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Thread: The Nonexistence of Christ

  1. #1 The Nonexistence of Christ 
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    I got into a discussion with a couple other forum members a few weeks ago over the whether the Jesus of Nazareth actually existed or not. Both sides brought up points, me citing references from Suetonius, Tacitus, and Pliny the Younger while others brought up the lack of contemporary sources and the Testimonium Flavianum, forged by Christians and allegedly attributed to Flavius Josephus.

    My question is, outside of the lack of contemporary historical references, why is the historicity of Jesus called into question, what kind of evidence against the existence of Jesus can be provided, and where and how did this theory spring up?


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  3. #2 Re: The Nonexistence of Christ 
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    I got into a discussion with a couple other forum members a few weeks ago over the whether the Jesus of Nazareth actually existed or not. Both sides brought up points, me citing references from Suetonius, Tacitus, and Pliny the Younger while others brought up the lack of contemporary sources and the Testimonium Flavianum, forged by Christians and allegedly attributed to Flavius Josephus.

    My question is, outside of the lack of contemporary historical references, why is the historicity of Jesus called into question, what kind of evidence against the existence of Jesus can be provided, and where and how did this theory spring up?
    You're not going to find a satisfactory answer because the question is phrased incorrectly. The claim that jesus was an actual historical figure is where the burden of proof belongs. Since one cannot prove that someone didn't exist, such a claim cannot be supported. One can only cite a lack of evidence for a claim.

    In this particular case, their is no evidence for such a figure (historical or divine) outside of fiction (the bible) and apologist writings.

    My hope that this is sufficient to clear up the matter, however I know that it almost certainly will not. Therefore, let us consider this the opening salvo and see where the thread goes from here.


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    You consider Suetonius, Pliny, and Tacitus apologists for Christ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    You consider Suetonius, Pliny, and Tacitus apologists for Christ?
    Have you actually read what they wrote? They reference "christians" not "jesus".

    Would you accept historical reference to Harry Potter fan clubs as evidence for an actual living, breathing, spell-casting Harry Potter? I'm hoping that you would not. Similarly, we should not accept references made to a church of christ as actual evidence for christ. We can and should accept them as evidence for a church, but that doesn't really tell us anything meaningful.
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    This is something that I posted a long time ago in another forum. Hopefully it will copy/paste well and help to elucidate some of the key points of this discussion.

    Copy/paste begins here.

    The focus of this thread is Jesus (christ), therefore I will not be concerning myself with too much from the Old Testament, other than to breifly touch on the argument that Jesus (christ) fulfilled the prophecies of the OT. I will try not to branch out into other religions other than to show similarities and would appreciate it if we could avoid derailing the thread by discussing the individual merits of each belief system.

    With that out of the way, on to my arguments.

    Burden of Proof


    First, since christianity makes the claim that Jesus existed and that he was the messiah, the burden of proof is on christianity to support the claim. It is not up to non-theists or theists from other religions to disprove this claim. Although we can clearly show that there is no evidence, it is not on us to prove that there never will be.

    Second, this burden of proof is doubly burdensome for christianity. Not only would one have to provide evidence for a historical figure named Jesus (and not just any Jesus, but that Jesus), but they would then have to go on to provide evidence that this person was actually the messiah. While someone hoping to support such a claim would have to prove each point independently, the arguments I will present apply pretty evenly to both claims, so I will not be categorizing them.

    With that established, I will present the problems that I see with arguments made by many christians on this topic.

    Historical Evidence for Jesus the Man

    This one is likely to be simplest and shortest of the sections. The fact is that we don't have any. We don't have any of his personal writings, nor the personal writings of anyone that knew him (friends, family, neighbors, etc). We don't have an official record of birth, death, marriage, etc.

    Christians will mostly likely want to point out that literacy rates during that time were abysmal and that the likelihood of such a record existing, let alone surviving, is negligible. They would be absolutely correct. The problem remains that none of these things exist nonetheless, in other words, they cannot deny that there is no historical evidence for this specific man named Jesus. It may be that some day, we discover something (a diary, census data, etc) that clearly shows that this specific man existed, however until that day, the "evidence" box has to remain unchecked on this particular point.

    Some other form of evidence will have to exist for rational belief.

    Historical Evidence for Jesus the Messiah

    Personally, I don't see how the first argument that I presented can be construed as anything other than a show stopper, but alas, this reasoning is not always shared, let alone recognized.

    Again, we find ourselves in a situation in which we have no direct evidence, rather indirect evidence via a myriad of sources. Sources that we might use to find evidence for Jesus include:

    * The Gospels

    * Eyewitness Accounts

    * Early Christian Writings

    * Contemporary Historians

    * Old Testament Prophecy

    * Revelation


    If there are others that I should have included here, but did not, please let me know and I'll edit as needed (with full credit given).

    The Gospels
    Based on my experiences, many people tend to consider the gospels eyewitness accounts. They are not.

    In order to be an eyewitness accounts, they would have to have been written by contemporaries to Jesus. They were not.

    Some would (correctly) point out that it is not uncommon for oral histories to be passed down for generations before finally being put to paper. Yes, this did happen, however we have no evidence that this happened here. Furthermore, even if we accept this to be the case, we have to accept the very strong likelihood that the story changed quite a bit between the alleged witnessing of events and when they were recorded by whomever it was that recorded them (the anonymous authors commonly referred to as "Mark", "Matthew", "Luke", and "John").

    Oral histories with many sources will naturally break down over time (as seen is social experiments such as "the telephone game"), so even if we were to assume that the first gospel (G.Mark) was founded in oral tradition, his telling would have cherry-picked details from a wide variety of available tellings. G.Matthew and G.Luke/Acts are based, in part, off of G.Mark and G.John is mostly a separate writing.

    Despite some commonalities, each gospel has a differences in their telling of Jesus' story. In several cases, these tellings contradict one another (the day of Jesus' death being just one of more obvious examples).

    So the canonical gospels, which cannot be proven to be eyewitness accounts and have no clear authorship, complete with contradictory details, cannot be reasonably taken for evidence for Jesus.

    Eyewitness Accounts
    There are no known eyewitness accounts of Jesus' life and death. The closest thing that we have historical evidence for is Saul's (Paul's) vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus. Again, the is not to say that such eyewitness accounts might not be discovered someday, however that still means that we have no evidence now. Furthermore such accounts, once shown not to be forgeries, would only solve the historical Jesus problem, not the messianic Jesus problem.

    Early Christian Writings
    Many early christian writings, specifically those made by historians, are presented as evidence for historical Jesus. Some of these include the writings of Josephus, Tacticus, Justin Martyr, and others. Besides the obvious fact that none of these authors are contemporaries of Jesus, most of the non-contested passages simply make reference to christianity (many of the works that site Jesus directly have been shown to be forgeries or clerical "enhancements" made during the hand-copying process).

    Having knowledge of a religious cult is not proof of the validity of its doctrine, only that it exists. This would be the equivalent of the some future generation using a journalist's report to conclude that David Koresh was the messiah. Therefore, even the historical documents that we do have do not make a strong case for the existence of Jesus.

    Contemporary Historians
    As alluded to in the previous sections, there are no known contemporary references to Jesus. Even if one were to argue that there would have been no reason to have such references, that would not change the fact that we don't have any. Therefore, no evidence from this area either.

    Old Testament Prophecy
    I've seen several argument made that Jesus must be the messiah because he meets the qualifications set forth by the prophecies of the OT. Despite the fact that some passages of the bible contradict this argument (Jesus as Isiah) or create logical problems (Jesus comes from the line of David even though he has no biological father), some people still point to this claim as support for their argument.

    Paul claims to have been a Pharisee, therefore he would have had working knowledge of OT prophecy. Considering that he's our only "eyewitness" and christianity's first evangelist, it seems pretty obvious that if he wanted to create a cult based on the messiah, all he would have to do is write a story about a guy that meets the conditions of the prophecies and presto...instant messiah. The fact that Paul's fictitious story corroborates key points from the OT's fictitious prophecies is not impressive nor is it convincing.

    Revelation
    Revelation is the claim that Jesus is real because it has been revealed to someone. Usually this revelation is spiritual in nature, however sometimes there is a physical manifestation. The physical manifestations can usually be dismissed quite readily as mental illness, tricks of light, mass hysteria, or the mathematical probability that some potato chips are just going to bear quasi-accurate resemblances to outlines of cultural icons.

    The spiritual revelations might appear to be a harder nut to crack until you consider that people have such "revelations" regardless of culture or era...and most of them have had nothing to do with Jesus. If a christian goes into a cave and meditates/prays for 10 days, he or she is going to claim to have had spiritual contact with Jesus. If a muslim does this, they will claim to have had spiritual contact with allah. If a buddhist does this, they will claim to have spiritual contact with....well, themselves, but you get the point. The only common thread here is that deep introspection causes most humans to have deeply spiritual experiences. To claim that one's own religion is the only one that can do this is to ignore the evidence. To claim that such an experience is proof of their respective deity is foolish.

    Experiments using MRI technology have shown that there are "spiritual centers" in our brain. They are active when test subjects pray or meditate. They are also active in atheletes when they "go into The Zone". All these experiments show is that our brain and achieve higher states of consciousness. This is not a christian-specific phenomena.

    Therefore, as with all the other examples provided, "revelation" is not evidence for Jesus.

    The Story of Jesus is Not Unique


    At this point, some might be wondering "well then, where did the story of Jesus come from?".

    This is a good question and luckily one that has an answer. Remember that the christian myth takes part during the Roman Empire. The Romans (proper) were pagans that pretty much stole Greek mythology and changed all the names. The stories of Zeus and Jupiter are largely similar, except the names have changed. Hermes is Mercury, Aphrodite is Venus, Poseidon is Neptune, the list goes on and on. To summarize, during the time that christianity is developing, there are a myriad of pagan mythologies available but one of the most prevalent was Greek/Roman myth (keep in mind that christianity is an spin-off of judaism, which itself is one of many religions and not even a very big one at the time).

    So what are the components of Jesus' story that really make him special. I believe the following list is representative:

    * The Virgin Birth/Son of God

    * Miracles

    * Death/Sacrifice

    * Resurrection/Ascent



    The Virgin Birth/Son of God
    Ok, this may be the only item in this list that is arguable unique to christianity. However, ignoring the debate of the translation, the fact remains that there are several myths of gods impregnating women. Some of the more well-known Greek heroes resulting from zeus consorting with a mortal woman include:

    * Hercules

    * Perseus

    * Dionysus


    There are at least a dozen more myths of about the children that mortal women bore for zeus. And this is just one of the many Greek gods that consorted with mortal women. And this is just one set of myths amongst a myriad of others.

    So the idea that a god made a child with a mortal woman is hardly news. In the ancient world, kings and rulers were frequently considered to be the offspring of the gods. Jesus is merely a drop in the ocean of demi-gods.

    Miracles
    Again, stories about miracle workers are nothing special. All religions contain stories of miracles, and while christianity is no exception, neither is it groundbreaking or unique in this regard.

    Death/Sacrifice
    I grouped death and sacrifice together because I wanted to limit myself to myths where the hero's death was a sacrificial one.

    * Prometheus - son of Zeus. Stole fire from the gods so that mankind could learn and prosper (tree of knowledge anyone?). Zeus punished his son by having him shackled to the side of mountain, where a giant eagle eats his insides every day and his body is magically renewed every night. Prometheus sacrifices for all mankind.

    * Dionysus - son of Zeus. Was fed to the titans as a sacrifice (sacrament?). Zeus slew the titans and from their ashes created mankind. Dionysus sacrifices for all mankind.


    Here we have just two examples from one religion where the son of a god is sacrificed for mankind.

    Resurrection/Ascent
    This is another all-too-common theme is mythology. The aforementiond renewal of Prometheus is one example. Hercules mortal body was shed when he died, however his divine spirit returned to be with his father in olympus. Adonis was killed and then brought back to life by Aphrodite.

    I'm sure that someone will want to point out that none of these myths match the Jesus myth precisely. To them I would want to point out that no one is going to be compelled to accept a story that sounds exactly like the story they already have. Authors, novelists, playwrights, screenwriters, poets, etc are constantly making variations on a theme in an effort to pass their work of as "new" or "innovative". The early christian writers were exactly the same as our modern writers. They wrote stories that their audiences would accept and enjoy. No surprise that the stories aren't exact duplicates. I think the similarities are much more telling than the differences.

    To summarize: The burden of proof is on christians to show that their belief system is true. I've summarized each of the areas where we currently lack any evidence for Jesus' existence, let alone divinity. Finally, I've shown the story of Jesus is not unique or special by comparing it to just one contemporary pagan religion.

    I welcome any and all comments, arguments, contrary evidence, etc.

    Thanks for reading.
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    Firstly, your theory on Paul's creation of a mythical figure to fulfill OT prophecies. My first concern is that if you consider that Paul did created "Jesus" to further a messianic Jewish agenda, then why didnt someone other than Paul do likewise earlier in history? Paul is hardly the first Pharisee as that sect of Judaism had been around for quite along time. What exactly would Paul have to gain from creating a sect of Judaism that recognized his Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah in a Judea that was under the control of the uncompromising Roman state, a Roman state that would lose a legion in the Jewish Rebellion that Josephus was part of and finish the war to the bitter end, with the taking of the temple? Another question I have of this idea of Paul creating Jesus is why would he create a Messiah who is, to put in harsh terms, a pussy compared to the traditional view of the Jewish Messiah, who could be best described as an asskicker? In a 1st century Judea rife with anti-Roman sentiment and militant feelings best exemplified in the zealots, what possible appeal could a messiah who was captured, tortured, and executed by the all-powerful Roman state have?

    Another question in the Jesus the Man category. While there is no direct evidence from Jesus himself, there are remarks by several Roman writers, I believe a few Jewish ones, and acouple others. While I do believe Tacitus is a bit nebulous, Suetonius and Pliny are more reliable and reference Christians who follow a Christ or Christus.

    A cursory glance at Roman history during this time shows us an incredibly violent, unforgiving militaristic Empire that was trying to deal with a fanatical religious population in its eastern borders. Incidentally, a Roman governor had executed a Jewish dissident who proclaimed himself King of the Jews, in effect being a traitor to the state. The most common punishment for traitors (along with slaves) was crucifixion, which is what said governor did to the Jewish traitor. Roman power had once again triumphed and dissidence had been crushed. However, the late traitor's followers begin to worship this executed criminal as a god, and not just any god, but that curious monotheistic God of the Jews. To the Romans the idea that a criminal against hte state was now being worshiped, in clear defiance of their authority, and as the one true god was a perversion. Now, my question is why these creators of this figure of Jesus would possibly do this? First century Judaeans were well aware of Roman brutality and vindictiveness. Not only that, but to create a god-entity out of an executed criminal who had been humiliated and tortured at the hands of the all powerful Roman state which would only seek to stamp out this perversion is highly unlikely.

    I saw Transformers 2 today and need to sit the shower for a bit to wash away the stupid, I'll post some more later.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Firstly, your theory on Paul's creation of a mythical figure to fulfill OT prophecies. My first concern is that if you consider that Paul did created "Jesus" to further a messianic Jewish agenda, then why didnt someone other than Paul do likewise earlier in history?
    Many jewish sects tried to put forth messianic figures. Paul's success was (arguably) due to being at the right place at the right time with the right message. Keep in mind that christianity took hold after the jews had just spend the last several decades getting kicked around by the Romans.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Paul is hardly the first Pharisee as that sect of Judaism had been around for quite along time. What exactly would Paul have to gain from creating a sect of Judaism that recognized his Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah in a Judea that was under the control of the uncompromising Roman state, a Roman state that would lose a legion in the Jewish Rebellion that Josephus was part of and finish the war to the bitter end, with the taking of the temple?
    I suppose we could ask David Koresh, Jim Jones, L. Ron Hubbard, or Joseph Smith.

    Again, it's not as though Paul's game was the only one in town. It just happens to be the one that was best adapted to it's environment.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Another question I have of this idea of Paul creating Jesus is why would he create a Messiah who is, to put in harsh terms, a pussy compared to the traditional view of the Jewish Messiah, who could be best described as an asskicker?
    Perhaps he had reason to believe that his version of the messiah would be well recieved. Keep in mind it's important to separate jesus of the gospel from jesus of paul's letters. Not only different authors, but different agendas, political atmospheres, etc.

    In other words, you have to completely ignore the gospels when contemplating Paul's jesus.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    In a 1st century Judea rife with anti-Roman sentiment and militant feelings best exemplified in the zealots, what possible appeal could a messiah who was captured, tortured, and executed by the all-powerful Roman state have?
    Nothing inspires like a martyr.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Another question in the Jesus the Man category. While there is no direct evidence from Jesus himself, there are remarks by several Roman writers, I believe a few Jewish ones, and acouple others. While I do believe Tacitus is a bit nebulous, Suetonius and Pliny are more reliable and reference Christians who follow a Christ or Christus.
    I addressed this in my first reply to this argument (which you presented in post 2). I also addressed this in the post you referenced which tell me that you probably skimmed it rather than read it.

