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Did Jesus exist at all?
Posted: 09 March 2005 12:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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To be fair, GVI, there is a one-line reference to someone called jesus in an account by Josephus, a Roman historian, that is fully addressed in any of several books on the subject.  This one-liner is generally, but I should say, not universally considered to be redacted by some unnamed monk in the middle ages.

Other than that, there is absolutly no other evidence outside the bible, and some other gospels not included in the NT, that point to a real jesus, and contrary to what GVI said, I think that there would be.  Other than Josephus, there were other Hebrew historians writing in the area around that time, and not one mentions anyone going around raising the dead, etc..  IMHO, the NT is a fabrication, done for various, mostly political, reasons.

I agree with GVI, though, in that we will probably never know for sure.

Pete

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Posted: 09 March 2005 02:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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Champion, 
I really think you are not getting a basic fact.
If your God exisited and we believed he existed, none of us secularists here would love him.
In fact, we would hate him.
We think he has one of the most horrible and disgusting personalities of any being imaginable.

Lets imagine the worst a human could be; a child molesting serial killer who delights in his murder.  And lets say he’s tortured and killed hundreds of children.  Then he got his hands on a nuclear weapon and blew New York City up.

Now I could imagine if I was the father of one of this killer’s victims,  that I would want to get the SOB into a room with a blunt blade and hammer.  And if I could keep him alive duing the castration process, well, that prolly would be desirable.  And after maybe an hour or so I’d have no doubt that the most medeval form of justice had been served.  But, you know, at some point I’d get my ya-yas out and want to go have a smoke and a beer.

But your God never goes tired. He has an overabundance of ya-yas and an eternal grudge.  Justice is never completely served.  For billions and billions of years he castrates that bastard (of course that is actually the job of his chief henchman, Satan, who according to the your faith loves his job).

Any God, any person, or any religon that approves of that form of “justice” is sick. 

Now you don’t only believe people like the above metioned serial killer will meet this end.  You believe all sorts of folks may, including children.  And you go along with this.  You approve of this.  And you hail it as righteous;  in fact as the most supreme example of loving and godly behavior.  Anything to save your own ass, right?  No amount of babbling on and quoting scripture about the love and the salvation and the peace can cover up or justify this horrible dirty crap you also believe.

Your compliance can accurately be compared with the compliance of the German people with Hitler.  We can’t believe you can’t see the God you worship is a beast.  You get down on your knees at night pray to it.  Shameful!

Redeem yourself man!  No one should have to go through life believing that.  Its not true.  Its lovely that its not true.  There is no creature thats going to torture you forever just because you dont love it.  Please just consider that.

BTW, I don’t think I could actually torture anybody regardless of what they did to me or my child.

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Posted: 09 March 2005 04:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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[quote author=“hampsteadpete”]To be fair, GVI, there is a one-line reference to someone called jesus in an account by Josephus, a Roman historian, that is fully addressed in any of several books on the subject.  This one-liner is generally, but I should say, not universally considered to be redacted by some unnamed monk in the middle ages.

Flavius Josephus was Jewish, actually, not Roman (just to clarify), and he wrote the Antiquities of the Jews around 95 A.D., so his account is not contemporaneous. He was not alive at the time Jesus supposedly lived. Tacitus also briefly mentions (around 109 A.D.) a “Christus” as the nominal founder of the “detestable superstition” of the Christian movement. But, like Josephus, his account is not contemporaneous either. Even assuming no later redactions occurred, there is no evidence that either historian was doing more than repeating second- or third-hand stories or conventional wisdom. They had no source documents to work from, or at the very least, cited none. They also did not name any eyewitnesses as sources.

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Posted: 09 March 2005 05:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Yeah, and ‘historians’ in those days played by slightly different rules, didn’t they?  Didn’t Suetonius—one of the Apologetics’ “reliable secular sources”—report that Herod or some other emperor was descended from Hercules or something?  Who knew genealogy could be such an interesting field?

There is that one line in Josephus that casually mentions Jesus, and at one point he gets a whole paragraph of his own… but even the Apologists admit this is at least a partial forgery.  They just won’t admit it’s ALL forged.  But yeah, forged or not, these guys were all writing decades after said “event”... they weren’t eyewitnesses.

