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Douche Baggins
07-07-2010, 11:18 PM
Suck it, Catholics.

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/jesus-christ-died-cross-scholar/story?id=11066130
No Evidence in Ancient Sources Backs Up Defining Symbol of Christianity, Scholar Says

For 2,000 years the crucifix has been a potent symbol of both Jesus Christ's death and Christianity. Now one Swedish theologian says that despite the crucifix's proliferation in art and literature, there is scant evidence in the Bible or other ancient sources to indicate that Christ was killed on a cross.

Gunnar Samuelsson, an evangelical preacher and theologian, says he spent three years combing thousands of ancient texts to research his recently completed 400-page doctoral thesis "Crucifixion in Antiquity."

What he discovered, he said, "came as a shock." While there were numerous references to "suspension devices" used for executions at the time of Christ's death, he could find no explicit references to the classic T-shaped cross.

"There is no distinct punishment called 'crucifixion,' no distinct punishment device called a 'crucifix' anywhere mentioned in any of the ancient texts including the Gospels," he told ABCNews.com.

Samuelsson devoutly believes the story of Jesus' death and resurrection, but says for generations people have misinterpreted and mistranslated the Greek word "stauros" to mean crucifix, when really the term just means a suspension device, which might have been anything such as a "pole or a tree trunk." The earliest versions of the New Testament were written in Greek.

"If you chose to just read the text and ignore the art and theology, there is quite a small amount of information about the crucifixion. Jesus, the Bible says, carried something called a stauros out to Calvary. Everyone thought it meant cross, but it does not only mean cross. We cannot say every instance of this noun, stauros refers to a cross," Samuelsson said.

Suspension devices, basically tall polls or pikes, were routinely used in the ancient world, by the Romans and their contemporaries, both as execution devices and for displaying the bodies of executed criminals and enemies as a public warning.

Part of what tipped Samuelson off to the apparent mistranslation, were routine references to things like fruits and dead animals being "crucified" in ancient texts, when translating the word as "suspended" makes more sense.

For Samuelsson, a 44-year-old pastor who is completing his research at the University of Gothenburg, his faith leads him to believe in the tradition that Jesus was suspended on a cross.

However, he says, "We don't know how those wicked people next to him on the right and on the left, were executed. Or what the devices looked like for people the day before or the day after."

"I am not saying no 'crucifixions' took place I the ancient world. But we cannot find evidence of them in the ancient texts," he added.

Given that the Romans were careful record keepers who wrote detailed and gruesome histories about their military conquests and lengthy legal treatises, it is strange that they would not have written plainly about their execution methods, he explained.

Samuelson says the idea of suspension devices would have been understood in the ancient world and by the contemporaries of Jesus.

"If you were walking around Galilee and heard Jesus say he will be suspended in days. People would have an understanding of the kind of torture involved."

While the Gospels mention Jesus' suspension, none specify a cross, according to Samuelson. Furthermore, the passion is described differently in different Gospels and has been depicted in various ways throughout history.

"In the movie the 'Passion of Christ,' Jesus carries the whole cross on his back. In some scholarly works, he just carries the cross beam. Nails are not mentioned before the passion and only mentioned in one book after he is executed," he said.

Samuelson said he never expected the international reaction his thesis has already received. He originally printed just 200 copies that he thought would be read by family and friends. He said he hoped scholars would be intrigued by his work, but has been surprised by the worldwide attention.

"I'm just another boring pastor. I think Jesus is the son of God. I read the New Testament every day. I'm filled with the Holy Spirit. I keep telling people, this does not mean we have to tear down the crosses in all the churches."

Brock
07-07-2010, 11:30 PM
http://media.giantbomb.com/uploads/4/45270/1253930-this_thread_again_super.jpg

petegz28
07-07-2010, 11:32 PM
Color me shocked!!! The Bible not accurate? I never would have thunk it.

CrazyPhuD
07-07-2010, 11:57 PM
Wait I thought Jesus died in the desert from dehydration running from the border police?

Silock
07-08-2010, 12:10 AM
History channel did a special on crucifixion. It's not just ancient middle east where it was practiced. It's fairly common all over the world, in one form or another.

There's no evidence that he DIDN'T die on a cross. Absence of evidence != evidence of absence.

ClevelandBronco
07-08-2010, 12:11 AM
Color me shocked!!! The Bible not accurate? I never would have thunk it.

That's not what the article says...

Douche Baggins
07-08-2010, 01:53 AM
There's no evidence that he DIDN'T die on a cross.

There's no evidence that jesus WASN'T gay!

Silock
07-08-2010, 03:20 AM
There's no evidence that jesus WASN'T gay!

Well, that's kinda the point. You can make up all sorts of stuff about anyone, especially when the information you have is limited.

bevischief
07-08-2010, 04:05 AM
This has been out for a over a week...

InChiefsHell
07-08-2010, 05:58 AM
Ah, this guy must be a Jehovah's Witless...I knew one a few years back and that was their contention, that he died on a pole not a cross.

So, what, this guy is saying that there is no historical evidence that the ROmans hung people on a cross? What? The mechanics of crucifixion work better on a cross, it's a slow torturous means of execution.

Meh.

Douche Baggins
07-08-2010, 07:41 AM
Ah, this guy must be a Jehovah's Witless...I knew one a few years back and that was their contention, that he died on a pole not a cross.


It's actually bible based.

http://www.watchtower.org/e/200604a/article_01.htm

THE cross is one of the most recognizable religious symbols known to man. Millions revere it, considering it to be the sacred instrument on which Jesus was put to death. Roman Catholic writer and archaeologist Adolphe-Napoleon Didron stated: “The cross has received a worship similar, if not equal, to that of Christ; this sacred wood is adored almost equally with God Himself.”

Some say that the cross makes them feel closer to God when they pray. Others use it as an amulet, thinking that it protects them from evil. But should Christians use the cross as an object of veneration? Did Jesus really die on a cross? What does the Bible teach on this subject?
What Does the Cross Symbolize?

Long before the Christian era, crosses were used by the ancient Babylonians as symbols in their worship of the fertility god Tammuz. The use of the cross spread into Egypt, India, Syria, and China. Then, centuries later, the Israelites adulterated their worship of Jehovah with acts of veneration to the false god Tammuz. The Bible refers to this form of worship as a ‘detestable thing.’—Ezekiel 8:13, 14.

The Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John use the Greek word stau·ros′ when referring to the instrument of execution on which Jesus died. (Matthew 27:40; Mark 15:30; Luke 23:26) The word stau·ros′ refers to an upright pole, stake, or post. The book The Non-Christian Cross, by J. D. Parsons, explains: “There is not a single sentence in any of the numerous writings forming the New Testament, which, in the original Greek, bears even indirect evidence to the effect that the stauros used in the case of Jesus was other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it consisted, not of one piece of timber, but of two pieces nailed together in the form of a cross.”

Some ancient drawings depict the use of a single wooden pole in Roman executions

As recorded at Acts 5:30, the apostle Peter used the word xy′lon, meaning “tree,” as a synonym for stau·ros′, denoting, not a two-beamed cross, but an ordinary piece of upright timber or tree. It was not until about 300 years after Jesus’ death that some professed Christians promoted the idea that Jesus was put to death on a two-beamed cross. However, this view was based on tradition and a misuse of the Greek word stau·ros′. It is noteworthy that some ancient drawings depicting Roman executions feature a single wooden pole or tree.

“Guard Yourselves From Idols”

A more important issue for true Christians should be the propriety of venerating the instrument used to kill Jesus. Whether it was an upright single torture stake, a cross, an arrow, a lance, or a knife, should such an instrument be used in worship?

Suppose a loved one of yours was brutally murdered and the weapon was submitted to the court as evidence. Would you try to gain possession of the murder weapon, take photographs of it, and print many copies for distribution? Would you produce replicas of the weapon in various sizes? Would you then fashion some of them into jewelry? Or would you have these reproductions commercially manufactured and sold to friends and relatives to be venerated? Likely you would be repulsed at the idea! Yet, these very things have been done with the cross!

Besides, the use of the cross in worship is no different from the use of images in worship, a practice condemned in the Bible. (Exodus 20:2-5; Deuteronomy 4:25, 26) The apostle John accurately reflected the teachings of true Christianity when he admonished his fellow Christians with the words: “Guard yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:21) This they did even when it meant facing death in the Roman arena.

First-century Christians, however, held the sacrificial death of Christ in high esteem. Likewise today, although the instrument used to torture and kill Jesus is not to be worshipped, true Christians commemorate Jesus’ death as the means by which God provides salvation to imperfect humans. (Matthew 20:28) This superlative expression of God’s love will bring untold blessings to lovers of truth, including the prospect of everlasting life.—John 17:3; Revelation 21:3, 4.

InChiefsHell
07-08-2010, 07:50 AM
It's actually bible based.

http://www.watchtower.org/e/200604a/article_01.htm

:rolleyes:

The Gospel according to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is not one that I subscribe to. Suffice it to say, I believe they are wrong. That's as charitable as I can get. I know you were a Witness once. Nothing coming out of Brooklyn and the Watchtower is biblical.

...and that's all I gotta say about that.

ChiTown
07-08-2010, 07:58 AM
You are such a tool.

Dave Lane
07-08-2010, 08:00 AM
There's absolutely no evidence he existed so the fact there is no evidence for execution on a cross is a giant duh.

InChiefsHell
07-08-2010, 08:06 AM
There's absolutely no evidence he existed so the fact there is no evidence for execution on a cross is a giant duh.

Yep. 2000 years of a lie is pretty impressive at that...no evidence whatsoever...:rolleyes:

petegz28
07-08-2010, 08:34 AM
That's not what the article says...

You're right, that came out wrong. I should have said that the "stories" we are told are not accurate.

petegz28
07-08-2010, 08:36 AM
Yep. 2000 years of a lie is pretty impressive at that...no evidence whatsoever...:rolleyes:

Actually there is little evidence. And if you want to talk about 2,000 years of a lie, how many years were all the other God's beofre Jesus believed to be true?

talastan
07-08-2010, 08:45 AM
Doesn't change my faith, and my God is big enough that if he wants to prove himself he will. The Bible is IMO a living book that God uses to speak to everyone uniquely. My faith isn't based on the shape of the cross that Christ was crucified, but in the act itself and what it did for my life. If you don't believe it happened then it is in your freewill to do so. Not my job to try and convince anyone here. Just answer questions as best as I can when asked about my faith.

InChiefsHell
07-08-2010, 09:19 AM
Actually there is little evidence. And if you want to talk about 2,000 years of a lie, how many years were all the other God's beofre Jesus believed to be true?

By 1\3 of the worlds population? I'd wager non of them lasted 2000 years and counting.

Of course, if you figure in people who believe in God (in other words throw in Jews and Muslims) you have 54% of the current population believing in a 6000 year old lie.

That's a lot of idiots...

CoMoChief
07-08-2010, 09:22 AM
The popular christian "T-cross" is just a symbol of the zodiac is it not?

Gracie Dean
07-08-2010, 09:22 AM
bullshit and another dumbass post by Chiefsplanet's dumb ass poster whore

InChiefsHell
07-08-2010, 09:30 AM
The popular christian "T-cross" is just a symbol of the zodiac is it not?

Yes. OF course. That's what it is.

petegz28
07-08-2010, 09:32 AM
By 1\3 of the worlds population? I'd wager non of them lasted 2000 years and counting.

Of course, if you figure in people who believe in God (in other words throw in Jews and Muslims) you have 54% of the current population believing in a 6000 year old lie.

That's a lot of idiots...

Yes, it is a lot. I am not here to tell people what they should and shouldn't believe. I have gone through this whole ordeal before in countless other threads. There were Gods around for thousands of years before Jesus. And I wouldn't call it a lie so much as I would a fairy tale. That is just my opinion.

Do I believe in a God? Yes, in a manner of speaking. But I also understand the history of Christianity and how it has come to be the dominant religion in our world. And it has little to do with God and more to do with man and his actions. So to save the re-hash of "Is God Real", or "Did Jesis Exist?", I will just say I don't believe the Bible necessarily, I don't believe Jesus was the Son of God and I know there were acts of war taken against those who didn't believe as the Church wanted them too.

InChiefsHell
07-08-2010, 09:39 AM
Yes, it is a lot. I am not here to tell people what they should and shouldn't believe. I have gone through this whole ordeal before in countless other threads. There were Gods around for thousands of years before Jesus. And I wouldn't call it a lie so much as I would a fairy tale. That is just my opinion.

Do I believe in a God? Yes, in a manner of speaking. But I also understand the history of Christianity and how it has come to be the dominant religion in our world. And it has little to do with God and more to do with man and his actions. So to save the re-hash of "Is God Real", or "Did Jesis Exist?", I will just say I don't believe the Bible necessarily, I don't believe Jesus was the Son of God and I know there were acts of war taken against those who didn't believe as the Church wanted them too.

Fair enough, I don't want to get into this either. I know what your responses are, you know mine. All I was really doing was responding to the idea that there is no evidence. People may not believe the evidence, and they may choose to believe that anyone who has believed in this for 2k years are morons, but it IS evidence.

petegz28
07-08-2010, 09:43 AM
Fair enough, I don't want to get into this either. I know what your responses are, you know mine. All I was really doing was responding to the idea that there is no evidence. People may not believe the evidence, and they may choose to believe that anyone who has believed in this for 2k years are morons, but it IS evidence.

The fact people believe isn't evidence. Particularly when the Church made concerted efforts to subjugate and convert people to Christianity. Then over the course of the years the non-believers are either killed off or bred out of society. So I guess my point is that a good part of the early believers when all the Jesus "stuff" started were more or less forced to convert or face death. Not all, but a good deal I would wager. Thus my stating a lot of why Christianity is so dominant comes from the actions of man, not God.

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 09:44 AM
There's absolutely no evidence he existed so the fact there is no evidence for execution on a cross is a giant duh.

There's little question that a prophet called Jesus existed.

There's secular text that survives to this day referencing him. Josephus referred to him a couple of times. Pliny the younger talked about the christ and essentially considered him a cult leader. The Koran references him as a prophet. There's some old roman texts that refer to him as 'a sorcerer'. Even if you step outside of the Bible, there are many references to him and his followers that were contemporaneous with his emergence.

Question whether or not he was a savior if you want (I still haven't decided myself), but there is a lot of evidence that the man existed. When you look at the evidence we have of Jesus' existence, you'll find it's every bit as strong as the evidence we have of the existence of a bunch of Roman emperors from the same time frame. Hannibal taking elephants over the alps has less historical evidence than the existence of Jesus the man and yet nobody questions its veracity.

The guy existed, as did his followers. To argue otherwise is to suggest that we probably shouldn't take anything that occured before the Magna Carta as fact, as very little of it has any more historical evidence than the existence of Jesus.

Donger
07-08-2010, 09:48 AM
I love it when people argue about something that can never be proven.

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 09:50 AM
The fact people believe isn't evidence. Particularly when the Church made concerted efforts to subjugate and convert people to Christianity. Then over the course of the years the non-believers are either killed off or bred out of society. So I guess my point is that a good part of the early believers when all the Jesus "stuff" started were more or less forced to convert or face death. Not all but a good deal I would wager. Thus my stating a lot of why Christianity is so dominant comes from the actions of man, not God.

Doesn't this ignore the how of Christianity's dominance? How did the Church move into a position to establish itself?

Sects came and went all the time, yet Christianity suddenly emerged, over a damn short timeline, as the clearly dominant paradigm.

