We debate origins of the Universe, life, Earth, humans, religion, atheism, using common sense, evolution, cosmology, geology, archaeology, and other sciences, to repel biblical creationism and other religious beliefs.

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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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The earliest starlight of the young Universe

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Your opinion please

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The Probability Of Being

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Secular Humanism in a destabilizing society

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Neanderthals, Denisovans and ancestor X

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The evolution of work

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Has man evolved?

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Living Relatives of Leonardo da Vinci have been Found

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A new theory explaining the origins of life?

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Map of Archaic Ancestry

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Comment by Dr. Cowboy on November 17, 2010 at 10:16pm
No, the bible is no more credible as a historical document than Homer's Odyssey is an accurate description of what it was like to sail the seas of ancient Greece. However, even with no evidence it's not impossible that both Jesus and Odysseus were based on actual people. The reason there's no contemporary mention of Jesus is most likely because A) if he existed it's unlikely that he or anybody that knew him could write and B) probably the same reason that nobody wrote about Peter the Ditch Digger. He probably just wasn't that important at the time.
I've heard intriguing rumors that Jesus might have had a brother (also of virgin birth maybe?) and that he took over his ministry after Jesus died. I have no idea if there's any truth to it at all, but it does suggest a way for the stories about him to have begun to become exaggerated to mythical proportions. Oral tradition has a way of doing that.
At any rate, I feel that whether he actually existed or not in unimportant. Even if there were an actual person on whom the stories are based, it's unlikely the stories are an accurate reflection of him by any stretch of the imagination.
Comment by Gregg Deering on November 17, 2010 at 9:43pm
I don't think archeology can ever tell us anything about Jesus. He's a literary invention. What would we expect a Jesus coin? Up to this point what has archeology told us about Jesus, noting, what has it told us about the Exodus - it never happened. Mind you I don't think we could prove Jesus did not exist, but we can show (not conclusively) that there is not historical core. For instance stories of Jesus have origins in the Old Testament - and specifically the Greek translation of the OT at that.

The Bible, particularly the NT are religious books, are not histories and would not be seen as histories by the readers at the time, in fact that's why the Gospels were called "Good News" not Histories. Unlike Histories of the period - the four Gospels (or several dozen Gospels) are all anonymous.

Remember that Peter Pan can tell us a lot about turn of the Century London, but that does not mean Peter Pan existed. Maybe Sherlock Holmes wold be a better example?
Comment by Gregg Deering on November 17, 2010 at 9:17pm
There is not historical or archaeological evidence that backs up the NT. We know for sure that there was a mythical Jesus but - we don't know for sure that there was a human Jesus. And there is no agreement on what sort of person this Jesus was. Indecently historical Jesus believers don’t even know his real name - when he was born or died.

Absence of evidence certainly is absence of evidence - for Jesus and unicorns.

There is absolutely no way to take the God and impossible bits out of the Gospels and find a real person. It’s a subject that cries out for real historians instead of wish fulfillment.
Comment by Dr. Cowboy on November 17, 2010 at 8:42pm
It's entirely plausible that Jesus actually existed. However, considering that the gospels were written around 100 AD or so, it's unlikely that he even remotely resembles the person (or persons, rather) portrayed there. There's an interesting documentary on the Gospel of Judas (available via Netflix streaming if you have it). It turns out there were something like 35 gospels floating around before the church decided to whittle it down to 4 and declare the rest heresy.
Comment by Jennifer R on November 17, 2010 at 8:39pm
There are plenty of books and documentaries refuting the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth. In fact...there may never have even been a Nazareth. Here is a website.

An interesting documentary on the subject I saw recently was The God Who Wasn't There.
Comment by Tony Davis on November 17, 2010 at 8:22pm
LOL are you guys talking about "The Life of Brian"? Great movie! I think my favorite part was when they went before Pontius Pilate and he had a speech impediment and said his "Rs" like "Ws", so he would up releasing "Bawabas".

On a more serious note, the idea of Jesus being a breed of people and folks recognizing him.... One thing I find very interesting is how nobody recognized him at first after his resurrection, even after walking some distance and talking to him, or sitting down to eat with him. And no good reason is given for this that I am aware of.
Comment by Susan Stanko on November 17, 2010 at 5:07pm
Didn't Monty Python do that?
Comment by Mark M on November 17, 2010 at 4:54pm
Ron Cole,

I, too, am of the opinion that the Jesus of the Bible was a real person. I think that he was one of the myriad self-proclaimed prophets roaming the region at the time, and he won the eternal notoriety lottery.
Comment by Mark M on November 17, 2010 at 4:51pm
*surprised, *interment
Comment by Mark M on November 17, 2010 at 4:50pm
well, the absence of evidence certainly isn't evidence of absence, so i would say the fact that we don't have a lot of archaeological evidence of crucifixion victims doesn't necessarily mean that we can assume that it was their policy to never allow the family to bury them. for the record, all I know about Roman practice regarding the bodies of their executed comes from your previous post and from having seen a few movies and history channel documentaries about Rome, so if your knowledge of these matters makes my argument a weak one I would not be surprisd. it might help to know how common intermet was in the various communities under roman rule. also, I would find it difficult to believe that mid-level legal authorities taking bribes was anything but common.

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