historian Hans Freiherr von Campenhausen in an equally epochal essay defended the historical credibility of Jesus’ empty tomb. During the ensuing years a stream of works on the historicity of Jesus’s resurrection flowed forth from German, French and English presses. By 1968 the old skepticism was a spent force and began dramatically to recede. (2)
Even today, most scholars in the field of theology would concede that there was an empty tomb after Jesus had been buried by Joseph of Arimathea. Although we must rely on historical methods of inquiry to discern the gospel accounts of the empty tomb, enough information exists to validate the Christian claims. Michael Grant, a reputable classical historian who did not identify as a Christian, found it implausible to criticize the empty tomb using historical methods. (3) Other scholars, such as D.H. van Daalen and Rudolf Pesch, are in agreement with Grant and point to the proximity of Mark’s source to the events in question.

The Christian accounts are bolstered by sources independent of the canonical writings. For starters, we have a fairly detailed passage from the Jewish writer Josephus confirming that Jesus was a wise man and had followers that believed He was risen the third day after His crucifixion. Some have disputed the reliability of the passage, but both Jewish and Christian scholars have consensus that what Josephus wrote is credible.(4) As a counter to the belief that Christians have corrupted the relevant text, we have a tenth-century Arabic author named Agapius who quoted Josephus in his native tongue. His quotation still confirms Jesus “was a wise and virtuous teacher” that believed He was the Promised One of God. (5) The historian Thallus, writing not far removed from the life of Jesus, also wrote about the darkness after the death of Jesus which is recorded in the gospels.

We also have Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthian 15 about the resurrection of Christ. Bart Ehrman, a skeptic of the Christian faith, admits that the creed found in this chapter can be traced to one year after the crucifixion of Jesus. James J.G. Dunn goes further: the latest the 1 Corinthians 15 passage becomes a creed is six months after the crucifixion. This is significant because unlike other ancient historical events where reporting is far removed from the actual events, the gospel writers and especially Paul’s epistles are in close proximity. Since Paul writes that the other apostles preached the resurrection as he presented it to the Corinthians, William Lane Craig believes “the saying stems from the earliest days of the Christian fellowship in Jerusalem.”(6) Craig thinks Paul’s discovery came after visiting Jerusalem to see Peter and James in 36 A.D. based on the Greek word Paul uses for his visit.(7)

We must not forget the passion of the apostles and the early church in promoting the good news. That eleven of the twelve apostles were martyred shows they truly believed in what they preached:

The testimonies of the Roman authors Seutonius and Juvenal confirm that within thirty-one years after Jesus’ death, Christians were dying for their faith. From the writings of Pliny the Younger, Martial, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, it is clear that the believers voluntarily submitted to torture and death rather than renounce their faith.(8)
According to eighteenth century author William Paley, no similar case exists in history. The apostles had nothing to gain in an earthly sense by following Jesus. Being His disciples meant toil and misery for the most part. That they willingly sacrificed their lives and that the church became a relevant institution within a short period of time deserves explanation. To put it bluntly, no explanation seems adequate except for the idea that the apostles truly did see a resurrected Jesus.

Reliability of Scripture

The bedrock of Christian faith and doctrine is the holy scriptures comprising all sixty-six books of both the Old and New Testament. What is to be known about the triune God and the history of His people are found in the canon of the Bible. Despite the accuracy of prophetic records in the Bible, even fundamentalists today are questioning whether the Bible is completely inerrant in all its claims. Skepticism surrounding the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, the historicity of the Canaanite conquests, and dating of various books are fairly common. Not to mention that the Jesus Seminar has ‘cast doubt’ on the sayings, teachings, and miracles of Jesus.

Some of the supposed issues with the Old Testament have been resolved through elaborate scholarly work. One of the reasons scholars believed Moses could not have written the Pentateuch was because the Semitic language was not around when he lived. We now know that this is false. Also, some of the information given in the Bible corresponds well with the historical information we have around the same period. The Abimelech covenant (and other covenants found in Genesis) match the style of covenants in the Bronze Age. They are not at all like Iron Age covenants, which contradicts the thesis that the Pentateuch was written by Judahites during the Babylonian captivity. The shekel slave price of Joseph and that given in the Mosaic law match what we have for the Bronze period as well. Since Abraham and Moses spoke Akkadian, the Iron Age Israelites couldn’t have known what the proper price would be, further discrediting the likelihood that the Mosaic books were written at a later period.(9)

