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DeWitz

A Skeptic 'allows' for Jesus' historicity

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Posted (edited)

From www.skeptic.com. Vol. 19, No 1, 2014, Millennium Press

Tim Callahan, professional skeptic, examines the historicity of Jesus. His conclusion may surprise you:

"So, was Jesus historical? In my opinion, the passages from the Antiquities and the Annals are genuine and historical. Thus, Jesus, too, was historical. . . barely (p. 16)."

Having heard from a number of agnostic and atheist UMers, as well as straightforward skeptics, I thought these words from a professional skeptic, grudgingly finding a place for Jesus in history, to be proper grist for this topic's mill.

Edited by DeWitz
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I am certainly no historical scholar but I can't readily think of any other personage who is so much a part of the fabric of the world - for so long - whose very existence is still being questioned. The fact that so much time and effort is being spent to call this into question - to sow doubt against a person who's only desire in life was to bring peace... makes me wonder if the effort itself is not guided supernaturally. It's kind of like the seeming genetically based hatred of Jews - even by people who've never met one. Just my opinion.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for posting this, Dewitz.

I must note that I've heard of Tim Callahan before, and there are a lot of atheists and skeptics who discredit his work. Apparently quite a few of them either think that he doesn't accurately represent their crowd, or that he doesn't articulate it well enough to suit them. I'm sure our well read skeptics on here will probably be jumping on that in no time.

And then, you make a good point. You know, there is even less evidence that the Buddha existed; and yet I don't see people questioning HIS existence, on here or anywhere else, really. Why all the attention on Jesus? Why don't we equally question Buddha, or even someone like Socrates? Now I believe they existed mind you; this is just a case and point.

I suppose Jesus confronts us, that He demands some type of verdict...so people will do all they can to deny His existence, and perhaps there is a supernatural element to that.

I guess I will follow this thread and wait in the wings... I'm sure I'll be arguing for the historicity of Jesus before too long....

Edited by Marcus Aurelius
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Posted (edited)

It seems to me that for many skeptics of religions, it is not so much the historicity of Jesus that causes disbelieve but the claims made surrounding his existence. That a man named Jesus was born in Nazareth grew to be the most controversial figure of his time might have truly lived in the past is very possible. I think the historical evidence are sufficiant to accept this conclusion.

The controversy arises as to whether or not Jesus was the prophesied Messiah born of Virgin Mary, that the man performed miracles and various supernatural deeds, that he was resurected from the dead. This is where it becomes a matter of which one may choose to believe or not.

Edited by sam_comm
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Posted (edited)

Just a new idea to an old argument. For the past 1900 years, individuals through out history been discrediting, attacking, insulting and so on about Christianity by arguing Jesus was merely a man, he possess no divine powers, there were no mircles, and on, yet noone ever denied his existence. Now the newest argument that Christianity is a farce, a hoax, a fake, whatever by saying there never was a Jesus. This idea orginates from the works of Constantin Francois de Volney in the early 19th century France arguing Jesus to be a mythical character.

Edited by gatekeeper32
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As an agnostic/skeptic I've no doubt that Jesus was a living, breathing person of a high moral character that included people rather than excluded them. He was a beloved man of the people and that's why he continues to live today.

"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die." - Thomas Campbell (1825)

Hence, the resurrection after his death. A great soul never dies.

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As LG has implied the suggestion that 'Jesus' existed as a historical figure is not really controversial, as all religions which we are able to track the origins of appear to have that origin in a charismatic individual. What is controversial is whether 'Jesus' performed all that scripture states of him, or whether the biblical Jesus, as opposed to the historical 'Jesus', was in part composite and in part exaggeration, with perhaps just a fraction of the biblical figure being the reality of the historical one.

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Kinda funny; be a skeptic and allow the guy might have existed and you get news stories written about you. I know one who has even published and made a chuck of money saying the guy actually existed but was not God.

Of course all the skeptical skeptics get ignored.

The reason for the skepticism, by the way, is the lack of evidence. The typical skeptic really doesn't much care, it's like if Robin Hood existed or not. Therefore for the most part they go off and study real historical questions and let those who really want to believe pretty much have the field.

