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Christ

September 21, 2010

Why Are Religious Claims a Target for the Extraordinary Claims Campaign?
Some comments on Supernatural Claims, Evidence, and the Burden of Proof

The Claims:

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and the Messiah, or saviour, of the Jews, as foretold in the Old Testament. He was the leader of one of several sects of Jews present at that time in history, and his death by crucifixion signified his supreme sacrifice to ensure their personal salvation and the redemption of all mankind. After his death, Christ was resurrected and is presently in Heaven at the right hand of God.

Many modern Christians consider Jesus their personal saviour. Jesus speaks to them in their thoughts, answers prayers, and occasionally performs miracles to help them through difficult times.

The Evidence:

The historically divine attributes of Jesus are attested to in a series of four gospels, assembled from oral accounts and composed shortly after the crushing Roman defeat of a Jewish revolt several decades after his crucifixion.

Beyond these sources, no evidence is available to support the proposition that Jesus rose from the dead or performed any true miracles. Several independent sources, however, may support the view that there was a charismatic Jewish leader early in the first century CE, referred to in the Latinized form “Christus”.

With respect to modern claims of Jesus’ continued role in our salvation, no evidence for his continued existence has been discovered, and no miracles attributed to him can yet be verified by any objective, rational means.

Conclusion:

Jesus was a man who lived 2000 years ago. The best modern archaeology and scholarship indicates that Jesus’ life was characterized by a volatile social, economic and political environment resulting from the subjugation of the Jews by Roman authorities and landowners. Jesus was the leader of one of several sects competing for the favour of Jewish believers during his time, and being called “King of the Jews” earned him the watchfulness and disfavour of local Roman officials. The eagerness of the Romans to suppress any possible threats to the Pax Romana earned Jesus his eventual crucifixion – a common method of dealing with socially disruptive individuals in the region.

Only claims of his supposed and unsupported resurrection from the dead elevated Jesus above the many lower-level social and religious charismatics who were common in Galilee and Judaea during his time. If Christianity hadn’t become the only Jewish sect that eventually allowed non-Jews to convert, it is doubtful that the life of Jesus would have gone on to influence Western civilization to the degree that it has.

Links:

Wikipedia Page on Historicity of Jesus

The Jesus Project

95 Comments leave one →
  1. Mytzso permalink
    December 13, 2011 4:36 AM

    Stop raping my gentle atheistic soul pretty please.

  2. June 24, 2011 12:23 AM

    Am I to conclude from your statement: ” The eagerness of the Romans to suppress any possible threats to the Pax Romana earned Jesus his eventual crucifixion” that you claim the Romans and not the Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death? If so, I must dismiss you not only as wrong but also as deceitful. The only evidence we have places the blame for Jesus’ death squarely on Jews and Pilate as caving in to their pressure. Your statement: ” If Christianity hadn’t become the only Jewish sect that eventually allowed non-Jews to convert, it is doubtful that the life of Jesus would have gone on to influence Western civilization to the degree that it has” is factually wrong. Jews were proselytizing long before Jesus was born. The great commission did not begin with Jesus. Grafting non-Jews into Israel did not begin with Paul. Jews continued to proselytize until Christians got the upper hand on them in the Roman Empire and other ancient countries and forbade them to do so.

  3. Stan Strickland permalink
    February 20, 2011 4:09 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM: I’m not a bedwetter

  4. BEALL permalink
    February 8, 2011 12:44 PM

    “Jesus Christ is the son of God.”

    If indeed there was a man who existed in our past who is the one we’re referring to as Jesus Christ, and his conception is of the Holy Ghost as it is written in Holy Scripture, then indeed it is true he is the son of God.

    To be conceived of the Holy Ghost is to be conceived of True Love, of the Love of God shed abroad in our hearts(Romans 5 5), in this case referring to a husband and wife. This infers the mother to be a woman pure of heart(virgin) and the father to be a just man(man of God).

    The parable of the virgins at the door clarifies this. (Note: Christ is the door, not the bridegroom.)

    John 10 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

    The parable:

    Matthew 25 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

    Matthew 25 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

    The reasoning:

    John 5 42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.

    Romans 8 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    A male who’s conception is of the Holy Ghost can equally be referred to as the Son of God

    As it is written Mary found favour with God it can be concluded she is a woman who is pure of heart, also as the mother of Christ she cared for the things of the LORD, which differs from the position of a married woman who cares for the things of her husband. It is written “Joseph, being a just man …”.

    The story of the conception of Christ tells about the conception of the child of their shared dream.

    It can be concluded by these measures alone that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God.

    All the sons of God written of within the Holy Bible come into this world in this manner, but human beings all the same. God has many sons, and no Father is his own son; the sons of God are not God, they are his sons.

    Genesis 6 4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare [children] to them, the same [became] mighty men which [were] of old, men of renown.

    Men of great stature, giants in the earth, in those days; and also after that … even unto this day!

    I and my father are one, Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also [there is that] neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:)

  5. greame permalink
    January 31, 2011 12:45 PM

    “Neither are you a garden of flowers, beautiful though I’m sure you are. flowers are not sentient. They cannot discern anything”

    I disagree. Plants may not be “concious” like you and I are, but they are absolutely able to discern thing. They can tell when and from which direction the sunlight is coming, so that they can position themselves so as to catch the most of that light and energy. Venus fly traps have an ingenious system, with their “mouth” open, there are tiny hairs on the surface that, if one is touched, by an invading insect say, then a timer starts. If another hair is touched within about 20 seconds on the first, the “mouth” closes, trapping the insect inside. Why it takes 2 touches, is that its possible for just some drifting fluff or fallen leaves could hit it, causing the “mouth” to close when in fact there is no food for it to eat, therefor wasting precious enegry for no gain.

    Plants, flowers especially, must be able to discern certain things, or they would die and leave no offspring.

    Life is awesome isn’t it?

  6. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:25 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 29 Nothing can be learned from history

  7. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:22 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 28 Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot are not responsible for the deaths of over 60million people among them

  8. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:20 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 27 Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were not atheists

  9. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:19 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 26 Absolute power does not corrupt

  10. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:17 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 25 Denying an Absolute God does not render humanity its own absolute ruler

  11. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:14 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 24 There isn’t an unknowability that is absolute

  12. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:14 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 23 An entity cannot be know by its effects

  13. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:12 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 22 The truth doesn’t control the facts

  14. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:11 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 21 Humanity cannot improve

  15. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:10 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 20 there’s no place for Hope in life.

  16. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:08 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 19 wonderment and awe must be expunged from daily life

  17. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:07 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 18 There can be no commonality among peoples

  18. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 5:05 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 17 xenophobia is the human ideal

  19. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 4:28 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 16 There are no metaphors or similes

  20. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 4:25 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 15 There is no forest, so we can cut down all the trees

  21. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 4:23 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 14 Art must not be instructional

  22. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 4:22 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 13 peoples of other cultures are stupid

  23. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 4:21 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM 12 The last digit of Pi can be found

  24. Stan Strickland permalink
    January 3, 2011 3:42 PM

    EVIL ILLUSIONIST : Happy New Year!

    If I have not gotten your point, you have not made your case.

    1) ” I’m not saying that there’s no such thing as friendship or that true friendship is an illusion. I’m saying that you can’t be sure about you friendship if you only maintain an subjective view of the world. You have to take facts into account. Facts changes things. ”

    MY point was that friendship is not something that is measurable. I did not say it didn’t exist, or that you didn’t think so either. It is possible that a person may take an objective view of their friendship and “weigh the facts” as best they can. But the person will never be able to measure the FRIENDSHIP ITSELF as such. What is the metric of friendship? AND even if it were possible, that person is STILL able to choose to maintain that friendship, despite whatever the “findings” might be.

    2) ” Facts, not faith shows us the truth. Faith is believing in something dispite the facts. Believing influences our actions and faith makes us act against the facts.”

    Don’t know where you got the idea that faith is believing in something despite the facts. That’s just plain stupid. Faith is believing where there are no “HARD” facts. If this is the basis of your Atheism, you’re on pretty shaky ground dude. Better go have a HARD re-eval of your understanding of what you THINK you’ve read and where you’re reading it from. Just so you know where I’m coming from, I am a Roman Catholic. I do not read literature from any of the 40,000+ “Protestant” denominations. I am also in the Computing industry now 25 years. I have put my own beliefs to the same intellectual rigor necessary to debug the toughest software. I do not concede to illogic.

    CERN scientists have spent BILLIONS looking for the HIGGS BOSON that they BELIEVE exists. No one has ever seen one.

    In Science, an Hypothesis will stand until it is knocked off. The Catholic and Orthodox Churches have be assailed by the best, internally And externally. In the absence of HARD facts, the Most plausible explanation must ride, and so it does, has and will. The Universe is jet TOO big to wait for the facts to come in, the stakes are just too high.

    A comparison might be: the sun still shone before light was shown to be both a wave and a particle.

    Over the Holidays i have compiled More EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS that need refutation. I will post these.

  25. Simon permalink
    December 27, 2010 2:40 PM

    Gotta love the comments here. Sorry guys that you have to try so hard to try make any claims seem real.

    *Maybe* Jesus existed… Christ is a figure that has been around much longer, Mithra, Horus etc… that we know. Myths and allegory is what the bible consists of. Yes, it’s definately a real book that has been around nearly 2k years, doesnt mean anything in there is factual.

    These days we dont get Burned on the stake for being critics anymore, if you want to believe stories of a 2000year old carpenter its up to you but dont wonder if others dont and ridicule you. I choose to believe in Ra, God of the Sun and if you dont, gtfo, he’s been around much longer.

