Issues when debating the historical Jesus

gdon
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Issues when debating the historical Jesus

I'd like this topic to discuss issues dealing with historicity, in particular involving evaluating the historical Jesus, a topic of interest for quite a few people on both theist and atheist boards.

Peter Kirby has written an interesting article on Historical Criticism here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_method

While most of the analysis that goes on in popular internet forums is perhaps more "down market", I think that the article can help frame the debate, esp on issues like "Eyewitness Testimony" and "Oral tradition".

Firstly, I'd like to frame the nature of the debate by asking for people's opinions on producing definitions to aid the debate. The primary one IMO is:

1. What do we mean by "Historical Jesus"? If there were an itinerant preacher who was crucified around 30 CE but wasn't called "Jesus", would he be the historical Jesus? IMO, the answer is "yes". For me, an adequate definition for "historical Jesus" is "the person who inspired the birth of Christianity, about whom Paul and the Gospels discussed". Yet I'm aware that even that definition has problems -- what if that person wasn't crucified, or even killed at that time? What if that person was a rebel, or a sorceror, or lived much earlier or much later than the tradition time period? If Paul's Jesus was Jesus of Nun, a contemporary of Moses (I'm still considering a case for this), would that be "the historical Jesus"?

2. What do we mean by "Mythical Jesus"? If the Gospels were inspired by Caesar's life, would "Jesus" best be called "Mythical" or "Fictional" (or even both)? Or does "Mythical" only refer to a belief in a "godman saviour figure" who was believed to have existed yet not on earth?Or perhaps the "William Tell" scenario -- people thought Jesus existed as a person on earth, yet he was only a character in a book?

There is a fair degree of overlap within both categories, and probably even between categories.

I think any discussion will ultimately lead to the evidence itself, which is not a bad thing, and not something I'd like to see avoided, but I would like to see the discussion stay on definitions initially.

My "minimum criteria required" input:

Historical Jesus: the person who inspired Christianity to kick off, and is the person referred to by both Paul and the Gospels. He was killed around the time of Pilate, possibly by crucifixion and possibly for sorcery or insurrection.

Mythical Jesus: a godman/daemon/spirit entity who possibly was thought to have descended from Heaven but never appeared on earth as a person (except in visions)

Fictional Jesus: a person who was thought to have existed at some stage in the past, but never actually did. The belief could have originated out of a character in a book, or as stories that centered on someone who never existed in the first place.

Any comments/disagreements on the definitions?

"You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into." -- Author unknown


gdon
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todangst wrote:Again,

todangst wrote:
Again, josephus himself gives us no evidence for such a person, only evidence of those who believed in such a person, and again, only if the Testimonium is true!

Yes, I agree. However, as per Kirby's comment that I gave above, it is the same reasoning that is used when investigating the historicity of others of whom we have no contemporary accounts. Did you see the thread that Richard Carrier contributed to, where he showed this?

todangst wrote:
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As Peter Kirby says, "Simply by the standard practice of conducting history, a comment from Josephus about a fact of the first century constitutes prima facie evidence for that fact.

And the fact here is, given that the testimonium is true, that it demonstrates the existence of people who believed that there was a person named jesus, the christ. That's it.


And according to Kirby, that's enough. There's no way of getting around this, I'm afraid, except via the Fallacy of Personal Incredulity (i.e. "it might be enough for non-Christian leading Josephus scholars, but it isn't enough for me!")

todangst wrote:
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I've read that Jewish and leading Josephus scholar Louis H. Feldman claims that this "has been almost universally acknowledged" by scholars.

More rhetoric from you. What matters is the argument, not the numbers.

It's neither rhetoric nor hyperbole. On matters of Josephus, an appeal to a non-Christian Josephean scholar is a valid appeal to authority. Perhaps we can agree on that?

todangst wrote:
gdon wrote:

I'm trying to frame the argument in terms of a historical Jesus, not a Gospel one,

First of all, there is no such thing. If 'jesus' is not gospel jesus, then he's not 'jesus' at all. You're equivocating here, and rather dishonestly, considering that you are a christian who accepts jesus as the christ.


"Dishonestly"? Given that I've written that there is very little history in the Gospels, and denied the virgin birth, etc, I've been pretty consistent. But I'm not interested in defending positions I've never even tried to establish.

As I've said, I'm trying to frame the argument in terms of a historical Jesus, not a Gospel one. If you'd rather debate on the basis of a Gospel Jesus, then fair enough, and I'll leave you to find someone to debate with, but I don't regard that as a problem for me, I'm afraid.

todangst wrote:
If you find a normal human who inspired a myth, then you've refuted the existence of 'jesus' altogether because 'jesus' refers to a christ.

Well, this actually goes back to the OP. So, when a secular scholar like Grant says that they think that there was a "historical Jesus", what do you think they mean? Can we use that definition for this debate?

todangst wrote:
todangst wrote:

The reality is that we have plenty of information concering reports of eruptions from that area from that era. In fact, we know that the Romans had even become quite blase' about eruptions, given their frequent occurence.

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Really? AFAIK, that was the first eruption in that region in hundreds of years.

Sorry. I should have said 'tremor's as per earthquake tremors that often precede volcanic action.


Then, that goes back to the eruptions -- given the unprecedented destructive nature of the eruption, leaving thousands dead and tens of thousands homeless, occuring on Italy itself, how many written eyewitness accounts would you expect? It would make a good benchmark for how many eyewitness accounts can be expected for extraordinary events in those days, I think.

If you think we should have gotten one or so, then that's good. If you think there should have been more than one, then we can start to look at reasons why we only ended up with one.

"You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into." -- Author unknown


elnathan
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I would like to start by

I would like to start by thanking several of you for causing me to ask several questions about what I previously believed about God, Jesus, and the Bible. It made me realize that the things I previously believed to be true, I actually had little historic support to back up such belief. I began to realize that what I believed about the Bible and Jesus was mainly based on what I accepted from others.

You made me realize I had no real outside sources to refer to that validate my belief. The last two weeks have caused me to ask some real questions, and roused a curiosity to do some real research to see if I could find answers to those questions. To be honest, I had never really questioned the historic life of Jesus as a man or the historic value of the New Testament Bible. It seemed enough to me, that it had endured 2,000 years, and therefore it must be true. But thanks to many of you—and a week of study—I have learned a great deal about the history of both.

I would like to apologize for my hasty and flippant responses to what I now see as honest questions, and not simple banter to confuse the issue. I didn’t think any of my responses or resources would be taken seriously, so I lazily google-fu-ed a few quick finds that made references to Jesus that supported what I claimed to be true.

While I enjoy history, I am no historian (I know…duh!). I don’t even like going to the library (it smells funny). I know how to do research in a real library, but it is a time consuming effort and now www search engines is about as close to histology as I get these days. Unfortunately, the World Wide Web allows anyone to say/claim anything and be found by a quick search, While these publications can be used as “resources” it is difficult to measure their validity or establish their real value as true recourses. In other words, no matter how rash the statement one can probably find an internet source to confirm such statements; i.e., we can make a claim about the “Flying Spaghetti monster” and find several sources that make similar claims. Unfortunately, they lend little real evidence to such existence.

Last week, I started to look at this topic much more seriously, and began to do some serious research with real books. I found several books that addressed many of the questions I began asking. I decided that only secular references would be acceptable here, but quickly found that a surprising few could be found. I was very surprised to find that many of the serious scholars that had set out to prove the mythology of Jesus, had actually converted to Christianity. I found no fewer than four confirmed atheists, that had found sufficient evidence to convince them that Jesus was not only a real historic character, but was actually who he said he was, and now believed he was still alive.

Since these men are now regarded as biased, they are not good sources for reference. However, I did find one particular person did extensive studies of ancient authors and historians—both secular and non-secular—that it was difficult to ignore.

I also found why the Jewish historian, Josephus’ writings are disregarded. It seems one work was tampered with by later Christians, and therefore all his works are regarded with suspicion. It also turns out he was not a very trustworthy person as he seems to have sold himself out to the Romans. Fortunately, there are many others that are recognized as valuable resources regarding the history of Jesus the Nazarene.

Here is a brief outline and citations from what I have found. There are many more, but these seem to be among the most significant. Hopefully, they will be found creditble enough to satisfy, most, if not all of you.

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Cornelious Tacitus (A.D. 55-120) was a Roman historian that wrote two famous works “The Annals” and the “Histories.” While he misspells Christ as Christus, which is a common error among pagans, he writes about Nero after the burning of Rome…

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he falsely charged with guild, and punished the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities, Christus, founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Timerius; but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again, and not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also. (Annals XV, 44)

There is another Roman historian named Suetionius, that wrote in his book “Life of Claudius” and says ...

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As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus [another spelling of Christus] he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome.

This is referred to in Acts 18:2 and places the time period around A.D. 49. He also refers to a similar account after the fires of Rome in A.D. 64 and recounts
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Punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new mischievous superstition (Lives of the Caesars, 26.2)

There is also a philosopher “Mara Bar-Serapion who lived sometime after A.D. 70, that compares Jesus to other philosophers.

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What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plaue came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burning Pythagoras?” In a moment their lad was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King? It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men” the Athenians died of hunger’ the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good’ he lived on in the teachings of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good’ he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise King die for good; He lived on in the teaching which He had given. (Bruce, NTDATR, 114)

In the above quote, “good” equates to forever or , as in ‘it didn’t die forever.’

[added note: It occurred to me that other research I encounted that was more directly related to Dan Brown's "The DaVinci Codes" is that there there are four men in history who are said to have been born of virgins; Aristotal, Pythagoras, Alexander the Great, and Jesus). I thought it interesting that two are mentioned above
.]
There are other references, but these are enough for now I think.

Something else that I had read in the N.T., but was not aware of in other writings was the darkness that was said to have fallen on the land when Jesus was crucified. This is referred to by Julius Africanus in his Chronography, in reference to a secular historian Thallus (A.D. 52). Since only fragments of Thallus’ work still exist, there are a few references to his early writing.

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Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away the darkness of as an eclipse of the sun—unreasonably as it seems to me (unreasonably, of course, because a solar eclipse could not take place at the time of the full moon, and it was at the season of Paschal full moon that Christ died (Chhronography, 18.1)

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Another secular authority, Phlegon, wrote a history called Chronicles. While this work has been lost, Julius Africanus preserved a small fragment of it in his writing. Like Thallus, Phlegon confirms that darkness came upon the earth at Jesus’ crucifixion, and he too, explains it as the result of a solar eclipse: “During the time of Tiberius Caesar and eclipse of the sun occurred during the full moon (Chronography, 18.1)
Aside from Africanus, Phelgon’s reference to this event is also mentioned by the third century Christian apologist Origen (Contra Celsum, 2. 14, 33, 59) and the sith-century writer Philopon (De. Opif. Und. II 21). (McDowell/Wilson HWAU, 36)

There are other authors who spoke of a man referred to as Christ during those times. One was Lucian of Samosata (A Greek satirist of the later half of the second century, Lucian spoke scornfully of Christ and the Christians, but never assumed he was not real, and refers to them as

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The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day—the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account.

Some people—including many scholars have discounted the N.T. reference to Jesus being nailed to a cross, claiming that executioners tied men to the cross with rope. A recent archeological finding in a tomb dated around A.D. 1, shows groves worn in the bones of the lower arms (wrists) and the heals of a man that was said to have been crucified. These groves indicate that this man had been nailed to a cross with metal spiked driven through is lower forearms and the heels of his feet and were caused by his movements up and down in order to breathe.

There are several historical references in the N.T. that have previously been discounted by critics because of a lack of documentation and proof of such events. Many of these Biblical claims have now been verified by modern archeologists. It also seems obvious that many people discount any evidence presented by Christian scholars simply because of the presumption that these findings would be biased. But even if there is a personal bias present, it seems their use of unbiased resources would stand quite independent. Regardless of the author’s personal belief it seems there is valid evidence of certain historical facts and events. For anyone interested in a concise collection of references, I would strongly suggest, Josh McDowell’s “The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict.”

Given the existence of such independent and secular resources referring to a man often referred to as Christ, and called Jesus of Nazareth, I find it compelling evidence that such a man did actually exist and that he is indeed one and the same. Whether he was the true son of God or not, should be left to another topic.

In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


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elnathan

elnathan wrote:
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There are few contemporary “scholars” that would deny the historicity of “Jesus the Nazarene.” There is plenty of evidence to support the historical validity of that person.

Then cite one.
Thomas Paine
Just one. Otto Betz
One. Markus Bokmuehl
ONE. Norman Anderson
ONE. F.F. Bruce
Just one. John P. Meir
ONE. Gary Habermas
Oh one, Howard Clark Kee
one, Encyclopedia Britannica

Slow down. None of these are contemporary accounts of 'jesus'. That 's what I just asked you for. How can anyone write a history of jesus without any contemporary accounts of jesus? All people would have is hearsay, myth.... legend.... nothing to substantiate the claim. Nothing fit to corroborate an extraordinary claim - one that violates everything we know of the world through science.

By the way, your citation of Paine was a major blunder... show that you haven't actually read much of what you've cited....I use Paine's arguments from Age of Reason AGAINST your position!

Here:

The book ascribed to Matthew says 'there was darkness over all the land from the sixth hour unto the ninth hour--that the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom--that there was an earthquake--that the rocks rent--that the graves opened, that the bodies of many of the saints that slept arose and came out of their graves after the resurrection, and went into the holy city and appeared unto many.' Such is the account which this dashing writer of the book of Matthew gives, but in which he is not supported by the writers of the other books.
The writer of the book ascribed to Mark, in detailing the circumstances of the crucifixion, makes no mention of any earthquake, nor of the rocks rending, nor of the graves opening, nor of the dead men walking out. The writer of the book of Luke is silent also upon the same points. And as to the writer of the book of John, though he details all the circumstances of the crucifixion down to the burial of Christ, he says nothing about either the darkness--the veil of the temple--the earthquake--the rocks--the graves--nor the dead men.

Now if it had been true that these things had happened, and if the writers of these books had lived at the time they did happen, and had been the persons they are said to be--namely, the four men called apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,--it was not possible for them, as true historians, even without the aid of inspiration, not to have recorded them. The things, supposing them to have been facts, were of too much notoriety not to have been known, and of too much importance not to have been told. All these supposed apostles must have been witnesses of the earthquake, if there had been any, for it was not possible for them to have been absent from it: the opening of the graves and resurrection of the dead men, and their walking about the city, is of still greater importance than the earthquake. An earthquake is always possible, and natural, and proves nothing; but this opening of the graves is supernatural, and directly in point to their doctrine, their cause, and their apostleship. Had it been true, it would have filled up whole chapters of those books, and been the chosen theme and general chorus of all the writers; but instead of this, little and trivial things, and mere prattling conversation of 'he said this and she said that' are often tediously detailed, while this most important of all, had it been true, is passed off in a slovenly manner by a single dash of the pen, and that by one writer only, and not so much as hinted at by the rest.

It is an easy thing to tell a lie, but it is difficult to support the lie after it is told. The writer of the book of Matthew should have told us who the saints were that came to life again, and went into the city, and what became of them afterwards, and who it was that saw them; for he is not hardy enough to say that he saw them himself;--whether they came out naked, and all in natural buff, he-saints and she-saints, or whether they came full dressed, and where they got their dresses; whether they went to their former habitations, and reclaimed their wives, their husbands, and their property, and how they were received; whether they entered ejectments for the recovery of their possessions, or brought actions of crim. con. against the rival interlopers; whether they remained on earth, and followed their former occupation of preaching or working; or whether they died again, or went back to their graves alive, and buried themselves.

Strange indeed, that an army of saints should retum to life, and nobody know who they were, nor who it was that saw them, and that not a word more should be said upon the subject, nor these saints have any thing to tell us! Had it been the prophets who (as we are told) had formerly prophesied of these things, they must have had a great deal to say. They could have told us everything, and we should have had posthumous prophecies, with notes and commentaries upon the first, a little better at least than we have now. Had it been Moses, and Aaron, and Joshua, and Samuel, and David, not an unconverted Jew had remained in all Jerusalem. Had it been John the Baptist, and the saints of the times then present, everybody would have known them, and they would have out-preached and out-famed all the other apostles. But, instead of this, these saints are made to pop up, like Jonah's gourd in the night, for no purpose at all but to wither in the morning.--Thus much for this part of the story.

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one....Trajan, Macrobius, Hadrian, Antonius Pius, Marcus Arelius, Juvenal, Sneca, Hierocles, Corneius Tacitus, Lucian of Samosata, Suetonius, Pliny the Younter, Thallus, Phelegon, Mara Bar-Serapion.

Again, none of these are contemporaries. And the claims of many of the people you've cited here have been refuted already. If you are really interested in learning more, read Rook's posts on the matter.

In fact, read gdon's posts, you'll see that even he is wiling to admit that there are NO contemporaries!

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We have at least four contemporary accounts of the “historic” Jesus in the Gospels by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Come on. These are not contemporary accounts. Even you know that the works are anonymous. Even you know that they were written decades after the suppposed time of jesus, and several of the gospels even concede that they are not eyewitness accounts!

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What? Are you kidding me. Where do you ever get these were “anonymous” writers?

What, are you kidding me? Are you really this ignorant of this subject? All four gospels are anonymous works. Go look it up. Do yourself a favor.

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By making “your own rules” I mean that first you disallow any references from the Bible

I am not making up my own rules. Please stop repeating that lie. There are NO contemporary accounts of jesus. None. To be a contemporary is to live during the time of jesus. This is not 'making up my own rules' it is what the word means. I am defining the word as it reads.

That you have to call this 'making up rules' just shows how desparate your case is...

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I fail to see the logic that would compel someone to learn to write about such events for posterity’s sake.


Then you've not studied logic. People record events that affect them. This is why we have history in the first place. There were plenty of people who lived at that time, in that region, who could write, and who DID write... yet not one of them bothers to RECORD THE FACT THAT GOD'S SON WALKED ON EARTH.

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Come on, you are not even trying here!

Come on! You must stop projecting your own problems onto me!

You're the one not trying here.

The idea that a god could stride the earth, and go unnoticed, is idiotic. It's just idiotic. Zombies rise from graves, under a sun that has stopped dead in the sky... and no one bothers to record the event?

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Those “plenty of people” you claim to have lived were not the sort that would hang out with the common people.

Why is this a prerequisite for noticing the earth standing still, or reporting the existence of zombie saints.

To quote you: you're not even trying.

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Wrong. There is no irony here on my part, as I am not given to relying on ad hominem attacks. The irony is on your part... your inability to see that the fact that josephus was NOT a christian is proof that he did not entertain the claim seriously, if at all!

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No it is not!

Yes, it is. and it's painfully obviously so. If he believed the accounts, if he had good evidence to for them, then he'd be a christian.

Please dare to think through it logically.

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If Josephus had become a Christian he would have been refuted right along with those that wrote the Gospels

No, and your argument is ridiculous. You are trying to say that we'd ignore him 'coz he's a christian' but this argument ignores the fact that HE'S NOT A CHRISTIAN AND YET HE'D HAVE TO BE IF HE BELIEVED THAT JESUS WAS THE MESSIAH!

WOW..

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—which you don’t even acknowledge. Josephus would have just been another Christian Lunitic--to you and many others. So what if he thought Jesus was the Son of God or not?

Indeed. The fact that he believed, in of itself, would prove nothing. But it would be expected if he actually did believe that there was a jesus.

So it's a necessary, but not sufficient condition. See?

AND you can't use the fact that he DIDN'T believe as a point for your argument! It can only go against you!

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He is used a resource to merely point out that Jesus did exist.

And he CAN'T be used to make this point, he can only, at best, report hearsay. Because he himself didn't even believe that there was a messiah.

You need to think it through.

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Oh yeah…the topic, doesn’t say squat about contemporaries. It is NOT part of the topic.

How can there be a historical jesus in the first place without contemporary accounts? What are you relying on for this incredible claim?