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*Three lectures that show being Agnostic on the historicity of Jesus is a valid default position.

Keep in mind that mainstream scholarship thought that the Biblical Patriarchs were historical.Thomas L Thompson changed that line of thinking in 1974 with "The History of the Patriarchal Narratives".

Keep in mind also that Islam needs an historical Jesus, otherwise it makes Muhammad a liar.Jesus is a prophet of Allah in Islam.

Ten beautiful lies about Jesus: David Fitzgerald (Note: D Fitzgerald is mentored by R Carrier a Phd in ancient history)

Why the Gospels are Myth: Dr. Richard Carrier

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MclBbZUFSag

Why I Think Jesus Didn't Exist: Dr. Richard Carrier

Bonus videos:

The Book of Acts as Historical Fiction: Dr. Richard Carrier

Miracles and Historical Method: Dr. Richard Carrier

The Bible UnEarthed

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=M9XK3DcQe9s

The Bible's Buried Secrets

Additional information:

On Evaluating Arguments From Consensus by Dr. Richard Carrier

http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/5553

Jesus 6 BCE-33? CE

 

There's no contemporary sources for Jesus during his supposed lifetime.

Pauline Epistles 51-58 CE 

Only 7 out of 13 letters of Paul are considered nonpseudographical.Paul is not a witness to a living Jesus, but through revelation.

Rome Sacking of Judea 70 CE 

The Gospels are labeled by Church tradition, but are from unknown Greek educated writers.They make the same translation mistakes found in the Greek version of the Old Testament called the Septuagint.

Mark 65-70? CE 

Matthew 75-80? CE 

Luke 75-90? CE

John 85-125? CE

The Gospels are Euhemerization (myths made into history) to control doctrine.

http://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/euhemerization

*The only mention of Jesus outside the New Testament in the 1st century is by the historian Josephus. Josephus mentions Jesus twice, but they have red flags of forgery, and misidentification.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/testimonium.html

Josephus in Testimonium Flavianum Antiquities of the Jews 93-94 CE mentions Jesus,and as the Christ.The wording of the passage makes Josephus a pious Jew sound like a Christian, and does not fit his style of writing,suggesting a later forged adaptation.First qouted by Eusebius (315 CE),but not mentioned by earlier apologists Justin Martyr,Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and *Origen (140-230 CE).The passage conflicts with Josephus's own belief that Vespasian is the Messiah (Title).

Chapter 18.3.3

http://m.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-18.htm

In context of chapters 18.3.2 & 18:3.4, you can see chapter 18.3.3 interupts the flow of the texts.In the words of David Fitzgerald "It's like a Britney Spears video in the middle of a funeral".

Chapter 20.9.1

http://m.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/works/files/ant-20.htm

The James passage in Josephus's antiquities 20.9.1 "The brother of Jesus,who was called Christ,whose name was James".This is interpolation using Matthew 1:16 "Who is called Christ".In 20.9.4 of antiquities Josephus writes "James is brother of Jesus Bar Damneus".

Earl Doherty (Author of 'The Jesus Puzzle')"A good case can be made for saying that Josephus wrote nothing about Jesus and was probably unaware of any such figure."Apologist

*Origen mentions this passage,but not the other.

John Remsburg,in his 1909 book 'The Christ',stated:"To identify the James of Josephus with James the Just,the brother of Jesus, is to reject the accepted history of the primitive church which declares that James the Just died in 69 CE, 7 years after the James of Josephus was condemned to death by the Sanhedrin."

Josephus continues:

"... Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest."

Josephus tells us precisely who James is the brother of – Jesus bar Damneus!

Here are other nonBiblical references used by Apologists to cite Jesus's  historicity.

Tacitus in 116 CE mentions Chrestus (title),and Christians (cult).This is evidence of Christians,not evidence of Jesus the Christ.Search "Tacitus forgery"

See video @ 108:00 mark for deeper scrutiny of the Tacitus passage by Dr. Richard Carrier.

Pliny the Younger in 110 CE mentions that "Christians were singing a hymn to Christ as to a god".There were several people claiming to be a Messiah/Christ back in those times.