  26. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 24, 2010 11:42 PM

    MERRY CHRISTMAS to ALL!

    May you and your families have a very blessed day!

  27. Evil-Illusionist permalink
    December 24, 2010 4:31 AM

    @ Stan – It seems that you don’t get my point. I’m not saying that there’s no such thing as friendship or that true friendship is an illusion.
    I’m saying that you can’t be sure about you friendship if you only maintain an subjective view of the world. You have to take facts into account. Facts changes things.
    You behave diffenrently according to the things you belive.
    If you belive you have won 2 million $ in the lottery, that will make you behave in a different way than if you haven’t. – the ‘facts’ and the ‘beliving’ are to seperate things. Belief changes your behavior – while facts changes circumstance. Those things have to match. If you don’t take facts into account, you could belive anything – reallly anything. Then it wouldn’t matter if it was zeus, christ, santa or unichorns.
    The only reason christ is commonly more accepted, is that christ is commonly more accepted. Is that a good reason?
    Facts changed the way we thought about Thor and lightning. Facts changed the way we thought about god and diseases like the plague. Facts changed the way we look at the universe. Facts, not faith shows us the truth. Faith is believing in something dispite the facts. Believing influences our actions and faith makes us act against the facts.

    Lets just consider the holocaust – if Hitler had just stated the facts… he’d have a hard time blaming the jews.

  28. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 23, 2010 2:12 PM

    EVIL ILLUSIONIST – You most certainly are not a robot. And that is the point. You are not just a configuration of neurons. You are that to which neurons present their information. You have the ability to evaluate and to decide based on whatever criteria you choose. You are able to evaluate whether or not something which you are considering is true. The truth is not you, but it is discernible. There is something intrinsic in all of us that is able to recognize the truth that is a separate entity from us. We are able to relate to the truth. we can feel the interior tension when we ignore the truth.

    Neither are you a garden of flowers, beautiful though I’m sure you are. flowers are not sentient. They cannot discern anything. They cannot make decisions. The truth is something completely un-relatable to them. Everything is relatable to them. All the elemental and vegetative universe is completely oblivious. we are not. we are self aware, aware of others, aware of truth that is separate from us, as well as being a part of us. we can be aware of others awareness of the truth as well. There are three “entities” here. No elves created this. The truth is, all by itself. The truth is not the facts that manifest it.

    The fact that a”friend” may have burnt one, does not negate the general existence of friendship. Other friendships are certainly good and valid. a friendship gone “bad” either, may not have actually been a friendship, or was a friendship in need of greater depth. shall we all turn away from our friends, if they screw us? What is the breaking point, of being too offended to forgive? This must always be an arbitrary decision. Perhaps though, the offending friend is undergoing their own inner issues and the overcoming of the offence by the offended, for love of the friend is what’s needed. There is no limit to the human ability to do this. This is not Magic or fairies, but the everyday stuff of life. This is love.

    This accepting of suffering for the sake of another is un-fathomable apart from Love, which is a bond between two. It is also a thing in itself. Love can be loved. There is truth in the relationship with truth. These things are separate from individuals, yet part of them at the same time. Here we are talking about things eternal and infinite. No myths. Very constant, unfailing, overcoming of Human weakness, always accessible.

    The atheist issue is that these realities are denied the possibility of sentience themselves, of having their own humanity. There is no wonder woman, but these things do exist, and are able to be related to. As intelligent as a person may be and as deep as a person may love. These things are already way ahead of them, Infinitely so. This is God.

  29. Evil-Illusionist permalink
    December 23, 2010 4:45 AM

    @stan – Nice one with the friendship part – but that still doesn’t make up a valid argument.
    Frendship is a social conection between two people and has a certain value. Ok – but consider this example then. You feel a conection with someone and count him as you friend. You spend time with him, has mutual interests, have insightfull talks and feel a strong bond. You
    trust the guy with your life and he tells you that he loves you like a brother. Is it friendship?
    Then you find out that he stole your ideas at work, slepts with your wife, killed your pet and started about you all over town. Theese are facts.
    Well then what do you do. Live acording to facts or fealing?

    You can claim that it isn’t true friendship – but how do you know then, what true friendship really is?

    The same with faith – you can have faith in something and that faith can make sense of it all and give purpuse and meaning to your life. But if there’s nothing in the other end of it- no object – it’s and illusion. Just like someone who has fallen in love with wonderwoman. The fealing is real but the onject is imaginary.

    I’ve been there. I’ve been a beliver. I loved god and those fealings were very real to me.

    But when I started looking into the matter I discovered that I might as well have been in love with wonderwoman.

    Faith can’t tell you if somethings real or not. Faith has no truth-value. Faith is just wishfull thinking.
    Something either is or is not. Wether you belive it or not.

    Now living with faith might improve your sense of meaning in life or fill your life with wonder. That’s fine with me. But for me that just doesn’t cut it. I’ve been there and I don’t need it. I love life the way it is. My life is full of wonders. My wife, daughter, friends, art, music, litterature, nature and science. I love it and it fills my life with wonders.
    So don’t tell me that being objective makes me hollow or makes me a robot.
    It isn’t faith that makes you able to have fealings and meaningfullness. It’s the other way around.

    To summarize: Faith is real. Your fealings might be deep and genuine – but that has nothing to do with the existence of a god.
    No matter how many belivers there are – it doesn’t change the fact.
    And the pint about Jesus having more followers than Zeus is just rediculous.
    Would you be a follower of Zeus if that happened to be the religion of the majority?
    If the whole population of world belived in unichorns, would that make a difference to wether they exist or not?

    [i]Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? — Douglas Adams[/i]

  30. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 22, 2010 5:35 PM

    Evil Illusionist-

    It is actually not rhetoric. Cliche, maybe. But something being cliche does not preclude it’s validitiy. In fact, it is usually the extremely worn out re-use of a true and useful statement that causes the phrase to become cliche.

    No-one can, actually, make you “buy it” . That is a step that can only be made by an individual themselves. And, it has been acknowledged many many times by as many people that belief comes first, understanding second.

    The closest I can come to a relative comparison is friendship. No fact, or evidence will ever adequately explain the reality of friendship. But no-one can reasonably dispute that it exists. It is only when a friendship is entered that obe becomes qualified to speak on it.

    Myths are stories. They have themselves their own basis in truth. Do we need to have archeological evidence of the existence of sysyphus’ stone to speak about what that myth means or whether it’s moral is applicable today?

    The difference between sysyphus and Christ is that this guy had followers, who had followers, to this day, and that despite the appearance of being a total failure, his buddies, who were cowards, otherwise inexplicably have had the largest impact on humanity in the history of the planet. We have that FACT, plus the literature of this movement that still resonates with people today. Science can never speak to a persons heart, or make a friend or even detect friendship. They are two different realms.

    If an individual does not wish to take a given path, they cannot decry another for doing so, not having “seen” what was down that path.

    In fact, that “book” says as much itself: “taste, and see the goodness of the Lord” one can’t even tell if they like sushi without having eaten some.

    Throughout history honest intellectuals have embarked upon debunking The Church only to end up converting themselves. Are you smarter than these? Have you tried to debunk honestly as they have? This takes tenacity, and even some courage.

  31. superatheist permalink
    December 22, 2010 4:20 PM

    @Stanxplain, if you can, how the power of faith ALONE, in LOVE, and the HOPE of the same could survive 2000 years

  32. Evil-Illusionist permalink
    December 22, 2010 1:38 PM

    @Stan your retoric is quite good. What you say sounds amazing, but it’s a load of retorical cliché.
    And I for one don’t buy into it. Not for one second.

    [Facts are observed objectively. Those who hole to the objective , hold themselves apart from the thing that they observe. When this thing is life itself. ]
    But it isn’t is it… it’s some myth-crap that was invented 2000 years ago. Like Zeus, Odin, Ra, Marduk, Ba’al, Jupiter and all the others, it’s quite reasonable to apply rationallity and critical thinking to that subject. It doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy life – just that I don’t need myths and fantasy to make my life magical.

    [ Life is not to be observed and studied but lived. If you live your entire life studying facts without living life, and it to the full, and it in relation to all other life, people, you have wasted your life.]
    Life is not faith, but life. If you live your entire life according to a myth, without living life, and it to the full, and it in relation to all other life, people, you have wasted your life.

    Myths’ are death. Truth is life. We are not mindless robots following tradition.

    [Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? — Douglas Adams]

  33. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 20, 2010 10:26 PM

    Cite your evidence, cite your evidenc, judge the ancient past from the narrow confinesof present day myopia. Set a precedent that future generations can wonder at YOUR level of stupidity. Set the standard of your own Evaluation. Narrow it is.

    Explain, if you can, how the power of faith ALONE, in LOVE, and the HOPE of the same could survive 2000 years without a continuity of Spirit, born not on your “facts” . And yet, it does. And it sticks in your craw. It is the”core” of a reality that you can never reach, and indeed every reality, as facts have to do with the manifestation, and None of the “inner logic” or reason. Facts are observed objectively. Those who hole to the objective , hold themselves apart from the thing that they observe. When this thing is life itself. How sad is that!. Life is not to be observed and studied but lived. If you live your entire life studying facts without living life, and it to the full, and it in relation to all other life, people, you have wasted your life.

    Facts are death. Truth is life. We are not robots. This website is pointless.

  34. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 20, 2010 9:22 PM

    Tolerance test

  35. RedStar permalink
    December 19, 2010 8:38 PM

    While we are all entitled to our own opinion, but what if my opinion was that cigarettes are good for you and that everyone should be allowed to drink and drive? I have faith in my opinion and I really really really believe it. Does that make it correct?