Much can be gleaned by observing what Jesus thought of Scripture as it existed in His time. What is most striking is that Jesus, in His ministry, quoted very controversial passages in the Old Testament to affirm the Bible's authenticity, such as the creation story and Jonah being swallowed by a whale. Based on the structure of Genesis 1, it can be inferred that the creation account of Genesis was meant to be read as true history rather than allegory or fictional poetry. According to Hebrew scholar Steven Boyd, preterite verbs are indicative of a narrative text and the ratio of preterite to non-preterite verbs in Genesis 1 shows it is narrative.(10)

Many have dismissed the biblical account of Jonah because 1) no whale could have swallowed a human alive and 2) Jonah could not have survived in the belly of a whale. Indeed, an arctic whale is incapable of swallowing a human being, but we are dealing with a whale from the Mediterranean. It would’ve been a sperm whale which could swallow much larger things. And it may be admitted that the entrance to a tummy is too small for a human, but between the throat and the tummy is the laryngeal pouch. A man could survive in that pouch for some time.(11) And regardless of what atheistic or theistic explanation is offered for creation, we are left to believe in some form of miracle. Both sides are a little incredible to some degree.

When He did cite Scripture in conversation, Jesus would say “it is written” which in the koine Greek of the Bible is in the continuous tense, i.e. the words of the Bible have a lasting authority.(12) Jesus went as far as to say that heaven and earth will pass away, but the Word of God will remain. He also said (in a similar vein) that ‘the Scriptures cannot be broken’ which Greek commentators have noted can also mean the Scriptures ‘cannot be unloosed’ or ‘cannot be undone.’(13) In the words of Jesus and the apostles, the Scriptures rest on the authority of God and thus cannot be spoken against.

Some may object and say it would be impossible for human authors to write a book that is free of error. However, it must be granted that it is possible for man to write an infallible book such as math textbooks or phone number books. Not only that, but the authors of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write their texts as they did. As proof, consider what mathematician Peter Stoner found when studying prophetic fulfillment in relation to Jesus Christ. The chance that just eight of the prophecies that found their realization in Christ would’ve came to pass is one in 10^17. To put that into perspective, the chance that a blindfolded man would walk across the entire state of Texas buried in two feet of silver dollars and pick the right coin on the first try approximates one in 10^17.(14)

The four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have been the subject of much scrutiny from critics of biblical inerrancy. Any writing on the accuracy of Scriptures would be incomplete without covering gospel contradictions and the reliability of the gospels. One way to gauge the accuracy of the gospels is how their reporting of customs, manners, geography and people mesh with what is known elsewhere of first century Israel. Richard Baukham, author of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses used an ancient source to compare names given in the Bible to names of Jews in Palestine from 350 BC to 200 AD. The results:

As it turns out, when Bauckham examined all the names discovered by Ilan, he found that the New Testament narrative reflect nearly the same percentages found in all the documents Ilan examined...The most popular names found in the Gospels just happen to be the most popular names found in Palestine in the first century. This is even more striking when you compare the ancient popular Palestinian Jewish names with the ancient popular Egyptian Jewish names...If the gospel writers were simply guessing about the names they were using in their accounts, they happened to guess with remarkable accuracy.(15)
So it turns out that, in one aspect, the gospels blend in well with our historical understanding. Craig Blomberg, a professor at Denver, offers up other evidence that the gospels contain authentic accounts of the life of Jesus. For one, we know that in the ancient Middle East, variations were allowed in storytelling, so much so that:

it’s likely that a lot of the similarities and differences among the Synoptics can be explained by assuming that the disciples and other early Christians had committed to memory a lot of what Jesus said and did, but they felt free to recount this information in various forms, always preserving the significance of Jesus’ original teaching and deeds.(16)
Luke, the Gentile author of one of the synoptic gospels and the author of the Acts of the Apostles, was proven to be an honest historian. Not a single mistake was located in his references to counties, cities and islands.(17) So it turns out there are sound reasons to accept the gospels and their claims regarding Jesus Christ.

I will mention a few other anecdotal facts that support the reliability of the Bible. For example, since the 90s, several inscriptions have been found referring to king David. Before, scholars cast doubt on his literal existence. Now, ample evidence has been presented to think otherwise. Lastly, Lawrence Mykytiuk, a Hebrew Bible scholar at Purdue University, has studied and confirmed the names of 53 Bible characters in the Old Testament. Time and space do not permit me to delve deeper into the archaeological record that supports the Bible, but suffice to say that it also confirms the accounts of Scripture.

