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3 years ago  ::  Mar 12, 2015 - 7:10PM #11
Nino0814
Posts: 1,795

Mar 10, 2015 -- 11:01AM, Stumbler wrote:


So, in your view, it's silly to think Jesus ever said "Take up your cross", but it's kind of nice that enough Christians were gullible enough, for long enough, to think he did say it, so that a tradition could be born out of their credulity?



That is not my view.  I do not believe we can import any ideas we want into the Jesus tradition.  The only ideas that rightly belong to the tradition are ideas that were employed by multiple generations of his followers in their attempted to communicated the meaning of the gospel. 


Jesus didn't say, "go find your enemies and nail them to a cross".  IMO that saying and "take up your cross and follow me" were not uttered by the historical Jesus, yet "take up your cross and follow me" did become part of the Christian tradition; the reason it did says a lot about what Jesus' later followers believed the gospel was about.   


There were a lot of other gospels and sayings which did not become part of the Christian tradition.  Some perhaps were excluded for nefarious reason, but some were rejected,or not adopted, by the faithful because in their opinion they lack the power to communicate the gospel. 




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3 years ago  ::  Mar 13, 2015 - 9:06AM #12
Stumbler
Posts: 347

Mar 12, 2015 -- 7:10PM, Nino0814 wrote:


That is not my view.  I do not believe we can import any ideas we want into the Jesus tradition.  The only ideas that rightly belong to the tradition are ideas that were employed by multiple generations of his followers in their attempted to communicated the meaning of the gospel. 




But in what sense would these multiple generations be "his followers" if they had false beliefs about his teachings?



Jesus didn't say, "go find your enemies and nail them to a cross".  IMO that saying and "take up your cross and follow me" were not uttered by the historical Jesus, yet "take up your cross and follow me" did become part of the Christian tradition; the reason it did says a lot about what Jesus' later followers believed the gospel was about.   




There is an obvious difference between the two sayings, however. One is attributed to Jesus, the other one isn't. The second one became part of the tradition because generations of followers believed both that he said it and it was important. That goes for the other sayings attributed to Jesus in the gospels as well. That is, the sayings of Jesus were a large part of what Christians have always believed the gospel to be about.


You appear to be claiming that we don't really know what Jesus said, so "the gospel" is a construct, which you happen to find edifying. That construct has been perpetuated by tradition. That's fine, but if all those generations of Christians believed what you believe, there would be no such tradition. The tradition exists because they believed what you don't, namely that the words and deeds attributed to Jesus were, in fact, his words and deeds.


In precisely that sense, your tradition depends upon generations of people believing much that you declare to be "silly", which is why I used the term "gullible" to describe your construal of them.



There were a lot of other gospels and sayings which did not become part of the Christian tradition.  Some perhaps were excluded for nefarious reason, but some were rejected,or not adopted, by the faithful because in their opinion they lack the power to communicate the gospel. 




Why did the faithful think they knew what the gospel was?



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3 years ago  ::  Mar 13, 2015 - 6:18PM #13
Nino0814
Posts: 1,795

Mar 13, 2015 -- 6:16PM, Nino0814 wrote:


Mar 13, 2015 -- 9:06AM, Stumbler wrote:


But in what sense would these multiple generations be "his followers" if they had false beliefs about his teachings?  How can their beliefs about what the gospel means to them be false? The gospel is more than some historical facts about Jesus.  Technically no one can be a follower of Jesus since he is gone.  People are impressed by the record and practices of a historical line of passed down teachings.


You appear to be claiming that we don't really know what Jesus said, so "the gospel" is a construct, which you happen to find edifying. That construct has been perpetuated by tradition. That's fine, but if all those generations of Christians believed what you believe, there would be no such tradition. The tradition exists because they believed what you don't, namely that the words and deeds attributed to Jesus were, in fact, his words and deeds. Perhaps.  They probably would have been shocked by our modern knowledge of many of things.  Demons are not the cause of most maladies.  God did not make people from the earth, and all living things have a common ancestor.  


Perhaps they would shrug and (like me) not be too concerned with exactly how the teachings and practices correlate to the historic Jesus and instead be convinced in there inherent value to transform the heart, and give credit to the "founder" that inspired them.


In precisely that sense, your tradition depends upon generations of people believing much that you declare to be "silly", which is why I used the term "gullible" to describe your construal of them.


I have no idea what motivates people today, much less people throughout the last 20 centuries.  I hope people would not be followers of Jesus humanistic teachings because they hoped for material blessings and a heavenly reward, but that may be the case.  I hope that people would follow the good for the good itself. 


Why did the faithful think they knew what the gospel was? I don't know what they thought.  I know what moves me.  I assume that they, like me, are moved by the power of forgiveness, compassion, and being part of a loving community.  to me that is "good news".  


