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Davros of Skaro

Did Jesus Exist Debate: Carrier VS MacDonald

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eight bits
1 hour ago, Mr Walker said:

There can be such things as an accurate report  so my whole report of the doorway in the sky COULD have been accurate 

In the same sense that Mark's report of Jesus walking on the water could have been accurate, if you interpreted Mark's attention to the physical condition of the supposed witnesses (exhausted), the ambient conditions (crappy lighting), and the witness' own initial reaction (seeing a ghost of some sort) as "authorial distancing."

After all, if I were retelling to an audience what you told me about "the doorway in the sky," I might open my version with reasons or at least hints why my reader could doubt that I believe that what you saw was real, but then I might settle into telling it from there "as if it really happened and there really was a door." It's easier to hold an audience that way - nobody reads police reports for fun (it is alleged that, the informant stated, it was the witnesses' understanding that ...).

In an interesting coincidence, both Mark and you end your stories abruptly, so as to "leave the audience wanting more." (Mark's Jesus just steps into the disciples' boat. The End. What? No conversation, just sail away after picking up a passenger who happened to be walking by?) And by ending there, Mark also skates away without ever actually committing to whether he believes the story he's telling or not. He lets the reader decide, as so many storytellers have before and since. That's part of the fun.

So, sure, a worn-out crew of fisherman saw somebody walking past their boat. I think former US President Jimmy Carter once saw a giant rabbit or some such. You saw a doorway in the sky. So far, so good. Stuff like that happens.

Did some guy really walk on water? Did a giant rabbit really hector a former US President? Was there really a doorway in the sky?

Well, if I'm a storyteller, I'll just keep those answers to myself.

1 hour ago, Mr Walker said:

I often wonder if you  require the same  standards  of proof to accept ANYthing or whether you  require  a much higher standard/ level of proof that jesus (the man) actually existed. 

Wonder no more. I'm a garden variety subjective probabilist. I have more or less confidence in the truth of propositions. I'm most confident of tautologies and least confident of contradictions. Everything else falls somewhere in between - the range of uncertainty.

I do try to "require the same standards" of where I place things along the scale bounded by contradiction and tautology. I can even (if pressed) explain why I place things where I do, at least roughly.

For "Jesus (the man) actually existed," my 60:40 is mainly because the usual definitions of "the historical Jesus" (the definitions referred to when the guild expreses surpassing and near-unanimous confidence) are undemanding. I have good reasons to believe that John baptized a lot of Jewish people, that Pilate crucified a lot of Jewish people, and that John and Pilate were contemporaries. Joshua (along with its variants) seems to have been a popular name in Pilate-era Palestine. Almost everybody has some friends, and when we die, as we all do, some of those friends usually survive us and some of those may suffer grief because we've died.

Now it is unusual for such grief to offer new career opportunities for the survivors. But then again, the only reason we're paying any attention to this case is that the survivors' business took off - that is, because the case is unusual. Selection bias is a concern. We'd get some very strange ideas about the restaurant business if we only studied MacDonald's.

 

 

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Will Do

 

Merry Christmas Mr Walker. It's 4:30 AM.

 

5 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Its not callous for those who BELIEVE that god will, with justice and mercy, sort it out, and that life here on earth is really nothing  compared  to eternal life on the new earth 

And if you dont believe, then its not callous either, because, for you,  death is inevitable and all there is.   God gives a promise of more life and a chance to live for ever That promise can be taken up by ANYONE and exists even for those who never hear of it    ie good people before christ  young children and those who never heard of him, are still saved by his sacrifice. You have to actively refuse salvation to lose it.   

 

All very well said. But I feel the need to share my thoughts about that last thing.

I very much used to think that it's true that if you actively refuse salvation, it will be the only way you will lose it.

I know a few people who aren't actively wanting salvation and it pains me to think that a merciful God won't carry them over beyond the grave into the hereafter. They're good people. But I think Jesus wrapped it up that day when in passing, someone referred to him as 'good teacher' and instantly he replied, "None is good but God".

No, now, and I sincerely hope I'm wrong, I think it's the other way around. Which would be the reason why even if someone has never heard of Christ, they can still survive mortal life because in my opinion, it's probably really the only requirement. 