Like I said, I've spent years looking for an answer I'm happy with and haven't found one. At the same time, don't you have to ask yourself how this one religion became so powerful so quickly despite such humble roots? Can you imagine something like that happening on such a broad scale without some pretty incredible events surrounding it?

In this particular instance, I believe that Christianity's duration/dominance truly should count as evidence of its truth. Dispositive? Absolutely not - but a brick needn't be a wall. It counts for something.

Chief Henry
07-08-2010, 09:52 AM
Catholics to Go Chiefs......suck it

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 09:52 AM
I love it when people argue about something that can never be proven.

Define 'proven'.

Did Tacitus exist? Most people would say 'sure, and here's some text that proves it....'

Yet you'll find that most of that text doesn't carry any more substantive strength than the secular texts referring to a historical Jesus.

Can you prove he is the saviour? Nope, not really. But by any fair, uniformly applied standard of proof, Jesus is every bit as 'provable' as most, if not all, historical figures.

Donger
07-08-2010, 09:54 AM
Define 'proven'.

Did Tacitus exist? Most people would say 'sure, and here's some text that proves it....'

You'll find that most of that text doesn't carry any more substantive strength than the secular texts referring to a historical Jesus.

Can you prove he is the saviour? Nope, not really. But by any fair, uniformly applied standard of proof, Jesus is every bit as 'provable' as most, if not all, historical figures.

I wasn't talking about Jesus' existence. I was referring to proving that he was crucified.

InChiefsHell
07-08-2010, 09:58 AM
The fact people believe isn't evidence. Particularly when the Church made concerted efforts to subjugate and convert people to Christianity. Then over the course of the years the non-believers are either killed off or bred out of society. So I guess my point is that a good part of the early believers when all the Jesus "stuff" started were more or less forced to convert or face death. Not all, but a good deal I would wager. Thus my stating a lot of why Christianity is so dominant comes from the actions of man, not God.

I thought we weren't going to get into this...:p

Every thread about any slight reference to God always winds up with Dave Lane or whoever making it about their beliefs.

I'm not even going to read your arguments, because they will probably prompt us to launch into a 50 page thread that in the end will peter out into nothing and nobody will change their minds about anything anyway.

Reaper16
07-08-2010, 10:02 AM
In this particular instance, I believe that Christianity's duration/dominance truly should count as evidence of its truth. Dispositive? Absolutely not - but a brick needn't be a wall. It counts for something.
Hinduism and Buddhism have been around longer than Christianity. Judaism too, obv. Does their duration count as evidence for their truth?

fan4ever
07-08-2010, 10:05 AM
I love it when people argue about something that can never be proven.

THIS although I fall prey to it sometimes.

petegz28
07-08-2010, 10:05 AM
Doesn't this ignore the how of Christianity's dominance? How did the Church move into a position to establish itself?

Sects came and went all the time, yet Christianity suddenly emerged, over a damn short timeline, as the clearly dominant paradigm.

Like I said, I've spent years looking for an answer I'm happy with and haven't found one. At the same time, don't you have to ask yourself how this one religion became so powerful so quickly despite such humble roots? Can you imagine something like that happening on such a broad scale without some pretty incredible events surrounding it?

In this particular instance, I believe that Christianity's duration/dominance truly should count as evidence of its truth. Dispositive? Absolutely not - but a brick needn't be a wall. It counts for something.

Well, I wanted to avoid this but I guess I set myself up for some explanation.

The Christian faith is littered with Pagan tradition. Even my Wife's Priest has admitted such. During an Easter mass at that. Anyhow, that leads to me see it as fact that Christianity was a potluck creation to a point of the various religions at the time. It absorbed the Pagan traditions and rituals to an extent to appease the Pagans and make it easier for them to convert. I would also argue that Constantine had a lot to do with making Christianity so dominant in the beginning. In other words religion was used to for power and the powerful used religion to control the masses.

The duration and dominance of Christianity as I stated in my previous post, can be traced back to the powers that be at the time and the subsequent breeding of Christianity into society. In short, and I know rather simplistic sounding, the powers that be did what they could to convert people peacfully (adopting Pagan traditions, etc) killed off those who refused to convert and taught Christianity to their future generations who didn't know from any other religion or just didn't know any better.

I'll give you an example. My Wife, devout catholic, church on every Sunday, prayers said every night, etc, etc. She is totally ignorant to any other religion at all. She has no understanding and until I explained things to her thought Pagans were just like the people off of the movie Dragnet, more or less. And she is not alone in that. I was never exposed to any alternative religion during my upbringing. Neither were my parents or their parents. Save the aknowedgment of Jews and Muslims. But it was just that.

So, if I convert the people I can convert peacfully, kill off those who refuse to believe and preach only Christianity to future generations, then you have the formula for lasting belief. As long as the powers that be remain in power. Which they have.

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 10:07 AM
Hinduism and Buddhism have been around longer than Christianity. Judaism too, obv. Does their duration count as evidence for their truth?

Yes, but to a lesser degree, IMO.

Hinduism and Buddhism ramped up with their respective population bases. They never overtook a previously dominant worldview.

The fact that they're still around means something, but it doesn't mean as much as it means in the case of Christianity because Christianity has a clear catalyst. A moment in time that can be pointed at where the happenings at that time were so incredible as to create a massive shift in worldview.

You can't point to that in the other two religions and you certainly can't do so over a timeline as relatively short as the rise of Christianity.

InChiefsHell
07-08-2010, 10:08 AM
Oh my God. I'm not reading this. I'm not.

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 10:14 AM
Well, I wanted to avoid this but I guess I set myself up for some explanation.

The Christian faith is littered with Pagan tradition. Even my Wife's Priest has admitted such. During an Easter mass at that. Anyhow, that leads to me see it as fact that Christianity was a potluck creation to a point of the various religions at the time. It absorbed the Pagan traditions and rituals to an extent to appease the Pagans and make it easier for them to convert. I would also argue that Constantine had a lot to do with making Christianity so dominant in the beginning. In other words religion was used to for power and the powerful used religion to control the masses.

The duration and dominance of Christianity as I stated in my previous post, can be traced back to the powers that be at the time and the subsequent breeding of Christianity into society. In short, and I know rather simplistic sounding, the powers that be did what they could to convert people peacfully (adopting Pagan traditions, etc) killed off those who refused to convert and taught Christianity to their future generations who didn't know from any other religion or just didn't know any better.

A fair response and I suppose it's possible, but it requires almost the leap of faith that believing in a resurrection would.

You're talking about the wholesale slaughter of hundreds of thousands of individuals that wouldn't 'convert peacefully' and for what end? Consolidation of power? You don't need a diety for that and you certainly don't need to replace an existing paradigm for it.

Your theory is essentially the 'dark side' of the coin. That the whole rise of Christianity was a systematic, genocidal power play that would've required a conspiracy grander than any in recorded human history. One that took place over dozens of generations all with a consistent belief structure, no less.

Honestly, I don't see that alternative as any more likely than the other.

ClevelandBronco
07-08-2010, 10:15 AM
There's absolutely no evidence he existed so the fact there is no evidence for execution on a cross is a giant duh.

There's a massive body of evidence. What you probably mean is that there's no proof that meets your standards.

petegz28
07-08-2010, 10:32 AM
A fair response and I suppose it's possible, but it requires almost the leap of faith that believing in a resurrection would.

You're talking about the wholesale slaughter of hundreds of thousands of individuals that wouldn't 'convert peacefully' and for what end? Consolidation of power? You don't need a diety for that and you certainly don't need to replace an existing paradigm for it.

Your theory is essentially the 'dark side' of the coin. That the whole rise of Christianity was a systematic, genocidal power play that would've required a conspiracy grander than any in recorded human history. One that took place over dozens of generations all with a consistent belief structure, no less.

Honestly, I don't see that alternative as any more likely than the other.

Except we have historical evidence of such slaughtering in the efforts to consolidate power

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 10:51 AM
Except we have historical evidence of such slaughtering in the efforts to consolidate power

Not to that degree.

Again, you're talking about killing, what - half of the population of Europe? In the name of converting folks to a religion that spent the previous decades themselves being slaughtered?

And besides, an iron fist only creates converts to the extent that they're watching over you. A true conversion on that scale is far more likely to be the result of a fantastic event than a systematic extermination.

The scale under which you're operating, over the number of generations in which you're operating, makes it no more of a stretch to believe your theory than it is to believe the Bible's.

Here's another thought - look at the Americas when that was attempted. The Europeans came over and essentially did something similar to what you're claiming. Look at how the population reacted. There were full-scale wars.

Now the difference is that the Europeans brought disease which wiped out 90% of the population and allowed the Europeans to convince the stragglers that the pestilence was the act of an angry God (not a bad little card to play, is it?), but the Church in Europe didn't have that advantage. Furthermore, the Church in Europe didn't have the advantage in raw numbers, technology and firepower that the conquerers in America had. They'd have had to slog through city after city, country after country, declaring war on religion and committing systematic genocide without an 'angry god' plauge to back them up.

You're operating on a nearly impossible scale when you consider it in light of what we already know will happen if you attempt to foist your religion on others.

Taco John
07-08-2010, 10:51 AM
There's absolutely no evidence he existed so the fact there is no evidence for execution on a cross is a giant duh.


Yeah, we just changed the calendars and culture revolutionized on its own without a catalyst. No evidence whatsoever. Certainly not cultural evidence.

LMAO

Taco John
07-08-2010, 10:53 AM
There's a massive body of evidence. What you probably mean is that there's no proof that meets your standards.


It would be the greatest conspiracy theory of all time if Jesus didn't actually exist. But I've never managed to get Dane to talk about the purpose behind this massive conspiracy theory that he believes.

Douche Baggins
07-08-2010, 10:55 AM
Awesome.

Jilly
07-08-2010, 11:01 AM
Doesn't change my faith, and my God is big enough that if he wants to prove himself he will. The Bible is IMO a living book that God uses to speak to everyone uniquely. My faith isn't based on the shape of the cross that Christ was crucified, but in the act itself and what it did for my life. If you don't believe it happened then it is in your freewill to do so. Not my job to try and convince anyone here. Just answer questions as best as I can when asked about my faith.

I like this.

KC native
07-08-2010, 11:02 AM
There's no evidence that he DIDN'T die on a cross. Absence of evidence != evidence of absence.

Hehe
<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/_w5JqQLqqTc&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/_w5JqQLqqTc&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

oh and shout out to don rumsfeld for the jewel at the end of the clip. unknown unknowns rofl

stevieray
07-08-2010, 11:07 AM
"pick up your________ and follow me..."

ClevelandBronco
07-08-2010, 11:10 AM
Awesome.

Go away. We're discussing something interesting here.

Douche Baggins
07-08-2010, 11:34 AM
"pick up your________ and follow me..."

Nice try.

(Matt 16:24,25) Jesus said to his disciples: “If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself and pick up his torture stake and continually follow me. For whoever wants to save his soul will lose it; but whoever loses his soul for my sake will find it.

(Mark 8:34-35) He now called the crowd to him with his disciples and said to them: “If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself and pick up his torture stake and follow me continually. For whoever wants to save his soul will lose it; but whoever loses his soul for the sake of me and the good news will save it.

(Luke 9:23-24) Then he went on to say to all: “If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself and pick up his torture stake day after day and follow me continually. For whoever wants to save his soul will lose it; but whoever loses his soul for my sake is the one that will save it.

Incidentally, the Bible does not actually teach a torture stake must be in the shape of a cross of two intersecting beams. The actual facts of the Bible may be enlightening to examine.. ..

You may be interested to see how your own copy of the bible translates Acts 5:30, Galatians 3:13, Deuteronomy 21:22, 23, and Acts 10:39. The King James, Revised Standard, Dyaglott, and Jerusalem Bible translate the instrument of Christ's death simply as "stake" or "tree" because the original wording simply does not support the idea that this was more than a piece of upright wood. The English word "cross" is an imprecise translation of the Latin word "crux". Note this image of crucifixion performed with a "crux simplex", such as seems to have been used to execute Jesus:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/47/Justus_Lipsius_Crux_Simplex_1629.jpg/333px-Justus_Lipsius_Crux_Simplex_1629.jpg

kaplin42
07-08-2010, 11:40 AM
Doesn't this ignore the how of Christianity's dominance? How did the Church move into a position to establish itself?

Sects came and went all the time, yet Christianity suddenly emerged, over a damn short timeline, as the clearly dominant paradigm.

Like I said, I've spent years looking for an answer I'm happy with and haven't found one. At the same time, don't you have to ask yourself how this one religion became so powerful so quickly despite such humble roots? Can you imagine something like that happening on such a broad scale without some pretty incredible events surrounding it?

In this particular instance, I believe that Christianity's duration/dominance truly should count as evidence of its truth. Dispositive? Absolutely not - but a brick needn't be a wall. It counts for something.

People also thought the world was flat for thousands of years.

If you look at the bible, and the stories in it, and then you go back an look at religiouns that existed before the bible, you will find the same stories. Rinsed, and regurgatated.

If there is a god, and he/she/it did give a book of how he wanted us to exist, don't you think it would be a little more concise, and a little less vague, not so open to interpretation?

If looking objectively at the bible, one can find all kinds of holes. If looking through the eyes of the faithful, there is truth and happiness to be found. Just depends on what color of glasses you want to wear.

Donger
07-08-2010, 11:42 AM
Nice try.



http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/47/Justus_Lipsius_Crux_Simplex_1629.jpg/333px-Justus_Lipsius_Crux_Simplex_1629.jpg

Well, a stick isn't really a very interesting religious symbol.

Anyway, there is plenty of evidence that the Romans used a simply 'T' crucifix, without the little part of wood going above horizontal. I have no idea how the Christian symbol of the little 't' came into being. A capital 'T' is more accurate.

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 11:58 AM
People also thought the world was flat for thousands of years.

If you look at the bible, and the stories in it, and then you go back an look at religiouns that existed before the bible, you will find the same stories. Rinsed, and regurgatated.

If there is a god, and he/she/it did give a book of how he wanted us to exist, don't you think it would be a little more concise, and a little less vague, not so open to interpretation?

If looking objectively at the bible, one can find all kinds of holes. If looking through the eyes of the faithful, there is truth and happiness to be found. Just depends on what color of glasses you want to wear.

Don't you think the Bible, as it was written 2000 years ago and in the language it was written, seemed pretty concise?

Look at how vague Shakespeare seems now, but it made perfect sense when it was written.

But again - I'm not looking at the Bible at all here. I'm looking at corroborating evidence. Why did Christianity rocket to the top of the religious food chain? Pete has his theory, Christians have theirs. I'm not so sure either one is more plausible than the other. What was it Jesus was up to to be referred to as a sorcerer in contemporaneous secular Roman texts? What drew Josephus's attention, or Pliny's? Or the others that wrote about Jesus outside of the religious sphere.

I don't think you've really spoken to my point at all (though you did a good job of furthering the flat earth myth, seriously - stop the elementary school textbook crap; people knew the world was round for centuries before Columbus, it just makes a better story your way...). Christianity rose up and beyond pre-existing, established religions over an incredibly short period of time for a reason. And then it stuck around. Why?

The Bible doesn't give you the answer to that question, nor does it purport to. It's the surrounding facts that you have to review and it's from there you must draw your conclusions.

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 12:05 PM
Well, a stick isn't really a very interesting religious symbol.

Anyway, there is plenty of evidence that the Romans used a simply 'T' crucifix, without the little part of wood going above horizontal. I have no idea how the Christian symbol of the little 't' came into being. A capital 'T' is more accurate.

