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Old 04-20-2001, 11:08 PM   #61
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I think it was kind of sad that you went to Malaysia to preach, Layman, it looks like the trip was wasted on you.
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YOU DID WHAT?

Consider for a moment your condescending and insulting behavior to others on this board (and for the sake of impartiality, I exclude myself). Do you really think you have the credentials (temperment, or spiritual) to be preaching to people in Malaysia?

My uncle was a minister before he died. I was raised in a church that took the ministry very seriously. One of the things my church used to say was "If someone accused you of being a Christian, would they have enough evidence to convict?" They used that saying as a way to challenge people to put their faith into daily practice.

They began with the qualifications for a deacon; after all, if you can't meet those criteria, then chances are that you're not qualified to be a minister.

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TI1 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

TI1 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

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If your audience in Malaysia found out about your behavior on this board, what do you think? Would it help you "preaching", or would it hurt you?

And "yes", this question is fair game. Absolutely fair game. No one forced you to participate here, or preach in Malaysia. If you're going to represent your faith as an ambassador, then a certain level of behavior is expected.

Michael's criticism is on point:

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I'm sorry if you felt offended. But as you will notice from your third post, when you post sweeping, sarcastic attacks, and then back them up with further sarcasm, you're going to get it back. In spades.
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Old 04-21-2001, 02:04 AM   #62
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Om: PhysicsGuy, you should be aware that the particular individual who owns this website, [...], posts under a pseudonym ("J.P. Holding"), because he claims to be at risk for working as a prison librarian.

If he says that he’s at risk, who are you to question it? Obviously one working in a prison might have a few experiances with inmates (who aren’t there because they cut in line at the dairy queen) which might cause him to be cautious---but you, and the Secular Web know better than he, right? Is it okay to possibly put someone in danger just because you aren’t fond of them?

We assert that humanism will: (a) affirm life rather than deny it; (b) seek to elicit the possibilities of life, not flee from them; and (c) endeavor to establish the conditions of a satisfactory life for all [except that petulent J.P. Holding], not merely for the few. By this positive morale and intention humanism will be guided, and from this perspective and alignment the techniques and efforts of humanism will flow.


Om: he has refused to link to the original arguments of his opponents. And in past debates with other contributors to The Secular Web, he has refused to link to the original arguments of his opponents.
Instead, he includes selected excerpts of their arguments, which may or may not reflect the actual point they wish to make.


And Holding has responded to such accusations:

“Well, quite honestly, I found Doherty's site so disorganized that I resorted to a desperate tactic - I simply pasted them all into a single document and worked from there! So, in the process, all location-markers were lost. I regret any inconvenience to the reader, but to Doherty himself, I offer no regrets unless he can somehow prove that in doing this I misrepresented him. But I rather doubt that that has happened.
As for the other - alas, I must admit that I was indeed trying to make sure that no one would be able to find Doherty's site: Not providing an URL was the first step; presently, I am working on a computer virus that will cause anyone using a search engine and entering "Earl Doherty" to be referred to the county government page of Dougherty County in Georgia, and will refer entries of "Jesus Puzzle" to the Milton-Bradley corporate page. It doesn't work yet, but success is expected hourly. The final step will be to actually place my rebuttal articles on a page that is not accessible to the cybersurfing public! In truth, the niceties of linking pages was something I left in the hands of the manager of my previous website residence years ago (whom Doherty, I perceive, does not realize was a person other than myself), and it is not surprising, given recent personal circumstances which we shall not delve into, that a link was not added. But even so, what of it? The readers of my rebuttal are assumed to have already read Doherty's material, and therefore would not need a link: Others are assumed to have no interest, since they do not know who Doherty is, and if they are of the closed-minded sorts that Doherty alludes to derisively elsewhere, then adding a link hardly makes any difference;

If you decide to read his review, you might keep in mind the nature of the individual who did the review.

The Next time you’re going to try and poison the well by attacking someone’s character, could you try and put your kill-words in a larger – possibly blinking – font? Also, It would really help if you would make use of some animated GIFs of Satan and his angels stabbing Holding’s work with their pitchforks.