    One big difference… My beliefs aren’t harmful to my or other’s health lol.

  36. greame permalink
    December 19, 2010 2:54 PM

    You need to calm down Stan haha.

    First I’ll say I did not compile this list, I copied it from a comment somewhere else, although I don’t think it was this board. I didn’t however copy who had written it. So whoever it was thank you very much, and i take absolutely no credit, it’s all yours, if only I could remember your name.

    Horus c. 3000 BCE
    –born of the virgin Isis-Merion December 25 in a cave/manger with his birth being announced by a star in the East and attended by three wise men.
    –his earthly father was named “Seb” (“Joseph”).
    –was of royal descent.
    –at 12, he was a child teacher in the Temple, and at 30, he was baptized having disappeared for 18 years.
    –baptized in the river Eridanus or Iarutana (Jordan) by “Anup the Baptizer” (“John the Baptist”), who was decapitated.
    –had 12 disciples, two of who were his “witnesses” and were named “Anup” and “Aan” (the two “Johns”).
    –performed miracles, exorcised demons and raised El-Azarus (“El-Osiris”), from the dead.
    –walked on water.
    –his personal epithet was “Iusa,” the “ever-becoming son” of “Ptah,” the “Father.” He was thus called “Holy Child.”
    –delivered a “Sermon on the Mount” and his followers recounted the “Sayings of Iusa.”
    –was transfigured on the Mount.
    –crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, and resurrected.
    –he was also the “Way, the Truth, the Light,” “Messiah,” “God’s Anointed Son,” “the “Son of Man,” the “Good Shepherd,” the “Lamb of God,” the “Word made flesh,” the “Word of Truth,” etc.
    –he was “the Fisher” and was associated with the Fish (“Ichthys”), Lamb and Lion.
    –came to fulfill the Law.
    –called “the KRST,” or “Anointed One.”
    –was supposed to reign one thousand years.
    Inscribed about 3,500 years ago on the walls of the Temple at Luxor were images of the Annunciation, Immaculate Conception, Birth and Adoration of Horus, with Thoth announcing to the Virgin Isis that she will conceive Horus; with Kneph the “Holy Ghost,” impregnating the virgin; and with the infant being attended by three kings, or magi, bearing gifts. In addition, in the catacombs at Rome are pictures of the baby Horus being held by the virgin mother Isis—the original “Madonna and Child.”

    Osiris c. 3000 BCE
    –Father of Horus, considered to be part of a triune godhead — Osiris, Horus and Isis.
    –Osiris was identified with nearly every other Egyptian god and was on the way to absorbing them all. He had well over 200 divine names.
    –He was called the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, God of Gods.
    –He was the Resurrection and the Life, the Good Shepherd, Eternity and Everlastingness, the god who “made men and women to be born again.” –From first to last, Osiris was to the Egyptians the god-man who suffered, an died, and rose again, and reigned eternally in heaven. They believed that they would inherit eternal life, just as he had done .
    –Osiris’s coming was announced by Three Wise Men: the three stars Mintaka, Anilam, and Alnitak in the belt of Orion, which point directly to Osiris’s star in the east, Sirius (Sothis), significator of his birth . . .
    –Osiris was a prototypical Messiah, as well as a devoured Host. His flesh was eaten in the form of communion cakes of wheat, the “plant of Truth.” . . .
    –The cult of Osiris contributed a number of ideas and phrases to the Bible. The 23rd Psalm copied an Egyptian text appealing to Osiris the Good Shepherd to lead the deceased to the “green pastures” and “still waters” of the nefer-nefer land, to restore the soul to the body, and to give protection in the valley of the shadow of death (the Tuat).
    –The Lord’s Prayer was prefigured by an Egyptian hymn to Osiris-Amen beginning, “O Amen, O Amen, who are in heaven.” Amen was also invoked at the end of every prayer.

    Attis of Phrygia c.1400 BCE
    — born on December 25 of the Virgin Nana (or sometimes Cybelem).
    — considered the savior who was slain for the salvation of mankind.
    — his body as bread was eaten by his worshippers
    — his priests were “eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven.”
    — he was both the Divine Son and the Father.
    — he was crucified on a tree on “Black Friday,” from which his holy blood ran down to redeem the earth.
    — descended into the underworld for three days.
    — was resurrected on March 25 (as tradition held of Jesus) as the Most High God. — reborn as the evergreen pine.

    Zoroaster/Zarathustra c. 1000 BCE or earlier
    –born of a 15-year-old virgin, Dughdhava and “immaculate conception by a ray of divine reason.”
    –he was baptized in a river.
    –in his youth he astounded wise men with his wisdom.
    –was tempted in the wilderness by the devil.
    –began his ministry at age 30 wandered around with twelve followers.
    –baptized with water, fire and “holy wind.”
    –cast out demons and restored the sight to a blind man.
    –taught about heaven and hell, and revealed mysteries, including resurrection, judgment, salvation and the apocalypse.
    –had a sacred cup or grail.
    –was slain.
    –his religion had a eucharist.
    –he was the “Word made flesh.”
    –followers expected a “second coming” in the virgin-born Saoshynt or Savior, who is to come in 2341 CE and begin his ministry at age 30, ushering in a golden age.

    Mithra of Persia c. 600 BCE
    –born of a virgin on December 25 in a cave, and his birth was attended by shepherds bearing gifts.
    –considered a great traveling teacher and master.
    –had 12 companions or disciples.
    –his followers were promised immortality.
    –performed miracles.
    –the “great bull of the Sun,” Mithra sacrificed himself for world peace.
    — buried in a tomb and after three days rose again.
    –resurrection was celebrated every year.
    –called “the Good Shepherd” and identified with both the Lamb and the Lion.
    –considered the “Way, the Truth and the Light,” and the “Logos,” [Word] “Redeemer,” “Savior” and “Messiah.”
    –sacred day was Sunday, the “Lord’s Day,” hundreds of years before the appearance of Christ.
    –had his principal festival on what was later to become Easter.
    –his religion had a eucharist or “Lord’s Supper,” at which Mithra said, “He who shall not eat of my body nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved.”
    –his annual sacrifice is the Passover of the Magi, a symbolical atonement of pledge of moral and physical regeneration.
    ALSO, the Vatican is built upon the papacy of Mithra, and the Christian hierarchy is nearly identical to the Mithraic version it replaced . . . Virtually all of the elements of the Catholic ritual, from miter to wafer to altar to doxology, are directly taken from earlier Pagan mystery religions.

    Heracles c. 800 BCE
    –born on December 25 to a virgin who refrained from sex with her until her God-begotten child was born.
    –sacrificed at the spring equinox.

    Dionysus c. 186 BCE
    –born of a virgin on December 25 and, as the Holy Child, was placed in a manger.
    –a traveling teacher who performed miracles.
    –rode in a triumphal procession on an ass.
    — a sacred king killed and eaten in an eucharistic ritual for fecundity and purification.
    –rose from the dead on March 25.
    –the God of the Vine, and turned water into wine.
    –called “King of Kings” and “God of Gods.”
    –considered the “Only Begotten Son,” Savior,” “Redeemer,” “Sin Bearer,” Anointed One,” and the “Alpha and Omega.”
    –identified with the Ram or Lamb.
    –His sacrificial title of “Dendrites” or “Young Man of the Tree” indicates he was hung on a tree or crucified.

    Tammuz c. 400 BCE
    –born to a virgin, named Mylitta, on December 25

    Adonis c. 200 BCE
    –born on December 25 was son of the virgin Myrha. (Almost certainly based on Tammuz).

    Hermes
    –born on December 25 was the son of the virgin Maia,
    –member of a holy trinity Hermes Tris-Megistus.

    Bacchus
    –born on December 25, was crucified in 200 BCE.

    Prometheus
    –born on December 25, descended from heaven as a god incarnate as man, to save mankind, and was crucified, suffered, and was redeemed from death.

    Some have claimed that Buddha was born on the 25th of December, which is not true from all I know of that philosophy. However, I can see how tempting it may be to add him in since he has started quite a philosophical movement, and let’s face it, this is also a legend the christians stole from for a great deal of their philosophy, so here are a few things about him:
    Buddha (Siddartha Gautama) c. 563 BCE
    –born of the Virgin Maya (“the Queen of Heaven”)
    — announced by a star and attended by wise men presenting costly gifts.
    –at his birth Brahma angels sang hymns.
    –tempted by Mara, the Evil One, while fasting, but overcame the temptation, putting the Evil One to flight.
    –taught in temple at age 12 and was able to match the wise religious scholars in their understanding.
    — He healed the sick; fed 500 from a small basket of cakes.
    –walked on water.
    –Buddha’s disciple wanted to hear his lord preach so he started to cross a stream – he doubted and started to sink but he built up his faith and continued to walk across the water.
    –came to fulfill the law and preached the establishment of a kingdom of righteousness.
    –He obliged followers to live in poverty and to renounce the world.
    –In his final years, Buddha was said to have ‘crushed a serpent’s head’ and to have been transfigured on a mount …’
    –It was Buddha, not Christ, who first said: ‘If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also’

