i think jesus was real!

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i think jesus was real!

i am a rational human who was raised catholic (which most certainly led to me to be an atheist) but i do believe that jesus was real. now i don't think he was the son of god, or the savior of man, or blah blah blah, but i think he was real. i have many like minded friends who think he was made up. is it so far fetched to think this person actually existed? he could have been an early version of charles manson! right? anyway, just wanted to get opinions on the subject.


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The way I see it

The way I see it, whether he was a real man or not, there is no evidence of his existence. I don't see any reason to believe he was a real man without evidence to point to that possibility.

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There is NO credible

There is NO credible evidence that even a man named Jesus existed as described by the bible.

HOWEVER, even if skeptics were to concede that and say he did exist, would not make "poof" logic credible as far as things like virgin births, turning water into wine, walking on water, and surviving rigor mortis.

Christianity is not the only religion to make this mistake in arguing for their super hero.

Saying "this place existed" or "that person existed" does not make magic real.

We know, for example that George Washington was a real person. But no sane person would claim that he could fart a Lamborghini out of his ass.

We can go to the movies and see Superman Flying around New York City, but no one literally believes that a man can really fly like Superman because we know New York exists.

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J.C. was a fictional charactor.

 

 

 

                  Aside from the god aspects attributed to one Joshua Bar Joseph, the same as aspects attributed to all other gods;  the personal aspects 12 apostles, virgin birth death and 3 days to reserection etc. can be trace direct to Lord Mithras of the Zorastrian religion. 

 

 

                 There were meny roving preachers in the mid-east throughout the first centurys CE & BCE.  The Jesus quotes in the bible clearly come from several different personalitys.  Compare the gentil poetry of the quotes in Matt 5: 7 to the  fire & brimstone threats from Matt 10:34-39.  The charactor is also quoted as endorsing a religious run State  "The old laws have not changed! "  and later preaching seperation of church & State "Render unto Caeser that which is Caeser then render unto ........ etc."   These are four VERY different people being combined into one charactor  with a whole lot of fictional god stuff thrown in.

 

 

                Jesus Christ is far more a title then a name it means  "The annointed salvation of the Lord".  The Jewish name Joshua bar Joseph was so commen at the time it may as well have been John Doe.  J.C. was referenced in the bible as a Judaen, a Gallilean,  a Bethlemite and a Nazarene ( a sect) but never as a Nazarite ( the proper town designation)   Some non-Jewish writer in the 4th century CE got confused with Jesu the Nazarene and started writing Jesus of Nazareth.   That town didn't exist untill after the late 1st century CE.

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 The mithra Christos or the

 The mithra Christos or the persian mithra?  Once you figure that out you'll be caught up with the literature.  Even the 1st century Roman scholars and political leadership (see Pliny) recognized Jesus as a "scorcer and a blasphemer."  Why is that vogue 80's scholarship is alive today?  Because it gives Bill Maher  something to talk about.

 

On Nazareth:  http://blogs.abcnews.com/theworldnewser/2009/12/jesus-era-house-discovered-in-nazareth.html  Of course this doesn't speak to the "reality" of Jesus, but answers silly 1982 claims about how "Nazareth" didn't exist.

 

 

 

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The evidence in favor of one

The evidence in favor of one figure existing over the other; e.g. Imhotep vs. Jesus; is never 100% conclusive one way or another. It's difficult to claim that the questions arising over the validity of one person's existence or an event having happened... are completely unbiased.

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Even if some apocalyptic

Even if some apocalyptic Jewish wandering preacher named Jesus did exist, he did not perform miracles and did not rise from the dead. Christianity is thus still a load of crap, based on a myth. This "historical Jesus" stuff isn't helping them.


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KSMB wrote:Even if some

KSMB wrote:

Even if some apocalyptic Jewish wandering preacher named Jesus did exist, he did not perform miracles and did not rise from the dead. Christianity is thus still a load of crap, based on a myth. This "historical Jesus" stuff isn't helping them.

Right, no human in history has ever "poof" instantaniously rose from the dead. No human has suddenly, magically popped out of the dirt. People who believe this might as well believe that Harry Potter is real and can literally fly around on a broom.

What scares me is that I doubt the human ability to make shit up will stop. Kwanza and Scientology are the more recent examples of taking old motifs and starting new religions to compete with the older established ones. We even see pockets of attempts to turn "the force" of Star Wars into religion.

I get the same lip twitch when people claim that Rodenberry predicted the cell phone because of his tricorder depiction. Yet those same si fi fans gloss over the other absurdities like Vulcans and Tribbles and Klingons.

