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Old 03-19-2001, 03:24 PM   #21
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Now, the basic facts of the story are not supernatural, and are well enough attested to be pretty agreeable to serious historians.

Oh, I hate to play devil's advocate but I need some fun:

The above is false. Dead false.

#1 is false: Jesus (as per the religion) was supernaturally born by a virgin.

#2 is false: Jesus (as per the religion)escaped so many times from being killed or stoned (by supernatural means) that he ought not have lasted a month in His ministry...

#3 is false: Jesus (as per the religion) was pure and could not die by any means other than the supernatural voluntary giving up of his soul - the crucifixion itself was Divinely planned and executed - Jesus allowed Himself to be crucifed and then, basically committed supernatural voluntary suicide (John Donne).

#4 is false: Jesus (as per the religion) was supernaturally resurrected, and the transformation and subsequent success, is attested to by Christ Himself as an effect of the supernatural workings of the Paraclete that came at Pentecost.

That's the way the Bible portrays the events - I doubt that any histor-critical method can verify any of it....

Regards,
 
Old 03-19-2001, 03:33 PM   #22
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by jmcanany:
#1 is false: Jesus (as per the religion) was supernaturally born by a virgin.

#2 is false: Jesus (as per the religion)escaped so many times from being killed or stoned (by supernatural means) that he ought not have lasted a month in His ministry...

#3 is false: Jesus (as per the religion) was pure and could not die by any means other than the supernatural voluntary giving up of his soul - the crucifixion itself was Divinely planned and executed - Jesus allowed Himself to be crucifed and then, basically committed supernatural voluntary suicide (John Donne).

#4 is false: Jesus (as per the religion) was supernaturally resurrected, and the transformation and subsequent success, is attested to by Christ Himself as an effect of the supernatural workings of the Paraclete that came at Pentecost.
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Uhhh... The game sure is easy when you change the rules. You've changed each of the claims made by Nomad. Now go back and address his claims and not your little strawmen you've created. Although they do look kinda cute...

Peace,

Polycarp

 
Old 03-19-2001, 03:34 PM   #23
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by jmcanany:</font>
Hi jm

Since I assume you are an atheist, I already know what you do not believe. I am interested in finding out what you DO believe happened.

Any thoughts are welcome.

Nomad
 
Old 03-19-2001, 03:37 PM   #24
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by jmcanany:
Now, the basic facts of the story are not supernatural, and are well enough attested to be pretty agreeable to serious historians.

Oh, I hate to play devil's advocate but I need some fun:

The above is false. Dead false.

#1 is false: Jesus (as per the religion) was supernaturally born by a virgin.

#2 is false: Jesus (as per the religion)escaped so many times from being killed or stoned (by supernatural means) that he ought not have lasted a month in His ministry...

#3 is false: Jesus (as per the religion) was pure and could not die by any means other than the supernatural voluntary giving up of his soul - the crucifixion itself was Divinely planned and executed - Jesus allowed Himself to be crucifed and then, basically committed supernatural voluntary suicide (John Donne).

#4 is false: Jesus (as per the religion) was supernaturally resurrected, and the transformation and subsequent success, is attested to by Christ Himself as an effect of the supernatural workings of the Paraclete that came at Pentecost.

That's the way the Bible portrays the events - I doubt that any histor-critical method can verify any of it....

Regards,
</font>
Sure it can. It can establish that he was born, that his ministry lasted 3 years, that he was executed by crucifixion, that he was buried in a tomb, most likely by J of A, and that within days of his death his disciples and family members were claiming that the tomb was empty and that Jesus has risen from the dead. Thereafter, despite persecution, those disciples and family members spread this message throughout the Roman Empire.

The above facts are considered by most New Testament scholars to be true. The fact that the New Testament, whether correct or not, puts a supernatural spin on things doesn't make the unsupernatural above referenced facts false.
 
Old 03-19-2001, 03:41 PM   #25
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:
Oh please, Nomad, do you seriously want anyone to write a book for you explaining the success of one strain of Christian belief over all others, as well as over previous religions? What are you going to do if we can't, crow that Christianity succeeded in converting the smallest and least technologically and socially advanced of the world's major empires of the time because god intended it to be that way? Don't be silly.
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I'd like to hear your theory on the ORIGIN of Christianity, not how it spread. Who started it? When did they start it? Where and how did it start?