Science and Religion

Evolution remains the primary scientific obstacle to belief in God. To a layman, the consensus of the scientific community rules in favor of Darwin’s evolutionary theories as opposed to creationism or intelligent design. Specifically, macroevolution has been adopted as the means of explaining human origins.

Some hold to the belief that the creation accounts found in Genesis do not contradict the teachings of evolution. For one, the order of creation given in the first chapter of Genesis lines up well with the current scientific understanding.(18) Yet, Genesis 1 clearly assigns the origin of all created things to God. There is no room left for life to evolve from any other source.

The traditional understanding of scientists and their religious beliefs is not so clear cut. Surveys have been done in the past examining the interplay between the two:

Many scientists see no incompatibility between faith in God and their work.
Two famous studies that support this contention were done in 1916 and 1997. The American psychologist James Leuba conducted the first survey of scientists, asking them if they believed in a God who actively communicates with humanity, at least through prayer. Forty percent said they did, 40 percent said they did not, and 20 percent were not sure. In 1997, Edward Larson and Larry Witham repeated this survey asking the very same questions of scientists. They reported in the scientific journal Nature that they had found that the numbers had not changed significantly in eighty years…
Alister McGrath, a theologian with an Oxford doctorate in biophysics, writes that most of the many unbelieving scientists he knows are atheists on other grounds than their science.(19)
Deborah Keleman, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University, believes that even the years of training in scientific discipline that scientists get still cannot erase the belief that there is purpose in the universe.(20)

Discussions on the origins of science can yield some fascinating insights. Alfred North Whitehead and J. Robert Oppenheimer, neither of whom were Christians, thought science as we know it today could only arise out of a Christian worldview.(21) Since Christians understood that their Creator was a God of reason, it follows that facts and observations can be ascertained through the use of reason.

According to Darwin, challenges did exist to his scientific theories. Critics of his time were quick to point to the incompatibility of the fossil record with his statements:

The abrupt manner in which whole groups of species suddenly appear in certain formations has been urged by several paleontologists- for instance, by Agassiz, Picket, and Sedgwick- as a fatal objection to the belief in the transmutation of species. If numerous species, belonging to the same genera or families, have really started into life all at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of descent with slow modification through natural selection.(22)
The Burgess shale and the sudden jump from precambrian to cambrian forms of life provided such evidence that worked against Darwin. The cambrian explosion refers to the sudden appearance of many life forms in the fossil record. It would be difficult to account for the phenomenon through traditional evolutionary theory since the latter assumes continuity in the fossil record. According to statistical analysis by Michael Foote, it remains unlikely that any intermediate forms will be found linking the precambrian and cambrian fossils on record.(23)

There are others that contest the usefulness of using the fossil records to support Darwinian evolution:

The problem for the Darwinists is that the fossil record cannot establish ancestral relationships. Why not? Because, according to Michael Denton, ‘99 percent of the biology of any organism resides in its soft anatomy, which is inaccessible in a fossil.’ In other words, it’s extremely difficult to discover the biological makeup of a creature by looking at its fossil remains. Jonathan Wells observes, ‘the fossil evidence is open to many interpretations because individual specimens can be reconstrued in a variety of ways, and because the fossil record cannot establish ancestor-descendant relationships.(24)
And then, even where there are supposed gaps in the fossil record that presumably will be resolved with a future discovery, much is left to be desired:

There are serious difficulties in crossing some of the gaps that standard evolutionary theory says have been crossed: for example, to get from a reptile to a bird you need to develop a scale into a feather; to get from an amphibian to a reptile you need to develop a different kind of egg; to get from a fish to an amphibian you need to develop a whole new kind of lung.(25)
What must be stressed is that Christians are not against science per se. Rather, they are against the assumptions made by theories such as evolution: that there is a natural explanation for every effect that can be observed. Naturalism is the philosophy that is being challenged, which states that nature, or matter, is all there is. Thanks to the work of professor Craig Keener in his two volume work titled Miracles, we know that supernatural events that do not adhere to the laws of nature do happen. Kenner looked at pre and post CAT scans, pre and post MRIs, pre and post X rays, and hundreds of cases all over the world. His main argument: we should not call new testament writers naive because they record miracles. To add to Keener’s case, the now increasing scholarly work on near death experiences demonstrates that there is a spiritual world not accounted for by nature.