Jefferson was right that the myth of the magic of Jesus will eventually die, but he was a bit too optimistic about humans in their ability to make shit up. Myths may die, but for every myth that does, more end up replacing them.

The only thing humanity can do is use education to put these myths on a leash. Credulity is part of our species. It wont go away by force. It can only be scrutinized.

 

 

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StDissonance wrote: The

StDissonance wrote:

 The mithra Christos or the persian mithra?  Once you figure that out you'll be caught up with the literature.  Even the 1st century Roman scholars and political leadership (see Pliny) recognized Jesus as a "scorcer and a blasphemer."  Why is that vogue 80's scholarship is alive today?  Because it gives Bill Maher  something to talk about.

 

On Nazareth:  http://blogs.abcnews.com/theworldnewser/2009/12/jesus-era-house-discovered-in-nazareth.html  Of course this doesn't speak to the "reality" of Jesus, but answers silly 1982 claims about how "Nazareth" didn't exist.

 

 

 

 

 

                       See  if that works better.    http://www.blogs.abcnews.com/theworldnewser/2009/12/jesus-era-house-discovered-in-nazareth.html

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frankie zee wrote:i am a

frankie zee wrote:

i am a rational human who was raised catholic (which most certainly led to me to be an atheist) but i do believe that jesus was real. now i don't think he was the son of god, or the savior of man, or blah blah blah, but i think he was real. i have many like minded friends who think he was made up. is it so far fetched to think this person actually existed? he could have been an early version of charles manson! right? anyway, just wanted to get opinions on the subject.

Personally I care as much about the existence of a carpenter named jesus as I care aobut the existance of a relatively strong man named hercules.  His existance is irrelevant, all it would prove is his existance.  It proves nothing of his divinity.   


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San dissonánce.........

 

 

 

               Unlike most christians I have been in Nazareth  and  I can tell you that no carpenter ever lived in Nazareth,   there are no trees  nor any other source of lumber within  150 miles.  If you do not believe me  then look at a map  or go there yourself.  There are meny steep stony hills,  all squared off on peeks and sides because the local craftsmen are stone cutters.      The original Greek version of the bible used the word 'techron'-- craftsman-- the later translators of the bible {in Antioch Turkey} looked out their windows and  saw the local craftsmen, who were carpenters and used the word for carpenter in stead of the real word.

 

 

               The Jewish Archaeologist { and Nazareth native} was in a $$$ sense encouraging christians  worldwide to still come and $$$ whorship $$$ like you did before.    Nazareth makes a hell of a lot of money out of tourists -- now isn't that a big surprise.  Tourists also contribute lots and lots of money to local archaeological dig sites.   btw  the cheif archaeologist never gave a definitive answer to a straight question.

 

 

               The more scientific specialists can see NO evidence of habitation IN Nazareth before 25 CE.  Any real Jesus would be an  adult by then or already dead.  I have read evidence that J.C. was born in 9 bc, 7bc, 4 bc and 2 bc.  Which ever version you believe the Jesu Christo charactor did NOT grow up in Nazareth.   One of the sources for J.C. DID grow up as a Nazarene,  that was a sect of Judaisim way back then.  The sect had nothing to do with Nazareth.

 

 

               NO scholer, weather atheist or theist  weather they believe J.C. was real or not says, like EVER said J.C. was born in the year 1.   The church of the emmaculate conception,  which was supposedly build on Mary's family  home was buildt over a GRAVE yard.  NO Jew would build over a grave yard, it is not kosher,  trust me it never happened.  Then you have that leap of faith that ALLOWS you to believe that a 9 month pregnant teenage girl was  put on a donkey and trugged 100 miles over rocky hills just to be in Bethlaham.

 

 

                Trust Me the Romans didn't give a rats ass about pregnant teenage girls, neather for taxes nor a head count. 

 

 

                Jews who believed that the "annointed one"  -- the Christos  --   had already arrived existed in various parts of the Roman Empire, has an article of faith by at least 50 BCE  -- Julius Caeser was still alive!   Saul of Tarsus was persicuting these Jews when he had his bi-polar episode on the road to  Damascus.

 

 

                   Non- Romans who came to Rome for buisness felt they had to make an offering to a  Roman God,   they did not believe in  for 2 reasons.  1) It was good business practice and   2)  they avoided problems with the Roman religious police.    Julius Caeser  wrote about 'devout Judaens' living in his mothers apartment building (circa 90 BCE) who went around the corner to make offerings at the MAIN temple dedicated to Lord Mithras located on Vatican Hill where the head priest was called 'the Pope'.   

