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Did Christianity start with a real human Jesus?


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On 8/19/2018 at 10:24 AM, Itoero said:

Can  someone answer on this:?

No one can. I have seen it argued that during his life Jesus wasn't viewed as important so historians and other literate people in Jewish and Roman society simply didn't bother to record his existence. Problem with that argument for me is that had Jesus been real he must of had a devoted group of followers who thought very highly of him. Otherwise why did they carry his story forward for decades after his death. Yet none of them bothered to record anything or save any of his stuff. Even Bart Ehrman who has come up a lot in this discussion argues that there is zero contemporary historical evidence for Jesus.

 

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Suits me. Your expectation of a pat on the back, for the lamest of argument is tiresome. And claiming a consensus for it, as justification is laughable. What it says is, I can't justify it with my own

Eise often backs up his claims with an imaginary consensus. He often claims to know what many/most/all scholars/historians/scientists think. If this is a scienceforum then his comments in this thread

That's a lie. Did you watch his videos?

12 hours ago, DirtyChai said:

Wait a minute, you were the one that referenced the gospels in the first place when you suggested that James was from the "House of David," rather than the literal brother of Jesus as Paul stated. 

I simply used the same standard that you did by referencing the gospels, but provided a context that might offer more insight into what Paul meant when he said "brother."

 

That's the problem, Paul didn't "just recently" meet with Peter and James when he wrote his epistles.  He met them just a few years after his conversion, well before the churches in his letters even existed.

I mentioned the "house of David" thing only in regard to the Messiah prophecies. What you can get from it, is that fitting in with the prophesies was considered important enough to be stressed many times in the gospels. The prophesies are originally from the old testament, so they have more than one source of evidence.

Paul's conversion is supposed to have happened around the year 33/35 mark. And he's supposed to have gone to Jerusalem and stayed with Peter three years after that. That puts it about 38. He's writing epistles from about 53 so it's 15 years plus, after he met Peter. That is recent, in Biblical terms. Recent enough for an educated man to still have it fresh in his mind, and to still have the writings he made about what he learned in Jerusalem. 

If you read his epistles, he relies ENTIRELY on what god supposedly revealed to him in visions. He completely excludes anything and everything he heard in Jerusalem. 

This is from his page in Wikpedia :

"Paul asserted that he received the Gospel not from man, but directly by "the revelation of Jesus Christ".[Gal 1:11–16] He claimed almost total independence from the Jerusalem community[4]:316–20 (possibly in the Cenacle), "

If he did meet with Peter and James, it seems like he wasn't much impressed with what he heard, and avoided using it almost completely. Maybe because he didn't like the way new stories were being told, over the top of old ones.

I find it highly suspicious that no written record of Jesus's supposed life emerges till the gospel of Mark, around the year 68. You can bet your life that loads of it was written, but it's been removed from the record. Paul talks about "the gospel" in his epistles, so it was out there. The chances are, it was such a hotch potch that they got together and ditched all of the interim stuff, and tried to give out an official version in Mark. If you had access to the earlier stuff, it would probably be possible to say more definitively whether there really was a real Jesus.

It tells a lot that the Vatican got hold of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and sat on them for over four decades, with the result that nobody will ever know if there was stuff in them to either confirm or refute the stories. It shows that there is a real fear of the truth coming out.

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4 hours ago, mistermack said:

I mentioned the "house of David" thing only in regard to the Messiah prophecies. What you can get from it, is that fitting in with the prophesies was considered important enough to be stressed many times in the gospels. The prophesies are originally from the old testament, so they have more than one source of evidence.

Your quote: "it could mean that James was from the House of David, which was claimed for Jesus"

Where in the Old Testament does it claim that Jesus was the Messiah, from the house of David?

And if the claim isn't in there, where did you get that idea from?

 

4 hours ago, mistermack said:

Paul's conversion is supposed to have happened around the year 33/35 mark. And he's supposed to have gone to Jerusalem and stayed with Peter three years after that. That puts it about 38. He's writing epistles from about 53 so it's 15 years plus, after he met Peter. That is recent, in Biblical terms.

You were wondering why Paul in his epistles didn't talk ad nausem about the daily events in Jesus's life.  I gave you an answer, but you completely ignored it.  So again, I'll rephrase it in the form of a question:

Why would Paul, in his letters have to continually reiterate the events of Jesus's life to congregations of seasoned believers that were most likely already well informed about those events, whether by Peter, Paul or other early believers/church leaders?