Hearsay? Myth? Are you serious?!

So I am not 'making up rules' I am following the rules of historicity.

I am getting you to recognize that an extrordinary claim can't be substantiated by hearsay!

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That’s why I claim YOU make up the rules,

And that's why you prove that you don't know anything about this topic.

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Please make you next post/response a good one.

They have all been good ones. Which is why your responses are just whiny complaints and lies.

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Cause you are unable to stay on track, and can’t stick to the topic,

In other words, you don't understand why contemporary accounts matter!

No kidding.

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You have asked me several times to please stop. Okay, I will.

Yet you haven't. You just repeated the same exact lies.

Here's the truth: It's not that I go off the topic, it's that you can't follow a point. Sorry.

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elnathan wrote: I also found

elnathan wrote:
I also found why the Jewish historian, Josephus’ writings are disregarded. It seems one work was tampered with by later Christians, and therefore all his works are regarded with suspicion.

No kidding.

But again, the key point is that if he had actual evidence of jesus, his book of JEWISH history would have been dedicated to jesus.... and Josephus would have become a christian.

You ignored these points, and came up with a twisted argument that if he were christian, he'd be ignored. But this has nothing to do with the fact that if he had good reason to believe in jesus, he'd be a christian.

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It also turns out he was not a very trustworthy person as he seems to have sold himself out to the Romans. Fortunately, there are many others that are recognized as valuable resources regarding the history of Jesus the Nazarene.

There are no contemporary accounts of jesus, and you're about to just repeat the same error you've made before: arguing without knowing the facts.

All of the claims you are about to make have been refuted just as the josephus claim has been refuted. Rather than go through them all, I'll ask you, again, to read Rook's refutations of these claims.

Go and find the shocking reality: that the josephus account is actually BETTER than everything else you've cited.....

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What I find as the most

What I find as the most damning evidence to elnathans' ignorance is his use of the term "nazarene" to refer to Jesus.

What most people are unaware of, and what makes this so amusing to someone such as myself who is versed in the evidence and history of the era, is that there is a HUGE difference between the terms "Nazarene" and "of Nazareth"

The Nazarenes were a group of Essenes that existed during the late first century into the second century (although some have taken the name and said to be Nazarene Essenes after this), and they have nothing to do with the town of Nazareth. At all. It's just a sect designation.

As for being "of Nazareth" signifies the place. The actual town.

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gdon wrote:todangst

gdon wrote:
todangst wrote:
Again, josephus himself gives us no evidence for such a person, only evidence of those who believed in such a person, and again, only if the Testimonium is true!

Yes, I agree. However, as per Kirby's comment that I gave above, it is the same reasoning that is used when investigating the historicity of others of whom we have no contemporary accounts.

But this reasoning can only demonstrate that someone believed that jesus existed. And again, no one questions that people in the first century believed in a myth about a man named joshua/jesus....

todangst wrote:
Quote:

As Peter Kirby says, "Simply by the standard practice of conducting history, a comment from Josephus about a fact of the first century constitutes prima facie evidence for that fact.

And the fact here is, given that the testimonium is true, that it demonstrates the existence of people who believed that there was a person named jesus, the christ. That's it.

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And according to Kirby, that's enough. There's no way of getting around this, I'm afraid, except via the Fallacy of Personal Incredulity (i.e. "it might be enough for non-Christian leading Josephus scholars, but it isn't enough for me!")

It's not a matter of personal credulity - it's a basic error in reasoning to go past what the actual data says.

The fact that peple believed that a person named jesus existed proves that people believed that a person named jesus existed. That's it. It does NOT prove that the person actually existed.

todangst wrote:
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I've read that Jewish and leading Josephus scholar Louis H. Feldman claims that this "has been almost universally acknowledged" by scholars.

More rhetoric from you. What matters is the argument, not the numbers.

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It's neither rhetoric nor hyperbole.

I didn't call it hyperbole, although it may be hyperbole. But I did call it rhetoric, and it is rhetoric, because his stature does not matter, only his argument.

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On matters of Josephus, an appeal to a non-Christian Josephean scholar is a valid appeal to authority. Perhaps we can agree on that?

Again, even given that the testimonium is true, all it does prove is that people in the first century believed in a person named jesus.

And again, no one denies the existence of christianity. So there's nothing here to support an actual historical jesus.

todangst wrote:
gdon wrote:

I'm trying to frame the argument in terms of a historical Jesus, not a Gospel one,

First of all, there is no such thing. If 'jesus' is not gospel jesus, then he's not 'jesus' at all. You're equivocating here, and rather dishonestly, considering that you are a christian who accepts jesus as the christ.

Quote:

"Dishonestly"?

Yes. You are a christian. So ultimately, you yourself reject the 'historical jesus' claim. You believe in a supernatural jesus, not a purely 'historical one'. So your claim is dishonest.

Quote:

Given that I've written that there is very little history in the Gospels, and denied the virgin birth, etc, I've been pretty consistent.

Yet you are a christian, right?

So ultimately, you don't believe in a purely human 'jesus'.

So your are being doubly disengenuous here.

Quote:

As I've said, I'm trying to frame the argument in terms of a historical Jesus, not a Gospel one.

And again, I point out that this is a dishonest equivocation. A 'historical jesus' would not be jesus in the first place... it's like looking for a historical paul bunyan. Any person you find could only be a person who 'inspired the legend', they couldn't actually be paul bunyan.

The same goes for a historical 'jesus'... a historical jesus would refute the existence of 'jesus' in any sense of how the word is used.

todangst wrote:
If you find a normal human who inspired a myth, then you've refuted the existence of 'jesus' altogether because 'jesus' refers to a christ.

Quote:

Well, this actually goes back to the OP. So, when a secular scholar like Grant says that they think that there was a "historical Jesus", what do you think they mean?

A 'historical jesus' would either fit the gospel accounts (to a significant degree) or not. If 'he' doesn't, then he's not 'jesus' in the first place.... just a person who inspired a myth.

To find a real person named joshua bar joseph who dabbled in carpentry, made a few nice speeches, and then died without any resurrection would lead to a refutation of christianity.

todangst wrote:
todangst wrote:

The reality is that we have plenty of information concering reports of eruptions from that area from that era. In fact, we know that the Romans had even become quite blase' about eruptions, given their frequent occurence.

Quote:

Really? AFAIK, that was the first eruption in that region in hundreds of years.

Sorry. I should have said 'tremor's as per earthquake tremors that often precede volcanic action.

Quote:

Then, that goes back to the eruptions

No, actually it doesn't. Please read the rest of my post more carefully .

As for your suggestion that we use reports of putative volcanic eruptions as a standard for the recording of remarkable events, I will again, perhaps for the third time in this thread point out that you can't compare a common event like an eruption to saints rising from graves.

But you have no choice but to go right back to that false comparison... .

What really stuns me about the theists in this thread is their willingness to believe that zombies could rise from graves without people noticing.

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:What I

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
What I find as the most damning evidence to elnathans' ignorance is his use of the term "nazarene" to refer to Jesus.

What most people are unaware of, and what makes this so amusing to someone such as myself who is versed in the evidence and history of the era, is that there is a HUGE difference between the terms "Nazarene" and "of Nazareth"

The Nazarenes were a group of Essenes that existed during the late first century into the second century (although some have taken the name and said to be Nazarene Essenes after this), and they have nothing to do with the town of Nazareth. At all. It's just a sect designation.

As for being "of Nazareth" signifies the place. The actual town.

Nice points.

I have to give eln' a bit of credit, he at least realized how weak the josephus claim actually is.... so, given this, I bet he'd reject the other claims as well if he only read into just how weak those claims are too.... the whole "chrestus' was a common misspelling sounds like it was torn straight from a fundy site.......

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Well, since we're on

Well, since we're on Suetonius' prose, might as well show what's wrong with it for him as well.

(I'm a bit more thorough here then in may earlier rfutations of Suetonius)

  • Problems with suggesting that Suetonius talks about Jesus

    Suetonius: "Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he (the emperor, Claudius) expelled them from Rome" (The Life of Claudius, Sec. 25.4).

    1. (1) Suetonius wrote in the year 115 CE, so this is FAR from a contemporary account. He doesn't cite or list sources and Christianity would have been decently established by this time.

    2. (2) Surely no one will contend that Christ was inciting riots at Rome 15 years after he was supposedly crucified at Jerusalem. And why would Jews be led by Jesus to begin with? But by citing this you are assuming this is the case.

    3. (3) This passage contains no evidence for the historicity of Jesus, even if we substitute "Christus" for "Chrestus." Christus is merely the Greek-Latin translation of "anointed" and the phrase "at the instigation of Christus" could refer to a group of people just as much as it could have meant one person. This is reminiscent of the name Theophilus mentioned in the beginning of Acts and Luke, (whom the narrator/author of the books are addressing the prose too) which simply means "lover/friend of God." Which can apply to many people instead of one singular person (maybe even a congregation of people).

    4. (4) "Chrestus" was not only a familiar personal name, it was also a name of the Egyptian Serapis or Osiris, who had a large following at Rome, especially among the common people. Hence "Christians" may be either the followers of a man named Chrestus, or of Serapis. Historians know what evil repute the Egyptian people, which consisted mainly of Alexandrian elements, had at Rome. While other foreign cults that had been introduced into Rome enjoyed the utmost toleration, the cult of Serapis and Isis was exposed repeatedly to persecution. The lax morality associated with their worship of the Egyptian gods and the fanaticism of their worshippers repelled the Romans, and excited the suspicion that their cults might be directed against the State.

    5. (5) Vopiscus said, "Those who worship Serapis and the Chrestians,.... They are a turbulent, inflated, lawless body of men." Is it not possible that the reference to Chrestus and the Chrestians has been too hastily applied to Christos and Christians? The "Chrestians," who were detested by the people for their crimes,..., are not Christians at all, but followers of Chrestus, the scum of Egypt, the apaches of Rome, a people on whom Nero could very easily cast the suspicion of having set fire to Rome.

    6. (6)The name in the text is not "Christus" but "Chrestus," which by no means is the usual designation of Jesus. It was a common name, especially among Roman freedman. (Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares, book 2, letter 8, section 1; "What! Do you suppose that I meant you to send me an account of gladiatorial matches, of postponements of trials, of robberies by Chrestus, and such things as, when I am at Rome, nobody ventures to retail to me?") Hence, the whole passage may have nothing whatever to do with Christianity.

    7. (7)As one source mentioned it, "Thus much we seem to learn from both passages: but the most enlightened men of that age were singularly ill-informed on the stupendous events which had recently occurred in Judea, and we find Suetonius, although he lived at the commencement of the first century of the Christian aera, when the memory of these occurrences was still fresh, and it might be supposed, by that time, widely diffused, transplanting Christ from Jerusalem to Rome, and placing him in the time of Claudius, although the crucifixion took place during the reign of Tiberius." (Suetonius: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars; An English Translation, Alexander Thomson. Philadelphia. Gebbie & Co. 1889.) What is interesting to note here is that if these events had recently just happened (in the Gospels or anything similar) you'd think those who wrote about it would have written about these events and got them down as they remembered them. Apparently this isn't the case.

    8. (8 ) From Suetonius, "He suppressed all foreign religions, and the Egyptian and Jewish rites, obliging those who practised that kind of superstition, to burn their vestments, and all their sacred utensils. He distributed the Jewish youths, under the pretence of military service, among the provinces noted for an unhealthy climate; and dismissed from the city all the rest of that nation as well as those who were proselytes to that religion, under pain of slavery for life, unless they complied. He also expelled the astrologers; but upon their suing for pardon, and promising to renounce their profession, he revoked his decree." (Lives of the Caesars; Tiberius, 36) What is important to note here is that Tiberius (not just Claudius) also revoked the Jews religious rites and expelled them from Rome. (This is also mentioend in Acts) As this is the case, and upon reading Cicero, it could have easily been in Seutonius' interest to apply the name "Chrestus" to the instigator of the Jewish expulsion. (Read also Josephus, Ant.18:5.)

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    todangst
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    Rook_Hawkins wrote:Well,

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    Well, since we're on Suetonius' prose, might as well show what's wrong with it for him as well.

    (I'm a bit more thorough here then in may earlier rfutations of Suetonius)

  • Problems with suggesting that Suetonius talks about Jesus

    Suetonius: "Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he (the emperor, Claudius) expelled them from Rome" (The Life of Claudius, Sec. 25.4).

    1. (1) Suetonius wrote in the year 115 CE, so this is FAR from a contemporary account. He doesn't cite or list sources and Christianity would have been decently established by this time.

    2. (2) Surely no one will contend that Christ was inciting riots at Rome 15 years after he was supposedly crucified at Jerusalem. And why would Jews be led by Jesus to begin with? But by citing this you are assuming this is the case.
  • I just want to stop here just to demonstrate how bad the christian claim that 'chretus is a jesus reference is'.... In order to make the claim, you have to cut and post it uncritically, without even understanding it. Because if you did understand anything about the nature of the claim, you'd see how farcical it is.

    Even a cursory knowledge of Suetonius or Claudius will be enough to inform a person that 'chrestus' can't be a reference to jesus, seeing as Claudius ruled from 41-65 AD! This is after the supposed death of 'jesus'!

    So this demonstrates just how poorly eln' has investigated this topic. If he spent ten seconds looking up Cladius on wiki, he'd have the ability to refute the claim all on his own.

    The sole time eln' bothered to delve into the matter deeper, he cam away totally disenchantised with the josephus claim.... again, if eln' can just read through the other refutations (or even just examine the claims himself) he'll see that all the rest are equally bad, if not worse.

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    elnathan
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    Hmmm...somehow I expected

    Hmmm...somehow I expected more. But that's cool, thanks...it's been fun!


    Rook_Hawkins
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    So...you get schooled and

    So...you get schooled and then run...? Instead of learning and educating yourself?


    todangst
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    elnathan

    elnathan wrote:
    Hmmm...somehow I expected more. But that's cool, thanks...it's been fun!

    You should expect more from yourself. You can't even be bothered to investigate the 'chrestus' claim enough to figure out that it comes from the time of Claudius (i.e. after the time of 'jesus')... it's pretty clear that you are only beginning to investigate these claims critically....

    good luck...

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    Rook_Hawkins wrote:So...you

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    So...you get schooled and then run...? Instead of learning and educating yourself?

    No, it's not like that at all....

    You point out discrepancies with one resource, and then act like you have discounted my whole response. While the "education" is interesting, it does little to discount the histocricy of Jesus. There are lots of other resources that support the fact. One major fact is that the dates we use today are based on the historic life and death of a real Jesus. The other dude is stuck on Josephus and has little else to support his denial. The rest of it could be quickly summed up and could save a lot of writing by simply posting "yeah, what he said." Meaning you.

    I find it hard to believe that someone who comes across to be so "schooled" would even entertain the idea that "Jesus of Nazareth" was not a real person. That is just so 19th century. It shows no evidence of a knowledge of modern scholars, archeology, or even common sense. I could understand arguing about who He was/is, but NOT whether He existed.

    Another point that I find baffling is the constant demand for “contemporary” accounts. If we can only rely on people who wrote about a specific person during the life of that person, and had direct interaction with said person, it would eliminate a great deal—if not all—ancient writings and historic figures; Aristotle, Homer, and the Egyptian Pharaohs just to name a few. It shows little knowledge of how history, and historic writing is actually done. As I have said, I am no scholar, and don’t claim to know a lot about histology nor ancient manuscripts. But even I am not so foolish as to disregard evidence and deny the facts that point to people in history. It is very obvious to many scholars as well as historic and modern figures that Jesus was a real person. Arguing that they have all been duped seems foolish--at best.

    Given the wealth of material available today, little can be said about someone who would deny all the material available and continue to claim that He never actually walked the earth.

    I am not running away, I just don’t see the point in continuing to beat a dead horse, in order to fight a bunch of scarecrows (I think you may refer to them as “straw men”.)

    [add: Thomas Paine argued about the diety of Jesus and whether He was the Son of God--but never His existance!]

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    elnathan wrote:There are

    elnathan wrote:
    There are lots of other resources that support the fact.

    No there aren't.
    Every single source you have cited either dosn't really discuss Jesus, or, at best, talks about him as a subject of Christian faith.
    None of these sources say anything about a real man called Jesus.

    Quote:
    One major fact is that the dates we use today are based on the historic life and death of a real Jesus.

    Please, tell me you're joking.

    Quote:
    I find it hard to believe that someone who comes across to be so "schooled" would even entertain the idea that "Jesus of Nazareth" was not a real person. That is just so 19th century. It shows no evidence of a knowledge of modern scholars, archeology, or even common sense.

    What evidence?
    Show it!
    All youre giving, and all you can give, is evidence of Christians, not evidence of Jesus the Christ.
    You keep mentioning "scholars" but you have failed to name one, and even if you find one, I bet neither of these scholars is capable of giving evidence for Jesus, just evidence for people that believed he existed.

    Quote:
    I could understand arguing about who He was/is, but NOT whether He existed.

    What's so hard to understand about not believing in something for which there is no evidence?

    Quote:
    Another point that I find baffling is the constant demand for “contemporary” accounts. If we can only rely on people who wrote about a specific person during the life of that person, and had direct interaction with said person,

    ...then we are left with things we can actually call evidence.

    By the way there is no demand for writing within the lifetime of the person, but there must be chance of direct interaction.
    How can you cite the works of people born nearly a century after Jesus' supposed death as evidence?

    Quote:
    it would eliminate a great deal—if not all—ancient writings and historic figures; Aristotle,

    You don't know what the hell you're talking about.
    Ever heard of Alexander the Great, the guy that was schooled by Aristotle?
    Or will you say there is no contemporary evidence for him either?

    Quote:
    Homer,

    If you were paying attention to what I said earlier, you'd know that the idea that Homer never existed is actually entertainable by historians.

    Quote:
    and the Egyptian Pharaohs just to name a few.

    Again, you don't know what you're talking about.
    Care to name exactly which pharaohs you have in mind?

    Quote:
    But even I am not so foolish as to disregard evidence and deny the facts that point to people in history. It is very obvious to many scholars as well as historic and modern figures that Jesus was a real person. Arguing that they have all been duped seems foolish--at best.

    Then show the evidence.
    Evidence for the man called Jesus, not people that believed he existed.
    Really what's so hard about that?

    Quote:
    Given the wealth of material available today, little can be said about someone who would deny all the material available and continue to claim that He never actually walked the earth.

    Then show us the material.
    You'll be 666$ richer if you do so, as the challenge is still on I believe.

    Quote:
    I am not running away, I just don’t see the point in continuing to beat a dead horse, in order to fight a bunch of scarecrows (I think you may refer to them as “straw men”.)

    You jumped into this thread with this very attitude.
    You were corrected, and even you admitted that your attitude was unwarranted and your arguments not really good.
    You decided to do research because of that.
    Too bad, that despite your research you made the exact same errors as before, when it comes to your arguments as well as your attitude.


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    Ivan_Ivanov wrote: All youre

    Ivan_Ivanov wrote:

    All youre giving, and all you can give, is evidence of Christians, not evidence of Jesus the Christ.

    Alright, Ivan. Let's take this back then.

    According to you, there are evidences for Christians.

    A Christian is one who follows "Christ."

    There must have been a man - at some point in history - that people referred to as "Christ." Without Christ, there can be no Christians. If you are going to demand that this person truly did not exist, then you have placed yourself with the outrageous burden to show exactly where Christianity started, why it started, and who started it.

    Certainly the Jews would not have made up a fake story about their Messiah arriving, if they never had a man (at least posing as the "Christ") to back it up. You are suggesting a Hollywood-made, world-wide plot/conspiracy that would've been written off immediately during its time.

    Certainly not all of the bible is a hoax. Surely, some if not most of its characters, events and places did exist. If you claim otherwise, please explain to me your theory on what man - or group of men - sat down and wrote this huge story, and why in the world they would ever do such a thing when it only brought them humiliation and death?