 

                  Like it or not when you mix  Mithra with Judaens you end up with Christianity.     4.5 centuries later when Constantine leagleized Christianity; because his mommy told him to,  he had few problems convincing the Roman Hoi Polloi,    most already followed Mithras  the only difference would be the cross symbol, Mithratics did't use it now Constantines mother told them they could.

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That jesus could be a

That jesus could be a carpenter in a place with no trees is simply proof of his miraculous nature. 

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zarathustra wrote:That jesus

zarathustra wrote:

That jesus could be a carpenter in a place with no trees is simply proof of his miraculous nature. 

Yes. very good.  Way to put on your christian hat.  This is exactly what they would say to this, Jesus obviously manifested the trees he used to build things.  Ofcourse.


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Jeffrick wrote: and a

Jeffrick wrote:

 

and a Nazarene ( a sect) but never as a Nazarite ( the proper town designation)

actually, you've got that the wrong way around.  "nazarite" is typically how the name for the israelite ascetics decribed in numbers 6.1-21 is rendered in english and "nazarene" is how jesus is usually called in english new testaments, taken to mean someone from nazareth.

Jeffrick wrote:

Some non-Jewish writer in the 4th century CE got confused with Jesu the Nazarene and started writing Jesus of Nazareth.   That town didn't exist untill after the late 1st century CE.

i'm not sure which non-jewish writer you're referring to, but just by context we can tell that the gospel writers clearly meant "nazarene" as in someone from nazareth.  while i won't rule out a possible linguistic connection between "nazarene" and "nazarite," we have no evidence jesus was a nazarite.  on the contrary, jesus is portrayed several times as drinking wine, and is even accused by the pharisees of overindulging in it, while numbers specifically forbids nazarites to ever drink alcohol of any kind.  if we can speculate that anyone in the gospel narratives was a nazarite, it's john the baptist.

also regarding a possible connection between "nazarite" and "nazarene," i would like to note that a more proper (and current) transliteration is "nazirite."  this is only a tiny difference between one vowel and another, but in semitic languages that makes all the difference.  it is true that in the acts of the apostles we are told of the "sect of the nazarenes," but they are not mentioned in the gospels, not even in luke, which was written by the same writer as that of acts, and we have no evidence for jesus having belonged to a sect of that name.  we certainly have no evidence to equate this sect with the nazirites of numbers. 

as for nazareth not existing until the late first century CE, it's mentioned in the gospel of mark, and even the most liberal estimates date mark around 65 CE.  it seems highly unlikely to me that the gospel writers would invent an entire town.  the city that now bears the name nazareth has archeological discoveries dating back around 9000 years, so there's always been something there.  whether or not it was called nazareth, or some form thereof, we don't know.  it's true there is no extrabiblical evidence for a first century CE town named nazareth, but judging from how the town is described in the gospels we wouldn't expect there to be.  it seems being the birthplace of the jesus movement's founder (which is much more likely than the later bethlehem tradition) was the town's only claim to fame for anybody.

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KSMB wrote:Even if some

KSMB wrote:

Even if some apocalyptic Jewish wandering preacher named Jesus did exist, he did not perform miracles and did not rise from the dead. Christianity is thus still a load of crap, based on a myth. This "historical Jesus" stuff isn't helping them.


I think it is safe to absolve myself of any more input on the matter... as objectivity on the subject appears to have been lost.

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Jeffrick

I still can't figure out how to paste quotes. 

Jeffrick:

1p:  There is debate on your "drive by" greek (concerning 'craftsman' and trees).  It's not really that important to me.  I don't want to minmize your experience in Nazareth, but I can't seem to find anything that suggests that there was a lack of olive trees in the region.  There is debate about life in Nazareth in the 1st century--cool with me.

2p:  Whether or not N. had trees or existed has nothing to do with this man's agenda.  Nor the seven phd's that accompanied him.

3p:  25CE?  Why stop there?  I don't have any affiliation to "the year one"--it's a silly position.  But I find it amusing that 25 is a "bright-line" for his existence.  I need more than that.

4p:  "year one" above.  The rest isn't interesting and does NOT contradict the text, only the 4th centruy traditions. 

5p:  ?