 
Old 04-21-2001, 06:36 PM   #63
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by DougI:
The evidence for Nazareth not existing is the failure of record. The Talmud, although mentioning numerous cities, fails to give mention to the city of Nazareth. Josephus mentions a small village a mile away from present day Nazareth but manages to miss the entire city of Nazareth. No archeological evidence for Nazareth having existed in the first century (so my dates may be wrong, Nazareth probably didn't exist until 100 years after Jesus' alleged death). So there appears no reason to assume that Jesus existed since he originated from a town that didn't exist.
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You completely missed the point of my argument. I'll summarize.

1. The gospel of Mark was written no later than about 75 C.E. This is universally acknowledged by Biblical scholars.

2. Mark 1:9, 1:24, and 10:47 say that Jesus was from Nazareth.

According to your theory, Nazareth did not exist until 130 C.E. So how did Mark know that their would be a town called Nazareth that would just happen to exist in the same general area as he said it would? In order to believe your theory, you'd have to say that Mark was able to predict the future and I don't think this is what you want to do.

Is this making sense yet?

We have 5 different first century sources (Matt, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts) that tell us a town called Nazareth existed early in the first century. Why don’t these sources count? Nazareth was a very small town. In fact, you wouldn’t even call it a town as much as a village. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that Josephus lists every city in Galilee. He doesn’t.

I also have no idea why you bring up the Talmud. Doing so actually refutes your own theory. Here’s how:

1. You said Nazareth didn’t exist until about 130 C.E.
2. The Talmud was compiled between 200 – 500 C.E.

If you want to use the Talmud as evidence that Nazareth did not exist early in the first century, then you would also have to use it as evidence that it did not also exist at the time you claim it did (130 C.E.) because the Talmud was written much later than 130 C.E.

Are you beginning to see the utter implausibility of your argument? This is why all reputable Biblical scholars believe Nazareth existed at the time of Jesus. Therefore, your comparisons of Jesus to Hamlet or Superman are absurd.

Please tell me you don’t still believe Nazareth did not exist until 130 C.E. This idea is so contrary to any sort of historical evidence that I seriously doubt the intellectual honesty of anyone who still accepts it after thorough investigation.

Peace,

Polycarp
 
Old 04-21-2001, 07:10 PM   #64
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by PhysicsGuy:
Yes, but what is frustrating is that these critics seem to be fairly late compared to Paul. Can you tell from Paul that his critics accept the historical nature of Jesus?
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There are a few related issues. First, its absolutely clear to me that Paul believed in a human Jesus. Passages such as Romans 1:3, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, and many others make this perfectly clear.

We never see Paul defending his belief in a human Jesus. If the first Christians (and Paul) had been proclaiming Jesus as messiah and their opponents doubted Jesus’ existence, then they would have asked for some sort of proof. Despite all of the accusations directed against the first Christians we NEVER see them defending the fact that Jesus actually existed. This is because their opponents never doubted the fact. When we consider the fact that Christianity started in Jerusalem, the very city in which they claimed Jesus died, it becomes unthinkable to claim that the Christians invented a fictitious character whose existence was never doubted by its strongest opponents.

1 Corinthians 1:20-25 is probably the clearest indicator that Paul’s opponents accepted the historical nature of Jesus. Paul is defending himself from non-Christian opponents and summarizing the reasons why they reject Christianity. Note verses 22-23:

“Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.”

It’s a stumbling block to Jews because they can not accept the idea of a crucified criminal being their messiah. This idea was completely foreign in first-century Judaism. Non-Christian Jews didn’t reject Christianity because they doubted the existence of Jesus, they did so because the idea of worshipping a crucified criminal was repugnant to them.

Peace,

Polycarp
 
Old 04-21-2001, 07:28 PM   #65
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Hi, Polycarp.

I took the time to read the rest of the thread, just in case something new had crept up. I noted that you mention that "most non-believers in this forum appear to think Jesus didn't exist" (or maybe that was Layman; I don't recall). While I won't debate the "most" designation one way or the other (I don't know what everybody believes any more than you do), I will tell you what I think. For the record.

Am I certain there was no Jesus of Nazareth? Of course not. As we both know, one cannot prove non-existence of anything or anyone. Do I see anything that substantiates a belief in his existence (disregarding his deity)? Not yet. He could or could not have lived, so far as we have evidence to demonstrate at this point. For me, this is more than enough to render any belief in his "working miracles" and "being the Son of God" moot. I simply argue that I have not yet seen any independent evidence of his existence that could not be written off as Xn interpolation.