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    adamgrant wrote:According to

    adamgrant wrote:
    According to you, there are evidences for Christians.

    A Christian is one who follows "Christ."

    You don't need a real person to call yourself a follower of one, all you need is the belief that such a person existed.
    You could also accept that the person never existed and still call yourself a follower of him/her.
    I could for example claim to be a follower of Luke Skywalker. It doesn't matter he most likely never existed, the values he fought for are clearly shown in the Star Wars trilogy, and I could say I'm a follower in the sense that I hold the same values.

    Quote:
    There must have been a man - at some point in history - that people referred to as "Christ." Without Christ, there can be no Christians. If you are going to demand that this person truly did not exist, then you have placed yourself with the outrageous burden to show exactly where Christianity started, why it started, and who started it.

    The same way every other religion started, for the same reason they started, by the same kind of people that started them.
    If you actually think that the existence of people that believe something is evidence for that thing, you're putting yourself in a position where you claim that every religion that ever existed is true.

    Quote:
    Certainly the Jews would not have made up a fake story about their Messiah arriving, if they never had a man (at least posing as the "Christ") to back it up. You are suggesting a Hollywood-made, world-wide plot/conspiracy that would've been written off immediately during its time.

    Was Hercules (another son of god, who was believed to have walked on Earth) a Hollywood-made worldwide conspiracy?
    Zeus and his lot?
    Odin, Thor, and friends?
    Ukko, Ilmatar and co.?
    Buddha?
    The Hindu gods?
    Egyptian gods?

    Hell no, they are just a catchy ideas made by people who like to make things up.

    Quote:
    Certainly not all of the bible is a hoax. Surely, some if not most of its characters, events and places did exist

    Weeell... not really most, and those that did exist weren't really described accurately.

    The Bible can be viewed as a source of information from the ancient times, but it has a pretty heavy religous and political bias.
    The events it describes and that did happen are pretty heavily distorted, other events are simply made up.
    I posted a link to video at the first page of this thread, it discusses this very subject, take a look at it if you're interested, it's quite fascinating.

    Quote:
    If you claim otherwise, please explain to me your theory on what man - or group of men - sat down and wrote this huge story, and why in the world they would ever do such a thing when it only brought them humiliation and death?

    Why did the whacko that created Scientology, create it?
    It's the same story, as far as I can tell.

    Now don't get me wrong, I don't claim there absolutely wasn't a Jesus.
    Sure there might be a guy that claimed to be a messiah, and ended up on the cross, and his teachings could have started Christianity.
    Hell, I don't even rule out there beeing a true son of god running around ancient Israel.
    All I'm saying is that there is no evidence for one, and that therefore everyone that doesn't believe in his existance is justified in doing so.

    As for humiliation and death.
    I'm not sure on this one, but wasn't Rome pretty tolerant of religions in general, and only persecuted religions/cults if they started causing trouble?


    elnathan
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    Ivan_Ivanov wrote:elnathan

    Ivan_Ivanov wrote:
    elnathan wrote:
    There are lots of other resources that support the fact.

    No there aren't.
    Every single source you have cited either dosn't really discuss Jesus, or, at best, talks about him as a subject of Christian faith.
    None of these sources say anything about a real man called Jesus.


    Wrong! Every single source refers to the historic Jesus. Simply because someone says "it could be someone else" doesn't mean it was.
    Quote:

    Quote:
    One major fact is that the dates we use today are based on the historic life and death of a real Jesus.

    Please, tell me you're joking.


    Nope, not one little bit. Or did you just think it was a coincedence?
    Quote:

    Quote:
    I find it hard to believe that someone who comes across to be so "schooled" would even entertain the idea that "Jesus of Nazareth" was not a real person. That is just so 19th century. It shows no evidence of a knowledge of modern scholars, archeology, or even common sense.

    What evidence?
    Show it!


    Wow...you completely missed the point of the statment and misconskrewed the use of the word "evidence."
    [quote[
    All youre giving, and all you can give, is evidence of Christians, not evidence of Jesus the Christ.

    So you really don't see the corrilation there? You really think the Christian faith is based on some ghost story and not a real person?
    Quote:

    You keep mentioning "scholars" but you have failed to name one, and even if you find one, I bet neither of these scholars is capable of giving evidence for Jesus, just evidence for people that believed he existed.

    Are we back to definitions again? What evidence do we have that anyone existed in history? You claim Aristotle existed, and offer proof of Alexander the Great. How is it that works for you, but is disregarded here?

    There are volumes written by many "scholars" that attest to the fact that Jesus was alive. I am not going to do your homework for you, and retype all the citation that point to this fact. As I have already suggested, get the book, read it for yourself. Whether you belive what Josh McDowell claims or not, the sources are their for you to check and verify yourself. I doubt you would have believe what I posted anyway--given your past responses. If you want a quick read with lots of references to those "scholars" try [i]More Than a Carpenter" by Josh McDowell.

    Quote:

    What's so hard to understand about not believing in something for which there is no evidence?

    How much science do you believe in that has no evidence? Do you believe in evolution? What evidence caused this belief? If you really think about it, everything you believe about in evolution is based on what someone else has claimed. Hearsay and conjecture at best. Or maybe you have been lucky enough to have actually examined the bones and skulls they claim as evidence?

    Quote:

    By the way there is no demand for writing within the lifetime of the person, but there must be chance of direct interaction.

    I am not really sure how much of this thread you skipped but todangst most certainly made such demands!
    Quote:

    How can you cite the works of people born nearly a century after Jesus' supposed death as evidence?

    Those people lived in the direct result of that evidence. In many cases, the witnesses were still alive. They could be easily found and asked directly. There were 515 eyewitnesses to Jesus resurrection. It may seem like a flippant statement, but given the time it was written (first century) it would make it an easy thing to validate. To make such a rash statement that would have been easily verified or found false would have been a grave error on the part of the Apostles. If those writings had been based on a lie(s) they would not have endured even the first century.
    Quote:
    it would eliminate a great deal—if not all—ancient writings and historic figures; Aristotle,

    Quote:
    Homer,

    If you were paying attention to what I said earlier, you'd know that the idea that Homer never existed is actually entertainable by historians.


    entertained is not the same as invalid. Look at all the other conspiracy theories "entertained" by many people. That doesn't make it valid. Just because someone suggests an alternative answer doesn't make that alternative any more real.
    Quote:

    Quote:
    But even I am not so foolish as to disregard evidence and deny the facts that point to people in history. It is very obvious to many scholars as well as historic and modern figures that Jesus was a real person. Arguing that they have all been duped seems foolish--at best.

    Then show the evidence.
    Evidence for the man called Jesus, not people that believed he existed.
    Really what's so hard about that?


    Why do you insist on using a double standard. You seem to want to measure the Bible and the other documents by one standard, yet use the same unacceptable standard to support what YOU believe? All ancient text must be measured by the same standard of evidence. Bibliographical, internal and external evidence. You should say Aristotle existed because Alexander the Great says so, but then discount Christ because Christians say so.
    Quote:

    Quote:
    Given the wealth of material available today, little can be said about someone who would deny all the material available and continue to claim that He never actually walked the earth.

    Then show us the material.
    You'll be 666$ richer if you do so, as the challenge is still on I believe.


    I have no idea what you are talking about here!
    Quote:

    You jumped into this thread with this very attitude.

    I am sorry...I thought this was an open and public forum, that invited comment for the historic value of Jesus. I guess I missread something there!
    Quote:

    You were corrected, and even you admitted that your attitude was unwarranted and your arguments not really good.

    So? My attitude has not been out of line--with the exception that it contridicts the ideas of others. I haven't been hostile, insulting or called names. Just because I don't argue well, doesn't mean my arguments have no validaty.
    Quote:

    You decided to do research because of that.

    So now that's a bad thing? I pretty much figured prior to the study it would be ignored or denied. I really didn't expect to cause people like you to change your mind. It's obvious we see things differently. Does it make you feel better or more aloof than you were previously?
    Quote:

    Too bad, that despite your research you made the exact same errors as before, when it comes to your arguments as well as your attitude.

    You have that all wrong as well. I checked my attitude a week ago. I didn't make any errors--well, perhaps a few spelling and gramatical errors. But the resources are sound and accurate. Just because they don't agree with your claims doesn't make them wrong. You have even less to back up your opinions. You have even gone so far as to allow that Jesus may have been real, but just don't have enough solid evidence to support that.

    The irony is, there is no solid evidence to back up the really important aspect of Jesus' life on earth. Whether He was a real person is only important in establishing the real Christ. If He wasn't a real person, then this whole topic is a ridiculous waste of time. The fact that there is substantial evidence to show a historic Jesus is only a single step in a long journey to discover who the Man really is. If one can't get past this stumbling block, then they are never going to be able to see that.

    I understand why people want to deny that Jesus ever existed. It releaves a LOT of pressure on them. There have been times in my life I wished He didn't exist too. The reality of Jesus has some very strong implications to those who don't believe. I understand that. When I was a non-believer I fought the possibilities very strongly too. I argued at length the ignorance of faith and Christianity, and even God. If one can discount God, His Son, and the implications they bing, then life is very easy. But, if They do exist, then there is going to be Hell to pay--so to speak.

    In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


    Rook_Hawkins
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    Quote:Alright, Ivan. Let's

    Quote:
    Alright, Ivan. Let's take this back then.

    Lets.

    Quote:
    According to you, there are evidences for Christians.

    There are also evidences for Zoroastorians, and followers of Simon Magnus.

    Quote:
    A Christian is one who follows "Christ."

    No, a Christian is one who BELIEVES in Christ. For the most part, Christians are so-so on the following. I've yet to see a Christian handle a venomous snake without protection or move a mountain with prayer or faith. And I've yet to see people like Billy Graham or Pat Robertson sell all their posessions as Christ commanded them to do in Matthew.

    So, you can see that aren't too sold on the idea of actually FOLLOWING Christ, but they certainly must believe in him as that is a prerequisite.

    Quote:
    There must have been a man - at some point in history - that people referred to as "Christ."

    Why?

    Quote:
    Without Christ, there can be no Christians.

    There are other viable options, and more sound ones at that, then to have an actual person walking around. Orphic tradition and Heraclitic ideas were very popular in Israel at the time of the first and second century. This is due to (in no small part) the Hellenistic period preceeding the turn of the first century CE.

    You are obviously not aware of what the Mythicist stance is, so take the time to read over it. You can check it out in the new board entitled, "The Jesus Mythicist Campaign."

    Quote:
    If you are going to demand that this person truly did not exist, then you have placed yourself with the outrageous burden to show exactly where Christianity started, why it started, and who started it.

    Actually, it's quite the contrary. You see there is something called "argument from silence" which exists in the case of Christ. No evidence, no contemporary accounts, no eye-witness accounts. And all early accounts from the first century are Gnostic or Essene in nature. None are orthodox, as you'd expect. None place Jesus on Earth.

    So, because the maxim is "He who makes the positive claim holds the burden of evidence" YOU, my friend are making the positive claim, and the burden of proof rests on YOU. Now get to it.

    Quote:
    Certainly the Jews would not have made up a fake story about their Messiah arriving, if they never had a man (at least posing as the "Christ") to back it up.

    Several key things wrong here. First, you are assuming the nature of the Jews. And you are assuming they made it up with malice intent. I don't believe it was malice or treacherous. I believe they actually did think Christ was real, but not real in a human sense. This is where you reading that forum will help.

    Another thing, you state "posing as Christ." Since "Christ" means "anointed" (I'm sure you knew that) what relevance would such a phrase have on the Jews? Especially when in Isaiah the Messiah's name is said to be Emmanuel. Somebody walking around saying "I'm the anointed!" is going to do nothing but get him sour looks and weird expressions.

    You aren't thinking in terms of the big picture. You're starting from present day and working backwards. You need to start from before the first century CE and work forwards.

    Quote:
    You are suggesting a Hollywood-made, world-wide plot/conspiracy that would've been written off immediately during its time.

    You are quite correct. The ironic thing is that Christians WERE being written off during their time. It wasn't until the third century that Christians became differenciated from the Jews. Before the third century, everyone considered Christians and Jews to be the same, and it wasn't until the mid second century that "Christian" the term came to be used. Before this, Christians called themselves "The Way", "Sethians", "Gnostics", "Mystics" and "Nazoreans"...some kept "Essenes." Nobody refered to them in such a way as "Christian" until much much later.

    The problem was, however, that everyone thought the Christians were plagerizers. A Hellenized jew, Trypho, in his debate with Justin Martyr, criticised the Christians on stealing myths from the Greeks.

    Lets look at this dialogue because I think this is strikingly similar to what we have in the case presented here. Justin Martyr, went from being a member of the Stoics - who were at the time scientists who dealt, by his own admission, in matters that were of the sceintific method and were atheists - became a Platonist, which in a way proves my point, as Platonists were knee-deep in Orphic tradition (when it coems to philosophy) and were very anti-science and anti-evidence. This was, however, the mainstream Christian of the day.

    In order to be a Christian, one had to remove all references or ideals relating to science. Platonists were known for being the most intellectually void on matters of science, as the Orphic tradition passed down from Plato is such that it requires it.

    In his discussion (Note, he was walking along to find solice, and instead found Trypho), Trypho states this (Which I find ironic considering this discussion took place during the first half of the second century;

    1. "If, then, you are willing to listen to me (for I have already considered you a friend), first be circumcised, then observe what ordinances have been enacted with respect to the Sabbath, and the feasts, and the new moons of God; and, in a word, do all things which have been written in the law: and then perhaps you shall obtain mercy from God. But Christ--if He has indeed been born, and exists anywhere--is unknown, and does not even know Himself, and has no power until Elias come to anoint Him, and make Him manifest to all. And you, having accepted a groundless report, invent a Christ for yourselves, and for his sake are inconsiderately perishing." "

    Keep in mind, Martyr was almost laughed out of the company of Trypho and his friends. Being Jews themselves, and not having the slightest clue as to any man living under the name "Christ" or "Christ Jesus" or "Jesus Christ". But this isn't the worst of it. What is even more devestating is Justin's reply back to these accusations!

    Trypho then suggests that Justin's Christ is just like Perseus and Justin replies (respectively);

    1. "And Trypho answered, "The Scripture has not, 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,' but, 'Behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son,' and so on, as you quoted. But the whole prophecy refers to Hezekiah, and it is proved that it was fulfilled in him, according to the terms of this prophecy. Moreover, in the fables of those who are called Greeks, it is written that Perseus was begotten of Danae, who was a virgin; he who was called among them Zeus having descended on her in the form of a golden shower. And you ought to feel ashamed when you make assertions similar to theirs, and rather[should] say that this Jesus was born man of men. And if you prove from the Scriptures that He is the Christ, and that on account of having led a life conformed to the law, and perfect, He deserved the honour of being elected to be Christ,[it is well]; but do not venture to tell monstrous phenomena, lest you be convicted of talking foolishly like the Greeks." "

    2. "Be well assured, then, Trypho," I continued, "that I am established in the knowledge of and faith in the Scriptures by those counterfeits which he who is called the devil is said to have performed among the Greeks; just as some were wrought by the Magi in Egypt, and others by the false prophets in Elijah's days. For when they tell that Bacchus, son of Jupiter, was begotten by[Jupiter's] intercourse with Semele, and that he was the discoverer of the vine; and when they relate, that being torn in pieces, and having died, he rose again, and ascended to heaven; and when they introduce wine into his mysteries, do I not perceive that[the devil] has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses? And when they tell that Hercules was strong, and travelled over all the world, and was begotten by Jove of Alcmene, and ascended to heaven when he died, do I not perceive that the Scripture which speaks of Christ, 'strong as a giant to run his race,' has been in like manner imitated? And when he[the devil] brings forward sculapius as the raiser of the dead and healer of all diseases, may I not say that in this matter likewise he has imitated the prophecies about Christ?

    And we can not ignore Justin Martyr’s telling admission in his First Apology.

    1. “And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter. For you know how many sons your esteemed writers ascribed to Jupiter: Mercury, the interpreting word and teacher of all; AEsculapius, who, though he was a great physician, was struck by a thunderbolt, and so ascended to heaven; and Bacchus too, after he had been torn limb from limb; and Hercules, when he had committed himself to the flames to escape his toils; and the sons of Leda, and Dioscuri; and Perseus, son of Danae; and Bellerophon, who, though sprung from mortals, rose to heaven on the horse Pegasus. For what shall I say of Ariadne, and those who, like her, have been declared to be set among the stars? And what of the emperors who die among yourselves, whom you deem worthy of deification, and in whose behalf you produce some one who swears he has seen the burning Caesar rise to heaven from the funeral pyre? And what kind of deeds are recorded of each of these reputed sons of Jupiter, it is needless to tell to those who already know. This only shall be said, that they are written for the advantage and encouragement of youthful scholars; for all reckon it an honourable thing to imitate the gods. But far be such a thought concerning the gods from every well-conditioned soul, as to believe that Jupiter himself, the governor and creator of all things, was both a parricide and the son of a parricide, and that being overcome by the love of base and shameful pleasures, he came in to Ganymede and those many women whom he had violated and that his sons did like actions. But, as we said above, wicked devils perpetrated these things. (First Apology, Chapter XXI; Analogies To The History of Christ)

    What do you see similar in these telling admissions? That Justin neither denies the fact that there are similarities, nor does he seem like he fully understands the implications. For him it is easy to just say, “The devil forged them beforehand” or “the deceiver counterfeited these Gods.” How weak of an argument is that? He might have just as well shook his fist at Trypho and shouted, “SO?!”

    This is not the tip of the iceberg, this is the grain of snowflake at the very top of that tip. Celsus, Lucian, and the greatest thinkers and rationalists of the day were criticizing Christianity, and showing the fraudulent nature of it’s beliefs long before the Rational Response Squad initiated the $666 challenge and the Jesus Mythicist Campaign.

    In fact, so great was the criticism that the churches reasons for initially burning books and condemning writings was to try to stamp out the cynical and skeptical refutations it was receiving. And what is worse is that the Orthodox Church, to this day, still has a banned book list. And guess who and what are still on it? Yes, some of the very same books and authors who were on it some 1800 years ago.

    If it hadn’t been for their ability to launch the ‘smear and slander campaigns’ against other sects of Christianity and paganism at the time and their ability to organize as they did, Christianity would not exist today and this is fact.

    Quote:
    Certainly not all of the bible is a hoax.

    You seem to think that people intentionally made shit up for the purpose of extracting mindless drones. Sorry, but I don’t feel that way, and no learned Mythicist should. People really did believe in the stupidest most inane thing before Science was able to prove it all wrong. This is why myths are for the ancients. Science is for the modernizing world of today, and we’ll let the ancestors of the past rest in graves along with their incredulous beliefs.

    Quote:
    Surely, some if not most of its characters, events and places did exist.

    Nope, but the majority is wrong, inaccurate, misplaced, made up and contradictory. And don’t call me Shirley.

    Quote:
    If you claim otherwise, please explain to me your theory on what man - or group of men - sat down and wrote this huge story, and why in the world they would ever do such a thing when it only brought them humiliation and death?

    It’s simple. They really believed in it. Just not the same way Christians believe in it today. Read the Jesus Mythicist Campaign forum for more information and understanding as to WHAT early Christians really believed, and why things are different now. Hope this has been informative.

    Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)


    todangst
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    elnathan wrote:Rook_Hawkins

    elnathan wrote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    So...you get schooled and then run...? Instead of learning and educating yourself?

    No, it's not like that at all....

    You point out discrepancies with one resource, and then act like you have discounted my whole response.

    He's not just pointing out 'discrepancies, he's refuting the claims entirely.... I mean, come on man, you cited the 'chrestus' argument without even realizing that the event in question happened during the rule of Claudius, a ruler who ruled years after the supposed death of jesus!

    Not only do you not look carefully into the reality of the matter, you don't even have the common courtesy to concede these errors.

    Where's your admission that you screwed up with at least that citation?