6and7p:  Read Wilkens (high internal and external cred.) on the 1st century (and a skeptic).  He answers your position and defers to Pliny.  The first record (by the romans) speaks to a "union" or "club" of Christians who caused a stir in his city.  They refused to by cows and such for offerings and were hurting the local economy.  Volumes (in the last twenty years) have discussed the persian (iranian origin) and mithra christos.  Most of the "pop-culture" debate is 20 or so years behind.  You use "christos" loosely, as there were lots and lots and lots of them.  But a half/bull man coming out of a rock (being born full man) is a difficult reference point for Christianity.  Additionally, some even argue that the mithra christos was actually the "copy" or at least influenced by Christianity in the 2nd century.

8:  Sadly, you summarize only one side/part of the research.  Additionally, there is no mention of "the Christians" unitl around 90CE in Roman documents and literature.  While this may make some Christians uneasy, it makes your assertion impossible.

 

 

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Jesus got a raw deal (maybe)

I don't know if Jesus ever existed.  However, if he did and if the New Testament is a little accurate in regard to his life, to me it seems that he got a raw deal. 

 

For example, he was told as a child that he was the Son of God.  By age 12, he had studied enough of the Old Testament to impress the devout Jews.  If that was true, then he would have known that he was suppose to be the King of Kings literally one day.  He even tried to make this part come true, during his ministry, when he rode on a donkey into town and was expecting the Jews to bow down to him.  However, they didn't recognize him as the Messiah and he threw a temper tantrum.  Remember the Den of Thieves story where he overthrew tables. 

 

Anyways, if this part of the Bible about Jesus's life is somewhat true, he believed that he was the Messiah and he believed that he was suppose to be the ruler of the world since this is what was suppose to happen with the Messiah.  I wonder if this is why he said, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me" before he died on the cross.

 

That's my favorite Bible verse.  Even Jesus knew that something was not quite right with the whole God belief.

 

 

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Jeffrick wrote:Unlike most

Jeffrick wrote:
Unlike most christians I have been in Nazareth and I can tell you that no carpenter ever lived in Nazareth, there are no trees nor any other source of lumber within 150 miles. If you do not believe me then look at a map or go there yourself. There are meny steep stony hills, all squared off on peeks and sides because the local craftsmen are stone cutters.

 

Well, I would question the whole “go there yourself” thing. Really, how many people are going to do that just to see what you assert to be pretty much nothing worth looking at. However, I did down load some high resolution satellite imagery, including a data set that indicates the type of ground cover present.

 

Dude! You are going to lose on this one.

 

“ there are no trees nor any other source of lumber within 150 miles”. Except for the forest to the south west of the city. And the Mediterranean shore 20 miles away. And the forest south of Haifa. And the forest south of the sea of Galilei. Those are all within 20 miles. Would you like a complete list of all the sources of wood for a radius of 150 miles?

 

Also, I see a huge problem with building an economy in a region such as you describe. In no special order:

 

First off, a quarry needs quite a bit of other materials such as wood, cloth, metal and rope to create the tools, oxen sheds, housing and so forth. You really can't get a business going in an area with a single resource.

 

Second, a quarry needs a means of exchange with the outside world. Perhaps you can build the walls of buildings with stone but that comes after temporary structures have been built. Perhaps decades later. Even so, the roofs still need wood. Also, a quarry really ought to have access to a river so that they can trade stone for other needs. Food comes to mind here. You can't feed the quarry workers in an area that is a featureless plain of stone.

 

Third, (and this is a big one), even if there is such a huge “stone only” area somewhere, I see no reason to not start the work on the edge of the region for the reasons noted above. To get operations started 150 miles in from the edge assumes that someone would have explored the interior of the region for some reason which I do not see as reasonable.

 

Third and a half, let's just say that there is some area in the interior of such a region and it is somehow discovered. Well, in that case, the stone needs to be very special and valuable enough to merit the work needed to bring all of the other stuff into the area to extract it. If so, then you are again left with all of that stuff along with the need of skilled people outside of the stone trade to make the various material useful.

 

 

 

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frankie zee wrote:i am a

frankie zee wrote:

i am a rational human who was raised catholic (which most certainly led to me to be an atheist) but i do believe that jesus was real. now i don't think he was the son of god, or the savior of man, or blah blah blah, but i think he was real. i have many like minded friends who think he was made up. is it so far fetched to think this person actually existed? he could have been an early version of charles manson! right? anyway, just wanted to get opinions on the subject.

The whole "Jesus Mythicist" thing is far less complex than meets the eye--it really only consists of extrapolating post-Enlightenment ideals onto a decidedly pre-Enlightenment--nay, ancient!--issue. 