    The same claim of the 25th is attributed to Krishna, however I think this one has an accepted birthday of sometime in July. Again I only copy this over because of some other interesting similarities that may have been borrowed (or just outright stolen):
    Krishna c. 1400 BCE (possibly as early as 5771 BCE)
    — born of the Virgin Devaki (“Divine One”)
    –his earthly father was a carpenter, off in the city paying tax when K. was born.
    –birth was signaled by a star in the east and attended by angels and shepherds, at which time he was presented with spices.
    –heavenly hosts danced and sang at his birth.
    –persecuted by a tyrant who ordered the slaughter of thousands of infants.
    –anointed on the head with oil by a woman whom he healed.
    –depicted as having his foot on the head of a serpent.
    –worked miracles and wonders, raising the dead and healing lepers, the deaf and the blind.
    –used parables to teach the people about charity and love, and he “lived poor and he loved the poor.”
    –castigated the clergy, charging them with “ambition and hypocrisy . . . Tradition says he fell victim to their vengeance.”
    –his “beloved disciple” was Arjuina or Ar-jouan (Jouhn).
    –transfigured in front of his disciples.
    –gave his twelve disciples the ability to work miracles.
    –his path was “strewn with branches.”
    –died on a tree or was crucified between two thieves.
    –killed around the age of 30, and the sun darkened at his death.
    –rose from the dead and ascended to heaven “in the sight of all men.”
    –depicted on a cross with nail-holes in his feet, as well as having a heart emblem on his clothing.
    –the “lion of the tribe of Saki.”
    –called the “Shepherd of God” and considered the “Redeemer,” “Firstborn,” “Sin-Bearer,” “Liberator,” “Universal Word.”
    –deemed the “Son of God” and “our Lord and Savior,” who came to earth to die for man’s salvation.
    –the second person of the Trinity.
    –his disciples purportedly bestowed upon him the title “Jezeus,” or “Jeseus,” meaning “pure essence.”

  37. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 18, 2010 6:11 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM: this website isn’t in extremely bad taste

  38. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 18, 2010 5:58 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM: Science can substitute for love

  39. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 18, 2010 4:49 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM: Public media should be used against the public

  40. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 18, 2010 4:46 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM: Disrespect of culture isn’t hate

  41. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 18, 2010 4:43 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM:The government of the people must be hostile to culture

  42. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 18, 2010 4:39 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM: Government can operate without a philosophy

  43. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 18, 2010 4:38 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM: Science solves everything isn’t dogma

  44. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 18, 2010 4:37 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM: We can’t learn from history

  45. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 18, 2010 4:36 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM : Science isn’t exploited by government

  46. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 18, 2010 4:35 PM

    EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM : Science isn’t exploited by business

  47. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 18, 2010 1:16 PM

    NEW EXTRAORDINARY CLAIM : Science can measure dignity

  48. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 17, 2010 10:13 PM

    sorry, typo, should be “unknowable” near the end there

  49. Stan Strickland permalink
    December 17, 2010 10:07 PM

    Wow! Such considerably uncritical thinking! Narrow, exclusionary, Sheldon Cooperesque. The answer to Extraordinary Evidence IS quite honestly “In the mirror”. As every person is a mysterious wonder in themselves.

    Every action must have an equal and opposite reaction, and so action and reaction are linked. And the reaction will beget another, and on and on. CERN is looking for information about the most earliest of actions literally “as we speak”. Since all actions are therefore linked to others, no action may be studied solitarily if it is to be understood fully. A “step back” is necessary then to view it in relation to its immediate successor action and predecessor action. We have just gone “up” one layer. This “action triad” could then be related to the next action triad by stepping up or back another “layer”. To know everything is well nigh impossible. As there are estimatedly 600 sextillion stars in the universe, the myriad of interrelationships cannot even be fathomed. But it MUST be BELIEVED that they are there. This is only REASONABLE. We must believe in the unknowable wonder of the universe! And this is JUST the Physical ( as in physics proper) universe. Not even Considering the wonders of extraterrestrial life that must most certainly exist. But let’s imagine it doesn’t, and ” the world is flat” as they say. Let’s say that Earth is the only planet in 600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars that has life – and lots of it. At ANY moment in time any individual of any species of animal life may do ANYTHING unpredictable, INITIATING a new cause and effect chain. Much of this may be attributed to instinct. But NOT all of it. Now, consider Every human Being. Each one of us is capable of and does on a daily basis defy their own instinct for whatever their purpose. !! There is ABSOLUTELY NO EXHAUSTIVE SCIENTIFIC ACCOUNTING POSSIBLE for human initiated action. It is unknowable, yet undeniable. It MUST BE BELIEVED.

    We now have TWO(2), irrefutable infinitely unknowable perspectives, that MUST be acknowledged. Refusal to acknowledge these unknowable scientific facts is unreasonable. IT IS UNREASONABLE NOT to believe in the unknown.

    How people interact with one another is an extension of the unknowability of how a person will behave in any moment in time. We might apply the ” action triad” here as well. But not in so straight forward a manner as in physics, where mathematics rules. There is no mathematics of human relationships. We know have a third “realm of unknowability” that MUST be acknowledged by science. A person who is insulted, may swear at his insultor, or forgive them. Who Knows? And this activity may be observed by another, who will make their own determination about how they “feel” about what they have just seen, and adapt their behaviour accordingly, or not. It may depend on their intelligence of the individual, or their”depth of feeling” or maybe they’re just too distracted, or busy or what have you. But perhaps, over time, like many millennia, around tribal fires, the intelligent elders recounted their experiences and saw the re-emerging patterns. (not having the Internet to bog them down with unrelated minutiae). They would have encountered and acknowledged these massively unknowable realms and learned to have lived with it. They would probably even eventually write down these long, long inter- connected over long periods of time EPICS. I bet that they would even have accumulated books of these stories. They would have realized that these realms of unknowability could never ever be described adequately, and even greater than the number of the stars there were, they could never exhaust these realities. These ancient “scientists” for we all must work with the tools at hand, in this cases intellectual, would have been in complete and utter AWE of the infinite eternity of possibilities. This would be completely knowable and unnameable. The would have called it GOD.

    And lesser minds wouldn’t understand them

  50. iTroll permalink
    December 14, 2010 1:44 AM

    How about there is no historical evidence that Jesus Christ never existed and his very existence was fabricated to be used as a front man to make the new religion of the time Christianity seem more worth wild.

    The website is dumb.

  51. greame permalink
    December 11, 2010 6:46 PM

    “We are all entitled to our own opinion. 🙂 Faith, no matter what it’s in regards too, isn’t stupid, IMO”

    While we are all entitled to our own opinion, but what if my opinion was that cigarettes are good for you and that everyone should be allowed to drink and drive? I have faith in my opinion and I really really really believe it. Does that make it correct?

  52. greame permalink
    December 11, 2010 6:40 PM

    “2000 years after he left the earth we’re still talking about him and this organization is spending considerable resources trying to convince people not to believe in what he said. That’s an extraordinary reality, virtually unmatched by any other human being in the history of the mankind.

    That’s my extraordinary evidence”

    How is that evidence that he was god? It’s evidence surely that he may have been a popular historical figure, and that many (primitive and controlling) men wrote about him, but that’s all I see in your “evidence”

  53. Bryan permalink
    December 11, 2010 2:40 PM

    3000 years after Osiris was murdered and rose from the dead people were still talking about and worshiping him. That’s a 50% increase in longevity over Jesus.

    Unfortunately, Osiris doesn’t have the companion all-time best-selling book to go along with his resurrection.

  54. Bryan permalink
    December 11, 2010 2:28 PM

    Joseph,

    Please cite your source. The oldest know bible reference I could find was the Codex Sinaiticus, written between 325 and 360 AD.

    First of all, I was speaking specifically about the NT. As for biblical manuscripts, the Dead Sea Scrolls, are almost 500 years older than the codex you refer to.

    Specifically for the NT, which was only written in the 1st century, the following are some of the manuscripts dating to the 2nd century:

    Papyrus 90 – Gospel of John, 2nd Century AD

    Papyrus 98 – Book of Revelation, 2nd Century AD

    Papyrus 104 – Gospel of Matthew, late 2nd Century AD

    It [Codex Sinaiticus] contains 3036 differences in the four books of the gospels alone when compared the the Codex Vaticanus Graecus of 1209.

    Firstly, this is quite common when examining ancient documents. These aren’t being pulled off of hard drives or dug out of a national archive library.

    Incidentally, the possibility exists that the Codex Vaticanus Graecus may not be the most reliable Codex. What’s remarkable about the biblical record, is that because there are thousands of copies available, we have more than just the one Codex to compare to. While one part of one manuscript may conflict, 2 or 3 thousand other manuscripts agree. So we reject the exception and accept the text of the several thousand that do agree.

    This meticulous research work that goes into the process of translating the Bible into modern languages, is not hidden from the reader. Crack open any respectable translation of the Bible today, and it should cite the translation team, the objectives of the translation (direct, word for word translation, vs. thought for thought translation), and it will also provide footnotes citing unresolved differences in the manuscripts and providing the alternative texts. None of these minor differences have come even close to justifying any scholar to suggest that the text is anything but reliable.

  55. Joseph permalink
    December 11, 2010 1:32 AM

    “The NT was written in the first century AD (50o-100 AD) and the earliest known copies are from the second century AD (130 AD). That is less than 100 years removed.”

    Please cite your source. The oldest know bible reference I could find was the Codex Sinaiticus, written between 325 and 360 AD. It contains 3036 differences in the four books of the gospels alone when compared the the Codex Vaticanus Graecus of 1209.

  56. Joseph permalink
    December 11, 2010 12:46 AM

    “I have the following evidence:
    2000 years after he left the earth we’re still talking about him…”

    3000 years after Osiris was murdered and rose from the dead people were still talking about and worshiping him. That’s a 50% increase in longevity over Jesus. Where is he now?

  57. Joseph permalink
    December 11, 2010 12:19 AM

    Is this http://www.fact-index.com/j/je/jesus_christ.html of any help?

