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Thread: Unbiased Information on The Bible & other gospels.

  1. #1 Unbiased Information on The Bible & other gospels. 
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    My study of religion class doesn't start until next semester, but I have one question/quest that is eating me from the inside out. Hopefully, I'm in the correct spot on the correct website. Just a little background, I have been questioning my beliefs in Catholicism and Christianity as a whole. In my quest I'm trying not to succumb to one view point. I.E. only talking to priests or like-minded individuals. I want facts, the best science can provide about the gospels and evidence of Christ and his followers. I am having trouble gathering information on the Bible and other gospels through an unbiased gander. I just want to research and put the pieces together myself without a voice guiding me so. So, does anyone know of any good websites and/or books that has some of the information?

    Any and all help is most appreciated,

    Jeremy


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    You might benefit by reading the posts from Skinwalker in these two threads:

    Name Correspondence in the Gospels
    The Garden of Eden - Centre of the Neolithic Revolution?


    He doesn't generally post here any more, but you can ask your question again here if you want to interact with him on something specific.


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    Here is a general overview of biblical archeology by PBS: NOVA | Archeology of the Hebrew Bible

    As for evidence of Christ, you can refer to this webpage: American Atheists | Did Jesus Exist? and this book for a more scholarly account: Amazon.com: Did Jesus Exist (9780301860015): George A. Wells: Books


    The general consensus is that the bible is largely a work of fiction. That doesn't mean that it can't give meaningful insights into the life and times of the periods that the stories were supposed to have taken place however.
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    For a more reliable interpretation of the Bible than church propaganda I can recommend the following books:'The Diegesis' by Rev. Robert Taylor (available as a free download); 'Jesus the Man' by Barbara Thiering; 'The Secret Gospel of St. Thomas' by Elaine Pagels; 'The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross', and 'The End of a Road' by John Allegro; 'Bible Myths' by Thomas Doane. Non of the gospel writers had ever met Jesus and we don't even know who they were. The story of Jesus was almost certainly fabricated from a collection of stellar characters from the ancient world.
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    Thanks for the help fellas. I love this website for that reason.
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    Any of Karen Armstrong's books - notably, "A History of God" - provide calm and dispassionate overviews of the topic well written for the general curious person. They are well referenced, too, for further investigation of your own.
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    But isn't Armstrong a religious pluralist who has written books on Buddhism, Judaism and Islam as well as Christianity? She has certainly made a good living out of it. In 'A History of God' she starts and ends with references to America being 99% for a belief in God. 99% can't be wrong, can they? In Europe the figure is much, much lower, and part of the reason is probably that every time you cross a border there is a different language and different interpretation of God. It's confusing to think that my belief in God (if I have one) as a mathematician is not going to be your belief. Any interpretation of the Bible today should include reference to the Dead Sea Scrolls and that is why I recommend John Allegro and Barbara Thiering.
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    I highly recommend Karen Armstrong and have read two of her many books. She's a great place to find comparisons between religious beliefs, particularly the shared generally considered "good," qualities of each. On the other hand she's a former nun, doesn't pretend to evaluate the authenticity of their sources; she's be poorly qualified for such a task, and to her credit, and generally doesn't try. She's effectively mute to the scientific perspective and wouldn't be a good place to fulfill you request for: " I want facts, the best science can provide about the gospels and evidence of Christ and his followers."
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    Quote Originally Posted by epignosis View Post
    Yet all the evidence supports a creator.
    Then give a few more examples.

    Quote Originally Posted by epignosis View Post
    Take the Puma for example, if you were to make one, what would it take? Would you sit in your yard and expect one to just happen over millions of years or would you try to create it yourself?
    If you could demonstrate that pumas were, or would have to be, created then you would have something. But as it stands, all the evidence supports the theory that pumas evolved.
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    epignosis take your preaching elsewhere.

    The thread was started about finding scientific thinking about the gospels and evidence of Christ (he should have said Jesus...but no matter) and his followers. You haven't provided that and are overtly derailing the thread into a discussion of creationism.
    Consider this a warning.


    Lynx (moderator)

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    Update:
    TSF members,
    The creationism postings have been moved to Psuedo science and epignosis given a one day suspension for continuing to derail the thread despite the warning. Feel free to continue the creationism discussion there.
    v/r
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    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; September 25th, 2011 at 11:12 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    epignosis take your preaching elsewhere.