You may be right that the gospel would not have been transmitted without believing that the canonical gospels were historically accurate in most of their detail.  Perhaps that is why the number of believers are declining. www.religionnews.com/2015/03/12/analysis...



 


 


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3 years ago  ::  Mar 17, 2015 - 11:24AM #14
Stumbler
Posts: 347

Mar 13, 2015 -- 6:18PM, Nino0814 wrote:


How can their beliefs about what the gospel means to them be false?




Is that a serious question? If any part of what the gospel means includes or presupposes confidence that it represents what Jesus actually did and taught, then it can easily be false. Your error is in supposing that "what the gospel means" can be utterly detached from that.



The gospel is more than some historical facts about Jesus.




That's true, but it's not less than some historical facts about Jesus. Christianity is, and has always been, an historical religion, in the sense that it is grounded in claims about what a particular individual said and did.




 Technically no one can be a follower of Jesus since he is gone.




Here, let me complete the syllogism for you.


1. No one can be a follower of a dead person.


2. Jesus is dead.


3. Therefore no one can be a follower of Jesus.


But of course, one of the core claims of historical Christianity is that premise 2 is false. That claim is itself grounded in a reading of the resurrection as an historical event. That's not just a detail. It is, and has always been, central to the Christian tradition.



 People are impressed by the record and practices of a historical line of passed down teachings.




No doubt, but those teachings include historical claims as an essential part. In this sense, Christianity is very different from, say, Buddhism. While the Buddhist tradition contains many stories about things Prince Gautama Siddhartha said and did, those stories are not essential to the Buddhist gospel. The essentials are the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. The Christian tradition is very different from this.



Perhaps they would shrug and (like me) not be too concerned with exactly how the teachings and practices correlate to the historic Jesus and instead be convinced in there inherent value to transform the heart, and give credit to the "founder" that inspired them.




Again, you ignore that the tradition has always insisted that the teachings of Jesus include teachings about Jesus. In doing so, you bowdlerize that tradition. What you're calling the "teachings of Jesus" are a tepid subset of what has sustained the tradition for two thousand years, sanitized for modern or postmodern sensibilities.



I have no idea what motivates people today, much less people throughout the last 20 centuries.  I hope people would not be followers of Jesus humanistic teachings because they hoped for material blessings and a heavenly reward, but that may be the case.  I hope that people would follow the good for the good itself. 




Yet another Christian teaching excluded from your subset is that people are, by nature, incapable of discerning the good without divine assistance. This is one of the ways in which Christianity is distinguished from Platonism. It's enough to make one wonder why we don't have a religion of Platonism, complete with martyred founder.



I don't know what they thought.  I know what moves me.  I assume that they, like me, are moved by the power of forgiveness, compassion, and being part of a loving community.  to me that is "good news".  




It is indeed, but it's only the part that moves you; it's not the full gospel that has been recognized by Christians for two thousand years. In your version, all those who claim to have found a living relationship with Jesus are, no matter now forgiving and compassionate they might be, as deluded as anyone who claims a living relationship with King Arthur.



You may be right that the gospel would not have been transmitted without believing that the canonical gospels were historically accurate in most of their detail.  Perhaps that is why the number of believers are declining. www.religionnews.com/2015/03/12/analysis...




That's one possible explanation; there are others. Personally, I doubt that the decline has much to do with the historicity of the gospels. I don't think such issues are on many people's radar, but I could be wrong. It's paradoxical that some observers claim that the decline of religion is a result of the "rise of science", when at the very same time we are told that science literacy itself is in decline.


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3 years ago  ::  Mar 17, 2015 - 9:06PM #15
Nino0814
Posts: 1,795

Christianity is a historical religion; it was inspired by a historical person, Jesus of Nazareth, and his first disciples.   The gospel traditions contain historical facts, as well as the meaning ascribed to those facts. Meaning is subjective and mostly not falsifiable like historical facts.  The historical facts that inspired the gospel traditions are told through the prism of the meaning believers found in Jesus' ministry.  The gospel traditions contain primarily the meaning of some events rather than purely historical events.  There are historical elements but most of the gospel is about the meaning found in them (ex: Historical - Jesus was executed by Roman authorities during the Passover celebrations in Jerusalem > Meaning: Jesus died for our sins like the Passover Lamb - Jesus is our Passover Lamb).


I do not deny the possibility that Jesus (and others who died) can somehow still with us.  I am an agnostic but as a religious person I am open to the possibility.   No one is technically a follower of Jesus. What people follow is the traditions passed down (even if they believe that Jesus is in those traditions).  We do not have a consensus on what it means to follow Jesus.  Christians at best have traditions with teachings about following Jesus.

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