    See: Early Christian Writings in post 5

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    A cursory glance at Roman history during this time shows us an incredibly violent, unforgiving militaristic Empire that was trying to deal with a fanatical religious population in its eastern borders. Incidentally, a Roman governor had executed a Jewish dissident who proclaimed himself King of the Jews, in effect being a traitor to the state.
    Well that's the story anyway. Do we have any corroborating evidence for such an execution?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    The most common punishment for traitors (along with slaves) was crucifixion, which is what said governor did to the Jewish traitor. Roman power had once again triumphed and dissidence had been crushed.
    Except that Pontius Pilate washes his hands of jesus's death. Which also doesn't make much sense. If Rome was as brutal and tired of the BS as we're led to believe, then why the back and forth. He did not need the permission or the approval of the jews to carry out the law. Yet we're given this story of hand-wringing, etc. It doesn't jive at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    However, the late traitor's followers begin to worship this executed criminal as a god, and not just any god, but that curious monotheistic God of the Jews. To the Romans the idea that a criminal against hte state was now being worshiped, in clear defiance of their authority, and as the one true god was a perversion.
    If any of this were true, it would be very curious indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Now, my question is why these creators of this figure of Jesus would possibly do this? First century Judaeans were well aware of Roman brutality and vindictiveness. Not only that, but to create a god-entity out of an executed criminal who had been humiliated and tortured at the hands of the all powerful Roman state which would only seek to stamp out this perversion is highly unlikely.
    Again, martyrdom.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    I saw Transformers 2 today and need to sit the shower for a bit to wash away the stupid, I'll post some more later.
    Enjoy!
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    "Burden of Proof


    First, since christianity makes the claim that Jesus existed and that he was the messiah, the burden of proof is on christianity to support the claim. It is not up to non-theists or theists from other religions to disprove this claim. Although we can clearly show that there is no evidence, it is not on us to prove that there never will be.

    Second, this burden of proof is doubly burdensome for christianity. Not only would one have to provide evidence for a historical figure named Jesus (and not just any Jesus, but that Jesus), but they would then have to go on to provide evidence that this person was actually the messiah. While someone hoping to support such a claim would have to prove each point independently, the arguments I will present apply pretty evenly to both claims, so I will not be categorizing them.

    With that established, I will present the problems that I see with arguments made by many christians on this topic."

    Now, I see a problem here Phoenix. You make the claim that the burden of proof is on Christians to provide evidence for whether Jesus the historical person existed or not. Now, while I wholeheartedly agree that Christians need to provide proof of whether Jesus was the Messiah or not, why exactly do "Christians" need to provide evidence for the historical Jesus? Lets say I am an atheist historian who nevertheless sees the evidence provided by the four gospels that, although they may have conflicting accounts of what exactly Jesus did during his mission or his exact birthdate, that there was a Jesus of Nazareth who was born, grew up and began teaching, and was eventually executed by the Roman state, the references by Roman writers of Christians who worshipped a Christ, Christus, or Chrestus, all Latin variations of the Greek Christ. Now, you brought up that the fact that Jesus didnt write or leave any record of himself behind, therefore that is a slot in the case for him not existing. Now, does that mean Charlemagne and Asoka the Great never existed? Charlemagne himself could not read, how do we know that the Byzantine Empire's diplomatic wranglings with a Frankish monarch named Karl weren't just falsified accounts by Frankish aristocrats and churchmen, jealous of the power of Byzantium and the Caliphate, attempted to create a mythical Emperor and Empire? What we know of Asoka the Great has mostly come from the Greek writer Megasthenes and many waystones throughout India that were inscripted, in various layers, throughout various periods, by various Indian Kings, the first of which seems to be a monarch referred to as the Beloved of the Gods. Now archeologists and historians were able to work together to piece together the history gleaned from these stones and Megasthenes to learn of the Mauryan Empire and Asoka in particular, however, how do we know this is not some elaborate hoax by Indian monarchs who, after witnessing the dissolution of Alexander's Empire, tried to create a fake monarch and Empire so India wouldn't look so pathetic in comparison. Asoka himself didnt leave behind any written documents himself, so how do we know he even existed.

    My point is in the case of Jesus, Charlemagne, and Asoka, we do have historical documents that point to these people's existence and theories of "Oh, well these ancient peoples merely created this persona in order to create a fictional religion, empire, monarch" is needlessly obtuse and doesnt have any evidence to back it up.

    You have this theory that Paul himself concocted Jesus to create his own religion. Well, what evidence do we have of that? Imperial Roman legion papyrus records hve been found deep within the Egyptian deserts where Roman soldiers were stationed, including everything from orders for shipments of wheat, requests for leave, and interestingly enough, execution records. Now, the Roman state and military are well known for their almost modern bureaucratic structures and apparatuses. One area where the Roman legion payed substantial attention was in the execution of criminals against Roman authority, of which Jesus would be one. Now, you claim that Paul created Jesus. I counter that the ROmans had records of the criminals that were executed and Roman authors began to notice Christianity during the middle and later half the first century. Now, if paul had created Jesus, do you not think that these Roman writers would have mentioned that this Jesus figure that Paul is describing had never existed?

    Also, nothing inspires like a martyr you say. Now, how exactly would Jesus inspire in the ancient Roman Empire. The man was taken out, tortured, beaten, and eventually executed in the same way that criminals were. Now, in a first century judea rife with resentment against Rome, how exactly would this have been inspiring? I believe I asked this before but you didnt really answer.


    "KomradRed wrote:
    However, the late traitor's followers begin to worship this executed criminal as a god, and not just any god, but that curious monotheistic God of the Jews. To the Romans the idea that a criminal against hte state was now being worshiped, in clear defiance of their authority, and as the one true god was a perversion.


    If any of this were true, it would be very curious indeed. "

    Did not early Christianity, and Christianity today, worship an executed Roman criminal? If you know your Roman history, you must surely know of the utter brutality and unwillingness of the Romans to compromise. You must also know of the Roman's perplexed and disturbed attitude towards the Jewish monotheistic religion, and also of Rome's irritation towards its Jewish subjects who refused to recognize several of the Roman monarchs as gods after they had been deified by the Senate? You must surely know that ina Roman Empire that allowed no resistance the idea of monotheistic Jews worshiping an executed criminal of the state as disgusting at best, appalling towards Roman authority at worst?

    "KomradRed wrote:
    Now, my question is why these creators of this figure of Jesus would possibly do this? First century Judaeans were well aware of Roman brutality and vindictiveness. Not only that, but to create a god-entity out of an executed criminal who had been humiliated and tortured at the hands of the all powerful Roman state which would only seek to stamp out this perversion is highly unlikely.


    Again, martyrdom. "

    Once again, you didnt really answer my question, or at least answered it in a half assed way. Sure Jesus was a martyr figure, but the absolutely worst kind of martyr figure for the time. Lets take a supposed stream of thoughts through Pauls head as he thinks up this story of Jesus, which you put forward.

    "Ok, im going to create a religion, but first I must think why I am doing this"

    "1.) I am going to create a god-character who will forever surpass me in importance. In fact, I shall submit myself to the will of this fabricated god-entity. So prestige takes a back seat."

    "2.) i am going to live a life of asceticism and teach a creed of freely giving and that worldly goods are not important. So I guess that rules out wealth and pleasure"

    "3.) Maybe I am in this for power. I shall go around and preach a new religion so people will look to me for truth. Of course, this religion will also go against the accepted beliefs of mainstream Judaism which I have devoted almost my entire life too. So maybe power, idunno"

    "4.) Anyhoo, motivations aside, I shalt create a god-figure for my new religion. Rather than create an asskicking messiah, which the officially accepted Jewish belief is that it will be an asskicking messiah, I shalt create a character who preached love and kindness and was executed by our enemies, the Romans."

    "5.) Anway, I obviously cant do this alone so I shalt gather together a bunch of other Jews and tell them that we are going to create our own religion based around a fake person, including the future St. Peter."

    Maybe its too much, but I dont understand how you find this theory on Paul in anyway rational Phoenix. I mean, what evidence do you have that you can provide to a historian that the historical Jesus of Nazareth never existed?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Now, I see a problem here Phoenix. You make the claim that the burden of proof is on Christians to provide evidence for whether Jesus the historical person existed or not. Now, while I wholeheartedly agree that Christians need to provide proof of whether Jesus was the Messiah or not, why exactly do "Christians" need to provide evidence for the historical Jesus?
    Christian theology is based on the premise that jesus was a physical man/actual historical figure. That claim needs to be supported with evidence in order to be accepted.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Lets say I am an atheist historian who nevertheless sees the evidence provided by the four gospels that, although they may have conflicting accounts of what exactly Jesus did during his mission or his exact birthdate, that there was a Jesus of Nazareth who was born, grew up and began teaching, and was eventually executed by the Roman state, the references by Roman writers of Christians who worshipped a Christ, Christus, or Chrestus, all Latin variations of the Greek Christ.
    ...

    This was going somewhere and then died off.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Now, you brought up that the fact that Jesus didnt write or leave any record of himself behind, therefore that is a slot in the case for him not existing.
    Kinda sorta but not quite. If jesus did leave behind some personal writing, that would certainly be a step toward corroborating his existence. For instance, there is some debate over whether William Shakespeare was an actual person or a pen-name used by an otherwise anonymous author. While this debate is a subject of fascination for people interested in that sort of thing, there is absolutely no doubt that somebody wrote the works we're use to ascribing to Shakespeare. If we didn't have any poems, or sonnet, or plays and no record of a man named "William Shakespeare" ever existing, why should we accept the claim that he did.

    Same thing here. We have some claims about a man named jesus, but that's all we have (or at least, that's all I've ever found while researching the matter).

    A lack of personal writings doesn't show that he didn't exist, but a lack of writing does show that we have a lack of writings (which could be used to support a case for his existence).

    It might seem like nit-picking, but I think it's essential to understanding the argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Now, does that mean Charlemagne and Asoka the Great never existed?
    Do we have evidence for their existence? Do we have first-hand accounts of their deeds? Do we have historical records of birth, death, etc?

    I know that we have a great deal of evidence for Charlemagne. I will admit that I've never heard of Asoka before.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Asoka himself didnt leave behind any written documents himself, so how do we know he even existed.
    Again, I'm not familiar with him, so perhaps another example would help. I will point out that personal writing is not the only type of evidence and that if we have enough of the other types, then that isn't a problem. Perhaps that addresses your point without need of another example. If not, let me know.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    My point is in the case of Jesus, Charlemagne, and Asoka, we do have historical documents that point to these people's existence
    We do for Jesus? What are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    and theories of "Oh, well these ancient peoples merely created this persona in order to create a fictional religion, empire, monarch" is needlessly obtuse and doesnt have any evidence to back it up.
    And how would one provide evidence for non-existence? How do you prove that someone wasn't born?

    This is why the burden of proof works the way that it does.

    With most historical figures of note, we're willing to accept a certain amount of "fuzziness" due to the nature of the beast.

    "So-and-so is believed to have been born between Year X and Year Y in the town of blah-blah-blah". How do we know this? Because we have this contemporary historian that references them here and this personal writing there and on and on and on until we come up with the best possible scenario based on the evidence. If we have no evidence, then all we have is a claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    You have this theory that Paul himself concocted Jesus to create his own religion. Well, what evidence do we have of that?
    What other actual historical figure has actually claimed to see jesus? This is like asking, how do we know that Joseph Smith founded mormonism?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Imperial Roman legion papyrus records hve been found deep within the Egyptian deserts where Roman soldiers were stationed, including everything from orders for shipments of wheat, requests for leave, and interestingly enough, execution records. Now, the Roman state and military are well known for their almost modern bureaucratic structures and apparatuses. One area where the Roman legion payed substantial attention was in the execution of criminals against Roman authority, of which Jesus would be one.
    Great. So show me where we have evidence for a Roman record of jesus' execution and we will be one step closer to debunking my argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Now, you claim that Paul created Jesus. I counter that the ROmans had records of the criminals that were executed and Roman authors began to notice Christianity during the middle and later half the first century.
    Which would be evidence that there were christians during the middle and later half of the first century. No one is disputing that there were christians.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Now, if paul had created Jesus, do you not think that these Roman writers would have mentioned that this Jesus figure that Paul is describing had never existed?
    Which Roman writers?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Also, nothing inspires like a martyr you say. Now, how exactly would Jesus inspire in the ancient Roman Empire. The man was taken out, tortured, beaten, and eventually executed in the same way that criminals were. Now, in a first century judea rife with resentment against Rome, how exactly would this have been inspiring? I believe I asked this before but you didnt really answer.
    You didn't ask before because I didn't introduce this until my last response.

    You seem to be a little unclear as to whom is being inspired. Your focus seems to be Romans rather than the Jews. You don't think the Jews would rally against the Romans if they were led to believe that their messiah had come and then been dragged out into the street and killed like a common criminal?

    How many times have you seen a group of people riot when their favorite soccer team doesn't win a match?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Did not early Christianity, and Christianity today, worship an executed Roman criminal?
    I don't understand the question.

    Early christians and christianity today might very well worship a fictional character who is portrayed as being an executed Roman criminal. I'm not sure where you're going here.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    If you know your Roman history, you must surely know of the utter brutality and unwillingness of the Romans to compromise.
    Which would make the portrayal of Pontius Pilate rather interesting, don't you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    You must also know of the Roman's perplexed and disturbed attitude towards the Jewish monotheistic religion, and also of Rome's irritation towards its Jewish subjects who refused to recognize several of the Roman monarchs as gods after they had been deified by the Senate?
    I don't find Rome's attitude toward Jews perplexing at all. It's makes complete sense within the context of a culture rife with superstition.

    "You can worship whomever you want so long as you participate in our festivals, etc. What's that? You only acknowledge your god? Pshaw, whatever, weirdos. Huh? The crops failed. You think it has anything to do with those Jews not participating? Yeah, me too. Time to start dropping the hammer."

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    You must surely know that ina Roman Empire that allowed no resistance the idea of monotheistic Jews worshiping an executed criminal of the state as disgusting at best, appalling towards Roman authority at worst?
    I guess I'm not seeing your point. I don't think I've ever indicated that early christians weren't persecuted. You appear to be insinuating that this is some sort of evidence that supports the existence of jesus.

    Remember a few years ago when all those people committed mass suicide because they believed that they were going to get beamed up to a space ship that was travelling in the tail of a nearby comet? They sure did die for their beliefs, didn't they? Is that evidence that there really was a comet space ship? Or could it be that people are sometimes willing to die for things which they believe to be true, but aren't?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Once again, you didnt really answer my question, or at least answered it in a half assed way.
    If I can answer the question in one word, I'll will. I think "martyrdom" is sufficient. If you don't I am more than willing to discuss that.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Sure Jesus was a martyr figure, but the absolutely worst kind of martyr figure for the time.
    I'm going to assume that you're about to back this up below.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Lets take a supposed stream of thoughts through Pauls head as he thinks up this story of Jesus, which you put forward.

    "Ok, im going to create a religion, but first I must think why I am doing this"
    Power.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    "1.) I am going to create a god-character who will forever surpass me in importance. In fact, I shall submit myself to the will of this fabricated god-entity. So prestige takes a back seat."
    Paul is a prophet. Muhammad was a prophet. Joseph Smith was a prophet.

    In case you haven't noticed, prophets carry a great deal of prestiege and power within their respective religions.

    If you proclaim yourself a god, then it's pretty easy to have those claims challenged and refuted (not very smart), however if you can convince others that you have the direct line to a god figure, then you can still get people to follow you, without having to produce anything more than a good story.

    Feel free to point out where I am wrong here.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    "2.) i am going to live a life of asceticism and teach a creed of freely giving and that worldly goods are not important. So I guess that rules out wealth and pleasure"
    Paul got to spend a great deal of time traveling the Mediterranean, spreading the good word. You think he did all that on his dime? I don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    "3.) Maybe I am in this for power. I shall go around and preach a new religion so people will look to me for truth. Of course, this religion will also go against the accepted beliefs of mainstream Judaism which I have devoted almost my entire life too. So maybe power, idunno"
    "Mainstream Judaism" has gotten the temple sacked and the people in disarray. Religions produce offshoots all the time. You're making this sound as though Paul was being terribly revolutionary when the reality is that that Paul's story was one of many. Again, his was the "right" one at the "right" time, but he certainly wasn't the only one shuckin' and jivin'. We need look no further than the contemporary Roman historians (I highly recommend Josephus) to know that this is true.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    "4.) Anyhoo, motivations aside, I shalt create a god-figure for my new religion. Rather than create an asskicking messiah, which the officially accepted Jewish belief is that it will be an asskicking messiah, I shalt create a character who preached love and kindness and was executed by our enemies, the Romans."
    Firstly, judaism had already established the idea of a messiah. Paul didn't invent this, he simply invented a character to fit the role. Yes it was unconventional, but remember if the messiah came and was a kick-ass, Chuck Norris type, then he was also going to have to explain how it was things had gotten so bad. That story wouldn't make sense. Making the messiah a martyr not only allowed him to make jesus a sympathetic figure, but it allowed him to craft a story that wouldn't contradict current events.

    Secondly, (I'll say it again) nothing inspires like a martyr.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    "5.) Anway, I obviously cant do this alone so I shalt gather together a bunch of other Jews and tell them that we are going to create our own religion based around a fake person, including the future St. Peter."
    Did it work for L. Ron Hubbard, Joseph Smith, or Muhammad? Are you going to accept that it's entirely possible (likely!) that Paul just made all this up, or would you like to introduce and argument from special pleading?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Maybe its too much, but I dont understand how you find this theory on Paul in anyway rational Phoenix.
    Hopefully this post will give you some help with that. If not, please let me know.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    I mean, what evidence do you have that you can provide to a historian that the historical Jesus of Nazareth never existed?
    What is the very first thing I included in my copy/paste post?

    (Hint: Burden of Proof).

    Thanks for reading.
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG

    I welcome any and all comments, arguments, contrary evidence, etc.