Furthermore, if time, matter and chance produced us as naturalists theorize, then there is no such thing as objective truth.(26) Because time and matter are always changing and chance is an artificial construct, there exists no standard by which we can judge something to be true and other beliefs to be false.


In order to live the fullest life possible, it is necessary that we both know truth and live by it. We demand that we be told the truth when it comes to our finances, our friendships, our marriages, and our job. Truth is needed for every part of our life. Fortunately, Christianity is not based on a far fetched view of the world or human nature. As I have demonstrated to some degree, Christianity is supported by facts and rationality.

Given the above, I will offer a comment on what it means to be a person of faith. Too often, we think faith belongs to those who lack proof for their beliefs. Rather, faith in the biblical sense is a yielding trust to what God revealed about Himself in the person of Jesus. Based on the evidence regarding biblical prophecy, the resurrection of Jesus and other narratives in the Bible, the Lord can be fully trusted. His truth prevails over all other truths.


(1)1 Corinthians 15:14
(2)William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, p. 349
(3) Michael Grant, Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels, p. 176; cf. https://vridar.org/2013/02/25/the-hi...erdition-pt-1/
(4) Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ, p. 85
(5) J. Warner Wallace, Cold-Case Christianity, pp. 196-7
(6)William Lane Craig, The Son Rises: The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus, p. 47
(7) Ibid., p. 48
(8) Ibid., p. 29
(9) CrossExamined Podcast
(10)David DeWitt, Unraveling the Origins Controversy, p. 89
(11)Taken from David Pawson’s commentary on Jonah
(12)This insight is from Norman Geisler
(13) https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/10-35.html
(14) Peter Stoner, Science Speaks, Chapter 3
(15) Wallace, pp. 192-3
(16) Strobel, p. 46
(17)Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, When Critics Ask, p. 385
(18) David Pawson, Unlocking the Bible, p. 33
(19) Timothy Keller, The Reason for God, pp. 89-90
(20) Art Jahnke, “The Natural Design Default: Why Even the Best-Trained Scientists Should Think Twice”, cf. Douglas Axe, Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition that Life is Designed, p. 19
(21) Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live?, p. 132
(22) Stephen Meyer, Darwin’s Doubt, p. 17
(23) Ibid., pp. 70-1
(24) Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, p. 153
(25) C. John Collins, Science & Faith: Friends or Foes?, p. 275
(26) This point has been made by Ravi Zacharias

Cookiegod - Discussion and Debate Community Thread
Post 8

Quote Originally Posted by pacifism View Post
As much as I dislike the general policy of the United States on the world stage, keep in mind the alternative is probably China. I'm not saying that U.S. can't get any better, but we should be careful what we wish for.
What is it with people and that dichotomy that China would take over if the US started to behave. No one's saying that the US can't have alliances, that it can't have foreign influence. If your argument is that your system only works if it constantly regime changes, invades, bombs, destroys countries, then maybe, just maybe, that's not a good system. Nota bene: Not my claim, but that of "patriots".

Quote Originally Posted by pacifism View Post
Can somebody tell Russia to stop saving the day in Syria? I don't think they can take much more of it.
Sure. Trading slaves and antique relics is tight.

Spoiler for Quope
Quote Originally Posted by Cope View Post
The disinformation in this post needs to be addressed:

1. There is significant disagreement among Americans (both scholars and laypersons) about whether the use of atomic weaponry against Japan was either necessary or justifiable. What is clear, however, is that no one who has considered the topic seriously treats the bombings in a celebratory fashion or as source of national pride. The orthodox view is that the A-Bomb shortened the war and saved lives, not that the death of civilians is to be commended for its own sake.

2. The insinuation that any view other than the revisionist position is anti-intellectual, ahistorical, immoral or indicative of the "lackluster state of the American education system" is itself ignorant of the historical record and valid alternative viewpoints. This is especially the case when such insinuations are largely predicated on counter-factual history.

3. Unlike in the Soviet Union, disagreement over historical truth is tolerated in the US; discussion of sensitive and/or contentious topics is facilitated; and criticism of the gov't is allowed.