Of course, if Jesus lived then and (hypothetically speaking) no one had built any stories around his life--in other words, if he was just a common joe--we wouldn't reasonably expect any record of his life, anyway. Essentially, any argument about him being a historical figure which wishes to forget (for the sake of argument) that he was reputed to be a god is a waste of time. So far as I can see, there are only two choices for reasonable argument: (1) Jesus was the Son of God (i.e., the Bible speaks truth), or (2) Jesus was not the son of a god and perhaps never even existed.

For this reason, I find it difficult to separate the godly claims associated with Jesus from an argument of his existence. If he existed and wasn't a god, then he truly wasn't much to scream about and we should be surprised if he shows up anywhere. On the other hand, if he existed, was/is a god, and did even a fraction of the many miracles attributed to him, he should show up MANY places--unmistakeably. He does not. C'est tout pour moi.

By the way, the Josephus quote about "James, the brother of the Lord" you mentioned...I'm curious about this one, as well. Do you have the entire quote or a url I can link to, perchance? Thanks.

OK.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Diana’s mistake #1 – The Talmud acknowledges the fact that Jesus performed feats which defied “natural explanation”, and the Talmud certainly was not written by “believers”.</font>
Since you haven't answered my requests for assistance on the Talmud, I took a bit of time to look up what I could (research in progress, though, as I'm not satisfied). I have hitherto known nothing about the Talmud, other than the fact that it is a Jewish document. I found that it is a compilation (circa 133 AD?) of oral teachings. The only reference to Jesus that I could find that didn't sound really fetching was the following:

"And it is tradition: On the eve of Passover they hung Jeshu [the Nazarene]. And the crier went forth before him forty days (saying), [Jeshu the Nazarene] goeth forth to be stoned, because he hath practiced magic and deceived and led Israel astray. Anyone who knoweth aught in his favor, let him come and declare concerning him. And they found naught in his favor. And they hung him on the eve of the Passover. Ulla said, 'Would it be supposed that [Jeshu the Nazarene] a revolutionary, had aught in his favor?' He was a deceiver and the Merciful (i.e. God) hath said (Deut. xiii 8), `Thou shalt not spare, neither shalt thou conceal him.' But it was different with [Jeshu the Nazarene] for he was near the kingdom.''' (Sanhedrin 43a)

(I referenced http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/talmud_jesus.htm)

The "it is tradition" beginning, however, suggests the writer himself doubts the veracity of the statement.

If you have better references or you feel I missed something important, please tell me. As the Talmud references are new to me, I'm intrigued.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Diana’s mistake #2 – There is a reference to a person who claims to have directly witnessed the actions of Jesus. John 21:24 says, “This is the disciple who testifies about these things and has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.” This is said in the context of summarizing all of the information in the gospel of John and identify the “beloved disciple” mentioned in the gospel. It is a claim to eyewitness testimony.</font>
It took me a while to figure out what I'd said that catalyzed you to provide scripture as testimony. So I reread what I wrote. I did say "yet there is for some reason no record of [miracles] outside of the writings of believers who didn't even claim to witness a whit of it," so I now understand why you were motivated to post that.

John 21:20, 21, 24: "Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayest thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?...This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true."

John 13:23-25 speaks of the last supper incident in question, and the one who leaned on his breast at supper was Peter...depending on how one inserts the punctuation. Remember that the Hebrew from which this was translated has no capitalization, no vowels, no space between characters and no punctuation. I could punctuate the translation to suggest that Peter was the "beloved" disciple or someone else was.

But the first scripture reads so as to suggest that someone else was the "beloved" one. In this case, the "beloved" disciple goes unnamed. "The gospel according to John" suggests John himself didn't write it. At best, he dictated it, but that is pure supposition, as well. But due to the "and we know his testimony is true" closer, I wonder who "we" is. (I wonder, also, how "we" knew his testimony was true.)

At the very best, this is a second-hand eyewitness testimony. To my knowledge, though, nothing backs up this best case scenario. In verse 25, after speaking of Peter and the anonymous "disciple whom Jesus loved," the writer says, "...I suppose...." This "I"--who was it?