You don't need to write a book - one or two paragraphs should suffice

Peace,

Polycarp

 
Old 03-19-2001, 04:08 PM   #26
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Well. Basically, Mohammed claimed that Allah had revealed his word to him.
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Not exactly. Muhammad claimed that the angel Jibra'il revealed the word to him. Later revelations included direct communication.


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Mohammed did not claim to be divine or perform miracles. Some people believed him.
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OK.


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Those that believed him started killing those that didn't.
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Uh, no. The history of Islam wasn't just a bloody conquer event. A gross oversimplification. The conversion to Islam was done more for reasons of military or economic alliance.

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Eventually, more people starting joining than were being killed.

That pretty much explains the beginnings.
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Wow. The history of Islam fits on the back of an envelope.

Don't become a history teacher.


 
Old 03-19-2001, 04:20 PM   #27
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Omnedon1:
Wow. The history of Islam fits on the back of an envelope.

Don't become a history teacher.

</font>
Just highlighting the differences, especially as they relate to the point as issue: the manner in which Christianity first arose. If you have specific disagreements, please list them.

Mohammad has plenty of blood on his hands. Some of it justified, some of it not, IMO. But it is clear that the rise of Islam is very distinct from the rise of Christianity.

In the early years, Mohammed lead his followers on raids of nearby trading caravans. There was a food shortage in his village. He also met his arabic enemies in battle when they attacked him and his village. And he met his arabic enemies in battle when he attacked them and their villages.

He also had poets and other dissidents killed if they spoke against him.

 
Old 03-19-2001, 05:15 PM   #28
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:

Nomad, there isn't really anything very interesting in the spread of a missionary religion. One need only examine Buddhism.
Christianity was able to spread precisely because Rome was an empire; if Jesus and Paul had been born stone-age tool users in Kenya, the incoming Bantu-speakers would have killed them all. Rome had good communications, a common political culture, political stability and so forth.</font>
Alright, on the one hand we have the existence of the Roman Empire accounting for Christianity's success in its first 400-500 years (working with your theory), but then the Western Roman Empire collapsed completely in 476, and still without the benefit of all the things you listed Christianity continued to spread throughout Western Europe?

I'm sorry, I was responding to the comment that respondents had failed to account for the period 0-300. I was under the impression that they had. My post was only intended to cover that period.


Unlike the Muslims, Christian missionaries in this period had no armies, and unlike China when the Buddhists arrived, it didn't have an organized political structure either. So how can you credit the existence of an organized Empire with Christian success on the one hand, then claim that the destruction of this same Empire into the anarchy of the Dark Ages (c. 500-800AD) made Christian success a guarantee?

I'm not making that claim, as I said.

Buddhist history also affords similar examples of conversion of barbarian kings/tribes. What's the big deal?

A common Christian tactic was to convert the monarch and have him force the religion on his people. This was tried and successful in Europe. Christianity also bent to accomodate the new tribes. As I recall, Clovis of the Franks was converted after negotiations of more than a year, which ended in the church accepting his claims to divine status in exchange for his enforcement of Catholicism throughout his realm. The pious story is that his wife converted him. In some areas they simply reconsecrated pagan sites as christian so the people could continue their old beliefs in the new one's name, which would later absorb them. You can see the whole article at Ency. Brit. if you like.

In neither case did Christians enjoy the benefits of control of the state or large armies to assist in its spread.

Yes, but you forget that the population of many of those barbarian territories was largely Christian to begin with. The Empire of the Franks was composed of a mixed population of barbarian non-christians and a gallic roman population. There was already a large leaven of Christians. It's less amazing than one might think.

Further, Christianity was backed by armed might during this period, in the form of the church alliance with the Franks that was struck with Clovis and continued through to Charlemagne. Opposing kings were either converted or killed (but usually converted, to be fair).