You have to actively desire salvation in order to gain it.

And like every good caterpillar that wants, it must do whatever it must do to make its way in becoming a butterfly by steadfastly maturing and actively perfecting itself as a caterpillar first. That's all.

 

Merry Christmas Everyone!

 

 

Edited by Will Do

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third_eye

Inferno Canto 4 by Dante Aleghieri

Quote

[00.08:22]

~

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Will Do

 

But I'll say this about desire or the lack of it.

Like with little children, they often have no idea really, what they want or don't want.

I've had little children myself, and it's because I brought them into the world that even if they might not want something I know they should, I certainly wouldn't ever banish them for it. In fact, it would only peak my interest more, to love them for who they really are and what I know given their many talents, they will become

 

 

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Mr Walker
11 hours ago, eight bits said:

In the same sense that Mark's report of Jesus walking on the water could have been accurate, if you interpreted Mark's attention to the physical condition of the supposed witnesses (exhausted), the ambient conditions (crappy lighting), and the witness' own initial reaction (seeing a ghost of some sort) as "authorial distancing."

After all, if I were retelling to an audience what you told me about "the doorway in the sky," I might open my version with reasons or at least hints why my reader could doubt that I believe that what you saw was real, but then I might settle into telling it from there "as if it really happened and there really was a door." It's easier to hold an audience that way - nobody reads police reports for fun (it is alleged that, the informant stated, it was the witnesses' understanding that ...).

In an interesting coincidence, both Mark and you end your stories abruptly, so as to "leave the audience wanting more." (Mark's Jesus just steps into the disciples' boat. The End. What? No conversation, just sail away after picking up a passenger who happened to be walking by?) And by ending there, Mark also skates away without ever actually committing to whether he believes the story he's telling or not. He lets the reader decide, as so many storytellers have before and since. That's part of the fun.

So, sure, a worn-out crew of fisherman saw somebody walking past their boat. I think former US President Jimmy Carter once saw a giant rabbit or some such. You saw a doorway in the sky. So far, so good. Stuff like that happens.

Did some guy really walk on water? Did a giant rabbit really hector a former US President? Was there really a doorway in the sky?

Well, if I'm a storyteller, I'll just keep those answers to myself.

Wonder no more. I'm a garden variety subjective probabilist. I have more or less confidence in the truth of propositions. I'm most confident of tautologies and least confident of contradictions. Everything else falls somewhere in between - the range of uncertainty.

I do try to "require the same standards" of where I place things along the scale bounded by contradiction and tautology. I can even (if pressed) explain why I place things where I do, at least roughly.

For "Jesus (the man) actually existed," my 60:40 is mainly because the usual definitions of "the historical Jesus" (the definitions referred to when the guild expreses surpassing and near-unanimous confidence) are undemanding. I have good reasons to believe that John baptized a lot of Jewish people, that Pilate crucified a lot of Jewish people, and that John and Pilate were contemporaries. Joshua (along with its variants) seems to have been a popular name in Pilate-era Palestine. Almost everybody has some friends, and when we die, as we all do, some of those friends usually survive us and some of those may suffer grief because we've died.

Now it is unusual for such grief to offer new career opportunities for the survivors. But then again, the only reason we're paying any attention to this case is that the survivors' business took off - that is, because the case is unusual. Selection bias is a concern. We'd get some very strange ideas about the restaurant business if we only studied MacDonald's.

 

 

Ok but mine was a first hand report while Mark's was a report of witness statements so yes it would be more like you reporting on my report  :).

 Again i guess it goes to what  person is prepared to believe is possible, and this may go to whet the y have already witnessed as possible in their own lives.

Is there any evidence for any doubt at all that Mark  believed the story?   There really was a "doorway in the sky " I know that .

I am not familiar with the  story of the president and the bunny(other than playboy bunnies)   

Walking on water well tha t would be a miracle, but then "miracles" happen all the time  I suspend both active belief and disbelief on that story. I see it as possible if improbable. 

Ok Thats a good system of categorising I do something similar with ethics moralities and values   So i assume you  would rate  the probable existence of "divine jesus" as lower on your scale than  historical jesus,  and historical jesus around the same as Boadicea or king Arthur ? 