This is what happens when you don't go to college and instead study at Google State Wikiversity. 


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You're a really funny sort of guy!

 

jmm wrote:

frankie zee wrote:

i am a rational human who was raised catholic (which most certainly led to me to be an atheist) but i do believe that jesus was real. now i don't think he was the son of god, or the savior of man, or blah blah blah, but i think he was real. i have many like minded friends who think he was made up. is it so far fetched to think this person actually existed? he could have been an early version of charles manson! right? anyway, just wanted to get opinions on the subject.

The whole "Jesus Mythicist" thing is far less complex than meets the eye--it really only consists of extrapolating post-Enlightenment ideals onto a decidedly pre-Enlightenment--nay, ancient!--issue. 

This is what happens when you don't go to college and instead study at Google State Wikiversity. 

Yes, so we can all be indoctrinated by, undoubtedly, ideologically biased and self-righteous professors -both theist and atheist- who will not give their students a decent grade unless, of course, said students accept the professor's point of view. (As Jormungandr has pointed out; this is particularly common in the literary, arts, philosophical, and humanities classes)

The word "Educator" is slowly becoming synonymous with "promoter of doctrines", but it wouldn't surprise me that someone as uncritical and pseudophilosophical as yourself would think that a person is somehow misguided and daft unless they've been instructed by ... a four-eyed professor on campus grounds.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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I agree

B166ER wrote:

The way I see it, whether he was a real man or not, there is no evidence of his existence. I don't see any reason to believe he was a real man without evidence to point to that possibility.

I do agree that he has no evidence for his own existence but there isn't, that I know of, any evidence against his existence. Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence.

P.S. If there is any evidence against his existence please inform me about it.


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Jesus on my mind

 The Dialogue
A Play In One Act

 

 

(Copyright Michael LaRocca, 1980)


SCENE:   JESUS and JUDAS are sitting in a sparsely furnished temple. Oil lamps hang from the walls. The setting sun is visible through a rear window. No one else is present. It is silent except for their voices.

JUDAS:   Do you realize this is the first time that I've been in a temple since I fled my bar mitzvah?

JESUS:    (Smiles) Why did you flee?

JUDAS:   The religion just struck me as being so false. It's full of gross inconsistencies, vindictiveness and mad puritanism. Its leaders pound it into everyone's skulls until they accept it, when neither really knows just what it is they're accepting. They blindly try to follow a bunch of contradictory doctrines thrown together by a group of men who, if they were to assemble in one place, could not agree upon a single point.

       There is beauty in the Testament if one knows where to look, but religion does not emphasize it. People are too busy concentrating on how they have been wronged by history. No one cares about right and wrong, or how they should live, but only what they've been bludgeoned into believing.

JESUS:    This is true.

JUDAS:   I'll admit that to conclude that there is no god is a far stretch, but I couldn't reason my way to one and it's just not in my nature to have faith in anything except myself.

JESUS:    The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

JUDAS:   No, in my case the spirit is unwilling and the flesh just doesn't give a damn.

JESUS:    (Chuckles)

JUDAS:   Man has a need to reason that, since his present situation is unsatisfactory, it must have been perfect at one time and that it will be so again somewhere ahead if he will but persevere. We are in a situation where we cannot be certain, but it is crucial that we come to a decision nonetheless.

       We can bet that this is all there is, or that there is something beyond this. We should probably bet there is something beyond death, because if we are wrong we have only wasted some effort. But if we bet there is nothing after death and there is a judgment, we lose everything.

       Or we can confess our ignorance and refuse to make a choice. One cannot pretend to accept a view that is not his, for this is mere self-deception and God would not let an individual into heaven who has done that. If there is a hell, I will be there.

JESUS:    Earlier, you said the existence of evil is proof that an omnipotent, benevolent God does not exist, for He would surely destroy it?

JUDAS:   Precisely. All who believe in an Almighty God are but naïve children.

JESUS:    (Smiles) Including me?

JUDAS:   (Grins) Almost all.

JESUS:    Let's assume for a moment that there is an omnipotent, benevolent God and that He has created man's soul in His image. Would you agree that God has free will?

JUDAS:   Certainly.

JESUS:    And would a God who has chosen to be benevolent deprive man of that same choice? To compel a man to always do good is not the act of a truly benevolent deity. Depriving man of his free will would not be creating man in His image. He would instead be creating another element to control, just as He wills the sun to orbit the earth.