    Quote:

    While the "education" is interesting, it does little to discount the histocricy of Jesus.

    There is no historicity of jesus, only a history of rumors and hearsay.

    The only reason it can do little to discount the "historicity' of jesus for you is because you sheild yourself from the facts of the matter through your ignorance of the subject.

    You've proven this with your claims here concerning josephus and the "chrestus' claim, as well as many other claims.

    Quote:

    There are lots of other resources that support the fact.

    You keep asserting this even as it's been refuted every other time you've claimed it...

    Quote:

    I find it hard to believe that someone who comes across to be so "schooled" would even entertain the idea that "Jesus of Nazareth" was not a real person. That is just so 19th century.

    And 20th century, and 21st century.... as opposed to being so 'first century' - i.e. believing in god/men based on rumors... swallowing whole the most incredulous stories, because mommy and daddy said its' so...

    Quote:

    Another point that I find baffling is the constant demand for “contemporary” accounts.

    Yes, you do find it baffling. You find it baffling because you don't understand it.

    Notice how others on the board manages to understand it correctly:

    ivan_ivanov wrote:

    By the way there is no demand for writing within the lifetime of the person, but there must be chance of direct interaction.
    How can you cite the works of people born nearly a century after Jesus' supposed death as evidence?

    Bingo.

    Quote:

    If we can only rely on people who wrote about a specific person during the life of that person,

    I might forgive your inability to understand what the call for contemporary accounts REALLY means, if I hadn't already explained it 3, 4 maybe even 5 times.

    Let's again, point out your errors here:

    1) A call for contemporary accounts is not an insistence on relying solely on contemporaries. Please correct that error.

    The point of asking for a contemporary account is to demonstrate that there is NO evidence of ANY actual eyewitness to jesus. Please correct that error.

    All we can rely upon is legend, hearsay, and 'artifacts' of which, in this case, there is also NONE. The fact that you cannot cite ANY contemporary accounts demonstrates just how weak the jesus claim is.

    Yet the jesus claim does not hold that jesus was a man, doing naturalistic things. It holds that he was a god/man, doing miraculosu things!

    This leads us to error number 2 in your claim:

    2) The claim for a resurrected messiah is not akin to claims about NATURAL events, such as the existence of philosophers and kings. Despite having this error repeatedly pointed out to you, you continue to repeat it.

    You cannot reasonably use the methods we might use for a natural claim, for a supernatural claim.

    If we had no direct eyewitness accounts for president lincoln, we could infer his existence from historical events, artifacts, and the like, because the existence of a president is not only a natural event, but an EXPECTED event... some president ruled during tha time, after all.

    But a claim for a god/man is not a natural event nor an expected event. It simply violates the law of parsimony to rely on inference alone to make a supernatural claim! It is the ultimate violation of occam's razor. Far more parsimonious explanations exist. There's no need for an 'actual jesus' for there to be legends of a jesus.

    Quote:

    it would eliminate a great deal—if not all—ancient writings and historic figures;

    Incorrect! This is based on your ridiculous strawman of the situation, that I have again refuted.

    I trust that now, that I've again corrected your error, that you will eventually recognize your claim as a strawman.

    Perhaps not now, but some day.

    Perhaps a few years from now.

    Quote:
    Aristotle, Homer, and the Egyptian Pharaohs just to name a few.

    Stop, wait.... Excuse me, but I just have to again stress how little you know about this topic: WE HAVE THE WRITINGS OF ARISTOTLE HIMSELF. I'D CALL THAT A CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNT!

    Quote:

    It shows little knowledge of how history, and historic writing is actually done.

    No, it shows how little you know about even the most basic elements of the discussion. You haven't a clue as to why contemporary accounts are important, nor can you even figure out why a supernatural claim cannot rely on the same methods of logical inference that natural claims rely upon.

    Quote:

    As I have said, I am no scholar,

    You don't need to say it, your ignorance bleeds through every word you type.

    Quote:

    [add: Thomas Paine argued about the diety of Jesus and whether He was the Son of God--but never His existence!]

    LOL If Paine disbelieved in the dietyhood of 'jesus', then he IS denying the existence of the jesus of the gospels... so he is denying the existence of 'jesus' in any christian sense of the word. You can't have a jesus who is just a normal man who inspired a legend, and have it be the same 'jesus' that any christian means when he uses the word.

    Your argument, as already pointed out over and over and over, relies on a equivocation fallacy. How many times do you need the obvious repeated to you? If you find a human 'jesus', who does not fit the gospel descriptions, then you've refuted the existence of jesus, because 'jesus' is not a human who inspired a legend, but a god/man who was resurrected so that the could provide salvation for mankind.

    I will again point out that finding a tall man with an axe named "Paul" doesn't prove the existence of paul bunyan...

    I look forward to having to repeat this post 600 more times.

    Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

    Books on atheism.


    Ivan_Ivanov
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    elnathan wrote:Wrong! Every

    elnathan wrote:
    Wrong! Every single source refers to the historic Jesus. Simply because someone says "it could be someone else" doesn't mean it was.

    At this point you're just covering your ears and shouting "LALA!".

    If you claim that Tacitus really refers to a real man called Jesus, could you kindly explain why he calls him a superstition?

    Rook corrected you on Suetonius passages, I just want to add that citing Acts 18:2 must have been a joke on your part, all it says is that Nero persecuted Christians... we know it happened, it says nothing of Jesus.

    And if you think Mara Bar-Serapion was talking about Jesus could you tell me to which event was he refering when he wrote:

    Quote:
    It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished

    Quote:
    the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion.

    As far as I know they already had no kingdom before Jesus supposedly died.

    Quote:
    Nope, not one little bit. Or did you just think it was a coincedence?

    Look, how can the calendar be based on the historic life and death of a real Jesus, if no one can give evidence that he even existed, let alone more or less exact dates of his birth and death.

    Coincidence? Tell me what exactly the calendar is coinciding with?

    Quote:
    Wow...you completely missed the point of the statment and misconskrewed the use of the word "evidence."

    Right, sorry.
    I probably meant to use this part in reply to another part of your post.

    Quote:
    So you really don't see the corrilation there? You really think the Christian faith is based on some ghost story and not a real person?

    And what is so amazing about that?
    Do you think that every single religion and every single cult is based on real stories and people?

    I ask you the same question, I asked in a post above: do you believe that Hercules was a real person?
    There is evidence of people that worshipped him, is it the same as evidence for him?

    Quote:
    Are we back to definitions again? What evidence do we have that anyone existed in history? You claim Aristotle existed, and offer proof of Alexander the Great. How is it that works for you, but is disregarded here?

    What evidence do we have?
    Writings, tons of wrightings of the people, and about the people we believe that existed.
    I offered you evidence for Alexander, to show you exactly that - we have the writings of Aristotle, and we have the testimony of a man that interacted with him directly.

    When it comes to Jesus we have nothing but writings about the people that believed in him. It proves nothing unless you think every single cult in existence is based on true stories.

    Quote:
    Whether you belive what Josh McDowell claims or not, the sources are their for you to check and verify yourself. I doubt you would have believe what I posted anyway--given your past responses. If you want a quick read with lots of references to those "scholars" try More Than a Carpenter" by Josh McDowell.

    Look, you have failed to provide a single source that could be used as direct evidence for Jesus, and notice I didn't even say contemporary this time.
    I will read any book you recommend, but you have to tell me the claims within that book don't contain the same flaws we have pointed to you.

    Quote:
    How much science do you believe in that has no evidence? Do you believe in evolution? What evidence caused this belief? If you really think about it, everything you believe about in evolution is based on what someone else has claimed. Hearsay and conjecture at best. Or maybe you have been lucky enough to have actually examined the bones and skulls they claim as evidence?

    Yes I choose to trust scientist that they got things more or less right, but the difference between this and trusting people who say Jesus existed is substantial:

    There is evidence for every accepted scientific theory. It is catalogued and made public. I can acces information about this evidence in the second I decide to look it up.
    If I don't understand something, or even if I oppose the views of science when it comes to a particular theory, there are thousands, if not millions of people that will be willing to explain the theory, or my errors to me. No one will act as if they were threatened by my ideas.
    Sure there will be rude people that tell me to go back to highschool, but there will be others that will explain everything.

    Compare that to how the way you, and pretty much any believer, acts when confronted with the idea that Jesus never existed.

    Quote:
    Those people lived in the direct result of that evidence. In many cases, the witnesses were still alive. They could be easily found and asked directly.

    It is curious that none of these people wrote anything down about the subject, nor has anyone written about their testimony.

    Quote:
    There were 515 eyewitnesses to Jesus resurrection.

    Wow, what a specific number.
    515 eyewtinesses, could you list their names, and perhaps tell us who they were?

    Quote:
    It may seem like a flippant statement, but given the time it was written (first century) it would make it an easy thing to validate. To make such a rash statement that would have been easily verified or found false would have been a grave error on the part of the Apostles. If those writings had been based on a lie(s) they would not have endured even the first century.

    Again, by the same logic every cult in existence, ever, must be true.
    If there were so many witnesses, so many people that could verify the validity of Christians' claims, it is very interesting that no one ever bothered wrtiting a single solitary word about it.

    Quote:
    entertained is not the same as invalid. Look at all the other conspiracy theories "entertained" by many people. That doesn't make it valid. Just because someone suggests an alternative answer doesn't make that alternative any more real.

    Look, the reason historians are willing to entertain the idea that Homer never existed is because we know very little about him. I assume there is some evidence for his existence, I never really researched it.
    My point is that if you tell a historian that you don't believe Homer existed he'll say: "fair enough, there is some evidence that he existed, but I admit it's not as much as we have for other historical persons"
    And if you ask him, he'll refer you to this evidence. He won't go: "What?! Are you implying that the Illiad and Odyssey wrote themselves / appeared out of thin air / were delivered by alens?" Which is pretty much the equivalent of your argument.

    Quote:
    Why do you insist on using a double standard. You seem to want to measure the Bible and the other documents by one standard, yet use the same unacceptable standard to support what YOU believe?

    You might want to re-write this part, I think you got lost somewhere on the way...

    Quote:
    All ancient text must be measured by the same standard of evidence. Bibliographical, internal and external evidence. You should say Aristotle existed because Alexander the Great says so, but then discount Christ because Christians say so.

    The difference is that Alexander the Great claims that he has directly interacted with Aristotle, there are no Christian writings with the claim that they have seen or interacted with Jesus in any way.

    As for the double standard, no not all texts should be measured the same way. Let's go back to the Superman analogy. Do you think future archeologists and historians should treat superman comics the same way as newspaper articles?

    Quote:
    Quote:
    Then show us the material.
    You'll be 666$ richer if you do so, as the challenge is still on I believe.

    I have no idea what you are talking about here!

    I'm talking about this thread

    Quote:
    I am sorry...I thought this was an open and public forum, that invited comment for the historic value of Jesus. I guess I missread something there!

    How much more childish can you get?
    I said nothing about you beeing not welcome to comment, just about your attitude. You admitted that your attitude was wrong, but you have changed nothing in it after that.

    Similiarly, I didn't say that doing research was a bad thing, on the contrary, but I said you learned nothing from the research you have done, you commited the same errors that everyone is pointing out over and over, and I'm not talking about grammar.


    Ivan_Ivanov
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    elnathan wrote:You have even

    elnathan wrote:
    You have even less to back up your opinions. You have even gone so far as to allow that Jesus may have been real, but just don't have enough solid evidence to support that.

    ???
    Am I reading this right? Are you trying to hold having an open mind against me?
    Of course I allow Jesus having been real, there is nothing extraordinary about people named Yeshua existing.
    My point, and the point of everyone else, is that there is no evidence for that particular Yeshua existing.

    Quote:
    The irony is, there is no solid evidence to back up the really important aspect of Jesus' life on earth. Whether He was a real person is only important in establishing the real Christ.

    The irony is that Christians do everything to convince people that Jesus existed, at least as a normal person, when this claim pretty much refutes Christianity.

    Quote:
    If He wasn't a real person, then this whole topic is a ridiculous waste of time.

    Yep, it is.

    Quote:
    The fact that there is substantial evidence to show a historic Jesus is only a single step in a long journey to discover who the Man really is. If one can't get past this stumbling block, then they are never going to be able to see that.

    If there is evidence for a Jesus, then why didn't you show it?
    Really what's so hard about that?

    Quote:
    I understand why people want to deny that Jesus ever existed. It releaves a LOT of pressure on them. There have been times in my life I wished He didn't exist too. The reality of Jesus has some very strong implications to those who don't believe. I understand that. When I was a non-believer I fought the possibilities very strongly too. I argued at length the ignorance of faith and Christianity, and even God. If one can discount God, His Son, and the implications they bing, then life is very easy. But, if They do exist, then there is going to be Hell to pay--so to speak.

    You understand nothing.
    As was already shown a historic Jesus refutes Christianity, from an atheists perspective there would be nothing better then evidence for an ordinary man called Jesus, that was the founder of Christianity.
    Your stubborness in claiming that he did exist is mostly amusing, because of that.

    I don't fight the possibility of Jesus' existance, why should I.
    Does the fact that Mohammet existed make Islam true in any way?

    As for the consequences of discounting god and all the rest, I don't care.
    If god is so good as people claim, surely he will see the reasons believers give are lame, and won't punish me for a mere disagreement in opinion, and if he will, he doesn't deserve worship in the first place.
    But that's a bit off topic, eh?


    elnathan
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    Todangst: You make it too

    Todangst: You make it too difficult to resist responding to your ridiculous claims. You obviously are not reading this stuff correctly, and I am compelled to respond to your ignorance—more accurately, your ignoring of the reality of the situation—and your lack of knowledge of reality.

    Let’s start in the middle of your last response…

    Quote:

    Quote:

    it would eliminate a great deal—if not all—ancient writings and historic figures;

    Incorrect! This is based on your ridiculous strawman of the situation, that I have again refuted.

    Wrong again. It is based on historic writing. You have refuted nothing, and make false accusations. I conceded the viability of Josephus, yet you continue to harp on the issue, even though I admitted that some of his work had obviously been tampered with regarding the deity of Jesus, it does not detract from the fact that he made other historical references to a man known as Jesus.
    There is no strawman on my part here. That would be you. You have corrected nothing. You have simply offered some alternative claim. Your claims are based more on “hearsay” than mine. You are way off base here. Let me point out a couple.
    Quote:

    2) The claim for a resurrected messiah is not akin to claims about NATURAL events, such as the existence of philosophers and kings. Despite having this error repeatedly pointed out to you, you continue to repeat it.

    The claim to these supernatural events are historic. It is referred to as mischief and superstition. The reference was used to display that the “contemporaries” of Jesus made, what may seem to some, as outrageous claims. But they made these claims during a time when they could be verified by eyewitness accounts. It would have been an easy thing to ask a few people alive at the time “who saw this “Jesus” after He died.” Given the Jewish opinion of the day, these people could have quickly been pointed out, and approached personally. They could have been asked direct questions, such as “Did you see Jesus within the 40 days after He died?” and “Did you see the holes in his hands, and the impressions of the thorns?” Pretty simple to verify.
    But it is not Jesus’ resurrection that we are talking about. It only lends credence to the fact that He was a real person of the time. How is it you don’t understand that if these events had been fantasy and mythical, few—if any—would have believed them to be true?
    Now here’s a good one too.
    Quote:

    Quote:

    Aristotle, Homer, and the Egyptian Pharaohs just to name a few.

    Stop, wait.... Excuse me, but I just have to again stress how little you know about this topic: WE HAVE THE WRITINGS OF ARISTOTLE HIMSELF. I'D CALL THAT A CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNT!

    The earliest known copy of Aristotle’s work was written over 1100 years after his death. Now I am not sure exactly how it is you measure contemporary writing, but is seems to have a double standard. You claim these writings—written a millennium after the man—are valid, yet decry fowl on copies of the Gospels that were written less that 250 years after the life of Jesus. Doesn’t seem very consistent to me.
    Here’s another good one that points out your contradiction of yourself.
    Quote:

    1) A call for contemporary accounts is not an insistence on relying solely on contemporaries. Please correct that error.
    The point of asking for a contemporary account is to demonstrate that there is NO evidence of ANY actual eyewitness to jesus. Please correct that error.

    You seem to overlook the fact that there are contemporary writings; Matthew, Mark, John, and Peter to name just four. These are people who had direct knowledge of the man Jesus. They spent three years with Him. There is no error to correct on my part. If you choose to ignore these contemporaries, then it is your error that needs to be corrected sir! I would also like to point out that there is only one contemporary of Aristotle, and that man proclaimed himself to be a god. Yet you discount the writings of four people who claimed to have known a god. More double standards, and holes in your thinking.

    I am not really sure what it is you think refuted means, but it is obviously not the acceptable definition. You have refuted nothing. You have only offered alternative thinking. Not real refutation.

    Quote:

    LOL If Paine disbelieved in the dietyhood of 'jesus', then he IS denying the existence of the jesus of the gospels... so he is denying the existence of 'jesus' in any christian sense of the word. You can't have a jesus who is just a normal man who inspired a legend, and have it be the same 'jesus' that any christian means when he uses the word.

    You never cease to amaze me in your contempt. The question of deity is not the topic here. But, I will indulge you for a bit longer. Perhaps you need to re-read Paine’s work? I think you will find that he (Paine) actually blamed Jesus for this thing known as Christianity. Perhaps the fact that you don’t see this, points to the other false claims you make.
    But…you do get this one partially right…congrats! I have highlighted the accurate (with the exception that he was a man part
    Quote:

    Your argument, as already pointed out over and over and over, relies on a equivocation fallacy. How many times do you need the obvious repeated to you? If you find a human 'jesus', who does not fit the gospel descriptions, then you've refuted the existence of jesus, because 'jesus' is not a human who inspired a legend, but a god/man who was resurrected so that the could provide salvation for mankind.

    Ivan_Ivanov
    ???
    Am I reading this right? Are you trying to hold having an open mind against me?

    No, I am not holding it against you, and that was not my implication. I am simply confused by the statement…
    Quote:

    Now don't get me wrong, I don't claim there absolutely wasn't a Jesus.
    Sure there might be a guy that claimed to be a messiah, and ended up on the cross, and his teachings could have started Christianity.

    You make an open minded statement here, yet argue on the side of anti-theists, that the man didn’t exist. I am even more confused by the following….
    Quote:

    Of course I allow Jesus having been real, there is nothing extraordinary about people named Yeshua existing.
    My point, and the point of everyone else, is that there is no evidence for that particular Yeshua existing.

    Perhaps I have just misunderstood your stance. Given this is a topic regarding the historic validity of a man named Jesus, that was from Nazareth, and claimed to be Christ. Yet there is a lot of evidence that such a man existed. That He is the person behind the Christian faith. He was the instigator of the entire movement. Many people recognize Him to be one of the most influential persons in history.

    There is plenty of evidence that supports the existence of the man. The fact that we are still arguing about Him validates His to some extent. We have contemporary accounts of His life and teachings, we have external accounts from both Jews and Romans and Greeks. There are historic writings and archeological evidence that the support and concur the history outlined in the New Testament are factual. There has been more written about this Man, than any man in history. There are more documents that support the validity of the New Testament than any other ancient document known to man. To ignore these facts and make claims that the Man didn’t exist is confounding.

    Quote:

    Quote:

    So you really don't see the corrilation there? You really think the Christian faith is based on some ghost story and not a real person?

    And what is so amazing about that?
    Do you think that every single religion and every single cult is based on real stories and people?
    I ask you the same question, I asked in a post above: do you believe that Hercules was a real person?
    There is evidence of people that worshipped him, is it the same as evidence for him?