Anonymous writers, particularly when they are religiously motivated, are not considered dependable witnesses, on average. For these reasons, I reject this "eyewitness testimony."

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Diana’s mistake #3 – Nobody is trying to make any money off of you.</font>
Do you mean that Xnty does NOT want me to "give as I have received"? I'm not saying this sarcastically. This is what I was taught as a Xn, and it was backed up with scripture. Also, Paul preached that it is proper for a preacher to be paid for his work. Since God doesn't need my money, I guess I don't understand who/what I'm giving to, that no one's trying to make money off me. If a preacher is being paid to preach at me, he's making money off me. If I'm off-base in my reply here, I guess I don't understand your point.

I will add to my original list, now that I've thought about it, that the church seeks not only my money, but power (control of its believers) as well.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Me: If the details of that person's supposed life are contradictory AND coincidentally happen to parallel standard myth stories, I lean toward the idea that the whole character is a figment of imagination.

Polycarp: Diana’s mistake #4 – There was a story in the news in my area last week about a woman who had been kidnapped. The story I saw on a TV station conflicted with the story I read the next day in the newspaper. Their timeframes were slightly different, they listed different occupations for the woman, etc. Should I now believe that the woman did not exist, or that she was not kidnapped? I would hope not…</font>
Should you believe she didn't exist? Do the known "facts" of her life disagree AND do they often coincide with obvious mythological occurrances? If yes, then perhaps she didn't exist.

Should you believe she wasn't kidnapped?

The obvious answer is, did all the details of her kidnapping also coincide with standard myth stories? But that's gross oversimplification on my part, I admit (or maybe not...do you believe in government cover-ups?) I would say that, if the details of her kidnapping were in disagreement, it's possible she ran away and tried to make it look like kidnapping. If different occupations were listed, it's possible that (1) she had two occupations and each reporter only heard about one; (2) the reporter(s) made a mistake; or (3) the newspaper was planting an inaccuracy on purpose to mislead the still-at-large criminal in some way.

If number 1 is true, the occupations cannot be mutually incompatible.

[quote]Diana’s mistake #5 – I’m sure you’re aware that William Wallace (of Braveheart fame) meets most of the criteria for myth stories. Historians don’t doubt his existence. The stories of Roman emperors were told in similar fashion. Are you saying you don’t believe Roman emperors existed?[/i]

I don't claim to be an expert on William Wallace or the Roman emperors, but I suspect, in both cases, there are enough records that were written at the time they lived by friend and foe alike to ascertain their existence without much trouble. Were they figures upon which many tall tales were added? Undoubtedly.

Did people actually think the Caesars were gods? I honestly don't think so. I think the people were required by protocol to worship Caesar as a god and if they didn't, he'd take their lives. I think, in short, they faked it in the hopes they could die of old age.

Perhaps I'm just not seeing the analogy here. Please help me out.

diana
 
Old 04-21-2001, 08:32 PM   #66
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Diana: The thing about Roman emperors though is that there is typically physical evidence, none of which we have for the alledged Jesus. There are many surviving Roman coins with the likeness of an emperor on them. Likewise busts and artwork survive as well. Again, we have neither of these for Jesus the man.

We also have multiple histories that somewhat coincide on the existance of various Roman emperors.

Another Christian myth is that the Romans savagely persecuted them or required their subjects to "worship" them. Occassionaly until the Christians took over, they were persecuted as a troublesome minority much like our far right wing-nuts are today. Many probably felt like the Indianapolis Baptist temple that got taken over by the feds for failure to withhold taxes. In Roman times, their goods were confiscated and some folks became lion bait.

By and large, both the Republic and Empire was relatively religious tolerant. They had a pantheon of Gods and if there was one more, what was the fuss? And early Christian apologetics seem to bear this out as well.

However, once the Christians took over the empire by converting the big cheese, notice how intolerant it quickly became. Christianity became the "official" religion of the empire and God help any pagan that didn't profess the Christ.

As to the Caesars being God, this was usually some nutjob that didn't last a horribly long time on the throne. Most of them did not...in fact the time Julius took over the throne, he also bore the title of "priest" and if I remember correctly, it was Pontifex Maximus. In those times, you had to keep all the gods happy, not just one but the important thing to note was that you didn't have gods jealous of another god. That was saved for mythology.