Suetonius in 121 CE mentions Chrestus (personal name),and Christians,and he maybe repeating what others have told him about this cult,or cults.

Lucian of Samosata(circa 125 - 180 CE)A second-century satirist named Lucian wrote that the basis for the Christian sect was a “man who was crucified in Palestine,”but this is merely repeating what Christians believed in the second century.Lucian does not mention Jesus by name.This reference is too late to be considered more direct historical evidence.

No work of Thallus survives.Here is a quote about him from Richard Carrier:"We know next to nothing about Thallus or his works.We don't even know if he wrote only one book or several.The only information we have about him,even his name,comes entirely from Christian apologetic sources beginning in the late 2nd century,and that information is plagued with problems."

Bart Ehrman,Did Jesus Exist?:"The Talmud is a collection of disparate materials from early Judaism.Most of the material relates to the early rabbis.The collection was put together long after the days of Jesus."The Talmud was put together approximately between the 3rd-5th centuries

Here is what is written in "Baraitha Bab. Sanhedrin 43a", probably second century or later.

"On the eve of Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, "He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Any one who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf." But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover! - Ulla retorted: Do you suppose that he was one for whom a defence could be made? Was he not a _Mesith_ [enticer], concerning him Scripture says, _Neither shalt though spare, neither shalt thou conceal him?_ With Yeshu however it was different, for he was connected with the government for royalty [i.e., influential]. Our Rabbis taught: Yeshu had five disciples, Matthai, Nakai, Nezer, Buni, and Todah."

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/talmud.html

According to Michael Paulkovich (No Meek Messiah,2012,pp.199-200) there were up to 146

historians/writers (Silent Writers) during,or shortly after the supposed time of Jesus that did not mention him.

42 contemporary writers silent about Jesus while other wanna be Messiahs get mentioned.

http://www.holysmoke.org/sdhok/jesus5.htm

Mara Bar-Serapion(circa 73 CE-?)Fragment of a personal letter from a Syrian named Mara Bar-Serapion to his son in prison that mentions that the Jews of that time had killed their “wise king.”The NT claims that the Romans,not the Jews,killed Jesus.The Jews had killed other leaders;for example,the Essene Teacher of Righteousness.If this truly is a report of a historical event rather than the passing on of folklore,it could have been a reference to someone else.

Celsus:A late 2nd century Greek philosopher was an opponent of Early Christianity.He is known for his literary work "The True Word" (C.177 CE) which survives exclusively in early Church apologist Origen's (184-254 CE) quotations from it in "Contra Celsum".This is too late to be evidence of Jesus Christ.

*Was Jesus just a celestial deity in gnosticism from the belief of hidden messages in the Old Testament?

http://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Gnosticism

This deity was called the "Logos" by Philo.This revelation derived from the OT had many monickers like "The First Born of God",  "The Image of God", and "The Shadow of God" to name a few.

See "Logos", and "Pneumatology"

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philo's_view_of_God

Here is a remnent of a Gnostic Jesus in the Epistles.

1 Corinthians 2:6-8

6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

*Who are the "rulers of this age"?

Why would the "rulers of this age" not crucify Christ if they knew it would give Man the chance to have eternal life in Heaven?

The Romans if they knew would not object for a chance at eternal life.

The "rulers of this age" were Demons of Gnostic belief that control Earth.

*In Galatians the "Brother of the Lord" passage is often used as evidence for Jesus.Here is a two part breakdown (Be sure to check out other videos by Youtuber TruthSurge).

James, Brother of the Lord Part 1

James, Brother of the Lord Part 2

*Here is an example of prophecy being filled using the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) translation.

Mark,  and Luke has Jesus on a Colt (young Horse).

John has Jesus on a young Donkey.

Matthew which is the 2nd Gospel written has Jesus on a Donkey, and a Colt at the same time (which is comical).

Zechariah 9:9 (Greek Septuagint translation)

 lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Zechariah 9:9 (original Hebrew)

 lowly, and riding on a Donkey, even a colt the, foal of an Donkey.

The Hebrew version is being poetic.

The Greek translation has the mistake of switching out "even" for "and".

Matthew 21:7

7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.

