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Old 04-15-2001, 10:53 PM   #1
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Post Skepticism about Jesus Christ's Existence?

First off, I wish to ask if Earl "Jesus Puzzle" Doherty has a working e-mail address; I tried to e-mail him once, but the message bounced.

Now my main subject. One argument advanced to "demonstrate" the existence of a historical Jesus Christ is that if he had never existed, lots of people would have quickly pointed it out, and early Christianity would have shriveled away and died.

However, knowing the history of cults, skepticism has not stopped them for a moment. This could be either by design (deliberate aversion to skeptics) or by natural selection (those with lots of skepticism soon self-destructing as a result of finding their beliefs and "mission" in error).

Consider the history of Mormonism, Christian Science, Moonism, and Scientology. They have aroused the attentions of numerous skeptics, but that did not stop them. So would skeptics questioning the existence of Jesus Christ have stopped early Christanity?
 
Old 04-16-2001, 12:34 PM   #2
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Go to http://www.jesuspuzzle.com - there is a link near the bottom for E-mail to Ed Doherty with 2 addresses: oblio@magi.com and EarlDoherty@hotmail.com.

Email occasionally bounces for a variety of reasons.

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Old 04-16-2001, 01:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by lpetrich:

Consider the history of Mormonism, Christian Science, Moonism, and Scientology. They have aroused the attentions of numerous skeptics, but that did not stop them. So would skeptics questioning the existence of Jesus Christ have stopped early Christanity?</font>
Quick questions:

Did Joseph Smith actually exist? Does Reverend Moon? Did Mary Baker Eddy? How about L. Ron Hubbard?

Thanks,

Nomad
 
Old 04-16-2001, 01:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Consider the history of Mormonism, Christian Science, Moonism, and scientology. They have aroused the attentions of numerous
skeptics, but that did not stop them. So would skeptics questioning the existence of Jesus Christ have stopped early Christanity? </font>
Let us consider the history of Mormonism. Indeed, Christians have challenged, from the beginning, Joseph Smith's claim to have interpreted some gold plated books from antiquity.

But you are right. They never challenged the fact of Joseph Smith's existence. Of course, that was because he DID exist. Just as no one questioned the existence of Jesus because he DID exist.
 
Old 04-16-2001, 01:27 PM   #5
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Let us consider the history of Mormonism. Indeed, Christians have challenged, from the beginning, Joseph Smith's claim to have interpreted some gold plated books from antiquity.

But you are right. They never challenged the fact of Joseph Smith's existence. Of course, that was because he DID exist. Just as no one questioned the existence of Jesus because he DID exist.
</font>
The existence of Jesus has been questioned by a few. Whether you believe that questioning has any merit is another matter. (Unless by "no one" you meant no Christian ever questioned it?)

 
Old 04-16-2001, 01:36 PM   #6
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by madmax2976:
The existence of Jesus has been questioned by a few. Whether you believe that questioning has any merit is another matter. (Unless by "no one" you meant no Christian ever questioned it?)
</font>
I am not talking about overly skeptical Jesus-mythers. The discussion was clearly focused on the rise of early Christianity. Mostly in the first and into the second century.

Of course, if you have evidence that critics of early Christianity were claiming that Jesus never existed, I would appreciate the education. Seriously. Do you?
 
Old 04-16-2001, 02:29 PM   #7
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As an analogy, comparing Joseph Smith and Mormonism to Jesus and Christianity doesn't work very well. Joseph Smith was the primary initial prophet, who actively led the early Mormon church. Christianity, on the other hand, didn't really begin in earnest under the temporal guidance of Jesus, but rather Paul and other disciples. Thus, it would be better to question the actual existence of Mormon religious figures such as the angel Moroni or the Jesus who visited North America as a comparison.

We don't question the existence of the teachers (Paul et al.), but rather the truth and historicity of what they taught.
 
Old 04-16-2001, 02:35 PM   #8
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by daemon23:
As an analogy, comparing Joseph Smith and Mormonism to Jesus and Christianity doesn't work very well. Joseph Smith was the primary initial prophet, who actively led the early Mormon church. Christianity, on the other hand, didn't really begin in earnest under the temporal guidance of Jesus, but rather Paul and other disciples. Thus, it would be better to question the actual existence of Mormon religious figures such as the angel Moroni or the Jesus who visited North America as a comparison.

We don't question the existence of the teachers (Paul et al.), but rather the truth and historicity of what they taught.
</font>
Christianity existed and was spreading prior to Paul's conversion, as the travels he undertook to persecute them demonstrate. As well as the existence of the Jerusalem and Antioch churches at the very least.

And I think you missed the focus of the thread.
 
Old 04-16-2001, 02:51 PM   #9
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
I am not talking about overly skeptical Jesus-mythers. The discussion was clearly focused on the rise of early Christianity. Mostly in the first and into the second century.

Of course, if you have evidence that critics of early Christianity were claiming that Jesus never existed, I would appreciate the education. Seriously. Do you?
</font>
Don't get so excited Layman. Its really not necessary. I was simply trying to clarify your statment that "no one" has ever questioned the existence of Jesus. Now you have clarified that your were speaking of early Christians. Thats fine.

As for your description of the "Jesus-mythers" as being overly skeptical, I now understand your take on them as well.

I can't think of any "critics" off hand from that ancient time period that claimed Jesus never really existed. If any Jewish ones were ever written down, it doesn't seem they survived, but then I'm not an historian.

Certainly there were those who didn't believe him to actually be God incarnate, but that was a theological difference, not a criticism of his mere existence.

Thanks for the clarification in any case.
 
Old 04-16-2001, 03:00 PM   #10
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It seems to me that the analogy would be to those who question the existence of the Angel Moroni, or of Thetans. These entities so obviously do not exist, that no one bothers to debate the question.

Ed Doherty has produced some fairly convincing evidence that at least some of the early Christians were not too concerned about the existence of Jesus on this plane of existence. It was an age that believed in higher planes of existence, which were considered to be a higher reality. Jesus' existence and death and resurrection only in that higher plane would not have been a severe stumbling block to the growth of Christianity.
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