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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"JstN Earthling is no longer a member of Atheist Nexus."

That explains why we've had at least 24 hours without insults in this thread, miracles do exist!
I hope banning isn't permanent. Given a half a year or a year, a person can learn a lesson or two and change his/her tune.
Well, not like the guy wasn't warned. Repeatedly.
There's a big void where evidence of Jesus should be. I used to lean toward Jesus as a myth in stead of a person. But Paul was born about 5 years after Jesus and converted to Christianity only a few years after Jesus died. I'm not really sure if Jesus existed as a flesh-and-blood person but I can concede that the possibility is real, if not as convincing as it should be.
There's a big void where evidence of Jesus should be.

Extremely well-worded.

Not that absence of evidence is absolute proof of non-existence, especially given time/place/amount of time for evidence to get lost. But when Theists try and use that reasoning to continue to connect Historical Jesus to Biblical Jesus, I ask...

If his message was so damn important and/or he was so damn set on starting a new religious revolution, don't you think the earliest scriptures would have been written down during his lifetime? Perhaps in his own hand? And don't tell me that might have happened but they got lost, because early Xians seem to have had little trouble holding onto copies of scripture once it did become important to them. Logical conclusion: It wasn't important to them during Jesus' (supposed) lifetime.

Ergo, at best historical Jesus bears little or no resemblance to bible-Jesus outside of name/place/occupation. Which are not in themselves uncommon. At the least, it's even plausible the name and/or place and/or occupation was entirely pulled out of someone's ass.

Either way, as soon as Theists go looking for historical Jesus of the bible, I.e.; the Jesus who originated/inspired the ideology of the canon bible, that's where I say Saul of Tarsus makes a far better historical Jesus than historical Jesus does.

Saul of Tarsus and other various authors wrote the songs. Jesus is the face on the cover of the Milli Vanilli album and does the lip-syncing for the videos.
I used to think he was an amalgamation, like Robin Hood or Arthur, and this was all a story conjured up and tailored specifically for Roman cults that sprang up among their poor and lower class citizens, as it seems tailored to appeal to the downtrodden and peasant class. After it's success for a while it managed to be one of the religions picked up by an upper class woman (whether because it was "in fashion" or she was earnestly touched) who was the mother of an emperor who later converted to it himself and legitimized it within a wealthy state. And this religion managed to proliferate out of it's ability to adapt, an adaptation of which we still face today.

But I now think it makes more sense that Jesus was just a man who claimed to be a messiah (only a prophet and not the son of god) that was only attributed with divine origin decades after his death, and the cult did spring up in Jerusalem before traveling to Rome. I mostly believe this because of how christianity's early contemporary and secular detractors attack Christ for his fallible aspects and base birth, and never attempt to question if he existed at all. Paul would have to be creating quite a story so soon after the crucifixion if Jesus was never around at all. I don't think this is likely.
That idea might work for the many obvious supernatural elements in the story, and for the prophecies that Jesus fits, but it doesn't fit at all with the large number of cases where he so obviously does not meet those expectations. His birth in Nazareth, his crucifixion, his failed miracles, his baptism as a sinner,... all these things were not simply absent in Jewish beliefs at the time, they were antithetical to them. The gospel writers go to great difficulty to either omit, dismiss, minimalise or otherwise justify these freak occurrences.

What you're doing is looking at the result of this cover-up process and saying "Well see, he fits Messianic expectations perfectly so he's probably made up". What you're ignoring is how hard they have to try to make it seem that way. Why are all these events in the story? Because they are historical, that's why.
Look at this way: what idea accounts for these things the best? That some Jews got tired of waiting for someone to fit these Messianic expectations, and then invented someone who did not fit them well at all? Or that they got tired of waiting and were forced to shoe-horn a historical figure into those expectations, even though he didn't fit them at all?

What do you see cults doing most?
@Matt VDB,

History is (allegedly) not manufactured out of thin air. The void where evidence of Jesus should be is very telling. For consistency's sake, invoking the "historical" should be accompanied by actual historical evidence.

There is NONE.

Period.
Free Thinker,

What void exactly are you talking about?

Hate to break it to you, but at least four First-Century gospels, several Pauline epistles and three references in two of the best historians of the time is actual historical evidence. And those mentions make it pretty clear that we're talking about a man "called Messiah", who had a brother called James, who was a preacher and a faith healer, and who was crucified by Pilate. All these points are attested to by all the sources, including by at least one non-Biblical one.

There's your historical Jesus right there, and the case for him is perfectly obvious.

I don't have to prove anything anymore: on the balance of the evidence, I win. What Mythers have to do is dismiss the actual evidence we do have, and that is simply impossible without engaging in double standards. But don't pretend the case is mine to be made.

"There is NONE."

You can keep asserting that all day long but unless you dismiss the evidence we do have, it looks rather silly.
There is absolutely NO reference to the person of Jesus outside of scripture. You'll have to cite those "three references in two of the best historians of the time". I know that there were 4 references, in Roman records, that mention Jesus in connection with early Christians . . . but they don't discuss Jesus the person and at least one of those references is entirely debunked. Nope . . . no evidence there.

Although the gospels and epistles testify to Jesus, they were written well after Jesus' death. None of the gospel authors claim to have ever met Jesus. Neither has Paul. Second-hand (at best) information is NOT evidence.

I don't know what you think constitutes evidence but I know of none whatsoever. There might be good arguments to believe Jesus was a real person (Paul lived when Jesus lived) but that is NOT evidence. It's just a good argument.
"I know that there were 4 references, in Roman records, that mention Jesus in connection with early Christians . . . but they don't discuss Jesus the person and at least one of those references is entirely debunked. Nope . . . no evidence there."

That's quite simply wrong.

Tacitus says:

Christ, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus

Josephus says (interpolations removed by Geza Vermes):

About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man...For he was one who performed paradoxical deeds and was the teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews [and many Greeks?]. He was [called] the Christ. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him...And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.

And Josephus also refers to James, "the brother of Jesus who was called Messiah" as well.

That's three references to "the person of Jesus", not just in reference to Christians.
But let me guess, your next move is to claim that the first Josephus passage is an outright forgery, right? Read this before you try that one.



"Second-hand (at best) information is NOT evidence."

Errrm, you have just thrown out just about every source in the ancient world and dismissed it as being "not evidence". Or do you think Polybius actually met Hannibal?
Tacitus was born in 56 A.D. and died in 117 A.D. Anything he wrote about Jesus was,therefor, long after Jesus was dead. His mention of Jesus (Christ) is just a reiteration of one Christian story. Thus he was NOT writing about Jesus the person, he was writing about Jesus the myth or, if you prefer, Jesus the object of Christian worship.

There's no agreement on what the interpolations are in Josephus' citation. Therefor, anything Geza Vermes removed would have been his best guess. Many scholars discount the entire passage. But ignoring these objections, Josephus (37 A.D. to circa 100 A.D.) was also born after Jesus was dead. This puts him in the same leaky boat as Tacitus.

Like I said, Matt, second-hand information . . . repeated stories.

There's a huge void where evidence of Jesus should be. Where is the contemporaneous evidence?

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