    Thanks for reading.
    An enjoyable read, well done.
    Religious Fundamentalist Club - Member #1.
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    KomradRed,

    Can I assume that I've satisfactorily addressed all the points that you wished to raise with regards to this topic?

    Hope you had a great weekend,

    P_G
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    No, I just hadnt had time put anytin together because of work.

    Fun Fact: Grease can begin to corrode piping anywhere from 4 months to 6 months after settling, can cause major backups in sewage systems, and has a similar smell to vomit, bringing it to #2 in my list of foulest substances I have to deal with, #1 being liquified human waste, and #3 industrial salt saturated sewage.
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    Phoenix:

    Congrats on a quality assessment of those so-called 'facts'.

    I am an atheist so it is irrelevent to me whether there was ever a physical person that was Jesus Christ. What I do know, however, is that no evidence has ever been provided as to his existence. Folks 'want' to believe he existed and this leads to the acceptance his having lived.

    So the tale of Jesus is true because some self-proclaimed profit says so? If these writers lied about Jesus raising some guy from the dead....rising from the dead himself...walking on water...and other lies....they still have credibility? Historical documentation is necessary and not 'the gospel according self-promoting frauds'.
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    Thanks to both raptordigits and (Q) for the feedback. I'm glad to hear that my arguments make sense to persons other than myself

    I also want to thank KomradRed for his participation. As I stated earlier, this was originally posted elsewhere. While KomradRed has been generous enough to stick around and come back with legitimate questions, other people (from other forums) just kinda pulled a "man, you're totally lucky that I just remembered that I don't have time to show you how wrong you are cuz you woulda been real sorry" and then disappeared. It's clear that we aren't on the same page yet, but I think we'll get there eventually.
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    A storm passed through so I lost the first post I typed up...dammit.

    Anyhoo.

    1.) Burden of Proof.

    Here

    "You're not going to find a satisfactory answer because the question is phrased incorrectly. The claim that jesus was an actual historical figure is where the burden of proof belongs. Since one cannot prove that someone didn't exist, such a claim cannot be supported. One can only cite a lack of evidence for a claim. "

    Here

    "And how would one provide evidence for non-existence? How do you prove that someone wasn't born?"

    and here

    "And how would one provide evidence for non-existence? How do you prove that someone wasn't born?

    This is why the burden of proof works the way that it does."

    you make the claim that the burden of proof is on me to provide evidence for an Jesus's existence. That is correct, however, there is a burden on you to provide proof for your counter argument that Christ did not exist, and if you wish to look into it further, that Paul concocted Jesus.

    Now, you may provide arguments to diminish the my evidence, saying the Gospels have been tainted by things of a mythical nature (resurrection, earthquakes, and whatnot), that part of Josephus's account has been shown to be a forgery (Testimonium Flavianum), and that there is no direct evidence (writings by friends, family, and Jesus himself) that Christ existed, however, I still can make the claim that the four Gospels included in the Bible, while disagreeing on some major issues, all tell the story of a Jesus of Nazareth who ministered in Judea, was arrested by the Romans, sentenced, and Crucified, that Josephus had a second, shorter reference towards the a 'Jesus, brother of James, who was called the Christ', Pliny and Tacitus's references to Christians and Christ.

    You, so far, have not brought forward any evidence yourself that Jesus was a fictional person, that Paul was responsible for the creation of this Jesus personage, or that the Christians referenced in the Roman sources were different Christians from what Christians would call themselves today, nor have you provided any evidence from Roman or Jewish sources that there was no such person as Jesus, say from Roman Legionary papers or Jewish accounts of the time period. While I do recognize the the sheer amount of luck someone would have to have to come across a document from this period since most written material from the period that has survived was constantly rewritten, buried in arid regions like Egypt, or found in harsh locals (the Dead Sea Scrolls), all you have done Phoenix is cast a small shred of doubt on my sources without bring forth any evidence on your part that Christ did not exist.

    2.) You mentioned that Christian theology makes the claim that a historical Jesus existed. I hope you havent misinterpreted, but i am not arguing the existence of Christ in a Christian theological context, but in a historical context. The reason I brought up the references to Karolus Magnus and Asoka the Great earlier was because based on part of your 3rd post, you wrote that there is no direct or semi-direct (immediate family/friends) that Christ existed. I brought up Charles because, rather famously despite his support of the arts and scholarship, he is often credited with barely being able to write his own name while our evidence for Asoka and the Mauryan Empire of ancient India comes from travelers like Megasthenes, who made references to Chandragupta Maurya as a monarch named Sandracottos, and from Asoka's waystones that he erected throughout India bearing his edicts and philosophy. I brought these two up because neither provided any personal records, neither did their immediate families, yet there is a plethora evidence for Charlemagne (More than Christ to be fair) that he existed while Asoka has some handy archeological evidence to back him up. Once again, you have not provided any evidence to the contrary that the historical person of Jesus never existed or that Paul dreamt him up. You can say that you cant prove a negative, or that you cannot prove the nonexistence of someone, but this is merely a copout since if you are going to argue the nonexistence of someone in the face of evidence that they exist, then you must provide proof yourself.

    3.) You answered my question of Paul's concoction of Christ with a question of what other figure do we know of that met Jesus while he was alive, and by responding my question was like asking how do we know Joseph Smith founded mormonism.

    I will start with the Joseph Smith part first because, well, it confuses me a little. First of all, are you saying that Joseph Smith and Paul would be similar in that both (according to you) use similar methods to found their own religions for power and profit. Now, lets look at both characters here. Joseph Smith was a man who lived in New York during the Second Great Awakening, a time of great spiritual revival in the United States. Smith was know since childhood as a weaving tall tales. Smith later said he recieved a message from God, was a prophet, found the golden tablets to prove his claim, and started a religious movement that trekked throughout the United States, finally settling in Canada. Lets look at the situation of Smith. Smith lived in the overwhelmingly Christian United States, a that was partly founded on the principles of religious freedom (although there was a lot of intolerance towards Roman Catholics and Jews). He managed to convince a fair number of people in this religiously vibrant and time to adopt his new creed, which included such things as polygamy, something Smith himself would become famous for (over 20 women). Smith himself was killed in a shootout while being held in prison in Nauvoo, Illinois.

    Now, before we look at paul we must look at Rome.

    Rome-Roman civilization was almost unnaturally brutal. The Romans are famed for their acts of barbarity against foreign peoples, a ferocity John Keegan equaled to that of the Timurids and Mongols. The Romans were famous for their dogged persistence in warfare, even when faced with horrific defeats and challenges. The Punic Wars, the First Jewish-Roman War, and Caesar's conquest of Gaul all gives us good examples of how the Roman mindset was almost completely unwilling to even consider surrender, defeat, or compromise. Masada, the Roman's naval defeats to Carthage in the 1stPW, defeats to Hannibal in the 2ndPW, and the Battle of Alesia in Gaul give us a clear view of Rome's unwillingness to bend. This also translates over to how Rome viewed its relationship to conquered peoples and foreign powers along with how worked with that relationship. To the Romans, Republic and Empire, Rome literally second to none. While powerful foreign neighbors, like the Parthians, Armenians, and Dacians would be treated as independent peoples, they were still considered "free" on the sufference of Rome. Rome brooked no dispute, no treason, no resistance with any of its subjects. The glue that held the Roman Empire together was a combination of active encouragement of local people to adopt Roman customs, the Roman way of life, and working with the Roman state in return for citizenship and other benefits, and the use of unrestrained terror. As can be seen in the brutal reprisals after the Second Punic war and the Social War, Rome decimated and opposition to its dominance. Cities like Capua and Tarantum were reconquered and punished by the slaughter and selling into slavery of tens of thousands of the cities inhabitants. In First Century AD, Rome was no different. Peculiar amongst the Jews, they were monotheistic, something the Romans found strange and almost detestable. The Romans were polytheists, as were most of the Mediterranean peoples, and saw the Jews claim of being 1 and only 1 God somewhat strange. Not only that, but far more serious, was Jewish refusal to recognize and worship previous Roman Emperors (and Julius Caesar, although some consider him the first Roman Emperor) deified by the Senate. Throughout the rest of the Mediterranean world, the Roman Emperors duly worshiped by populaces who 1.) already had religions of many gods 2.) wished to keep their heads down 3.) were used to such things, mainly in the eastern regions where deified potentates had reigned. The problem with the Jews was that one of their most sacred laws prohibited the worship of other gods. For the Romans, this Jewish refusal to worship these deified Emperors was a very high offense which led to much Roman persecution and intervention in Judea, which incensed Jewish feelings against Rome further.

    Now, back to Paul. Paul is living in a Roman occupied Judea where both sides hate each other, only a 100 or so years previously the Jews had fought off the Seleucid Empire in the Maccabees revolt, and tension are on the rise. It was an apocalyptic time where many saw the figure of the Jewish Messiah, who would free Israel from its enemies and begin a time of great peace and prosperity, as near. There were several Jewish sects, like the Pharisees, Zealots, and others who competed in this turbulent time. Paul's religion, based of Judaism, would not find tolerance from the Roman state and could be looked upon by its fellow Jews as a heresy, while its messiah figure preached love, charity, and peace. Paul himself is show throughout the New Testament accounts as an ascetic.

    In comparison, Joseph smith lived in a much more stable time period and culture that shared a common cultural and religious belief system with the sect that he would found. He was known to have been quite the polygamist. Paul lived a turbulent, violent time where the governing party was very, very intolerant of the local religion, openly persecuting in many instances, and while Paul's faith could find some common ground with other Jews, the tempestuous history of the region meant that there were a significant number of polytheistic in the area, along with a occupying government that was polytheistic and mistrustful of monotheistic. All accounts point to Paul being an ascetic missionary.

    I really dont see the similarities

    4.) My comment about Roman Imperial Bureaucracy was mainly a suggestion that with the high levels of administrative efficiency during the Pax Romana, we should have some kind of information about whether this Jesus person ever existed. In the end though it is just an assumption that I make with my knowledge of Roman history and government with as much authority on the subject as your belief that Paul concocted Jesus.

    The Roman writers I refer to are once again, Pliny, Tacitus, and Suetonius who refer to Christians and Christ. The description of Christians has stayed with the followers of the Christian religion for nearly 2000 years, yet do you think there may have been 2 or more Christians and Christs who spawned these various Christianities, and if so, where did these other Christianities go. Were there multiple Jesus who were crucified during the rule of Pontius Pilate, subsequently deified by their followers?

    5.)"You seem to be a little unclear as to whom is being inspired. Your focus seems to be Romans rather than the Jews. You don't think the Jews would rally against the Romans if they were led to believe that their messiah had come and then been dragged out into the street and killed like a common criminal?

    How many times have you seen a group of people riot when their favorite soccer team doesn't win a match? "

    "Firstly, judaism had already established the idea of a messiah. Paul didn't invent this, he simply invented a character to fit the role. Yes it was unconventional, but remember if the messiah came and was a kick-ass, Chuck Norris type, then he was also going to have to explain how it was things had gotten so bad. That story wouldn't make sense. Making the messiah a martyr not only allowed him to make jesus a sympathetic figure, but it allowed him to craft a story that wouldn't contradict current events.

    Secondly, (I'll say it again) nothing inspires like a martyr."

    My focus is the effects such a messiah as Christ would have on a Jewish population being persecuted for their faith by an overbearing, unforgiving military state of unequaled power. I viewing the Romans to be a crucially important factor in understanding this issue. The Jews were facing persecution by the Romans and were ready to fight, so ready that they would fight 3 devastating wars against Rome. Bar Khobba, a Jewish general, would be declared Messiah in the 3rd one. The Jewish figure of the Messiah was seen as a warrior-savior who would free Israel and create a millennium of peace. All Jesus did was walk around the Jewish backwater for a bit, get accused of for treason, and executed like a slave. Why would Jews during this time, who were not his followers, honestly see Christ as a messiah. He had not defeated and repulsed the Romans, the Romans had killed him! I would also say that the soccer analogy is a rather poor one when dealing with the relationship between the Jews, Romans, and where Christ and Jewish Messianism are in regards to this.

    If Paul had created the person of Jesus, then he would be blatantly going against the commonly held ass-kicker Messiah that the Jews needed, wanted, and believed to be forthcoming. Sure Jesus is a sympathetic character, but he was the in the wrong place at the wrong time to be a sympathetic character. The vast majority of Jews did not, and still do not, recognize the Jesus as the Messiah.

    The right martyr at for the right time inspires. If Christian martyrs who died for their faith rather than submit to the will of Rome, like St. Valentinius and St. Peter, were inspiring to a faith facing heavy persecution from the Imperial government. Valiant Crusaders who marched off to Crusade against the Infidel inspired a society that wish to see the Holy Lands regained for the true faith. Townsmen and merchants who gave up their worldly possessions to live a life of apostolic simplicity inspired a people who were growing in wealth and uncomfortable over how explain their new wealth in relation to their religion. The right kind of martyr for the right kind of situation is inspiring. I submit that Jesus was the worse kind of martyr for the situation that 1st century Jews were in.

    6.) I don't find Rome's attitude toward Jews perplexing at all. It's makes complete sense within the context of a culture rife with superstition.

    "You can worship whomever you want so long as you participate in our festivals, etc. What's that? You only acknowledge your god? Pshaw, whatever, weirdos. Huh? The crops failed. You think it has anything to do with those Jews not participating? Yeah, me too. Time to start dropping the hammer."

    So a famine in Iberia is blamed on the Jews...? or the battle of the Teutoberg Forest is blamed on the Jews because obviously those superstitious and ignorant ancients clearly operated on a basis like this?

    I hope you dont take this the wrong way, but this is a very ignorant understanding of the relationship between the Roman state and the Jews during this time period and a rather insulting view of the human history. Its an oversimplification similar to the popular German theory after WW1 that the German Empire had been "stabbed in the back", rather than the much more complex reality that the Germans could not face superior Allied numbers, that the Imperial government had totally failed on the propaganda war, that the British blockade was ruining Germany from the inside, and that Wilson's 14 points sounded so damn good.

    I have already explained the attitude Rome held to the Jews and their beliefs, I just wanted to bring this up.


    7.) "I guess I'm not seeing your point. I don't think I've ever indicated that early christians weren't persecuted. You appear to be insinuating that this is some sort of evidence that supports the existence of jesus.

    Remember a few years ago when all those people committed mass suicide because they believed that they were going to get beamed up to a space ship that was travelling in the tail of a nearby comet? They sure did die for their beliefs, didn't they? Is that evidence that there really was a comet space ship? Or could it be that people are sometimes willing to die for things which they believe to be true, but aren't?"

    I have been arguing this whole time that Jesus was the worst kind of messiah to introduce into 1st century Judaism, that the Jews were in a very unenviable position with their relationship towards Rome.

    Secondly, I dont quite understand your second paragraph. People were perfectly willing to die during the World Wars for the Father/Motherland, democracy, and for the Master Race. People were perfectly willing to fight and die to further the Revolution during the Russian and Chinese revolutionary wars. People were perfectly willing to die during the American and French revolutionary wars for some idea of freedom and the rights of all men. Buddhist monks were perfectly willing to set themselves aflame in utter serenity during Vietnam to show their opposition to the war. During the American civil rights movement people were perfectly willing, in full knowledge that they could face serious harm or death, nonviolently resist police brutality, Jim Crow laws, and KKK persecution in the belief that everyone is equal, no matter race, creed, or sex.

    I think if anything your examples and mine show that human beings are capable and willing to fight, or not fight, and die for what they believe to be true.

    8.)
    "Paul is a prophet. Muhammad was a prophet. Joseph Smith was a prophet.

    In case you haven't noticed, prophets carry a great deal of prestiege and power within their respective religions.

    If you proclaim yourself a god, then it's pretty easy to have those claims challenged and refuted (not very smart), however if you can convince others that you have the direct line to a god figure, then you can still get people to follow you, without having to produce anything more than a good story.

    Feel free to point out where I am wrong here. "

    Ive already made my point about Paul and Joseph Smith, and I think Muhammed is something for an entirely different thread. However, in Paul's case, it does not seem to me like he takes on the role of prophet. To me he always struck me as a missionary, who had already talked with the prophet-god (whether you believe him to have concocted this figure or not). Also, the account of Paul's ministry is that he travelled around the Levant, met Simon Peter and other followers of Jesus, and finally wandered his ass to Caesarae, in Anatolia. Now, dont you think someone would have called bullshit to Paul during his mission in Palestine considering he met Peter the apostle and proselytized around an area where there was still people alive and well who would have remembered the execution of Jesus?

    As to your explanation that Paul created Jesus to gain power, then why the hell did he lead the life of an ascetic missionary around the Levant and Anatolia? Why didnt he drown himself in the sweet, nubile young women that the Christian message of chastity and celibacy always seemed to draw in that time like Joseph smith did? Why did Paul, like our good smith, institute Polygamy as a key aspect of Christianity? If Paul did take advantage of his position as a person of great religious importance, then why don't we hear anything about it in the New Testament? Did Paul write the entirety of the New Testament, drug his followers so they would not remember any of his lewd and power mongering actions, and leave copies of the New Testament throughout the Eastern Mediterranean before dying? Did the later Church fathers and Christians rewrite history, and if so, did they get every single version? How come there is no Gnostic, Roman, or whatever accounts that this Paul guy may have been a lewd, power hungry prick?

    9.) "Did it work for L. Ron Hubbard, Joseph Smith, or Muhammad? Are you going to accept that it's entirely possible (likely!) that Paul just made all this up, or would you like to introduce and argument from special pleading?"