    A completely unreferenced website that makes broad claims regarding ‘Most scientists’, etc. and frequently prefaces statements with “Christians believe..” or similar qualifying statements claiming this as evidence?

    No

  58. December 8, 2010 9:29 AM

    >>>>no miracles attributed to him can yet be verified by any objective, rational means.

    That tends to be the case with miracles (by definition), especially when they were a one-time thing.

    I’m glad you mentioned that He did in fact exist. Perhaps you’re not as fundamentalist as you seem.

  59. Jennifer permalink
    December 7, 2010 8:16 PM

    Dear Marty M,

    Is this http://www.fact-index.com/j/je/jesus_christ.html of any help?

  60. Jennifer permalink
    December 7, 2010 8:12 PM

    Dear Emerson Fast,
    Perhaps I used the wrong word. “Manhood” having other connotations than “humanity”.
    Reference to the “Son of God” is made 28 times in the Gospels and “Son of Man” 81 times.
    In the beginning God gave man dominion over the earth; he put man in charge. For God (or his son) to then come to earth and take back that dominion would have broken the arrangement he made at the beginning. As God is not confined to time he could not do that. So everything Jesus did on earth he did as a man; not as God. He was showing us that when one is in the deepest relationship with God one draws on his ability (grace) and is able to do anything.
    If one looks at the ‘new agers’ or ‘pagans’ one will often see greater understanding of this principle than one does in the church. The concept of universal laws, of attraction, mental powers etc are regarded by many ‘Christians’ as demonic, but they are forces put in place by God and available to man. (Satan does not have the power of creation)
    You are so right in what you say here ” Jesus is the Holy One of God, the Son of God, the Son of Man. He is the I AM, the Kyrios to whom every knee must bow, the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit, who speaks with an authority not like that of the scribes and pharisees, who commands the wind and the waves, the elements and the spirit world, and can forgive sins with a word.” He is the son of God, but everything he did here on earth he did as the son of man, otherwise what hope if there for me?
    Romans 12:15 tells us that one man brought sin into the world.(Sin = to miss the mark. The mark was the bull’s eye; ie perfect love) and one man brought grace into the world. It was by being a MAN that Jesus affected the world so greatly, not by being the son of God; although that does not in anyway negate his Godly son-ship.
    It will, at the end of time, be as the son of man that we will revere and worship him because he made a way for us, mankind, to follow him and become sons of God.
    I’m not sure I have made my points any clearer though.

  61. Brian Ritter permalink
    December 7, 2010 9:46 AM

    About reliability: [Although the content is always up for discussion, tt is completely nonacademic and untruthful to suggest that the Biblical record is anything but pristine in terms of it’s literary accuracy and reliability.]

    It says something about the authentisity of the copy – reliability is an entirely different matter.

    Let’s take Homer’s Illiad, fon instance. IF we had an original copy from Homer himself and 5000 exect copies of that original manuscript – following your logic: mermaids, minotaurus, zeus and all that other stuff had to be real?

    Even if the copies of the bible were authentic, the contend is still crap!

  62. Mike Wagner permalink
    December 7, 2010 2:04 AM

    Imagine how much shorter this conversation would be if the “son of god” had been literate.

  63. Mike Wagner permalink
    December 7, 2010 1:59 AM

    Evidence.

    You keep using that word. It does not mean what you think it does.

    As for findind Bart Ehrman’s books and lectures, just by type ‘ehrman bible’ or ‘ehrman jesus’ into a search engine.

    “Although the content is always up for discussion, tt is completely nonacademic and untruthful to suggest that the Biblical record is anything but pristine in terms of it’s literary accuracy and reliability.”

    Yes, that’s right. A *talking* donkey. A chattering bush. Adam & Eve. Dead people getting up and flying into the sky. Angels. Demons. Satan (if you don’t know the history of Satan you’re missing out on some amazing Xian on Xian persecution).

    Yup. I just can’t see how any other document could be any more reliable.

  64. Bryan permalink
    December 7, 2010 1:06 AM

    And just for the record Mike, I’m not going to prove to you that Jesus performed miracles or can forgive sins. No one can prove that. That is why it is called faith.

    This website doesn’t ask for proof, it asks for evidence.

    The tone of your debate suggests that you are not interested in engaging and discussing the ideas put forward by others, but rather you are only interested in using your words to belittle those who disagree with you.

    I’ve left you with several strong pieces of evidence to consider, and that being the case, I’m going to check out of this discussion for now.

  65. Bryan permalink
    December 7, 2010 1:01 AM

    Mike,

    Between the straw arguments and the changing of the subject, I don’t really know where to begin as I don’t really know what you’re arguing about anymore. Is it the reliability of the scriptures? the existence of Jesus Christ? Is it just to see how much conjecture you can insert into your post?

    I started by challenging your bold assertion about the reliability of the scriptures. I haven’t seen anything to rebut the evidence I’ve provided.

    I never once even hinted at dismissing any historian. Where did that come from???

    “If you haven’t read Ehrman or other researchers of scriptural chronology, you’re arguing from the ignorance that there is a known timeline of edits and mistranslations to the bible.”

    How about you identify specifics for this “known timeline of edits and mistranlations”, or some of the 800,000 errors you refer to, instead of just telling me what someone else has said.

    (Talk about not much of argument.)

    As for Matthew 16, the verse you must be referring to is verse 28: “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

    This doesn’t just appear in Luke, it appears in the other gospels as well. What he promised they would see before they die, i.e. “the Son of Man coming in his kingdom”, was his earthly kingdom. This is what Mark and Luke have explained: Mark 9:1, “Until they have seen the kingdom of God come with power;” Luke 9:27, “Till they see the kingdom of God.”

    The meaning is, “till they shall see my kingdom,” i. e., my church, now small, feeble, and despised, greatly enlarged, established, and spreading with great rapidity and extent. All this was accomplished. All these apostles, except Judas, lived to see the wonders of the day of Pentecost; some of them, John particularly, saw the Jewish nation scattered, the temple destroyed, the gospel established in Asia, Rome, Greece, and in a large part of the known world.

    Just crack open any Bible commentary and you’ll get easy answers just like this. If you don’t have one, you can probably find one for sale on the street corner.

  66. Mike Wagner permalink
    December 6, 2010 11:56 PM

    It could be a grocery list written in Greek using camel dung.
    So long as it doesn’t make unsubstantiated supernatural claims.

    Would you like to keep using lack of proof as proof?

    Documents say Rome was discovered by twins suckled by wolves. Rome exists, therefore it must be true.

    That’s not much of an argument.

    Feel free to dismiss these historians of the times: Apollonius, Appian, Juvenal, Josephus, Martial, Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, Plutarch, Seneca, Suetonius, Tacitus, etc.

    There are many more. And you’ll find that Josephus and Tacitus refer in passing, and not even necessarily to the individual you argue for.

    Was there an individual named Jesus 2000 years ago. Probaby. There’s a ton walking around today, and not one can turn water into wine without fermenting some grapes.

    Was he the magical figure who duplicated the myths and dialogs of centuries of legends that predated him. Certainly not.

    If you haven’t read Ehrman or other researchers of scriptural chronology, you’re arguing from the ignorance that there is a known timeline of edits and mistranslations to the bible.

    What you believe to be the word of god is a distorted telephone game. As Ehrman notes in a lecture, across the 5700 known scriptural fragments they worked from there were 800,000 errors.

    And you want to base your argument for truth on that?

    I’ll leave you with Matthew 16, in which Jesus promised that some of his followers would not know death until he came into his Kingdom… you know, the part that happens AFTER the next coming.

    You show me a 2000 year old guy waiting on a street corner for Jesus and you win.

  67. Bryan permalink
    December 6, 2010 11:42 PM

    Didn’t think so.

    In reviewing and assessing the credibility of historical documentation, one can measure three main things about any written work. The date the work was written, the date of the earliest known copy that we have today, as well as the total number of manuscripts in our hands today.

    If we look outside of the New Testament writings, our top contenders in ancient historical literature are Homer (Iliad), Aristotle and Plato.

    Homer wrote the Iliad in about 900 BC, the earliest known copy is from 400 BC, which is 500 years removed, and there are 643 copies surviving to this day.

    Aristotle wrote in 384-322 BC, the earliest known copies of his work are from 1100 AD, which is 1400 years removed, and there are 49 copies surviving to this day.

    Plato wrote from 427-347 BC, the earliest known copies are from 900 AD, which is only 1200 years removed, however there are only 7 copies surviving to this day.

    Any guess what the New Testament’s stats are?

    The NT was written in the first century AD (50o-100 AD) and the earliest known copies are from the second century AD (130 AD). That is less than 100 years removed.

    The only other historical writing to come even close to this is Homer, at 500 years removed from the original writing. However, while there are 643 copies of the Iliad surviving to this day, there are a staggering 5600 copies of the NT writings surviving to this day! And while Homer’s works have proven to be only 95% accurate, the NT writings have proven to be 99.5% accurate.

    In fact if we compare the accuracy of the translation of the Bible over all of time, we will not find a single document that can match it in this regard.

    A copy of the book of Isaiah from 150 BC, when compared to a copy that had been transcribed through to 980 AD, showed only 17 characters different in an entire chapter. 10 letters in spelling difference, 4 letters in character style differences and 3 letters of a single word that had been added. Not one of these changes impacted the meaning or biblical teaching of the text.

    Although the content is always up for discussion, tt is completely nonacademic and untruthful to suggest that the Biblical record is anything but pristine in terms of it’s literary accuracy and reliability.

    If you accept the reliability of any other written work–or “contemporary” work–from the ancient world, then by the same standard, you have to accept the reliability of the NT.