    I don’t know! I don’t really know a lot about mythology. Given that there are many societies that worship false gods, lends credibility to your point. I do realize many ancient—and modern societies—belief in some pretty bizarre stuff. The Greeks and Romans worshipped many idols. Some rulers claimed to be gods themselves, and people worshipped them. While that is can be seen pretty clearly as serving their personal needs, Jesus, the Christ, had a different agenda. His goal was to bring people back to His father. Of course they had to go through Him first, but with respect to His purpose, it was for a much different reason that the others.
    Now here is an interesting contradiction….
    Quote:

    I offered you evidence for Alexander, to show you exactly that - we have the writings of Aristotle, and we have the testimony of a man that interacted with him directly.
    When it comes to Jesus we have nothing but writings about the people that believed in him. It proves nothing unless you think every single cult in existence is based on true stories.

    Where is the difference there? You say people believed in Aristotle because they claim to have known him. So did the Apostles. We have even more writings from more people regarding the existence of Jesus than we have of Aristotle. Yet you believe there was an Aristotle, yet deny the same type of evidence for Jesus. Do you really not see the double standard here?
    While modern cults may not be based on truth, they are based on real people. Scientology may be way out there, but that doesn’t subtract from the fact that L. Ron Hubbard was a real person. Proving that a person that claims to be a god, is not, does not erase the existence of that person.
    Quote:

    Yes I choose to trust scientist that they got things more or less right, but the difference between this and trusting people who say Jesus existed is substantial:
    There is evidence for every accepted scientific theory. It is catalogued and made public. I can acces information about this evidence in the second I decide to look it up.
    If I don't understand something, or even if I oppose the views of science when it comes to a particular theory, there are thousands, if not millions of people that will be willing to explain the theory, or my errors to me. No one will act as if they were threatened by my ideas.
    Sure there will be rude people that tell me to go back to highschool, but there will be others that will explain everything.
    Compare that to how the way you, and pretty much any believer, acts when confronted with the idea that Jesus never existed.

    How are my actions different? If one is talking to an astrophysicist and calls regards his claims as idiotic and unsubstantiated do you really think that he/she would take that lightly? Do you really think they would NOT be just a little pissed off an your insinuations?
    Perhaps you misread my tone and demeanor here. I am not offended by claims that Jesus was not a real person. I—like you and others—am just trying to point out the errors in the opposing arguments. I harbor no hostility here. You and the others are free to think what you like. I just feel an obligation—much like you and the others—to try and point out the truth and facts of the matter. It is obvious to me that there is a great deal of denial and ignoring of those factors.
    I would like to carry on this (whatever), but breakfast is ready, and I hate cold eggs. More later.

    In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


    elnathan
    Posts: 81
    Joined: 2006-09-13
    User is offlineOffline
    Breakfast was great

    Breakfast was great thanks….Smiling

    Let me pick this up here….

    Quote:

    Wow, what a specific number.
    515 eyewtinesses, could you list their names, and perhaps tell us who they were?

    I got this number from Lee Strobel. It is three higher than the one I was previously aware of but in retrospect it does seem valid and I can only name 14. Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alpaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. Joseph called Brsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. These can be found in the first chapter of Acts. As for the other 500, these are referenced by Peter in a later testimony. While their names are not listed, they would not have been difficult to find.

    I would like to address another interesting point you bring up.

    Quote:

    Again, by the same logic every cult in existence, ever, must be true.
    If there were so many witnesses, so many people that could verify the validity of Christians' claims, it is very interesting that no one ever bothered wrtiting a single solitary word about it.

    There were lots of writings about these events. It is only natural that few Jews would write about them. Those that weren’t converted to “The Way” claimed Jesus was a blasphemer. They made him a criminal and executed him by crucifixion. It doesn’t seem likely they would record the actions of such a person. And let’s not forget two very important facts. Those people who were followers were persecuted, beaten, imprisoned and killed. Does it seem likely to you that any writings they authored would have been saved for posterity? It seems logical that anything they wrote that indicated the error of the Jews would have been destroyed doesn’t it? While we value the writings and documentation of today’s cultists, it was not such common practice 2,000 years ago. Many book burnings throughout history should attest to these assumptions.

    The other point is that not too many people were able to write during those times. What other writings have survived from that period? How many people do you suppose could write that were among the feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000. Does it really seem likely that these people would have even known they were being fed from only five loaves and two fish? Of course it was obvious to the Apostles that wrote about it, but do you really think the common people were aware there was no food when they were told to sit down? They were just there to hear the Man speak, not looking for a free meal.

    Quote:

    Look, the reason historians are willing to entertain the idea that Homer never existed is because we know very little about him. I assume there is some evidence for his existence, I never really researched it.

    I can appreciate that. I never really looked very deeply into that stuff either. But let’s look at the facts and compare them to the person of Jesus. Many people do believe in Homer, and obviously many don’t. I can’t be certain that everyone who has read the Iliad and the Odyssey thought Homer wrote it. But, obviously many do. It is pretty much the same thing here.

    Quote:

    My point is that if you tell a historian that you don't believe Homer existed he'll say: "fair enough, there is some evidence that he existed, but I admit it's not as much as we have for other historical persons"

    There is little difference with me. I am aware there isn’t a lot of evidence that support the fact. But I am aware there is a great deal more than I had previously thought. The reality is that when I started in this thread, I thought there was only a tiny bit of real evidence that Jesus was a man. It wasn’t surprising to me, and actually the existence of evidence wasn’t really all that important. What kept me interested here was that even with what little evidence I was aware of was being denied. In trying to support my thinking, and in an attempt to show that support, I found a great deal of evidence that exists. I found that even though some of the writings were nearly a century later, and the copies of those writings were even older than that, there is historical evidence and modern archeology that supports even more evidence attesting to the facts.

    Unfortunately, the consequences of disbelieving in Jesus are a bit more compelling than those of Homer.

    Quote:

    And if you ask him, he'll refer you to this evidence. He won't go: "What?! Are you implying that the Illiad and Odyssey wrote themselves / appeared out of thin air / were delivered by alens?" Which is pretty much the equivalent of your argument.


    On the contrary. That is not my argument at all. How can you claim such a misconception. I am saying there is very real support—by the same standards that support other historic writings—that there is a great deal of validity in the authorship of the New Testament. I made no such claim as they wrote themselves, or were delivered by some other source. Sorry, but perhaps I misunderstood your intentions with such a statement.

    Quote:

    The difference is that Alexander the Great claims that he has directly interacted with Aristotle, there are no Christian writings with the claim that they have seen or interacted with Jesus in any way.

    Oh contraire. The New Testament is a Christian writing that makes just such a claim! It is also a valid historic writing that accurately dates the time of those writings. Modern scholars and archeologists have found a great deal of evidence to support the validity of such writing. I bet at this point you are wanting citations, right? I would list a few of the ones I have encountered, but I just don’t have the time or inclination to write them all down now. So here’s a suggestion. If you really want proof of what I have told you, and claim to be true, look at my resources and not settle for what I claim. The most concise reference I have found I have already mentioned, but I will give them again so you don’t have to search for them in the previous posts.

    Josh McDowell: “The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict” Skip right to page 119.”Jesus: a man of history.” There are a lot of good references here, regardless of the position of the author. He wrote another good book that has a lot of references that can be easily verified entitled, “More than a Carpenter.” It is a very quick read—I read it in one afternoon.

    Again…regardless of your opinion of the author, the references are solid. Even if some are biased, they make a very good starting point for further studies and research for non-believers. Perhaps these will help you understand that my evidence is not in error, but taken directly from unbiased accounts non-believers, for the most part. I would like to go on, but I have to get ready for work now.

    In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


    todangst
    atheistRational VIP!
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    Posts: 2811
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    elnathan wrote:Todangst:

    elnathan wrote:
    Todangst: You make it too difficult to resist responding to your ridiculous claims. You obviously are not reading this stuff correctly, and I am compelled to respond to your ignorance— more accurately, your ignoring of the reality of the situation—and your lack of knowledge of reality.

    My lack of knowledge of reality? Wow.... I wonder how I'm able to type on my keyboard at all...

    As for your repeated claims that I just ignore your arguments, I've asked you politely to stop repeating that lie.

    Quote:

    Let’s start in the middle of your last response…

    ... so that you can just ignore half of my post.... so that you can just run from the refutations.

    What a shock.

    Now I'll have to repeat them all again.

    As predicted. In the very same post.

    Quote:

    Quote:

    it would eliminate a great deal—if not all—ancient writings and historic figures;

    Incorrect! This is based on your ridiculous strawman of the situation, that I have again refuted.

    Quote:

    Wrong again.

    No, you are wrong, and I already demonstrated why: because no one is insisting that we rely SOLELY on contemporary accounts.

    I made this point clear enough even for you. In the part that you refused to even cut and paste, let alone respond to.

    So you couldn't respond to it. You have to cut it out. Because you can't respond to it.

    So here it is again. For you to dodge again:

    ************************

    Quote:

    Another point that I find baffling is the constant demand for “contemporary” accounts.

    Yes, you do find it baffling. You find it baffling because you don't understand it.

    Notice how others on the board manages to understand it correctly:

    ivan_ivanov wrote:

    By the way there is no demand for writing within the lifetime of the person, but there must be chance of direct interaction.
    How can you cite the works of people born nearly a century after Jesus' supposed death as evidence?

    Bingo.

    Quote:

    If we can only rely on people who wrote about a specific person during the life of that person,

    I might forgive your inability to understand what the call for contemporary accounts REALLY means, if I hadn't already explained it 3, 4 maybe even 5 times.

    Let's again, point out your errors here:

    1) A call for contemporary accounts is not an insistence on relying solely on contemporaries. Please correct that error.

    The point of asking for a contemporary account is to demonstrate that there is NO evidence of ANY actual eyewitness to jesus. Please correct that error.

    All we can rely upon is legend, hearsay, and 'artifacts' of which, in this case, there is also NONE. The fact that you cannot cite ANY contemporary accounts demonstrates just how weak the jesus claim is.

    Yet the jesus claim does not hold that jesus was a man, doing naturalistic things. It holds that he was a god/man, doing miraculosu things!

    This leads us to error number 2 in your claim:

    2) The claim for a resurrected messiah is not akin to claims about NATURAL events, such as the existence of philosophers and kings. Despite having this error repeatedly pointed out to you, you continue to repeat it.

    You cannot reasonably use the methods we might use for a natural claim, for a supernatural claim.

    If we had no direct eyewitness accounts for president lincoln, we could infer his existence from historical events, artifacts, and the like, because the existence of a president is not only a natural event, but an EXPECTED event... some president ruled during tha time, after all.

    But a claim for a god/man is not a natural event nor an expected event. It simply violates the law of parsimony to rely on inference alone to make a supernatural claim! It is the ultimate violation of occam's razor. Far more parsimonious explanations exist. There's no need for an 'actual jesus' for there to be legends of a jesus.

    ****************************************

    So, I've shown where you are wrong. In return, you completely ignored the refutation, and just shouted "wrong"

    What a joke.

    Quote:

    I conceded the viability of Josephus, yet you continue to harp on the issue,

    In order to prove the point that you make claims based on 'evidence' that you yourself haven't investigated.

    So I repeat this as evidence to prove my point.

    Quote:

    There is no strawman on my part here.

    Incorrect. I've already demonstrated why your position is a strawman, because it's based on your misunderstandings of the points given to you. There is no insistence that we rely on contemporary accounts solely. So your entire argument is false, based on your strawman of my position.

    Your inability to see this is simply painful at this point.

    Quote:

    2) The claim for a resurrected messiah is not akin to claims about NATURAL events, such as the existence of philosophers and kings. Despite having this error repeatedly pointed out to you, you continue to repeat it.

    Quote:

    The claim to these supernatural events are historic.

    Did you even bother to read what you just wrote? You concede that they are supernatual events.

    Ergo, you cannot hold to the same methods for natural events that you can for these events, for they are supernatural claims. You can't hold to a supernatural claim on anonymous assertion!

    Quote:

    The reference was used to display that the “contemporaries” of Jesus made, what may seem to some, as outrageous claims. But they made these claims during a time when they could be verified by eyewitness accounts.

    But we have no evidence of any such eyewitness accounts, yet sanely, rationaly, we would expect quite a deal of such accounts.

    Quote:

    Now here’s a good one too.

    Yes, it's a great one, shows us that you don't even think over your own claims.

    Quote:

    Quote:

    Aristotle, Homer, and the Egyptian Pharaohs just to name a few.

    Stop, wait.... Excuse me, but I just have to again stress how little you know about this topic: WE HAVE THE WRITINGS OF ARISTOTLE HIMSELF. I'D CALL THAT A CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNT!

    Quote:

    The earliest known copy of Aristotle’s work was written over 1100 years after his death.

    Smiling

    Here again is proof that you don't have the slightest idea of what you are talking about. First, the existence of the writings of aristotle is axiomatic... they exist, someone wrote them. Second, their existence is a natural event, we need not challenge anything we know of the natural world to accept that someone named "aristotle' wrote them.

    And there's more and more: The writing of Aristotle comes from ARISTOTLE. So the provenance for copies of his works is sound.... what matters is not holding to an actual original, but having a provenance from our copies to an original.

    You really don't know anything about historicity. So stop arguing the matter, OK?

    Seriously, you don't have a clue as to what you're talking about. This is why my comments might seem odd to you... because you actually don't know what you're talking about.

    Quote:

    Now I am not sure exactly how it is you measure contemporary writing,

    Exactly. You don't have a clue! And you've just demonstrated it to the board.

    We don't need the actual existent original to have a contemporary account. But we do need references to it. We can rely on copies of copies, as long as we have a sound provenance - a link from the copies to the original source.

    In the case of a copy of the works of an author, we have a sound provenance. Aristotle wrote the works of aristotle, even if your copy was created in 2006.

    Quote:

    Here’s another good one that points out your contradiction of yourself.

    No. What it will point out, again, is that you don't know what you're talking about.

    Quote:

    1) A call for contemporary accounts is not an insistence on relying solely on contemporaries. Please correct that error.
    The point of asking for a contemporary account is to demonstrate that there is NO evidence of ANY actual eyewitness to jesus. Please correct that error.

    Quote:

    You seem to overlook the fact that there are contemporary writings; Matthew, Mark, John, and Peter to name just four.

    You seem to have not explored the situation at all. As usual.

    First of all, notice how you just ignored the fact that I did in fact correct you, and refute your flawed view of the situation. A call for contemporary accounts is not an insistence on relying solely on contemporaries. So you were wrong here, and I corrected you. Rather than admit it, you just ran past it.

    Next, your claim that matthew, mark, john, and 'peter' (not Luke?) were contemporaries is actually in dispute by modern biblical scholars. The reality is that these works are anonymous works and the reality is that they were likely written at least 40 years after the supposed time of 'jesus' and more likely even later than that.

    If you actually had any idea of what you were talking about, you'd realize that there was good reason to hold that mark was not an eyewitness account of anything, but instead a 'midrash' of OT works.

    Here is some evidence of this claim that you will fail to investigate:

    http://users2.ev1.net/%7Eturton/GMark/GMark_index.html

    By the way, if you read matthew chapters 24 and 26, you see wher
    e the matthew author rules himself out as an eyewitness himself. You'd know this is you bothered to investigate anything you claim.

    Quote:

    These are people who had direct knowledge of the man Jesus.

    No, the reality is that they are anonymous works. The "gospels', save for John, all appear to be copies of Mark, and Mark appears to be nothing more than a "midrash' of the OT

    Quote:

    There is no error to correct on my part.

    There are several errors for you to concede

    1) Your mistaken belief that a call for contemporary accounts is an insistence on relying solely on contemporaries. You were wrong. Concede the errorl

    2) Your inability to recognize that a lack of any contemporary accounts calls into question any arguments from infernece

    3) Your inability to recognzie that a supernatural claim is not on the same footing as a natural claim

    4) Your blunder in assuming that the gospels are contemporary accounts, when in fact no serious scholar alive disagrees that the works weren't created decades after the putative life of 'jesus the messiah'

    Quote:
    If you choose to ignore these contemporaries, then it is your error that needs to be corrected sir!

    Again you have to lie and call my arguments against these works being contempories, 'ignoring them.' Again, I will point out that I am not ignoring your claims, but refuting them. So stop this lie. Please. I've asked you over and over.

    Quote:

    I would also like to point out that there is only one contemporary of Aristotle, and that man proclaimed himself to be a god.

    So? The fact that a leader of that time proclaimed himself to be a god - a common occurence and belief of the time, wouldn't rule out the credibility of every claim he made. So your argument is nothing more ad hominem genetic fallacy!

    Next, I would like to point out that, again, you don't have a fucking clue as to what you are talking about. Again you assert without knowing! Aristotle was Plato's student! The Eudemian Ethics, was edited by Aristotle's student Eudemus There are more contemporaries to Aristotle than just Alexander the Great!

    Again, you don't know what you're talking about.

    You don't even bother to investigate the situation.

    And yet you assert anyway....

    I've proven that this is the truth about you, yet again.

    Now, you'll just cut this part out from the response, right?

    And make me repeat it all again.

    And then complain that I'm repeating myself!

    Smiling

    Quote:
    Yet you discount the writings of four people who claimed to have known a god.

    Sigh, again with this lie.

    I don't 'discount' it, I demonstrate the problems with the claim.

    1) They are anonymous
    2) The works appeared decades after the supposed time of jesus
    3) they make supernatural claims, yet provide nothing more than assertions to back it up
    4) Even the gospels themselves agree that requiring evidence is to be frowned upon (doubting thomas)
    5) the gospels all appear to be midrash, as per the evidence I've given concerning mark

    Quote:

    More double standards, and holes in your thinking.

    No, there is no double standard , and the holes are in your head.

    There is a difference between a real life human being claiming to be a god - an egomanic delusion, perhaps culturally accepted, and 'four' anonymous people claiming to have eyewitnessed a god - again, another delusion, that may be culturally accepted.

    The first situation was a normal occurence for the time - rulers believing that they were gods.. Today, we recognize this as egomania, and nothing more. And the fact that rulers believed themselves to be demigods does not rule out the veracity of everything they say. We know that these rulers did exist, and that they did accomplish certain things. These are natural claims.

    The second situation, however, is a claim that some people actually did witness a god. Again, this was a normal occurence for the time.

    But again, we know that these claims aren't true either... Even you agree that nearly all these claims were false...every single of one of them, except for one.

    Right?

    Smiling

    Quote:

    I am not really sure what it is you think refuted means, but it is obviously not the acceptable definition.

    Oh come now....

    Quote:

    You have refuted nothing.

    You left out the word "a" between 'refuted' and 'nothing'

    Quote:

    LOL If Paine disbelieved in the dietyhood of 'jesus', then he IS denying the existence of the jesus of the gospels... so he is denying the existence of 'jesus' in any christian sense of the word. You can't have a jesus who is just a normal man who inspired a legend, and have it be the same 'jesus' that any christian means when he uses the word.

    Quote:

    You never cease to amaze me in your contempt.

    I hold your posts in contempt of the court of reason.

    Quote:

    The question of deity is not the topic here.

    Yes. It. Is. Because it relates to whether the term "historical jesus' even makes sense in the first place. I've only made this point 10 times....

    The topic concerns a 'historical jesus' and my point is that there can be no such thing as a 'historical jesus', because 'jesus' refers to jesus as per the gospels.

    So finding a real life person named yeshau bar joseph who dabbled in carpentry, and died without being resurrected wouldn't be finding 'jesus' it would be refuting the existence of jesus.

    How many more times do you need this point repeated?

    I'm guessing about 10 more... so can you just cut and paste this 10 times yourself?

    Quote:

    But, I will indulge you for a bit longer. Perhaps you need to re-read Paine’s work?

    Perhaps you need to read it for the first time?

    Because in nearly every case where I've investigated one of your assertions, youv'e demonstrated a flaw that indicates an ignorance of the matter.... so it seems that you aren't reading very much at all, concerning any of the claims you make here.

    Quote:

    I think you will find that he (Paine) actually blamed Jesus for this thing known as Christianity.

    Again, for the 10,000th time, I will stress the obvious to you, in the hopes that it will sink into one of the holes in your head, and at least come in contact with your brain, and perhaps even pass through the dura mater and hit the few functioning neurons available....