       If only the good existed and not the evil, there would be no freedom. There must be more than one course of action if man is to truly have free will. What we call suffering, death, disaster, misfortune and tragedy, we should call the price of freedom. The only alternative to this suffering freedom is an unsuffering unfreedom.

JUDAS:   I would suggest that man has no free choice at all. He follows a given course of action because his morals or his lack of them deems that he must react to the situation presented as such. That reaction in turn conditions his mind and his perception in a given way, to in turn influence his next decision. All men's actions contribute to the circumstances of others, so that they form a web whose patterns are unalterable.

       Training is all there is to a person. What we call nature is merely heredity and training. We have no thoughts or opinions of our own, only those we learn. If we judge a person by how much he has overcome his training, the value of all humanity could pass through the eye of a needle.

JESUS:    Do you realize the full implications of what you are saying?

JUDAS:   Indeed. Our past actions predestine our present actions. A stone that rolls down a hill believes that it is striving with all its might to stay in motion for no reason except that it wants to. Such is human freedom, in which men realize their desires but not the causes of them.

       The infant believes that it freely wants milk; the angry that he freely seeks vengeance; the frightened that he freely wants to escape that which frightens him; the drunkard that he has freely chosen to do or say something only to freely choose to regret it later.

       Man has no free will. Your desire to find and spread truth, Caesar's lust for power and a merchant's greed are not chosen paths, but the results of circumstances and their reactions to them. This view of causation does not assume that one's will is unable to alter the scheme of things, but rather that one's will is an integral part of that scheme. If this is true, then there is no such thing as escaping destiny.

JESUS:    (Long thoughtful pause) If you say that A ought to have done X and that he is morally wrong for not doing X, then you are also saying that A, by an effort of free will, could have done X. To condemn A for doing X is meaningless if A was predestined to do Y. If A can choose between moral courses of action, then he has free will. Otherwise, to judge him is meaningless.

JUDAS:   The moral "ought" is yet another mistaken belief. When faced with an apparently free choice, A could only take one course of action, depending upon what he is. For example, if A found a large sum of money and knew its owner, it would appear that he had two choices, to either keep it or to give it back.

       But if he were an honest man and his honesty were stronger than his greed, then he would give it back. There would be no true choice made. His honesty and his desire to do what is right would predestine that he give it back. Likewise, if he were greedy, then he would keep the money. Period. There was no real decision involved.

       His soul, be it honest or greedy, may take time to settle upon its course of action if the two feelings are similar in magnitude, or perhaps he plans to do something good with the money, or he hates the one who owns it. But he will eventually settle upon returning the money if he is honest or keeping it if he is not.

JESUS:    The free choice comes in deciding whether to be honest or greedy in the first place. After he weighed the advantages and the disadvantages of honesty against those of greed, he chose to be one of the two. He could have always changed his mind, perhaps during the incident with the money, for the choice does exist. Man is always free to choose what he is and what he will become. Whether by his heart or his head, he does decide upon his actions. Man does have free will.

JUDAS:   By what standards does he choose honesty or greed? Why will one man choose to place his integrity before his own gain and another man care only for himself and have no concern at all for his fellow man? Some people argue that it is inborn and others that it is learned. But one thing that both heredity and training have in common is that the individual controls neither of them.

       All he encounters will affect him in some way. When he is faced with what you would call a decision and he takes the course of action that his character dictates, his action affects his character. The results of his action will either confirm the decision or change his opinion on something involved in the decision. He does not change his opinion; circumstances do. Free will is naught but an illusion.

       All circumstances are causes and our characters are merely their effects. They act upon us and we react as we must. This is not the act of a deity, but merely of an immutable set of natural laws.

       Circumstances alone make us what we are. What a man is determines what he does, and what he does determines what he is. We come to a point where several actions are possible, but we are capable of doing only one of them. A man can no more change what he is than a leopard can change his spots. It is foolish to wonder about the road not taken, for you could not have taken it.

       The stone is given its existence and need not fight for what it is, a stone in the field. Man likes to think that he is different, but he is not. He is what he is and his past determines his future just as surely as nature determines that a rock cast from a high place will not float in the air, nor rise into the sky, but rather that it will fall to the ground.

       There is no free choice in what we are. Perhaps not even sentience. Freedom of will is merely an illusion to which millennia of ignorance have given birth. Man will not believe that he is anything less than the center of the universe when he is in reality nothing but another subject to its unalterable laws. All things, even nature, must follow those laws. Nature is those laws.

