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Old 04-19-2001, 03:44 PM   #41
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by diana:
On the other hand, were someone to even amply demonstrate that Jesus never existed (which I think is impossible), it destroys a schema you've had since the cradle (most likely) and upon which you've built your life, hopes, beliefs, dreams. We have certain psychological needs and fears that religion fills nicely:
(1) fear of being alone
(2) fear of death as the end
(3) fear of not having anyone on our side (slightly different from point #1)
(4) a sense of justice that wants to believe that bad people will be punished and good people will be rewarded
(5) an inherent laziness (I speak of mankind here) in which we want to be certain of the answers without being bothered to do the necessary research so we can make educated guesses, which turns out to be a lot of work for less (or so it seems)
(6) an explanation for whatever we don't understand ("The gods did it" has been considered a valid explanation since the beginning of time by all people and creeds)
(7) the need to believe that we're here for a REASON
Perhaps point 5 and 6 go together
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You are the weakest link – Goodbye ! Your assumption as to my psychological profile is wrong. I have been an agnostic and/or atheist at a previous stage in my life. Therefore, your remaining psycho-analysis is rendered mute.

Are you going to respond to any of the five mistakes I pointed out in my first post to you?


[b]
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">But anyhow, I don't deny that your belief brings you a great deal of comfort. For that reason, you're vested in defending it. Because of these natural psychological satisfactions that religion provides, few believers seriously question their faith, and they tend to attack (to differing degrees) anyone who asks too many questions.
We're not this way about religion only; we tend to defend anything that makes sense to us and fulfils us in some way (or in which we've invested much time and effort--another interesting psychological phenomenon) against any opposing ideas.
So I guess I've answered my own comment about why believers see Robin Hood as largely a myth (and can sanely question his very existence) but don't want to do this with their god.[/B</font>
If you’re implying that I’ve “never seriously questioned my faith”, then you would be… wrong again. I constantly have doubts in different areas, and I freely admit it. I’m sorry if I’ve given you the impression that I “attack anyone who asks too many questions”. I’ve not been accused of that before. Are you excluded from these psychological conditions or do they only apply to those with whom you disagree?


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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Just a random question, Polycarp: do you think the Mithra stories were based on a real person?
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If you’ll provide the sources making the claim that it was based on a real person and tell me when they were written and by whom they were written, then I’m open to discussing the issue. Until then, try to stick to the issue of whether or not Jesus existed instead of psychoanalyzing others. Your presumptions as to my life have more often than not been quite wrong.

Peace,

Polycarp

 
Old 04-19-2001, 03:49 PM   #42
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ecco:
It is much easier for a skeptic to believe this (or a similar) scenario than to believe the alternative:
god impregnated a virgin nine months before a pagan holiday; Twenty-five to thirty years later the offspring of this union goes around preaching a new religion and turning water to wine; Several years later he gets nailed to a cross and is buried; At the time of another traditional pagan holiday he comes back to life, walks around for a while, talks to a few people and then is taken into heaven. During all these thirty something years no one writes anything about him: no one records the miracles first hand; no one writes about his death and resurrection first hand; no one writes a first hand account of talking to him afterward.
As I said, COMMON SENSE.
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You’ve successfully attacked and beaten a straw man. Congratulations on your accomplishment. This is not what Christians believe. Would you care to actually respond to something that Christians actually believe? Or better yet... would you care to tell me why you are in a better position than all of the known opponents of Christianity in the first and second centuries to know whether or not Jesus existed? We have no record of the early opponents doubting the existence of Jesus. Certainly you must have actual reasons for being more knowledgeable on the topic than they were.

Peace,

Polycarp
 
Old 04-19-2001, 03:53 PM   #43
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bookman:
Polycarp and Layman,

Given that most people agree that Jesus existed, what specific facts about his life do you consider to be well established historically? Based upon your understanding of the process of history, what do we know with a high degree of certainty about him? We can use the 50% or greater probability that you threw out to begin with.
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Bookman,

Great topic ! As you can see, I'm quite busy with the topic of this thread, but I would definitely like to discuss your suggested topic at a later time. It seems to me that the majority (?) of the non-Christians on this board do not believe Jesus existed. Maybe I'm wrong though...

Peace,

Polycarp

 
Old 04-19-2001, 03:56 PM   #44
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Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for it. Sorry to post off-topic, but it seemed relevant.

Bookman
 
Old 04-19-2001, 03:58 PM   #45
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Polycarp:
[b] Bookman,

Great topic ! As you can see, I'm quite busy with the topic of this thread, but I would definitely like to discuss your suggested topic at a later time. It seems to me that the majority (?) of the non-Christians on this board do not believe Jesus existed. Maybe I'm wrong though...