    Finding a real life human who inspired christianity, but does not actually fit the gospel accounts of jesus the christ, would be REFUTING THE BIBLE AND REFUTING THE GOSPELS. It would be demonstrating that 'jesus' as understood by christianity, didn't actually exist.

    Here, let's try it this way, breaking it down into child sized pieces

    If you find a natural cause for a supernatural claim, then you've refuted the supernatural claim.

    Claims for jesus are supernatural claims.

    Finding a real life jesus, who was not a deity, refutes the existence of jesus the christ.

    Finding a tall man with an axe who inspired the legend of paul bunyan, refutes the existence of an actual paul bunyan.

    Quote:

    Your argument, as already pointed out over and over and over, relies on a equivocation fallacy. How many times do you need the obvious repeated to you? If you find a human 'jesus', who does not fit the gospel descriptions, then you've refuted the existence of jesus, because 'jesus' is not a human who inspired a legend, but a god/man who was resurrected so that the could provide salvation for mankind.

    Quote:

    Am I reading this right?

    Have you ever?

    Quote:

    Are you trying to hold having an open mind against me?

    LOL

    Again, I will stress the obvious in the hopes of reaching through to you. To hold that 'jesus is a human who inspired a legend' but was not actually resurrected is a FALLACY OF EQUIVOCATION because "jesus' refers to a deity who died and rose again to save mankind.

    So whether or not your willing to hold to 'jesus as a man' is incidental.

    Quote:

    Given this is a topic regarding the historic validity of a man named Jesus, that was from Nazareth, and claimed to be Christ. Yet there is a lot of evidence that such a man existed.

    There is no evidence that this man existed. merely a lot of claims that he existed.

    Quote:

    There is plenty of evidence that supports the existence of the man.

    There is no evidence that supports the actual existence of this 'man'

    Quote:

    The fact that we are still arguing about Him validates His to some extent.

    Every other religion can use the same logic.

    The fact that you argue over santa claus does not validate santa claus to some extent. It merely proves the existence of the claim, not of any evidence for the claim.

    Quote:

    We have contemporary accounts of His life and teachings,

    No, we do not.

    Quote:

    we have external accounts from both Jews and Romans and Greeks.

    No, we do not.

    Quote:

    There are historic writings and archeological evidence that the support and concur the history outlined in the New Testament are factual. There has been more written about this Man, than any man in history. There are more documents that support the validity of the New Testament than any other ancient document known to man. To ignore these facts and make claims that the Man didn’t exist is confounding.

    To ignore the fact that there isn't any actual evidence is astounding. You keep asserting this is so, but it isn't

    Quote:
    Oh contraire. The New Testament is a Christian writing that makes just such a claim!

    It makes the claim, but it is just an assertion without evidence!

    And in nearly all cases, it is an anonymous assertion! The sole exception is paul, who openly admits to NOT being a witness!

    You simply don't know what you're talking about.

    Quote:

    It is also a valid historic writing that accurately dates the time of those writings.

    The fact that there is some minor external validity concerning geography and chronology doesn't make any of the supernatural claims valid.

    Spiderman takes place in New York City. There's a real New York City, so... there's a real spiderman?

    Think.

    Quote:

    Modern scholars and archeologists have found a great deal of evidence to support the validity of such writing.

    Archeologists have backed up the fact that some of the cities mentioned existed. But, something you don't realize is that in many cases, they refuted many of the claims in the gospels concerning geography, the exitence of cities... etc. You seem to be willing to count only the hits, and not the misses.

    Ask rook about that. If you dare. Just take a look at how many geographic errors are in the gospels...

    Quote:

    I bet at this point you are wanting citations, right? I would list a few of the ones I have encountered, but I just don’t have the time or inclination to write them all down now.

    LOL

    Quote:

    Josh McDowell: “The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict” Skip right to page 119.”Jesus: a man of history.” There are a lot of good references here,

    No, there are a lot of bad, weak references there, if you have the ability to examine them critically... something you refuse to do.

    Which I'll again prove in the next post as well!

    Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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    todangst
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    elnathan wrote:Breakfast was

    elnathan wrote:
    Breakfast was great thanks….Smiling

    Let me pick this up here….

    Quote:

    Wow, what a specific number.
    515 eyewtinesses, could you list their names, and perhaps tell us who they were?

    I got this number from Lee Strobel. It is three higher than the one I was previously aware of but in retrospect it does seem valid and I can only name 14.

    I'm guessing that the the '514' includes an anonymous 500 mentioned here by "Paul", a person who openly concedes that he was not an eyewitness to jesus:

    15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

    So the 500 are just an anonymous group! Strobel is a joke for including that number and your even worse for just accepting it, uncritically.

    No one is mentioned in that 500. And the person making the claim "Paul", himself didn't witness jesus, so he can't confirm the claim himself.

    And he didn't even bother to give us the names so that others could... there's no way to verify the claim, to guage the credibility of the witnesses, or even affirm that they existed.

    And, don't you find it odd that Paul doesn't even bother to interview any of them, to get actual firsthand knowledge of jesus!?

    No. That would require you to actually critically examine the claim, so nevermind.

    If you actually bothered to investigate this, you'd see just how weak this is. And yet, as pathetic as this claim is, things even get worse. this account he gives us contradicts what he says elsewhere:

    Acts 1:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

    120 believers.... Yet, paul says there were 500 witnesses in 1 Corinthians!

    Quote:

    Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alpaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. Joseph called Brsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.

    Yet this list is given to us by 'Paul', a person who concedes he didn't witness anything.

    Quote:

    These can be found in the first chapter of Acts.

    1:13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

    But take notice of what he says in 1 Corinthians:

    15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
    15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
    15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
    15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
    15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
    15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
    15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
    15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

    Here, Paul adds himself to the list of witnesses... but he himself concedes that he never witnesses anything... so he's holding his vision to count as an eyewitnessing!

    Yes, he knocks himself as a witness, but only for this reason:

    15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

    I.e. because of his past behaviors.

    Quote:

    As for the other 500, these are referenced by Peter in a later testimony. While their names are not listed, they would not have been difficult to find.

    I'm going to call you on your bullshit right here.

    Go get their names.

    This oughta be fun.

    Just more proof that you assert without backing it up, that you assert without knowing what you're talking about.

    You will be unable to find these names, because they don't exist.

    And when that's demonstrated to you, perhaps you'll finally see it......

    See, not only theists believe in miracles...

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    Rook_Hawkins
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    You know, Todangst, I saw

    You know, Todangst, I saw how he tried to "educate" you, and I was going to weigh in. But I can see you got all ends covered, Elnathan is a joke, and he's definitely a clueless hack. Good job. Maybe now he'll actually read something.

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    You crack me up dude! I

    You crack me up dude! I can't believe the loose association of the actualities you quote. those 120 you refer to in Acts, may or may not be the same as the 500. Man...history must be such a chore for you! But really...thanks for the laugh...that was absolutely hilarious.

    In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


    aiia
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    elnathan wrote:You crack me

    elnathan wrote:
    You crack me up dude! I can't believe the loose association of the actualities you quote. those 120 you refer to in Acts, may or may not be the same as the 500. Man...history must be such a chore for you! But really...thanks for the laugh...that was absolutely hilarious.

    Your embarrassment is so painful you have to laugh to disguise the pain of intellectual annihilation.

    People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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    You noticed that too, AiiA?

    You noticed that too, AiiA? Elnathan was creamed, and he knows it.


    elnathan
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    You guys beat all I ever

    You guys beat all I ever saw! You make a few frivolous comments, that simply pose alternate possibilities and claim it to refute what was posted. I expect that from to’t, but the others are really shocking. I thought at least Rook would have something good to offer, but to stand behind the todster and lend any credence to his ramblings is quite surprising. Shocking and disappointing

    I guess I really shouldn’t have expected much different. It’s pretty much the same as other forums I have encountered. This one is the most emphatic, and has the most militant antitheists I have encountered. I had really hoped for something worthwhile. I had hoped that people were really open to a serious discussion but alas, it is not to be. It’s a shame too. We didn’t even get to the good stuff before you lost control. Oh well, not to worry. I am sure you will find someone else that you can coerce and convince of your great wealth of knowledge.

    I started with such high hopes too. I really thought there would be something substantial to show you really had some basis for your stance. But, unfortunately, it appears you have even weaker arguments that the less radical forums I have encountered. The Greek quotes and references were pretty cool though. I really thought we were going somewhere with those, but they too fell short of the mark.

    So just keep telling yourselves the same old lies, and keep repeating the same old drivel. But beware, that is the same sort of Neo-Conservative rhetoric that has gotten this country in the condition it is currently. If you tell a lie enough times, not only will people begin to believe it, you will begin to believe it yourself. Perhaps someday, you all will have lived long enough to realize these things, but, there may not be enough time for that—given the depths you have to rise above.

    It is really sad too. There seem to be some intelligent people here, that could probably be really good at something. Unfortunately, you seem to have become consumed with a hatred for that which you have no understanding. Though you have convinced yourselves that you have it all figured out, you have been blinded from the truth. You seem more like a collection of religious rejects that have such a messed up view of what the truth is, that even the slightest hint of religions causes you to loose all perspective. It is really sad that such potential has been wasted on worthless drivel that has little or no basis other than what has been developed from some psychotic philosophy that feeds off the psychotic beliefs of others in the group, and are therefore able to justify such beliefs and behavior.

    Perhaps you have found some common psychosis that has drawn this group together. It’s like a den of vipers. Your minds have been poisoned beyond the point of reason. The irony is—and I suspected this from the beginning—you actually consider yourselves to be rational responders, but the reality is that you are all so whacked that you would know what’s rational if it smacked you in the face. You call bullshit, while standing knee-deep in the stuff. I feel bad for laughing out loud at you because now it is apparent that you are really messed up and don’t even have a clue just how messed up you are. It’s sad really, and I feel bad for finding it funny.

    I know this is all harsh and hard to take, but man, you people need help! Maybe I have taken too much cold medicine and have become a bit too unihibited. But I keep thinking the same thing over and over....you people are really whacked!

    In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


    Rook_Hawkins
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    Dude, seriously...we can see

    Dude, seriously...we can see right through your projections. Give it up, we know it as much as you do, you were totally destroyed in this thread. And you have yet to provide evidence...for anything. You keep attacking us as if we're somehow going to cave in and pretend as if you said anything worth our time. Honestly, man, for your own sake, you just look like a bloody fool by not realizing it.

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    elnathan
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    Just keep telling yourself

    Just keep telling yourself that and soon you will actually start to believe it! Destroyed???....that's a great one! There was one source brought into question (based on pure speculation and supposition of someone else), and implied "it could be" about someone else, and you claim victory? You totally overlook all the other evidence and resources that were presented, and claim to be victorious? That's pathetic!

    You--well, not really you Rook, you didn't have squat to do with it--claim to have refuted a single source (which you didn't refute, but merely suggested an alternative that wasn't proven) and claim to have destroyed all the evidence. Do you really think that long response really did anything. I really wonder how much of that was yours and how much was plagiarized?

    Come on dude, your strawman sucked. Come up for some sunshine. Take a whiff of reality here. You got nothin'. Even what you think you had is lame. I hope your arm doesn't hurt from patting yourself on the back for such a victorious effort; and most of that was something you didn't even have much to do with. Get over yourself!

    But thanks for the response, I don't feel so bad laughing now.! kissy

    In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


    kmisho
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    I accept that there was at

    I accept that there was at some point a single person who kicked off what later became Christianity for one backhanded reason. Charismatic cults are started by 1 charismatic.

    But...

    I doubt this person was named Joshuah. I doubt he was executed. He probably had a wife and kids.


    KSMB
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    Are you going to address

    Are you going to address todangst's points, or just keep crying that he is so mean?


    adamgrant
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    i know you guys already

    i know you guys already think i am insane, let's not kid anybody. but I must say I personally thought Elnathan's last few posts on the historic proof of Jesus was pretty well-presented and believable. But what do you expect, right? I'm probably just as ignorant/illogical/unreasonable as he is!

    I think this whole topic is pretty much dead for this forum. if you insist that our evidence is invalid, even though your own arguments and "evidence" don't line up - indeed, they leave way too many unanswered questions - then I suppose continuing to debate the issue will only be useless repition.

    However, I would like to say a few more things. As far as I know there is not another human being in history that people claimed to exist that is being questioned. I'm speaking of a human, just a man. Not a supernatural incarnation or god. Nor am I talking about a pen-name by some author (homer, shakespear, etc). Correct me if I am wrong. Also, if I told you that I met a lady at the grocery store yesterday named Karen, would you believe that Karen existed? Or would you need visual, documented evidence before you could make sure I wasn't a liar? Or perhaps, would you need a contemporary historian to put it in writing for you? Surely this is not the case, and hopefully you see how silly such a demand would be.

    Yet, you do this with Jesus. And the reason you do it is because you despise everything he claimed to be and seek to prove he never existed to relieve yourselves from your obligation to submit to his Lordship. In this process, you have set your minds up as god. You have exalted your own reasoning and are convinced that it is un-flawed and inerrant. Yet, you are being most contradictory and illogical by denying the very one who created logical absolutes and set up those laws in the first place. You are denying the most logical being in existence - you are denying Christ. That is what it all boils down to.

    I'm not being rude, arrogant, or harsh. I say this with all sincerity. I would hope to portray a loving attitude, rather than the hateful and insulting remarks in the last few posts. This attitude is not a good tactic for the theist or atheist cause. I am called to love my enemies, and I pray that I can love each of you like I should. Even if the atheist belief has no command to love enemies, surely we can debate with reason and respect towards each other.

    TODANGST: What makes you conclude that Paul never claimed to witness Christ? Please read Acts chapter 9 and 1 Corinthians 15:8.


    elnathan
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    KSMB wrote:Are you going to

    KSMB wrote:
    Are you going to address todangst's points, or just keep crying that he is so mean?

    Do you really want the answers? Or have you already formed an opinion? I doubt you will get much farther than this line, but, maybe you will surprise me and actually read the entire response—accurately?

    First of all….I don’t recall saying todangst (note complete spelling of name?) was ever MEAN to me at all.

    Second, I don’t remember ever crying about it. I remember a few other emotions, but crying was NOT one of them.

    Third, are you a girl?

    After that comes the fourth question; as to who it is you are asking about? There were at least two that presented even better posts than todangst, so it can easily be assumed that you might be including other users inadvertently. But since you specifically referred to that particular user, then we will go with him. M‘kay? 

    After that comes the points. Now this is where it gets kind of confusing. Mainly because it is so difficult to know exactly what point it is that he is trying to make.

    That brings us to the sixth point (of mine—in regards to (your) question-)) which is the address. This is an especially touchy area, because I have already asked Mr. Angst, to no longer respond to my posts. I asked him to confine his remarks toward me in one final response. Obviously, that was yet another point that Mr. Angst failed to recognize. Which should pretty much define why I might be reluctant to respond or address such posts.

    Finally, Why are you so concerned as to why I would or would not address todangst’s points? And just which of those points would you like me to address. Shirley you don’t intent that I should be required to answer every one? And to what extent or depth would you actually desire such answers? (read: how much time do you have?)

    In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


    KSMB
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    elnathan wrote:KSMB

    elnathan wrote:
    KSMB wrote:
    Are you going to address todangst's points, or just keep crying that he is so mean?

    Do you really want the answers? Or have you already formed an opinion? I doubt you will get much farther than this line, but, maybe you will surprise me and actually read the entire response—accurately?


    I want the answers. You had a discussion going, he made points, you didn't address them.

    elnathan wrote:
    First of all….I don’t recall saying todangst (note complete spelling of name?) was ever MEAN to me at all.

    Second, I don’t remember ever crying about it. I remember a few other emotions, but crying was NOT one of them.


    Well that's what it looked like to an observer, me. I am very impressed with your spelling though. Remarkable.

    elnathan wrote:
    Third, are you a girl?

    Does it matter?

    elnathan wrote:
    After that comes the fourth question; as to who it is you are asking about? There were at least two that presented even better posts than todangst, so it can easily be assumed that you might be including other users inadvertently. But since you specifically referred to that particular user, then we will go with him. M‘kay? 

    Mkay.

    elnathan wrote:
    After that comes the points. Now this is where it gets kind of confusing. Mainly because it is so difficult to know exactly what point it is that he is trying to make.

    Yeah it's hard I know. I had to use logic, then I got it. You should try it.

    elnathan wrote:
    That brings us to the sixth point (of mine—in regards to (your) question-)) which is the address. This is an especially touchy area, because I have already asked Mr. Angst, to no longer respond to my posts. I asked him to confine his remarks toward me in one final response. Obviously, that was yet another point that Mr. Angst failed to recognize. Which should pretty much define why I might be reluctant to respond or address such posts.

    So... you don't like him because you can't refute his points I take it?

    elnathan wrote:
    Finally, Why are you so concerned as to why I would or would not address todangst’s points? And just which of those points would you like me to address. Shirley you don’t intent that I should be required to answer every one? And to what extent or depth would you actually desire such answers? (read: how much time do you have?)

    How about the points he made when he dismembered your latest post in which you actually tried to defend your position? As opposed to the crying that you've been doing since then. By all means, if you feel that someone else's post also is something you could refute, go for it. As for the depth in your posts, try making it as deep as possible, I am quite confident I can follow you. Be explicit, I got lots of time.


    elnathan
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    KSMB wrote: I want the

    KSMB wrote:

    I want the answers. You had a discussion going, he made points, you didn't address them.

    The reason I didn't respond to his posts is because he didn't make any points! He made up some ignorant questions and I really don't think they require qualified answers. It is apparent to me, that he isn't well informed on the subject--though he thinks he is, and has obviously convinced you he is. That being the case, I will show you what I mean. Here's one of his major blunders.

    Quote:

    So the 500 are just an anonymous group! Strobel is a joke for including that number and your even worse for just accepting it, uncritically.

    That's funny (LOL, funny) because it is a reference to the N.T. (not Strobel) that he (tod) even quotes later...
    Quote:

    No one is mentioned in that 500. And the person making the claim "Paul", himself didn't witness jesus, so he can't confirm the claim himself.

    This is equally humorous because it shows Mr. Angst doesn't account for the time period when it was written. I pointed out twice that during the period when Paul wrote this letter, it would have been a very easy thing to go find these people. True, some were already dead, but there were plenty of those 500 people that were still alive that if questioned would have replied with, "Yes, I saw Jesus in person after He arose."

    There is a great deal of significance in this statement. If those people were not willing to testify to such events, Paul would have quickly been shown to be a fraud. Not just discounted as todangst does, but during his life and ministry. He would have lost credibility among the early Christians. Obviously that didn’t happen. Another significant point is that naming names was not important. It was the message and proof that Jesus was resurrected, not who saw him.

    Finally, todangst claims there was a need to name these names, and that is simply ridiculous. The people of that day wouldn’t need names. They could have asked anyone on the streets, “Hey, you know anyone that says that Jesus rose from the dead?” and that person would have been able to quickly name several people that made such claims.

    Another good reason why I felt little need to reply to tod’s comments can be easily seen in this quote.

    Quote:

    And, don't you find it odd that Paul doesn't even bother to interview any of them, to get actual firsthand knowledge of jesus!?

    No. That would require you to actually critically examine the claim, so nevermind.


    Paul has no reason to interview these people. He has the direct testimony of the original disciples. Who by the way are contemporary witnesses, not only to Jesus the man, but Jesus the risen Son of God. There would be no reason for further “interviews” on Paul’s part. Not to mention, Paul had a vision of Jesus, that left him blind for three days, and was obviously believable enough to him, that he was compelled to spend the rest of his life going from city to city, country to country, telling everyone who would listen the “Good News” he himself knew very well.

    Another reason why I felt little reason or purpose to respond to todangst silliness, is found most prominently here…

    Quote:

    Acts 1:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)

    120 believers.... Yet, paul says there were 500 witnesses in 1 Corinthians!