The author of Matthew used the Septuagint's mistaken translation to fulfill prophecy.

*There were many preChristian saviour deities that went through a passion to have victory over death.

Here is one of the earliest.

The ancient Sumerian Goddess Inanna traveled to the Underworld.She was cursed into being a corpse then hung on a hook.After 3days/nights she was resurrected by life giving water and plants.

Here are the verse numbers, and translation (link) of the epic poem that predate Christ by at least 2,000 years.

164-172 

173-175

246-253

273-281

http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/section1/tr141.htm

Check out post #7 in this link to see the original "Eat my body, drink my blood".

http://www.davidicke.com/forum/showthread.php?t=269942

Sermon on the Mount was not so divine.

http://wiki.ironchariots.org/?title=Sermon_on_the_Mount

Evolution of Satan in the Bible

* Why do people believe?

Our Brains are evolved for learning, and we seek patterns in the enviroment.We have built in reward centers that are purposed for survival.These reward centers can be tricked to either cause false beliefs, and, or detrimental abuses.

For an example:People that work themselves up emotionally mistake higher levels of neurochemical production as being touched by the Holy Spirit.Dopamine causes feelings of euphoria, making sense of things that normally do not, and can add a wide range of hallucinations.

Here're various videos on Dopamine, Schizophrenia, hallucinations, addiction, and patternicity.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=o2T-7_g6yUU

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ukFjH9odsXw

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DwNPTP40yy8

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pUkrPNxLau0

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XAhmpVqbw_Y

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LWYwckFrksg

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0sB9sTz_gyU

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=b_6-iVz1R0o

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nCVzz96zKA0

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YqAwfv3HYGo

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3d33lQjZUeg

*Some people do not want to research beyond their comfortable fantasy.

Why take the effort to understand the World and make an actual difference?There is no need when it's done for you.

So much has been done through the centuries to perpetuate the Whip that 

people gladly line their backs to.Meanwhile the very first symbol of this cult may have had an entire different meaning?Think how sacred a Fish would be if it allowed you to see into the Heavenly realms.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallucinogenic_fish

*Theists do not care about Earth.Their scripture says that God is going to make a new Earth.Why take care of the old when new is on the way?

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+65%3A16-17&version=KJV

Isaiah 65:16-17

16 That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.

17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+21%3A1-4&version=KJV

Revelation 21:1-4

21 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

http://quran.com/14/47-52

Quran 14:47-52

[it will be] on the Day the earth will be replaced by another earth, and the heavens [as well], and all creatures will come out before Allah , the One, the Prevailing.

And you will see the criminals that Day bound together in shackles,

Their garments of liquid pitch and their faces covered by the Fire.

*Theists believe people are born knowing God.

Romans 1:18-21

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

*This is the tip of the Iceberg on what is taught about nonbelievers that worship themselves & not God.

2 Corinthians 6:14

14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Check out contradictions in the Bible & Quran plus more in this link:

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/index.htm

Is the Quran a Miracle?

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2CHm2xigkBc

Scientific Miracles in the Quran

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0XLg-SRGMNk

*Sperm is from the Backbone and Ribs.

http://quran.com/86/5-7

86:5

So let man observe from what he was created.

86:6

He was created from a fluid, ejected,

86:7

Emerging from between the backbone and the ribs.

*Allah created seven Heavens.

This is the Pagan notion of the seven naked eye visible Planets that followed the plane of the ecliptic.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_planet

http://quran.com/65/12

65:12

It is Allah who has created seven heavens and of the earth, the like of them. [His] command descends among them so you may know that Allah is over all things competent and that Allah has encompassed all things in knowledge.

http://quran.com/41/12

41:12

And He completed them as seven heavens within two days and inspired in each heaven its command. And We adorned the nearest heaven with lamps and as protection. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.

^ "It's command" is the movement of the seven classical Planets.The meaning of "Lamps" are the Stars, and "protection" are the Shooting Stars that ward off Jinn (Spirits) from listening in on Allah's celelstial council.

http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=263536&st=0&p=5110144&hl=+missileentry5110144

*The Sun orbits in a Geocentric system.

http://quran.com/91/1-2

91:1

By the sun and its brightness

91:2

And [by] the moon when it follows it

http://quran.com/36/37-43

36:37

And a sign for them is the night. We remove from it [the light of] day, so they are

in darkness.