    To suggest anything else would be … ad ignorantiam.

  68. Bryan permalink
    December 6, 2010 11:07 PM

    “You’re confusing biblical documentation with historical documentation.”

    I think you’re the one who’s confused Mike. Please identify what are the most reliable historical documents we have from around the time of Christ.

  69. Mike Wagner permalink
    December 6, 2010 11:00 PM

    You’re confusing biblical documentation with historical documentation. What little contemporary documentation there was (Josephus, Tacitus, et al) have been shown to be forgeries or vague in terminology. A document referring to a “christos” does not implicitly refer to your claimed messiah. ‘Christ’ was a title, and there were more than a few messianic apocalypse preaching fellows abusing it at the time.
    Scripture was not contemporary, did not even write from first hand accounts, and directly contradicted important facts such as whether or not Mary thought Jesus was off his nut.
    As for proof, anything you assert as truth to bolster your final claim must, in essence, be proven first.

    If you say, for example, “Jesus, the son of god, died for your sins” and mean it in a literal sense, for the assertion to be true it must stand up to recursive examination. What is sin? Is sin real? What defines god? If the stated requirements for godhood transcend what can be known, then claims of ‘special knowledge’ which contradict the assertions used to dodge the expectation of evidence can be summarily dismissed.

    So far I’ve seen argumentum ad ignorantiam, argumentum ad populi, and argumentum ad baculum thrown out by the theists.

    Can you give me a ‘no true Scotsman’ here so we can call it a grand slam and get the batter home?

  70. Bryan permalink
    December 6, 2010 10:41 PM

    Mike,

    Not sure how scientific the Santa vs. Christ image recognition tests were, seeing as we don’t know what Christ looked like.

    The historical record is very clear on the fact that Jesus Christ was real. An history textbook could help you there.

  71. Mike Wagner permalink
    December 6, 2010 9:28 PM

    And you seem to have confused the words “evidence” and “assertion”.
    A dictionary can help you there.

  72. Mike Wagner permalink
    December 6, 2010 9:26 PM

    More people around the world can name Santa than Jesus when shown images.
    Does that make Santa real?

    Can he get me a BB gun?

  73. Bryan permalink
    December 6, 2010 9:09 PM

    Mike,

    I don’t have to prove anything. This site is based on the fact that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence–that’s all we’re looking for, evidence–not proofs. Some of you folks need to hammer this into your head. (In case you forget, it’s at the top of every page on the site.)

    For the extraordinary claim that Jesus Christ was who he said he was (God) I have the following evidence:

    2000 years after he left the earth we’re still talking about him and this organization is spending considerable resources trying to convince people not to believe in what he said. That’s an extraordinary reality, virtually unmatched by any other human being in the history of the mankind.

    That’s my extraordinary evidence.

  74. Mike Wagner permalink
    December 6, 2010 9:02 PM

    All that argument from Bryan just for the single point of whether or not a Jesus existed.
    If you want to dissect it effectively Bryan you’ll want to prove the existence of ‘god’, show that the ‘prophecy’ is more than just editing after the fact, that the synoptic problem doesn’t exist, explain away talking serpents and donkeys, discount how the “sin” that Jesus is supposed to take on exists when one scientific field after another has vast volumes of collected data which shows Genesis (and therefore Eve’s sin) is bollocks, show the proof or the ‘virgin’ birth (which is simply a mistranslation of the Greek ‘parthenos’), the paternity, the conflicting message of Mark’s Jesus (which is certainly the first account based on the patterns of writing, quality of the Greek, and content of verses, etc. etc.
    So far you’ve managed to say “I can’t prove he existed, but I take offence at you dismissing our claims.”

  75. Bryan permalink
    December 6, 2010 8:51 PM

    Ritter, Yes, I would certainly go there. People have been going there for the past 2000 years and they haven’t been proven wrong yet. I’m not about to stop going there now.

    I await your challenges. That is challenges to the text, that you yourself actually understand, not just a cut-and-paste job from some website.

  76. Brian Ritter permalink
    December 6, 2010 4:54 PM

    Authenticity and accuracy of the bible – really? you honestly wan’t to go there?

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_name.html

  77. Bryan permalink
    December 6, 2010 2:12 PM

    Mr. Ritter,

    If you’d like to debate the authenticity of the scriptures, you would do well to conduct some research first. You are not the first person to criticize the Biblical record, and I’m sure you won’t be the last. However, that does not change the fact that there are solid answers to all the questions you raise.

    The first thing you must realize is that when evaluating the accuracy of any ancient text, we must be careful not to make assumptions that we aren’t qualified to make.

    “One example is that of Sargon, a king named in Isaiah 20:1. Critics at one time said that there was no such king. But then his palace was found at Khorsabad, and there was a description of the very battle referred to by Isaiah. Another illustration is the death of the Assyrian King Sennacherib. His death is recorded in Isaiah 37 and also in the annals of Sennacherib’s son Esarhaddon, whom Isaiah says succeeded Sennacherib.”

    “Most scholars questioned the actual existence of a Roman Governor with the name Pontius Pilate, the procurator who ordered Jesus’ crucifixion. Similarly they questioned the historical reliability of the Gospels. However in June 1961, Italian archaeologists led by Dr. Antonio Frova were excavating an ancient Roman amphitheater near Caesarea-on-the-Sea (Maritima). They uncovered a limestone block. On the face is an engraved inscription which is part of a larger dedication to Tiberius Caesar which clearly says that it was from “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea.” This was a significant development in the quest for the historical Jesus, as scholars have confirmed the inscription to be authentic.”

    We often have to extend the benefit of doubt to an ancient text because we can’t fully appreciate the context within which it was written.

    “Matthew traces Joseph’s descent from King David via twenty-eight intermediate generations, while Luke has forty-one generations. Worse, there is almost no overlap in the names on the two lists. In any case, if Jesus was really born of a virgin, Joeseph’s ancestry is irrelevant and cannot be used to fullfil, on Jesus’ behalf, the old testament prophecy that the messiah should descend from David.”

    It is widely agreed that Matthew was tracing Jesus’ lineage through Joseph, to emphasize Jesus’ relationship to all the jews. While Luke was tracing Jesus’ lineage through Mary and all the way back to Adam, to emphasize Jesus’ relationship to all mankind. However, it is interesting to note that having both lineages does in fact cover the prophecy that Jesus would come from the line of David, both from the typical, male lineage and from his blood lineage, through Mary. This is clearly not a problem or a contradiction.

    There is no disagreement among the gospels as to: (a) where Mary and Joseph were from: Nazareth; (b) where Mary gave birth to Jesus: Bethlehem; (c) where they fled after Jesus’ birth: Egypt; and (d) where Jesus grew up: Nazareth. Although some gospels are silent on particular points, they do not raise any disagreement.

    A. Mary and Joseph were from Nazareth.
    – Matthew does not initially mention where Mary and Joseph were from, but he explicitly states that after they’re time hiding in Egypt, they returned to Nazareth, indicating that is where they were from.
    – Mark does not mention where Mary and Joseph came from, only that Jesus’ hometown was Nazareth (Mark 6:1).
    – Luke 1:26-27 “God sent an angel … to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary.”
    – John doesn’t mention specifically that Joseph and Mary were from Nazareth, but cites that Jesus was from Nazareth, so it stands to reason that his parents would be from the same place.

    B. Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
    – Matthew 2:1 “Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea…”
    – Mark does not mention Jesus’ birthplace.
    – Luke 2:4-5 “…because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem … he took with him Mary, his fiance, who was pregnant.”
    – John does not mention Jesus’ birthplace.

    C. Mary, Joseph and Jesus fled to Egypt.
    – Matthew 2:13-14 “After the wisemen were gone…Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother.”
    – Mark does not mention the escape to Egypt.
    – Luke does not mention the escape to Egypt.
    – John does not mention the escape to Egypt.

    D. Jesus grew up in Nazareth.
    – Matthew 2:19-22 “When Herod died, … the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth.”
    – Mark 6:1 “Jesus left that part of the country and returned … to Nazareth, his hometown.”
    – Luke Luke 2:39 “Jesus’ parents … returned home to Nazareth of Galilee.”
    – John 1:45 “We have found Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

    You’re rant about Jesus not being born in a stable has nothing to do with the existence of Christ or the accuracy of the bible. That is an issue with christian illustrators and nativity set designers. Nowhere does the bible say he was born in a stable, the most likely location for his birth would have been a cave.

    “At no point did the Romans require people to return to their place of birth for a census.” Again, we don’t know this with certainty. What we do know is that we have thousands of biblical manuscripts that do in fact indicate that in this instance, people were required to return to their hometown. That’s all we can say for sure.

    As for the exact birthdate of Jesus, we don’t know this. Like the rest of history that is 2000+ years in the past, we rarely know with certainty, specific years or dates of events. Rather we know a chronology. or order of events.

    The apparent contradiction of Herod’s death and Quirinius governorship could easily be accounted for by Quirinius having two governorships, as could well be the case, based on first century historian Josephus’ writings.

    “There are no birth records for Jesus, nor any first hand accounts of his life…” Here’s a newsflash for you Brian, there aren’t birth records or first hand accounts for 99% of people in ancient history. Does that mean it didn’t happen or that we should doubt what we do know about them. Are you denying the existence or historical evidence for Caesar Agustus, Xerxes, Tiberius Gracchus, Thucydides and Socrates as well?

    “Not even the most important point in Jesus’ existence, the crucifiction and ressurection of Christ, does the gospels agree upon.” Curious as to what your proof for this statement is?