    I must confess I dont know much about the historical origins of Islam, although I have read an article that mentioned that accounts in the Koran and by Muhammed's followers that Muhammed may have had some mental disorder that imparted visions. In the case of Jo "The Playa" Smith and L. Ron "Where are all the little boys at?" Hubbard, I say that they both lived in time periods and societies that were extremely different from that which the Jews lived in under Roman domination during the 1st century. uh, no, I will not accept that Paul made it all up because A.) You dont have any evidence that Paul did, B.) Your theory, if you dont mind, sounds like something from a Dan Brown book (I was going to say horrible Dan Brown book, but then I remembered that all Dan Brown books are horirble) and C.) You seem to have a rather bizarre and uninformed view of the situation 1st century Jews were in in relation to the Romans.

    I apologize Phoenix, but I am even more convinced now than before that your theory on Paul is simply a poor way of explaining how your idea of this Jesus-myth came about. While you have said several times the Burden of proof is on me as I am providing a claim (Christ existed) and that someone cannot prove a negative/nonexistence, I believe that when you forward the claim that Christ did not exist and that Paul created Jesus you must provide evidence yourself, which you have not dont. YOu have merely questioned my evidence and left it at that.


    "Congrats on a quality assessment of those so-called 'facts'.

    I am an atheist so it is irrelevent to me whether there was ever a physical person that was Jesus Christ. What I do know, however, is that no evidence has ever been provided as to his existence. Folks 'want' to believe he existed and this leads to the acceptance his having lived.

    So the tale of Jesus is true because some self-proclaimed profit says so? If these writers lied about Jesus raising some guy from the dead....rising from the dead himself...walking on water...and other lies....they still have credibility? Historical documentation is necessary and not 'the gospel according self-promoting frauds'."

    Raptordigits, welcome to the wonderful world of history, with its Troys, Christs, and Antiochs. Firstly, Troy. Everyone knows the story of Troy, the epic battle between Greek and Trojan while the gods played their hands with the fates of men. For centuries Troy was considered a mythical city that did not really exist. The Illiad was a Greek Epic, not a history document. Heinrich Schliemann was a German business in the 1870s took over and funded an archeological project in western Turkey which he believed was the site of Troy. Thanks to the his drive, enthusiasm, and massive pile of funds, the ancient city was uncovered and and is regarded as being the real Troy (Incidentally, it seems that there were multiple troys built over one another, with one of the Troys theorized to be the Troy of the Illiad). An interesting book of mine on Mycenaean greece goes on about how an economic downturn in late Mycenaean history forced the Mycenaean to return to pirating the eastern Med since trade had slowed down. Towns, villages, and perhaps even cities (troy?) were sacked and raided by this civilization before it was destroyed by the Dorians.

    Now lets look at the Siege of Antioch during the 1st Crusade. The Latin Crusaders had taken the city and now were counter-besieged by an Islamic relief army. The army inside was being starved into submission by the Islamic army outside and was losing morale until a monk named Peter Bartholomew had the leaders of the army dig up the supposed Holy Lance, which had pierced the side of Christ. While the leaders of the Crusading army were skeptical, as were later Muslim historians who ridiculed it as a pre-planned event, the sudden "miracle" rejuvenated the Crusader army and it marched out to fight the Islamic force rather than sit behind the walls. William of Tyre, I believe, describes the subsequent charge as buoyed by a force of angels charging with the crusaders. Point is, the Crusaders trounced the Islamic army, continued the march south and eventually conquered Jerusalem.

    My point is that the historian's job is not to look at a text and say "What the hell? Angels? Holy Spears? Zeus? Achilles?!? Nope, nope, nothing worthwhile here" but to carefully separate the facts from the embellishments. So the gospels described miraculous healings, resurrections, and all sorts of other strange stuff. Good for them, but you cant make a historical case out of that. However, all four agree that there was a Jesus of Nazareth who preached, was arrested, sentenced, and executed. The Illiad describes a fantastic war between both gods and men for Helen, full of many discountable details, but archeological evidence has shown that there was a troy, many troys in fact, and one of them very possibly could have been attacked by a fleet of Mycenaean warships before it fell. The Crusaders of Antioch supposedly found the Holy Spear and charged out to route the infidel with a host of angels at their side, but fantastic elements aside, those crusaders, whatever drove them, charged out that gate and won the day. If you are looking for indisputable historical facts, you might as well bark at the moon.

    Now, responses aside, I have my own questions. Aside from the supposed spuriousness of the evidence and claims that Jesus existed, where exactly did this argument for Christ's nonexistence come from?
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  17. #16  
    Forum Senior PhoenixG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    A storm passed through so I lost the first post I typed up...dammit.
    We're getting some weather here too

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    you make the claim that the burden of proof is on me to provide evidence for an Jesus's existence. That is correct, however, there is a burden on you to provide proof for your counter argument that Christ did not exist, and if you wish to look into it further, that Paul concocted Jesus.
    Except that I'm not making a claim. I'm pointing out all the reasons why we should not accept the claim that he did exist. I cannot prove that Paul concocted jesus, but I can certainly point out all the reasons why we cannot rule it out. I can certainly point out why he might have.

    And maybe at the end of the day nothing I say changes your mind, however if that's because my arguments have no merit then that's one thing. If it's because you don't like what I say, then that's something else entirely.

    I'm not out to prove that jesus didn't exist, because as you (and I) have already acknowledged, I can't. What I can do is show why there is reasonable doubt to accept the claim that he did.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Now, you may provide arguments to diminish the my evidence, saying the Gospels have been tainted by things of a mythical nature (resurrection, earthquakes, and whatnot), that part of Josephus's account has been shown to be a forgery (Testimonium Flavianum), and that there is no direct evidence (writings by friends, family, and Jesus himself) that Christ existed, however, I still can make the claim that the four Gospels included in the Bible, while disagreeing on some major issues, all tell the story of a Jesus of Nazareth who ministered in Judea, was arrested by the Romans, sentenced, and Crucified, that Josephus had a second, shorter reference towards the a 'Jesus, brother of James, who was called the Christ', Pliny and Tacitus's references to Christians and Christ.
    A lot to unpack here...

    1) As I have already pointed out, stories tell us nothing about reality. If Paul started a church and wrote some things about the figurehead, then someone else read what Paul wrote and wrote a story (which later became known as a "gospel"), and then other people read that work and Paul's letters and wrote gospels of their own, and then someone else came along and wrote another gospel based on all the stuff that came before it, then we don't have a bunch of stories all independently confirming one event. What we have is a bunch of stories based on a couple of people's fiction.

    2) I'm surprised that you would reference that particular line from Josephus after already acknowledging that it's widely accepted as a forgery.

    3) As I have already pointed out repeatedly, referenes to "christians" tell us nothing about jesus. It only tells us about people who believed in jesus. I'm certainly not contesting that there were christians 100 years after he was said to have lived.

    4) Please provide a historical reference that mentions jesus christ prior to Paul's letters. If you can't do it, you might want to reconsider the justification for your convictions.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    You, so far, have not brought forward any evidence yourself that Jesus was a fictional person
    How does one prove that something doesn't exist? To the best of my knowledge it's not possible, hence why I have not made the claim.

    Sir, with all due respect, I am growing tired of continuously batting away your burden of proof fallacies.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    that Paul was responsible for the creation of this Jesus personage, or that the Christians referenced in the Roman sources were different Christians from what Christians would call themselves today, nor have you provided any evidence from Roman or Jewish sources that there was no such person as Jesus, say from Roman Legionary papers or Jewish accounts of the time period.
    See the above. The burden of proof is not mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    While I do recognize the the sheer amount of luck someone would have to have to come across a document from this period since most written material from the period that has survived was constantly rewritten, buried in arid regions like Egypt, or found in harsh locals (the Dead Sea Scrolls), all you have done Phoenix is cast a small shred of doubt on my sources without bring forth any evidence on your part that Christ did not exist.
    My preference would be that you actually address my arguments (i.e. show how they are wrong or inconsistent with the evidence) rather than throw up a smokescreen of burden of proof fallacies and hope that no one notices. That trick does not work on me.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    2.) You mentioned that Christian theology makes the claim that a historical Jesus existed. I hope you havent misinterpreted, but i am not arguing the existence of Christ in a Christian theological context, but in a historical context.
    You have the burden of proof for which ever of the claims you intend to support. No one elected you to do so, nor forced you. Your participation is completely voluntary and can end at any time of your choosing.

    I clearly outlined the claims that are made and hoped that someone would come forward to defend them. So far, the only person with the conviction to do so is you.

    FWIW though, I would certainly hope that you would first try to establish historicity, since I clearly pointed out that it would be essential if one hoped to show that he was the messiah. It's something of a linchpin to the whole shebang, as it were.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    The reason I brought up the references to Karolus Magnus and Asoka the Great earlier was because based on part of your 3rd post, you wrote that there is no direct or semi-direct (immediate family/friends) that Christ existed. I brought up Charles because, rather famously despite his support of the arts and scholarship, he is often credited with barely being able to write his own name while our evidence for Asoka and the Mauryan Empire of ancient India comes from travelers like Megasthenes, who made references to Chandragupta Maurya as a monarch named Sandracottos, and from Asoka's waystones that he erected throughout India bearing his edicts and philosophy. I brought these two up because neither provided any personal records, neither did their immediate families, yet there is a plethora evidence for Charlemagne (More than Christ to be fair) that he existed while Asoka has some handy archeological evidence to back him up.
    I addressed this once. I'm not going to repeat myself here.

    If you aren't going to read my posts, please excuse yourself from the thread. I don't appreciate you wasting my time.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Once again, you have not provided any evidence to the contrary that the historical person of Jesus never existed or that Paul dreamt him up. You can say that you cant prove a negative, or that you cannot prove the nonexistence of someone, but this is merely a copout since if you are going to argue the nonexistence of someone in the face of evidence that they exist, then you must provide proof yourself.
    It's not a copout, it Critical Thinking 101. I'm sorry if you don't like it.

    If you have evidence that jesus existed, please provide it. Simple as that.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    3.) You answered my question of Paul's concoction of Christ with a question of what other figure do we know of that met Jesus while he was alive, and by responding my question was like asking how do we know Joseph Smith founded mormonism.
    They were both valid questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    I will start with the Joseph Smith part first because, well, it confuses me a little. First of all, are you saying that Joseph Smith and Paul would be similar in that both (according to you) use similar methods to found their own religions for power and profit.
    I'm saying that like Joseph Smith, Paul is the first actual human being who claims to have recieved what was needed to start their church. You can easily counter this argument by presenting an example of an actual historical figure who saw jesus before Paul.

    I have a sinking feeling that you're going to run to the anonymous authors of the gospels, however before you do, I should warn you that doing so is a bad idea. We don't have any extant copies and the earliest fragments (P52. Google it if you've never seen it before) that we do have come nearly 100 years after jesus is alleged to have died. So nothing from the gospels will help you here.

    I'm not going to address any more of your response re: Joseph Smith since it insn't germane to the point I was making. If we are still unclear, please let me know and I will circle back.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Now, before we look at paul we must look at Rome.
    Yep. Nothing you said there contradicts what I said in my last post (which you don't seem to have read), and actually supports the points I raised there. Thanks for that. It seems that if I simply wait long enough, you'll be arguing against yourself for me

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Now, back to Paul.

    <snip>

    Paul's religion, based of Judaism, would not find tolerance from the Roman state and could be looked upon by its fellow Jews as a heresy
    No it wouldn't for reasons I've already pointed out. Paul's story of jesus was not the first or only messianic figure being promoted by some sect of jews or another. Judaism was awash with false messiahs at the time. I suspect that you actually already know this considering the fact that you are clearly able to speak intelligently about the politics in that era.

    Moving on.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    4.) My comment about Roman Imperial Bureaucracy was mainly a suggestion that with the high levels of administrative efficiency during the Pax Romana, we should have some kind of information about whether this Jesus person ever existed.
    Great. So do we? If the system is as awesome as you say it is, wouldn't the lack of such record be telling?

    It feels like you're trying to have your cake and eat it too here. But feel free to continue to help my arguments along

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    The Roman writers I refer to are once again, Pliny, Tacitus, and Suetonius who refer to Christians and Christ.
    Yep, I heard you the first time. And as I said last time, none of them were contemporaries of jesus, thefore so what?

    If someone makes a reference to Harry Potter fans 50 years from now, will future historians take that as evidence for an actual boy wizard living in the early 21st century?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    My focus is the effects such a messiah as Christ would have on a Jewish population being persecuted for their faith by an overbearing, unforgiving military state of unequaled power.
    You are putting the cart way before the horse. Before the roman could persecute christians, there first had to be christians. Since there were christians to persecute, it's quite obvious that there were christians.

    The question is, why were their christians? Let's try to stick to that instead of trailing off on reductio ad absurdum tangents.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    All Jesus did was walk around the Jewish backwater for a bit, get accused of for treason, and executed like a slave.
    Allegedly.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Why would Jews during this time, who were not his followers, honestly see Christ as a messiah.
    I guess I would need to see evidence that any of the jews that were alive during the time that jesus was allegedly alive actually did accept him as the messiah.

    Again, do we have any of the personal writings of people who ever saw him when he was alive? Writings from contemporary historians who heard of him? I've never seen or heard of any.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    I would also say that the soccer analogy is a rather poor one when dealing with the relationship between the Jews, Romans, and where Christ and Jewish Messianism are in regards to this.
    I think it's a perfect valid analogy. If people are willing to get pissed off and break stuff (and each other) over grown men kicking a ball around for an hour, I imagine that a story about their savior being killed like a common criminal might really inspire them.

    Whether or not that story has any truth whatsoever is beside the point.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    If Paul had created the person of Jesus, then he would be blatantly going against the commonly held ass-kicker Messiah that the Jews needed, wanted, and believed to be forthcoming.
    Already addressed that in the post that you didn't read.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Sure Jesus is a sympathetic character, but he was the in the wrong place at the wrong time to be a sympathetic character.
    Right, because obviously no one took the story seriously (for 2,000 years). Care to try that one again?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    The vast majority of Jews did not, and still do not, recognize the Jesus as the Messiah.
    Except the ones that became christians.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    I submit that Jesus was the worse kind of martyr for the situation that 1st century Jews were in.
    I submit that 2,000 years of christianity proves you wrong. Your counter-argument please, sir?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    So a famine in Iberia is blamed on the Jews...? or the battle of the Teutoberg Forest is blamed on the Jews because obviously those superstitious and ignorant ancients clearly operated on a basis like this?
    Shall I go back and quote where you present this very same thinking in an attempt to defend your arguments? You don't get to have it both ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    I hope you dont take this the wrong way, but this is a very ignorant understanding of the relationship between the Roman state and the Jews during this time period and a rather insulting view of the human history.
    And what was it when you characterized the Roman/Jewish relationship the exact same way earlier?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    I have already explained the attitude Rome held to the Jews and their beliefs, I just wanted to bring this up.
    Yeah, and oddly enough it sounded an awful lot like what I said.

    "The jews are funny and weird and they don't worship like us". You think that's as far as it went? Tell me, why would "not worshiping like us" be cause for persecution? Because they were highly reasoned peopled who saw the obvious in-group vs out-group dichotomy as source for potential values conflict, or because they were superstitious wackos who saw omens and portents in everything? I've read Roman historians too. I already know it's the latter.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    I have been arguing this whole time that Jesus was the worst kind of messiah to introduce into 1st century Judaism, that the Jews were in a very unenviable position with their relationship towards Rome.
    First, I've already pointed out why this line of argument = epic fail.

    Second, nothing you've said here addresses the point you quoted.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Secondly, I dont quite understand your second paragraph.
    Bummer, because I summarized the entire point in the last sentence. Here it is again:

    "Or could it be that people are sometimes willing to die for things which they believe to be true, but aren't?"

    Dead christians are not evidence for jesus christ. They would very clearly seem to be evidence for people who held a conviction about jesus christ strong enought to die for, but that's not even close to being the same thing. Unless you want to argue that people only die for convictions which are based in truth. In which case I'll direct you back to the comet space ship death cult. Ball is in your court, sir.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    People were perfectly willing to die during the World Wars for the Father/Motherland, democracy, and for the Master Race. People were perfectly willing to fight and die to further the Revolution during the Russian and Chinese revolutionary wars. People were perfectly willing to die during the American and French revolutionary wars for some idea of freedom and the rights of all men. Buddhist monks were perfectly willing to set themselves aflame in utter serenity during Vietnam to show their opposition to the war. During the American civil rights movement people were perfectly willing, in full knowledge that they could face serious harm or death, nonviolently resist police brutality, Jim Crow laws, and KKK persecution in the belief that everyone is equal, no matter race, creed, or sex.
    Yes, very nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    I think if anything your examples and mine show that human beings are capable and willing to fight, or not fight, and die for what they believe to be true.
    Yep, "believe to be true". Which is not the same thing as dying for things that are actually true.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Ive already made my point about Paul and Joseph Smith, and I think Muhammed is something for an entirely different thread.
    I'll concede that you strung some words together, but since you didn't actually address my point, you didn't actually make a point yourself. So no, this is false.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    However, in Paul's case, it does not seem to me like he takes on the role of prophet.
    Except that's exactly what he did. Go back and read his letters.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Also, the account of Paul's ministry is that he travelled around the Levant, met Simon Peter and other followers of Jesus, and finally wandered his ass to Caesarae, in Anatolia. Now, dont you think someone would have called bullshit to Paul during his mission in Palestine considering he met Peter the apostle and proselytized around an area where there was still people alive and well who would have remembered the execution of Jesus?
    We need to work on adding the word "allegedly" into your vocabulary.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    As to your explanation that Paul created Jesus to gain power, then why the hell did he lead the life of an ascetic missionary around the Levant and Anatolia?
    Already addressed this. I doubt he paid for much travel with his own money. My incredulousness is hardly an argument, but neither can you rule it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Why didnt he drown himself in the sweet, nubile young women that the Christian message of chastity and celibacy always seemed to draw in that time like Joseph smith did?
    Did someone keep a record of Paul's sexual exploits?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Why did Paul, like our good smith, institute Polygamy as a key aspect of Christianity? If Paul did take advantage of his position as a person of great religious importance, then why don't we hear anything about it in the New Testament?
    Considering that he is alleged to have written half the books himself and the other half were written after he died, I have to concede that this is indeed a mystery.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Did Paul write the entirety of the New Testament,
    No only half (assuming that the suspect documents are actually his).