36:38

And the sun runs [on course] toward its stopping point. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.

36:39

And the moon - We have determined for it phases, until it returns [appearing] like the old date stalk.

36:40

It is not allowable for the sun to reach the moon, nor does the night overtake the day, but each, in an orbit, is swimming.

http://quran.com/13/2

13:2

It is Allah who erected the heavens without pillars that you [can] see; then He established Himself above the Throne and made subject the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term. He arranges [each] matter; He details the signs that you may, of the meeting with your Lord, be certain.

http://quran.com/31/29

31:29

Do you not see that Allah causes the night to enter the day and causes the day to enter the night and has subjected the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term, and that Allah , with whatever you do, is Acquainted?

http://quran.com/21/33

21:33

And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all [heavenly bodies] in an orbit are swimming.

http://quran.com/14/33

14:33

And He subjected for you the sun and the moon, continuous [in orbit], and subjected for you the night and the day.

http://quran.com/39/5

He created the heavens and earth in truth. He wraps the night over the day and wraps the day over the night and has subjected the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term. Unquestionably, He is the Exalted in Might, the Perpetual Forgiver.

*Is the Moon it's own source of light?

Check out 7 translations and it's differences (be sure to bookmark the  site incase you want to compare future verses you may encounter).

http://corpus.quran.com/translation.jsp?chapter=10&verse=5

*Saying "Disfellowship" to Jehovah's Witnesses should get them to leave you alone.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah's_Witnesses_and_congregational_discipline

The Complete Heretic's Guide to Mormonism

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=upmtWnVl9PE

Ancient Trinity Worship

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=coHLC7ajGFk

What Does God Need With a Starship?

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GDf2-EfMRAM

Some Atheist Youtubers with great content:

http://m.youtube.com/user/WildwoodClaire1

http://m.youtube.com/user/BionicDance

http://m.youtube.com/user/stevelikes2curse

http://m.youtube.com/user/bdwilson1000

http://m.youtube.com/user/EssenceOfThought

http://m.youtube.com/user/WeLoveAtheism

http://m.youtube.com/user/NonStampCollector

http://m.youtube.com/user/CultOfDusty

http://m.youtube.com/user/TheMessianicManic

http://m.youtube.com/user/patcondell

http://m.youtube.com/channel/UCOh1wGrPiJbmJFInY5PN1Sg

http://m.youtube.com/channel/UCg6MuFVugHwWCp1YDQDAy1w

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You have been accumulating documentation for a long time it seems. I wonder if a believer will have the willingness to objectively approach any of it.

I never gave Jesus as a historical entity any thought until one day it was pointed out to me no non-Bible evidence of his existence is extant. That is astounding for such a figure if you think about it and persuaded me right there (once I realized it was true), although the early Christian frauds trying to fix the situation helped. There is all kinds of evidence for anyone else in history as important.

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There is no peculiarly k-skeptical issue in whether Jesus really lived. A counterapologist may hope that it might make life easier if apologists had gotten even that much wrong. That hope is not a winner, though, since the nearly complete absence of evidence cuts both ways.

I'm 60-40 favoring historicity. Josephus seems to me useless (of course I can an edit any forgery so that it is no longer blatantly phoney - that feat isn't evidence that my redaction was the original text). I do, however, take Josephus' passage on John the Baptist as probably authentic (and so I am more confident that Dunker John existed than Jesus).

However, I am persuaded that Paul writes about someone whom he believes died recently, believes that he shares this opinion with others who met the fellow, and Paul would be in a position to know if there were any real reason to doubt that. Although the canonical Gospels are secondary, Mark presents a Jesus who is no more miraculous than Sally Morgan (and although I have never met her, I am confident that she really exists) - and maybe more salient, no more miraculous than the feats attributed to those whom Jesus taught and even some he didn't (Paul, that unnamed exorcist who was using Jesus' method, and Simon Magus).

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You have been accumulating documentation for a long time it seems. I wonder if a believer will have the willingness to objectively approach any of it.