The Bible also says that Judas 'disembowled himself' in one place and that he was 'was hung from a tree' in another. There are unquestioned contradictions.

However, in my mind, that's always given the bible a little bit more credibility. The basic story stays the same no matter who tells it, but the details don't always match. That is the sign of a book that's stayed far from an editorial pen. If the Curch really wanted the Dogma to look perfect and edited as such, don't they clear that up? "Make it more clear and Concise" as has been requested? Don't they take out stuff like Jesus asking why "God has forsaken me"? There's stuff in there that damn sure shouldn't be there if they wanted this thing to be considered bulletproof....yet there it is.

It's the old Triangle Shirtwaist Testimony trick. Defense counsel had the witness repeat her testimony over and over again (about 5 times; awful job by the prosecutors to allow that to happen). Each time she said it precisely the same way, same phrasing, same diction. At that point the jury knew her testimony was doctored and her credibility was shot all to hell. She'd been coached and they knew it. Result was an acquittal because nobody knew what to believe at that point.

Minor distinctions in details are almost always considered harbingers of truth, in fact, just as long as all the major elements are in place.

Just another brick, IMO.

petegz28
07-08-2010, 12:06 PM
It can be argued the cross is yet another Pagan aspect, in this case a symbol, that was abosrbed into Christianity.

The use of the cross as a symbol was condemned by at least one church father of the 3rd century CE because of its Pagan origins. The first appearance of a cross in Christian art is on a Vatican sarcophagus from the mid-5th Century. 11 It was a Greek cross with equal-length arms. Jesus' body was not shown. The first crucifixion scenes didn't appear in Christian art until the 7th century CE. The original cross symbol was in the form of a Tau Cross. It was so named because it looked like the letter "tau", or our letter "T". One author speculates that the Church may have copied the symbol from the Pagan Druids who made crosses in this form to represent the Thau (god). 7 They joined two limbs from oak trees. The Tau cross became associated with St. Philip who was allegedly crucified on such a cross in Phrygia. May Day, a major Druidic seasonal day of celebration, became St. Philip's Day. Later in Christian history, the Tau Cross became the Roman Cross that we are familiar with today.

The shape of the original crucifixion device is a matter for speculation. Sometimes, the Romans executed people on a Tau cross, sometimes on a Roman cross and sometimes on a simple stake. The gospels, which were originally written in Greek, use the word "stauros" to refer to the execution structure. (see Mark 15:21, Mark 15:32, Matthew 27:32, Luke 23:26, John 19:17). This appears as the word "cross" in all but one of the English versions that we have examined. But in reality, the Greek word usually means a vertical pole without a crossbar. The New World Translation, sponsored by the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, translates the word as "torture stake." 8 Hermann Fulda, author of "The Cross and Crucifixion" is commented that:

the description of Jesus' suffering during the last hours of life indicates that he was crucified on a stake rather than a cross.
that some of the writings of the early church fathers confirms the use of a pole.
that the very earliest depictions of Jesus' crucifixion in Christian art show him on a stake.

Acts 5:30 refers to "hanging him on a tree." 1 Peter 2:24 says "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree."

Deuteronomy 21:23 stated that a person hung on a tree was be cursed by God. This verse was a major stumbling block that prevented many Jews from accepting Jesus as the Messiah.

According to author Graydon F. Snyder:

"[Today's]....universal use of the sign of the cross makes more poignant the striking lack of crosses in early Christian remains, especially any specific reference to the event on Golgotha. Most scholars now agree that the cross as an artistic reference to the passion event cannot be found prior to the time of Constantine."

More on the pre-Christian history of the cross symbol
"From its simplicity of form, the cross has been used both as a religious symbol and as an ornament, from the dawn of man's civilization. Various objects, dating from periods long anterior to the Christian era, have been found, marked with crosses of different designs, in almost every part of the old world." 9 The cross symbol was found in: 10

Scandinavia: The Tau cross symbolized the hammer of the God Thor.

Babylon: the cross with a crescent moon was the symbol of their moon deity.

Assyria: the corners of the cross represented the four directions in which the sun shines.

India: In Hinduism, the vertical shaft represents the higher, celestial states of being; the horizontal bar represents the lower, earthly states.

Egypt: The ankh cross (a Tau cross topped by an inverted tear shape) is associated with Maat, their Goddess of Truth. It also represents the sexual union of Isis and Osiris.

Europe: The use of a human effigy on a cross in the form of a scarecrow has been used from ancient times. In prehistoric times, a human would be sacrificed and hung on a cross. The sacrifice would later be chopped to pieces; his blood and pieces of flesh were widely distributed and buried to encourage the crop fertility.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_symb.htm

ClevelandBronco
07-08-2010, 12:07 PM
...Pete has his theory, Christians have theirs...

Pete, if I recall correctly, believes that aliens have visited us from other solar systems and taught us to stack rocks on top of each other.

petegz28
07-08-2010, 12:11 PM
Pete, if I recall correctly, believes that aliens have visited us from other solar systems and taught us to stack rocks on top of each other.

Swing and a miss! /direkshun

I have said it is possible. I never said I believe that as fact.

BigCatDaddy
07-08-2010, 12:12 PM
Pete, if I recall correctly, believes that aliens have visited us from other solar systems and taught us to stack rocks on top of each other.

LMAO

ClevelandBronco
07-08-2010, 12:12 PM
Swing and a miss! /direkshun

I have said it is possible. I never said I believe that as fact.

My mistake. How strong a possibility do you think it might be?

Dave Lane
07-08-2010, 12:12 PM
By 1\3 of the worlds population? I'd wager non of them lasted 2000 years and counting.

Of course, if you figure in people who believe in God (in other words throw in Jews and Muslims) you have 54% of the current population believing in a 6000 year old lie.

That's a lot of idiots...

Buddhism is much older. You believe in it? Taoism is as old. Judaism is older, and really this is oddly the more damning. I mean they (the Jews) were right there (allegedly) and saw him and saw all his miracles and all his healing yet for the most part none of them converted. Why?

Dave Lane
07-08-2010, 12:13 PM
It was even the same god they had been worshiping (allegedly)

Dave Lane
07-08-2010, 12:23 PM
There's little question that a prophet called Jesus existed.

There's secular text that survives to this day referencing him. Josephus referred to him a couple of times. Pliny the younger talked about the christ and essentially considered him a cult leader. The Koran references him as a prophet. There's some old roman texts that refer to him as 'a sorcerer'. Even if you step outside of the Bible, there are many references to him and his followers that were contemporaneous with his emergence.

Question whether or not he was a savior if you want (I still haven't decided myself), but there is a lot of evidence that the man existed. When you look at the evidence we have of Jesus' existence, you'll find it's every bit as strong as the evidence we have of the existence of a bunch of Roman emperors from the same time frame. Hannibal taking elephants over the alps has less historical evidence than the existence of Jesus the man and yet nobody questions its veracity.

The guy existed, as did his followers. To argue otherwise is to suggest that we probably shouldn't take anything that occured before the Magna Carta as fact, as very little of it has any more historical evidence than the existence of Jesus.

I repeat ad nauseum the is NO proof from a contemporary of jesus. Yes he is mentioned in the koran that came 800 years later. Josephus has no mention of Jesus as a lord at all. He mentions 6-7 jesuses that were around in the same period of time but none that could even be close as a "jesus" of the bible.

A "golden paragraph" was added to Josephus's work 300 years after the fact but even the catholic church admits its was a later addition. There is absolutely nothing that stands up as contemporary writings or proof of a historical or living jesus of ANY type.

ClevelandBronco
07-08-2010, 12:25 PM
Buddhism is much older. You believe in it? Taoism is as old. Judaism is older, and really this is oddly the more damning. I mean they (the Jews) were right there (allegedly) and saw him and saw all his miracles and all his healing yet for the most part none of them converted. Why?

So you'd have something to talk about on a Thursday morning two thousand years later.

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 12:27 PM
I repeat ad nauseum the is NO proof from a contemporary of jesus. Yes he is mentioned in the koran that came 800 years later. Josephus has no mention of Jesus as a lord at all. He mentions 6-7 jesuses that were around in the same period of time but none that could even be close as a "jesus" of the bible.

A "golden paragraph" was added to Josephus's work 300 years after the fact but even the catholic church admits its was a later addition. There is absolutely nothing that stands up as contemporary writings or proof of a historical or living jesus of ANY type.

Never said anything about "Jesus as Lord" only Jesus as a person.

And I ask you to go ahead and put together a stronger case for the existence of Tacitus or Hannibal's treck across the alps than the secular case for Jesus.

Again - it's about a consistent standard. The standard of proof for things that predate about 900 AD are all garbage. We have very little in the way of proof for anything. But if you're going to believe that Hannibal really brought a bunch of elephants over the mountains based on the scattered reports from a few historians that turned into legend 500 years later, why don't you apply a similar standard to a historical Jesus?

The goalposts get moved when it comes to discussing issues of faith, even when discussing them in a purely historical context.

Dave Lane
07-08-2010, 12:48 PM
Wow. This is entertaining.
So if some other person of the time either god or story can't be proven then jesus is real? Amazing leap of logic there.

Here's what I find FAR more likely. There is some independent evidence that a Jewish person called Jesus ben Pandira of the Essene cult led a separatist movement that split from Essenes. He was called a Messiah while alive, but was not the first, nor the last, to be called Messiah. Most Jews did not know of him or follow him, but after he died (crucified by Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius Cesar) his followers, in particular Paul of Tarsus were very efficient at spreading his particular theology.

Never said anything about "Jesus as Lord" only Jesus as a person.

And I ask you to go ahead and put together a stronger case for the existence of Tacitus or Hannibal's treck across the alps than the secular case for Jesus.

Again - it's about a consistent standard. The standard of proof for things that predate about 900 AD are all garbage. We have very little in the way of proof for anything. But if you're going to believe that Hannibal really brought a bunch of elephants over the mountains based on the scattered reports from a few historians that turned into legend 500 years later, why don't you apply a similar standard to a historical Jesus?

The goalposts get moved when it comes to discussing issues of faith, even when discussing them in a purely historical context.

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 01:06 PM
Wow. This is entertaining.
So if some other person of the time either god or story can't be proven then jesus is real? Amazing leap of logic there.

Here's what I find FAR more likely. There is some independent evidence that a Jewish person called Jesus ben Pandira of the Essene cult led a separatist movement that split from Essenes. He was called a Messiah while alive, but was not the first, nor the last, to be called Messiah. Most Jews did not know of him or follow him, but after he died (crucified by Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius Cesar) his followers, in particular Paul of Tarsus were very efficient at spreading his particular theology.

First - wouldn't that be all that I was saying? That there was a historical figure named Jesus. Not that he was a miracle worker, not that he was a savior, but that he existed and there is a secular, historical record of his physical existence. Further, the historical record of his existence is far far stronger than that of folks you seemingly take as clearly verified, such as Hannibal. What you seem to see as "Far more likely" is essentially a secular, purely political history of the "Jesus Myth"...that's fine. That's the only point I have made from the start. The purely historical figure (faith being completely excluded) spoken of in the Bible almost certainly existed.

But to address your response to a point I never actually made - Your position is that a really good publicist led to an obscure cult becoming the dominant religion in Europe? In an era where information traveled at glacial speed - 1 guy (again, little more than a publicist, no less) and his ability to deliver a solid stump speech created a completely new worldview? Seems reasonable.

Dave Lane
07-08-2010, 01:45 PM
I will accept that have been many people named jesus even to this day. That there was anything close to the jesus of the bible no dice. Could the original stories have been based on a normal person that had great karmic ideas sure thats possible.

go bowe
07-08-2010, 02:20 PM
I will accept that have been many people named jesus even to this day. That there was anything close to the jesus of the bible no dice. Could the original stories have been based on a normal person that had great karmic ideas sure thats possible.then what would be yes dice?

ClevelandBronco
07-08-2010, 02:22 PM
then what would be yes dice?

Short of a second coming on Dave Lane's front lawn, I doubt that there's much of anything he'd accept.

Taco John
07-08-2010, 02:42 PM
I will accept that have been many people named jesus even to this day. That there was anything close to the jesus of the bible no dice. Could the original stories have been based on a normal person that had great karmic ideas sure thats possible.


So it's the greatest conspiracy theory ever told. Who was at the root of this conspiracy, and how did they have so much power that they were able to get Jesus recorded into multiple religious texts with fresh spins on ideas that went against the grain of the prevailing culture at the time? And to what end is this conspiracy movement operating?

Do you have any evidence of this conspiracy?

Dave Lane
07-08-2010, 02:42 PM
then what would be yes dice?

In the old days you would have been treated like a god if you could have produced a flash from gunpowder or a match.

So some one raising the dead, feeding variously numbered people but around 5000 people with a couple of small fishes and 5 loaves of bread with 8 baskets of leftovers, people healed by touching the hem of his garment, climbing a treee to see him and getting healed, walking on water, turning water into wine, getting crucified and the earth splitting open upon your death and centuries old dead people rising from the grave and walking through Jerusalem, casting demons into flocks of swine 2000 or more that then leaped off a cliff to their death and no one wrote about it despite the fact that their were many chroniclers of the time writing about Judea.

With no modern medicine to help the sick a person like this would have been mobbed by people the Emperor would have demanded a audience it would have been the wonder of an age. And yet no one wrote any of this down for 60 years and much longer. Its like he lived, people forgot and then they wrote about it.

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 02:54 PM
then what would be yes dice?

Yeah, pretty much. Seeing as how that's all I said from the begining.

The guy in the Bible existed. Did he commit those acts, was he the son of God, is he a savior...who knows? He's right, it's not proveable. But there's scads of evidence that Jesus the guy existed and he's the same guy they were writing about in the bible.

Stewie
07-08-2010, 02:55 PM
What is this? There were millions of people alive at the time of Christ and the only historical remnants are the kings (and minions) and great warriors/minds (and minions) of the time. The other millions didn't exist because there's no evidence? To find evidence of a humble man etched in obelisks and stone buildings is not going to be found. He's the epitome of everything that is not self-centered and me me me...

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 02:59 PM
In the old days you would have been treated like a god if you could have produced a flash from gunpowder or a match.

So some one raising the dead, feeding variously numbered people but around 5000 people with a couple of small fishes and 5 loaves of bread with 8 baskets of leftovers, people healed by touching the hem of his garment, climbing a treee to see him and getting healed, walking on water, turning water into wine, getting crucified and the earth splitting open upon your death and centuries old dead people rising from the grave and walking through Jerusalem, casting demons into flocks of swine 2000 or more that then leaped off a cliff to their death and no one wrote about it despite the fact that their were many chroniclers of the time writing about Judea.

With no modern medicine to help the sick a person like this would have been mobbed by people the Emperor would have demanded a audience it would have been the wonder of an age. And yet no one wrote any of this down for 60 years and much longer. Its like he lived, people forgot and then they wrote about it.

In terms of ancient recording, 60 years is the blink of an eye. Find me any ancient historic document we put great faith in that was written within 60 years of the events they claim to document.

And the 60 years discussion is subject to a fair amount of dispute, many would say you can get to about 20. But in either event, even at 60, your at a first generation level, which is considered to be exceptionally accurate when you talk to ancient historians. Hell, they'll usually accept anything that was written within about 200 years of the events in question.

Again, it's hugely important to realize how shitty the documentation is of anything that happened that long ago. And ultimately, how well the Bible actually stands up in that context. It does far far better than virtually any annal of history we currently put stock in.