 

4 hours ago, mistermack said:

Recent enough for an educated man to still have it fresh in his mind, and to still have the writings he made about what he learned in Jerusalem. 

I'd say the gospel was fresh in Paul's mind till the day he died regardless if he took any notes or not. Even if he did, it's unlikely that they'd survive very long considering  he was practically homeless, traveling a lot, shipwrecked several times and repeatedly beaten and emprisoned.

That's probably why the only writings we have of his are in the form of letters sent to other churches where they had a chance at being preserved

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8 hours ago, DirtyChai said:

Your quote: "it could mean that James was from the House of David, which was claimed for Jesus"

Where in the Old Testament does it claim that Jesus was the Messiah, from the house of David?

And if the claim isn't in there, where did you get that idea from?

Wikipedia says, in the Page on Paul the Apostle :

"Paul described Jesus as

  • having been promised by God beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures;
  • being the true messiah and the Son of God;
  • having biological lineage from David ("according to the flesh");[Rom. 1:3]"
8 hours ago, DirtyChai said:

You were wondering why Paul in his epistles didn't talk ad nausem about the daily events in Jesus's life.  I gave you an answer, but you completely ignored it.  So again, I'll rephrase it in the form of a question:

Why would Paul, in his letters have to continually reiterate the events of Jesus's life to congregations of seasoned believers that were most likely already well informed about those events, whether by Peter, Paul or other early believers/church leaders?

Same  argument has been put already in this thread. I provided the link myself of Bart Ehrman giving that argument. All I can say is it's a ridiculous contrived claim, and doesn't correspond to reality, as I argued earlier. I don't accept that he had no reason to mention the life of Jesus. Jesus is the very centre of the religion. Him dying and being born again is the very essence of the difference between the Jesus cult and the rest of the Jewish religion. 

Paul says he met James and Peter roughly in the year 38 or thereabouts. They would still have had every detail of the last years of his life fresh in their minds, including his supposed death and resurrection. And Paul would obviously have been hungry for every last scrap of information. So Paul should have had first hand, eye witness accounts available to repeat to his followers. And yet he can write seven long letters and mention none of it. Except what he received in his "visions" of Jesus. 

You say I'm ignoring your argument. I'm just saying it's a ludicrous claim. It just wouldn't happen in real life. There's no way to prove it either way. But as I pointed out earlier in the thread, Paul's own words, about the nature of rising from the dead, contradict the gospel version, of the empty tomb and the missing body. Paul stresses that resurrection is of a spiritual body, not physical. How can he say all that, if he's had the full story of the body being missing, the tomb being open, and people seeing the resurrected Jesus in the flesh? 

All of this dramatic stuff is supposed to have happened as recently to him as the gulf war is to us. And yet you're claiming that Paul could write seven long letters, and not touch on any of it. Nothing's impossible, I'm just giving my opinion that it's vanishingly improbable,  and the real reason he doesn't mention it, is because it never happened. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, mistermack said:

Paul says he met James and Peter roughly in the year 38 or thereabouts. They would still have had every detail of the last years of his life fresh in their minds, including his supposed death and resurrection. And Paul would obviously have been hungry for every last scrap of information. So Paul should have had first hand, eye witness accounts available to repeat to his followers. And yet he can write seven long letters and mention none of it. Except what he received in his "visions" of Jesus. 

Paul clearly is not a reliable source. That doesn't prove Paul is making it all up but rather simply means nothing Paul says can be used to prove the existence of Jesus. 

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16 hours ago, mistermack said:

Wikipedia says, in the Page on Paul the Apostle :

"Paul described Jesus as

  • having been promised by God beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures;
  • being the true messiah and the Son of God;
  • having biological lineage from David ("according to the flesh");[Rom. 1:3]"

Fair enough, but you did say "the house of David." Paul never phrased it that way in his letters.  As far as the NT is concerned, it's only used in the gospel.

Personally, I think that the statement "James, the lord's brother" is rather straightforward.  There's really nothing ambiguous about it.  There's nothing that jumps off the page prompting one to pull it apart and dismiss it, unless of course it's not inline with ones preconceptions.

 

16 hours ago, mistermack said:

I don't accept that he had no reason to mention the life of Jesus. Jesus is the very centre of the religion. Him dying and being born again is the very essence of the difference between the Jesus cult and the rest of the Jewish religion. 

Exactly right.  Belief in the death and resurrection of Christ is essential to being a Christian, which is probably why Paul quite often focused more on that aspect than any other part of Jesus's life.  So I don't understand why you insist on framing your argument like that, suggesting that he never mentioned it.

After being called out on this,  you clarified that what you really meant was why Paul doesn't talk more about Jesus's daily life, activities, quotes, etc.   So why not just keep your argument framed that way rather than galloping back n' forth ad nauseam?

 

16 hours ago, mistermack said:

you say I'm ignoring your argument. I'm just saying it's a ludicrous claim. It just wouldn't happen in real life.

What's ludicrous is putting Paul in a box and basically saying how dare he write anything about contemporary Christianity apart from the daily activities of Jesus's life!

 

16 hours ago, mistermack said:

paul stresses that resurrection is of a spiritual body, not physical

You started this thread with various arguments and then added to the list, posting various wiki links as you verbosely galloped along.  Surely some of these arguments are worthy of their own thread?

 

16 hours ago, mistermack said:

All of this dramatic stuff is supposed to have happened as recently to him as the gulf war is to us. And yet you're claiming that Paul could write seven long letters, and not touch on any of it.

Again, Paul's letters were written to seasoned believers that were most likely already familiar with the life of Jesus.

You're acting like Paul was their only source of knowledge and/or spiritual enlightenment.  You're acting like Paul's small collection of letters were the full extent of his teachings and influence over the course of a 30+ year ministry.

 

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6 hours ago, DirtyChai said:

So why not just keep your argument framed that way rather than galloping back n' forth ad nauseam?

I was replying to your posts.

 

6 hours ago, DirtyChai said:

Again, Paul's letters were written to seasoned believers that were most likely already familiar with the life of Jesus.

I don't buy that. Paul's career was one of conversion. The people he wrote to were only recently converted. Jesus had only been dead (allegedly) 25 years. Paul converted about 8 years later. So even PAUL wasn't a seasoned believer, he'd been a believer for only 17 years, and he'd had a miraculous meeting with Jesus. The people you are talking about had obviously been converted more recently still, and just through word of mouth.

Bart Ehrman compares them to his mother, who is probably in her seventies or eighties, and been a believer from childhood. That's seasoned. They were definitely not. And neither were the stories they were hearing. It was all brand new back then. Not 2,000 years old.

 

It's all so suspicious, if you shine the slightest critical light on it. Paul goes to Jerusalem. He meets two people, claiming to be the brother and sidekick of Jesus, a living god. And uses NOTHING that they said, but relies on his own visions. He also doesn't record any attempt to meet the parents of the Messiah. Or other siblings. Or get hold of any personal history whatsoever, from eye witnesses. In his place, I would have been RATHER interested in meeting the people who met him, after he rose from the dead. You know what, I would have found that fascinating, and would want a little chat with some of them. That's the sort of thing real people do, in those situations. 

But if you cast a non-critical eye over the stuff, and just believe what's written, you're pretty easy to mislead. And a lot of misleading has been done. Seven letters from Paul that probably were forged. Forged entries in Josephus's texts, inserting "James the brother of Jesus". Gospels expunged from history because they were too obviously invented. What you are seeing now is what they wanted you to see, not a snapshot of history.

I was of the opinion that there probably WAS a real Jesus human at the core of it, till I took a closer look. But everything I'm seeing points the other way.

Paul writing "James the brother of Jesus" is the best, but it's weak. I only offered the "house of David" thing as an example of other possibilities, but I personally think that it was simply inserted in later versions, just like it was in Josephus. And the EARLIEST version we have really is a later version, from the third century.

 

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The question of whether there had been a real Jesus was being argued over at the time of the writing of the gospels. It's not a new-fangled idea. This video about the nature of the trinity is well worth listening to from the start, but I've linked to an interesting point at 6:51 .

 

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19 hours ago, DirtyChai said:

Again, Paul's letters were written to seasoned believers that were most likely already familiar with the life of Jesus.

12 hours ago, mistermack said:

I don't buy that. Paul's career was one of conversion. The people he wrote to were only recently converted.

But converted nonetheless.  How long do you think it would take to fill one in on the everyday details of Jesus's life -  A day, a week, a month?

I mentioned earlier as an example that the Church in Rome had been established for almost 10 years when Paul decided to write them, and he didn't convert any of them.  He didn't even visit that Church.

12 hours ago, mistermack said:

if you shine the slightest critical light

I'm trying to build a reasonable and realistic context from the information that we actual have.  You're basically making arguments from silence.  If Paul had written a letter entitled "The Wonderful Miracles of Jesus" and none of it included the miracles found in the gospels, then your argument might have some validity.

In Corinth for example, the people were asking Paul to address contemporary issues that they were facing.  They weren't inquiring about everyday details of Jesus's life.  If they did, then you might have a point, but they didn't.

 

 

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18 hours ago, DirtyChai said:

I'm trying to build a reasonable and realistic context from the information that we actual have.  You're basically making arguments from silence.  If Paul had written a letter entitled "The Wonderful Miracles of Jesus" and none of it included the miracles found in the gospels, then your argument might have some validity.

In Corinth for example, the people were asking Paul to address contemporary issues that they were facing.  They weren't inquiring about everyday details of Jesus's life.  If they did, then you might have a point, but they didn't.

What we actually have is full of invention, so reasonable and realistic is a bit ambitious. 

Anyway, if there had been a real Jesus, Paul would have answered their everyday issues with " Jesus said this " or " Jesus did that ". That's what the priests used to throw at us from the pulpit every Sunday. You wouldn't go seven whole Sundays with Jesus getting hardly a mention. If you combine the lack of it in Paul, with the lack of any non-forged mention, in any Roman, Jewish, Christian, or Greek text of the existence on Earth of a living Jesus, till 50 years after his death, it's actually a very powerful argument from silence. It's why the silence in Paul is so telling. It's not just Paul. It's silence from everybody. 

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On 8/24/2018 at 5:54 AM, mistermack said:

What we actually have is full of invention, so reasonable and realistic is a bit ambitious. 

I think that before we either accept or reject a set of passages in scripture and offer commentary, it's important to understand to the best of our ability what it is those passages are actually trying to convey. Sometimes building a historical, cultural and circumstantial context can provide some insight.

Just curious, did you finish reading Paul's letters?  I know you said that 1 Corinthians was next on your list, but did you finish reading beyond that?  Because it seems to me that you may have only superficially glazed over the text while relying on wiki links to guide your confirmation bias.

If you read, you'd see that many times Paul says things like "You believed the Gospel that we preached," or "You believed our testimony."  Paul talks about how he would preach, reason and persuade people for weeks at a time.  When Paul was in Berea the Jews searched the scriptures daily to see if what he said was true.  These references imply that there was a lot more to Paul's teachings than what's written in his small collection of letters.

 

On 8/24/2018 at 5:54 AM, mistermack said:

Anyway, if there had been a real Jesus, Paul would have answered their everyday issues with " Jesus said this " or " Jesus did that "

Again if you actually read, you's see that he did.  One issue with the Corinthian Church was that they were disorganized and divisions started to develop when they gathered.  Some people were getting drunk and some were stuffing their faces while others went hungry.  Paul was pretty upset so he taught them that it should be a time of self reflection and referenced the last supper, directly quoting Jesus.

When Paul was is in Prison, there seemed to be a sense of fear among the Philippians, so he tried to offer comfort by encouraging them to have the same mindset as Jesus. To do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  To humble themselves. To look at the interests of others rather than just their own.  He taught that tho Jesus was equal to God, he did not use that equality for his own advantage, but rather humbled himself.

Now you probably won't accept that even though it satisfies both your qualifiers.  Anytime something comes up that shows you might be wrong you just say, well that's not enough,  that was probably added at a later time, that's just a forgery.  

How convenient.

 

On 8/24/2018 at 5:54 AM, mistermack said:

You wouldn't go seven whole Sundays with Jesus getting hardly a mention.

You can't seem to get that earworm out of your head.  You just keep repeating the same thing over and over.

You: I just can't understand why Paul hardly mentions Jesus.

Response: Actually, he mentions him several hundred times.

You: Ya, well Christianity is all about Jesus's death and resurrection and Paul hardly ever mentions it.

Response: Actually Paul talks quite extensively about the death and resurrection of Christ, how it related to the OT scriptures and what it means for believers.

You: Ya, well he doesn't talk about finding Jesus's parents and, you know, walking on water and stuff like that.

Response: No, because those things weren't relevant to the issues he was addressing.

You: Well, he should've responded with Jesus said this and Jesus did that,  he's hardly mentioned.

Response:  If you read, you'd see that he did.