  78. Dave permalink
    December 5, 2010 11:47 PM

    GME,

    You do realize then that we would be leaving much of the world behind, if we left behind those with ‘faith’. Most of the world is “…ignorant and even borderline stupid….”, “…the dregs of society, the ball and chain that holds us back”, according to you. Those words may just be terms with definitions, not intended to be judgmental, but they are they are exactly that: terms, with definitions, used by you to be judgmental; insulting to the large amount of people in the world who cling to their faith for hope. It may be foolish to cling to something that may or may not be real, but to them it is what makes life possible. Faith is what enables them to get out of bed everyday and face this world. Even you have something that is your equivalent to their faith, that enables you everyday to get out of bed. So go ahead, say what you must, but realize that they are people just like you trying so very hard to cope with this crappy world.

  79. GME permalink
    December 3, 2010 8:13 PM

    Jesus has always been my favourite zombie anti-hero. I would totally be into any graphic novels, films or video games about him. It’s a decent enough story overall, but how does any shoe-tying, self-feeding, bill-paying, dog-walking, toilet-trained adult come to BELIEVE any of this is real?? HOW??

    And what the hell is wrong with you people who defend “faith” as though it’s a virtue? Let’s call it what it is, for one — adults with imaginary friends… magical thinking… PRETENDING. If I told you God spoke to me, you’d think that’s lovely, but if I told you he did it from within my underwear drawer you’d think me insane — because obviously the underwear drawer is the wierd part, right? JEESH.

    “Faith” and religion have gotten all the patience they’re ever going to get out of me. I’m done. You people are not only wrong, you’re ignorant and even borderline stupid. These are not just judgments, they are words that have definitions; they’re actual descriptions of how a person can be.

    Stop the stupidity. We left the dark a long time ago. It’s time to just leave behind anyone who insists on hanging onto dogma and magical thinking instead of reason. No more funding, no more special considerations and no more undue respect for religion. They are the dregs of society, the ball and chain that holds us back.

  80. Brian Ritter permalink
    December 3, 2010 1:44 PM

    About evidence in the bible….I once had a discussion with someone who went to prove that Jesus existed, by referring to the bible.

    [1 Cor 15:3-8 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that HE WAS RAISED on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that HE APPEARED to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He APPEARED TO MORE THAN 500 brethren AT ONE TIME, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He APPEARED to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He APPEARED to me also.]

    That is like proving Harry Potter according to Ron and Hermione as eyewitnesses.
    Harry, Ron and Hermione were all rediculed and excluded by the ministry of magic – how could that be, if what they claimed was wrong?

    Well – all it proves is that the author says so – and we can’t trust the author. All historical evidence (that is evidence that is crossreferenced and confirmed by other means, so not to rely on only ONE testimony) says that the author(s) are wrong on several accounts AND there are severe contradictions.

    Matthew traces Joseph’s descent from King David via twenty-eight intermediate generations, while Luke has forty-one generations. Worse, there is almost no overlap in the names on the two lists. In any case, if Jesus was really born of a virgin, Joeseph’s ancestry is irrelevant and cannot be used to fullfil, on Jesus’ behalf, the old testament prophecy that the messiah should descend from David.

    When the gospels were written, many years after Jesus’ death, nobody knew where he was born. But an Old Testament prophecy (Micah 5:2) had led Jews to expect that the long-awaited Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. In the light of this prophecy, John’s gospel specifically remarks that his followers were surprised that he was not born in Bethlehem: ‘Others sai, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture said, That Christ shall cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?’
    Matthew and Luke handle the problem differently, by deciding that Jesus must have been born in Bethlehem after all. But they get him there by different routes. Matthew has Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem all along, moving to Nazareth only long after the birth of Jesus […]. Luke, by contrast, acknowledges that Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth before Jesus was born. So how to get them to Bethlehem at the crucial moment, in order to fulfil the prophecy? Luke says that, in the time when Cyrenius (Quirinius) was governer of Syria, Caesar Augustus decreed a census for taxation purposes, and everybody had to go ‘to his own city’. […] “The God Delusion” by Prof. Richard Dawkins (2006
    Except that it is historical nonsense, as A.N. Wilson in Jesus and Robin Lane Fox in The Unauthorized Version (among others) have pointed out. David, if he existed, lived nearly a thousand years before Mary and Joseph. Why on earth would the Romans have required Joseph to go to the city where a remote ancestor had lived a millenium earlier? […] Moreover, Luke screws up his dating by tactlessly mentioning events that historians are capable of independently checking. There was indeed a census under Governor Quirinius – a local census, not one decreed by Caesar Augustus for the Empire as a whole – but it happened too late: in AD 6, long after Herod’s death.”

    A. N. Wilson’s analysis of the New Testament and other historical material leads him to conclude, as Prof. Dawkins said, that the birth in Bethlehem is more mythology than truth:
    “The story of the baby being born in a stable at Bethlehem because there was no room for him at the inn is one of the most powerful myths ever given to the human race. A myth, however, is what it is. Even if we insist on taking every word of the Bible as literally true, we shall still not be able to find there the myth of Jesus being born in a stable. None of the Gospels state that he was born in a stable, and nearly all the details of the nativity scenes which have inspired great artists, and delighted generations of churchgoers on Christmas Eve, stem neither from history nor from Scripture, but from folk-lore. […] Which is the more powerful figure of our imaginations – the ‘real’, historical Jesus of Nazareth, or the divine being, who in his great humility came down to be born as a poverty-stricken outcast?”
    “Jesus” by A.N. Wilson (1993)2
    Within his nativity story Luke also tells us that Caesar, the famous Roman Emperor, called for a census and Joseph and Mary had to return to their town of origin, Bethlehem, until the census was complete. The Roman Empire is well documented, including documentation of the Romans taxation laws and system which was based on property and wealth. At no point did the Romans require people to return to their place of birth for a census. Luke was clearly wrong about the census, the reasons for Joseph and Mary being in Bethlehem, and wrong on his opinion that Jesus’ birth was of a virgin.
    Matthew, the only other gospel to include information on this, does not include any of these aspects of Jesus’ birth, and merely states that he was born in Bethlehem, whilst Herod was king. All of Luke’s insertions about singing angels, barns, mangers and virgin birth are not mentioned in Matthew’s version.
    Despite the long-winded and desperate attempts to get Jesus from Nazareth into Bethlehem, it may be that they did not read Micah 5:2 correctly in the first place, and all their efforts have been misguided.
    “Since the early Christians believed that Jesus was the Messiah, they automatically believed that he was born in Bethlehem. But why did the Christians believe that he lived in Nazareth? The answer is quite simple. The early Greek speaking Christians did not know what the word “Nazarene” meant. The earliest Greek form of this word is “Nazoraios,” which is derived from “Natzoriya,” the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew “Notzri.” (Recall that “Yeishu ha-Notzri” is the original Hebrew for “Jesus the Nazarene.”) The early Christians conjectured that “Nazarene” meant a person from Nazareth and so it was assumed that Jesus lived in Nazareth. Even today, Christians blithely confuse the Hebrew words “Notzri” (_Nazarene_, _Christian_), “Natzrati” _Nazarethite_) and “nazir” (_nazarite_), all of which have completely different meanings.”
    “The Historical Basis of the Jesus legend” by Hayyim ben Yehoshua
    How can it be that even early Christians did not know where Jesus’ parents lived? Some conclude that it is because the entire story is merely a re-write of earlier, pagan god-man myths and that a historical Jesus never existed.

    Further problems exist in the contrasting Luke/Matthew accounts of Jesus’ birth. Luke claims that Jesus was born when Quirinius, a roman official, was the governor of Syria. This happened during or shortly after 6ad. Matthew however, claims that Jesus was born whilst Herod the Great reigned over Judea, and Herod died in 5 or 4 BC. There is a huge 10/11 year gap between these two dates, and either Luke or Matthew were wrong. Given Luke’s track record, and that fact that historians accept the date of 4ad for Jesus’ birth, it is likely that Luke was (once again) wrong.
    The Date of the Nativity in Luke: irreconcilable date contradiction 4BC or 6AD by Richard Carrier – this is a much more detailed essay about the Matthew/Luke contradiction. “Out of the two accounts, one of them simply has to be wrong.”
    Christians for a few hundred years did not celebrate Christmas. Early Christian fathers note that only pagan sun-worshippers celebrate on the 25th of December (by our calendar). Sun worshipping religions have worshipped on Sundays, and on the Winter Solstice, for many hundreds of years before Christianity took up the practice. Jesus was not born in December, or in January. Luke 2:8 states that shephards were out watching their flocks by night. No flocks would have been out, during winter! The average winter temperature in Israel is 5 or 6 degrees celsius. Farmers in Israel did not allow their flocks out during such cold nights.
    One of Matthew’s plotlines is the three visitors from the East who visit the newborn Jesus. They say that a star came up in the East, however no other people in the story appear to notice this. It must have been a relatively unnoticeable event, a fairly faint star, only noticed by people who study the stars. The three visitors are called ‘Star Readers’ in Matthew 2:1. However NO OTHER astrologers across the world at that time document this phenomenon.
    The language used in the Bible indicates that this element of the story was taken from Zoroastrianism, as the magi are given Zoroastrian titles and bear the same gifts as stated in Zoroastrian myth.
    The next part of Matthew, two, tells us of King Herod’s anger at the three wise men and then of the killing of every child. Surely, the slaughter of EVERY MALE CHILD (Matthew 2:16-17) in Bethlehem, Ramah, and the surrounding area would HAVE GOT MENTIONED in many places, such as Josephus’ detailed accounts of the times, in fact it would likely cause the downfall of such an immoral, monstrous leader who issued such orders! Incidentally, the other ‘great’ leader in the Bible to issue such orders was Moses, Numbers 31:17-18, Joshua 6:21-24, in both cases killing all the women/young/old in a city in two separate occasions.
    Many other myths, including more ancient Roman ones, had an event where all the male children were killed, and the famous Romulus and Remus story is (once again) a good, famous example.
    It is likely that Herod’s orders to kill all those children, and the star that went unnoticed by all except three astrologers from “the East”, did not actually happen.
    Both Luke and Matthew appear to, well, make things up, and none of these things are mentioned in the other two gospels, nor in the recovered Gospel of Thomas.
    There are no birth records for Jesus, nor any first hand accounts of his life, so that these two contradictory and inaccurate accounts are the only snippets of information that we have. It is possible that Matthew/Luke were referring to a myth when they talked of Jesus’ and his early life. It seems highly likely that Luke, when writing of the events that surrounded Jesus’ birth, was thinking of the famous Roman myth (that was around well before the Jesus’ myth) of Romulus and Remus – who also were born by a virgin, AND also had a king ordering the slaughter of all the other children in the same area.
    Mostly derived from pagan myths, Jesus’ birth stories are very dubious, and it very likely that all such beliefs were written retrospectively by the Roman gospel writers, or were assumed from the outset. There is no evidence or reason to believe that they actually occurred. Events such as King Herod’s killing of every male child simply could not have gone unnoticed, these pagan myths were however assumed of all god-man saviours. Modern Christmas is a combination of pagan and ancient practices. Its eclectic nature make it a multicultural event suitable for appropriation by nearly anyone, including staunch secularists. Jesus’ existence remains a mystery, we cannot validate even the most simple facts about his birth, and this fact has led some scholars to cast doubt on Jesus’ entire existence.
    Not even the most important point in Jesus’ existence, the crucifiction and ressurection of Christ, does the gospels agree upon. But that will have to wait for another time 🙂