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    drug his followers so they would not remember any of his lewd and power mongering actions,
    Which ones? The ones that would have blogged about it and posted vids on YouTube? Or the other ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    and leave copies of the New Testament throughout the Eastern Mediterranean before dying?
    The NT didn't exist until long after he was dead, so I don't understand the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Did the later Church fathers and Christians rewrite history,
    Yep. I recommend "Misquoting Jesus" and "Jesus, Interrupted" by Bart Ehrman. Good reads. I think you'll enjoy them both.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    and if so, did they get every single version?
    I guess we won't know that one until we've unearthed every scrap of parchment that is unearthable.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    How come there is no Gnostic, Roman, or whatever accounts that this Paul guy may have been a lewd, power hungry prick?
    I addressed this a few lines up. I guess it helps when you're the one writing history.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    In the case of Jo "The Playa" Smith and L. Ron "Where are all the little boys at?" Hubbard, I say that they both lived in time periods and societies that were extremely different from that which the Jews lived in under Roman domination during the 1st century.
    So? What bearing does that have on anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    uh, no, I will not accept that Paul made it all up because A.) You dont have any evidence that Paul did, B.) Your theory, if you dont mind, sounds like something from a Dan Brown book (I was going to say horrible Dan Brown book, but then I remembered that all Dan Brown books are horirble) and C.) You seem to have a rather bizarre and uninformed view of the situation 1st century Jews were in in relation to the Romans.
    A) I don't need evidence. I'm asking you to consider a possibility based on the lack of evidence for your argument (which if you had, would immediately shut the door to such a possibility).

    B) You're entitled to your opinion regarding my arguments, however I can't help but ask, if they are so shoddy, why can't you/don't you present counter arguments which refute them? Whether you like them or me or whatever seems quite irrelevant to whether or not they are valid.

    C) Again, your opinion. Saying it doesn't make it so.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    I apologize Phoenix, but I am even more convinced now than before that your theory on Paul is simply a poor way of explaining how your idea of this Jesus-myth came about.
    That's fine. Then present your evidence for jesus and put me and this silly thread in our rightful place. This isn't complicated.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    While you have said several times the Burden of proof is on me as I am providing a claim (Christ existed) and that someone cannot prove a negative/nonexistence, I believe that when you forward the claim that Christ did not exist and that Paul created Jesus you must provide evidence yourself, which you have not dont.
    Here we go again...

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    YOu have merely questioned my evidence and left it at that.
    Mostly correct. I have questioned your evidence and provided my arguments for why I am doing so. Slightly more than you acknowledged here, but that's okay.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    However, all four agree that there was a Jesus of Nazareth who preached, was arrested, sentenced, and executed.
    "All four" what? Anonymous gospel authors? Are you arguing that they were historians?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    The Illiad describes a fantastic war between both gods and men for Helen, full of many discountable details, but archeological evidence has shown that there was a troy, many troys in fact, and one of them very possibly could have been attacked by a fleet of Mycenaean warships before it fell. The Crusaders of Antioch supposedly found the Holy Spear and charged out to route the infidel with a host of angels at their side, but fantastic elements aside, those crusaders, whatever drove them, charged out that gate and won the day. If you are looking for indisputable historical facts, you might as well bark at the moon.
    Right, and just as we shouldn't take our evidence for Troy and our translated copy of the Illiad and conclude that we now have irrefutable evidence for Zeus, we shouldn't take use of actual place-names as evidence for jesus.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Now, responses aside, I have my own questions. Aside from the supposed spuriousness of the evidence and claims that Jesus existed, where exactly did this argument for Christ's nonexistence come from?
    I suppose you could ask the guy that started the thread.
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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    [quote="KomradRed"]A storm passed through so I lost the first post I typed up...dammit.

    Anyhoo.

    1.) Burden of Proof.

    quote]

    You obviously do not have a grounding in science or even a grounding in logic as in Logical Positivism.

    You need to provide proof of the existence of Jesus Christ just as you would need to provide proof of Leprechauns

    Proof is not 'assuming' the Jesus dude existed because of inuendo, mythological writings, etc. One can read all about leprechauns, unicorns, Jesus rising from the dead, Noah'sArk, etc.....that is not proof of anything. One need not prove that Noah did not gather two of every species...it is up to the Bible thumpers to prove tht he did. Writings in a book are not proof...they are words.

    It is not up to me to disprove the existence of Jesus....it is up to you to prove his existence. 'Stories' are not proof of Jesus or Leprechauns.
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    Just a quick comment why this particular topic holds no interest for me. I do find the idea that Jesus never existed to be a bit ludicrous, but unlike most Christians I would consider this to be a red herring in any case. I have always felt that the past is as unknowable as the future. It is easy for me to imagine that the world began this morning created precisely as it is with all our memories as they are. I think such a supposition, which is impossible to disprove, makes arguments about what "really" happened somewhat irrelevant.

    So the fact of the matter is, that the invention of a machine to see the past discovering that events were not quite what Christians have believed they were would have very little impact on my faith and I believe that much of Christianity would survive as well. I realize that the majority of Christians do not see things this way at all, but I think it would do wonders for Christianity frankly and I would relish it. A lot of the moderately dumb Christianity would probably fall away and we would be left with only the extremely dumb (there are Flat earth people out there after all) and the rest would have to have a much more realistic understanding of Christianity.

    But nevertheless, it is my opinion that this attempt to argue that Jesus never existed is pretty ludicrous, and that arguments about the matter, as if you could prove it one way or the other, are quite pointless. I think Ocaam's razor, if you can apply it outside of science as atheists typically do, is on the side of Jesus' historical existence. That there really was such a person (for in fact there were numerous others like him both around that time and latter in the history of Hassidic Judaism) is a lot easier to believe than some massive conspiracy whereby all these different eyewitnesses testify to a complete fiction. So the fact is that scholars to do not argue about whether He existed but about how much does the historical person differ from the "legend". But, if atheists feel more comfortable in their faith with this dogma that Christ never existed, well then they are welcome to it. LOL
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Just a quick comment why this particular topic holds no interest for me.
    Do you frequently post in threads to let everyone know that you aren't interested in them?

    Where I come from, that's called "spam".

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I do find the idea that Jesus never existed to be a bit ludicrous
    Why? Because the idea has no merit or because you just don't like it?

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I have always felt that the past is as unknowable as the future.
    Bull crap. Pull out a copy of your birth certificate. Is your time and location of birth "as unknowable as" what it will read on your death certificate?

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    It is easy for me to imagine that the world began this morning created precisely as it is with all our memories as they are.
    Of course it is, but how reasonable it is to do so?

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I think such a supposition, which is impossible to disprove, makes arguments about what "really" happened somewhat irrelevant.
    Right because most christians' faith isn't firmly based on christian theology.

    Wait for it...

    "LOL"

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    So the fact of the matter is, that the invention of a machine to see the past discovering that events were not quite what Christians have believed they were would have very little impact on my faith and I believe that much of Christianity would survive as well.
    I agree, but that's because I think that most christians are generally unconcerned with reality.

    And to be perfectly honest I don't have that much of a problem with the above. The problem I have is when you try to insist that you have good reasons for what you believe or try to pass yourself off as objective and/or open-minded, or when you pretend that you're actually a man of science, etc. I don't have much respect for people that lie to themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I realize that the majority of Christians do not see things this way at all, but I think it would do wonders for Christianity frankly and I would relish it. A lot of the moderately dumb Christianity would probably fall away and we would be left with only the extremely dumb (there are Flat earth people out there after all) and the rest would have to have a much more realistic understanding of Christianity.
    It must be so comforting to know that you're so special. I bet thinking about how special and smart you are keeps you up at night (giggling to yourself under the covers is optional).

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But nevertheless, it is my opinion that this attempt to argue that Jesus never existed is pretty ludicrous, and that arguments about the matter, as if you could prove it one way or the other, are quite pointless.
    That's cool. Well, thanks for stopping by MM. It's been real.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    If atheists feel more comfortable in their faith with this dogma that Christ never existed, well then they are welcome to it.
    I was deconverted back to atheism long before it occurred to me that there was no evidence for a historical jesus. Even if there was evidence for a historical jesus, all that means is that we could then move on to establishing the veracity of the messiah claims. In other words "comfort" doesn't even enter the equation.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    LOL
    You should really consider getting this tattooed on your body somewhere. Show what a cool guy you are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Do you frequently post in threads to let everyone know that you aren't interested in them?
    Not interested in you? You are right about that. But that is not true of other people in the thread, which is why I said nothing of the kind. The way you completely ignore what I actually said to indulge in such fabrications is a good example of why I have no interest in you and your so called debates.

    You may find these put downs fasinating and satisfying in some way but I think the majority of people who read the posts in this forum find this kind of thing just empty and boring.
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    Phoenix, why exactly did you see fit to attack MM in such a shitty way? He wasnt talking to you, merely voicing his opinion over the topic we are discussing (incidently, you seem fond of crying "fallacy" without actually explaining step by step why it is a fallacy, but I shoved a high pressure water hose into a furnace today so I'll get back to the argument tomorrow).
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Phoenix, why exactly did you see fit to attack MM in such a shitty way?
    Because that's the quality of dialog he's decided that he wants to have with me.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    He wasnt talking to you, merely voicing his opinion over the topic we are discussing
    That's great. He exercised his right to free speech and then I exercised mine. Is there a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    (incidently, you seem fond of crying "fallacy" without actually explaining step by step why it is a fallacy, but I shoved a high pressure water hose into a furnace today so I'll get back to the argument tomorrow).
    My apologies. I assumed that the people I engage with here are quite capable of using Google all on their own when they encounter a term they are not familiar with. I also tend to assume that if they cannot use Google on their own, or that if they are still unclear as to what I am saying, then would ask for clarification or otherwise show some outward sign that they aren't getting me.

    With that said, allow me to help you:

    Burden of Proof

    When you accuse me of not providing "proof" for my arguments when the burden of proof is yours, you are committing burden of proof fallacy. It is not on me to prove that jesus did not exist, it is on the person making the claim that he does exist. I am calling into question your claim, not making one of my own.

    I hope that helps.

    P.S. Here's a short video on burden of proof.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Phoenix, why exactly did you see fit to attack MM in such a shitty way? He wasnt talking to you, merely voicing his opinion over the topic we are discussing (incidently, you seem fond of crying "fallacy" without actually explaining step by step why it is a fallacy, but I shoved a high pressure water hose into a furnace today so I'll get back to the argument tomorrow).
    Some people seem to have the approach that anything which disagrees with their point of view is automatically offensive, hostile and a personal attack on their person and thus they "reason" that they are justified in retaliating in any way they can find.


    This is unavoidable to some degree, after all I am probably going to find opinions which disagree with my point of view, in regards to things like my right not to be murdered by them, as quite hostile and as a personal attack on my person. I find those who think that they have the right impose their religious opinions on others to be hostile, but I think this is justified because it is an unavoidable principle of a free and tolerant society that intolerant attitudes and behaviors should not be tolerated - subject to the limits of appropriate response (e.g violence only to oppose violence and words to oppose words) of course.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Thanks to both raptordigits and (Q) for the feedback. I'm glad to hear that my arguments make sense to persons other than myself
    I've not had the inclination nor a response to disagree with you thus far.

    What I find very disappointing is Mitch's decision to act the way he does. On one hand he claims to be a physicist, so I would expect his arguments to follow, but they don't when it comes to his cult. His brain seems to turn into a jellowy-mush.

    Too bad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Just a quick comment why this particular topic holds no interest for me.
    Yet, you felt compelled to respond. That makes a lot of sense, Mitch. I hope we didn't wake you or anything like that.

    I do find the idea that Jesus never existed to be a bit ludicrous, but unlike most Christians I would consider this to be a red herring in any case. I have always felt that the past is as unknowable as the future.
    Yet, you're perfectly willing to accept a past written in one book with magic, myths and superstitions, as fact, despite the fact that the book in question is riddled with contradictions.

    So the fact of the matter is, that the invention of a machine to see the past discovering that events were not quite what Christians have believed they were would have very little impact on my faith and I believe that much of Christianity would survive as well.
    In other words, and despite the fact you claim to be a physicist, the observation resulting in your cult being nothing but a scam wouldn't hinder your belief at all? That's like stating you'll always believe the speed of light is variant.

    I realize that the majority of Christians do not see things this way at all


    the rest would have to have a much more realistic understanding of Christianity.
    So, what understanding do you have now that would change? You just stated that using a way-back machine wouldn't hinder your beliefs.

    But nevertheless, it is my opinion that this attempt to argue that Jesus never existed is pretty ludicrous, and that arguments about the matter, as if you could prove it one way or the other, are quite pointless.
    Pointless? Are you serious? I suspect that you know damn well that no evidence will ever surface and that you're afraid such evidence would bring down your house of cards.

    I think Ocaam's razor, if you can apply it outside of science as atheists typically do, is on the side of Jesus' historical existence.
    Ok, a physicist you aren't. It would be the other way round, Mitch. Ocaam's razor would result in the Christ being a complete fabrication.

    But, if atheists feel more comfortable in their faith with this dogma that Christ never existed, well then they are welcome to it. LOL
    And there you have it, the brain is a jellowy-mush. Sad indeed to see such a potential mind go to waste.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    What I find very disappointing is Mitch's decision to act the way he does. On one hand he claims to be a physicist, so I would expect his arguments to follow, but they don't when it comes to his cult. His brain seems to turn into a jellowy-mush.

    Too bad.
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    i just graduated in ny with a B.S. in History and i can say that the vast majority of phd Historians know that a historical Jesus existed, whether or not he was the "Son of Man" is a seperate issue. Anyone believing that Jesus is a complete myth is well on the fringe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    i just graduated in ny with a B.S. in History and i can say that the vast majority of phd Historians know that a historical Jesus existed, whether or not he was the "Son of Man" is a seperate issue. Anyone believing that Jesus is a complete myth is well on the fringe.
    Some people are only interested in the academic consensus when it agrees with their prejudices and wishful thinking. The creationists are by far the worst of these, but it is one of the most tragic habits of human beings that when they don't like certain people, they quite often adopt exactly the same kind of irrational thinking and despicable behavior in order to "fight" them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    i just graduated in ny with a B.S. in History and i can say that the vast majority of phd Historians know that a historical Jesus existed, whether or not he was the "Son of Man" is a seperate issue. Anyone believing that Jesus is a complete myth is well on the fringe.
    I've seen that argument posted here as well.
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    if your wikipedia link in any way diminishes my earlier statement then you must admit the validity of people who deny the holocaust. I mentioned the scholarly consensus, i did not use it to argue a point, in fact looking at my statement there is no arguement! so your use of a wikipedia to refute my arguement is a fallacy because i am not arguing anything.
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    We have evidence for the holocaust, therefore the follow up to your appeal to authority is a strawman. What other logical fallacies did you care to showcase for us today?

    I am happy to repeat this until the cows come home:

    We either have evidence for a historical jesus or we do not. If you have some, please provide it.
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    once again i am not arguing, i was merely stating the scholarly consensus. i actually did not even mention my own feelings on the subject.
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    Why else would you put forth the "scholarly consensus" (let's have fun operationally defining "christian scholar" while we're here) unless you thought it meant something?

    Please take your dog and pony show elsewhere.
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    because i thought people would like to know the consensus, rather than listen to the arguement of just a few, why are you pressing this issue so much? i stated a fact it is not up for debate
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    Okay, mission accomplished.

    Now that you've done what you've set out to do, did you plan on contributing to the discussion in a meaningful way?
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    I do not believe in God and I feel the Universe, as revealed by science, is much more wonderful than any Universe created solely by religion.
    However I cannot remember having read anything, by historians on this topic, which put forward the idea that Jesus of Nazareth was not a real historical figure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday
    However I cannot remember having read anything, by historians on this topic, which put forward the idea that Jesus of Nazareth was not a real historical figure.
    That almost seems beside the point.

    The question is what evidence do we have for the claim that jesus was a historical figure? Should we except any claim for any figure until it can be disproved? Or should we only accept claims to the degree which the evidence allows us to reasonably do so? If we have no evidence for jesus, then why should we accept the claim that he does?

    If you want to take a look at what historians have written about it, there are some references here, however you don't have to be a historian to find merit in the questions above.

    Also, keep in mind that if the True Believers had any evidence, they would have posted it by now. The fact that they have not should tell you something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    If you want to take a look at what historians have written about it, there are some references here, however you don't have to be a historian to find merit in the questions above.

    Also, keep in mind that if the True Believers had any evidence, they would have posted it by now. The fact that they have not should tell you something.
    The Wikipedia article is a good read. I think that I have read it before, but I enjoyed reading it again.