Peace,

Polycarp
</font>
Ditto.
 
Old 04-19-2001, 06:12 PM   #46
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Polycarp,

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Are you going to respond to any of the five mistakes I pointed out in my first post to you?</font>
I know it's bothersome, but would you do me the kindness of scrolling up and rereading my last post (which hit the board about two hours ago)? I don't like repeating myself when there really is no need. Besides...if you ignored me then, repetition will do little good.

I also politely asked for more information on the Talmud reference, which you appear to have rudely ignored, in order to jump straight to the part that pissed you off. If you continue to attack someone who is seeking an honest discussion in such a way, you might consider changing your signoff from "Peace" to something more appropriate.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Your assumption as to my psychological profile is wrong. I have been an agnostic and/or atheist at a previous stage in my life. Therefore, your remaining psycho-analysis is rendered mute.</font>
No, we tend to have these urges whether we're religious or not. I merely made the comment that most people are born to their religion. If you were not, my point still stands. Why do Xns say stuff like, "Does your life have meaning? Do you know why you're here? Where you're going?" It appeals to our innate desire to feel that we have some greater purpose. You don't have to be born into a religion for this line to appeal to you.

And of course, the basic psychological drives apply to everyone.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If you’re implying that I’ve “never seriously questioned my faith”, then you would be… wrong again.</font>
Actually, I went out of my way to avoid implying this, as I took you at your word that you were trying to be open-minded and engage in honest debate/discussion.

Questioning one's faith is not an either/or proposition (gads...I am repeating myself). However, I will point out that you're exhibiting defensiveness now--and I haven't even attacked you. (If you don't believe me, ask a regular; they'll attest to the fact that my attacks are unmistakable.)

Should you continue to attack me unprovoked, I may oblige you. But I think you're just baiting me, which means I'll only give you a reason to feel superior should I bite. I'm beginning to believe that you aren't really interested in honest discussion so much as you are in convincing yourself that you're willing to consider alternative propositions--a phenomenon I've seen all too often. Generalization? Yes. But you're fitting the mold so far.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I’m sorry if I’ve given you the impression that I “attack anyone who asks too many questions”. I’ve not been accused of that before.</font>
I probably said "you" but I meant it in a general sense. It wasn't aimed at you any more than anyone else.

The rule, so far as I've seen, applies across the board unless the person has purposefully taught himself to not defend his beliefs. I run into this when discussing martial arts theory with other MAs all the time. It is in no way confined to religion. It applies to anyone who has reached a conclusion.

Analogy: your beliefs are a wall you've built, and mine are a wall I've built. When you disagree with my belief, you attack it. I have two choices: I can passively watch to see how well my wall is built, or I can attack you back--although my ability to smash your wall (or not) does nothing to prove/disprove my beliefs. Most of us opt for the latter choice, but more is to be learned from the former.

My question about the possibility of a real person behind Mithra was an attempt to draw an analogy. I was not changing the subject.

diana
 
Old 04-20-2001, 01:27 AM   #47
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Polycarp:
Item 1 refers to the testimony of Paul who was one of the original persecutors of Christians along with other Jewish leaders in Jerusalem.</font>
O.K. I thought you were referring to other documents I wasn't aware of. Whether or not Paul was referring to a human Jesus is currently the topic of the Jesus Puzzle thread so I'll drop it here.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">One passage in Josephus contains Christian interpolations. However, the overwhelming majority of scholars believe there is a core reference to Jesus that was originally written by Josephus that has been altered by Christian scribes. There is also virtually no scholars who dispute the second reference to Jesus in the passage describing the death of James (the brother of Jesus).</font>
I agree. But I would like to know more in detail why these scholars find the mythicist views on Josephus to be false.

Do you have any links or books that give a comprehensive review of the work of Wells or Doherty or any other formulation of the Jesus as myth idea? I'd really like to see reviews of Doherty since I found his book more researched and persuasive than Wells'.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">You still have not listed one reason why you are in a better position than any of the early opponents of Christianity who lived in the first and second centuries. They were in a much better position than you to know whether or not Jesus existed.</font>
You would think so, but we live in a much different world with access to possibly even more documents then the early critics and centuries of detective work. They based their beliefs on oral traditions and existing documents which may be somewhat limited. I would really love to see critics of Christianity from the first century. That would really help to clear up this issue. Also, do you know of any early crics of Paul?



[This message has been edited by PhysicsGuy (edited April 20, 2001).]
 