To put this whole thread in summary, we have about 5 secular sources that even reference "Christians" and the only one that really references "Christ" is Josephus, which appears to be compromised. We have zero physical evidence. And all else we have is the bible tell us that it is "so". Ironically, the bible claims hundreds of witnesses to this event...but somehow those people of such strong oral tradition neglected to remember WHO they were. Likewise, the final story of Christ (the resurrection) is hopelessly unreconcilable in detail...in fact, just about all you can get out of it is that there might have been a resurrection. Go beyond that...and the details are muddled. Again, strange for such a people of strong oral tradition, eh?
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Old 04-21-2001, 08:43 PM   #67
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by diana:
Since you haven't answered my requests for assistance on the Talmud, I took a bit of time to look up what I could (research in progress, though, as I'm not satisfied). I have hitherto known nothing about the Talmud, other than the fact that it is a Jewish document. I found that it is a compilation (circa 133 AD?) of oral teachings. The only reference to Jesus that I could find…
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I’m sorry I didn’t give any Talmud links. I really don’t spend much time on the internet other than at these boards. I did a search for a text of the Talmud, but came up empty. This is no surprise considering how massive it is. I’ve gotten my education on these topics from books and professors, not the internet. I can provide a few more Talmudic references to Jesus. I would strongly disagree with a date of 133 C.E. as the time of compilation, but it actually helps my case if that’s the date you believe. Everything I’ve studied on the Talmud indicates that it was composed in several stages between 200 – 500 C.E. There are several books addressing this topic, but the Talmudic citations I give below are from “Jesus Outside the New Testament” written by Robert Van Voorst. I can’t recommend the book highly enough. In my opinion, its very balanced on this issue. Here are a few more references to Jesus in the Talmud:

“When King Jannaeus was killing our rabbis, Rabbi Joshua ben Perahiah and Jesus escaped to Alexandria, Egypt. When peace was restored…he set off, and came to a certain inn, where he was given a warm welcome. He said, ‘How lovely is this “aksania” (inn or innkeeper)!’ Jesus replied, ‘Rabbi, she has narrow eyes.’ Rabbi Joshua said, ‘You villain, is that what you are thinking about?’ So he sounded 400 trumpets and excommunicated him. Many times Jesus came and pleaded to be allowed back, but he would not listen. But one day, when Rabbi Joshua was reciting the Shema, Jesus approached him. Deciding to welcome him back, he made a gesture to him. However, Jesus thought he was ordering him to leave, and he went and set up a brick and worshipped it. ‘Repent,’ Rabbi Joshua told him, but Jesus answered, ‘I have learned from you that no chance of repentance is given to one who sins and leads others into sin.’ And a teacher has said, ‘Jesus the Nazarene practiced magic and led Israel astray.’” (Sanhedrin 107b)

“Rabbi Hisda said that Rabbi Jeremiah bar Abba said, ‘What is that which is written, ‘No evil will befall you, nor shall any plague come near your house’? ‘No evil will befall you’ means that evil dreams and evil thoughts will not tempt you; ‘ nor shall any plague come near your house’ means that you will not have a son or disciple who burns his food like Jesus of Nazareth.” (Sanhedrin 103a)

There are several other references to Jesus, but my fingers are tiring of typing them. Every reference to Jesus in the Talmud is a disparaging one. He is not painted in a positive light in any of them.


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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> By the way, the Josephus quote about "James, the brother of the Lord" you mentioned...I'm curious about this one, as well. Do you have the entire quote or a url I can link to, perchance? Thanks.
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I was able to find a link to the Josephus citation you requested in regards to James. Here’s the link – scroll down to Chapter 9, its in the first section of chapter 9: http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/ant-20.htm

