Apparently you can't do polls on here.... but

Do any of you think that Jesus actually existed? What do category do you fall into?

A. Believed he existed, claims are false

B. Believed he existed, claims are exaggerated

C. Don't believe he existed

D. Believe he existed, claims are true (sorry had to leave the idiot category open)

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Wtf is Jo doing?
Wtf if Jo doing?

With my first post on this thread in a long time, trying to get back to the original topic.

All replies since have been personal attacks with the exception of the first, which asked me to name 10 scholars who believe as I do - that A) there very likely was someone named Jesus, in the Middle East, 2,000 years ago, who preached and B) the scriptures are fallible. Which I did.
I don't think anyone questions the assertion that the Bible is fallible. I certainly didn't. What was being spoken about was the core story and whether it is possible to get at the underlying kernel of historical information in it.

As for the scholars, you've complained several times that Matt fails to read your posts, so tit for tat, I will suggest that you read my post in its entirety. For the sake of convenience, I will quote it: "I'd also be interested to see if you can name 10 internationally acclaimed scholars of the period." Had I asked to "name 10 internationally acclaimed scholars of evolution," Dawkins would have fit in nicely. Had I asked to "name 10 internationally acclaimed essayists," Hitchens would have fit in nicely. Unfortunately, I asked for scholars of the period, and they don't quite make the cut. Matt addressed the others.
"I'd also be interested to see if you can name 10 internationally acclaimed scholars of the period." Had I asked to "name 10 internationally acclaimed scholars of evolution," Dawkins would have fit in nicely.

You didn't specify at all what kind of scholar. You said "scholars." An evolutionary scholar is a scholar and I would assume would be well versed in religious texts if only so he knows what he's up against when it comes to the creationists.
I said "of the period." Read it again. You will see that it is there. And no, when I need history, I don't go to a biologist, just as when I need a doctor, I don't go to an accountant.
I read it again. "scholars of the period."

"of the period," I took to mean today's scholars, contemporary, recent. Dawkins is still alive. I assume that to be recent. Did it mean something else?

When I'm looking at ancient history, say, "Was religious icon X based on a real person and to what extent?" I seek the answer from several different angles. A historian who specializes in that religion. A historian who specializes in different religions for comparison. An archeologist who has studied the area or knows how to interpret what has been studied. An anthropologist who has studied the culture or similar cultures or knows in general how cultures operate. A geologist who can shed light on climate of the area and whether or not there was really a volcano here or a flood there.

A sociologist who can shed light on how myths are formed, or can become so ingrained that even the most educated take it as a given without ever questioning "But why is it a given? What's our evidence?"

A mathematician or someone well versed in logical analysis who can crack holes in the evidence to show it's not nearly so definitive as 2,000 years of popular (or at the point of a sword) opinion would have us accept.

A psychologist well versed in how, even in light of new evidence, people will hold on to a belief out of sheer pride. "I can't face the thought that the religion that has been the root of my life for a quarter century might be based on a lie ... I'm unwilling to retract the three books I wrote that X is true ..."

And even someone whose degree is in one field, such as evolutionary biology, but through that has come to extensively study a related field, such as religion.

That said, I gave you a second list of scholars who claim, as I do, that the existence of [common name/place/occupation] is not far fetched, and that the scriptures are fallible. Are there any problems with those?
Scholars of the period, i.e., scholars of the period under discussion. Not contemporary scholars.

You should really work on reading comprehension before you apply to community college.

The rest is just to ridiculous to answer.
Scholars of the period, i.e., scholars of the period under discussion. Not contemporary scholars.

++++++
pe·ri·od
   /ˈpɪəriəd/ [peer-ee-uhd]
–noun

1. a rather large interval of time that is meaningful in the life of a person, in history, etc., because of its particular characteristics: a period of illness; a period of great profitability for a company; a period of social unrest in Germany.

2. any specified division or portion of time: poetry of the period from 1603 to 1660.

3. a round of time or series of years by which time is measured.
+++++

As phrased, the sentence could have meant either "contemporary scholar" or "scholar specializing in that time period." Having been criticized recently by Matt for quoting a book written 15 years ago as too many decades old, being that you seem to be defending and speaking for Matt, I assumed the 3rd definition in terms of contemporary, 'our' period. If you can't see how it could have applied and still feel the need to make insulting assumptions about my education, I can't stop you.

If you can't see how a historical mystery might be contributed to by persons in several different fields of study, well, insert insulting assumption about your education here.

Once again, I was asked for a corrected list of scholars because the two of you weren't happy with the ones I listed. So I updated it. Does that second list fit your criteria sufficiently?
So this is one big flame war against you for saying some dude named Jesus existed 2K years ago?

I don't have an opinion on Jesus/No Jesus, so I don't know why this is happening.
No, this isn't that at all.
I'm not seeing a flame war either, but some people do get antsy when you point out that there is a historical Jesus at the basis of Christianity. Why this is the case, I really do not know. My only guess is (and it seems to hold up pretty well) is that many Christian fundamentalists who 'deconvert' get an enormous sense of betrayal, and get emotionally attached to the idea that everything about Christianity is one big betrayal. That's why you'll often find them buying into discredited ideas like (i) Christianity was hi-jacked by the Roman Empire to unify the empire or (ii) it was made up out of whole-cloth by a group of evil and lucrative con-artists.
For some reason they have difficulty accepting that their cult might have started out like thousands of other cults: not through some mass conspiracy but simply by a charismatic leader who spawns a sect of followers which continues after his death. That's a little too non-black-and-white for some people, I guess.

That's just my amateur psycho-analysis at work though.
Hi Orange,

I have no idea what akbars razor is (though I'm hoping it's a heuristic mechanism to figure whether or not IT'S A TRAP), but Ockhams Razor favours the explanation that requires the least supposition.
So what takes the least amount of supposition?

A itinerant Nazarean preacher running around Galilee and getting nailed to a cross for getting in trouble with the Romans (which happened often enough) or "a mass conspiracy story thats been manipulated, reinvented and re-fabricated for the last two thousand years"? Why not aye? I think you can figure out why not.

Also, you don't get away with the statement that your opinion is equally supported by the evidence as that of Nick or me. Do you have statements of people within decades saying that he did not exist? Because we have statements of people that say that he did exist. And that they met his brother. And that his humiliating death somehow ummm... wasn't humiliating. And a plethora of other things.

Do you have anything to put against that except the vague possibility that this might all be some vast, totally unnoticed and unprecedented intricate conspiracy?

No? I figured as much.

Take care,

Matt

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