I never gave Jesus as a historical entity any thought until one day it was pointed out to me no non-Bible evidence of his existence is extant. That is astounding for such a figure if you think about it and persuaded me right there (once I realized it was true), although the early Christian frauds trying to fix the situation helped. There is all kinds of evidence for anyone else in history as important.

The idea that Jesus never existed shocked me too.Jesus is so ingrained into society that people accept he was a person besides being divine, or not.

The Christians and Muslims need Jesus to be real.I just hope that Atheists look at the facts and the very least be Agnostic on historicity.

As for the believer I see it as a Virus that their own Immune System must purge.I know they will not look.

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I'm curious where you think Paul has Jesus dying "recently." If there something in his actual writings saying this? (I'm not challenging here, because I don't know).

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Posted (edited)

Questions over Jesus' miracles and divinity have been a legitimate topic for virtually 2000 years. Questions over Jesus' existence, however, have not. There is no historical doubt that Jesus was a real historical figure. The opening post simply confirms what all but an extreme sceptic has agreed to be true.

On the balance of things, I'd like to propose that the statement "Jesus never existed" is as equal as "Jesus is the divine son of God". Both require equal elements of faith :tu:

I'm willing to admit my faith-based position, will any Christ-myther sceptic do the same with me?

Edited by Paranoid Android
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On the balance of things, I'd like to propose that the statement "Jesus never existed" is as equal as "Jesus is the divine son of God". Both require equal elements of faith :tu:

Part of what complicates this is defining then what qualities are necessary for the historical Jesus to be Jesus. Is Jesus like the Jesus of the Bible in most every detail, or was the historical Jesus like the Jesus of the Bible like St Nick is Santa Claus, which are quite different characters.

Regardless, I don't think they are even close to being equal amounts of faith. Jesus not historically existing requires only 'faith' that Jesus was essentially a myth, and we have lots of examples of those; 'divine son of God' requires faith that God exists, that the story of damnation and salvation is true, that there are other spiritual realms, that we have souls, etc. Not very equal in my view, especially given how little evidence we have of the historical Jesus.

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There is no historical doubt that Jesus was a real historical figure. The opening post simply confirms what all but an extreme sceptic has agreed to be true.

There're plenty of reason's to doubt historicity, but since you believe the Holy Spirit touched you, you only seek confirmation bias.Just because a skeptic says something I do not take it as Holy because that's what skepticism is not.

On the balance of things, I'd like to propose that the statement "Jesus never existed" is as equal as "Jesus is the divine son of God". Both require equal elements of faith

Circular reasoning is great in your proposel, and I do not doubt historicity on faith, but on evidence.

I do not need faith to doubt Romulus is real.

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My OP was intended to demonstrate that a published skeptic acknowledges Jesus was an historical figure. I wasn't interested in provoking all the previous discussion UM has seen on the historicity idea itself in other threads, but rather on the fact that a skeptic--somewhat grudgingly--gives Jesus his due. In other words, skepticism does not require a non-historical Jesus.

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My OP was intended to demonstrate that a published skeptic acknowledges Jesus was an historical figure. I wasn't interested in provoking all the previous discussion UM has seen on the historicity idea itself in other threads, but rather on the fact that a skeptic--somewhat grudgingly--gives Jesus his due. In other words, skepticism does not require a non-historical Jesus.

You can have skepticism to the Moon and back.It does not amount to anything just like faith.

Just look at the evidence.

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No one says skepticism requires a non-historical Jesus. That he is not historical is pretty obvious. It is however possible to allow his existence and remain non-Christian. It is possible to allow the existence of King Arthur without believing in Camelot, but the probabilities and simplest interpretation of the evidence is neither existed.

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As LG has implied the suggestion that 'Jesus' existed as a historical figure is not really controversial, as all religions which we are able to track the origins of appear to have that origin in a charismatic individual. What is controversial is whether 'Jesus' performed all that scripture states of him, or whether the biblical Jesus, as opposed to the historical 'Jesus', was in part composite and in part exaggeration, with perhaps just a fraction of the biblical figure being the reality of the historical one.