4. The claims you make about the terms of the Japanese surrender are heavily contested, if not false. Here is an accurate summary:
Some analysts have argued that maintenance of the imperial system was the only issue blocking a Japanese surrender in late July or early August (before the A-bomb), and that the American leaders knew this or should have known it.’ Such an interpretation of the Japanese position is ill-founded. The Japanese government was badly split both on how and whether to end the war, and even the Japanese “peace” forces were unsure, unsteady, and uncertain…

A careful reading of the available Japanese sources (especially the cables between Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo in Tokyo and Ambassador Naote Sato in Moscow) for late July and early August reveals that the Japanese Foreign Office did not believe that maintenance of the imperial system was the only sticking point. In fact, in the weeks before Hiroshima, the Japanese foreign minister was unprepared even to specify peace terms to his own ambassador in Moscow, despite the fact that Sato was directed to approach the Soviets to serve as intermediaries in peace negotiations...

The Japanese army, by withdrawing its representative from the cabinet, could have destroyed any move toward surrender. The militarists wanted honor, which meant far more than just a guarantee of the imperial system. “I was unable to keep the military from insisting,” Togo recalled, “that they were not beaten, that they could fight another battle, and that they did not want to end the war until they had staged one last campaign.” Even after Soviet entry into the war and the first atomic bombing, as Togo later reported, the army leaders still wanted one more campaign. When Togo “asked whether or not they believed they could ward off an invasion of the homeland, . . . the army chief of staff [General Yoshijiro Umezu] replied that, if we were lucky, we could repulse the invaders before they landed, but that all he could say with assurance was that we could destroy the major part of the invading army.”

Given the power of the militarists and their desire, it is quite unlikely-but not impossible-that an American guarantee of the imperial system would have produced a Japanese surrender before I November on terms acceptable to the United States.

Understanding the Atomic Bomb and the Japanese Surrender: Missed Opportunities, Little-Known Near Disasters, and Modern Memory, Diplomatic History, B. J. Bernstein, 1995 pp. 227-273.
I like how your approach to historical debate is citing one book and calling dissent disinformation. Thing is that's not how it works. As to how accurate your summary is, we'll discuss that next. Let's clarify first though that I did not claim that "disagreement over historical truth is not tolerated in the US" and that it was in the Soviet Union as insinuated by you. You're pulling that straight out of your arse. I'm saying very little of it is taking place, as is evidenced by the still over 50% of the public endorsing those crimes.

Next: 1) Pay attention to the fact that to justify this you cannot point to failed negotiations, for the simple reason that the US never reciprocated and engaged in any. Instead you're left with claiming that those were "unlikely" to succeed anyway. 2) Pay attention to the fact that for one, you do not provide quotes of the Japanese cables, that the attempts to make peace were made through Switzerland, not Moscow, and that in any administration there's a huge amount of paper work, and thus it's always possible to nitpick what ones narrative is, even if it's inaccurate. Not saying that this has to be the case here, since the only factually based conclusion Bernstein is drawing in your quotes is that the military faction and the honour were strong in ww2 Japan. Not that surprising tbh; jumping from those quotes to the conclusion that "a peace was unlikely" is quite a leap, but also factually wrong since the nukes did not force Japan's surrender, the Soviets did.
And 3) it's completely irrelevant what the Japanese were discussing in those cables, as they did not factor into the US decision making in the slightest. The only thing that matters, is the decision taken by Truman and on which basis he made this decision.

Quote Originally Posted by The decision to use the bomb - by Gar Alperovitz
In his 1966 book The Secret Surrender, Dulles recalled that "On July 20, 1945, under instructions from Washington, I went to the Potsdam Conference and reported there to Secretary [of War] Stimson on what I had learned from Tokyo — they desired to surrender if they could retain the Emperor and their constitution as a basis for maintaining discipline and order in Japan after the devastating news of surrender became known to the Japanese people."
Having to rely on the Japanese cables to their ambassador in Moscow is in itself already telling. The US did not even attempt this route and thus the only thing that the justifiers can do is denounce the success likelihood as unlikely. The Japanese peace feelers went out to the US primarily through Switzerland, which OSS Chief William Donovan reported to Truman in May and June of 1945. "These suggested, even at this point, that the U.S. demand for unconditional surrender might well be the only serious obstacle to peace." [from the same book].