Ah but there are many variants of religions just as there are of big restaurant chains.

certain models seem to have the ingredients for success :)  Everyone needs to eat but some models provide more appetising,  cheaper  or more  attractive  sustenance of both  physical food and spiritual sustenance Some times the "house  of worship " itself, can be an attraction 

You are a bit too cynical for me :)  but then i dont have a bone of cynicism in my body (Well maybe  just a stapes)  

I was raised without any cynicism, and my optimistic personality never allowed me to develop i.  I never required it as a protective mechanism, either.  

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Mr Walker
11 hours ago, Will Do said:

 

Merry Christmas Mr Walker. It's 4:30 AM.

 

 

All very well said. But I feel the need to share my thoughts about that last thing.

I very much used to think that it's true that if you actively refuse salvation, it will be the only way you will lose it.

I know a few people who aren't actively wanting salvation and it pains me to think that a merciful God won't carry them over beyond the grave into the hereafter. They're good people. But I think Jesus wrapped it up that day when in passing, someone referred to him as 'good teacher' and instantly he replied, "None is good but God".

No, now, and I sincerely hope I'm wrong, I think it's the other way around. Which would be the reason why even if someone has never heard of Christ, they can still survive mortal life because in my opinion, it's probably really the only requirement. 

You have to actively desire salvation in order to gain it.

And like every good caterpillar that wants, it must do whatever it must do to make its way in becoming a butterfly by steadfastly maturing and actively perfecting itself as a caterpillar first. That's all.

 

Merry Christmas Everyone!

 

 

 To me, we are saved in two ways( according to christian theology )

We are saved by Christ's sacrifice from  any universal /original sin of being human EVERYONE is washed clean by that 

However we can choose to sin as an individual  (eg hurt others) and never to ask for forgiveness. So, once we are old enough to know right from wrong, (constructive form destructive behaviours)  we have a choice.  If we sin, then we need to ask forgiveness (from  the person we sinned against, or god, if we sinned against him ,) make restitution, and do our best not to keep sinning. Again, a good example is hurting another person in any way. 

Its not JUST enough to desire or ask for salvation.

It is not about works, either; but a sincere desire WILL be expressed in our works ie how we behave 

An insincere desire will not.  eg feeling guilt and sorrow for hurting another person is not enough You must also do all you can to make it right, and stop the behaviours which hurt.  

  I like it because it is an identical fit with humanist ideals  ie humans should behave like this, whether the y are theists or atheists.   Plus, as a theology,  it saves, rather than condemns. It offers hope rather than fear.   It encourages us to be constructive not destructive. 

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eight bits
12 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Ok but mine was a first hand report while Mark's was a report of witness statements so yes it would be more like you reporting on my report 

Yes, that was my intention, to compare like with like. Mark wasn't part of the story he told; I'm not part of your story. The stories themselves are parallel, too. People really do see things like absurdly misplaced pedestrians and doors.

12 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Again i guess it goes to what  person is prepared to believe is possible, and this may go to whet the y have already witnessed as possible in their own lives.

Well, as happens so often when evaluating stories about oddities, it isn't so much what's possible, but which of the available explanations is most likely.

As many times as you've been told this, you don't seem to understand it.

12 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Is there any evidence for any doubt at all that Mark  believed the story? 

Comparison of how he tells this story with (1) how he tells other small-group and individual anomalous-experience stories and (2) how some other ancient authors told such stories.

Plutarch, for example, dramatizes a debate between a skeptic and a first-hand eyewitness to a "ghost story" (in his life of Brutus) ... seriously, you'd think you were reading a thread here at UM. OK, then you look back at how Plutarch had told the incident in question, and you notice that he had introduced all the elements the skeptic mentions, even while telling the story overall as if it had really happened to the witness character.

Since Plutarch wrote both his own version of the story as experienced by the witness and also the skeptic-character's speech about the incident, we have reason to believe Plutarch wished to express his own disbelief or at least uncertainty about the supernatural interpretation of the incident. We also don't know whether he simply made up the incident or instead was giving his take on a story that was already making the rounds. If the latter, Plutarch isn't denying that the witness "saw" something.