    I think we have to look at what evidence should be expected. In the case that things happened as the synoptic gospels describe, what evidence would there be except the reports of believers who think that this one man executed as a criminal among many, had some significance. If however this is all a fabrication would we not expect there to be people who were there at the time to voice objections that there was no historical truth to these accounts? Would not the people alive at the time be motivated to write something about how this cult was putting out these complete fabrications? Were there not in fact both Romans and Jews who were in fact strongly motivated to discredit the claims of this "cult of the Nazarene"? We do in fact find disparaging accounts of these Christian but no suggestion that the person of Jesus never existed.

    This look at the expected motivations of people is pretty standard for the techniques of historical literary criticsm. It makes it quite clear that there is very little difference between these demands for evidence of an historical Jesus and similar demands for evidence by the anti-evolutionists -- i.e. no objectivity whatsoever.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I think we have to look at what evidence should be expected.
    Is that the same standard that we maintain for other historical claims? If not, then why should we have a special standard for this claim?

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    In the case that things happened as the synoptic gospels describe,
    Why not the canonical gospels? Or better yet, all of the gospels?

    What do we do in cases where the synoptic gospels don't agree?

    And why should we accept the synoptic gospels as authoritative? Because they say that we should? That's reasoning is circular.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    what evidence would there be except the reports of believers who think that this one man executed as a criminal among many, had some significance.
    By that reasoning, why should jesus have had any followers at all? The same reasons that would have led him to have followers are the same reasons that contemporary historians would have taken note.

    And by this very train of argument, all you have done is to show why we shouldn't trust the gospels at all (i.e. no one writing about jesus while he was alleged to have lived).

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    If however this is all a fabrication would we not expect there to be people who were there at the time to voice objections that there was no historical truth to these accounts?
    I don't understand the question. Why don't we have people who weren't at events coming forward to say that they didn't happen? Was that a rhetorical question?

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Would not the people alive at the time be motivated to write something about how this cult was putting out these complete fabrications?
    The advantage of setting events in the past in a far away place. It seems that you may be a bit confused on the time line of events. Paul mentions jesus' alleged crucifixion and resurrection, but no one writes any of the details of "his life" until "Mark" (a document written in Rome at least 40 years after jesus was alleged to have died).

    I'm not seeing where this huge outpouring of correction was supposed to come from.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Were there not in fact both Romans and Jews who were in fact strongly motivated to discredit the claims of this "cult of the Nazarene"?
    Indeed. Perhaps you were aware of the Roman persecution of early christians (after christianity was established of course). We're discussing what happened before then.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    We do in fact find disparaging accounts of these Christian but no suggestion that the person of Jesus never existed.
    Why would people who didn't accept a claim issue denials? We don't find accounts of people suggesting that Nancy the Naked Muffin Maker never existed either, but should we take that as evidence that she did?

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    This look at the expected motivations of people is pretty standard for the techniques of historical literary criticsm.
    Indeed and I am perfectly willing to concede that there lots and lots of reasons why we might not see any evidence.

    But that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we don't have any nonetheless. This leaves you in the uncomfortable position of having to admit (at least to yourself) that you've accepted a claim with no supporting evidence to show that it's true. You've blindly gobbled up a story that you've been hearing since childhood.

    The fact that you're not the only one should offer some comfort and will hopefully help to negate the sting, but there is the big fat ugly truth, sir. Do whatever you want with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    It makes it quite clear that there is very little difference between these demands for evidence of an historical Jesus and similar demands for evidence by the anti-evolutionists -- i.e. no objectivity whatsoever.
    Well except for the one small part where there actually is evidence for evolution. *shrugs*

    Thanks for your post.
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    PhoenixG you do not have a firm enough grasp on history to refute mitchellmckain, part of what he is talking about is the shear numbers of people involved, christians, jews and others, you can fabricate one disconnected person but not one connected to 12 and 70 and many others, without fabricating them too, which as we know in the case of Jesus, is an impossible arguement to pursue, in fact you could argue, more succsesfully, that Socrates was a myth, but most historian of course know both are real historical people.

    if you deny the existence of a historical jesus you also have to deny the existnce of a significant portion of the human race based on the same reasoning
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    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    PhoenixG you do not have a firm enough grasp on history to refute mitchellmckain, part of what he is talking about is the shear numbers of people involved, christians, jews and others, you can fabricate one disconnected person but not one connected to 12 and 70 and many others, without fabricating them too, which as we know in the case of Jesus, is an impossible arguement to pursue, in fact you could argue, more succsesfully, that Socrates was a myth, but most historian of course know both are real historical people.
    The mistake that both you and MM are making is that you are

    1) assuming that the stories surrounding jesus are actual historical event (i.e. circular reasoning) and

    2) only looking at this after christianity was established.

    You don't need 12, or 70, or "many others" to fabricate a religion. Yes, you need many believers for it to take route and flourish, but first you have to have the story and for that you only need one guy.

    And unfortunately for you, historical record appears to be on my side for this one.

    How about this. How about instead of coming up with new and interesting reason for why you think I can't be right, just prove me wrong.

    Show me historical evidence for jesus. Show me writings from one contemporary historian. Show me any reference to jesus prior to Paul. Show me a personal writing from any one of "the multitudes" that encountered jesus during his alleged lifetime. Show me something. And if you can't, you may want to stop and ask yourself why.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    if you deny the existence of a historical jesus you also have to deny the existnce of a significant portion of the human race based on the same reasoning
    I don't "deny" the existence of anything. I merely point out that there is no good reason to accept specific claims without specific evidence. The second you show me some evidence for jesus (instead of wasting my time and yours with strawman arguments such as this one), is the second I'll start believing that he might have existed (in relation to the strength of the evidence, of course).

    TTFN
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    "And unfortunately for you, historical record appears to be on my side for this one."

    Where, who?
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    The lack of evidence.

    The dog that didn't bark.

    or "the silence is deafening" as some might say.

    If the historical record were against me, then this thread would have been over after about 3 posts (during which time, lengthy posts citing historical references by the dozen would have come flowing in to cast aside my silly arguments). But that isn't what happened. And no one appears to be making any effort to play catch-up.
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    Phoenix, there are forums where you can argue that the Earth is flat or that the Jews started WW2. People will argue about the most inane things even when faced with the truth.

    Again, where, who?
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    i just did, there were many whom have been acconted as encountering christ in his lifetime, they did not write volumes on their expirence but their existence and behavior as early bishops, and such, of the church is evidence and so we arent talking about one guy and a few witnesses, but many who helped form the early church and attest to seeing Jesus, no for your sake they did not all stop, learn how to write and write you a personal message, they did as was custom and went out and converted.

    what your looking for is an anachronism, your supposing a 1st century CNN was on hand. There is however far too many witnesses, to deny a historical jesus, this is not even my arguement, this IS the concensus.

    Also the Jewish people have always confirmed the existance of Jesus, saying otherwise would have ben their very best arguement, the jews have always maintianed he was a heretic.

    what older traditions may have been incorporated into the historical figure is a more feasable line of questioning and if you really want to get into the history look at comparitive studies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Phoenix, there are forums where you can argue that the Earth is flat or that the Jews started WW2.
    Indeed there are, but we can prove that the world is round and that WWII actually happened.

    KomradRed, I've been more than generous with my good will toward you. Rather than provide any sort of historical evidence whatsoever, you've opted to rely on burden of proof fallacies and strawman arguments. I no longer accept that you are here to debate in good faith.

    My arguements have been presented, in-full. I would very much appreciate it if your next post could contain something new.

    Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    i just did, there were many whom have been acconted as encountering christ in his lifetime, they did not write volumes on their expirence but their existence and behavior as early bishops, and such, of the church is evidence and so we arent talking about one guy and a few witnesses, but many who helped form the early church and attest to seeing Jesus, no for your sake they did not all stop, learn how to write and write you a personal message, they did as was custom and went out and converted.
    Okay. Great. What were their names? When did they live? Where did they preach?

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    what your looking for is an anachronism, your supposing a 1st century CNN was on hand.
    Not at all. There are many historical figures contemporary to jesus and prior for which we have overwhelming evidence. I'm not asking for anything here which we don't have elsewhere for other people.

    To claim that I am doing so is to miss the point at best and dishonest at worst.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    There is however far too many witnesses, to deny a historical jesus, this is not even my arguement, this IS the concensus.
    What are some of their names? You've made a claim, now support it with evidence.

    P.S. considering that the consensus was once that the earth was flat, I don't give it much credence. If this concensus is so well founded, then it is supported by an overwhelming amount of evidence, which makes the argument from authority unnecessary.

    So put up or shut up.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    Also the Jewish people have always confirmed the existance of Jesus, saying otherwise would have ben their very best arguement, the jews have always maintianed he was a heretic.
    Really? Source please?

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    what older traditions may have been incorporated into the historical figure is a more feasable line of questioning and if you really want to get into the history look at comparitive studies.
    Yeah, that sounds great too. Take care.
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    ok so you want to look up all twelve apostles and then the 70

    here is an introduction to them http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventy_Disciples

    now if there were no historical christ, these 82 people spread all around the mediterrian and the beyond, pillars of the church, were either all part of a conspiracy to create Jesus (for whatever purpose would not be known seeing as how most after conversion became an outsider in their communities and many were martyred)

    or they themselves were also created, which in order to happen would have been a conspiracy of millions.

    As for the Jews, the existiance of Jesus has always been a fact, the earliest Jewish account of Jesus makes him out to be a heretic

    you can find this in a number of places, try Celsus' work against Christianity, where he documents this story, and in his own arguement confirms a historical jesus

    so i have given you the names of 82 christian eye witnesses, the greek consensus of Celsus, and the account of the Jews.

    this is a very good body of evidance for the existence of a man in the 1st century who only preached for a very short time and purposely had little dealing with politics of state (which was the topic of the majority of histories for most of history)
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    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    ok so you want to look up all twelve apostles and then the 70

    here is an introduction to them http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventy_Disciples

    now if there were no historical christ, these 82 people spread all around the mediterrian and the beyond, pillars of the church, were either all part of a conspiracy to create Jesus (for whatever purpose would not be known seeing as how most after conversion became an outsider in their communities and many were martyred)

    or they themselves were also created, which in order to happen would have been a conspiracy of millions.
    I'm inclined to agree with the last part, however I'm not sure how you come to the conclusion that there must be some conspiracy of millions. It's entirely possible that they are fabricated (the 70 are only mentioned in Luke, per your own source after all) without some wide-spread conspiracy.

    All one needs to be guilty of is accepting fable as truth. If you're a christian, you probably already accept this about mormons and muslims, so I don't see why your story gets special circumstance.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    As for the Jews, the existiance of Jesus has always been a fact, the earliest Jewish account of Jesus makes him out to be a heretic

    you can find this in a number of places, try Celsus' work against Christianity, where he documents this story, and in his own arguement confirms a historical jesus
    Celsus was not a contemporary. He wrote his polemic nearly 150 years after jesus is alleged to have died. Try again.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    so i have given you the names of 82 christian eye witnesses, the greek consensus of Celsus, and the account of the Jews.
    Your 82 christians aren't eye witnesses because "luke" says so. The writings of a single greek philosopher put to paper more than 150 years after the event don't constitute the opinions of all jews (was Celsus a jew?). And you've provided nothing re: "the account of jews".

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    this is a very good body of evidance for the existence of a man in the 1st century who only preached for a very short time and purposely had little dealing with politics of state (which was the topic of the majority of histories for most of history)
    Saying it doesn't make it true.

    You're more than welcome to try again, however if this is your opening salvo, I can only expect that it will get worse from here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    KomradRed, I've been more than generous with my good will toward you.
    Well my lord, I guess nothing was wasted then.

    Im really starting to see the wisdom behind MM not wanting to fall into your kind of debate.
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    where it becomes a conspiracy of millions is that no denies the existance of these 70 people, furthermore no denies them seeing christ, they themselves and their followers. the same with the jews, mind you the account recorded by celsus is preceded by the story, much like how the story of alaxander the great existed hundreds of years before being out down in lengthy histories.

    so if there was no historical jesus, the jews were lying about his extistance (for what reason you have not supplied) and so were the millions of people in every town inhabited by one of the 12 or 70 who could have easily, made the best arguement in saying they did not exist.

    so accordingly millions of 1st century christians, jews, greeks, ect are lying about the existence of a person whom it would be in the best intrest to simply say did not exist. Also, apparently you are also disregarding the scholarly census today.

    so thats 2000 years of liars and well educated idiots, agian a conspiracy of million most of which would have not stake in making up a man.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Im really starting to see the wisdom behind MM not wanting to fall into your kind of debate.
    You're welcome to see whatever you'd like. All I've seen from you is fallacy, so surely you won't be too shocked when I tell you that I'm not the least bit concerned of your opinion for me.

    If providing evidence for the claims you seek to support is too strenuous for you, I'm sure you'll be able to find easier threads, but that won't make you right.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    where it becomes a conspiracy of millions is that no denies the existance of these 70 people, furthermore no denies them seeing christ, they themselves and their followers.
    If there's no evidence in the first place, then it isn't "denial". Therefore no conspiracy.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    the same with the jews, mind you the account recorded by celsus is preceded by the story,
    Yeah, imagine that. Someone alive 150 years after the story was created heard it. Amazing.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    so if there was no historical jesus, the jews were lying about his extistance (for what reason you have not supplied) and so were the millions of people in every town inhabited by one of the 12 or 70 who could have easily, made the best arguement in saying they did not exist.
    You're welcome to assign dishonesty to their motives if you'd like. I find it kinder (and more likely) to assume that they were simply mistaken.

    And if there were no "12+70", then they couldn't have traveled to those towns and met those people. So little chance for conspiracy there.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    so accordingly millions of 1st century christians, jews, greeks, ect are lying about the existence of a person whom it would be in the best intrest to simply say did not exist. Also, apparently you are also disregarding the scholarly census today.
    Right, because 10 million David Hasslehoff fans can't be wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    so thats 2000 years of liars and well educated idiots, agian a conspiracy of million most of which would have not stake in making up a man.
    Or 2,000 years of people believing things for bad reasons.

    Not to let the people are liars and idiots with college degrees off the hook...
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    Phoenix, you still havent answered where, who?
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    likewise for me phoenix your arguement has fallen flat, your response contain no constructive criticism, counter facts, or scholarship of any kind.
    again we're not even claiming that jesus was the song of god merely that he existed. You have not and will not convert anyone here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Phoenix, you still havent answered where, who?
    Actually I did address your post. Until you address any of mine I don't see what more you and I have to discuss.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    likewise for me phoenix your arguement has fallen flat, your response contain no constructive criticism, counter facts, or scholarship of any kind.
    Thanks for your opinion. See ya around.

    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    again we're not even claiming that jesus was the song of god merely that he existed.
    Great. Why haven't you supported it with evidence?

    Just because you choose to ignore the fact that I have refuted every point you've raised doesn't mean it hasn't happened. Your decision to repeat yourself rather than engage the issue demonstrates your intellectual dishonesty to any who care to see it.

    And that, sir, is your bag. Not mine.
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    your little remarks do not refute evidence, you have not convinced anyone, just stop your trainwreck here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    your little remarks do not refute evidence, you have not convinced anyone, just stop your trainwreck here.
    Where did you provide any?
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    i have provided evidence meanwhile you have provided no evidence and instead remarks like
    "Right, because 10 million David Hasslehoff fans can't be wrong."

    believe it or not your not actually arguing with anyone, because you have no arguement and i myself do not need to argue common sense

    now you could provide facts, but you never do...
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    Oh for the love of God!

    Actually, skeptically speaking ishmael, you have provided no credible evidence for the existence of a specific person. Evidence would include and eyewitness account of metting the figure, the figure's birth or death on record, or any kind of official document that mentions him. Do any of these exist? Not that we are aware of. Because of that fact, the accounts of people (all of whom write atleast one hundred years after his death, mind you) who never met him, weren't even alive at the same time as him, and have no method of providing similar evidence for his existence, only the bits of prose that they wrote. And just like phoenix pointed out, all of your arguments fall under appeal to authority or strawman. You are either arguing with the consensus, whitch you then mock him (us, since I disagree with it also) for not accepting it, or the accounts of people who never knew Jesus of Nazereth. There is no evidence, of the form that I mentioned, currently known about that attributes the identity "Jesus of Nazereth" to any human being of the first century AD.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    There is zero evidence for a historical Jesus other than after the fact stories that are so embellished in mythology that at their 'core' is not a person but rather an 'idea'...the Messiah.

    The 'facts'about the Messiah:
    among which are:

    A virgin birth
    Visits from 3 kings
    Raising Lazarus from the dead
    Raisiing of Jairus's daughter from the dead
    Walking on water
    Feeding thousands with a fish and loaf of bread
    Turning water into wine
    Curing leprosy and other afflictions
    Restoring visio to various blind people
    Rising from the dead
    Ascending into heaven

    Verbal accounts of Jesus later written down are accompanied by events that the ignorant might chose to believe but I don't. He rose from the dead? Restored vision to various blind people? If someone believes such nonsense then it is understandable they would 'believe' that there was a Jesus. They chose to believe 'on faith' or 'just because' and not because of any evidence.

    "Gee whiz...all those accounts can't be made up even if they do contain all types of blatant nonsense and lies."