    The thread was started about finding scientific thinking about the gospels and evidence of Christ (he should have said Jesus...but no matter) and his followers. You haven't provided that and are overtly derailing the thread into a discussion of creationism.
    Consider this a warning.


    Lynx (moderator)

    --
    Update:
    TSF members,
    The creationism postings have been moved to Psuedo science and epignosis given a one day suspension for continuing to derail the thread despite the warning. Feel free to continue the creationism discussion there.
    v/r
    Lynx

    Lynx_Fox
    I am attempting to show the scientific, support of the writings about Jesus., and the gospels , including the accuracy of the whole bible.
    Creation is part of that. As that is how the bible opens. How we got here is a question most people want to know.

    I will not dwell on the creation question here, if that bothers you.

    But how would anyone trust the bible, if creation was proved by the scientists to be only a myth, or story? So in that aspect it is very important. It is also important for the creditability of the scientists. I mean if they are wrong on this they are wrong on 'evolution' and about a creator. It's a big deal.
    You must agree with that.

    I will go into other proofs from the scientists themselves about the authenticity of the writings.

    So can I carry on here?
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    So are there any other writings other than the bible that confirm Jesus as being real.


    The Bible itself is the principal evidence that Jesus Christ is a historical person.
    The record in the Gospels is not a vague narrative of events at some unspecified time and in an unnamed location. It clearly states time and place in great detail.

    The Jewish historian Josephus referred to the stoning of “James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ.” (The Jewish Antiquities, Josephus, Book XX, sec. 200) A direct and very favorable reference to Jesus, found in Book XVIII, sections 63, 64, has been challenged by some who claim that it must have been either added later or embellished by Christians; but it is acknowledged that the vocabulary and the style are basically those of Josephus, and the passage is found in all available manuscripts.
    Tacitus, a Roman historian who lived during the latter part of the first century C.E., wrote: “Christus [Latin for “Christ”], from whom the name [Christian] had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus.”—The Complete Works of Tacitus (New York, 1942), “The Annals,” Book 15, par. 44.

    The New Encyclopædia Britannica states: “These independent accounts prove that in ancient times even the opponents of Christianity never doubted the historicity of Jesus, which was disputed for the first time and on inadequate grounds by several authors at the end of the 18th, during the 19th, and at the beginning of the 20th centuries.”—(1976), Macropædia, Vol. 10, p. 145.

    There is no doubt that Jesus lived and died the way the bible says. It really, is just people from our time ( many centuries , from Jesus life) that have doubted his existence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by epignosis View Post
    The Jewish historian Josephus referred to the stoning of “James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ.” (The Jewish Antiquities, Josephus, Book XX, sec. 200) A direct and very favorable reference to Jesus, found in Book XVIII, sections 63, 64, has been challenged by some who claim that it must have been either added later or embellished by Christians; but it is acknowledged that the vocabulary and the style are basically those of Josephus, and the passage is found in all available manuscripts.
    He was recounting a belief by the Jews and earliest Christians years after the fact. Antiquities was published in 94 CE, a full 3 generations after Jesus supposedly died.

    Tacitus writings are even later. He essentially confirms the belief in his time and perhaps earlier from lost gone records that people held that belief and refers to Christians as early as 64 CE.

    But to be clear, while either might be soft evidence for the Historical Jesus, and beliefs of his follower cult generations later, neither provides substantial or credible evidence to anything extraordinary or supernatural. That leaves much of the gospel, also written well after the events, unsupported by independent evidence. It would be much like writing a history of Joseph Smith's troubles in Missouri. You could probably confirm records of the historical Joseph Smith, and his followers early beliefs, but it wouldn't offer any real support that Smith really did get golden plates from the angel Morini.

    Now we could discuss historians actually walking the same ground at the right place at the same time as the miracles but don't even mention the man? Or perhaps they were confused by the thousands upon thousands of Jesus named people walking around -- it was a very common Jewish name of that time. Anyhow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by epignosis View Post
    The Jewish historian Josephus referred to the stoning of “James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ.” (The Jewish Antiquities, Josephus, Book XX, sec. 200) A direct and very favorable reference to Jesus, found in Book XVIII, sections 63, 64, has been challenged by some who claim that it must have been either added later or embellished by Christians; but it is acknowledged that the vocabulary and the style are basically those of Josephus, and the passage is found in all available manuscripts.
    He was recounting a belief by the Jews and earliest Christians years after the fact. Antiquities was published in 94 CE, a full 3 generations after Jesus supposedly died.