We then go back to Mark. We find that the kinds of information Plutarch salts into his telling of the incident (the things that his fictional skeptics' speech will point out as reasons for doubt) are also found in Mark's telling of stories which turn on private or small-group experience. For example, as I mentioned in the water-walking story, Mark makes a point of telling his audience about the poor physical condition of the witnesses and the lousy light.

So yes, we have a foundation for suspecting that Mark has consciously and artfully integrated reasons for skepticism into his telling of this kind of story. At a minimum, that shows he was aware that his audience might disbelieve the supernatural interpretation, which implies that the interpretation is uncertain. Of course, we can know nothing about Mark's personal state of mind.  We can only point to his acknowledgment of uncertainty, which is there on the page as plainly as it is in Plutarch's telling of his ghost story.

12 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

So i assume you  would rate  the probable existence of "divine jesus" as lower on your scale than  historical jesus,  and historical jesus around the same as Boadicea or king Arthur ? 

Actually, the historical Jesus is not terribly far-fetched for me, as I've explained. As for divine aspects, I don't place Jesus any differently than Krishna or Hercules - Jesus' divinity is not even an interesting possibility as far as I'm concerned.

For the others, we'd need to be careful about their definition, comparable with the care that's typical for defining the historical Jesus. That should be fairly easy for Boadicea, since her basic storyline is settled (thanks to Tacitus). If the definition omits the disputed circumstances of her death, then I'd rate her ahead of Jesus as a real person who actually lived.

Arthur, though, is difficult to define as a historical person. I doubt you could frame a hypothesis with as much specificity as the usual HJ definition (as vague as that is) that I'd find "around the same" in credibility as HJ. There are just too many competing historical hypotheses for any specific one of them to be very credible, and the evidence is abysmal.

12 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Ah but there are many variants of religions just as there are of big restaurant chains.

Yes. That's the point. There were all kinds of mystery religions in the early Roman Empire, with different approaches to serving what people wanted. How and what we know of them differs, too. Some left only archeological remains, some left participant descriptions, some appear in fictional accounts of the time. And some left elements that were incorporated into the litrugy of the ultimate survivor among the mystery religions, Christianity.

As the proverb goes, history is written by the victors. The victors in this case say they had a charsimatic single founder who died in the time of Tiberius. That sounds plausible to us in part because we have very few other origins stories to compare it with. IMO, Jesus Studies in the academy would be very different if the full religious diversity of the times and places could be studied the way the Christians' stories about themselves can be studied.

12 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

certain models seem to have the ingredients for success 

Although there was some humor in mentioning McDonald's, there are some genuine historical parallels between the recieved Christian origins myth and the early restaurant stories. For example "McDonald's" wasn't founded by Ray Kroc, it was a single pre-exisitng restaurant whose potential Kroc appreciated. His background was in the restaurant supply bsuiness, and he had much business savvy (especially in exploiting the notion of franchising as a way to grow quickly).

Kroc even had a specific conversion experience. The ur-McDonald;s ordered a top-of-the-line high-volume milkshake machine. Hardly anybody ordered those, especially not an obscure operation in the middle of nowhere as the original Jesus mission restaurant was. Kroc got the order, investigated further and the rest is history.

In other words, there really was some historical "McDonald" (or was it him and his family or him and his partners or ...?) and he did attract big cowds (that's why he needed that big milkshake machine). But the worldwide restaurant chain? That was Saint Paul Ray Kroc seeing the potential of somebody else's idea and adding his own ideas to it.

Edited by eight bits
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Will Do
3 hours ago, eight bits said:

seeing the potential of somebody else's idea and adding his own ideas to it.

 

:D

 

With an oink oink here
And an oink oink there
Here an oink, there an oink
Everywhere an oink oink
Old MacDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O
 

 

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eight bits

Don't bogart that joint, Will.