As for the atraction, I think having monks around would have had positive benefits, in the form of access to a literacy andeduation, as well as mediation in warfare, and other usueful attributes. Buddhist monks also played these same roles in Central Asia and China.
I don't think that the Chinese have a concept of a Messiah figure. Your theory here is interesting however. Would you say this is why Buddhism succeeded in China?

Offhand, I don't know much about the success of Buddhism in China. Both it and Taoism are pretty laid back, and Confucianism is primarily an ethical system which in its later manifestations was concerned more with the citizens duties to the state. There wasn't much that would have actively opposed it, and much that would have welcomed it.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Too, one must think of the time. Christianity was hardly the only religion spreading throughout the Roman Empire. And it seems there is some cussedness to humankind that causes some people to convert to any religion, no matter how stupid. Look at the success of Mormonism, the JWs, the Taipings, the Krishnas, the TMers, etc etc.</font>
What is your point here please? Christianity wiped out every other religion in the Western World (except Judaism), and anything else that came after it was more or less a branch of Christianity. All of this was done during periods when organized empires did not exist in Europe (i.e. 500-800AD) or when being actively opposed by the Empire that was there (i.e. 33-313AD plus the reign of Julian in 362-3).

My point referred to the period 0-300, as the original post was addressed. I have addressed the period 500-800 in the area above, and other posters have dealt with Constantine. And organized kingdoms did exist during this period, though naturally much smaller than the Roman Empire.

Even when the Church did have official sanction, it seemed to have to protect itself from it's rulers almost as much as when it was officially opposed by these same states (see example of Roman emporers promoting Arianism against Church orthodoxy). Don't you find this even a bit curious?

Not in the slightest. They went after the kings. Easy as pie. Same thing happened with Buddhists in Central Asia.


Remember, you're looking at a 350 year period here. In any given area, that represents 12 kings, at least, with a generous reign for each of 30 years. That's 12 chances. It only takes one conversion.....

How about when Christians sent out missionaries into hostile countries (without any army to help them) in which the local authorities opposed them?

The hostile countries already had large christian populations. The really serious struggle was between various church factions and doctrines, such as Arianism.

Serious question: Were Buddhist monks killed in large numbers by the local Chinese authorities when they were spreading Buddhism around 500 to 100BC?

Nope. There was a brief pogrom in the Tang, probably the only one I can think of offhand in Chinese history. Why kill monks? If you have more questions, consult the Ency. Brit. They have an extensive article on it.

The basic problem with your two threads on this topic, Nomad, is that have a "gee whiz! isn't this amazing?" viewpoint caused by their intense ethnocentricism. You are marveling at an artificial construction. There is almost nothing in the spread of Christianity that is not replicated in the missionary work of Buddhists in Asia, save for the use of the sword against unbelievers.

Michael

[This message has been edited by turtonm (edited March 19, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by turtonm (edited March 19, 2001).]
 
Old 03-19-2001, 05:19 PM   #29
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">First, no one asked to have Jesus taken down early. The only reason we know of as to why he was given to Joseph of A. was because he was thought to already be dead.</font>
First of all, I discount any Biblical reference as to the circumstances under which the request was made to remove Jesus from the cross by Joseph of A.(i.e. the verbal exchange that occured between Pilate and J. of A.) The only members of the twelve who might have had any first hand knowledge of it were Peter (who seemed to keep a safe distance from events) and the BD (who presumably was not with J. of A.) Any exchange that occured between Pilate and J. of A. would either be speculative or second-hand. I therefore reject the testimony in Mk. 15: 44-45. I would instead suggest that all the reliable testimony we have concerning the circumstances of Jesus' removal from the cross is that J. of A. asked Pilate to have Jesus removed from the cross and Pilate did so. Concerning Jn 19:34, I don't believe that the BD actually wrote that and have seen it interpreted as being a later redaction. The language of Jn 19:35 is supposedly (I can't find my source but I remember the argument) ambiguous enough that it may suggest second-hand attestation, hence the special emphasis on it being witnessed and true. Presumably it needed additional attestation since it was NOT from the primary author. So I therefore reject 19:34-37 as testimony from an unreliable source. Concerning the soldier's motivation for not breaking his legs (Jn. 19:32-33), I don't think the BD asked them , but rather speculated on their reasons. I rather think that they didn't break his legs because J. of A. had already asked for him to be taken down and they were simply doing as they were told (perhaps J. of A. asked also that no more abuse be placed on him).