    Ansver AK [It will happen whether you believe in God or not.
    He exists whether you like/believe it or not.]: If you don’t belive in faries they will come at nigth and haunt you. – Come on! Let’s be rational about it. If I can’t show you any evidence to support my claim, why worry? – I don’t!

  81. Emerson Fast permalink
    December 3, 2010 1:08 AM

    Jennifer,

    Please cite evidence to support your claim that the emphasis on “Son of Man” theology in the self-testimony of Jesus was synonymous with an emphasis on his manhood?

    In the apocalyptic book of Daniel, the “son of man” is a Divine being who is given kingship over the cosmos, and to whom worship is rendered (cf. Dan.7:13-14). Check out the 46th and 48th chapters of 1 Enoch for some similar representations.

    I agree with the testimony of the demons in the synoptics. Jesus is the Holy One of God, the Son of God, the Son of Man. He is the I AM, the Kyrios to whom every knee must bow, the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit, who speaks with an authority not like that of the scribes and pharisees, who commands the wind and the waves, the elements and the spirit world, and can forgive sins with a word.

    There is nothing more to say. Subjecting the theology and the claims of the gospels to historical scrutiny presupposes that the verdict is in our court rather than in the court of Jesus Christ.

  82. Marty M permalink
    December 2, 2010 8:53 PM

    Exilelass,

    If you read the links above you will notice there is ver little evidence produced near the time Jesus was supposed to be alive. Furture more, the trouble that I have with many of the stories of the bible that were written well after the theoretical lifetime of Jesus, is that they are mostly copies of earier stories.

    My qeustion to you Exileas is, What jewish writings are you referancing? Are they not listed in the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus article? I would be interested to know about them.

  83. Jennifer permalink
    December 2, 2010 7:48 PM

    Dave,

    Your points are very interesting, but I think one added point is important. Jesus rarely made mention of being the Son of God, his main expression was Son of Man.
    He was drawing attention to the fact that he was a man; NOT God; ( the Bible tells us he emptied himself of all that being equal with God entailed) who was living by Grace. If he can do it, we can do it was his message.

    The Jews were looking for peace to be ushered in by the Messiah, as you say, but they were expecting it to be done via the instrument of war. If we want world peace we first need to have inner peace. You cannot produce externally what you do not have internally.

  84. Exilelass permalink
    December 2, 2010 7:41 PM

    Re Marty M’s first comment.

    I think you will find if you study Jewish history that they were in no doubt that he existed. They did not support his claims, but they knew he existed.

  85. A K permalink
    December 2, 2010 7:11 PM

    Dear Author,

    Don’t strain yourself too much disproving Christ being the Son of the Living God. You will eventually see him face-to-face in the Last judgmental where you will become quite ashamed of what you have said. It will happen whether you believe in God or not.
    He exists whether you like/believe it or not.

  86. Jennifer H. M. Howie permalink
    December 2, 2010 3:53 PM

    “Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Messiah or Saviour of the Jews” The Jews would NEVER have said this and, in fact, neither did Jesus.
    He did not claim, nor does the Bible, that he was the Saviour of the Jews. Although I understand why you would say that.

    “Many modern Christians consider Jesus their personal saviour. Jesus speaks to them in their thoughts, answers prayers, and occasionally performs miracles to help them through difficult times.”
    You are absolutely correct in saying that this is the view of “many modern Christians”, but this is not either what the Bible actually says nor what Jesus said. Again I am not criticizing you.

    Your conclusion also contains several important points,although it was, in fact, the Jews who wanted Jesus crucified for claiming to be the Son of God; although it was the Romans who did the deed.

    The confusion many people, those who claim to be “christian” and those who do not, suffer from is talking about God/Jesus and religion all in the same breath.
    Religion has NOTHING to do with God/Jesus. It is all about MAN!
    It is the only thing Jesus taught against.

    You have made several good points if one is talking about religion, but the conversation about God/Jesus is a different one entirely and, one impossible to have in empirical terms. Relationship cannot be proved scientifically, can it?

    I ask that in all sincerity. Has anyone done scientific studies to prove the existence of a relationship between two individuals?

    Your points are nonetheless interesting.

  87. Dave permalink
    December 2, 2010 2:53 AM

    Marty M,

    You said that you came to this conclusion: “…it isn’t real important wheather [sic] there really was a Jesus or not. I think it is more important to look at the message that he represents and decide if that is a good philosophy to live by.”
    I have always felt that the philosophy of Jesus and what he represents cannot be separated from who he was and claimed to be. Jesus’ purpose in speaking was to tell that he was the Son of God sent to save the world from sin, if the world so chose to accept that. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16b, NIV). His message was one of peace and love, although maybe not in the way it was so often thought of (The Jews were under the impression that the Messiah would bring physical world-peace, especially from the Romans. They didn’t expect Jesus with his message of spiritual well-being and peace – they thought they already had that). The well-known “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself” verses, encompassed all that Jesus said and did. Jesus claimed that he was “…in the Father and the Father is in me….” (John 14:11a, NIV), therefore making him synonymous with the Jewish God, Yahweh. Thus, Jesus asserted that ‘loving the Lord your God’ was akin to loving him. This was a travesty to the Jewish people, being Blasphemous on all accounts and worthy of death – their reason for crucifying him.
    Understanding this then, Jesus’ message of love and peace takes on a different light. It came from his idea that he and God were one. He was God, telling his people to love each other because he loved them (He showed this by dying for them). If they knew what he said to be true, then they would follow his example by loving others. Therefore, his reason for spreading that message was so entwined with whom he claimed to be (The Jewish God Yahweh – a God who requested of his people to live a lifestyle of love because it was who he was, it was His character), that if he were eliminated from the equation then his message would be invalid and impossible to live by.

  88. Marty M permalink
    November 22, 2010 10:25 AM

    I agree that we shouldn’t be calling faith or really any ideas argued on this site stupid. And thank you Red Star for responding. I do agree with Ponces basic argument that if we use blind faith as an argument for the existance of anything it opens up the idea that we can believe in anything. If I say ” have faith that Zues exists”, there is no way to prove anything doesn’t exist. While there is no danger in an individual guiding there personal life his/her life based on faith in an idea or enity with no factual evidence.
    It can also become very dangerous. For example when politicians base world environmental policies on an apocaliptic ending rather than scientific evidence the results could be devistating and in my mind evil.

  89. RedStar permalink
    November 21, 2010 11:32 PM

    We are all entitled to our own opinion. 🙂 Faith, no matter what it’s in regards too, isn’t stupid, IMO.

  90. Ponce permalink
    November 21, 2010 3:16 PM

    then i have “faith” that he did not exist, do you see how stupid faith is,

  91. RedStarRipsaw permalink
    November 19, 2010 4:45 PM

    For us that believe he exists that’s why it’s called faith. 🙂

  92. Marty M permalink
    November 17, 2010 7:46 PM

    I just took a class on the topic. In my own mind I finally concluded that it isn’t real important wheather there really was a Jesus or not. I think it is more important to look at the message that he represents and decide if that is a good philosophy to live by.

  93. Teshi permalink
    November 17, 2010 5:07 PM

    I agree with Marty. There isn’t very good evidence that Jesus lived at all, but I suppose that a man called Jesus who was influential lived around that time isn’t really an extraordinary claim.

  94. Marty M permalink
    November 17, 2010 4:26 PM

    Your conclusion that “Jesus was a man who lived 2000 years ago” needs to be looked at more closely. Other than the four gospels mentioned, there is no record of this miricle worker, although the stories of imaculate conception, turning water to wine, resurection ect. can almost all be found in earlier stories of previous ” mythical gods”. I question the existance of Jesus.

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