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Will Do

 

E-I-E-I-O.   :lol:

 

 

Edited by Will Do

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Guyver

Here’s the problem I have with believing that Jesus was/is a real person as described in the Bible.  It has to do with asking and receiving.  You can find the topic in the New Testament in many places, but especially the book of John, which gives several different “formulas” if you will for asking and receiving.  In John chapter 16, Jesus informs believers that he is going back to his father.  He does not speak of being at Gods right hand here as in Matthew, but he does say he will be present in heaven with the father.  He says that a believer can ask God for anything and it will be granted.  See John 16:23-24.  
 

But, if you attempt to use this formula, even if you are a true Christian believer, as I once was....and ask for something from God in Jesus’ name....it will not be done.  Your friends or loved ones will not be healed from cancer, etc.  Jesus, being the epitome of virtue and truth, would not be able to lie, and would most certainly be a man of his word.  But in this case, and many others, it is not true and your prayers will change nothing.  What do you think about this point I have raised here?

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Will Do
28 minutes ago, Guyver said:

What do you think about this point I have raised here?

 

I think it's a good point. Here's my comment.

 

28 minutes ago, Guyver said:

He says that a believer can ask God for anything and it will be granted.  See John 16:23-24.  

 

I don't think you have to necessarily be a believer to do the asking.

Anything will inevitably be granted.

As long as what's asked for is in accordance with the Father's will.

 

 

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onlookerofmayhem
43 minutes ago, Will Do said:

Anything will inevitably be granted.

As long as what's asked for is in accordance with the Father's will.

Which makes praying for anything irrelevant because god is going to do whatever it wants anyway and cannot be swayed by mere humans.

It's still going to let babies die of cancer.

It's still going to let the roof collapse on top of it's followers on Christmas. 

If what you said above is true, then god is literally the source of all evil. Because having the ability to stop such events and not doing so, god is complicit in allowing such things.

God could easily stop the devil if it wanted to right?

And if god has an unchanging plan then we have no free will.

 

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Guyver
48 minutes ago, Will Do said:

 

As long as what's asked for is in accordance with the Father's will.

Thanks for responding.  What you have raised here is a very commonly given explanation for why asking and receiving doesn’t work.  However, the majority of verses dealing with asking and receiving do not have this stipulation, and actually emphasize the opposite,   Jesus says whatever you ask for you will receive, not only things asked for that align with the Will of the Father.  In any event, in light of Jesus ministry, healings would definitely be within the framework of Gods Will, while asking for a pot of gold would not be something with precedent.

Now, the asking in accordance with Gods Will is discussed in the Book of James.  It says, “You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. “. So, I hope you will forgive me if I find that explanation unsatisfactory.

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Will Do
3 minutes ago, onlookerofmayhem said:

Which makes praying for anything irrelevant because god is going to do whatever it wants anyway and cannot be swayed by mere humans.

 

This is true. But you are wrong about the purpose of prayer.

The purpose of prayer is not for the purpose of attempting to sway God.

The purpose of prayer is for gaining wisdom about how to conform one's free will, to the will of the Father who is in heaven.

 

 

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Will Do
6 minutes ago, Guyver said:

However, the majority of verses dealing with asking and receiving do not have this stipulation

 

This is why I've been trying to emphasize the difference between believing things written about God in books, and believing Him directly, where He and his kingdom of heaven "is within you".

 

 

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Guyver
4 minutes ago, Will Do said:

 

This is why I've been trying to emphasize the difference between believing things written about God in books, and believing Him directly, where He and his kingdom of heaven "is within you".

 

 

So, would it be fair to say that you don’t believe the verses I quoted from Jesus in John as something real or true?

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eight bits
1 hour ago, Guyver said:

Here’s the problem I have with believing that Jesus was/is a real person as described in the Bible.

Howdy, Guy. Hope you had a merry Christmas.

"As described in the Bible" is a little tricky - on the one hand, what Carrier and MacDonald are talking about in the OP vid is the secular historical question about whether Jesus was a real man who actually lived. That's different from "Bible Jesus," who walks on water. Well, nobody ever really did that, so there's nothing to discuss about that guy in a secular context. If you believe Jesus floated, then you need to take that over to the Theology Department; the History Department can't help you.