    Tacitus writings are even later. He essentially confirms the belief in his time and perhaps earlier from lost gone records that people held that belief and refers to Christians as early as 64 CE.

    But to be clear, while either might be soft evidence for the Historical Jesus, and beliefs of his follower cult generations later, neither provides substantial or credible evidence to anything extraordinary or supernatural. That leaves much of the gospel, also written well after the events, unsupported by independent evidence. It would be much like writing a history of Joseph Smith's troubles in Missouri. You could probably confirm records of the historical Joseph Smith, and his followers early beliefs, but it wouldn't offer any real support that Smith really did get golden plates from the angel Morini.

    Now we could discuss historians actually walking the same ground at the right place at the same time as the miracles but don't even mention the man? Or perhaps they were confused by the thousands upon thousands of Jesus named people walking around -- it was a very common Jewish name of that time. Anyhow.
    These historians absolutely confirm Jesus and who he was. Even mentioning his brothers. The Jews themselves kept very detailed records of their genealogy, because they knew that Jesus was coming to them, there were a number of prophecies, concerning Jesus, that all had to be fulfilled, that were written long before he came. This genealogy also confirms, the many people in the bible and when they were on the earth. Even the Muslims considered Jesus a prophet.
    This is why I use all sorts of scientific proofs of the bible authenticity. That is why to trust in the bible you need to check out many things. The bible contains by far, the most info on Jesus and on God.


    I hope it is OK to use what the bible says about other writings. You mentioned Joseph Smith, receiving other writings.
    Revelation 22:18

    New International Version (NIV)

    18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.


    So from the bibles point of view , the writings Joseph Smith received were not from God. But could be from the God of this system of things. ( Satan as ruler of the earth.)

    If you look at what happened when Jesus came, he and his followers would have been considered a cult. He was not even accepted by his own people. The bible fore shadows events today as well. So what you consider a cult , could be the actual followers of Jesus. The true followers certainty would not be , part of what the world considers a leading religion.

    So the proof of the bible comes from a accumulation of many proofs. It isn't just one thing. But all the pieces have to fit, to complete that puzzle, and see the whole picture.

    If you look at the world of mankind isn't it obvious to you that , an evil force is controlling man, not God. The bible agrees with that. So this also is part of the proof the bible is correct. Even many Christian religions do not know that. This also is part of the proof of what the bible says. So all these little understandings support an absolute.
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    These historians absolutely confirm Jesus and who he was.
    No, the first is documented evidence and possible first hand accounts by Josephus of what some early Christians believed about a man named Jesus who they thought died a couple generations earlier. The second a recounting of earlier documentation of the same. If you don't understand that distinction than either you're deliberately not being objective, need better critical thinking skills, or some mix of both.

    Most of the rest of your comments are preaching, having little to do with the thread. They might make you feel better. Heck they might even make sense to you. But they don't really belong in a science forum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    These historians absolutely confirm Jesus and who he was.
    No, the first is documented evidence and possible first hand accounts by Josephus of what some early Christians believed about a man named Jesus who they thought died a couple generations earlier. The second a recounting of earlier documentation of the same. If you don't understand that distinction than either you're deliberately not being objective, need better critical thinking skills, or some mix of both.

    Most of the rest of your comments are preaching, having little to do with the thread. They might make you feel better. Heck they might even make sense to you. But they don't really belong in a science forum.
    Actually this is just one proof. There are many proofs of the reliability of the bible.
    This is what evidence is.

    Sir Isaac Newton once said: “I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever.” (Two Apologies, by R. Watson, London, 1820, p. 57)

    Here is another example, the bible talked about Babylon, and the confusing the languages. So is this account correct in the bible?
    Excavations in and around the ancient city of Babylon have revealed the sites of several ziggurats, or pyramidlike, staged temple-towers, including the ruined temple of Etemenanki inside Babylon’s walls. Records and inscriptions found concerning such temples often contain the words, “Its top shall reach the heavens,” and King Nebuchadnezzar is recorded as saying: “I raised the summit of the Tower of stages at Etemenanki so that its top rivalled the heavens.” One fragment found North of the temple of Marduk in Babylon related the fall of such a ziggurat in these words: “The building of this temple offended the gods. In a night they threw down what had been built. They scattered them abroad, and made strange their speech. The progress they impeded.” (Bible and Spade, by S. L. Caiger, 1938, p. 29) The ziggurat located at Uruk (Biblical Erech) was found to be built with clay, bricks, and asphalt.—Compare Ge 11:1-9.


    This is what these scriptures said

    Genesis 11:1-9

    Common English Bible (CEB)

    Genesis 11

    Origin of languages and cultures

    1 All people[a] on the earth had one language and the same words. 2 When they traveled east,[b] they found a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them hard.” They used bricks for stones and asphalt for mortar. 4 They said, “Come, let’s build for ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and let’s make a name for ourselves so that we won’t be dispersed over all the earth.” 5 Then the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the humans built. 6 And the LORD said, “There is now one people and they all have one language. This is what they have begun to do, and now all that they plan to do will be possible for them. 7 Come, let’s go down and mix up their language there so they won’t understand each other’s language.” 8 Then the LORD dispersed them from there over all of the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 Therefore, it is named Babel, because there the LORD mixed up[c] the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD dispersed them over all the earth.


    So the scriptures match exactly, what the stone tablets that were found.

    The purpose here is not to preach but use scientific evidence that what the scriptures say can be relied upon.
    The topic is scientific evidence for what the bible says.
    That also goes for historical writers.

    Lynx_Fox you don't have to accept the evidence , that is no different than people through the ages and most people today. But this is not preaching, it is scientific, evidence to support the bible.
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    Lynx_Fox you don't have to accept the evidence
    Nor your preaching and attempts to derail the thread from answering the simple question of: "facts, the best science can provide about the gospels and evidence of Christ and his followers. You've provided one post, of many in this and the other thread, that directly tried to answer that question.

    good bye. I'm suspending you for a 3 days while the mod team reviews your standing here.
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    There aren't any 'unbiased' information sources.

    There are faith based sources ranging from seriously fundamental, King James Version only types who refuse to believe in germs because the Bible doesn't mention them to those who attempt to integrate Biblical history with scientific history and everything in between. They all are 'biased' in that they all start from the perspective of a personal knowledge of Almighty God.

    On the other hand, there are deophobe sources who start from the premise God does not exist. To be fair, these also range from the wild-eyed God haters who leave no lie untold in their desire to hide God from others to those who seriously cannot believe in God for what they feel to be good cause. And all in between.

    There just are not any unbiased sources.

    What I would suggest - presuming your primary subject is Christianity and not just 'religion' is to study the Bible itself, with the aid of several commentaries and lexicons. (Knowing the meaning of the original word can be very revealing.) Also, you might check with sources from other than Catholicism. I'm an life long Baptist who has found some very interesting things from Roman Catholic sources. Oddly, those same R. C. sources missed some things from my earlier studies.

    Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis is an excellent book for basics.

    Also read the intelligent skeptics. Richard Dawson and Christopher Hitchens are probably among the most well known. I also warn you that anything starting out with "Let me show you how stupid religion is and especially Christianity" will be shallow and without any substance. Very emotional, which appeals to many atheists, oddly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archie View Post
    There aren't any 'unbiased' information sources.

    There are faith based sources ranging from seriously fundamental, King James Version only types who refuse to believe in germs because the Bible doesn't mention them to those who attempt to integrate Biblical history with scientific history and everything in between. They all are 'biased' in that they all start from the perspective of a personal knowledge of Almighty God.

    On the other hand, there are deophobe sources who start from the premise God does not exist. To be fair, these also range from the wild-eyed God haters who leave no lie untold in their desire to hide God from others to those who seriously cannot believe in God for what they feel to be good cause. And all in between.

    There just are not any unbiased sources.

    What I would suggest - presuming your primary subject is Christianity and not just 'religion' is to study the Bible itself, with the aid of several commentaries and lexicons. (Knowing the meaning of the original word can be very revealing.) Also, you might check with sources from other than Catholicism. I'm an life long Baptist who has found some very interesting things from Roman Catholic sources. Oddly, those same R. C. sources missed some things from my earlier studies.

    Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis is an excellent book for basics.

    Also read the intelligent skeptics. Richard Dawson and Christopher Hitchens are probably among the most well known. I also warn you that anything starting out with "Let me show you how stupid religion is and especially Christianity" will be shallow and without any substance. Very emotional, which appeals to many atheists, oddly.
    This is the most intellectually honest post on this thread. Science only has value to the point where it follows strict rules of investigation and reporting. One of those rules is disclosure of personal bias, or conflicts of interest that will effect an opinion.

    A science forum relaxes these rules so that people can communicate for purposes other than investigation. Some people like to debate their beliefs. Some people want to learn or teach. And some people are just curious about why other people think differently from themselves.

    Also scientists are not experts in everything or arbitrators of truth. If you want to understand baseball or law, you don't ask a scientist. You talk to an athlete / lawyer. In the same vein, a scientist can give a limited perspective on religion; however, without a background in theology, you cannot understand the perspective of people in the religion.

    My own bias is that I am a Catholic. My history is that when I was young, I attended religious practice based on what I thought would be the minimum amount necessary to help me get good grades, or keep God on "my side" (if He was really "up there"). Since what I put into religion was minimal, that is what I got out of it. When I decided to seek God myself, mostly because I was curious, that my perspective changed.

    Good luck with your investigation. Consider the "scientific" (biased) perspective, but pay attention in your religion class as well.
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    Scientific thinking is biased toward finding facts based on evidence.
    If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedo View Post
    In the same vein, a scientist can give a limited perspective on religion; however, without a background in theology, you cannot understand the perspective of people in the religion. .
    While that is true, the thread was started to get science's perspective, not the theological faith-based perspective which assumes many things for which there is no credible evidence--sometimes before even starting a conversation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archie View Post
    There aren't any 'unbiased' information sources.
    Here is some unbiased information regarding the Bible.
    * It is believed that the NT was orginally written in Ancient Greek.
    * Various attempts were made to translate it into English. The most scuccessful was the Authorized Version of King James. Just what gave King James his authority remains a mystery, especially when you consider that many misprints and interpolations later came to light. The best you can say about it is that it became a foundation for the English language.
    * The gospels were written sometime between 60 to 120 CE.
    * The first gospel was Mark, and can be considered genuine, but it is a matter of opinion if it is fact or fiction.
    * The gospels of Matthew and Luke are plagiarised from Mark and from an unknown source (the 'Q' source). Therefore these synoptic gospels are not 3 independent reports of the life of Jesus, as is often claimed by Christian apologists. At best they are based on only 2 reports. We do not know who the authors were. So instead of having 'The Gospel of Matthew', we have 'The Gospel According to Matthew'. It could be a criminal offence today to plagiarise without crediting sources.
    * The Acts of the Apostles, sometimes referred to as the 5th gospel, was written by the author of Luke, as a sort of sequel.
    No doubt Luke thought this appropriate as Buddha had his own acts written down in the Buddhacarita. Later the acts of Mohammed would become the Hadith.
    * John's gospel was written around 100CE, but possibly later. It completes the Canon to make a nice even number of 4. It is most probably a forgery. It was written by 'a disciple whom Jesus loved'. So whoever it was, he must have been very old. Given that life expectancy then was around 50 years old he must have been truly favoured. The problem with this gospel is that it is likely to have been the work of more than 1 author, which adds to the mystery and unreliability. Some chapters are even out of order.
    * Many ideas have been extrapolated or imagined from the Bible. For instance, there is no mention of Jesus's birth in a stable. This exists only in popular mythology. Furthermore, grand ideas like the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is completely unsupported by the Bible. Modern research points to a virgin being a young woman, or one betrothed but not yet married who has conceived.
    * When it comes to the miracles of Jesus Christ, beware of imitations. Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Horus, Bacchus were all miracle workers too, and all pre-dated Jesus. This is probably the reason why Jesus was forced into producing miracles - he had to keep pace with the others, and had nothing to do with Jesus demonstrating his divinity.
    * It is more than just a little unfortunate that the Bible has been used by many to justify the likes of slavery in America, racism in South Africa, and homophobia and sexism around the world.
    * If one day we could see into the past or even build a time machine, would we see a superhero like Jesus walking around? No, of course not. The Romans would have eliminated any trace.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post