    When I was 7 or 8 I started to wonder if there was a real Mickey Mouse. Mickey talked, drove a car, wore clothes, acted in a few movies and lots of cartoons...there were lots of accounts about Mickey... but once I stripped away the inconsistancies I was left with the conclusion that there had never been such a mouse.
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    Quote Originally Posted by raptordigits

    Verbal accounts of Jesus later written down are accompanied by events that the ignorant might chose to believe but I don't. He rose from the dead? Restored vision to various blind people? If someone believes such nonsense then it is understandable they would 'believe' that there was a Jesus. They chose to believe 'on faith' or 'just because' and not because of any evidence.
    Oh finally glances of hope! finally found someone understand what`s going on here instead of hitting his head to a solid wall constantly.. congrates raptor, sincerely! :-D


    I just think at this point of man`s life time as growen adults with independent reviews built through years and years of personal experiance.. at this point even if they discovered an enivedable evidence of the non-existence of a god, the believers even the most intellegent ones will not change thier minds , not that easy by a chance!.. unfotunatly, it`s typically the same the other way around..
    That If there was an undeniable evidence to be recovered with scientific methods that shows that a god do exist without a doubt.. the unbelievers would find ways to skip and keep denying.. just for the reason it`s unacceptable for them to just throw in the sea the many years of insistence and stubborness relying on "good looking theories" that could prove that god does not exist..
    I can imagine thier first pop-up question to defend would be"if god exist, then why he didnt show this evidence before?.. that`s god`s fault, therfor I`ll still not to believe in him.. I didnt waste all my life time claiming and defending the otherwise and now you ask me to believe for this undeniable scientific evidence! I hate science! I`ll turn into something else! "
    It`s a matter of choosing what to believe and what method you should take, all relying on your own personal experiance (as I explained on another thread)... for god sake stop using this "prove your beliefs" card, it`s totally irrelevant with the essence of this specific issue!

    How many of you even considered the chance of this "evidence revealing" happenning (I mean both of athiests or believers) ? I think no one had to go to this area only because they like the current state, that there is no enivedable evidence to prove anything regarding the issue.. I can also assume that they wish it wont go further to that.. it`s better to be open chances.

    Let`s just say that you barely grow up literly, and you hardly open your mind by the meaning of the word.. it has nothing to do with evidences, it`s just faith god damn it!.. it`s more powerful than an atomic bomb! and it has no boundries unlike science.

    The problem is the scientific community seems to be falling into this same trap, lack of objectivity, subject randomness, and personal preferences based on peronal experiance could turn science itself into another limited thinking stubborn, religion likewise.. I cant help it but to reject putting acts of belief and faith under the microscope of science.. Im feeling like the virus under the microscope is speading in the lab and many scientists are converting into a new somekind of religion.. which is:"use science to prove religion wrong in any means necessary" !!! and not "use science to get to the bottom of things".
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    Moody your logic is flawed.

    Science does not 'prove' the non-existence of Leprechauns or gods. Science does not set out to disprove that which has not been showed to be factual. Science dismisses the 'evidence' as supporting anything.

    Produce evidence of the god, leprechaun, UFO or sponge bob. No research is required to dismiss that which has no evidence. Evidence is not Joseph Smith 'claiming' he found golden tablets, or an account of an early
    christian 'claiming' Jesus rose from the dead or someone 'claiming' they received an anal probe after being scooped up on an alien spacecraft.

    The reason those like you do not accept scientific methodology when it comes to evidence of 'a god' is that gods, leprechauns and other assorted fantasies can not withstand actual rational scrutiny. It is easier for you to stay sheltered in your world in which the supernatural can be accepted 'on faith'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by raptordigits
    Science does not 'prove' the non-existence of Leprechauns or gods. Science does not set out to disprove that which has not been showed to be factual. Science dismisses the 'evidence' as supporting anything.

    Produce evidence of the god, leprechaun, UFO or sponge bob. No research is required to dismiss that which has no evidence. Evidence is not Joseph Smith 'claiming' he found golden tablets, or an account of an early
    christian 'claiming' Jesus rose from the dead or someone 'claiming' they received an anal probe after being scooped up on an alien spacecraft.

    The reason those like you do not accept scientific methodology when it comes to evidence of 'a god' is that gods, leprechauns and other assorted fantasies can not withstand actual rational scrutiny. It is easier for you to stay sheltered in your world in which the supernatural can be accepted 'on faith'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by raptordigits
    The reason those like you do not accept scientific methodology when it comes to evidence of 'a god' is that gods, leprechauns and other assorted fantasies can not withstand actual rational scrutiny. It is easier for you to stay sheltered in your world in which the supernatural can be accepted 'on faith'.
    I have no idea where did you get the conclusion that Im a believer ?? therefor there is no need to reply to your kindly post (the earlier 2 claims).. it seems like you dont have the slightest idea of what Im trying to say...

    edit: or maybe.. I didnt explain myself alittle easier, maybe there is a mis-understanding, which made you believe that Im defending religion against science hence my thunder attack on science specially in the last words of my post, so you prepared your reply relying on just one lined idea Ive highleghted which is the (finding evidence on the existence or non-existence) which by the way is a simple "giving example" treate and not something that I believe will happen as a fact in real life.. my idea was way beyond this "giving example".

    See? the flawed logic could be on any of the both sides (whatever those sides are), but does it take more than courage to admit the small chances of you "me" being right or wrong even for one small point, or just being mis-undertaning eachother ?

    It`s just all about asking the right questions.. and not putting the most suitable assumptions to reinforce your worshiped thougths. "when I say you, it doesnt necessarly means yourself, just giving examples ""again"" for any individuals) .
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    QFE/T
    What does this mean?
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    It`s something like :'Quite fvcking everthing/ thank you.'
    Ignorance is a bless...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    QFE/T
    What does this mean?
    Quoted For Emphasis/Truth.

    Google is your friend. Really.
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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    The first site Google gave me was for a planer semi-cundocter, and the first definition was quasi-free electron theory :? among many other definitions that weren't the one you intended. Google can be misleading.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    Fair enough.

    FWIW, "QFET" is missing the slash
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    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    i just graduated in ny with a B.S. in History and i can say that the vast majority of phd Historians know that a historical Jesus existed, whether or not he was the "Son of Man" is a seperate issue. Anyone believing that Jesus is a complete myth is well on the fringe.
    That would have had to have been a Christian institution or you are lying.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Quote Originally Posted by ishmaelblues
    i just graduated in ny with a B.S. in History and i can say that the vast majority of phd Historians know that a historical Jesus existed, whether or not he was the "Son of Man" is a seperate issue. Anyone believing that Jesus is a complete myth is well on the fringe.
    That would have had to have been a Christian institution or you are lying.
    I just LOVE it when Q reveals the extent of his delusions like this.

    It is so kind of him to provide proof for certain arguments with a living example.

    I mean sure, one atheist like this hardly measures up to the droves of fundamentalists with delusions like this, but it still demonstrates that this is a human condition and not an effect of religion.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    I just LOVE it when Q reveals the extent of his delusions like this.

    It is so kind of him to provide proof for certain arguments with a living example.

    I mean sure, one atheist like this hardly measures up to the droves of fundamentalists with delusions like this, but it still demonstrates that this is a human condition and not an effect of religion.
    Mitch is quick to attack ones argument, when words fail him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Mitch is quick to attack ones argument, when words fail him.
    LOL

    Only Q would call this an argument, "That would have had to have been a Christian institution or you are lying."

    LOL


    Given the greatest benefit of the doubt, we might call it a guess, but that is all. If the guess is correct, it would indeed make ishmaelblues observation somewhat questionable. But what is just hilarious in the extreme is that an atheist would assert such a thing as fact just because of the affirmation of his own beliefs and prejudices, when it is impossible that he could have any evidence to back it up.

    LOL
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    when it is impossible that he could have any evidence to back it up.

    LOL
    A whole lot of LOL from someone who can't back up their own claims. Nice work, Mitch. You da man.
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    "I can pull my head out of my ass at any time"-Q

    Feel free to do so Q, unless, you know, you cant...
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    Well done Phoenix.

    But I must say that some people's ability to compartmentalization of subjects of faith from other issues for which they'll understand and apply completely different standards of burden of proof and evidence never fails to astound me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    when it is impossible that he could have any evidence to back it up.

    LOL
    A whole lot of LOL from someone who can't back up their own claims. Nice work, Mitch. You da man.
    That's where the irony lies. I don't claim that I only believe what is backed up by proof and evidence. I don't in fact believe that anyone can make such a claim truthfully. And so confronted by such claims by many atheists I naturaly express my incredulity at their claim. But as another consequence, when I see these same atheists making claims for which evidence would be impossible, it fills me with a great deal of mirth... and... gratitude.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    That's where the irony lies. I don't claim that I only believe what is backed up by proof and evidence. I don't in fact believe that anyone can make such a claim truthfully. And so confronted by such claims by many atheists I naturaly express my incredulity at their claim. But as another consequence, when I see these same atheists making claims for which evidence would be impossible, it fills me with a great deal of mirth... and... gratitude.
    I'm very glad you're taking so much enjoyment in this, Mitch. But, when you can't back a single claim to your faith, you should realize your enjoyment is misplaced in the fact that you are only laughing at yourself.

    Of course, you are free to demonstrate that historians believe Jesus existed while also demonstrating whether or not historians wouldn't have better things to do than dealing with myths and superstitions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Well done Phoenix.

    But I must say that some people's ability to compartmentalization of subjects of faith from other issues for which they'll understand and apply completely different standards of burden of proof and evidence never fails to astound me.
    Thank you Lynx!

    I agree, hence why I created the 10 Questions thread. I'm inclined to cut some slack for those that may have never received any critical thinking training. Those that are educated but opt to maintain willful ignorance don't really deserve special treatment.
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    well said. Ignorance is forgivable. The choice to remain ignorant, however, is not.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    well said. Ignorance is forgivable. The choice to remain ignorant, however, is not.
    True but then people often make this choice itself in ignorance. It is a choice between learning new things or insisting that one already knows all that one needs to know, right? So there are these who employ the rhetoric of equating ignorance with disagreeing with their opinions. This is exactly what the recently visiting flat earther did, declaring that anyone who disagrees with his opinion that the earth is flat must therefore be ignorant and branwashed. Would he agree that he has chosen to remain ignorant? No, but that is exactly what he has done, isn't it?

    Thus identifying the choice to remain ignorant with disagreeing with ones opinions is actually typical and symptomatic of those who really do choose to remain ignorant for it is just a technique of rhetoric to insulate oneself from ideas, explanations and arguments that don't agree with your conclusions. The choice against ignorance IS NOT about agreeing with someones opinions on things as our "flat earth" vistor believed or as many other posters on this forum seem to believe as well, it is a willingness to learn new things. It is a willingness to confront the true complexity of the world instead of forcing it to fit into some ideology. The insistence that those who disagree with your point of view must necessarily be mentally or ethically deficient in some manner is a glaring symptom of the choice to remain ignorant, because it is nothing more than an excuse not to listen to what they say.

    Thus I have made it quite clear that those who disagree with my belief that God exists are most definitely not mentally or ethically deficient in any way whatsoever. Whether people agree with my opinions on religious questions has nothing to do with thier morality, honesty or capacity for logic and reason. Refusing ignorance utterly I have been completely open to learning from numerous members of this forum who disagree with me on all kinds of things and I very much enjoy discussions with diverse points of view which I can both respect and learn from. THAT is how you choose not to remain ignorant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    True but then people often make this choice itself in ignorance.
    Indeed. However willful ignorance has no excuse.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    It is a choice between learning new things or insisting that one already knows all that one needs to know, right?
    Does the latter include the position that one will not change their opinion, regardless of contradictory evidence or lack of logical fidelity? If so, then I would probably have to agree here as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    So there are these who employ the rhetoric of equating ignorance with disagreeing with their opinions.
    Right, but again not applicable with regards to willful ignorance.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    This is exactly what the recently visiting flat earther did, declaring that anyone who disagrees with his opinion that the earth is flat must therefore be ignorant and branwashed.
    Not a persuasive argument in and of itself, however quite possibly valid with correct argumentation. Luckily for us, the facts are readily available and most people are already familiar with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Would he agree that he has chosen to remain ignorant? No, but that is exactly what he has done, isn't it?
    Indeed. One not be aware that they are engaging in cognitive dissonance to be guilty of doing so either. Self-deception is tricky like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Thus identifying the choice to remain ignorant with disagreeing with ones opinions is actually typical and symptomatic of those who really do choose to remain ignorant for it is just a technique of rhetoric to insulate oneself from ideas, explanations and arguments that don't agree with your conclusions.
    Thank goodness for critical thinking!

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The choice against ignorance IS NOT about agreeing with someones opinions on things as our "flat earth" vistor believed or as many other posters on this forum seem to believe as well, it is a willingness to learn new things.
    No doubt that is part of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    It is a willingness to confront the true complexity of the world instead of forcing it to fit into some ideology.
    I guess I would have to know what you mean by "true complexity" before I could comment one way or another.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The insistence that those who disagree with your point of view must necessarily be mentally or ethically deficient in some manner is a glaring symptom of the choice to remain ignorant, because it is nothing more than an excuse not to listen to what they say.
    Except when it's true. Sometimes people get labelled as participating in willful ignorance because they really are. One would think that those who are being incorrectly categorized this way would be able to provide sufficient counter-arguments to escape the label.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Thus I have made it quite clear that those who disagree with my belief that God exists are most definitely not mentally or ethically deficient in any way whatsoever. Whether people agree with my opinions on religious questions has nothing to do with thier morality, honesty or capacity for logic and reason.
    Not only generous, but wise.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Refusing ignorance utterly I have been completely open to learning from numerous members of this forum who disagree with me on all kinds of things and I very much enjoy discussions with diverse points of view which I can both respect and learn from. THAT is how you choose not to remain ignorant.
    Thank you for sharing this insight as to how you view yourself.
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    The big difference between an ignorant person and a willfully ignorant person is, in essence, exactly what you outlined MM. An ignorant person simply doesn't know, and even if the choices they make are in ignorance, if they are willing to consider, think, and accept that they could be wrong, then there is no will that drives that ignorance. That's a forgivable condition. The Flat-Earther was, in all sense of the phrase, willfully ignorant. He refused to learn, claiming he was right despite our "computer generated" evidence. That was the point. He decided, of his own volition, to spout nonsense and not consider anything else as valid.

    Whether or not a person is right or wrong has no bearing on their ability to think and form logical connections. A person capable of reasoning can be wrong, but have a logical reason for being so and thus not be included in the "willfully ignorant" category, where as another person who blindly accepts one thing with no logical reasoning behind his choice could be right and STILL be ignorant. It has nothing to do with being trained to think critically or anything of that type, it has to do with one's ability to accept that they could be wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    It has nothing to do with being trained to think critically or anything of that type, it has to do with one's ability to accept that they could be wrong.
    Wouldn't it follow that someone who's done the former would be more likely to also do the latter?

    I will agree with you so far as to say that having good critical thinking skills will not immunize anyone from being wrong, but when applied greatly reduce the likelihood. Additionally someone who has been exposed to critical thinking training cannot use "well, I didn't better" as an excuse. My 2 cents.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    The big difference between an ignorant person and a willfully ignorant person is, in essence, exactly what you outlined MM. An ignorant person simply doesn't know, and even if the choices they make are in ignorance, if they are willing to consider, think, and accept that they could be wrong, then there is no will that drives that ignorance. That's a forgivable condition. The Flat-Earther was, in all sense of the phrase, willfully ignorant. He refused to learn, claiming he was right despite our "computer generated" evidence. That was the point. He decided, of his own volition, to spout nonsense and not consider anything else as valid.

    Whether or not a person is right or wrong has no bearing on their ability to think and form logical connections. A person capable of reasoning can be wrong, but have a logical reason for being so and thus not be included in the "willfully ignorant" category, where as another person who blindly accepts one thing with no logical reasoning behind his choice could be right and STILL be ignorant. It has nothing to do with being trained to think critically or anything of that type, it has to do with one's ability to accept that they could be wrong.
    Yes that is what we usually mean by "willfully ignorant" for obviously I am not talking about the innocent ignorance of a child. By my point is that these "willfully ignorant" are probably not conscious of a choice to be ignorant, they simply have the habits of thinking which I have described which make it close to impossible to learn new things. I am talking about habitually seeing those that disagree with them as mentally or morally deficient and habitually using rhetoric that discounts and dismisses the ideas and opinions of those that disagree with them, such as concluding that they can only disagree with them if they are willfully ignorant. That is why the truly skeptical and analytical mind will instead try to discern what are the habits and behaviors that truly signify willful ignorance quite apart from what people believe about things (especially things where there can be no evidence one way or another).

    In addition to the two habits I have already mentioned there are other identifying habits that I think we can point out. Another is an insistence on simple minded answers to things, and refusing to accept complexity as anything but excuses and avoidance. Another is an "us and them" mentality that cannot think outside of traditional lines of battle to realize that those who disagree with you about some things are not all the same. Another is a quick resort to personal attacks and hostility, which is directly connected with the habit of seeing those who disagree with you as mentally or morally deficient. But most of all, what I think is the greatest sign of willfull ignorance more than anything else is an intolerance for the diversity of human thinking. The fact that people think differently and come to different conclusions is not a failing of humanity but one of our greatest saving graces that is essential to our survival for much the same reason that genetic diversity is essential to our survival. Rather than being a solution to mankind's problems as the willfully ignorant typically fantasize, uniformity of human thought would in fact be the greatest nightmare and most hellish human society imaginable that would doom us completely.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixG
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    It has nothing to do with being trained to think critically or anything of that type, it has to do with one's ability to accept that they could be wrong.
    Wouldn't it follow that someone who's done the former would be more likely to also do the latter?