Which'd be fine except there's "another hand." The definition of the historical Jesus depends directly on the Bible, especially the Gospels. Paul doesn't say one word about John the Baptist or Jesus being baptized - even when Paul is discussing Christian baptism. Paul puts Jesus on a stick, but doesn't say one word about Pontius Pilate. Finally, Paul never says anybody met Jesus face-to-face, even when he's talking about church leaders named Peter, James and John.

So the relationship between the historical Jesus and the biblical Jesus really is tricky.

That saying you've picked up on is a bit of a mystery. Why would anybody ever say anything like that, when it's so easily shown to be false? Why would devoted followers stick such a blatant falsehood in the mouth of their Dear Leader? Even if he really said it, then that's why God made editors.

Bottom line: you are amply justified in rejecting the biblical Jesus on the grounds of the saying alone. What does that mean for the historical Jesus? Not much. People say stupid things all the time, plus it's religion - maybe there's a deeper hidden meaning that only the insiders knew.

I don't know if that helps much. But um, there aren't even fables about any of the disciples moving a mountain, at least not as far as I know (which isn't 100%, and nobody knows if there was such a fable and it got lost). Shooting guys out of the Roman sky? Yes ... God gave Ol' Pete that one. or so it is written.

 

 

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Will Do
6 minutes ago, Guyver said:

So, would it be fair to say that you don’t believe the verses I quoted from Jesus in John as something real or true?

 

No it's not fair because the truth about discerning what things written about God in books are true and which things are not, is certain to become evident only when sincerely attempting to see eye to eye with God, within.

 

 

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Guyver
5 minutes ago, Will Do said:

 

No it's not fair because the truth about discerning what things written about God in books are true and which things are not, is certain to become evident only when sincerely attempting to see eye to eye with God, within.

 

 

OK, I’m not sure I understand completely.  Are you saying that if one has God within, they would not ask God for things like the healing of a sick friend or loved one?

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Will Do
44 minutes ago, Guyver said:

OK, I’m not sure I understand completely.  Are you saying that if one has God within, they would not ask God for things like the healing of a sick friend or loved one?

 

I'm saying there isn't an 'if' to God being within everyone. Besides it being existential it's one of the most commonly held universal beliefs, unless someone has fallen into the error of believing he isn't within but instead is only "over here or over there".

To whether or not someone would not ask God for things like the healing of a sick friend or loved one, that's something you'd have to take up with whoever that person is. Because I'm not not one of them.

 

 

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Sherapy
2 hours ago, Will Do said:

 

No it's not fair because the truth about discerning what things written about God in books are true and which things are not, is certain to become evident only when sincerely attempting to see eye to eye with God, within.

 

 

In other words, do you mean the UB is the beliefs you have internalized as  your “god” or do you mean something else?

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Mr Walker
10 hours ago, eight bits said:

Yes, that was my intention, to compare like with like. Mark wasn't part of the story he told; I'm not part of your story. The stories themselves are parallel, too. People really do see things like absurdly misplaced pedestrians and doors.

Well, as happens so often when evaluating stories about oddities, it isn't so much what's possible, but which of the available explanations is most likely.

As many times as you've been told this, you don't seem to understand it.

Comparison of how he tells this story with (1) how he tells other small-group and individual anomalous-experience stories and (2) how some other ancient authors told such stories.

Plutarch, for example, dramatizes a debate between a skeptic and a first-hand eyewitness to a "ghost story" (in his life of Brutus) ... seriously, you'd think you were reading a thread here at UM. OK, then you look back at how Plutarch had told the incident in question, and you notice that he had introduced all the elements the skeptic mentions, even while telling the story overall as if it had really happened to the witness character.

Since Plutarch wrote both his own version of the story as experienced by the witness and also the skeptic-character's speech about the incident, we have reason to believe Plutarch wished to express his own disbelief or at least uncertainty about the supernatural interpretation of the incident. We also don't know whether he simply made up the incident or instead was giving his take on a story that was already making the rounds. If the latter, Plutarch isn't denying that the witness "saw" something.

We then go back to Mark. We find that the kinds of information Plutarch salts into his telling of the incident (the things that his fictional skeptics' speech will point out as reasons for doubt) are also found in Mark's telling of stories which turn on private or small-group experience. For example, as I mentioned in the water-walking story, Mark makes a point of telling his audience about the poor physical condition of the witnesses and the lousy light.

So yes, we have a foundation for suspecting that Mark has consciously and artfully integrated reasons for skepticism into his telling of this kind of story. At a minimum, that shows he was aware that his audience might disbelieve the supernatural interpretation, which implies that the interpretation is uncertain. Of course, we can know nothing about Mark's personal state of mind.  We can only point to his acknowledgment of uncertainty, which is there on the page as plainly as it is in Plutarch's telling of his ghost story.

Actually, the historical Jesus is not terribly far-fetched for me, as I've explained. As for divine aspects, I don't place Jesus any differently than Krishna or Hercules - Jesus' divinity is not even an interesting possibility as far as I'm concerned.

For the others, we'd need to be careful about their definition, comparable with the care that's typical for defining the historical Jesus. That should be fairly easy for Boadicea, since her basic storyline is settled (thanks to Tacitus). If the definition omits the disputed circumstances of her death, then I'd rate her ahead of Jesus as a real person who actually lived.

Arthur, though, is difficult to define as a historical person. I doubt you could frame a hypothesis with as much specificity as the usual HJ definition (as vague as that is) that I'd find "around the same" in credibility as HJ. There are just too many competing historical hypotheses for any specific one of them to be very credible, and the evidence is abysmal.

Yes. That's the point. There were all kinds of mystery religions in the early Roman Empire, with different approaches to serving what people wanted. How and what we know of them differs, too. Some left only archeological remains, some left participant descriptions, some appear in fictional accounts of the time. And some left elements that were incorporated into the litrugy of the ultimate survivor among the mystery religions, Christianity.

As the proverb goes, history is written by the victors. The victors in this case say they had a charsimatic single founder who died in the time of Tiberius. That sounds plausible to us in part because we have very few other origins stories to compare it with. IMO, Jesus Studies in the academy would be very different if the full religious diversity of the times and places could be studied the way the Christians' stories about themselves can be studied.

Although there was some humor in mentioning McDonald's, there are some genuine historical parallels between the recieved Christian origins myth and the early restaurant stories. For example "McDonald's" wasn't founded by Ray Kroc, it was a single pre-exisitng restaurant whose potential Kroc appreciated. His background was in the restaurant supply bsuiness, and he had much business savvy (especially in exploiting the notion of franchising as a way to grow quickly).

Kroc even had a specific conversion experience. The ur-McDonald;s ordered a top-of-the-line high-volume milkshake machine. Hardly anybody ordered those, especially not an obscure operation in the middle of nowhere as the original Jesus mission restaurant was. Kroc got the order, investigated further and the rest is history.

In other words, there really was some historical "McDonald" (or was it him and his family or him and his partners or ...?) and he did attract big cowds (that's why he needed that big milkshake machine). But the worldwide restaurant chain? That was Saint Paul Ray Kroc seeing the potential of somebody else's idea and adding his own ideas to it.

You have an "interesting "mind

This s a compliment not  a criticism 

However it allows /causes you to see things in interesting ways,  many of which are over complex and over thought 

Life is actually much simpler 

It does tend to repeat itself all over the world and across time eg people see an opportunity and seize it  People see the world in similar ways and constrict similar origin stories  People have similar needs and construct similar beliefs to meet those needs

But people also experience genuine forms of  gnosis  which are NOT a form of mental illness, or a break with reality, but coming to a much deeper understanding of the nature of reality 

People DO have real experiences with unusual, strange, and unexplained  entities  

The human mind is an incredibly powerful thing, which few people explore or utilise effectively 

Those who do can, and often do, use it in sometimes almost incredible ways  

To answer a couple of your questions 

In any  event there is no, "most likely " explanation There simply is ONE correct explanation This can be best ascertained only by examining the evidences and utilising logic 

ONLY a person involved in the event can do this, although they must be highly self aware, highly self  critical and reasonably knowledgeable about many things which might cause them to imagine, hallucinate, or misperceive

So, while you may judge a "most likely " explanation you dont have the data or experience to do so accurately,  especially where you weigh or discount certain possibilities as less probable or even impossible. 

