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Switch to Forum Live View Atheists v. Historical Jesus
3 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2011 - 10:47AM #1
Jcarlinbn
Posts: 7,102

Moved from Do atheists really care.  If you refer to that thread include a post # or link on time stamp.  (highlight the post number, right click and copy link location.)

Thread will be moved if there is sufficient interest.  


Dec 19, 2011 -- 10:06AM, teilhard wrote:


Blu -- Let's move THIS Discussion over to The Sacred Texts / Historical Jesus Section where it more appropriately belongs ... ???


Dec 16, 2011 -- 10:57PM, Blü wrote:


teilhard


In his Letters, Paul writes of direct personal Acquaintance with Relatives and Disciples of Jesus of Nazareth ..


Galatians 1


15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned to Damascus. 
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days. 
19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother.  
20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!)


Cephas is generally supposed, on the basis of Matthew 16:18, to be Peter; but we have no firm reason to think anything of substance in Matthew is historical.  Whoever Cephas is, Paul vehemently opposes him (Galatians 2: 11 I opposed him to his face because he stood condemned) because Cephas leads the circumcision party and Paul finds it interferes with sales.


'James the brother of the Lord' is ambiguous.  Paul may assert that James was the blood brother of Jesus, which would make this the sole potential link to an historical Jesus in the NT, akways subject to the question of its credibility.  It's at least as likely that Paul was using 'brother' in its very usual sense of 'follower', 'brother in Christ'.


However, verse 20 puts up a great red flag over the whole story.


A key factor is that if Paul indeed met with Peter or James or both, he learnt nothing from them about his hero.  His Jesus remains a sky-god with the bare-bones minimum of biography to link him to Jerusalem Judaism and the line of David.  Paul can't tell us where Jesus was born, who his parents were, who his disciples were, when, where and what he preached, nor why or when or where or by whom he was crucified.



 



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3 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2011 - 10:58AM #2
Ken
Posts: 33,859

Atheists have no particular objection to an historical Jesus. We do, however, flatly deny that the gospels are sober history. It is quite impossible that Jesus was born of a virgin, performed the miracles attributed to him, and returned from the dead.

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2011 - 11:11AM #3
Kwinters
Posts: 22,913

Dec 19, 2011 -- 10:58AM, Ken wrote:


Atheists have no particular objection to an historical Jesus. We do, however, flatly deny that the gospels are sober history. It is quite impossible that Jesus was born of a virgin, performed the miracles attributed to him, and returned from the dead.




I concur.  


Jesus was a man who risked his life for what he believed in an paid the ultimate price.  I have no problem with him.


It's what his followers have turned him into that troubles me.

Jesus had two dads, and he turned out alright.~ Andy Gussert

“Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law.

If someone says, “Oh, I’m not a feminist,” I ask, “Why, what’s your problem?”

Dale Spender
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3 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2011 - 12:02PM #4
mountain_man
Posts: 40,605

The title of this thread is very misleading. Atheists are not vying against any Jesus. Christians come here and TELL us that the biblical Jesus really existed and that the bible is the true history of him. So, it's uneducated christians v. Atheists.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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3 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2011 - 5:37PM #5
Aka_me
Posts: 12,641

Dec 19, 2011 -- 11:11AM, Kwinters wrote:

It's what his followers have turned him into that troubles me.



Buddhists... Christians... happens with all religions. just the way it is.

the US exports death and corruption globally on a scale undrempt by Iranian authorities. war for corporate profits funded by taxpayers and soldiers' lives plus unofficial war funded by drugs to minorities. wave that flag of corruption in blissful ignorance of the orphans it creates assisting the rich to get richer. it's all good though cause we don't need to do ANYTHING to change... mother nature will create the necessary change.
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3 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2011 - 6:35PM #6
Blü
Posts: 25,279

An historical Jesus is problematic.  My own view, after looking at the question and discussing it in a number of threads in the Historical Jesus forum, is that it's possible but not probable - less than a 50% chance of being correct.  The NT, for example, contains not a single purported eyewitness account of an historical Jesus, and no contemporary record mentions him.