(Rinse, Repeat)

 

On 8/24/2018 at 5:54 AM, mistermack said:

It's why the silence in Paul is so telling. It's not just Paul. It's silence from everybody.

It's already been shown multiple times how Paul wasn't silent.  

As for the others, did it ever occur to you that perhaps their silence may have something to do with being terrified out of their minds?  Church leaders were continually being arrested and beaten repeatedly.  Many were killed for their beliefs.  If those in power at the time were so concentrated on thwarting the spread of Christianity, does it follow that their should be extensive writings about it?

It's a miracle any of it survived.

 

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On ‎21‎/‎08‎/‎2018 at 1:04 PM, Ten oz said:

No one can. I have seen it argued that during his life Jesus wasn't viewed as important so historians and other literate people in Jewish and Roman society simply didn't bother to record his existence. Problem with that argument for me is that had Jesus been real he must of had a devoted group of followers who thought very highly of him. Otherwise why did they carry his story forward for decades after his death. Yet none of them bothered to record anything or save any of his stuff. Even Bart Ehrman who has come up a lot in this discussion argues that there is zero contemporary historical evidence for Jesus.

It's imo very likely it were different people's actions molded into one.  Then many stories were based on different people's actions. If it was one person then he indeed should have  had followers to record stuff. It's also unknown who wrote the Gospels.  The names Matthew , Mark, Luke and John were added later.

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1 hour ago, Itoero said:

It's imo very likely it were different people's actions molded into one.  Then many stories were based on different people's actions. If it was one person then he indeed should have  had followers to record stuff. It's also unknown who wrote the Gospels.  The names Matthew , Mark, Luke and John were added later.

I grew up assuming that Jesus had been a real person. I assumed that there was definitive historical evidence Jesus had existed. I never really questioned it until one day a friend of mine challenged me to list the historical evidence. To my surprise I was unable to find any. Not only couldn't I find any but among scholars who insisted Jesus had been real there was universal agreement that no definitive evidence existed. My initial thought was that Jesus must have been an amalgamation of different prophets and that the true catalyst for Jesus's story probably was someone very similar but who went by another name. Over time though I have come to realize that Jesus's story as that of different people molded into one doesn't actually fit. The story of Jesus is too similar to the story of other god incarnates (human form) like Horus and Krishna. Strip away the similarities and there isn't anything left. There doesn't seem to be anything original in Jesus's story. Jesus's appears to have been modeled after other deities. 

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On 8/25/2018 at 3:51 PM, DirtyChai said:

Just curious, did you finish reading Paul's letters?  I know you said that 1 Corinthians was next on your list, but did you finish reading beyond that?  Because it seems to me that you may have only superficially glazed over the text while relying on wiki links to guide your confirmation bias.

I've read corinthians 1 once now, and it's not very impressive. The overwhelming general feeling of it, as in the rest of the epistles that I've read, is that it's all coming out of his own head. It's just his own views on what's "holy" and good. Maybe that's the reason he says nothing about a real Jesus, he's too self-obsessed. 
What of interest comes out of Corinthians 1? From memory, firstly the Shroud of Turin has to be a forgery. Paul is so adamant that women must grow their hair long, and men must keep it short, that there's not a chance in hell that a real Jesus would have had long hair. (Althought that was yet another chance for him to mention the real Jesus which he passed on). It would have been so much easier for him to say, "Men should have short hair, like Jesus" but he didn't.
Corinthians 1: 11 : 11 "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?"

Then of course, Paul doesn't preach forgiveness of sinners, like Jesus, but shunning of sinners. "Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person" The message of forgiveness had obviously not reached him. And "sinners" included both effeminate men and gay men. Which is another indication of what he would have thought of a long-haired Jesus. Drunkards too should be shunned.

When it comes to any actual detail, Paul is very guarded. In Corinthians 15:3 he says : "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;" In other words, he's saying, "this is how it was told to me". He's hedging his bets. He's really saying, "don't blame me if it turns out to be crap, I'm just telling you what they told me! " 
And then he carries on : " And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time."

So he preceded it with a health warning, and then it was just a list of dubious claims. No detail, no empty tomb, no reference to the supposed gospel that was in circulation.

Then in Corinthians 15:12 Paul says this : "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?" And then he bangs on about how you are wasting your time if Jesus didn't rise from the dead.
Surely the perfect moment to list the WEALTH of evidence and testimonials he would have extracted from Peter and James and the hundreds of eye-witnesses he would have met in Jerusalem. But no.