I won’t address the John issue because its really not relevant to whether or not Jesus existed. Personally, I don’t think the apostle John wrote the gospel. The same thing applies to the money-making issue – it has nothing to do with the existence of Jesus. While its irrelevant regarding whether or not Jesus existed, I tell you that I don’t believe its necessary to give money to anyone in order to be a Christian.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Should you believe she didn't exist? Do the known "facts" of her life disagree AND do they often coincide with obvious mythological occurrances? If yes, then perhaps she didn't exist.
Should you believe she wasn't kidnapped?
The obvious answer is, did all the details of her kidnapping also coincide with standard myth stories? But that's gross oversimplification on my part, I admit (or maybe not...do you believe in government cover-ups?) I would say that, if the details of her kidnapping were in disagreement, it's possible she ran away and tried to make it look like kidnapping. If different occupations were listed, it's possible that (1) she had two occupations and each reporter only heard about one; (2) the reporter(s) made a mistake; or (3) the newspaper was planting an inaccuracy on purpose to mislead the still-at-large criminal in some way.
If number 1 is true, the occupations cannot be mutually incompatible
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Do you realize that you are doing exactly the same thing that historians and biblical scholars do? When we find contradictions we don’t assume that the events being described never happened, instead we try to sort out which pieces are correct and which are incorrect. I would absolutely agree with you on this one. You are practicing harmonization, one of things for which Christians are often ridiculed. The same types of discrepancies exist in the gospels and most of them can be reconciled in exactly the same way you did with the kidnapping case.

I see virtually no evidence that the first Christians in Jerusalem during 30 C.E. were aware of the alleged mythical parallels to the events in Jesus’ life. If you list specific examples of these parallels and their timeframes, then we can discuss them on a case-by-case basis.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Did people actually think the Caesars were gods? I honestly don't think so. I think the people were required by protocol to worship Caesar as a god and if they didn't, he'd take their lives. I think, in short, they faked it in the hopes they could die of old age.
Perhaps I'm just not seeing the analogy here. Please help me out.
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Certainly not everyone believed in the divinity of emperors, but a large portion of the population did. My analogy was due to this: You brought up the issue of claims for Jesus’ divinity in a discussion about Jesus’ existence. I presumed that you did so because you thought it counted against a claim for the existence of Jesus. My point was that if you do this with Jesus because people claimed he was divine, then you would also have to do it with Caesar. The analogy still stands because I can assure you that far more people believed in the divinity of emperors than in the divinity of Jesus. The original topic of this thread was the existence of Jesus – was there another reason that you brought up the fact that people claimed he was divine?

We haven’t even discussed any of the other numerous non-Christian references to Jesus in the first and second centuries. People such as Thallus, Pliny, Tacitus, Mara bar Serapion, Lucian of Samosata, Celsus, etc. How many of these other ones do you want to discuss?

In other words, how many sources are required to mention a person before you’ll believe that the person actually existed?

Peace,

Polycarp


 
Old 04-21-2001, 09:49 PM   #68
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Lance:
To put this whole thread in summary, we have about 5 secular sources that even reference "Christians" and the only one that really references "Christ" is Josephus, which appears to be compromised. We have zero physical evidence. And all else we have is the bible tell us that it is "so". Ironically, the bible claims hundreds of witnesses to this event...but somehow those people of such strong oral tradition neglected to remember WHO they were. Likewise, the final story of Christ (the resurrection) is hopelessly unreconcilable in detail...in fact, just about all you can get out of it is that there might have been a resurrection. Go beyond that...and the details are muddled. Again, strange for such a people of strong oral tradition, eh?
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Hmmm... You're spreading so much misinformation I don't know where to begin. Rather than waste much time on your whole post, I'll focus on your summary.

First, your claim that there are 5 secular sources that obviously refer to followers of Christ is utterly ridiculous. You want to taint the evidence by saying that only the word "Christians" or "Christ" counts. There are many sources which undoubtedly refer to Jesus or his followers. These are the ones I came up with off the top of my head, but I could probably come up with more if you'd like:

Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus, Suetonius, Mara bar Serapion, Lucian of Samosata, Celsus, Talmud, Marcus Aurelius.

That's 9 sources. All of them except Marcus Aurelius specifically refer to Jesus. Your claim that only one of them does is simply false.

You don't seem to be aware that ancient historical accounts contain all sorts of contradictions. Sometimes this occurs in the work of the same writer. For example, Josephus has all sorts of contradictions between his accounts in “Antiquities” and “Wars of the Jews”. I’ll cite one example here:

Antiquities 20.5.3 describes the same event as War 2.12.1. Here are the links:
http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/ant-20.htm

http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/war-2.htm

You will need to scroll down the page on these links. On the first link scroll down to chapter 5, section 3. On the second link go to chapter 12, section 1.