You have no evidences that Mark did not believe the story he told,  Only your natural cynicism, and opinion, about peoples' motivations (and an understanding of narrative devices used for effect) 

You apply or use them to make a judgement, but its not knowing 

Was Mark making a point, or simply, and without deep thought, describing accurately and carefully the actual conditions pertaining to it  (you see that is what I would do and so  am biased to think its what he did) If you  dont really believe it then why tell it, or why not say outright that's its possibly untrue. If you are trying to convince an audience, why leave any room for doubt 

 

 

"There are just too many competing historical hypotheses for any specific one of them to be very credible, and the evidence is abysmal."

Isn't that  also  your position on  Jesus 

You accept Tacitus' references to Boadicea but not  those of other writers about Jesus 

He was, what, 5 or 6 years old at the time attributed to Boadicea's  revolt ?

 

Edited by Mr Walker
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Mr Walker
2 hours ago, Will Do said:

 

No it's not fair because the truth about discerning what things written about God in books are true and which things are not, is certain to become evident only when sincerely attempting to see eye to eye with God, within.

 

 

Basically you can only know it by experiencing it  eg if someone tells you love is not real, but only a chemical reaction in the brain; but you have experienced true and everlasting love, then you either have to feel very sorry for them or laugh at them.  The y think something real doesn't exist because the y haven never experienced it  and so, while life may go on, and be tolerable for them the y have missed out on one of the most powerful and wonderful experiences in life .

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Sherapy
On 12/25/2020 at 4:13 AM, eight bits said:

In the same sense that Mark's report of Jesus walking on the water could have been accurate, if you interpreted Mark's attention to the physical condition of the supposed witnesses (exhausted), the ambient conditions (crappy lighting), and the witness' own initial reaction (seeing a ghost of some sort) as "authorial distancing."

After all, if I were retelling to an audience what you told me about "the doorway in the sky," I might open my version with reasons or at least hints why my reader could doubt that I believe that what you saw was real, but then I might settle into telling it from there "as if it really happened and there really was a door." It's easier to hold an audience that way - nobody reads police reports for fun (it is alleged that, the informant stated, it was the witnesses' understanding that ...).

In an interesting coincidence, both Mark and you end your stories abruptly, so as to "leave the audience wanting more." (Mark's Jesus just steps into the disciples' boat. The End. What? No conversation, just sail away after picking up a passenger who happened to be walking by?) And by ending there, Mark also skates away without ever actually committing to whether he believes the story he's telling or not. He lets the reader decide, as so many storytellers have before and since. That's part of the fun.

So, sure, a worn-out crew of fisherman saw somebody walking past their boat. I think former US President Jimmy Carter once saw a giant rabbit or some such. You saw a doorway in the sky. So far, so good. Stuff like that happens.

Did some guy really walk on water? Did a giant rabbit really hector a former US President? Was there really a doorway in the sky?

Well, if I'm a storyteller, I'll just keep those answers to myself.

Wonder no more. I'm a garden variety subjective probabilist. I have more or less confidence in the truth of propositions. I'm most confident of tautologies and least confident of contradictions. Everything else falls somewhere in between - the range of uncertainty.

I do try to "require the same standards" of where I place things along the scale bounded by contradiction and tautology. I can even (if pressed) explain why I place things where I do, at least roughly.

For "Jesus (the man) actually existed," my 60:40 is mainly because the usual definitions of "the historical Jesus" (the definitions referred to when the guild expreses surpassing and near-unanimous confidence) are undemanding. I have good reasons to believe that John baptized a lot of Jewish people, that Pilate crucified a lot of Jewish people, and that John and Pilate were contemporaries. Joshua (along with its variants) seems to have been a popular name in Pilate-era Palestine. Almost everybody has some friends, and when we die, as we all do, some of those friends usually survive us and some of those may suffer grief because we've died.

Now it is unusual for such grief to offer new career opportunities for the survivors. But then again, the only reason we're paying any attention to this case is that the survivors' business took off - that is, because the case is unusual. Selection bias is a concern. We'd get some very strange ideas about the restaurant business if we only studied MacDonald's.

 

 

Love this, fresh and insightful. Fun to read. 

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