He does say in line 14 "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain." Surely that's the time for pointing out the evidence from the resurrection of the "real" Jesus? 

I still have some epistles left to read, but they are bloody hard work, and they just come across as a self-important preacher giving his own opinions on what's good and bad. Without even the most cursory reference at all to Jesus's own teaching. 

Something's definitely not right. Either he didn't meet Peter and James, as he claimed. OR, he did, but he really didn't rate them as credible. Or the whole thing was in flux, gradually moving from a heavenly Jesus to stories of a real Jesus, and Paul didn't trust what he was hearing, so he basically just decided not to mention any details of it, and just to bang on with his own preaching instead.

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On ‎26‎/‎08‎/‎2018 at 9:38 PM, Ten oz said:

I grew up assuming that Jesus had been a real person. I assumed that there was definitive historical evidence Jesus had existed. I never really questioned it until one day a friend of mine challenged me to list the historical evidence. To my surprise I was unable to find any. Not only couldn't I find any but among scholars who insisted Jesus had been real there was universal agreement that no definitive evidence existed. My initial thought was that Jesus must have been an amalgamation of different prophets and that the true catalyst for Jesus's story probably was someone very similar but who went by another name. Over time though I have come to realize that Jesus's story as that of different people molded into one doesn't actually fit. The story of Jesus is too similar to the story of other god incarnates (human form) like Horus and Krishna. Strip away the similarities and there isn't anything left. There doesn't seem to be anything original in Jesus's story. Jesus's appears to have been modeled after other deities. 

I never had a real idea concerning Jesus's existence, because I didn't care, thenl I saw a 'big questions' episode on YouTube where it's been said  'most scholars agree Jesus existed'.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mRYiplTf3I   where does this idea come from?

Richard Dawkins for example seems to think it's a fact Jesus existed….very odd.

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2 hours ago, Itoero said:

I never had a real idea concerning Jesus's existence, because I didn't care, thenl I saw a 'big questions' episode on YouTube where it's been said  'most scholars agree Jesus existed'.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mRYiplTf3I   where does this idea come from?

Richard Dawkins for example seems to think it's a fact Jesus existed….very odd.

In my opinion it comes from the way we are raised. If one grows up in a society that teaches woman should be subservient to men one will most likely habor some version of that belief. Additional once something is accepted as true one takes on the burden of proof to prove otherwise. Proving negatives isn't possible. 

I am familiar with Dawkins. My take on his view is that he seems to let sleeping dogs lay. Jesus has long been believed to have been real and Dawkins doesn't have evidence proving otherwise nor does he care to research the matter. So his position is a bit flippant. 

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I have to agree. There's nothing in it for Dawkins, to argue a case that can't be proved either way, in a discipline in which he has no expertise. He argues against the existence of Gods. It really doesn't matter to that argument whether there was a man at the root of Christianity or not. His position would be, if there was, he wasn't divine, he was just a man. If there wasn't, there are no other gods.

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On 8/27/2018 at 7:47 AM, mistermack said:

Paul is so adamant that women must grow their hair long, and men must keep it short

It appears Paul is commending them for keeping up with some type of tradition.  He seems to have a strong opinion on the issue, but he really doesn't seem to be that adamant about it.

If you read on, he says "Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman."  He says to them "Judge for yourselves."  There seems to be a sense that he doesn't want anyone  being "contentious" about it, because they have "no such practice, nor do the churches of God."  I could be wrong tho.  I'd have to take a closer look at the original language to be sure.

On 8/27/2018 at 7:47 AM, mistermack said:

Paul doesn't preach forgiveness of sinners, like Jesus, but shunning of sinners. "Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person" 

First it should be clear that he's not talking about non-believers:

1 Corinthians 5: 10,12:
"I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world. . .For what have I to do with judging outsiders?"

He was basically scolding the Church for boasting about the acceptance of immorality "that is not tolerated even among pagans. . ."

Paul was talking about the pervasiveness of  sin, and the church just let it slide.

I highly doubt you have a problem when non-religious people call out hypocrite preachers for cheating on their wives with prostitutes or by having gay sex in bathrooms, so why deny Paul that same privileged?

If the Catholic Church had leaders like Paul 50 years ago, then perhaps all the sexual abuse wouldn't have gone unchecked for so long. . .