    But to be clear, while either might be soft evidence for the Historical Jesus, and beliefs of his follower cult generations later, neither provides substantial or credible evidence to anything extraordinary or supernatural. That leaves much of the gospel, also written well after the events, unsupported by independent evidence. It would be much like writing a history of Joseph Smith's troubles in Missouri. You could probably confirm records of the historical Joseph Smith, and his followers early beliefs, but it wouldn't offer any real support that Smith really did get golden plates from the angel Morini.
    I like this parallel. Joseph Smith claimed on the basis of a few obscure passages from the Bible to be fulfilling prophecy by coming forth to restore the old lost gospel. If Jesus Christ was like Joseph Smith then it should be no surprise to find inklings of older religious ideas expressed in his life story. He would have claimed to be those things which he had heard about. He would want his followers to believe he was causing the same miracles (and Joseph Smith has a small handful of miracles ascribed to him as well, just nothing as severe as raising the dead.) He might even declare himself to be "Krishna."

    Fake or real, both knew how to play their crowds. They also knew enough to appeal to existing sources of religious authority (including occult authority), rather than try to invent everything from scratch.

    Now we could discuss historians actually walking the same ground at the right place at the same time as the miracles but don't even mention the man? Or perhaps they were confused by the thousands upon thousands of Jesus named people walking around -- it was a very common Jewish name of that time. Anyhow.
    Also there were a number of different "messiah" figures going around trying to get their own followings. How would anyone living at the time know which one was going to be successful?

    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post

    * If one day we could see into the past or even build a time machine, would we see a superhero like Jesus walking around? No, of course not. The Romans would have eliminated any trace.
    They tried later on after the movement had taken off, but during his lifetime he was seen as harmless. According to the gospels account even Herod himself upon meeting Jesus Christ decided not to punish him, seeing him as little more than a philosopher. Pilate only agreed to kill him when pressed to it. He was smart enough to say "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and unto God that which is God's", which put him well outside their attention range.

    The ruling class of the Jewish people were the ones threatened by him, because he kept saying bad things about them, but I'm sure the Romans were just as happy to see that group's authority undermined anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Lynx_Fox you don't have to accept the evidence
    Nor your preaching and attempts to derail the thread from answering the simple question of: "facts, the best science can provide about the gospels and evidence of Christ and his followers. You've provided one post, of many in this and the other thread, that directly tried to answer that question.

    good bye. I'm suspending you for a 3 days while the mod team reviews your standing here.
    Fucking sweet justice.

    The bible is NOT empirical data damnit. Invisible pink fucking unicorns.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archie View Post
    There aren't any 'unbiased' information sources.

    There are faith based sources ranging from seriously fundamental, King James Version only types who refuse to believe in germs because the Bible doesn't mention them to those who attempt to integrate Biblical history with scientific history and everything in between. They all are 'biased' in that they all start from the perspective of a personal knowledge of Almighty God.

    On the other hand, there are deophobe sources who start from the premise God does not exist. To be fair, these also range from the wild-eyed God haters who leave no lie untold in their desire to hide God from others to those who seriously cannot believe in God for what they feel to be good cause. And all in between.

    There just are not any unbiased sources.

    What I would suggest - presuming your primary subject is Christianity and not just 'religion' is to study the Bible itself, with the aid of several commentaries and lexicons. (Knowing the meaning of the original word can be very revealing.) Also, you might check with sources from other than Catholicism. I'm an life long Baptist who has found some very interesting things from Roman Catholic sources. Oddly, those same R. C. sources missed some things from my earlier studies.

    Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis is an excellent book for basics.