Alperovitz in his book pretty much went through the list, pointing out with documentary proof that every top presidential civilian and military advisor, with the exception of James Byrnes, along with Prime Minister Churchill and his top British military leadership, urged Truman to revise the unconditional surrender policy so as to allow the Japanese to surrender and keep their emperor. This advice was given to the president prior to the Potsdam Proclamation, where the "Unconditional surrender - or else!" - proclamation would be made.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William Leahy is quoted as having said that he "thought the business of recognizing the continuation of the Emperor was a detail which should have been solved easily." He was one of many strongly imploring Trump not to use the bombs, and instead revising the peace making process.
The commander in chief of the US Fleet and chief of naval operations, Ernest J. King, stated that the naval blockade and prior bombing of Japan in March of 1945 had rendered the Japanese helpless and that the use of the atomic bomb was both unnecessary and immoral. Then there's also Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, quoted in a press conference on September 22, 1945 as:
The Admiral took the opportunity of adding his voice to those insisting that Japan had been defeated before the atomic bombing and Russia's entry into the war.
And in a subsequent speech at the Washington Monument on October 5, 1945:
The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war.
Or Admiral William F. Halsey, commander of the Third Fleet, who was publicly quoted as stating on September 9, 1945, that the atomic bomb was used because they had a "toy and they wanted to try it out" and stating the following:
Quote Originally Posted by Admiral William F. Halsey, commander of the Third Fleet
The first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment […]. It was a mistake to ever drop it.
We can hop over to the army, and we'll see that on or around July 20, 1945, General Eisenhower urged Truman in a personal visit not to use the atomic bomb and stating that it wasn't necessary for Truman to "succumb" to Byrnes, whom I'll talk about next.
Quote Originally Posted by Eisenhower
It wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing […].[T]o use the atomic bomb, to kill and terrorize civilians, without even attempting [negotiations], was a double crime.
The fact that the negotiations weren't even attempted, isn't even disputed by your own source, cope.

However, the one guy who Trumpan listened to happened to be his close friend James Byrnes, whom he made the secretary of state right about that time. Byrnes was also the guy convincing Truman to postpone the Potsdam conference so that they'd know for certain if the tests would be successful. Truman then advised Stalin during Potsdam that a new massively destructive weapon was now available to America, which Byrnes hoped would make Stalin back off from any excessive demands or activity in the postwar period.

The secret order to drop the nukes was issued by Truman on July 25th, the Potsdam ultimatum only happened a day later, with the unconditional surrender demand which both Truman and Byrnes were convinced Japan would not accept.
The bulk of the evidence, as pointed out by Alperovitz, unmistakably points to Byrnes and Truman dropping the bombs to show off to the Soviets abroad and to the congress at home.

Next: Every administration produces a huge amount of paperwork, and it's always easy to nitpick stuff to support ones claim, even if it's inaccurate. One cannot judge the success prospects from the cables to an ambassador who was largely out of the peace making attempts. That the military faction in Japan was strong, as is the honour culture, is widely known. But it didn't bodge because of the nukes anyway. It surrendered because of the Soviets:
The United States bombed 68 cities in the summer of 1945. If you graph the number of people killed in all 68 of those attacks, you imagine that Hiroshima is off the charts, because that’s the way it’s usually presented. In fact, Hiroshima is second. Tokyo, a conventional attack, is first in the number killed. If you graph the number of square miles destroyed, Hiroshima is sixth. If you graph the percentage of the city destroyed, Hiroshima is 17th.
It is for the same reason that it didn't force the Japanese to surrender also very much a stretch to claim that the US leadership expected these bombs to convince them.

And despite of all this, to this day over 50% of Americans still feel the use of nukes is justified, and enough of them are gung ho about them that you regularly have high ranking politicians calling for their offensive use even today. As contested as it this topic has become in the United States by the apologists today, it was not back then amongst those who were actually involved:
Quote Originally Posted by Einstein
A great majority of scientists were opposed to the sudden employment of the atom bomb.
In Einstein's judgment, the dropping of the bomb was a political-diplomatic decision rather than a military or scientific decision.

The "Hiroshima saved lives" myth is the real disinformation campaign, and it's pretty well documented how it spread out, starting from James Bryant Conant, chairman of the National Defense Research Committee during the war, and also the developer of poison gasses during ww1 and president of Harvard University, who rightfully had to fear about his future scientific career. His tale was then also endorsed by Truman, for similar obvious reasons. The numbers of American military casualties saved by the nukes were inflated as the years went on.

I'll end with a quote again from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as quoted by his secretary Dorothy Ringquist:
Quote Originally Posted by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William Leahy
Dorothy, we will regret this day. The United States will suffer, for war is not to be waged on women and children.
A shame that people in his country don't seem to get it even today.