 

On 8/27/2018 at 7:47 AM, mistermack said:

Then in Corinthians 15:12 Paul says this : "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?" And then he bangs on about how you are wasting your time if Jesus didn't rise from the dead.
Surely the perfect moment to list the WEALTH of evidence and testimonials he would have extracted from Peter and James and the hundreds of eye-witnesses

Why would he have to give a list?  He talks about how they already heard  testimony:

Corinthians 15:15:
"More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead."

And much of that Testimony could have come from Peter himself.   If You look back at 1 Corinthians 1:11-13 it's seems that Peter visited Corinth and unintentionally started some factions: 

"For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers.  What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”  Is Christ divided? . . .

 

On 8/27/2018 at 7:47 AM, mistermack said:

something's definitely not right. Either he didn't meet Peter and James, as he claimed. OR, he did, but he really didn't rate them as credible.

It may seem off to you because:

1 - you haven't finished reading.
2 - Either you haven't comprehended that which you did read, or you're just superficially glazing over the text looking for selective quotes that fit a biased narrative.

You seem to be fixed on the idea that Paul only stayed with Peter for those 15 days a few years after his conversion.

You don't seem to remember that Paul was concerned that what he was preaching may have been in vain, so he went back to Jerusalem where Peter, John and James approved of his message.

You seem to have missed the part when Peter was in Corinth and other cities where Paul was preaching.  It was a concerted effort.  At times they agreed, other times not so much.

 

On 8/27/2018 at 7:47 AM, mistermack said:

I still have some epistles left to read, but they are bloody hard work

Peter might agree with you:

2 Peter 3:15–16
And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

Anyway, best regards.  Thanks for the discussion.  I hope it benefits you in one way or another.

 

Edited by DirtyChai
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It's not likely that Peter wrote those epistles.

But thanks, I've enjoyed your posts and hope I haven't given a wrong impression in this thread.

I think you regard me as wedded to one notion, but I'm not. I'm reading the relevant stuff quite hungrily looking for something definite that you could call good evidence, and I would switch to arguing the other side in an instant, if I found good stuff to argue with. I really don't mind if there was an actual real Jesus or not. I would rather be on the right side of the argument, and would argue the opposite of what I have done just as enthusiastically, If I thought it was probably right.

Basically, it interests me, and I'd rather get it right than wrong.

Having said that, I'm a very firm atheist, and it would take a hell of a jolt to change that. And I'm not craving any such jolt. I'm just interested in whether the Christian religion had an actual man at it's root, or not, because of the indoctrination I got as a kid, and the fact that millions are still followers.

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Dawkins is just going with the consensus. There's no doubt that the consensus thinks there was a Jesus. For Dawkins to call him a "great man" he has to be accepting material from the Gospels, which is a bit naive. But it's up to him what he accepts or doesn't. He doesn't profess to be any kind of expert in scriptures.

And neither do I. I'm just commenting on what I HAVE read.

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"I eluded to the possibility that some historians think Jesus never existed, I take  that Back, Jesus existed"

He even changed his mind...How can Dawkins say something like that? He doesn't need to be an expert in scripture, applying your logic should be sufficient

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He's probably read Bart Ehrman's book and accepted his arguments. There isn't a great wealth of stuff from Bible scholars arguing that there was no Jesus. But that's hardly surprising. Most are in it because they are religious, Ehrman and Carrier are two of the few who aren't.

You're not going to start favouring the no-Jesus scenario, if you're a Christian. I would imagine that in the future, there will be less consensus than there is now. 

Dawkins must be accepting stuff from the gospels as history, if he describes Jesus as a great man. We have no contemporary words or deeds of Jesus at all. He's taking a lot on trust. Or faith. :D

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On 8/31/2018 at 8:24 PM, Itoero said:

He even changed his mind...How can Dawkins say something like that? He doesn't need to be an expert in scripture, applying your logic should be sufficient

It seems that you forget that history is also a kind of empirical science: without any artifacts found, without any written documents or even time witnesses (yes, events of 30 years ago also belong to history). So no, logic definitely doesn't suffice. 

For Dawkins it is rather easy: he is not a historian, so he accepts what the majority of scientists says: that it is very probably Jesus existed. It seems that some of you (Itoero, Ten oz, mistermack) think you are historians and can give arguments against historians, even without knowing how these historians come to the conclusion that Jesus existed.

On 8/26/2018 at 8:02 PM, Itoero said:

If it was one person then he indeed should have  had followers to record stuff.