    These are two completely different groups. Certainly the 120 may have been among the 500 that Paul refers to, but it should be obvious—if for no other reason that they are referred to in two completely different letters—that it is not simply a mathematical error. Paul was talking about 500 people who were witness to Jesus’ resurrection.

    Peter is referring to 120 members of the early church that were gathered in one place. Paul is not referring to that gathering directly, if at all.

    Something I would like to point out here is the context of these writings we refer to today as the New Testament. The New Testament is composed of letters to believers or groups of believers. It’s not like a few guys sat down together and decided to write a “book” about some guy named Jesus. The N.T. is a collection of letters written by the disciples of Jesus to help inform and encourage people of the new church.

    Todangst digresses from those statements to the following…

    Quote:

    Here, Paul adds himself to the list of witnesses... but he himself concedes that he never witnesses anything... so he's holding his vision to count as an eyewitnessing!

    Yes, he knocks himself as a witness, but only for this reason:


    This is probably one of the most obvious examples of his ignorance of the implications of the Bible and Paul.

    Paul “admits” he was not a disciple of Jesus while Jesus was still alive. He admits that he even watched the cloaks of those who stoned Stephen to death, and basically cheered them on. He was on the road to Damascus to further persecute the followers of Christ, when He saw a vision, and “became” a witness. Paul doesn’t lie, he wasn’t an eyewitness to Jesus. He may have never seen the man. But something happened on that road that day that made a complete change in Paul’s mission.

    Perhaps I condemn Tod too quickly. Perhaps the big problem with his understanding is his choice of versions to read. I have suggested before that he use the NIV, but it seems he continues to quote the KJV. That version is written in 600 year old English with some adaptations; it is very difficult to read, but many people still prefer it over the more modern text.

    But the real reason I found no need to make a response to todangst should be pretty clear right here…

    Quote:

    I'm going to call you on your bullshit right here.

    You are a nervy guy, you are knee deep in the stuff
    Quote:
    Go get their names.

    More ridiculous demands? You wouldn’t happen to have a time machine I could borrow would you? If you had one, would you have enough nerve to use it?
    Quote:
    This oughta be fun.

    Yes, this thread should be fun. Unfortunately, you have turned it into something that is not.
    Quote:
    Just more proof that you assert without backing it up, that you assert without knowing what you're talking about.

    I don't really see you presenting any "proof" here either.
    Quote:

    You will be unable to find these names, because they don't exist.

    [just because the names don’t exist, doesn’t mean the people didn’t]
    Quote:

    And when that's demonstrated to you, perhaps you'll finally see it......

    you are the one that needs to see it, it seems really clear to me
    Quote:
    See, not only theists believe in miracles...

    Now there is a lie. If you believe in miracles then you are a theist

    First, he calls bullshit while standing knee deep in the stuff. He has clearly shown that he is uniformed of the actualities of what he claims to be refutation, and then has the nerve to call bullshit?

    The demand to “go get their names” is further proof that either he is unaware, or fully knows the ridiculousness of the statement. Not to mention the need to have the names in the first place (even if we had the names, so what? Could we verify them? Not likely—especially given that we are having such difficulty in one Man). Then turns around and say there may be some miracle that will allow me to find those names. It clearly indicates he has either lost perspective, or is indeed psychotic, and in great need of psychological help. Personally, I think it may be a cry for help, and that he really wants to believe the truth, but has been so unfortunate in finding anyone that can explain it to him properly.

    But the reality is probably that he has become so emotionally caught up in his frustration that he has lost perspective and just wants to hurl insults and made ridiculous comments.

    So, you see, there is really little reason to take what he posted with any serious consideration. But, evidently, he convinced you, and that make it very unfortunate. So, I actually did feel compelled to respond to such ridiculous drivel. (His, not yours) Smiling

    In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


    todangst
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    KSMB wrote:Are you going to

    KSMB wrote:
    Are you going to address todangst's points, or just keep crying that he is so mean?

    He can't address them, hence he's reduced to personal attacks.

    Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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    todangst
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    adamgrant wrote:Also, if I

    adamgrant wrote:
    Also, if I told you that I met a lady at the grocery store yesterday named Karen, would you believe that Karen existed? Or would you need visual, documented evidence before you could make sure I wasn't a liar?

    You're making the error of comparing a natural, ordinary claim to a supernatural, extraordinary claim.

    This error has been pointed out ad nauseum.

    Quote:
    Or perhaps, would you need a contemporary historian to put it in writing for you? Surely this is not the case, and hopefully you see how silly such a demand would be.

    Unfortunately, you don't see how silly your own argument is. I don't have to violate naturalism to take your word for a natural claim.

    But to take the word of someone on a supernatural claim requires me to overthrow basic laws of physics that have been verified trillions of times by billions of people over thousands of years!

    So to equate "karen claims' for 'jesus claims" is a basic epistemological blunder. A blunder that is repeated and repeated again by theists in this thread, no matter how many times the errors is pointed out.

    Quote:

    Yet, you do this with Jesus.

    There is a difference between a naturalistic claim of no importance, and a supernatural claim of vast importance. The standards for evidence are different.

    If you can't work this out, then you shouldn't even attempt to discuss this issue any further.

    Quote:

    And the reason you do it is because you despise everything he claimed to be

    Ah, this old projection! A classic projection of theism!

    Here's the reality: I have no problem with idea of going to heavenly bliss for all eternity, whereas you yourself, probably don't like the idea of dying and no longer existing....

    However, discussing motivations in an argument is an ad hominem genetic fallacy, so let's leave this aside.

    The reason we examine theistic claims for jesus and find them wanting is because they fail to stand up to natural standards of evidence, let alone a standard for a supernatural claim.

    Quote:

    TODANGST: What makes you conclude that Paul never claimed to witness Christ?

    Paul concedes that he never met 'jesus' and that his sole contact was through a vision. Even your buddy "eln'" concedes this.

    Quote:

    Please read Acts chapter 9 and 1 Corinthians 15:8.

    Please read those chapters yourself, and figure out that a vision isn't an actual witnesses of an event. Paul himself concedes he never actually saw 'jesus' while he was 'alive'. Again, your friend 'eln' even recognizes this.

    If you don't know this, then again, you are unable to take part in this conversation.

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    todangst
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    elnathan wrote: Todangst

    elnathan wrote:

    Todangst digresses from those statements to the following…

    I don't have time to address all of your errors again, however, since they have already been noted by others, I see little reason to bother with just repeating the same corrections again.

    So, I will just address this, seeing as you think it's your big point:

    Quote:

    Here, Paul adds himself to the list of witnesses... but he himself concedes that he never witnesses anything... so he's holding his vision to count as an eyewitnessing!

    Yes, he knocks himself as a witness, but only for this reason:

    Quote:

    This is probably one of the most obvious examples of his ignorance of the implications of the Bible and Paul.

    Actually, you go on to demonstrate the very point I am making, here:

    Quote:

    Paul “admits” he was not a disciple of Jesus while Jesus was still alive. He admits that he even watched the cloaks of those who stoned Stephen to death, and basically cheered them on. He was on the road to Damascus to further persecute the followers of Christ, when He saw a vision, and “became” a witness.

    A 'vision"... which means he never actually witnessed a living jesus.... he saw only a 'vision'

    Yet paul equates his 'vision' with the putative eyewitnesses, when he lists himself among his list of witnesses for 'jesus' in 1 Corinthians:

    15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
    15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
    15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
    15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
    15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
    15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
    15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
    15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

    Here, Paul adds himself to the list of witnesses... but he himself concedes that he never witnesses jesus.. only a 'vision' so he's holding his vision to count as an eyewitnessing!

    And yet, he only knocks himself as a witness for his past actions, not because his 'eyewitnessing' was a vision:

    15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

    So he does equate his 'vision' with a witnessesing, even as he concedes that he never met 'jesus' in person. Paul equates a 'vision' to an eyewitnessing by listing his 'vision' along with his list of witnesses. Which ought to trouble you, when you consider how lax his concept of 'witness' is....

    Particularly when you remember to consider that Paul never calls on any of these witnesses for details for his writing.... This ought to concern you greatly, but you'll just cut this out from your reply, or fail to respond to it adequately... again. Like the last time.

    If Paul has 100s of witnesses, why doesn't he relate this information to us? Why rely on a 'vision' when you have hundreds of witnesses?

    Quote:

    Paul doesn’t lie, he wasn’t an eyewitness to Jesus.

    Thanks again for proving the point: My point was that he was not an eyewitness. Yet he lists himself along with his list of witnesses.

    Quote:

    But the real reason I found no need to make a response to todangst should be pretty clear right here…

    Actually, the real reason you don't respond is because you can't respond. You were nailed in a faulty presumption.

    Quote:

    I'm going to call you on your bullshit right here.
    Go get their names.

    Quote:

    [i]More ridiculous demands? You wouldn’t happen to have a time machine I could borrow would you?

    Meanwhile, you previously wrote this:

    Quote:

    As for the other 500, these are referenced by Peter in a later testimony. While their names are not listed, they would not have been difficult to find.

    How can you know this in the first place if you can't get their names? How can you know that the names would 'not have been difficult to find' otherwise?" If you need a time machine to work out 'who they were' then clearly your presumption is unjustified.

    Your assumption itself is therefore predicated on a false belief. And you concede this when you rant on about your need for a time machine in order to answer the question.

    So it turns out that even you realize that your claim is bullocks.... there's simply no way for you to know that the '500' even existed...

    Period. End of story.

    Again, a sober examination of the 'eyewitness' claims leaves you feeling quite dry and empty.... all we have is a list of people, without anything to corroborate them as witnesses of anything.... we even have the creator of the list equating himself as a witness when even he concedes that his witnessing was a 'vision'

    Quote:
    This oughta be fun.

    Quote:

    [i]Yes, this thread should be fun.

    It is. For us. Not for you.

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    elnathan
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    Okay, here's the last

    Okay, here's the last attempt to reason with you. If you don't get it this time it will be obvious you are either not trying, purposely being obtuse, or are too blinded by your own opinion that you won't accept something that is really quite simple.

    todangst wrote:

    How can you know this in the first place if you can't get their names? How can you know that the names would 'not have been difficult to find' otherwise?" If you need a time machine to work out 'who they were' then clearly your presumption is unjustified.

    First of all, the remark about the time machine was meant to be sarcastic. That should have been obvious, but the fact that brought it out, and made such inference in that statement says a great deal about....well....you.
    .

    Second, the knowledge comes from the statements made by Peter and Paul. Do you really have no concept of this? Do you deny that if such a man as Jesus were alive and walking around, with thousands of followers, people in that area would know who he was? If/when Jesus rose from the dead, and appeared to a large number of people, do you NOT realize that it would be easy to find them--which is the point of Paul making such a statement. In essence he was saying "If you don't believe me, go ask them yourself!"

    You keep harping on the names. Do you really fail to see stupidity of that? Have you ever been to a concert? Can you find anyone that can prove you went to that concert? Surely there were thousands of other witnesses? How many of their names do you have? Where is your list? Yet you make such a ridiculous demand to produce as similar list from TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO? ARE YOU SERIOUS?

    Quote:

    Your assumption itself is therefore predicated on a false belief. And you concede this when you rant on about your need for a time machine in order to answer the question.

    FYI—I concede NOTHING! You are grasping at straws here. You feel your arguments going down the drain and are fighting to grab a hold of anything to keep yourself afloat. But you are going down my friend! And that was NO RANT. Such an exaggeration on your part...more evidence of you being on shaky ground here!

    Quote:

    So it turns out that even you realize that your claim is bullocks.... there's simply no way for you to know that the '500' even existed...

    I thought you were preaching honesty before, and now you tell a blatant lie here. I neither realize, nor is the claim "bullocks." If for no other reason that you simply have no way of YOU knowing that they didn’t! I have shown you several supportive citations to the facts of a historical Jesus, yet you get hung up on one and beat it into the ground. It is not "MY" knowing we are talking about. It is its presense in a validated historical document and not "MY" personal opinion.
    .
    You did the same thing last round with Josephus. I purposely left his name out of my last list so you wouldn't go off on that tangent again. Yet you ignore the other valid resources, and get hung up on one minor point, and completely ignore the others. Then have the audacity to turn around and claim victory in this debate. I can only shake my head in disbelief.
    Quote:

    Period. End of story.

    Yet another lie you would like to have us believe. The story is FAR from over. And watch, here comes another one….
    Quote:

    Again, a sober examination of the 'eyewitness' claims leaves you feeling quite dry and empty....

    A tremendous falsehood! I feel quite vindicated actually. I have shown—pretty clearly imo—that you have nothing to refute anything with. You don’t even show a rudimentary knowledge of the text, or ability to contradict my citations with anything other than personal opinion and conjecture. In other words, you are just talking out your bullocks!
    Quote:

    all we have is a list of people, without anything to corroborate them as witnesses of anything....

    The fact that during the time of the writing, these were quite valid. Now you can deny this if you choose, but that lends no credence to your cause. And lets not forget the 120 people—many of whom are named—that were eyewitnesses to Jesus the Man—which is after all the real topic we are discussing here. Not the supernatural stuff you keep trying to use as a scarecrow!
    Quote:

    we even have the creator of the list equating himself as a witness when even he concedes that his witnessing was a 'vision'

    See, this is where you are really showing your ignorance. Paul was not the 515th person in Lee Strobel’s list. That would have been Mary Magdalene. I am tired and it is not even worth the effort to try to get you to understand Paul's implication and purpose in those verses. I can understand why, you--never having had a vision yourself--might question Paul's statements. Unfortunately, you seem unable to understand the implications and reality of such a vision. But here's the short version....

    It turned the man's (Paul's) life completely around. He went from arresting Christians, to spending the REST OF HIS LIFE preaching Jesus, because of what he saw on that road to Damascus. I am betting it was real enough to convince him that it really was Jesus that was talking to him to make such a life changing impact on him.

    Aside from that, this is yet another of your scarecrows because it has absolutely nothing to do with the 515 in the first place!

    Quote:
    This oughta be fun.
    Quote:

    Yes, this thread should be fun.

    It is. For us. Not for you.

    Some how I think this is yet another lie. You seem to be too angry and hostile to be having any fun. Especially when you have gotten a real ass-whoopin’ here, that you are too embarrassed to admit to. You can boast and make all the loud and obnoxious claims that you want, but it still doesn’t change the fact that you got nothin’ man!

    One last thing...please don't continue to misinterpret my frustration for anger or that so-called, crying... It just shows more ignorance on your part. Thanks! Smiling

    In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


    adamgrant
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    todangst wrote: You're

    todangst wrote:

    You're making the error of comparing a natural, ordinary claim to a supernatural, extraordinary claim.

    This error has been pointed out ad nauseum.

    no, tod. I am not comparing a natural, ordinary claim to a supernatural one. We are talking about a man - just a man - existing or not. We have not been talking about if he is God in the flesh or not. We are debating his existence as a member of humanity. If you didn't know this, then you are unable to take part in this conversation. Otherwise, you are the one assuming that "Jesus" is super-natural. Amazing!

    Quote:

    There is a difference between a naturalistic claim of no importance, and a supernatural claim of vast importance. The standards for evidence are different.

    If you can't work this out, then you shouldn't even attempt to discuss this issue any further.

    Here we go again! We are not talking about supernatural claims. We're talking about whether or not a historical human ever existed that people refer to as "Jesus." Surely, you realize that people other than theists or christians accept that Jesus was a historical figure. Yet, they deny his supernatural claims. Obviously, not every claim of the existence of Jesus is centered around the claim of his divinity.

    The standards of evidence are no different for a human referred to as "Jesus" existing than the evidence for a human referred to as "Shakespear" existing.

    Quote:

    Paul concedes that he never met 'jesus' and that his sole contact was through a vision. Even your buddy "eln'" concedes this.

    I am not aware of any verse where Saul says his conversion experience was merely a vision. Since you nor elnathan are my standard authority, please quote the bible to prove this point. The verses I already referred you to are very clear that it was not a vision. It was a real experience, and even the others traveling with Saul heard the voice from heaven, and saw the light.

    Quote:

    Please read those chapters yourself, and figure out that a vision isn't an actual witnesses of an event. Paul himself concedes he never actually saw 'jesus' while he was 'alive'. Again, your friend 'eln' even recognizes this.

    If you don't know this, then again, you are unable to take part in this conversation.

    Again, prove this claim with scripture. Of course, there is no record of Saul seeing or meeting Jesus prior to his crucifixion, but scripture is clear that he did meet Jesus after his resurrection. If you can prove me wrong, i will accept my correction. If you cannot, then you shouldn't even attempt to discuss this issue any further.


    ShaunPhilly
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    elnathon wrote:You keep

    elnathon wrote:
    You keep harping on the names. Do you really fail to see stupidity of that? Have you ever been to a concert? Can you find anyone that can prove you went to that concert? Surely there were thousands of other witnesses? How many of their names do you have? Where is your list? Yet you make such a ridiculous demand to produce as similar list from TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO? ARE YOU SERIOUS?

    Are you serious?

    The analogy is not apt. The concert any of us went to has other trails of evidence to show it occurred. He might have a ticket stub. perhaps he does know at least one person there. The question is not who was there, but whether it happened. in order to verify this, we need to have some people who were there and their statements. That, it seems to me, was the point.

    The point of showing the list is, in part, to show that the event actually happened, not that we need to know their names for its own sake.

    elnathon wrote:
    ...I am tired and it is not even worth the effort to try to get you to understand Paul's implication and purpose in those verses. I can understand why, you--never having had a vision yourself--might question Paul's statements. Unfortunately, you seem unable to understand the implications and reality of such a vision. But here's the short version....

    It turned the man's (Paul's) life completely around. He went from arresting Christians, to spending the REST OF HIS LIFE preaching Jesus, because of what he saw on that road to Damascus.

    This is essentially the same as any claim that today's christians make in attributing their changes in life to Jesus. it's simply ludicrous. One can say that we attribute our changes in life to a belief in Jesus, but not that it was actually jesus. in a debate about whether Jesus actually changes people's lives, we cannot say that because someone believes He does and that person changes, that it's true; that is circular reasoning.

    paul's vision, if it occurred, does not make the vision of something real. perhaps he was halucinating. Perhaps he was lying. perhaps he was using artistic license to describe a change in opinion, perhaps brought on by guilt of having persecuted people he was slowly (or suddenly) becoming empathetic towards, which he described as being vision-like.

    I could imagine Paul thinking, while on his way to Damascus, about what he'd been doing and it suddenly hits him that perhaps there is something to this Jesus guy, and perhaps jesus had a message that paul could use in presenting to the world an idea which he himself thinks is true. Perhaps he talked to some of jesus' followers (assuming he existed) or some people who followed similar would-be messiahs (assuming he didn't) to get a feel for what people were thinking. Perhaps paul really thought he met a spirit, associated it with a personality that actually existed, and associated with folk-movements in this very uprroting period in Jewish life.

    There are som many possible explanations. To simply say that Paul claimed to have a vision, changed his life, therefore the object of the vision was true is like me claiming that a dream I had 5 years ago, which changed how I think about things, meant that the contents of the dream actually happened or were from, for example, Vishnu.

    Coe on now....

    Shaun

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    elnathan wrote:Just keep

    elnathan wrote:
    Just keep telling yourself that and soon you will actually start to believe it! Destroyed???....that's a great one!

    It actually was pretty good when Todangst once against smacked you down. The best part is how completely ignorant you are to that fact.

    Quote:
    There was one source brought into question (based on pure speculation and supposition of someone else), and implied "it could be" about someone else, and you claim victory? You totally overlook all the other evidence and resources that were presented, and claim to be victorious? That's pathetic!

    I showed without a doubt that Chrestus could not have been refering to Christ. Are you suggesting that Christ lived in the reign of Claudius? Even though the Bible states that he lived during Tiberius and the Pax Romana (There is tons of evidence for this actually...the census as well)? If you wish to continue to push this point and make yourself look foolish again and again, by all means, proceed. I will not mind. Honest.