Stewie
07-08-2010, 03:06 PM
In the old days you would have been treated like a god if you could have produced a flash from gunpowder or a match.

So some one raising the dead, feeding variously numbered people but around 5000 people with a couple of small fishes and 5 loaves of bread with 8 baskets of leftovers, people healed by touching the hem of his garment, climbing a treee to see him and getting healed, walking on water, turning water into wine, getting crucified and the earth splitting open upon your death and centuries old dead people rising from the grave and walking through Jerusalem, casting demons into flocks of swine 2000 or more that then leaped off a cliff to their death and no one wrote about it despite the fact that their were many chroniclers of the time writing about Judea.

With no modern medicine to help the sick a person like this would have been mobbed by people the Emperor would have demanded a audience it would have been the wonder of an age. And yet no one wrote any of this down for 60 years and much longer. Its like he lived, people forgot and then they wrote about it.

If they put your brain in an ant's ass it would look like a BB in a boxcar.

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 03:09 PM
It's funny that guys like Dave and Pete will call Christians gullible because they believe what they believe without actually considering how remote their theories are.

Pete believes that a small cult eventually rose to prominance through all of Europe over the course of about 300 years through systematic genocide that rivals anything the world has ever seen. Nevermind the history of the Crusades and attempts to convert the Americas, evidently it was pretty easy to just kill and/or re-train the whole of Europe. And to keep all of this a secret over many generations.

Dave believes the whole thing was the work of a damn good publicist. Nevermind the scores of prophets that came before Jesus who came and went. This was just Jesus being an excellent Magician and Paul making Ari Fliescher look like a Mongoloid. One guy giving some excellent speeches in the era of goatpaths and smoke signals managed to convert the entire European worldview, dispelling the concept of polythiesm altogether really, within a couple hundred years.

Why are either of those possibilies so much more believable than the idea that a supreme being set all of this in motion? We've got some pretty damn involved stuff out in the Cosmos, things that we can't even begin to wrap our minds around, things that are awfully intense to be the product of random chance. Is it really that hard to believe that something played a hand in all of this? And if so, every single thing in the Bible, implausible or no, is possible.

I don't put any of these theories as any more or less likely than the rest of them. Condescending to anyone because they don't happen to adopt yours is pretty weak saucke.

Stewie
07-08-2010, 03:14 PM
It's funny that guys like Dave and Pete will call Christians gullible because they believe what they believe without actually considering how remote their theories are.

Pete believes that a small cult eventually rose to prominance through all of Europe over the course of about 300 years through systematic genocide that rivals anything the world has ever seen. Nevermind the history of the Crusades and attempts to convert the Americas, evidently it was pretty easy to just kill and/or re-train the whole of Europe. And to keep all of this a secret over many generations.

Dave believes the whole thing was the work of a damn good publicist. Nevermind the scores of prophets that came before Jesus who came and went. This was just Jesus being an excellent Magician and Paul making Ari Fliescher look like a Mongoloid. One guy giving some excellent speeches in the era of goatpaths and smoke signals managed to convert the entire European worldview, dispelling the concept of polythiesm altogether really, within a couple hundred years.

Why are either of those possibilies so much more believable than the idea that a supreme being set all of this in motion? We've got some pretty damn involved stuff out in the Cosmos, things that we can't even begin to wrap our minds around, things that are awfully intense to be the product of random chance. Is it really that hard to believe that something played a hand in all of this? And if so, every single thing in the Bible, implausible or no, is possible.

I don't put any of these theories as any more or less likely than the rest of them. Condescending to anyone because they don't happen to adopt yours is pretty weak saucke.

I'm not sure about Pete, but Dave's thought process is very pedestrian.

Jilly
07-08-2010, 03:14 PM
And so, Dave, what if he didn't exist? Let's say he didn't. But let's say that the writings about him are simply folklore, a people's caption of something they can believe in that gives them purpose and meaning for their lives....

Let's say I believe you, that he didn't exist, and I said to you, so what? I still believe. I still believe in the value, the principles, the way he lived his life. I see how he lived and my following in his mythical footsteps is something that will enhance my living now and cause me to have great blessing. Let's say that his crucifixion is a sham because he never was alive, but yet, somehow through that mythical crucifixion, I feel reconciled, closer to the meaning of love, to the purpose of life.

What other excuse will you come up with to debunk my faith because it's too far beyond your boxed thinking?

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 03:21 PM
And so, Dave, what if he didn't exist? Let's say he didn't. But let's say that the writings about him are simply folklore, a people's caption of something they can believe in that gives them purpose and meaning for their lives....

Let's say I believe you, that he didn't exist, and I said to you, so what? I still believe. I still believe in the value, the principles, the way he lived his life. I see how he lived and my following in his mythical footsteps is something that will enhance my living now and cause me to have great blessing. Let's say that his crucifixion is a sham because he never was alive, but yet, somehow through that mythical crucifixion, I feel reconciled, closer to the meaning of love, to the purpose of life.

What other excuse will you come up with to debunk my faith because it's too far beyond your boxed thinking?

{puts on other hat}

Didn't you just debunk your own faith, then?

If the central tennants of your teaching are the standard 'do unto others' things and that through following those teachings you will move onto a higher plane of existence in the afterlife, doesn't the lack of a resurrection take a whole lot of starch out of about 80% of what you believe?

At that point, is your faith much more than a set of Kindergarden level truisms?

That's why I don't really have a faith. I honestly think you either have to believe that the central components of the New Testament truly occured and that you'll be subject to judgment for how you abided by the rules contained therein. Alternatively, you're just trying to be a nice guy because that's the way it ought to be done and there's a really thick book on your shelf that encapsulates your thoughts in this regard quite well; much like Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken have written books that may correspond with your political views.

Your either in or your out. The Bible as an allegory doesn't fly with me because then it truly has no meaning.

I haven't gotten to the former, so for right now I'll just keep working on the latter.

Jilly
07-08-2010, 03:27 PM
{puts on other hat}

Didn't you just debunk your own faith, then?

If the central tennants of your teaching are the standard 'do unto others' things and that through following those teachings you will move onto a higher plane of existence in the afterlife, doesn't the lack of a resurrection take a whole lot of starch out of about 80% of what you believe?

At that point, is your faith much more than a set of Kindergarden level truisms?

That's why I don't really have a faith. I honestly think you either have to believe that the central components of the New Testament truly occured and that you'll be subject to judgment for how you abided by the rules contained therein. Alternatively, you're just trying to be a nice guy because that's the way it ought to be done and there's a really thick book on your shelf that encapsulates your thoughts in this regard quite well; much like Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken have written books that may correspond with your political views.

Your either in or your out. The Bible as an allegory doesn't fly with me because then it truly has no meaning.

I haven't gotten to the former, so for right now I'll just keep working on the latter.

The strongest faiths are those that don't need historical fact to back ithem up. The Bible IS an allegory, if I took it as a historical fact, then I would miss what is mysterious and holy about the Other. I would miss the relationship of God with people. The accounting of the people in how they related to their God. The Bible transcends words on the page, it is the language of God through the people in how they saw their lives. Resurrection being historical fact or not, it can still be truth.

And anyways..... I was only engaging Dave in conversation. No way that I don't believe Jesus existed.

Stewie
07-08-2010, 03:29 PM
{puts on other hat}

Didn't you just debunk your own faith, then?

If the central tennants of your teaching are the standard 'do unto others' things and that through following those teachings you will move onto a higher plane of existence in the afterlife, doesn't the lack of a resurrection take a whole lot of starch out of about 80% of what you believe?

At that point, is your faith much more than a set of Kindergarden level truisms?

That's why I don't really have a faith. I honestly think you either have to believe that the central components of the New Testament truly occured and that you'll be subject to judgment for how you abided by the rules contained therein. Alternatively, you're just trying to be a nice guy because that's the way it ought to be done and there's a really thick book on your shelf that encapsulates your thoughts on it much like Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken have written books that correspond with your political view.

Your either in or your out. The Bible as an allegory doesn't fly with me because then it truly has no meaning.

I haven't gotten to the former, so for right now I'll just keep working on the latter.

The reason for the New Testament is to defer to the angry people and let them live their lives.

ClevelandBronco
07-08-2010, 03:32 PM
The Bible as an allegory doesn't fly with me because then it truly has no meaning.

And the Bible as a threat of punishment doesn't fly with me because then it truly has no meaning.

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 03:32 PM
The strongest faiths are those that don't need historical fact to back ithem up. The Bible IS an allegory, if I took it as a historical fact, then I would miss what is mysterious and holy about the Other. I would miss the relationship of God with people. The accounting of the people in how they related to their God. The Bible transcends words on the page, it is the language of God through the people in how they saw their lives. Resurrection being historical fact or not, it can still be truth.

And anyways..... I was only engaging Dave in conversation. No way that I don't believe Jesus existed.

If it's forwarded through time as something that actually happened (and make no mistake, that's how the Church has 'sold' it), then re-classifying it as an allegory independant of the actual events of the time certainly seems to undermine its credibility, no?

If it is just an allegory, then it could, in fact, be viewed as little more than the work of some very good publishers. You can say that the words are trenscendant, but how much of what you read is believable if you can't trust the messengers?

While I realize you're just playing Devil's Advocate, the allegory position is a common one and it just doesn't make sense to me. Without the resurrection, Jesus is just another dead prophet. At that point, what are you really putting your faith in but a book, fiction in fact, written by man?

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 03:37 PM
And the Bible as a threat of punishment doesn't fly with me because then it truly has no meaning.

Hell didn't become "Hell" until Dante.

The Bible's punishment is an eternity removed from God, correct? (and I'm speaking slightly beyond my knowledge here so feel free to correct me). But it really wasn't an eternity condemned to fire and brimstone until Dante added the visuals.

I'm not sure the Bible has a true threat of punishment in it, apart from to say you go it alone if you don't accept Jesus and absolve yourself of sin. If you believe in the teachings, that seems like a pretty fair deal. If I throw you a life preserver and you don't grab on, I hope you have a really nice backstroke because I've done all I can, I'm going home.

It's not a punishment as much as it is a truism. If you don't accept help where it's offered, you don't derive its benefit. Seems fair to me.

Jilly
07-08-2010, 03:39 PM
If it's forwarded through time as something that actually happened (and make no mistake, that's how the Church has 'sold' it), then re-classifying it as an allegory independant of the actual events of the time certainly seems to undermine its credibility, no?

If it is just an allegory, then it could, in fact, be viewed as little more than the work of some very good publishers. You can say that the words are trenscendant, but how much of what you read is believable if you can't trust the messengers?

While I realize you're just playing Devil's Advocate, the allegory position is a common one and it just doesn't make sense to me. Without the resurrection, Jesus is just another dead prophet. At that point, what are you really putting your faith in but a book, fiction in fact, written by man?

Fiction has meaning though and all humanity has ever looked for is meaning. Purpose for life. Isn't life's number one question, Why am I here? For many, the answer to that question is religion, belief in God. That there has to be a supreme being. Often that belief has been what has kept humanity in tact, other times that belief has torn humanity apart. Because when meaning is created, passion is created, passion to live, to fight, to love. Whether historical fact or not, religion, no matter who's it is has the ability to make life something that is not totally worthless, but something worth living and dying for. Fiction has meaning if it creates, if it stirs up something inside a person, so that they stop feeling numb and start doing something. Saying the Bible is an allegory for me, means that I stop dissecting it as facts to be proven or not proven, and start reading it for its true purpose, how meaning took form in a group of powerless, worthless humans and how that meaning transformed them into a people with a story, a calling, and a validity to existence on this earth.

DJ's left nut
07-08-2010, 03:46 PM
Fiction has meaning though and all humanity has ever looked for is meaning. Purpose for life. Isn't life's number one question, Why am I here? For many, the answer to that question is religion, belief in God. That there has to be a supreme being. Often that belief has been what has kept humanity in tact, other times that belief has torn humanity apart. Because when meaning is created, passion is created, passion to live, to fight, to love. Whether historical fact or not, religion, no matter who's it is has the ability to make life something that is not totally worthless, but something worth living and dying for. Fiction has meaning if it creates, if it stirs up something inside a person, so that they stop feeling numb and start doing something. Saying the Bible is an allegory for me, means that I stop dissecting it as facts to be proven or not proven, and start reading it for its true purpose, how meaning took form in a group of powerless, worthless humans and how that meaning transformed them into a people with a story, a calling, and a validity to existence on this earth.

Fiction has meaning to the extent you can trust the writer.

What was the James Fry book that Opera nutted herself over? A Million Little Pieces or something along those lines? In either event, had it been written as stand-alone fiction, it would have meant a lot to a lot of people. Had it been written as fact and actually been fact, it would have meant even more to even more people.

But as fiction that the guy spent so much time trying to pass off as fact, you simply can't trust it and it means nothing.

When the Church has spent centuries telling you it's fact and then it turns out it's fiction, that destroys its credibility, IMO.

Dave Lane
07-08-2010, 03:52 PM
I've said on here many, many times (you can search it) that if you understand that the story is fiction and not true and you still want to believe it is fine by me. What I don't like is the idea that because there are so many christians and that they have believed this for so long it must be true.

I think religion is born of arrogance and denial. No one really wants to believe when they die that is it. Its a huge and vast compulsion to cling to anything that would make you believe that eternal life is true. Hell I want to believe it but I have the courage to say this is not going to be the case. You will not get to see any of your loved ones. You will die and never think a thought again. Everything you have will be taken from you and you will completely cease to exist is a tough selling point regardless of if you think its true.

On the arrogance side of the equation I find it extremely arrogant we thing we have a "soul" and will live forever but not dogs, cats, chipmunks and mosquitoes. We are not special. Everyone wants to believe they are. in 5000 years no one will ever have any idea you lived or what you did. You and I are completely inconsequential. So is planet earth. Its a speck of nothing. Its complete destruction would make no difference to anything in the universe. Yes we self importantly think is everything and once thought it the center of the universe.

Hey I'd love it to be true but the whole idea is completely ridiculous from any perspective and more so from the biblical perspective of 2000 year old, bronze age, goat herders.

I think I'll post a link to "A Pale Blue Dot" its beautiful, and very sobering and thought provoking if you give it even the slightest bit of consideration.

And so, Dave, what if he didn't exist? Let's say he didn't. But let's say that the writings about him are simply folklore, a people's caption of something they can believe in that gives them purpose and meaning for their lives....

Let's say I believe you, that he didn't exist, and I said to you, so what? I still believe. I still believe in the value, the principles, the way he lived his life. I see how he lived and my following in his mythical footsteps is something that will enhance my living now and cause me to have great blessing. Let's say that his crucifixion is a sham because he never was alive, but yet, somehow through that mythical crucifixion, I feel reconciled, closer to the meaning of love, to the purpose of life.

What other excuse will you come up with to debunk my faith because it's too far beyond your boxed thinking?

Dave Lane
07-08-2010, 03:58 PM
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Jilly
07-08-2010, 04:00 PM
Fiction has meaning to the extent you can trust the writer.

What was the James Fry book that Opera nutted herself over? A Million Little Pieces or something along those lines? In either event, had it been written as stand-alone fiction, it would have meant a lot to a lot of people. Had it been written as fact and actually been fact, it would have meant even more to even more people.

But as fiction that the guy spent so much time trying to pass off as fact, you simply can't trust it and it means nothing.

When the Church has spent centuries telling you it's fact and then it turns out it's fiction, that destroys its credibility, IMO.

"Reflect, that if religion is actually to stir a man's own feeling, he must meet it in the definite form that suits his capacity and his point of view. It is, therefore, impossible for any master to be all things to all, and to become to every man what he needs." - Friedrich Schleiermacher.

While I cannot always trust the "Historical Church" in her interpretation and depiction of the Story of God with the Hebrews and later the Greeks and later the Romans, I can trust that at its core, the author(s) of that Story were moved, I can sense it in the words on the page, and the passion of the lengths they went to answer God's call to them. I can see that the story is truth, not fact, but truth because of it's very real impact on a people, embellished or not.....I can read it and see that it was an honest attempt of a people to put words to something that can't be named, explanation to something that couldn't be explained. The problem with our very scientific world is that we've lost the ability to imagine, pretend, and work with creative impulses. We've lost our ability to have faith in something we cannot see. And if I take anything the Church has ever said to me away, and just picked up that Story and read it.....my FAITH in something unseen, in something Holy Other, will tell me that what lies beneath it all is a very real God who wants to be in relationship. My belief in the Bible isn't upon the translators, but upon the Story itself, well, it's upon God and her Story with me and how she has always proven that story in my own life over and over and over again.

Brock
07-08-2010, 04:03 PM
I've said on here many, many times (you can search it) that if you understand that the story is fiction and not true and you still want to believe it is fine by me. What I don't like is the idea that because there are so many christians and that they have believed this for so long it must be true.

Honestly, it isn't any of your business what people believe.

ClevelandBronco
07-08-2010, 04:07 PM
Honestly, it isn't any of your business what people believe.

He's on a mission from...uh, check that.

Demonpenz
07-08-2010, 04:10 PM
I believe in Jesus and God. I also believe that you need help to be happy, and if that means believing in God then so be it. Every program to get off drugs or not overeat always calls on some higher power, faith, or call on parts of your brain that is far beyond your conciousness (spelling). In my game thread I busted GoChiefs balls for being a child, and this is the shit that well, he is going through a large amount of pain coming up or he will be this way for life. Just childish.

Stewie
07-08-2010, 04:11 PM
I try to overcome my little brain with thousands of years of history. I live in the "now" and try to cram it all in. I'm kinda stupid. I was told I need evidence to prove a point. I have evidence that the universe is only a few thousand years old. Want proof?

Douche Baggins
07-08-2010, 04:38 PM
I believe in Jesus and God. I also believe that you need help to be happy, and if that means believing in God then so be it. Every program to get off drugs or not overeat always calls on some higher power, faith, or call on parts of your brain that is far beyond your conciousness (spelling). In my game thread I busted GoChiefs balls for being a child, and this is the shit that well, he is going through a large amount of pain coming up or he will be this way for life. Just childish.

lol, now you are trolling DC.

Well done.

stevieray
07-08-2010, 04:38 PM
On the arrogance side of the equation I find it extremely arrogant we thing we have a "soul" and will live forever but not dogs, cats, chipmunks and mosquitoes. We are not special. Everyone wants to believe they are. in 5000 years no one will ever have any idea you lived or what you did. You and I are completely inconsequential. So is planet earth. Its a speck of nothing. Its complete destruction would make no difference to anything in the universe. Yes we self importantly think is everything and once thought it the center of the universe.



That's not what you said in your Thought for the Day thread..."blessed...kindred souls...you matter"

stevieray
07-08-2010, 04:42 PM
Nice try.


]

I wish I could say the same..torture stake comes from jehovah's witnesses, which you've mocked from day one...you kind of killed your own argument... I know you are trolling, but let's keep it simple.

Douche Baggins
07-08-2010, 04:49 PM
I wish I could say the same..torture stake comes from jehovah's witnesses

Actually, it doesn't. It's in other translations.

The original greek does not translate as cross. That's a JW-independent analysis, although they were smart enough to figure it out.

stevieray
07-08-2010, 04:58 PM
Actually, it doesn't. It's in other translations.

The original greek does not translate as cross. That's a JW-independent analysis, although they were smart enough to figure it out.

...stau ros can imply either stake or pale...when coupled with the manner of Roman execution..it is two stakes, forming a Cross.

Pioli Zombie
07-08-2010, 05:44 PM
I thought Jesus was playing QB for the Jets.

Rain Man
07-08-2010, 06:53 PM
Do you people realize the implications of this? It means a complete rebranding of thousands of churches, which in turn means thousands of new market research clients. I'm going to make a killing!

Rain Man
07-08-2010, 06:54 PM
I can see it now. I'll be doing focus groups testing new church logos. "Now do you like the noose, or do you like the torture pole, or perhaps this avant-garde one with the pirate kitty?"

Saul Good
07-08-2010, 06:56 PM
Jesus Christ May Not Have Died on Cross

If this is true, he's going to be really pissed that nobody's let him down yet.

mlyonsd
07-08-2010, 07:05 PM
I can see it now. I'll be doing focus groups testing new church logos. "Now do you like the noose, or do you like the torture pole, or perhaps this avant-garde one with the pirate kitty?"

It is good to see American entrepeneurship alive and well.

Dave Lane
07-08-2010, 08:27 PM
That's not what you said in your Thought for the Day thread..."blessed...kindred souls...you matter"

We matter or should matter to each other in the present because this is all there is. If you watched the Pale Blue Dot that's exactly how I feel I want to do good in this life because this is our only chance. I don't want war and to kill one another because of differences in ideas. It's stupid. All we have is this mote of dust and one another.

healthpellets
07-09-2010, 11:59 AM
NO NO NO!!!!! LALALALALALLALALALA!!!!! NO!

*STICKS FINGERS IN EARS AND EYES*

LALALALALALALALALA!!!!

I CAN'T HEARZ U!

Huffmeister
07-09-2010, 01:28 PM
We matter or should matter to each other in the present because this is all there is. If you watched the Pale Blue Dot that's exactly how I feel I want to do good in this life because this is our only chance. I don't want war and to kill one another because of differences in ideas. It's stupid. All we have is this mote of dust and one another.

Lol, how very altruistic of you. That doesn't seem to stop you from dumping on what makes other people happy every chance you get.

Pioli Zombie
07-09-2010, 05:49 PM
I believe in Jesus. I accept Jesus Christ. I love Jesus Christ. But as I suspected would happen I find Christians to be giant,screwed up,pains in the asses. And lifelong Christians especially. They actually believe only Christians sacrifice for others or know what love is. And they wonder why non-believers don't see what beautiful people they are and because of that accept Jesus. Thankfully I accepted Him despite Christians.

The Mad Crapper
07-10-2010, 08:48 PM
There's absolutely no evidence he existed so the fact there is no evidence for execution on a cross is a giant duh.

We know roughly the year he was born, died, who his students were, historical people he came in contact with like Pontius Pilate and we know many of things he said.

The same could be said about Aristotle, but you take it for granted he actually existed, right? Of course you do, Davey.

Dr. Van Halen
07-10-2010, 10:22 PM
We know roughly the year he was born, died, who his students were, historical people he came in contact with like Pontius Pilate and we know many of things he said.

The same could be said about Aristotle, but you take it for granted he actually existed, right? Of course you do, Davey.

I don't mean to antagonize you, The Mad Crapper, but there is, in fact, contemporary evidence of Aristotle. Quite a bit. (Contemporary evidence is, as you know, stuff written about a person at the same time that the person lived.)

There are records of him at Plato's academy, he is mentioned quite frequently in Macedonian records because he was the tutor to Alexander the Great. There's quite a bit more.

Again, while I don't agree with Dave Lane's conclusions, he is correct that there are no "contemporary" records of Jesus. There is nothing written at the same time that he was alive that mentions him.

Fortunately, some have faith and don't need (or want) proof.

Chiefspants
07-11-2010, 12:57 AM
I love it when people argue about something that can never be proven.

It's what I call "constructive."

lostcause
07-11-2010, 01:07 AM
And so, Dave, what if he didn't exist? Let's say he didn't. But let's say that the writings about him are simply folklore, a people's caption of something they can believe in that gives them purpose and meaning for their lives....

Let's say I believe you, that he didn't exist, and I said to you, so what? I still believe. I still believe in the value, the principles, the way he lived his life. I see how he lived and my following in his mythical footsteps is something that will enhance my living now and cause me to have great blessing. Let's say that his crucifixion is a sham because he never was alive, but yet, somehow through that mythical crucifixion, I feel reconciled, closer to the meaning of love, to the purpose of life.

What other excuse will you come up with to debunk my faith because it's too far beyond your boxed thinking?

And you have beautifully captured in words the reason for all religions that have ever been or will ever be.

ClevelandBronco
07-11-2010, 01:13 AM
And you have beautifully captured in words the reason for all religions that have ever been or will ever be.

Those beautiful words and sometimes two more: money and power.

The Mad Crapper
07-11-2010, 06:32 AM
I don't mean to antagonize you, The Mad Crapper, but there is, in fact, contemporary evidence of Aristotle. Quite a bit. (Contemporary evidence is, as you know, stuff written about a person at the same time that the person lived.)

There are records of him at Plato's academy, he is mentioned quite frequently in Macedonian records because he was the tutor to Alexander the Great. There's quite a bit more.

Again, while I don't agree with Dave Lane's conclusions, he is correct that there are no "contemporary" records of Jesus. There is nothing written at the same time that he was alive that mentions him.

Fortunately, some have faith and don't need (or want) proof.

OK, fair enough.

How about Homer? The guy who wrote the Odyssey, not Simpson.

HolyHandgernade
07-11-2010, 07:56 AM
OK, fair enough.

How about Homer? The guy who wrote the Odyssey, not Simpson.

Here's the difference: Jesus exhibits the qualities of mythological character IN ADDITION to not being evidenced by contemporary sources. Its a two part equation. So, if you can tell me what it was about the life of Homer that represents a common mythological motif, then I can accept your comparison. But, if Homer is simply an author who wrote down a story that had been transmitted orally, well, what is that a mythological allegory for?

-HH

The Mad Crapper
07-11-2010, 08:59 AM
Here's the difference: Jesus exhibits the qualities of mythological character IN ADDITION to not being evidenced by contemporary sources. Its a two part equation. So, if you can tell me what it was about the life of Homer that represents a common mythological motif, then I can accept your comparison. But, if Homer is simply an author who wrote down a story that had been transmitted orally, well, what is that a mythological allegory for?

-HH

Who wrote the Beatitudes?

HolyHandgernade
07-11-2010, 09:04 AM
Who wrote the Beatitudes?

Nobody knows. They're attributed to Jesus, but we find evidence for them in other literature. That said, what the hell does that have to do with my point? Let me ask this:

Who was born of a virgin? Who was chased from their land? Who healed the sick and raised the dead? Who cursed the fig tree? Who died, resurrected, and then went bodily up into the clouds? I'll give you a hint, it wasn't Homer.

The Mad Crapper
07-11-2010, 09:14 AM
Nobody knows. They're attributed to Jesus, but we find evidence for them in other literature.

That's a convenient answer. You're not an atheist by any chance, are you?

LMAO

The Mad Crapper
07-11-2010, 09:16 AM
Jesus exhibits the qualities of mythological character

He also exhibits the qualities of a real person.

HolyHandgernade
07-11-2010, 10:35 AM
That's a convenient answer. You're not an atheist by any chance, are you?

LMAO

Convenient answer? No, I'm not an atheist, unless by atheist you mean not a believer in Christianity, then, I suppose I am.

Odds are these are various sayings from various sages that are collected and then put into the mouth of a spiritual archetype to give them actual meaning. The Beatitudes seem to follow closely in form to the Dead Sea Scrolls, which only members of that sect would have been privy to. Those scrolls appear to have as their antecedent "The Mount of the Seven Beatitudes" that were put into the mouth of Buddha (if you believe him to be historical as well).

According to Buddha (five centuries prior to Christ)

The Blessed One was once living at the monastery of Anithapic ika in Jeta's grove, near Savatthi. Now when the night was far advanced, a certain deity, whose surpassing splendour illuminated the entire Jeta Grove, came into the presence of the Blessed One, and, drawing near, respectfully saluted Him and stood on one side. Standing thus, he addressed the Blessed One in verse:

(The Deity)
Many angels and men have held various things a blessing when they were yearning for inner wisdom. Lord Buddha, do declare to us the greatest blessing.

(Buddha)
Not to serve the foolish, But to serve the spiritual;
To honour those worthy of honour,— This is the greatest blessing.

To dwell in a spot that befits one’s condition, To think of the effect of one’s deeds,
To guide the behaviour aright,— This is the greatest blessing.

Much insight and education, Self-control and pleasant speech,
And whatever word be well spoken,— This is the greatest blessing.

To support father and mother, To cherish wife and child,
To follow a peaceful calling,— This is the greatest blessing.

To bestow alms and live righteously, To give help to kindred,
Deeds which cannot be blamed, These are the greatest blessing.

To abhor and cease from sin, Abstinence from strong drink,
Not to be weary in well-doing, These are the greatest blessing.

Reverence and lowliness, Contentment and gratitude,
The hearing of the Law at due seasons,— This is the greatest blessing.

To be long suffering and meek, To associate with the tranquil,
Religious talk at due seasons,— This is the greatest blessing.

Self-restraint and purity, The knowledge of the noble truths,
The attainment of Nirvana, This is the greatest blessing.

In the midst of the eight world miseries, Like the man of pure life,
Be calm and unconcerned,— This is the greatest blessing.

Listener, if you keep this law, The law of the spiritual world,
You will know its ineffable joy,— This is the greatest blessing.

then according to the Dead Sea Scrolls:

[Blessed is] …with a pure heart
and does not slander with his tongue.

Blessed are those who hold to her [Wisdom’s] precepts
And do not hold to the ways of iniquity.

Blessed are those who rejoice in her,
And do not burst forth in ways of folly.

Blessed are those who seek her with pure hands,
And do not pursue her with a treacherous heart.

Blessed is the man who has attained Wisdom,
And walks in the Law of the Most High.

He directs his heart towards her ways,
And restrains himself by her corrections,
And always takes delight in her chastisements.

He does not forsake her when he sees distress,
Nor abandon her in time of strain.

He will not forget her [on the day of] fear,
And will not despise [her] when his soul is afflicted.
For always he will meditate on her,
And in his distress he will consider [her]

then according to Jesus:

Matt. 5:1-2. And seeing the multitudes, he ascended a mountain: and when he was seated, and his disciples came to him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying:

Matt. 5:3. Blessed in spirit [are] the poor: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 5:4 Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Matt. 5:5 Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Matt. 5:6 Blessed [are] they who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Matt. 5:7 Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Matt. 5:8 Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Matt. 5:9 Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.

Matt. 5:10 Blessed [are] they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

He also exhibits the qualities of a real person.

So did Hercules, so what's your point, or, are you arguing he was a historical person as well?

There's a difference between real and historical. "Real" is an assertion, "historical" is evidenced. Myths are often cast in story form, so almost all of them will feature aspects of "real people", that's how they relate to their audience. The important factor in determining "historicity" is whether or not they are evidenced and what is the quality of that evidence.

You'll forgive me if don't feel inclined to attach some juvenile smilie to my post.

-HH

WilliamTheIrish
07-11-2010, 10:52 AM
The best thing about the biblical historical record were the insults that have been passed down through those 3000 years.

And Abraham said: "May God curse your mother and the jackal that ****ed her".

It's from the really, really old testament.

The Mad Crapper
07-11-2010, 12:18 PM
Convenient answer? No, I'm not an atheist, unless by atheist you mean not a believer in Christianity, then, I suppose I am.

Odds are these are various sayings from various sages blah blah blah self indulged BS blah blah blah blah blah blah self indulged BS blah blah blah self indulged BS blah blah blah blah blah blah self indulged BS blah blah blah

Oh.

So... because Buddha and Jesus said similar things, your conclusion is that Jesus was a myth?

SDChiefs
07-11-2010, 12:20 PM
People need something to believe in, to give them hope. Fact or fiction, the bible has done that for millions upon millions. If it were a ruse, who cares, because what it has done for humanity.

The Mad Crapper
07-11-2010, 12:21 PM
So did Hercules, so what's your point, or, are you arguing he was a historical person as well?
-HH

I see.

So... what about Simon Peter (St. Peter)? Was he a "not real", too? His successors St. Linus and St. Cletus, were they historical figures?

WilliamTheIrish
07-11-2010, 01:22 PM
People need something to believe in, to give them hope. Fact or fiction, the bible has done that for millions upon millions. If it were a ruse, who cares, because what it has done for humanity.

What has it (the bible) done for humanity?

HolyHandgernade
07-11-2010, 03:33 PM
I see.

So... what about Simon Peter (St. Peter)? Was he a "not real", too? His successors St. Linus and St. Cletus, were they historical figures?

Yes, the 12 disciples are mythological allegories for the 12 signs of the Zodiac that "help" the sun (Jesus) along in his journey, its a fairly popular mythological story that has its roots all the way back in Egypt and keeps getting remade as cultures and politics change.

As for the Saints, I have researched them much, so I'll withold statement on them, suffice it to say many of the pagan gods became the "saints" of the universal religion. If you want to provide an historical argument for Peter or any of the other apostles, you need to provide the historical evidence to support it. "Because everybody believes it" does not constitute evidence.

And, as far as Buddha, no I think he and Krishna among others are mythological in nature, just like Jesus, not different than him.

-HH

HolyHandgernade
07-11-2010, 03:44 PM
So, I'm reading some information on your saints, and it appears the earliest mentioning of them occurs through Irenaeus in about 180 BCE, in other words, almost 100 years after he supposedly "held the office of Pope", which is actually disputed internally by some that Clement actually held that position "after Peter". The connection is self-referential in that it comes from a reference in the book of Timothy, which is kind of a "no-no", or at least a cause for high suspiscion in determining the validity of historical worth.

What a mythicist would say is, "How do we know, Irenaeus just didn't see a minor character in "Linus" in the literature and simply "add" him as an early Pope? Much the same way Ignatius was supposedly the child blessed by Jesus.

-HH

The Mad Crapper
07-11-2010, 07:53 PM
Yes, the 12 disciples are mythological allegories for the 12 signs of the Zodiac that "help" the sun (Jesus) along in his journey, its a fairly popular mythological story that has its roots all the way back in Egypt and keeps getting remade as cultures and politics change.


So Peter was....

Gemini, Pisces? Which "sign of the zodiac" was Judas?

ROFL

As for the Saints, I have researched them much, so I'll withold statement on them, suffice it to say many of the pagan gods became the "saints" of the universal religion. If you want to provide an historical argument for Peter or any of the other apostles, you need to provide the historical evidence to support it. "Because everybody believes it" does not constitute evidence.

Are you having a conversation with yourself, or me? I think you are bloviating and listening to yourself, you seem to really, really get off on that.

Where did I suggest anything as juvenile as "Because everybody believes it" constitute's historical evidence? Oh, that's right, I didn't.

And, as far as Buddha, no I think he is just like Jesus, not different than him.

It's interesting what a little editing can do to your thinking (actually lack of).

The Mad Crapper
07-11-2010, 07:55 PM
So, I'm reading some information on your saints, and it appears the earliest mentioning of them occurs through Irenaeus in about 180 BCE, in other words, almost 100 years after he supposedly "held the office of Pope", which is actually disputed internally by some that Clement actually held that position "after Peter". The connection is self-referential in that it comes from a reference in the book of Timothy, which is kind of a "no-no", or at least a cause for high suspiscion in determining the validity of historical worth.

What a mythicist would say is, "How do we know, Irenaeus just didn't see a minor character in "Linus" in the literature and simply "add" him as an early Pope? Much the same way Ignatius was supposedly the child blessed by Jesus.

-HH

OK, so we've narrowed it down to Irenaeus being an actual, historical figure. Correct?

-TMC

HolyHandgernade
07-11-2010, 10:26 PM
Despite the emoticons you love to use (OMG! LOL!) I'll continue to regard your inquiries as genuine, and who knows, someone else may find them interesting, so, since you asked:

Here is the general "Sun Story" as pertains to dying and rising godmen replete through history in various cultures:

1.The Sun "dies for three days at the winter solstice to be born again or "resurrected" on Dec. 25th. At the solstice, the sun doesn't appear to move up or down in the horizon for three days as the Earth begins to tilt back the other way.

2. The sunof God is "born of a virgin" which refers to the new or "virgin" moon as well as the constellation of Virgo.

3. The sun's "birth" is attended by the "bright star", either Sirius/Sothis or the planet Venus, and by the "Three Kings", represented by the three belt stars of Orion

4. The sun, at its zenith, or 12 noon, is in the house of the heavenly temple, or 12 noon; he thus begins his father's work at age "12"

5. The sun enter into each house of the zodiac at 30 degrees (x12 = 360 degrees), hence, the sun of God begins his ministry at 30 years old

6. The sun is the "carpenter" who builds his daily "houses" or 12 hour divisions

7. The sun's "followers" or "disciples" or "tasks" are the 12 signs of the zodiac through which the sun must pass

8. The sunis "annointed" when its rays dip into the sea

9. The sun "changes "water into wine" by creating rain, ripening the grape on the vine and fermenting the grape juice (also common in the Dionysius myth)

10. The sun "walks on water" referring to the reflection of the sun on the sea

11. The sun "calms the sea" as he rests in the "boat of heaven"

12. When the sunis annually and monthly "reborn" he brings life to the solar mummy, his previous self, raising it from the dead

13. The sun triumphantly "rides an ass and her foal" into the "city of peace" when it enters the sign of Cancer, which contains two stars called "little asses", and reaches its fullness (if you ever wondered how one man could ride two beasts, the astrological meaning behind it helps it make sense)

14. The sun is the "lion" in Leo, the hottest time of the year, called the "throne of the Lord".

15. The sun is "betrayed" by the constellation of Scorpio "the backbiter", this the time of year when the sun loses its strength

16. The sun is crucified between two thieves, Sagittarius and Capricorn

17. The sun is hung on the cross, which represents its passing through the equinoxes, the vernal equionx being Easter

18. The sun "darkens" when it dies

19. The sun does a "stutter-step" at the winter solstice, unsure whether to return to life, or "resurrect", doubted by his "twin", Thomas

20. The sun is with us "always to the close of the age", referring to the ages of precession of the equinoxes

21. The sun is "the light of the world" and "comes on clouds, and every eye shall see him"

22. The sun rising in the morning is the "savior of mankind"

23. The sun wears a corona, "crown of thorns" or halo

24. The sun was called the "Son of the Sky (God)", "All Seeing", the "Comforter", "Healer", "Savior", "Creator", "Preserver", "Ruler of the World", and "Giver of Daily Life"

25. The sun is the Word or Logos of God

26. The all-seeing sun, or "eye of God", was considered the judge of the living and the dead who returned to earth "on a white horse".

So now, let's pick out someof the allegories:

1. According to legend, Jesus was born in a stable between a horse and a goat, symbols of Sagittarius and Capricorn

2. He was baptised in Aquarius, the Water-Bearer

3. He chose his first disciples, fisherman, in Pisces, the sign of the fishers

4. He became the Good Shepherd and the Lamb, in Aries

5. Jesus told the parable of sowing and tilling of the fields, in Taurus

6. In Cancer, "the celestial Sea of Galilee" he calmed the storm and waters, spoke of "backsliders" (the Crab) and rode the ass and foal in triumph into the City of Peace, Jerusalem

7. Jesus was the Lion in Leo

8. In Libra, Christ was the True Vine in Gethsemane, the "wine press", as this is the time of the grape harvest

9. Jesus was betrayed by Judas, the "backbiter", or Scorpio

10. In Sagittarius, Jesus is wounded in the side by the Centaur, or centurian

11. He was crucified at the winter solstice between the two thieves of Sagittarius and Capricorn, who sapped his strength

When considering the disciples, it is interesting to note the Gospels do not necessarily agree what the names of the disciples were, nor do all of them name each one of them, even though apologists attempt to "harmonize" them by insisting on name is actually another moniker for the same person even though that isn't indicated. Further, the author of the Gospel attributed to John does not refer to himself as a disciple. But, the common thread in each of them is that there were "twelve", in fact, they are often referred to as "the Twelve". Clearly, the "historical" names of these disciple was not nearly as important as their number.

-HH

HolyHandgernade
07-11-2010, 10:30 PM
OK, so we've narrowed it down to Irenaeus being an actual, historical figure. Correct?

-TMC

Sure, to some degree, I have no problem with that. Nobody claims mythological elements associated with his presence in the grand scheme of things.

The Mad Crapper
07-12-2010, 05:44 AM
Despite the emoticons you love to use (OMG! LOL!) I'll continue to regard your inquiries as genuine, and who knows, someone else may find them interesting, so, since you asked:

Here is the general "Sun Story" as pertains to dying and rising godmen replete through history in various cultures:

1.The Sun "dies for three days at the winter solstice to be born again or "resurrected" on Dec. 25th. At the solstice, the sun doesn't appear to move up or down in the horizon for three days as the Earth begins to tilt back the other way.

2. The sunof God is "born of a virgin" which refers to the new or "virgin" moon as well as the constellation of Virgo.

3. The sun's "birth" is attended by the "bright star", either Sirius/Sothis or the planet Venus, and by the "Three Kings", represented by the three belt stars of Orion

4. The sun, at its zenith, or 12 noon, is in the house of the heavenly temple, or 12 noon; he thus begins his father's work at age "12"

5. The sun enter into each house of the zodiac at 30 degrees (x12 = 360 degrees), hence, the sun of God begins his ministry at 30 years old

6. The sun is the "carpenter" who builds his daily "houses" or 12 hour divisions

7. The sun's "followers" or "disciples" or "tasks" are the 12 signs of the zodiac through which the sun must pass

8. The sunis "annointed" when its rays dip into the sea

9. The sun "changes "water into wine" by creating rain, ripening the grape on the vine and fermenting the grape juice (also common in the Dionysius myth)

10. The sun "walks on water" referring to the reflection of the sun on the sea

11. The sun "calms the sea" as he rests in the "boat of heaven"

12. When the sunis annually and monthly "reborn" he brings life to the solar mummy, his previous self, raising it from the dead

13. The sun triumphantly "rides an ass and her foal" into the "city of peace" when it enters the sign of Cancer, which contains two stars called "little asses", and reaches its fullness (if you ever wondered how one man could ride two beasts, the astrological meaning behind it helps it make sense)

14. The sun is the "lion" in Leo, the hottest time of the year, called the "throne of the Lord".

15. The sun is "betrayed" by the constellation of Scorpio "the backbiter", this the time of year when the sun loses its strength

16. The sun is crucified between two thieves, Sagittarius and Capricorn

17. The sun is hung on the cross, which represents its passing through the equinoxes, the vernal equionx being Easter

18. The sun "darkens" when it dies

19. The sun does a "stutter-step" at the winter solstice, unsure whether to return to life, or "resurrect", doubted by his "twin", Thomas

20. The sun is with us "always to the close of the age", referring to the ages of precession of the equinoxes

21. The sun is "the light of the world" and "comes on clouds, and every eye shall see him"

22. The sun rising in the morning is the "savior of mankind"

23. The sun wears a corona, "crown of thorns" or halo

24. The sun was called the "Son of the Sky (God)", "All Seeing", the "Comforter", "Healer", "Savior", "Creator", "Preserver", "Ruler of the World", and "Giver of Daily Life"

25. The sun is the Word or Logos of God

26. The all-seeing sun, or "eye of God", was considered the judge of the living and the dead who returned to earth "on a white horse".

So now, let's pick out someof the allegories:

1. According to legend, Jesus was born in a stable between a horse and a goat, symbols of Sagittarius and Capricorn

2. He was baptised in Aquarius, the Water-Bearer

3. He chose his first disciples, fisherman, in Pisces, the sign of the fishers

4. He became the Good Shepherd and the Lamb, in Aries

5. Jesus told the parable of sowing and tilling of the fields, in Taurus

6. In Cancer, "the celestial Sea of Galilee" he calmed the storm and waters, spoke of "backsliders" (the Crab) and rode the ass and foal in triumph into the City of Peace, Jerusalem

7. Jesus was the Lion in Leo

8. In Libra, Christ was the True Vine in Gethsemane, the "wine press", as this is the time of the grape harvest

9. Jesus was betrayed by Judas, the "backbiter", or Scorpio

10. In Sagittarius, Jesus is wounded in the side by the Centaur, or centurian

11. He was crucified at the winter solstice between the two thieves of Sagittarius and Capricorn, who sapped his strength

When considering the disciples, it is interesting to note the Gospels do not necessarily agree what the names of the disciples were, nor do all of them name each one of them, even though apologists attempt to "harmonize" them by insisting on name is actually another moniker for the same person even though that isn't indicated. Further, the author of the Gospel attributed to John does not refer to himself as a disciple. But, the common thread in each of them is that there were "twelve", in fact, they are often referred to as "the Twelve". Clearly, the "historical" names of these disciple was not nearly as important as their number.

-HH

:ZZZ:

You do the same thing in every single Christianity discussion--- the cut and paste the same crap over and over and act like you just revealed some amazing truth.

I've read all that stuff. I went through a decade of agnosticism, I used to search that stuff out, just like you do. It made me feel smart, just like it makes you feel smart.

I'm not impressed with it. Yeah, I know Christmas is actually a Pagan holiday; the tree, the mistletoe, the winter solstice etc. I also know that Jesus "probably" wasn't actually born in December.

So what? None of that information proves or disproves the historical or "real" Jesus.

I know it makes you feel scholarly and all, but stop posting this shit over and over and over, because any jackass can do that. Thanks.

The Mad Crapper
07-12-2010, 05:46 AM
Sure, to some degree, I have no problem with that.

Well thank you very much for your approval of Irenaeus.

HolyHandgernade
07-12-2010, 05:59 AM
:ZZZ:

You do the same thing in every single Christianity discussion--- the cut and paste the same crap over and over and act like you just revealed some amazing truth.

I've read all that stuff. I went through a decade of agnosticism, I used to search that stuff out, just like you do. It made me feel smart, just like it makes you feel smart.

I'm not impressed with it. Yeah, I know Christmas is actually a Pagan holiday; the tree, the mistletoe, the winter solstice etc. I also know that Jesus "probably" wasn't actually born in December.

So what? None of that information proves or disproves the historical or "real" Jesus.

I know it makes you feel scholarly and all, but stop posting this shit over and over and over, because any jackass can do that. Thanks.

Well, then maybe you should stop asking for them? Oh, I only feel smart, you're just the smart ass. For some reason, your position is noble while mine deserves the copious amounts of blind ridicule. At least I have tried to maintain some measure of decorum while you seem to feel you have free license to be as crass as you want. I'm not trying to "prove or disprove" anything. "Historical" has to do with "evidencing", not "assertions", or in your case, emoticons. I'll tell you what, you stop asking for information and I'll stop providing it for you, fair enough?

-HH

BillSelfsTrophycase
07-12-2010, 06:09 AM
I love it when people argue about something that can never be proven.

This, but like a car wreck....you just can't look away

Dave Lane
07-12-2010, 06:10 AM
I started reading some of his posts (the mad nitwit) in this threadand I thought what's wrong? He's not calling everyone names he actually seems civil for some reason. Then it's back to the screaming and the name calling. I was getting worried it was possible for someone to change.

The Mad Crapper
07-12-2010, 07:13 AM
At least I have tried to maintain some measure of decorum
-HH

By dismissing the Gospels as some sort of cheap, plagiarized horoscope? Yeah, ok.

Pioli Zombie
07-12-2010, 07:29 AM
My Faith is right. You can't prove it so you are completely wrong. You are an ass hole for not believing my Faith. You are an ass hole for believing that shit. Jesus taught love and if can't see that fuck you. Anyone who believes in God without providing evidence is a dangerous fucking moron. Fuck you. Fuck you.
- People arguing Faith. Nobody ever came to Christ because they lost an arguement. and its illogical to argue someones Faith is wrong. Faith is something that cannot be proven.

Dave Lane
07-12-2010, 08:07 AM
I'm not arguing faith. I'm arguing history. My point is there is no historical Jesus of the bible. What you choose to do with that information is of course a matter of faith.

HolyHandgernade
07-12-2010, 08:14 AM
By dismissing the Gospels as some sort of cheap, plagiarized horoscope? Yeah, ok.

I don't dismiss the Gospels, I just don't consider them as "history". Just because something is mythological in nature doesn't mean it is devoid of value. I just don't attach a discipline as mundane and flat as history to the depth of my spirtiuality. Mystical insight, I believe, is a very real and impprtant part of our being. But, since its very nature is "transcendent", it moves beyond descriptions confined to the empirical sense. The individual who is fortunate to have this insight is then plagued with how best to relate it, either for himself or to an audience. He/she is reduced to allegories "its like" its "as if". The most common practice of relating these allegories was in the form of a myth, usually relating it through a spiritual ideal/archetype, as a type of hero against the backdrop of what the considered to be "the heavens", the celestial sky.

I'm afraid it is your narrow interpreatation of "astrology" that leads you to believe I regard it as "cheap" or "plagarized". Astrology was the high science of antiquity. You couldn't engage in most professions without it, everybody related to it. As the Church tried to move away from mystery religions basedon allegorical insight towards a means of political control, it decided to emphasize the allegorical stories as actual histories, and attempted to conceal the allegorical connections. I find the Gospels fascinating, and the example of Jesus a prime spiritual ideal, even if I don't consider them historical.

-HH

The Mad Crapper
07-12-2010, 09:08 AM
I don't dismiss the Gospels, I just don't consider them as "history". Just because something is mythological in nature doesn't mean it is devoid of value. I just don't attach a discipline as mundane and flat as history to the depth of my spirtiuality. Mystical insight, I believe, is a very real and impprtant part of our being. But, since its very nature is "transcendent", it moves beyond descriptions confined to the empirical sense. The individual who is fortunate to have this insight is then plagued with how best to relate it, either for himself or to an audience. He/she is reduced to allegories "its like" its "as if". The most common practice of relating these allegories was in the form of a myth, usually relating it through a spiritual ideal/archetype, as a type of hero against the backdrop of what the considered to be "the heavens", the celestial sky.

I'm afraid it is your narrow interpreatation of "astrology" that leads you to believe I regard it as "cheap" or "plagarized". Astrology was the high science of antiquity. You couldn't engage in most professions without it, everybody related to it. As the Church tried to move away from mystery religions basedon allegorical insight towards a means of political control, it decided to emphasize the allegorical stories as actual histories, and attempted to conceal the allegorical connections. I find the Gospels fascinating, and the example of Jesus a prime spiritual ideal, even if I don't consider them historical.

-HH


Hmmmmm.... I believe in metaphors. I'll concede the point that many of the stories in the old and new testament are metaphors. And I agree, that doesn't make them any less valid as far as faith is concerned. But the use of euphemisms and metaphors by the Gospel authors does not automatically make Jesus a work of science fiction.

Even people we know existed and are historically empirical, like George Washington for example, are chock full of fairy tales and out and out lies.

But I would never dismiss the Greatness or at the very least the existence of George Washington, simply because his "disciples" embellished his accomplishments.

Does that make sense?

Like I said, I went through an agnostic period in my life. So I know all about the Pagan incorporation into the institution of Christianity.

Sorry for being a dick. ;)

HolyHandgernade
07-12-2010, 09:53 AM
Hmmmmm.... I believe in metaphors. I'll concede the point that many of the stories in the old and new testament are metaphors. And I agree, that doesn't make them any less valid as far as faith is concerned. But the use of euphemisms and metaphors by the Gospel authors does not automatically make Jesus a work of science fiction.

Even people we know existed and are historically empirical, like George Washington for example, are chock full of fairy tales and out and out lies.

But I would never dismiss the Greatness or at the very least the existence of George Washington, simply because his "disciples" embellished his accomplishments.

Does that make sense?

Certainly, that makes sense. That's why I try to be clear (or at least clearer) in my use of terminology. We can't say with absolute certainty who "existed" and who didn't, especially when we move past the age of modernization. So, when we speak of such things, we speak in probabilities. Historical method asks for the evidence and assigns a probability to it. Without contemporary accounts, the probability goes down. That doesn't necessarily mean an individual didn't "exist". With Washington, we actually have tons of contemporary corroborating sources (American, English and French) as well as handwritten letters with a high probability of being his.

But, if we didn't have these things, we would ask, "Why does history note him?" For Washington, he is noted for leading the Continental Army and being our country's first President. We know, through corroborating contemporary evidence someone had to fulfill these roles, you can't write the history of the time period without them. Further, Washington doesn't exhibit supernatural powers to accomplish his fame (indeed, most of the actual battles he was in, he technically lost). So, we are not led to question whether or not he is mythical in nature because his noteriety doesn't depend on or exhibit it.

Jesus, on the other hand, is a barely noticeable figure in history completely absent of contemporary corroborating sources. Unlike Washington, and according to the Gospels themselves, Jesus gains his fame via supernatural exploits. If we strip Jesus of the supernatural associations (as is noted in the book, The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, by Dr. Robert Price, you hardly have anyone of note, he could be anybody. And while it is entirely possible "anybody" could have "existed" at some point in the past, a profile of "anybody", is a essentially profile of "nobody".

This doesn't discount the greatness of Jesus' character. Many literary figures hold a psychological as well as spiritual greatness for us, even if they weren't "historical". The strength of their greatness is in the example they set for our own potential, or as the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas puts it, "aspire to become not just a Christian, but a Christ."

Like I said, I went through an agnostic period in my life. So I know all about the Pagan incorporation into the institution of Christianity.

Sorry for being a dick. ;)

No worries. I had my Christian past as well. Oddly, for me, letting go of "historical" claims in religion actually expanded my spiritual appreciation and insight. The very nature of the subject causes passions to rise because it is so personal. I don't approach the "historicity" issue to lessen the importance of spirituality in one's being, although I am aware that will be the most common affect it has on others. I always try to contain my viewpoints in forums dedicated for it, I very rarely speak of them outside it. Hopefully, we can all pursue our paths in the manner that best helps us along our way.

-HH

The Mad Crapper
07-12-2010, 11:17 AM
Certainly, that makes sense. That's why I try to be clear (or at least clearer) in my use of terminology. We can't say with absolute certainty who "existed" and who didn't, especially when we move past the age of modernization. So, when we speak of such things, we speak in probabilities. Historical method asks for the evidence and assigns a probability to it. Without contemporary accounts, the probability goes down. That doesn't necessarily mean an individual didn't "exist".



I agree with you when you state that we cannot have absolute certainty about anyone who lived in ancient times. But, as you say, historical method assigns probability to it.

I think history has clearly shown Jesus to be one of the most important figures in human history. Now, we're both looking at the evidence, and I think we both agree beyond any doubt the world changed significantly and dramatically during and after Jesus' life.

The difference between us, I think, is that you choose to believe that he is a myth, and did not actually ever exist. Myself, I look at this and say that there is no way a fictional character could have had the impact on the world that Jesus did.

With Washington, we actually have tons of contemporary corroborating sources (American, English and French) as well as handwritten letters with a high probability of being his.

But, if we didn't have these things, we would ask, "Why does history note him?" For Washington, he is noted for leading the Continental Army and being our country's first President. We know, through corroborating contemporary evidence someone had to fulfill these roles, you can't write the history of the time period without them. Further, Washington doesn't exhibit supernatural powers to accomplish his fame (indeed, most of the actual battles he was in, he technically lost). So, we are not led to question whether or not he is mythical in nature because his noteriety doesn't depend on or exhibit it.

Understood, but I was referring primarily to the "cherry tree" story and what not.

Jesus, on the other hand, is a barely noticeable figure in history completely absent of contemporary corroborating sources.

We are polar opposites---

Not only was Jesus not "barely noticeable" an entire Empire took notice. And nobody has stopped noticing in 2000 years.

And before you or anyone else says "well, the Roman Empire forced Christianity on people" I will ask, then how can you account for the Coptic Church? Ethiopian Christianity? The Roman Empire had no authority over them.

As for the "complete absence of contemporary sources"---

Cornelius Tacitus was a Roman historian and governor of Asia [Turkey] in A.D. 112. He mentions the persecution of "Christians" in AD 64.

Those are first generation Christians, perhaps a few were born during Jesus lifetime. You can't get more contemporary than that.

SDChiefs
07-12-2010, 11:48 AM
What has it (the bible) done for humanity?

Read my post.

HolyHandgernade
07-12-2010, 06:47 PM
I agree with you when you state that we cannot have absolute certainty about anyone who lived in ancient times. But, as you say, historical method assigns probability to it.

I think history has clearly shown Jesus to be one of the most important figures in human history. Now, we're both looking at the evidence, and I think we both agree beyond any doubt the world changed significantly and dramatically during and after Jesus' life.

The difference between us, I think, is that you choose to believe that he is a myth, and did not actually ever exist. Myself, I look at this and say that there is no way a fictional character could have had the impact on the world that Jesus did.

Actually, where we differ is that where you say "Jesus to be one of the most important figures in human history", I would say "Christianity to be one of the most important forces in human history". Where you see an individual, I see an organizational power that promotes itself through the mythological figure of Jesus. If you strip the mythological elements from Jesus (in order to find the "historical person") you don't have anyone left with a force of character able to make that kind of massive cultural change. Jesus has to be supernatural for that to work, but of course, if you allow the supernatural, then you can't escape the mythological qualities. In other words, you can't be both famous and obscure at the same time, you have to choose which Jesus you are championing as "historical" and then not fall back on the defenses of the other.


We are polar opposites---

Not only was Jesus not "barely noticeable" an entire Empire took notice. And nobody has stopped noticing in 2000 years.

And before you or anyone else says "well, the Roman Empire forced Christianity on people" I will ask, then how can you account for the Coptic Church? Ethiopian Christianity? The Roman Empire had no authority over them.

The problem is that almost all this noteriety isn't evidenced in history until many decades after the fact. The mythicist position contends that Christianity didn't even start in Jerusalem, it started in two cities: Antioch and Alexandria. There wasn't a single "event" that sparked Christianity, it was rather numerous "Christianities" that popped up all over the Empire, some barely recognizable to us as such. These factions were often at odds with one another. The Council of Nicea was the attempt to bring all these competing sects under one universal (Catholic) doctrine. Even after the Council, there was still open fighting about minor religious points, especially in Alexandria. What we know today as "orthodox" Christianity was the viewpoint that eventually held sway (more for political reasons than any other), so that is the viewpoint that has been ingrained into society for centuries. The actual "event" that sparked this new religious movement was the beginning of the new Age, the Age of Pisces (which is why Jesus is represented by the Fish). These Ages were periods of great tribulation across Northern Hemisphere socitities. It makes much more sense to see multiple religions spring up and then be rounded up into a single entity, than to believe there was one source, almost immediately it splinters into hundreds of factions, and then is rounded back together.

As for the "complete absence of contemporary sources"---

Cornelius Tacitus was a Roman historian and governor of Asia [Turkey] in A.D. 112. He mentions the persecution of "Christians" in AD 64.

Those are first generation Christians, perhaps a few were born during Jesus lifetime. You can't get more contemporary than that.

First off, he's not contemporary, he's after the time period in question. Josephus is closer and he is also after the time period. Secondly, as you note, he only mentions the "Christians", nothing about Jesus, so even if the passage is genuine, it does not witness Christ, only Christains. Thirdly, the description of the "Christians" activities does not mirror what was known about them, "practicing their religion at night" and such. Christianity, being solar based, was practiced most often in the morning, sometimes at sunset. It is likely the term Christians was substituted for another sect. Finally, the "Annals" were not "found" until centuries later, casting a low probability on their authenticity. In any event, they are not contemporary even if you accept them as genuine.

As for your assertion that those are "first generation" Christians, it is only that, an assertion that isn't baked up by any evidence. For example, if we are to believe his account of Nero (which I highly doubt since it is mentioned no where else by Tacitus), then most of the "first generation Christians would have been killed. 64 BCE is 30 some years after the death of Jesus purportedly occurred. That's enough time for second and even third generation Christians. When I speak of evidence, we have to ask, who wrote it, what does it say, when was it found, by whom was it found, what does the extant text date to, etc, etc. I'm afraid your mostly drawing conclusions for me based on your belief structure. We are not really examining this evidence together.

-HH

The Mad Crapper
07-12-2010, 07:03 PM
Actually, where we differ is that where you say "Jesus to be one of the most important figures in human history", I would say "Christianity to be one of the most important forces in human history". Where you see an individual, I see an organizational power that promotes itself through the mythological figure of Jesus.

I understand exactly what you are saying, and I can respect it.

If you strip the mythological elements from Jesus (in order to find the "historical person") you don't have anyone left with a force of character able to make that kind of massive cultural change. Jesus has to be supernatural for that to work, but of course, if you allow the supernatural, then you can't escape the mythological qualities.

I agree, and I'm not trying to escape the mythological qualities.

I believe in the supernatural. I believe in miracles.

In other words, you can't be both famous and obscure at the same time, you have to choose which Jesus you are championing as "historical" and then not fall back on the defenses of the other

Here's the thing---

The Roman Empire crucified about 5,000 citizens of Palestine. We can only name one.

As for the rest of your post, that is quite a lot to digest. I will have to do some homework and get back with you. :toast:

HolyHandgernade
07-12-2010, 07:30 PM
Here's the thing---

The Roman Empire crucified about 5,000 citizens of Palestine. We can only name one.

As for the rest of your post, that is quite a lot to digest. I will have to do some homework and get back with you. :toast:

But, we do know several dissidents that the Romans executed in one form or another. If we know Jesus, the one you believe existed, it is not because he was executed, but for what he allegedly did afterwards. Still we have no reliable contemporary accounts that such a miraculous thing occurred. Certainly, if a scene like Matthew depicts, dead saints rising from their graves going into the city and seen by many, this is the type of thing that would be noted by more than a few of the time. An odd side not, what were these dead people "Saints" of since Christianity hadn't even been established and the Jews don't really use that terminology?

The Mad Crapper
07-12-2010, 08:13 PM
But, we do know several dissidents that the Romans executed in one form or another.

That were crucified in Palestine? I'm not a aware of any. Who?


If we know Jesus, the one you believe existed, it is not because he was executed, but for what he allegedly did afterwards.

Are you saying that without the resurrection, history would not have noted Jesus on it's radar? Buddha was never resurrected, and we still know who he is (was).

Let me ask you something, and please indulge me, using the same historical method you use to "prove" Jesus was a work of fiction, prove to me that Crazy Horse wasn't. (And just so we are clear, I know that Crazy Horse was a real person, but I want you to prove it to me using historical method). Thanks.


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Jenson71
07-12-2010, 08:47 PM
It was a complete embarrassment for the early Christians to say, "Yeah, we have a savior. Um, he was crucified by the empire for treason." No conspiracy as holyhandgernade suggests would have been so damaging to their own cause to make up a story like that. He disappeared? Sure. He floated into the sky? Great. He was killed as a traitor? Uh . . . . ?

Why? Why would they make that up? They never would have. Do the conspiracy theorists have an answer to this? I need it.

Let's be clear: Holyhandgrenade is a conspiracy theorist, not a historian. He is a manipulator of facts. An unqualified, useless skeptic and contrarian. His process is one of cheapening history. It's completely unacademic. It's a complete disregard for the study. The "Jesus mythology crowd" that hhg finds himself infatuated with is also a group of non-historians. They do not study like historians, they do not dig into the original sources in the original languages. They don't know them. They don't have advanced degrees. They are rejected by the academic community and their niche is youtube and internet forums. Emphatically not the university or its historians. Emphatically not serious academia.

And it's an absolute shame considering hhg has a BA in History from some college.

Imagine some biology major saying evolution is not reality because there are no half fish-half human fossils. That's essentially hhq's argument.

Pioli Zombie
07-12-2010, 09:09 PM
"Oh what I wouldn't give for a large sock filled with horse manure" - Woody Allen in "Annie Hall"

Jenson71
07-16-2010, 04:53 PM
Let me make it clear that although I have very little respect for HolyHandGrenade's conclusions (which I find ridiculous) or how he came to them (very far out) or the crowd he follows when it comes to the myth-theory, I do think he's a good guy, morally upstanding, with a good head on his shoulders. I have, to a certain extent, enjoyed my conversations with him over the years, I think he is very kind and honest, and I don't want anyone to get the impression that I find him personally to be useless, etc. That is strictly a condemnation on his historical views.

I apologize if it came off more as an attack on his personal character. That was not my intention and never could be.

Pioli Zombie
07-16-2010, 05:55 PM
Self important swine asses.

HolyHandgernade
07-16-2010, 06:05 PM
Let me make it clear that although I have very little respect for HolyHandGrenade's conclusions (which I find ridiculous) or how he came to them (very far out) or the crowd he follows when it comes to the myth-theory, I do think he's a good guy, morally upstanding, with a good head on his shoulders. I have, to a certain extent, enjoyed my conversations with him over the years, I think he is very kind and honest, and I don't want anyone to get the impression that I find him personally to be useless, etc. That is strictly a condemnation on his historical views.

I apologize if it came off more as an attack on his personal character. That was not my intention and never could be.

I certainly appreciate the clarification, and I hope the following is taken in the same heart. I find the assertions of Christianity, that its miraculous nature is history, to be childlike and lacking serious discernment from present experience that shows no such signs of such miraculous interventions. While I consider the overall premise a bit absurd, that in no way reflects how I feel about specific people who choose to believe them. In fact, I have found most to be quite affable and pleasing. I try very hard as well not to belittle people but simply debate the material. I understand most people who are opposed to the prospect have NEVER read any of the literature concerning it, as it might look as if one is allowing for the possibility, subsequently undermining the position of aloofness that comes from being in a majority opinion.

-HH

Pioli Zombie
07-17-2010, 06:32 AM
So have we resolved this issue to everyones satisfaction? Have the believers of Jesus Christ been convinced they are wrong or have the athiests been convinced they are wrong? Which is it?!

HolyHandgernade
07-17-2010, 06:36 AM
I found these discussions fascinating:

The Historian's Task

What are the challenges in reconstructing Jesus' world?

Helmut Koester:

John H. Morison Professor of New Testament Studies and Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History Harvard Divinity School

CAN WE REALLY RECONSTRUCT JESUS' WORLD?

For every scholar working with ancient history, the first thing to recognize is that our evidence is very, very fragmentary. In a way, we can never reconstruct history because we don't have enough pieces. It is like an archaeological excavation. If you excavate a temple you may find the foundations of the temple. They may be disturbed, though, and you may not be sure how long the temple was. But you may find a few column drums, a column capital, maybe a few pieces from the roof structure. And now you have to form a hypothesis of what this temple looked like. And it remains a hypothesis because there are never enough pieces. Even the beautifully reconstructed facades of buildings that you as a tourist can admire today are the result of a hypothesis. And therefore the actual reconstruction can be difficult because the hypothesis could be wrong.

Essentially we are not dealing with a different situation with respect to the "reconstruction" of early Christian history or of the history of Jesus. That is, we cannot really reconstruct. We can learn from the evidence certain information that we can judiciously interpret, and, therefore, form an approximate picture of what happened. We know that Paul wrote such and such a letter to Corinth at such and such a time. And it tells us a few things of what's going on in the Corinthian community, but we will never know the whole story of what was going on in the Corinthian community. Only as much as we know in order to find a reason why Paul wrote his letter. But that doesn't give us a history of the community in Corinth. So one has to be very, very cautious, I would say even in using the term "reconstruction." On the other hand I think we have to learn to use "hypothesis" as a positive term. Because hypothesis is the only way in which we can understand. If we don't form a hypothesis, since we don't have brute facts that we can just take, we will know nothing. So hypothesis is a very positive term.

Now if you want to apply this to the question of our knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth himself and his ministry, we have to face one other difficulty. Not only that our information is fragmentary, but also that the information that we have has not been preserved in order to inform us about the historical Jesus of Nazareth, but has been preserved in order to instruct the ancient Christian churches under the authority of Jesus of Nazareth. And therefore we have, in every single piece of tradition, a transformation of the character of the material. It is almost as if you find in an ancient building, an archaeological excavation, a piece that has been reused, which came from another building originally. And we have only reused pieces....

What Jesus actually said, and what Jesus actually did, as a brute historical fact we will never know.... Because figures of past history are not necessarily remembered for what they did, but they are remembered for what the effect of the next generation was. Socrates is of course a famous example. We don't have a single saying of Socrates about which we can be certain. But we can know why Socrates was the topic of Plato's philosophy, and that a number of questions of Plato's philosophy are rooted in the figure of Socrates himself. But we cannot reconstruct his teaching. And I think we are in the same situation with Jesus, a situation in which we can be certain that all of this would not have happened without Jesus. That the disciples would not have had the miraculous experience of Jesus being among them as they broke the bread and shared the wine after Jesus' death, had not Jesus already shared bread and wine with them to the outlook of the future coming of the Kingdom of God. So we can draw lines between what we see as the effect and what might have been the causes. But we cannot peel down the tradition to an original kernel which we can ascribe to Jesus.

My take from the mythicist viewpoint on the bolded parts: (1)To me, this is a positive turn on my essential point regarding history and historians. He is essentially saying we cannot "evidence" an historical Jesus, but if we are to allow for him in history, using "judicious" means to do so, this is how we go about doing it. But, there is certainly a choice if you really want to allow for that first assumption. It is therefore not "ridiculous" to state the other obvious negative assumption, i.e., there is no historical core to your onion, any more than I can "judiciously" reconstruct an "historical Hercules". The only real difference is that a religious following exists for one of the two in this day and age. In other words, "special pleading".

(2) Again, he asks us to look at the "hypothesis" in a positive way, but that's a choice, not an evidence. It is no less logical to look at it negatively or even neutrally. The translation being, if you want to believe in an historical Jesus, you can construct a "hypothesis" for it. Of course, what you have to be careful about, a point Dr. Robert Price made abundantly clear, is that often what you end up with is an "historical Jesus" that "fits" your particularly theory of who he was. In other words, its a Jesus that reflects "you", not necessarily something from "history".

(3) Again, he is saying we cannot "evidence" Jesus, but rather the "effect of" Jesus. It is no less reasonable to assume that revelatory savior cults preceded an orthodox "historicizing" cult. Just as we see in the Dead Sea Scrolls. which predate Jesus, an example of. While some Christian researchers want to assert this evidence of "prophecy", there's nothing in the text to indicate this very specious line of reasoning.

(4) The last statement highlighted here exemplifies the "the evidence" for an historical Jesus. They have assumed the premise, that there was an historical core, and then mold the subsequent unfolding to fit that core. But we can just easily construct a scenario that does the same thing assuming the core story is simply the symbol around which the development begins. One of the points of contention is that mythicists are not just saying the "Jesus from the story" is mythological in nature, we're saying the "Jesus story, including his alleged parents and close disciples" are mythological in nature. It therefore misses the point to go on about what the "disciples thought or felt or experienced".

Eric Meyers:

Professor of Religion and Archaeology Duke University

HISTORICAL HYPOTHESES

There's no greater challenge for a teacher or a scholar of antiquity than to try to put all the evidence together and come up with a plausible explanation of what occurred. Archaeology clearly gives us the setting in which great events can take place. They can help us understand the way cities get built, but they can't help us understand the content of the message of the teacher. And so archaeology is a dialogue with literary sources. It's a dialogue with the Bible. It's a dialogue with Josephus. It's a dialogue with inscriptions and all the other written evidence that we have. And when you come to put these things together then it falls upon you as a thoughtful interpreter of all these data to come to a subjective and important resolution of the tensions between these two kinds of evidence. And I would hope that I'm a sensitive interpreter of these evidence because unless you sense the dynamics between them you can't come up with a good resolution to the issues.

In the end it comes down to making plausible hypotheses. And as scholars everyone of us is bent on coming up with the most plausible hypothesis.... As an historian of religion, as an interpreter of data, whether literary or archaeological, you do the best you can. You take this dynamic between literary sources and archaeology, you look at both sides of the coin, as it were, and you put them together and you come up with the best hypothesis that you can make.

Even though I have no doubt whatsoever that Jesus was an historical person, that he lived and had an enormous impact on his time and on subsequent time, we, in the end, have no real proof that this man lived in archaeology. It is an hypothesis....


(1) Again, if your dialogue is with texts that cannot be evidenced with the time period you are trying to reconstruct, then are you really having an accurate dialogue? This is how most early Biblical archeology began, "with the Bible in hand", in other words, to make archeology fit the Bible. But, as we are seeing from numerous modern archeologist, if we try to see if the Bible fits the evidence of the archeology, we actually find very little in the way of complimentary dialogue.

(2) This is fine, and I appreciate his honesty, but he is taking an assumption about the texts and trying to find correlations in the dirt, and if they don't come about, for him it only means they haven't yet found it. For the mythicist, we maintain that it is because it is simply not there. That's not a ridiculous conclusion, it is simply the negative conclusion to the hypothesis in which he prefers the positive one.

(3) This is personal testimony. "I have no doubt" can be translated as "I have enduring faith that". In the end, however, he has no conclusive evidence. Now, should that prevent him from continuing his search? Absolutely not! But his "faith" in his "faith" is no less absurd to reject as evidence as it is for someone to accept it. Sure, he's a great scholar, but that doesn't make his "belief" better than yours or mine devoid of evidence.

Allen D. Callahan:

Associate Professor of New Testament, Harvard Divinity School

PROBLEM OF RECONSTRUCTING JESUS' LIFE

Looking at the life of Jesus as a historical problem, why is it so difficult to reconstruct his life historically? There's basically plenty of evidence for it.

It's the nature of that evidence, I think, [that] is inherently problematic, because in a way Jesus is the quintessential non-historical person. I mean here is a man who was born in the provinces, probably poor, at least in terms of all of the traditions we have at our disposal. Not only was he born in those circumstances, he lived in those circumstances and associated with other people who lived in those circumstances. This is no way to become a big shot. This is certainly no way to become somebody who establishes the end of an era and the beginning of a new age....

History isn't made to record the deeds of a person like Jesus. I mean Jesus is very much like most people, statistically speaking, who have ever existed in the world - poor, obscure, no pretensions to royalty or distinction of any kind. They live under less than desirable conditions and they die that way. There's nothing historically remarkable about that. Billions of people pass through this vale of tears in exactly that way. The argument of the gospel proclamation is that there is something distinctive about this particular individual. So that kind theological claim is on a collision course with the way that history is usually done....

(1) Look, if this first sentence doesn't demonstrate the nature of belief over evidence than I don't know what does. He first says "we have plenty of evidence" and then goes on to explain how he is "quintessentially non-historical", that is "not evidenced". Only in religion does this make sense!

(2) But, it IS done in literary fictions! Writers of fiction love to tell the story of the underdog! So why is it a "conspiracy theory" to point that out? Everything from the Gospel points to a mythological structure, and very little points towards an historical person. "Serious scholars" may have high belief that Jesus was historical, but their livelihoods are propped up by that belief, so why wouldn't they?

John Dominic Crossan:

Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies DePaul University

HOW CAN WE RECONSTRUCT JESUS' LIFE?

Can you describe your method or the method of historians for trying to reconstruct who the real Jesus was?

My own method is interdisciplinary and it is hierarchical and it is interactive, which means that I begin with cross-cultural anthropology, and I try to understand the world of Jesus as anthropologists see it, as an agrarian society, as a peasant society with an abysmal gulf between the haves and the have nots. On top of that, I build all we know about Jewish history and about the Roman peace at the time of Augustus. On top of that I build a layer of archaeology, for example, the urbanization of lower Galilee with the building of Sepphoris and Tiberius. And only on top of that then do I look at the earliest texts relative to the Jesus tradition....

Step by step, how do you try to get to the hard core of fact about the life of Jesus?

Let me take a simple illustration. The Q gospel, that is the text which is embedded in Matthew and Luke, but does not come from Mark, would probably date to around the 50s. There is also a gospel called the Gospel of Thomas, which was discovered in 1945 in Nag Hammadi in Egypt. Take a look at those two gospels. There's about a 30 percent amount of common material in them, and that's an extremely high percentage, if they're not copying from one another, which they don't seem to be. That material is earlier than its use in the Q gospel or in the Thomas gospel. That material, alongside whatever we have in Paul, is about as early as we can get. And I focus tremendously on that material.

So this core material that you're relying on pre-dates what is generally considered the New Testament.

The material that I'm relying on would predate the New Testament; the Q gospel of course is embedded in the New Testament today and is discovered in Matthew and Luke. But yes, we're talking about the 50s which is at least 20 years before Mark's gospel. But of course, about the same time that Paul is writing, so it doesn't antedate Paul really.

More about Q and the Gospel of Thomas in this essay by Marilyn Mellowes.

I like Crossan a lot. But his use of dates is an assumption. We have no literary record of the Gospels as we have them until late in the second century. His reliance on "Q" is specious because "Jesus" is "read into" the text when it only indicates "Master" or "Savior". There is no indication of a "specific" person in "Q". If Christianity began as a mystical revelatory religion, there would be no specific person in mind, other than an archetype of what that person would be. An historical person is not required, in fact, would have been considered a heresy to the Gnostic sects.

Now, as these historians have pointed out, we can't "prove" anything. But this assertion that "no serious scholar doubts" is not "proof" of anything either. They have their "positive hypotheses", their "working dialogues", their "assumed dates". But, it is not any more crazy to suggest that the negative side to their assumptions is just as possible as the positive ones they prefer to work on - that there is no core to this onion, it is myth through and through with an appeal to special pleading.

-HH