       I would rephrase the question of free will as, "When I have done something that I later regret, could I, by an effort of free will, have originally resisted the temptation to commit the regretted act?" I would reply that it takes no strength of will to resist temptation. It merely proves that the desire to resist is the strongest temptation.

JESUS:    (Pauses reflectively) Your argument is consistent and possible. But is it correct? I truly do not know. If there is indeed a God, as I believe, perhaps He will be generous enough to reveal the truth to me before He casts me into Hell. But if there is no such God, as you believe, then no one can ever know the truth about anything.

(Pause)

JESUS:    So what was Peter so mad about?

JUDAS:   I stated my opinion.

JESUS:    (Laughs) Ah, that explains it. But what exactly did you say?

JUDAS:   He asked me what I thought of all this. I told him I've always known you're not the Son. I'm surprised you didn't explain that to him before.

JESUS:    I was waiting for the right time. (JUDAS laughs. JESUS grins.) Peter's a good man. I knew him, along with Andrew, James and John, long before this charade started. At times, I envy his faith. He makes an excellent rock upon which to build a church. But are you sure that you don't want the job?

JUDAS:   (Chuckles) I don't even believe in your God. Or had you forgotten?

JESUS:    (Grins) You won't let me. What else did you tell Peter?

JUDAS:   I told him that what you are doing is long overdue. You open men's minds and teach them to consider rather than accept. True, you do have to tell a little white lie so they'll listen—

(JESUS bursts into laughter. JUDAS chuckles and waits for JESUS's laughter to cease.)

JUDAS:   Men have the tools to find tranquility, truth and happiness, but they won't use them. Once you give them that, nothing will be beyond them.

JESUS:    I have come to kindle a fire on the earth, when I would rather that it burned already.

JUDAS:   Exactly. But Peter didn't see it that way.

JESUS:    He makes a point of telling me. But he has been at my side from the beginning, as the true friend that he is, and he speaks from a genuine concern rather than malice.

(JESUS pauses)

JESUS:    I'm replacing one dogmatic faith with another. I tell people not to judge and yet I've judged them all to be fools needing my wisdom and guidance. I tell them to know their hearts and yet I don't even know my own. They don't look at me as just a preacher who is stating his views, but as the Son of Almighty God. The confirmation of their faith, the Creator of heaven and earth, and the man who will give them back Jerusalem. Soon we will follow in the footsteps of John the Baptist.

JUDAS:   Yes, that about sums it up. I told him that most people sit around waiting for someone or something to come and answer all their questions and turn the world around. At least you are willing to do something about it. You are trying to put mankind back onto the right path, and there is no sin in that.

JESUS:    I thank you, Judas. But Peter does have a point. Men would rather accept what others tell them than think for themselves. This makes our chosen mission rather difficult. They prefer to take what I say as law rather than listen to it and think about it and either accept or reject it. It is as though anyone who listens to us will unquestioningly believe everything we say.

JUDAS:   I've noticed that as well. It would be terrible to think that all people are going to become pious.

JESUS:    (Smiles) Yes, Judas. But I have given up everything for this cause of mine and now it appears to be all for naught. I left my home to spread the word. I left the woman I love to do this thing. I disowned my family before the masses. Like Peter said, I have forfeited my very soul. Was it really all for naught?

JUDAS:   I don't think that what you do is for nothing. Given time, we will succeed.

JESUS:    Whatever I say is not thought about, but accepted as the Word of God. I am no better than the priests and the scribes. I say it and they believe it. Am I really accomplishing anything, or am I merely brainwashing them in another direction?

JUDAS:   You are too hard on yourself. There are people who have heard your teachings and thought about what you are saying. There are still those who have nothing but blind faith, but you are doing enough good for enough people to make it all worthwhile. Your chosen mission is not in vain. It is for the good and your sacrifice is a most worthy one indeed.

       And if there is a god, surely he agrees and thus your soul is not forfeit, as Peter would suggest. Peter is a Bible-thumper who cares more about the words than their meanings. You teach, among other things, to look beyond the mere words and to understand the ideas that lie behind them. So, while the words might dictate that what you do is blasphemous, the Lord would judge a man by his heart, and in that respect you are greater than any of us.

JESUS:    (Smiles) I want to believe that, my friend, and when you say it, you make it so easy to do. But alas, I must still wonder. Are we truly reaching them?

JUDAS:   It is only natural that you would question your actions, for it is that act of constantly questioning ourselves that makes us men. We are not acting as the priests and the scribes, who blindly obey what they have learned and never question what they do.