You’re probably right about Jesus just being one more carcass in the Pilate slaughterhouse… but you’d think somebody would’ve at least made an official record, if only to keep score!

And Champ, let’s not forget what the “great sin” is that merits the horrible punishments that Tom talks about:  Not believing.  Questioning what we’re told.  What, for that matter, is the “original sin” of humanity?  Eating from the “Tree of Knowledge.”  Religion fears knowledge.  Ask Galileo, Darwin, or a stem-cell researcher.

And while I maybe could threaten or even torture someone, as Sam illustrates, if the stakes were high enough… but torture someone for eternity because they didn’t worship me?  How psychotic is that!?

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Posted: 09 March 2005 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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[quote author=“Cody”]Yeah, and ‘historians’ in those days played by slightly different rules, didn’t they?  Didn’t Suetonius—one of the Apologetics’ “reliable secular sources”—report that Herod or some other emperor was descended from Hercules or something?  Who knew genealogy could be such an interesting field?

This is an important point that many modern people overlook, if they are even aware of it in the first place.

“Historians” of the pre-Enlightenment period placed little emphasis on rational skepticism or objective evaluation of source material, the way modern historians do. Their work was as often propaganda as not, and even when it wasn’t, it tended to be based on the sketchiest of evidence, tweaked to flatter whichever political authority had the power to publish their work.

For this reason alone, ancient texts of history cannot be treated as credibly as more modern research.

You’re probably right about Jesus just being one more carcass in the Pilate slaughterhouse… but you’d think somebody would’ve at least made an official record, if only to keep score!

Well, they did, sort of. But the records were simply numerical: Pilate was murdering so many people so often that it was impossible to record the names of every victim. Jesus is not mentioned by name in any of Pilate’s court records, or any other legal documentation of the Roman Empire in that period. If he was there, he was not considered exceptional enough to name, unlike other alleged “kings” of the Jews crucified by Rome in the same era, such Judah of Galilee (6 A.D.), Theudas (44 A.D.) or Benjamin of Egypt (60 A.D.).

His absence from these records argues, if not for his nonexistence, then at least for his insignificance in contemporaneous eyes. But still, I think that there’s a danger of reading too much into what the historical record doesn’t say. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence; there may have been a “historical” Jesus, but we’ll never know for certain, not the way we know gravity is real. I think skepticism about his existence is justified, but the lack of evidence for something is never conclusive.

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Posted: 09 March 2005 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Life of Brian said it pretty well for me !! = )

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Posted: 09 March 2005 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Certainly nothing is conclusive here… but as I’ve been trying to tell “Ordinary” in another discussion, it’s not our burden of proof.  I may believe that we’re all really in the Matrix/Total Recall/Vanilla Sky VR machine, but it’s my job to supply the red pill to prove it. 
This is where Sam’s Hitchens quote comes in handy—That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

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Posted: 09 March 2005 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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I am under the impression that there is some non NT account that mentions John the Baptist.  Anybody know about this?

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Posted: 09 March 2005 03:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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Josephus mentions John the Baptist.  In fact, strangely enough, he spends a lot more time on him than on Jesus!  But there again, Josephus was writing decades after the “fact”; he was not an eyewitness.  And like GVI pointed out, ‘historians’ back then didn’t have the standards of scholarship we have today… they were perfectly content to go on hearsay.

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Posted: 10 March 2005 02:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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[quote author=“Ricky”]I am under the impression that there is some non NT account that mentions John the Baptist.  Anybody know about this?

***
John the Baptist’s head represents the Moon.  Jesus represents the sun (i.e. halo/glow behind head).  The sun was substituted (and or a parallel meaning) for the meteoritic symbolic interpretation of Jesus at some point in Xianity’s history.  The reason is likely that it “glows” like a meteorite (only it doesn’t descend).  Additionally, it is possible that our ancestors thought meteorites came FROM the sun (i.e. the sun was a “creator god” in the Ancient Egyptian pantheon).

JL

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