Nonsense. Jesus' followers were illiterate, so how could they write down anything? One assumes that Jesus could read (no, there are only weak hints for that, so it is not very sure), but not write. We had to wait until literate people decided to collect write down the oral stories about Jesus. Is this an example of your logic? Stating something without any knowledge about the field in question?

On 8/24/2018 at 11:54 AM, mistermack said:

Anyway, if there had been a real Jesus, Paul would have answered their everyday issues with " Jesus said this " or " Jesus did that ".

Why would he? His epistles are motivated by letters he got from churches he grounded, and who asked advice on organisational and theological questions. Besides the fact he sometimes mentions things Jesus said, as DirtyChai already noted.

On 8/22/2018 at 1:41 PM, Ten oz said:

That doesn't prove Paul is making it all up but rather simply means nothing Paul says can be used to prove the existence of Jesus. 

He mentions meeting Jesus' disciple Peter and his brother James. Now James is also mentioned in one of the none-christian sources, as brother of 'Chrestos', who was crucified under Pilate. So we can safely assume this is one fact that Paul did not make up. (I also think he did not make up that there were problems in the churches he grounded, so except his statement that he met Jesus in a vision, I do not know what was all made up.)

On 8/21/2018 at 4:50 PM, mistermack said:

It tells a lot that the Vatican got hold of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and sat on them for over four decades, with the result that nobody will ever know if there was stuff in them to either confirm or refute the stories. It shows that there is a real fear of the truth coming out.

Where did you get this? The Dead Sea scrolls are in the Israel museum in Jerusalem. We slowly know what is in there: the documents are not Christian. But they give a valuable background about ideas that existed in Jesus' days. And some of these ideas fit remarkable well to the apocalyptic teachings of Jesus. So he was not even original.

On 8/21/2018 at 1:04 PM, Ten oz said:

Problem with that argument for me is that had Jesus been real he must of had a devoted group of followers who thought very highly of him. Otherwise why did they carry his story forward for decades after his death. Yet none of them bothered to record anything or save any of his stuff.

See above: because his devotees could not write: they were peasants and fishers.

On 8/21/2018 at 1:04 PM, Ten oz said:

Even Bart Ehrman who has come up a lot in this discussion argues that there is zero contemporary historical evidence for Jesus.

Why 'even'? Ehrman is an honest historian. Just look at some book titles of him, to show that he is fully aware that we should mistrust Christian sources:

  • Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
  • Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
  • Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them)
  • Forged: Writing in the Name of God—Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are
  • The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament
  • Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics
  • How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee
  • Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior
  • The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World

The difference with your way of argumentation is that he can trace many of the forgeries. No sweeping statements like "we cannot trust the sources of Jesus' life". Scholars try to reconstruct the history of the texts.

On 8/18/2018 at 6:46 PM, Ten oz said:

Jesus is supposed to be the fulfillment of prophecy from the old testament

Some prophecies were reinterpreted after Jesus, and some aspects of Jesus' life story were adapted to the prophesies, e.g. that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

On 8/18/2018 at 4:50 PM, Itoero said:

Why are the gospels written in third person, by eyewitnesses?

They were not written by eyewitnesses, but by literates in Greek, that wrote the stories told about Jesus.

On 8/18/2018 at 4:50 PM, Itoero said:

Why were people there to observe and memorize everything that happened, even before Jesus gained fame?

Everything? Why do you suppose that? Why do you think that the 4 Gospels in the New Testament are different? And as you might remember,  Jesus had at least 12 disciples, but there were other followers.

On 8/18/2018 at 4:50 PM, Itoero said:

How can one person write about his birth and Death, like in the gospel of Luke and Matthew? This implies...

I do not see that this (logically?) implies anything.

On 8/18/2018 at 4:50 PM, Itoero said:

The gospels were written after Jesus's death...so people memorized everything Jesus did and said, even in the time before Jesus was famous and they had a reason to be there.?

What is the problem with that? A few devoted followers would suffice.

On 8/18/2018 at 6:35 PM, mistermack said:

You seem convinced that imaginary figures can't get going. There must have been a real Sherlock Holmes, and James Bond

We know these are fictional characters, because we know the history of the sources where they appear. This is the way to start investigation in the antiquities. Find out as much as possible about the history of the sources of Jesus. Only then you can start to dig out what is probably true, and what is just fantasy.

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