If he existed, the stories make him a Jew and associate him with crucifixion.  Beyond that we don't know whether his name was Jesus, when or where or to whom he was born, what he taught, whether he had supporters, or when or where or why he died.


Unfortunately Paul is very hazy about the 'church of God' which he says he persecuted - again no who, what, where or when - but it suggests a messianic Jewish sect already existed by 50 CE.


(The sect may have existed much earlier.  Some say - and others dispute - that the  Gabriel's Vision stone points to the existence of a belief by some Jews in the first century BCE that a divine leader, in this case Gabriel, would rise from the dead after three days.)


The first gospel, Mark, written in 75 CE or not long after, attempts a biography of Jesus by compiling a purported list of OT messianic prophecies, and writing a story that ticks each of the boxes.  Tales of magic are added.  Whether traditional stories of or sayings traditionally attributed to, Jesus are included, and whether anything at all historical is there, is impossible to say with certainty.  Certainly numerous fictions are present.


The gospels Matthew and Luke take their story from Mark and change it to their author's views, embellish it with further tales based on purported prophecy, and add sayings from a lost source known as Q.  John, written around 100 CE, has a different viewpoint to the others - for example, it's aggressive against the Jews and it never claims Jesus' coming is imminent - but offers nothing we could say was biographical.

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2011 - 11:01PM #7
whatson2nd
Posts: 2,936

 The question remains, was Christianity founded on a mythical Christ or an actual Jesus from Nazareth. There are those that read The Bible as if Jesus is historical and claim to know for certain and then there are those that remain skeptical, much to the annoyance of those that claim to know for certain.

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2011 - 11:19PM #8
JCarlin
Posts: 7,058

Dec 19, 2011 -- 11:01PM, whatson2nd wrote:

The question remains, was Christianity founded on a mythical Christ or an actual Jesus from Nazareth.


Christianity was founded on Paul's Christ created purely in his imagination.  He needed a first name and chose a charasmatic preacher who may or may not have been called Jesus.  If Paul had named him John Christ the Gospels would have been forgotten by the canonizers.  About the only good thing Paul did was preserve the Gospels. 

J'Carlin
If the shoe doesn't fit, don't cram your foot in it and complain.
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3 years ago  ::  Dec 19, 2011 - 11:36PM #9
teilhard
Posts: 52,276

"'Paul' preserved The Gospels'" ... ???


Dec 19, 2011 -- 11:19PM, JCarlin wrote:


Dec 19, 2011 -- 11:01PM, whatson2nd wrote:

The question remains, was Christianity founded on a mythical Christ or an actual Jesus from Nazareth.


Christianity was founded on Paul's Christ created purely in his imagination.  He needed a first name and chose a charasmatic preacher who may or may not have been called Jesus.  If Paul had named him John Christ the Gospels would have been forgotten by the canonizers.  About the only good thing Paul did was preserve the Gospels. 





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3 years ago  ::  Dec 20, 2011 - 5:48AM #10
Eudaimonist
Posts: 2,036

Dec 19, 2011 -- 10:58AM, Ken wrote:

Atheists have no particular objection to an historical Jesus.




Not as a group, of course. Some atheists are Jesus mythicists. I lean slightly in that direction, and mainly towards the following sort of interpretation.


www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/jesu...


www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/jesu...


The case that I will be outlining here is that there never was any "Jesus Christ" nor any meaningful real life basis for the story of "Jesus Christ". Like many other religious figures, "Jesus Christ" began as a theological concept, was later used as a character in allegorical stories, and was then historicized as someone whom people believed really existed. The belief in a literal "human" Jesus most likely emerged as eucharist rituals and theology developed around the concept of the "flesh" and "blood" of Christ and these concepts merged with allegorical narratives about the figure.


 


I'm no Bible-expert, which is why I say that I merely lean in that direction.  It's just my impression.


 


eudaimonia,


Mark

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