    Also read the intelligent skeptics. Richard Dawson and Christopher Hitchens are probably among the most well known. I also warn you that anything starting out with "Let me show you how stupid religion is and especially Christianity" will be shallow and without any substance. Very emotional, which appeals to many atheists, oddly.
    You have summarized the crossing I am at. I feel like I have arrived at a fork in the road where I must choose between two roads- one Christianity, the other science. So I decided to try and dip into each of them going back and forth between the two. First I read Carl Sagan's, The Demon Haunted World, then a book my pastor offered, Mark Bannerman's Soul Print. There are a few more going back and forth but it doesn't seem to be helping me out. I read one and I become flabbergasted about the vehement amount of evidence that shows that Jesus wasn't real and then the next book I succumb to the fear of God... Sadly, this keeps going back and forth. I know it is a decision I have to make, to choose one or the other, but I guess I am just hoping for that one piece of evidence that is so profound I don't have to choose.

    In the beginning of this thread there was an interesting thread with a documentary mentioned. It talks about the archaeological evidence behind the Bible, but what I concluded after the documentary and what my extremely christian friend concluded was almost as if we watched two separate films.

    I do look forward to your book, thanks for the suggestion.

    In regard to your comment about biases. I do understand, when it comes to Christianity, that there is no such thing as an unbiased opinion. I am just looking for the opinion that lets me decide, instead of insisting or slightly pushing in a general direction.
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit View Post
    Scientific thinking is biased toward finding facts based on evidence.
    But we use science to explain everything...So if everything already has the bias opinion of science seared into it, then why not look at the Bible in the same way?
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    Exactly.

    When someone mentions that someone else has a biased opinion, we need to see what 'biased' means in his context. In this thread Archie states that there is a faith-based bias and a deophobe bias. I do not agree. If we insist on saying that people are always biased, then I would say that the theist is biased toward faith and scripture and the atheist is biased toward evidence and logic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy187h View Post
    You have summarized the crossing I am at. I feel like I have arrived at a fork in the road where I must choose between two roads- one Christianity, the other science.
    What you need to do is learn to think for yourself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy187h View Post
    I read one and I become flabbergasted about the vehement amount of evidence that shows that Jesus wasn't real and then the next book I succumb to the fear of God... Sadly, this keeps going back and forth. I know it is a decision I have to make, to choose one or the other, but I guess I am just hoping for that one piece of evidence that is so profound I don't have to choose.
    Quit getting hung up on God's power/wrath and take a long hard look at his intellect. Ask yourself if God's word is a reasonable ideology. If it isn't, then it couldn't have come from a perfect, all knowing, being. If it is, and if you think the wisdom of God's teachings exceed anything a mortal philosopher like Socrates, or Aesop could ever hope to achieve, then by all means follow him. Even if the religion were false, it's never a bad idea to devote yourself to a good ideology.

    So if the ideology is bad, then it is absolutely certain the religion is false. If it's a good ideology, then it's still possible that it's false, but who cares?


    In the beginning of this thread there was an interesting thread with a documentary mentioned. It talks about the archaeological evidence behind the Bible, but what I concluded after the documentary and what my extremely christian friend concluded was almost as if we watched two separate films.
    I don't think you'll get anything out of the archaeology, because even if every event in the bible were an accurate accounting of history, that wouldn't prove the religion. It would just prove the history.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjmounes View Post

    Fucking sweet justice.

    The bible is NOT empirical data damnit. Invisible pink fucking unicorns.
    Ok, I have to know this.. If they're invisible, then how do you know that they are pink?
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy
    In regard to your comment about biases. I do understand, when it comes to Christianity, that there is no such thing as an unbiased opinion. I am just looking for the opinion that lets me decide, instead of insisting or slightly pushing in a general direction.
    Unless your current grasp of the physical situation is without error so far, a truly unbiased source of better information will feel as though it is pushing you in general direction.
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    Does anybody think like me, that Christianity, and other religions, bring God into disrepute? The idea that there is a god is not a bad one. We have a very narrow field of vision, determined by the wavelength of light. We cannot see or even imagine, what an electron as a particle/wave looks like. We can only vaguely understand matter, but we now know it is a distortion of spacetime. We can't really understand time, let alone spacetime. We don't grasp that everything is in the past, because the speed of light determines that everything we see is from the past. We can't even hold on to a moment of time, then it's gone and in the past. Now if we can't understand reality then how can we understand god? The nearest we get to the mind of god is with equations. All religions are unreliable because they are all in denial of the true age of the earth and evolution by natural selection. They're a complete waste of time.
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    I think the posts should be short in this thread, just books and justification for choosing those books, as that is what the OP requested. IMO
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