    I will agree with you so far as to say that having good critical thinking skills will not immunize anyone from being wrong, but when applied greatly reduce the likelihood. Additionally someone who has been exposed to critical thinking training cannot use "well, I didn't better" as an excuse. My 2 cents.
    I know there's a heavy correlation between the two, but inherently speaking, it's not a necessity that everyone be trained in logic, and because of that I'm speaking in this generality. I agree that having that training will most likely induce acceptance that a person can be wrong, (few exceptions I could think of) but I think they aren't necessarily connected, in that one gives the other exclusively.

    We are all potentially wrong, and that's fine. The way I see it, as long as there was actual thought put forth into one's decision, then that decision is far more likely to be a rational, logical, and better decision, regardless of the topic or the truth of that matter. Taking the Flat-Earther for example; I think there are people on the planet who have legitimate reasons to believe the world is flat, and likely do, simply because they have never been exposed to the evidence to the contrary. And hey, if you had no knowledge of satellites, space, or any of those other nice bits of evidence, just looking around you the world appears to be flat. Acceptance of the evidence, blindly, once it's presented to you is also equally in ignorance as immediate rejection. Thought is the difference, considering the two choices and making a logical connection and reason behind one's choice is what makes a person rational and logical.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    That is why the truly skeptical and analytical mind will instead try to discern what are the habits and behaviors that truly signify willful ignorance quite apart from what people believe about things (especially things where there can be no evidence one way or another).
    It seems as though you're suggesting that willful ignorance is difficult to discern. It's not.

    With regards to those rare situations in which there is "no evidence one way or another", the "truly skeptical and analytical mind" is not going to fall head over heals for incredible claims. Doing so is the antithesis of skepticism and analytical thinking.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Another is an insistence on simple minded answers to things, and refusing to accept complexity as anything but excuses and avoidance.
    Do you have an example?

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But most of all, what I think is the greatest sign of willfull ignorance more than anything else is an intolerance for the diversity of human thinking.
    "The practice or act of intentional and blatant avoidance, disregard or disagreement with facts, empirical evidence and well-founded arguements because they oppose or contradict your own existing personal beliefs."

    Not sure how your comments correlate to the above.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The fact that people think differently and come to different conclusions is not a failing of humanity but one of our greatest saving graces that is essential to our survival for much the same reason that genetic diversity is essential to our survival.
    Indeed. Diversity of ideas and experiences is very important. I'll argue that all day.

    However I think it's pretty obvious to most that not all ideas are created equal. And just as you feel pretty comfortable scorning "the recent flat-earther" because his ideas didn't have any merit, other equally bankrupt ideas don't deserve our respect either.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Rather than being a solution to mankind's problems as the willfully ignorant typically fantasize, uniformity of human thought would in fact be the greatest nightmare and most hellish human society imaginable that would doom us completely.
    Per my earlier point, I'm not sure how you're able to tie these diatribes back to willful ignorance.

    I don't think humankind as suffered in any way for acknowledging that 2+2=4, that the sky is blue, or that cold-blooded murder is immoral.
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    Part of an article from ESkeptic website review of Zietgiest: The Movie

    "Again mixing facts with sloppy assumptions, Part I of Zeitgeist concludes with an assault on the historicity of Jesus, claming that, outside the New Testament, there is no indication that Jesus ever existed. Joseph correctly points out that the biblical flood myth has its origins in material antedating the earliest sources of the Hebrew Scriptures. He specifically cites the Epic of Gilgamesh. However, he could just as well have cited the Sumerian flood hero Zuisudra, whose account greatly antedates the flood account in Gilgamesh.

    Was there a real Jesus? While the historical evidence is meager, it does exist. In his Antiquities of the Jews, book 20, chapter 9, item 1, referring to the execution of James, Josephus refers to him as the brother of “Jesus, who was called the Christ.” It is quite plain that Josephus didn’t see Jesus as the Christ (Christos, the Greek word meaning “anointed”), he merely recorded that James’ brother was the Jesus who had been called or was alleged to be the Christ.

    Beyond this scrap, valuable though it is, we can imply the existence of a historical Jesus from the criteria of embarrassment and difficulty. The criterion of embarrassment says that people do not make up embarrassing details about someone they wish to revere. So, if they say such things about the person, they are probably true. Now let’s apply this to what the Roman historian Tacitus had to say about Jesus early in the second century. Concerning rumors that had spread that Nero had deliberately set fire to the city of Rome, Tacitus says (The Annals of Imperial Rome, Book 1, Chapter 15):

    To suppress this rumor, Nero fabricated scapegoats — and punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were called). Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus. But in spite of this temporary setback the deadly superstition had broken out afresh, not only in Judea (where the mischief had started) but even in Rome. All degraded and shameful practices collect and flourish in the capitol.

    That Tacitus is obviously a hostile witness makes it much more likely that he accepted Jesus as a real person. Had he reason to suspect he was nothing more than a fabrication, Tacitus would certainly have said so. That author’s claim that Jesus had been executed by Pontius Pilate could only have come from one of two possible sources: Either Tacitus knew this to be true from extant imperial records or he was repeating what Christians themselves had said of Jesus. Were Jesus a mythical character they had invented, they certainly wouldn’t have gone out of their way to invent his being a criminal who had been executed.

    In like manner, people do not go out of their way to invent difficulties for a character they have invented. It is clear from the Nativity narratives of the gospels of Matthew and Luke that they were faced with having to explain why Jesus grew up in Galilee if he was born in Bethlehem. Both gospels had to invent rather convoluted means to get Jesus born in Bethlehem in accordance with the messianic prophecy in Micah 5:2, then get him moved to Nazareth. Clearly they were stuck with a real person known to have come from Galilee, when he should have come from Bethlehem. Had they been making Jesus up out of whole cloth, they would simply have said he came from Bethlehem: end of story, no complications. So the evidence for Jesus as a real, historical personage, though meager, is solid."
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    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Part of an article from ESkeptic website review of Zietgiest: The Movie

    <snip unrelated>

    Was there a real Jesus? While the historical evidence is meager, it does exist. In his Antiquities of the Jews, book 20, chapter 9, item 1, referring to the execution of James, Josephus refers to him as the brother of “Jesus, who was called the Christ.” It is quite plain that Josephus didn’t see Jesus as the Christ (Christos, the Greek word meaning “anointed”), he merely recorded that James’ brother was the Jesus who had been called or was alleged to be the Christ.
    For those interested in seeing a broader view of the debate on this passage:

    Link

    But for the sake of argument, let us suppose that these 5 words should be taken at face value and considered authentic.

    We have a passing reference written more than 60 years after the alleged events took place (meaning the writing was not contemporary). Since this clearly means that Josephus was referencing some other material, the question then becomes, "how reliable are Josephus' sources?".

    This is what happens when you start off with a conclusion and then go in search of evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Beyond this scrap, valuable though it is, we can imply the existence of a historical Jesus from the criteria of embarrassment and difficulty. The criterion of embarrassment says that people do not make up embarrassing details about someone they wish to revere. So, if they say such things about the person, they are probably true. Now let’s apply this to what the Roman historian Tacitus had to say about Jesus early in the second century. Concerning rumors that had spread that Nero had deliberately set fire to the city of Rome, Tacitus says (The Annals of Imperial Rome, Book 1, Chapter 15):

    To suppress this rumor, Nero fabricated scapegoats — and punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were called). Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus. But in spite of this temporary setback the deadly superstition had broken out afresh, not only in Judea (where the mischief had started) but even in Rome. All degraded and shameful practices collect and flourish in the capitol.
    Let's take the following one by one.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    That Tacitus is obviously a hostile witness makes it much more likely that he accepted Jesus as a real person.
    Another link for those looking for a jumping-off point for their own research on the debate.

    Tacitus is referencing christians and their beliefs. No one is contesting that there were christians or christian theology when Tacitus wrote his Annals (90 years after the alleged death of jesus).

    Tacitus' hostility is directed at christians. If you want to argue that this means christians are real, I'll concede, but then again I've never debated that there were christians in the late 1st century.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Had he reason to suspect he was nothing more than a fabrication, Tacitus would certainly have said so.
    Which version of Tacitus am I supposed to accept? The intellectually rigorous and dispassionate observer or the "hostile witness" (with an agenda)?

    The former would support this argument at the expense of the last and the latter would do vice versa. I'm afraid you can't have it both ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    That author’s claim that Jesus had been executed by Pontius Pilate could only have come from one of two possible sources: Either Tacitus knew this to be true from extant imperial records or he was repeating what Christians themselves had said of Jesus.
    Per the link I provided, it would seem that the latter is the safe bet.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Were Jesus a mythical character they had invented, they certainly wouldn’t have gone out of their way to invent his being a criminal who had been executed.
    I believe I addressed this a couple of pages ago ("nothing inspires like a martyr").

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    In like manner, people do not go out of their way to invent difficulties for a character they have invented.
    Of course they do. Anyone who has ever had to sit through a high school literature class has learned about "tragic flaws", etc. Achilles' heel. Kyptonite. Harry Potter's glasses. Every hero story has "difficulties" because without them there is no conflict and without conflict, the story isn't interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    It is clear from the Nativity narratives of the gospels of Matthew and Luke that they were faced with having to explain why Jesus grew up in Galilee if he was born in Bethlehem. Both gospels had to invent rather convoluted means to get Jesus born in Bethlehem in accordance with the messianic prophecy in Micah 5:2, then get him moved to Nazareth. Clearly they were stuck with a real person known to have come from Galilee, when he should have come from Bethlehem.
    No, they were stuck with the gospel of mark which both authors copied from.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Had they been making Jesus up out of whole cloth, they would simply have said he came from Bethlehem: end of story, no complications. So the evidence for Jesus as a real, historical personage, though meager, is solid."
    Of the points raised by the author only Testimonium Flavianum comes even close to being "solid". Anyone wishing to ignore the counter-argument I presented and hang their entire case for christ on 5 words which may or may not have been written by a non-contemporary historian is of course welcome do so.

    KomradRed, you've repeatedly stated that there is abundant evidence for a historical jesus, yet you've been either unwilling or unable to do provide it. The source you provided today refers to the evidence as "meager". After more than a month on the topic, do you intend to present your case anytime soon?
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    " Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

    This is the Testimonium Flavianum, wildly considered a forgery, not

    "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ"

    "To suppress this rumor, Nero fabricated scapegoats — and punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were called). Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus. But in spite of this temporary setback the deadly superstition had broken out afresh, not only in Judea (where the mischief had started) but even in Rome. All degraded and shameful practices collect and flourish in the capitol.


    Let's take the following one by one.

    KomradRed wrote:
    That Tacitus is obviously a hostile witness makes it much more likely that he accepted Jesus as a real person.


    Another link for those looking for a jumping-off point for their own research on the debate.

    Tacitus is referencing christians and their beliefs. No one is contesting that there were christians or christian theology when Tacitus wrote his Annals (90 years after the alleged death of jesus).

    Tacitus' hostility is directed at christians. If you want to argue that this means christians are real, I'll concede, but then again I've never debated that there were christians in the late 1st century."

    Tacitus also references "Christ", not just Christians.

    "KomradRed wrote:
    Had he reason to suspect he was nothing more than a fabrication, Tacitus would certainly have said so.


    Which version of Tacitus am I supposed to accept? The intellectually rigorous and dispassionate observer or the "hostile witness" (with an agenda)?"

    I believe the point is that Tacitus is a Roman senator and Historian who, from his above passage, does not look kindly upon the Christian faith or its originator and would have gladly have pointed out that this "Jesus" person was actually a fabrication, but didnt, either because Christians themselves had told him so (why would Tacitus be dicking around with CHristians?) or from Imperial records, and given the Roman love of bureaucracy and law, very plausible.

    "KomradRed wrote:
    Were Jesus a mythical character they had invented, they certainly wouldn’t have gone out of their way to invent his being a criminal who had been executed.


    I believe I addressed this a couple of pages ago ("nothing inspires like a martyr"). "

    I believe I addressed that comment sufficiently in posts in the past as well, but if you feel like you need to say the same thing over and over so they sound true, then go right ahead.

    "KomradRed wrote:
    In like manner, people do not go out of their way to invent difficulties for a character they have invented.


    Of course they do. Anyone who has ever had to sit through a high school literature class has learned about "tragic flaws", etc. Achilles' heel. Kyptonite. Harry Potter's glasses. Every hero story has "difficulties" because without them there is no conflict and without conflict, the story isn't interesting. "

    The difficulties the author is talking about and the oh so endearing "tragic flaws" found in literature are quite different. The author is saying that the writers of the Gospels had connect to Jesus's birth in Bethlehem so it synced up with earlier biblical prophecies and then connect it all together so that Jesus wound up in Galilee. The difficulty is that if Jesus was a constructed character, why not just say he was from bethlehem and not go on this convoluted tale? Hence the author's statement that People do not go out of their way to invent difficulties for a character they have invented. Btw, isnt Christ's arrest, torture, death, and resurrection supposed to be the area of the story with conflict, not the part where he was born and then travelled around egypt and judea for a bit?"
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    Komrad,

    Your non-use of quote tags is making your post difficult to decipher, but I'll do my best.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    This is the Testimonium Flavianum, wildly considered a forgery, not

    "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ"
    I defer you back to the link. No doubt that the those questioning the line are greatly outnumbered, the case is presented there for all to see.

    I even went so far as to concede for the sake of argument that the line was authentic and present my counter-argument from there, although it seems you weren't interested in addressing that.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    I believe the point is that Tacitus is a Roman senator and Historian who, from his above passage, does not look kindly upon the Christian faith or its originator and would have gladly have pointed out that this "Jesus" person was actually a fabrication, but didnt, either because Christians themselves had told him so (why would Tacitus be dicking around with CHristians?) or from Imperial records, and given the Roman love of bureaucracy and law, very plausible.
    First, the passage is disputed (per the link I provided).

    Second, if your method of addressing my counter-arguments is repeating the arguments that I counter, you and I are going to go nowhere fast. If you want to bang the drum for christianity, then go nuts. However if you want to actually want to have a debate, you actually need to engage the things I say rather than repeat yourself and hope I go away.

    Your presentation of Tacitus as a "hostile witness" makes it difficult for me to accept that he is presenting facts without bias or an agenda. Therefore to turn around and say "look, reference to jesus by a historian" is a blatant attempt to have it both ways.

    Tacitus wrote nearly 100 years after jesus allegedly died. So if he knew about jesus, where did he learn what he knew from? Christian sources?

    Imagine that. When Tacitus wrote a passing reference to jesus, it matched what the christian writing said about him. Wow. Mind-boggling stuff here.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    I believe I addressed that comment sufficiently in posts in the past as well, but if you feel like you need to say the same thing over and over so they sound true, then go right ahead.
    You haven't. You repeated yourself, but you utterly failed to address my counter-argument. If you want to do so, you will need to show why my explaination either doesn't make sense or couldn't be possible. In other words, you need to rule it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    The difficulties the author is talking about and the oh so endearing "tragic flaws" found in literature are quite different.
    I disagree, but you are entitled to your opinion. Regardless of whether you think it's applicable or not, it's pretty obvious that I've debunked his categorical assertion that people don't create "difficulties" for their fictional characters.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    The author is saying that the writers of the Gospels had connect to Jesus's birth in Bethlehem so it synced up with earlier biblical prophecies and then connect it all together so that Jesus wound up in Galilee.
    With every post, you make it more and more obvious that you have no idea what you're talking about.

    Luke and Matthew "had" to do this because they wanted their jesus narrative to line up with that particular prophecy. These two authors were using g.mark as a reference so this "difficulty" is a result of their desire to "fulfill prophecy" and still stay true to their source material.

    G.John doesn't have this problem because the author skips this part of the narrative entirely.

    So when your lauded author says "the writers of the gospels" who is he talking about? Not the author of mark. Not the author of john. Should I assume that the author is as unfamiliar with NT authorship as you appear to be?

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    The difficulty is that if Jesus was a constructed character, why not just say he was from bethlehem and not go on this convoluted tale?
    Great question. Ask the author of g.mark...if we ever find out who that was.

    In the mean time, I think the arguement that the authors of g.matthew and g.luke wanted the jesus narrative to fit OT prophecy as well as their source material (g.mark) is going to be pretty hard to refute. Again, you're welcome to show how this either doesn't make sense or isn't possible. Simply repeating what you've already said won't count as a counter-argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Hence the author's statement that People do not go out of their way to invent difficulties for a character they have invented.
    This line of reasoning only makes sense if you want to argue that the author of g.mark has a problem because of what two later authors decided to do with his work.

    It isn't a problem for the author of g.mark because if he wanted jesus to come from bethlehem, he simply could have written the story that way. It isn't really a problem for the authors of g.matthew or g.luke either because they managed to find a (clumsy) way of working it into the narrative. The "problem" only exists for people who are ignorant of NT authorship.

    Quote Originally Posted by KomradRed
    Btw, isnt Christ's arrest, torture, death, and resurrection supposed to be the area of the story with conflict, not the part where he was born and then travelled around egypt and judea for a bit?"
    I'm half way tempted to further derail the thread on a dramatic writing tangent, but I'm almost certain that both my time and my effort would be wasted.

    If you want to view all the events leading up the passion narrative as being without conflict, then you're welcome do to whatever you'd like.

    P.S. When do we get to see this "evidence for jesus" you keep talking about? This tangent is fun, but I'm looking forward to the part where you actually present what you say you have.
    "PhoenixG makes me puke that why I quoted him." - esbo
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