Old 04-20-2001, 04:48 AM   #48
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by diana:
I know it's bothersome, but would you do me the kindness of scrolling up and rereading my last post (which hit the board about two hours ago)? I don't like repeating myself when there really is no need. Besides...if you ignored me then, repetition will do little good.
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</font>

Diana,

Settle down… I think you’re confused. I haven’t ignored you. It appears as though you thought you posted something that didn’t come through. You didn’t respond to any of the five mistakes I mentioned other than your request for additional info on mistake #1. Unless I’m going blind, the previous post you made was at 2:07PM on April 19th where you began by saying:

“Polycarp, there are a couple of things I'd like to clarify, and I'll get back to the rest later.”

Is the post to which you are referring in this thread? I don’t see anything… Perhaps it never came through. If its in this thread, then please tell me what time is on the post.

Peace,

Polycarp
 
Old 04-20-2001, 05:12 AM   #49
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by PhysicsGuy:
O.K. I thought you were referring to other documents I wasn't aware of. Whether or not Paul was referring to a human Jesus is currently the topic of the Jesus Puzzle thread so I'll drop it here.
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It is not only Paul's testimony. Acts also gives similar information and there is no doubt the writer of Acts believed in a human Jesus.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I agree. But I would like to know more in detail why these scholars find the mythicist views on Josephus to be false.
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I'm not sure I understand your question. Are you saying that scholars should assume everything in Josephus is mythical until it is proven not to be? This is exactly the opposite of how historians work. If a claim is made in Josephus for the existence of a person, it is assumed the person actually existed. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your question.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Do you have any links or books that give a comprehensive review of the work of Wells or Doherty or any other formulation of the Jesus as myth idea? I'd really like to see reviews of Doherty since I found his book more researched and persuasive than Wells'.
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Have you seen this review of Doherty? Let me know what you think of it...
http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_D01_FYCBS.html

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">You would think so, but we live in a much different world with access to possibly even more documents then the early critics and centuries of detective work. They based their beliefs on oral traditions and existing documents which may be somewhat limited. I would really love to see critics of Christianity from the first century. That would really help to clear up this issue.
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</font>
No. No. No... We do not have more documents from the first century at our disposal now than the people who lived at the time. Stop and think about it... How is that possible? Very few writings from the first and second centuries have survived to this day. There are many, many places in the writings we do have that refer to other writings of the era that we no longer possess. There is no historian (and I mean none) who believes we have more documents from the first century now than the people who actually lived at the time. Attrition has eliminated probably 95% or more of the first century writings. Any historian will tell you this.

We do have some writings of critics of Christianity. Not much from the first century other than Tacitus, Pliny, etc. who wrote at the very beginning of the second century, but were active at the end of the first century.

Something you might find interesting is reading the work of Justin Martyr. He was a leader of the church in Rome at the middle of the second century. He was a Greek philosopher who converted to Christianity in about 120-130 C.E. One of his writings is called "Dialogue with Trypho". This is something he wrote in response to a Jew named Trypho who was an opponent of Christianity. This work is obviously only one side of the argument, but its clear to see what Justin's opponents are saying from reading what Justin says. Here's a link: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0128.htm

There's other stuff like that if you're interested. The main point I want to make is that none of the early opponents of Christianity ever doubted the existence of Jesus.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Also, do you know of any early crics of Paul?
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You can see Paul's opponents through his letters. Books like Galatians and 2 Corinthians have major sections in which Paul his defending himself from his critics. Some scholars think the biblical book of James is a critique of Paul's theology.

Peace,

Polycarp


 
Old 04-20-2001, 11:31 AM   #50
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Polycarp:
It seems to me that the majority (?) of the non-Christians on this board do not believe Jesus existed. Maybe I'm wrong though...
</font>

Yes, I think you would be wrong to assume that. I am not a regular contributor, but I'm a non-Christian, specifically an atheist. I can't speak for others on this board. But I do think that a Jewish preacher named Yeshua, called Jesus by the non-Jews in Roman Palestine, probably existed in the late 1st century BCE or early 1st century CE. What the actual biography and character of this person is, is pretty much lost to history, and we are left only with hagiography.

My conclusion is based mostly on, as Andrew Benson said in his book "The Origins of the Bible and Christianity" (to paraphrase) that Paul said he knew James, the 'brother of the Lord', and this same James is attested to in a quote in Josephus. That Josephus quote is probably NOT a later insertion by Christian forgers. It seems pretty unlikely that Paul would make up the person of James, and that Josephus would make up the SAME character.

Although I also recall, I don't remember all the details, that the story of James being stoned during the temple destruction (Josephus' account) conflicts with other Christian history, which has James living another 20 years or so. Any comments?

Regards,

-Kelly
 
 

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