This (my emphasis) is what I feel most likely. A lot of what is said about Jesus biblically can be traced to myth from all over the place... there is a clear emphasis in the gospels to make his divinity fit with the Jewish messiah prophecy, there are ties to other gods like Dionysus, Osiris, etc. A few examples being that there were rituals for Dionysus that involved drinking wine as his blood and eating food as his flesh, and Osiris was resurrected after death, the least of his connection to the myth of Jesus:

Here is just a snippet from the wiki on Osiris:

Osiris was considered not only a merciful judge of the dead in the afterlife, but also the underworld agency that granted all life, including sprouting vegetation and the fertile flooding of the Nile River. He was described as the "Lord of love",[8] "He Who is Permanently Benign and Youthful"[9] and the "Lord of Silence".[10] The Kings of Egypt were associated with Osiris in death — as Osiris rose from the dead they would, in union with him, inherit eternal life through a process of imitative magic. By the New Kingdom all people, not just pharaohs, were believed to be associated with Osiris at death, if they incurred the costs of the assimilation rituals

I find that if you look at his words and clear away the parts that are likely myth because they're a bit fantastic, what remains is very similar in teaching and tone to Buddha.

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There are similar stories about the Buddha too. The difference in the religions that evolved from these two myths is that Christianity portrays a demand for belief and certain practices for salvation and paints a bleak picture for those who do not do accordingly; Buddhism does not even offer "salvation" and tells us to do what is right because it is right and in the end we are better off.

Now I have to say this is a simplification; there are Buddhist groups that have a more defined eschatology.

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Posted (edited)

PA

There is no historical doubt that Jesus was a real historical figure.

Really? What is Richard Carrier? A liar, a madman, or a Ph.D. ancient historian who doubts?

I'd like to propose that the statement "Jesus never existed" is as equal as "Jesus is the divine son of God". Both require equal elements of faith

Baloney. All that is required is that people like those who diddled the Josephus which was entrusted to their care for faithful transmission, and like those who faked at least three letters of Paul, faked seven other letters as well.

Frank

I'm curious where you think Paul has Jesus dying "recently." If there something in his actual writings saying this? (I'm not challenging here, because I don't know).

Paul does not discuss the date of Jesus' death as such. One basis of my statement is 2 Corinthians 5: 14-16 seems to refer to people who say they knew Jesus in the flesh, apparently living people. The passage also identifies the people who benefit from Jesus' death as "from now on" enjoying that benefit, suggesting a recent change.

Other people point to other features. Some I agree with. For example, the sightings record, 1 Corithians 15:3-8, would be odd if there was some unmentioned long gap between the rising and a sighting by a living person. It's possible that Paul meant something else, of course, but evidence is interpreted according to what is more likely.

However, I am unpersuaded that the famous reference to James as "Brother of the Lord," or the use of that phrase in the plural, means that Jesus had any living close kin. That said, it does seem clear to me that Paul's message as a whole is one of recent events creating an expectation of prompt fulfilment of end times prophecy. I think it would be a hard sell if some long-dead figure were supposed to be returning any day now, in the lifetime of the first readers, as 1 Corithians 15: 51 seems to promise. If anything, the context of that verse seems to be complaints that it's already taken so long that some people have died waiting - unexpectedly.

Edited by eight bits

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Well, IMHO, providing evidence that a Jesus existed and that he was a teacher/rabbi doesn't do much for "proving" he was the son of god. Or magical or anything other than a human being.

Nibs

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Tim Callahan, professional skeptic, examines the historicity of Jesus. His conclusion may surprise you:

"So, was Jesus historical? In my opinion, the passages from the Antiquities and the Annals are genuine and historical. Thus, Jesus, too, was historical. . . barely (p. 16)."

I have also read (and studied) those writings, as well as many more. I'm as qualified on the subject as he is. I reached a different conclusion.

That probably says more about the subject than it does about the people who study it.

Doug

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Well, IMHO, providing evidence that a Jesus existed and that he was a teacher/rabbi doesn't do much for "proving" he was the son of god. Or magical or anything other than a human being.

Nibs

Never mind that.The thing is that the evidence cited for historicity are fallacious arguments right off the Bat.

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