There are a few differences in the two accounts. One says 10,000 died while the other says over 20,000 were killed. One mentions stone throwing, the other doesn’t, etc. No historian doubts the historicity of this event. Anyone who has studied ancient history knows that discrepancies do not equal myth.

Peace,

Polycarp




[This message has been edited by Polycarp (edited April 21, 2001).]
 
Old 04-22-2001, 05:26 AM   #69
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Polycarp:
[b] Hmmm... You're spreading so much misinformation I don't know where to begin.

Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus, Suetonius, Mara bar Serapion, Lucian of Samosata, Celsus, Talmud, Marcus Aurelius.

That's 9 sources. All of them except Marcus Aurelius specifically refer to Jesus. Your claim that only one of them does is simply false.
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Speaking of spreading misinformation, Mara Bar Serapion DOES NOT refer to Jesus.

What, only 8?

Lucian of Samosata was BORN in 120, so he is much too late; by then the Church fathers were busy spreading.... ah ... information. So he can't count for much.

That leaves 7...

Tacitus reference to Christians dates from many years later; the earliest manuscript we have of it is from the eleventh century; there are textual variants in the passage; and it shows the usual signs of being worked over by Christians. Here is an account by an NT professor discussing the problems with that passage. In any case, Tacitus gives us no information that he couldn't have gotten from Christians themselves.

Well, we've still got 6....a 20% improvement!

Oh, but Celsus is second century as well.

That leaves ... how many ... 5!

Emperor Marcus Aurelius reigned from 161-180, far too late for this.

Now we're down to 4!

Polycarp, because I have a high opinion of you, I'm going to assume that you had never read Mara Bar Serapion prior to posting this. Otherwise, the too-terrible-to-contemplate alternative is that you deliberately lied about the content of that letter.

Michael

[This message has been edited by turtonm (edited April 22, 2001).]
 
Old 04-22-2001, 06:47 AM   #70
DougI
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Polycarp:
[b] According to your theory, Nazareth did not exist until 130 C.E. So how did Mark know that their would be a town called Nazareth that would just happen to exist in the same general area as he said it would? In order to believe your theory, you'd have to say that Mark was able to predict the future and I don't think this is what you want to do.

I'm not saying anything your strawman argument implies. But let's see if you do any better.

We have 5 different first century sources (Matt, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts) that tell us a town called Nazareth existed early in the first century. Why don’t these sources count? Nazareth was a very small town. In fact, you wouldn’t even call it a town as much as a village. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that Josephus lists every city in Galilee. He doesn’t.

Matt, Mark, John, etc. Are you going to present any authors? I already made my mention of Josephus. The famous but never mentioned by eyewitnesses messiah coming from Nazareth which is apparently an unremarkable event in history since it isn't recorded but small, insignificant villages are mentioned while an entire city a couple miles away is ignored? Doesn't appear to be just a coincidence.

I also have no idea why you bring up the Talmud. Doing so actually refutes your own theory. Here’s how:

1. You said Nazareth didn’t exist until about 130 C.E.
2. The Talmud was compiled between 200 – 500 C.E.

If you want to use the Talmud as evidence that Nazareth did not exist early in the first century, then you would also have to use it as evidence that it did not also exist at the time you claim it did (130 C.E.) because the Talmud was written much later than 130 C.E.


Oh good, so it didn't exist until much later. Thanks for pointing that out.

Are you beginning to see the utter implausibility of your argument? This is why all reputable Biblical scholars believe Nazareth existed at the time of Jesus. Therefore, your comparisons of Jesus to Hamlet or Superman are absurd.

Implausibility what do you mean? I certainly can't disprove the existence of the planet Krypton either. My failure to disprove a negative is of no consequence. All you present is that the Bible says Nazareth existed therefore it existed. Couldn't you have presented something a little more substantial than the same text which claims men live inside fishes? The problem doesn't rest with me but your belief in fictional towns.

Please tell me you don’t still believe Nazareth did not exist until 130 C.E. This idea is so contrary to any sort of historical evidence that I seriously doubt the intellectual honesty of anyone who still accepts it after thorough investigation.

There is where your problem lies, your bible isn't historical evidence. If you had historical evidence I'm certain you would have presented it by now. But since you didn't, argument over, your gods remain fictional. Up, up and away.
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