       No, we are a different breed. We are thinkers. All that we do, we do because we have carefully considered it and believe that it is right. If we can teach others to live their lives in the same manner, then that alone is worth any price we pay and anything else that happens along the way matters naught.

JESUS:    More food for thought, as usual. (Pause) But my will grows weak and I fear that I may not be able to keep up this pretence much longer. I fear that I may just turn my back upon it one day. I feel that I must end it.

JUDAS:   What do you propose to do?

JESUS:    There is only one way to end this charade without destroying all the work that I have already done. (Pause) Martyrdom.

JUDAS:   (Long pause) Are you sure that you would rather not live at all than live the life you have chosen?

JESUS:    Yes, Judas, I am sure. It becomes more tempting to just abandon it all and I know that I will soon give in to that temptation unless I get out now. This is the only way.

JUDAS:   Do you mean to pretend to die?

JESUS:    I have deceived the people long enough. My whole life has been a lie, but at least my death will not be.

JUDAS:   And what do you think this decision will do to your chosen mission?

JESUS:    (Smiles) You are thinking of the power that martyrs have over the living. I do not plan to truly die a martyr. I shall instead die an outcast. If I am truly the Son of God, then even death should be no obstacle to me. No, I shall promise to return in three days.

JUDAS:   But you won't be able to keep that promise.

JESUS:    Exactly. I leave it to you and Thomas to keep the others honest. (Smiles) Knowing John, he may have them all saying that I returned to life with a host of angels at my feet.

JUDAS:   (Long pause) I hope you will change your mind. But if this is what you truly wish, then I will help you in any way that I can.

JESUS:    I thank you, Judas. (Pause) What gives us the right to do this thing? You and I are sitting here, elevating ourselves high above the populace and deciding their fates for them. Why is it that we have decided we have the right?

JUDAS:   Remember, rules were meant to govern fools, but only to act as guidelines for wise men.

JESUS:    But which are we, Judas? Which are we?


 

 

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ShadowOfMan
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There were likely thousands

There were likely thousands of men named Jesus in the region, around that time. Hundreds might have had a mother named Mary. Who cares? So Jesus was a real man. There are still thousands of Jesus' running around today. Many are carpenters with mothers named Maria.

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce


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skeptiform5 wrote:B166ER

skeptiform5 wrote:

B166ER wrote:

The way I see it, whether he was a real man or not, there is no evidence of his existence. I don't see any reason to believe he was a real man without evidence to point to that possibility.

I do agree that he has no evidence for his own existence but there isn't, that I know of, any evidence against his existence. Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence.

P.S. If there is any evidence against his existence please inform me about it.

Absence of evidence IS certainly evidence of absence, especially for something or someone which was claimed to be quite significant and interacted with quite a number of people.

Not proof of non-existence, of course, but enough to cast serious doubt.

"Absence of evidence is not proof of non-existence" is the correct statement.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Devil's Advocate mode returns...

zarathustra wrote:

That jesus could be a carpenter in a place with no trees is simply proof of his miraculous nature. 

I wonder if you claim the same thing about Sahara being a LOT greener than it is today, back during Neo- and Mesolithic times.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


Kapkao
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ShadowOfMan wrote:There were

ShadowOfMan wrote:
There were likely thousands of men named Jesus in the region, around that time. Hundreds might have had a mother named Mary. Who cares? So Jesus was a real man. There are still thousands of Jesus' running around today. Many are carpenters with mothers named Maria.

Your point is a great deal more solid and direct than some of the speculative "myth" crap floating around in this thread.

It's amazing (imo) how some individuals -theist and atheist- will work with knowledge they believe somehow applies to antiquity as well as today. The area is a lot more barren now... that must be why Moses and crew fled there in the Bronze Age.

 

Or why the Fertile Crescent ain't so fertile today.

But thankfully, your point actually sticks, as opposed to everyone else's.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


Kapkao
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MichaelEdits.com wrote: (a

MichaelEdits.com wrote:

 (a one-act play)

EXCELLENT point...

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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LAMB: The Gospel According To Jesus's Best Friend Biff

Forgive me if I screwed up the title a little bit, but it's truly a classic regardless of your religious affiliation. Funny as hell, too. (Can I say hell?)

 

Thanks for the comments on my little play.  I think the 1980 part is telling.  I'm old.  Not only that, but when I wrote The Dialogue, I was still a Christian.  How'd that happen?

 

http://www.michaeledits.com You can't eat grits with chopsticks