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Second, Jesus did not receive any medical care at all. Instead, he was wrapped up in a cloth and put in a tomb with a large stone rolled in front of it.</font>
Well, this is getting more into my argument than I wanted to at this stage but I'll take that one up also. I'm just not sure that's true. Aloes can be used to treat wounds but I can't imagine it being used to preserve a body. (I own a huge aloe plant and sometime use it's leaves to treat burns and cuts to encourage healing.) Do we have any other testimony of aloe being placed on dead bodies? Even if the answer is yes, they at least have both purposes. So, I'm not sure that he couldn't have received treatment. The testimony for what happened when he was brought to the "tomb" seem to depend on the Marys and maybe Nicodemus. How long the Marys stuck around and when they arrived to first see the tomb seems unclear. I accept that saw where it was at least one time before the Resurrection, but when and for how long remains unclear.


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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Third, Jesus had been severely beaten before he was crucified, making his survival even more problematic.</font>
The severity of Jesus' beating is also questionable. Who were the witnesses? Do we know that Josephus' survivor wasn't scourged? He might have also been and survived. (Incidently, I'm not looking for a full recovery for Jesus here, just a survival for some time: I'm not sure yet if it needs to be a couple hours, a few days, or a month yet.)

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Fourth, Jesus was stabbed by a spear, and blood and water poured from the wound. This did not happen to any of the men in Josephus' report.</font>
See why I question this in your first point.
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Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge.
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Again, this is highly speculative as to Jesus actual physical condition since the doctor takes the gospel accounts of Jesus treatment at face value- I don't.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">... Jesus' inability to carry his own cross to Golgotha...</font>
Strangely enough John seems to disagree with this (17a). Perhaps John just omits this. I think that it is a stretch to infer that he couldn't take up his cross. Perhaps the guards simply wanted someone else to carry it as a mock servant of the King of the Jews. I don't think we can infer anything from him not carrying his cross.
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">...and the spear piercing his side...</font>
Again see why I dispute this. It has also been suggested that this was actually included in John for theological reasons rather than as a literal event.
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> I would say it is far more reasonable (in fact the only reasonable) position to argue that Jesus died on the cross before his body was taken down.</font>
I've explained above why I think an alternative is at least possible.


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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Do you have any evidence of someone surviving crucifixion without the benefit of medical treatment, or of the Romans actually botching a crucifixion so that the individual actually survived?</font>
No. How many individual accounts of crucifixion do we have? I'm not an historian so I don't know the statistics but if you do, let me know.

Let's see if I've gained any ground here.



[This message has been edited by not a theist (edited March 19, 2001).]
 
Old 03-19-2001, 06:07 PM   #30
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Just highlighting the differences, especially as they relate to the point as issue: the manner in which Christianity first arose. If you have specific disagreements, please list them.
</font>
The disagreement is in the details, and the tone of portrayal here.

Among those who don't know better, Islam is portrayed as a violent religion that acquired converts merely by threat of death. There were such instances, but it's a vastly more complex picture than that. Hence my comment about "Islamic history fitting on the back of an envelope."


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Mohammad has plenty of blood on his hands. Some of it justified, some of it not, IMO. But it is clear that the rise of Islam is very distinct from the rise of Christianity.
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Distinct in form? Yes. Distinct in moral character? No.


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In the early years, Mohammed lead his followers on raids of nearby trading caravans. There was a food shortage in his village. He also met his arabic enemies in battle when they attacked him and his village. And he met his arabic enemies in battle when he attacked them and their villages.
</font>

Yes, Muhammad was vigorous in defense of his people. This is not a sin in Islam.


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He also had poets and other dissidents killed if they spoke against him.
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Is this a hadith, or a sura?




[This message has been edited by Omnedon1 (edited March 19, 2001).]
 
 

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