    Quote:
    You--well, not really you Rook, you didn't have squat to do with it--claim to have refuted a single source (which you didn't refute, but merely suggested an alternative that wasn't proven) and claim to have destroyed all the evidence.

    I find it funny that you are sitting here trying to citicise and idea that isn't proven, as you are trying to defend a stance that isn't proven. (By the way, the evidence presented is hard fact. Richard Carrier, Earl Doherty and Dr. Price are three authorities whom back this idea and all three are versed incredibly well on ancient history)

    Quote:
    Do you really think that long response really did anything.

    Nobody dismantled a single argument. So yes, I think it did it's job quite well. It most certainly made you out to be the main jester of inbeciles.

    Quote:
    I really wonder how much of that was yours and how much was plagiarized?

    I wonder if you care to go to court for trying to slander me? Do you have the money to pay me back after I sue you?

    Quote:
    Come on dude, your strawman sucked. Come up for some sunshine.

    That's some case of the Pot calling the kettle black.

    Quote:
    Take a whiff of reality here. You got nothin'.

    You have spent the past two weeks criticizing personalities, yet you have not offered a single scintilla of evidence worth a dime. This is the eigth post you've made where you have not presented a case for your claim, and have been dishonest to boot.

    Quote:
    Even what you think you had is lame. I hope your arm doesn't hurt from patting yourself on the back for such a victorious effort; and most of that was something you didn't even have much to do with. Get over yourself!

    I was patting Todangst on the back, not you. You're too much of a fool for me to waste time actually responding seriously too.

    Quote:
    But thanks for the response, I don't feel so bad laughing now.!

    It's okay, I've been laughing at your projections of your own insecurities for some time. Keep it up.

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    adamgrant wrote:todangst

    adamgrant wrote:
    todangst wrote:

    You're making the error of comparing a natural, ordinary claim to a supernatural, extraordinary claim.

    This error has been pointed out ad nauseum.

    no, tod. I am not comparing a natural, ordinary claim to a supernatural one. We are talking about a man - just a man - existing or not.

    But no evidence exists for "just a man." No evidence exists for ANYBODY who singularly started Christianity, save Paul (and unless you want to equivocate Jesus and Paul as being one and the same person, you have a case which holds no water). Paul is the only person to ever talk of a Jesus before the fall of Jerusalem. And Paul himself states he never met Jesus:

    Galatians 1:11-12, "γνωριζω δε υμιν αδελφοι το ευαγγελιον το ευαγγελισθεν υπ εμου οτι ουκ εστιν κατα ανθρωπον. ουδε γαρ εγω παρα ανθρωπου παρελαβον αυτο ουτε εδιδαχθην αλλα δι αποκαλυψεως ιησου χριστου." or, "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."

    He also states over and over again that, "...ουκ απ ανθρωπων ουδε δι ανθρωπου αλλα δια ιησου χριστου και θεου πατρος του εγειραντος αυτον εκ νεκρων." or, "not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;"

    He states fervently that Christ was revealed in him by the Lord God (Galatians 1:16), "αποκαλυψαι τον υιον αυτου εν εμοι ινα ευαγγελιζωμαι αυτον εν τοις εθνεσιν ευθεως ου προσανεθεμην σαρκι και αιματι."

    His conversion story is that he never met Christ in the Flesh, nor did he know of him. In fact, for a man who was on the Sanhedrin to have missed Jesus' existence completely is beyond me. He doesn't know ANYTHING about the man Christ. He only knows of a heavenly Christ which exists within us all.

    He states of himself, "And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus." If people knew of Jesus Christ as a real person, why would they call Paul the Christ in the flesh? It's ironic, don't you think, that you can go on and on about there being "no biblical support" for the idea of Paul not knowing Christ. Yet Paul was considered an enemy to the Jews as he worked for the Sanhedrin (and the Pharisees) which were starkly hated by Hellenists who sought change in the Jewish community. For people to think of him as this Christ, means one thing.

    That Christ never existed but was preached as a spiritual level of achievement which would make sense in this passage. It also fits in with other ideas of Jesus during the time. The Gos. of Thomas states that anybody can be the Christ (108), "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me. I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to that one." It is a position to be held, the achievement of knowledge is the Christ - the "anointed" one who has attained Gnosis.

    Paul was very well familiarized with this Gospel, as he cites a line from Thomas in 1 Corinthians 2:9, "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" as in Thomas line 17, "I shall give you what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand has touched, what has no arisen in the human heart." Paul was the Gnostic Teacher, who had achieved "Gnosis," and his students and followers knew of him as the Christ as he had achieved the level of knowledge. This is his whole purpose for reciting this line.

    More evidence that Paul was aware of the Gnostic ideology, and preached it, can be found in Romans 2:25-29, where he refers to a spiritual circumcision. This is also found in Thomas (53). There is other evidence as well.

    When Paul states in Romans 6:3, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” there is no way this could be literal. Being baptized in Christ was to be anointed into the mysteries of the religion Paul preached. (1 Corinthians 4:1) It was to die and be reborn spiritually as Christ had died and been reborn spiritually. Such is seen many times in the writings of Paul. In the very next verse Paul makes my point. That we are crucified WITH Christ, as Christ was, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (6:4) And we should look at what he says in 6:8, “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” Unless you are suggesting that people died WITH Christ when Paul lived…?

    My favorite line to put out there to show Paul’s wisdom and his encouragement of the Gnostic ideals is Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Those who walk after the spirit are those who walk with Christ.

    Another devastating verse is thus, “Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” Romans 15:19. If Christ had just lived and died, and rose again, and had shown himself to all these people, and an earthquake happened at his death, and people had witnessed him being marched down the street….why does Paul need to preach this to the people who witnessed it? Paul never witnessed it. Nor did he receive the information from any person or man but only though God. So how could he know MORE about what happened then those who witnessed the life of Christ? More damaging is Paul’s disagreements with Peter (Galatians 1) whom supposedly was with Christ from the start of his ministry? Wouldn’t Paul have to submit to Peter’s whim as Peter had surely been there before Paul and yet Paul disagrees completely with Peter on almost everything. Why is that?

    The only suitable explanation, again, is that there were many ideas of Christ being circulated during the first century. Too many had differing ideas as to how to achieve Gnosis through Christ, and which ways that Christ should be accepted. Had Christ been a real person, shouldn’t his contemporaries have known what to do as was stated in Acts (written almost a hundred years after the fact, by the way)? Apparently this isn’t the case.

    Another case, to back up my original point, is that Paul is equated in Corinth as the Christ as well, “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:12.

    And yet another commonality between Thomas and Paul is the idea of Christ as the bartender of spiritual enlightenment. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 10:45, “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” How similar a concept is stated in Thomas, “I am not your Rabbi. Because you have drunk, you are intoxicated from the bubbling spring I tended” (13) and also in 108 as stated above resembles this passage. Through the spiritual Christ (an anointing into the initiates) you are able to drink from the fountain of knowledge (Gnosis).

    And of course, more evidence of people following Paul can be found in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

    I can continue to prove this all day. You want to continue to debate this point, or will you concede now? I have so much more to draw from. I hope you are honest enough to concede on this.

    Quote:
    We have not been talking about if he is God in the flesh or not. We are debating his existence as a member of humanity.

    But not one source exists anywhere which can prove this point of yours. No one person ever talks of “Jesus the Man” throughout all of history. So regardless, your point is still refuted. It’s self-refuting actually.

    Quote:
    If you didn't know this, then you are unable to take part in this conversation. Otherwise, you are the one assuming that "Jesus" is super-natural. Amazing!

    Because the only mention of such a character as “Jesus” is supernatural!

    Quote:
    Quote:

    There is a difference between a naturalistic claim of no importance, and a supernatural claim of vast importance. The standards for evidence are different.

    If you can't work this out, then you shouldn't even attempt to discuss this issue any further.

    Here we go again! We are not talking about supernatural claims.

    If you wish to discuss the idea of a normal human named Jesus present your source from that period or within the first two centuries which prove there was “just a man” Jesus? Otherwise your case is bunk.

    Quote:
    We're talking about whether or not a historical human ever existed that people refer to as "Jesus."

    No reference exists.

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    Surely, you realize that people other than theists or christians accept that Jesus was a historical figure.

    There were also ignorant people who believed that Zeus and Hercules also existed as historical figures. Especially two thousand years ago when such myths were constantly euhemerized.

    Quote:
    Yet, they deny his supernatural claims.

    These people are as ignorant as you when it comes to the evidence, I’m afraid It’s not your fault or theirs, but rather those spreading misinformation - those who have not read or have seen the big picture.

    Quote:
    Obviously, not every claim of the existence of Jesus is centered around the claim of his divinity.

    But there is no other case! No other presentation. The only way one can look at Jesus IS supernaturally…as there is no evidence to the contrary. Using claims from the Roman historians to prove a “human” Jesus is incredulous, as Pliny calls it a vast superstition, Lucian mocked the idea of a “Human” Jesus, Celsus argued that Christians stole ideas of Christ’s life from Pagan beliefs – as did Trypho (as proved above which you never once responded to, either because you’re too chicken or because you are too ignorant- again the last option isn’t your fault). Criticism was coming from ALL SIDES. And as I proved to you in an earlier post Christians WERE criticized for the fact that NO EVIDENCE existed for Christ, and that Christ mythology was stolen from the Greeks and Egyptians.

    Quote:
    Quote:
    The standards of evidence are no different for a human referred to as "Jesus" existing than the evidence for a human referred to as "Shakespear" existing.

    Paul concedes that he never met 'jesus' and that his sole contact was through a vision. Even your buddy "eln'" concedes this.

    I am not aware of any verse where Saul says his conversion experience was merely a vision.

    Oh, really? Acts 26:18-20, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.”

    Shall I go through a list again? Here’s a quick inference into the visions of Paul and his counterparts: “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knowethEye-wink such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knowethEye-wink” (2 Corinthians 12:1-3)

    Please, your knowledge of the Bible is troubling. Next time you make a statement like this I’m going to start blaming you for ignorance. Because now you’re claiming authority (or at least to know something of the Bible) when clearly you have none, and know nothing.

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    Since you nor elnathan are my standard authority, please quote the bible to prove this point.

    Done and done.

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    The verses I already referred you to are very clear that it was not a vision. It was a real experience, and even the others traveling with Saul heard the voice from heaven, and saw the light.

    Acts and Galatians show a very different picture of Paul’s conversion. Trying to use Acts to prove something about Paul is like using somebody who never met you to try and prove you had polio. For starters, Paul’s own words are that he received his visions from God in Galatians, not from Jesus. He heard OF JESUS through God. Not of man nor by man. (See above)

    Here are some MAJOR problems with Galatians and Acts:

    1. Galatians states that Paul didn’t talk to anybody about his conversion for THREE YEARS during his time in Damascus and outlining regions. (Galatians 1:17) Yet in Acts, Ananias and the other disciples of Jesus were AT Damascus, healed Paul’s sight, and baptized him. A few days later, he was PREACHING about the Lord. (Acts 9:17-20)
    2. In Galatians Paul didn’t SEE a Disciple/Apostle for THREE YEARS – until he saw Peter and James (That’s the ONLY TWO) in Jerusalem after those three years. (Gal. 1:18-19) In Acts, however, Paul spent a few days with many disciples in Jerusalem and Damascus (The Bible states “ALL the Apostles” – Acts 9:19)
    3. Paul fled at once (RSV) to Arabia and THEN to Damascus in Galatians (Gal. 1:17), where in Acts, Paul had been on his way TO Damascus (Acts 9:3) then started to preach there at long accord (Acts 9:19-26) until the Jews there threatened to kill him and then he fled to Jerusalem after many days (Acts 9:25-26).
    4. In Paul’s out words, none but Peter who stayed with him, and James were in Jerusalem. Yet in Acts, ALL the Apostles were there – and were not just there but were afraid of him. This was not the case in Galatians.
    5. Paul says after 15 days he left for the regions of Syria and Cilicia (Gal. 1:21) where in Acts, by somebody else’s accord, upon the attempts to kill him by the Greeks, Paul was smuggled out to Caesarea – and from there Tarsus.
    6. After 14 YEARS in the regions of Syria and Cilicia, Paul returned to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus. (Gal. 2:1) but in Acts, Barnabas leaves from Antioch to Tarsus to find Paul, brought him back to Antioch for a whole YEAR. (Acts 11:25-16)
    7. In Galatians, Paul took TITUS to Jerusalem (Gal. 2:1), where in Acts, Paul took Mark, whose surname was John. (Acts 12:25)

    And shall I remind you of the fact that Acts has Jesus being hung, not crucified? They are not the same thing. I can go into this at length if you really want to debate me on this subject. I doubt you do.

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    Quote:

    Please read those chapters yourself, and figure out that a vision isn't an actual witnesses of an event. Paul himself concedes he never actually saw 'jesus' while he was 'alive'. Again, your friend 'eln' even recognizes this.

    If you don't know this, then again, you are unable to take part in this conversation.

    Again, prove this claim with scripture.

    I’ve done it for him. You can either cop-out like you did with my last post and pretend I never wrote a response to you, or you can accept the fact that you are wrong and be honest enough to admit it.

    Quote:
    Of course, there is no record of Saul seeing or meeting Jesus prior to his crucifixion, but scripture is clear that he did meet Jesus after his resurrection.

    False, and I’ve shown this is the case.

    Quote:
    If you can prove me wrong, i will accept my correction. If you cannot, then you shouldn't even attempt to discuss this issue any further.

    I truly hope you correct yourself now. Please have the intellectual honesty to do so. I have respect for you, although I’m not sure of you yet. Prove to me you are an honest individual and admit to this mistake, so we can move on.

    The best to you,

    Rook

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    Sapient
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    The idea of a Christian

    The idea of a Christian trying to build a case for a mere man Jesus, not a supernatural one, sits funny with me. Am I the only one that gets a giggle from that?

    - Brian Sapient


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    todangst
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    Sapient wrote:The idea of a

    Sapient wrote:
    The idea of a Christian trying to build a case for a mere man Jesus, not a supernatural one, sits funny with me. Am I the only one that gets a giggle from that?

    It's blatant dishonesty.... if they were doing that in business, they'd be charged with a 'bait and switch' fraud.

    Actually, as per their own supposed 'worldview', it's a sin... they are taking their god's name in vain.

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    todangst
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    adamgrant wrote:todangst

    adamgrant wrote:
    todangst wrote:

    You're making the error of comparing a natural, ordinary claim to a supernatural, extraordinary claim.

    This error has been pointed out ad nauseum.

    no, tod. I am not comparing a natural, ordinary claim to a supernatural one. We are talking about a man - just a man - existing or not.

    For the 100th time, "jesus", as understood in christianity through the gospel descriptions, is a supernatural being. Christianity is not belief in a really nice human. It's a belief in a supernatural savior. A man/god who was resurrected and who's resurrection supposedly granted a magical salvation for mankind.

    No mere human can be 'jesus'. To locate a real man who has none of the supernatural characteristics of jesus, and label him 'jesus', is to refute the existence of jesus of christianity.

    The 'historical jesus' argument is nothing more than an equivocation fallacy.

    Quote:

    There is a difference between a naturalistic claim of no importance, and a supernatural claim of vast importance. The standards for evidence are different.

    If you can't work this out, then you shouldn't even attempt to discuss this issue any further.

    Quote:

    Here we go again! We are not talking about supernatural claims. We're talking about whether or not a historical human ever existed that people refer to as "Jesus."

    Here we go again. "Jesus' as per the gospels is a supernatural 'entity', ergo it is a supernatural claim. To find a natural cause for the jesus claim is to REFUTE the jesus claim.

    Quote:

    The standards of evidence are no different for a human referred to as "Jesus"

    A "human refered to as jesus' cannot be jesus, as already explained ad nauseum.

    And aren't you taking thy lord' god's name in vain by calling jesus a mere human?

    Quote:

    Paul concedes that he never met 'jesus' and that his sole contact was through a vision. Even your buddy "eln'" concedes this.

    Quote:

    I am not aware of any verse where Saul says his conversion experience was merely a vision.

    Here's a quick wiki review of Acts:

    Paul's conversion from persecutor of Christians, at that time called the sect of the Nazarenes (Acts 24:5), to "Apostle to the Gentiles" (Rom 11:13,Gal 2:Cool, is recounted in three sections of Acts: 9:1-19a; 22:1-22; 26:9-24.

    In Acts 9:1-19a, while on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, near Damascus, he was hit by a bolt of light from the sky and dropped to the ground. He heard a voice: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." (9:4b-6NIV) Paul's traveling companions heard the voice also, but did not see anyone and when Paul stood up, he was blind.

    Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus is common knowledge even for schoolchildren. Paul never witnesses jesus at all, merely has this 'vision'... and he reports this as a vision, as Rook has demonstrated. He never actually sees a living jesus.

    Anyway, I see rook has already dealt with this in great detail as well.

    Quote:

    Please read those chapters yourself, and figure out that a vision isn't an actual witnesses of an event. Paul himself concedes he never actually saw 'jesus' while he was 'alive'. Again, your friend 'eln' even recognizes this.

    If you don't know this, then again, you are unable to take part in this conversation.

    Quote:

    Again, prove this claim with scripture.

    I have, however Rook's done a more in depth job.

    Quote:
    Of course, there is no record of Saul seeing or meeting Jesus prior to his crucifixion,

    Precisely. And that's the point. He never saw any 'jesus'.

    Yet he lists himself as an eyewitness, as I've demonstrated several times.

    Quote:

    but scripture is clear that he did meet Jesus after his resurrection.

    i.e. in a 'vision'.

    To call that a 'meeting' is to strain the meaning of the word.

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    elnathan
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    Quote:

    Quote:

    I can continue to prove this all day. You want to continue to debate this point, or will you concede now? I have so much more to draw from. I hope you are honest enough to concede on this.

    There is nothing to concede to you. You have spouted a great deal of what you may think to be true, but you have only proven that you don’t understand as well as you think you do. Here’s but one example of your misconceptions…
    Quote:

    Galatians states that Paul didn’t talk to anybody about his conversion for THREE YEARS during his time in Damascus and outlining regions. (Galatians 1:17) Yet in Acts, Ananias and the other disciples of Jesus were AT Damascus, healed Paul’s sight, and baptized him. A few days later, he was PREACHING about the Lord. (Acts 9:17-20)

    Those disciples in Damascus are not the Apostles (Peter, John the rest) that you claim. They are two different groups of different people. That’s probably why Luke makes no mention of them (Peter, John, and those who hadn’t already been killed) meeting Paul in Damascus. This (the difference between Apostles and disciples) is backed up further in Acts 11:25. I think this would be a good time to ask for your concession?
    Quote:

    And shall I remind you of the fact that Acts has Jesus being hung, not crucified? They are not the same thing. I can go into this at length if you really want to debate me on this subject. I doubt you do.

    I believe the quote is refers to being hung on a tree. Which is literally ‘wood’. (You seemed to have overlooked the literal of the word being used in some of your earlier posts regarding this subject--I think you referred to it incorrectly as "tree", when in fact the word used is actually interpreted as "wood.")

    I would be curious as to how you hang pictures in your home? It was very apparent and well known how Jesus was executed to those he was talking to in your reference. This reference is more of a sarcastic remark than historical accuracy, and was a reference to a well known prophecy.

    There are many references to Jesus Christ being crucified. It seem strange that you would pick this one testimony to conflict all the others. It is yet another example that you don’t understand what is being said in the Bible.

    Quote:

    Sapient:
    The idea of a Christian trying to build a case for a mere man Jesus, not a supernatural one, sits funny with me. Am I the only one that gets a giggle from that?

    We are not trying to prove that Jesus was a mere man, we are refuting the claim that He was not a man at all. Most certainly He was much more than a mere man, but if we can NOT establish the person of Jesus, then how can we ever get to the really good stuff about Jesus?

    In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers