By John Blake, CNN
(CNN)– Timothy Freke was flipping through an old academic book when he came across a religious image that some would call obscene.
It was a drawing of a third-century amulet depicting a naked man nailed to a cross. The man was born of a virgin, preached about being “born again” and had risen from the dead after crucifixion, Freke says.
But the name on the amulet wasn’t Jesus. It was a pseudonym for Osiris-Dionysus, a pagan god in ancient Mediterranean culture. Freke says the amulet was evidence of something that sounds like sacrilege – and some would say it is: that Jesus never existed. He was a myth created by first-century Jews who modeled him after other dying and resurrected pagan gods, says Freke, author of "The Jesus Mysteries: Was the ‘Original Jesus’ a Pagan God?"
“If I said to you that there was no real Good Samaritan, I don’t think anyone would be outraged,” says Freke, one of a group of mythicists who say Jesus never existed. “It’s a teaching story. What we’re saying is that the Jesus story is an allegory. It’s a parable of the spiritual journey.”
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
On Easter Sunday, millions of Christians worldwide mark the resurrection of Jesus. Though Christians clash over many issues, almost all agree that he existed.
But there is another view of Jesus that’s been emerging, one that strikes at the heart of the Easter story. A number of authors and scholars say Jesus never existed. Such assertions could have been ignored in an earlier age. But in the age of the Internet and self-publishing, these arguments have gained enough traction that some of the world’s leading New Testament scholars feel compelled to publicly take them on.
Most Jesus deniers are Internet kooks, says Bart D. Ehrman, a New Testament scholar who recently released a book devoted to the question called “Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.”
Your comments on Jesus deniers
He says Freke and others who deny Jesus’ existence are conspiracy theorists trying to sell books.
“There are people out there who don’t think the Holocaust happened, there wasn’t a lone JFK assassin and Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.,” Ehrman says. “Among them are people who don’t think Jesus existed.”
Does it matter if Jesus existed?
Some Jesus mythicists say many New Testament scholars are intellectual snobs.
“I don’t think I’m some Internet kook or Holocaust denier,” says Robert Price, a former Baptist pastor who argues in “Deconstructing Jesus” that a historical Jesus probably didn’t exist.
“They say I’m a bitter ex-fundamentalist. It’s pathetic to see this character assassination. That’s what people resort to when they don’t have solid arguments.”
The debate over Jesus’ existence has led to a curious role reversal. Two of the New Testament scholars who are leading the way arguing for Jesus’ existence have a reputation for attacking, not defending, traditional Christianity.
Ehrman, for example, is an agnostic who has written books that argue that virtually half of the New Testament is forged. Another defender of Jesus’ existence is John Dominic Crossan, a New Testament scholar who has been called a heretic because his books challenge some traditional Christian teachings.
But as to the existence of Jesus, Crossan says, he’s “certain.”
He says some Jesus deniers may be people who have a problem with Christianity.
“It’s a way of responding to something you don’t like,” Crossan says. “We can’t say that Obama doesn’t exist, but we can say that he’s not an American. If we’re talking about Obama in the future, there are people who might not only say he wasn’t American, but he didn’t even exist.”
Does it even matter if Jesus existed? Can’t people derive inspiration from his teachings whether he actually walked the Earth?
Crossan says Jesus’ existence matters in the same way that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s existence mattered.
If King never existed, people would say his ideas are lovely, but they could never work in the real world, Crossan says.
It’s the same with an historical Jesus, Crossan writes in his latest book, “The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus.”
“The power of Jesus’ historical life challenges his followers by proving at least one human being could cooperate fully with God. And if one, why not others? If some, why not all?”
The evidence against Jesus’ existence
Those who argue against Jesus’ existence make some of these points:
-The uncanny parallels between pagan stories in the ancient world and the stories of Jesus.
-No credible sources outside the Bible say Jesus existed.
-The Apostle Paul never referred to a historical Jesus.
Price, author of “Deconstructing Jesus,” says the first-century Western world was full of stories of a martyred hero who is called a son of God.
“There are ancient novels from that period where the hero is condemned to the cross and even crucified, but he escapes and survives it,” Price says. “That looks like Jesus.”
Those who argue for the existence of Jesus often cite two external biblical sources: the Jewish historian Josephus who wrote about Jesus at the end of the first century and the Roman historian Tacitus, who wrote about Jesus at the start of the second century.
But some scholars say Josephus’ passage was tampered with by later Christian authors. And Price says the two historians are not credible on Jesus.
“Josephus and Tacitus – they both thought Hercules was a true figure,” Price says. “Both of them spoke of Hercules as a figure that existed.”
Price concedes that there were plenty of mythical stories that were draped around historical figures like Caesar. But there’s plenty of secular documentation to show Caesar existed.
“Everything we read about Jesus in the gospels conforms to the mythic hero,” Price says. “There’s nothing left over that indicates that he was a real historical figure.”
Those who argue for the existence of Jesus cite another source: the testimony of the Apostle Paul and Jesus’ early disciples. Paul even writes in one New Testament passage about meeting James, the brother of Jesus.
These early disciples not only believed Jesus was real but were willing to die for him. People don’t die for myths, some biblical scholars say.
They will if the experience is powerful enough, says Richard Carrier, author of “Proving History.”
Carrier says it’s probable that Jesus never really existed and that early Christians experienced a mythic Jesus who came to them through visions and revelations.
Two of the most famous stories in the New Testament – the conversion of Paul and the stoning death of Stephen, one of the first Christian martyrs - show that people seized by religious visions are willing to die, Carrier says.
In both the Paul and Stephen stories, the writers say that they didn’t see an actual Jesus but a heavenly vision of Jesus, Carrier says.
People “can have powerful religious experiences that don’t correspond to reality,” Carrier says.
“The perfect model is Paul himself,” Carrier says. “He never met Jesus. Paul only had an encounter with this heavenly Jesus. Paul is completely converted by this religious experience, but no historical Jesus is needed for that to happen.”
As for the passage where Paul says he met James, Jesus’ brother, Carrier says:
“The problem with that is that all baptized Christians were considered brothers of the Lord.”
The evidence for Jesus’ existence
Some scholars who argue for the existence of Jesus says the New Testament mentions actual people and events that are substantiated by historical documents and archaeological discoveries.
Ehrman, author of “Did Jesus Exist?” scoffed at the notion that the ancient world was full of pagan stories about dying deities that rose again. Where’s the proof? he asks.
Ehrman devoted an entire section of his book to critiquing Freke, the mythicist and author of “The Jesus Mysteries: Was the ‘Original Jesus’ a Pagan God?” who says there was an ancient Osiris-Dionysus figure who shares uncanny parallels to Jesus.
He says Freke can’t offer any proof that an ancient Osiris figure was born on December 25, was crucified and rose again. He says Freke is citing 20th- and 19th-century writers who tossed out the same theories.
Ehrman says that when you read ancient stories about mythological figures like Hercules and Osiris, “there’s nothing about them dying and rising again.”
“He doesn’t know much about ancient history,” Ehrman says of Freke. “He’s not a scholar. All he knows is what he’s read in other conspiracy books.”
Craig A. Evans, the author of “Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence,” says the notion that Paul gave his life for a mythical Jesus is absurd.
He says the New Testament clearly shows that Paul was an early enemy of the Christian church who sought to stamp out the burgeoning Jesus movement.
“Don’t you think if you were in Paul’s shoes, you would have quickly discovered that there was no Jesus?” Evans asks. “If there was no Jesus, then how did the movement start?”
Evans also dismissed the notion that early Christians blended or adopted pagan myths to create their own mythical Jesus. He says the first Christians were Jews who despised everything about pagan culture.
“For a lot of Jewish people, the pagan world was disgusting,” Evans says. “I can’t imagine [the Gospel writer] Matthew making up a story where he is drawing parallels between Jesus’ birth and pagan stories about Zeus having sex with some fair maiden.”
The words of Jesus also offer proof that he actually existed, Evans says. A vivid personality practically bursts from the pages of the New Testament: He speaks in riddles, talks about camels squeezing through the eye of a needle, weeps openly and even loses his temper.
Evans says he is a man who is undeniably Jewish, a genius who understands his culture but also transcends his tradition with gem-like parables.
“Who but Jesus could tell the Parable of the Good Samaritan?” Evans says. “Where does this bolt of lightning come from? You don’t get this out of an Egyptian myth.”
Those who argue against the existence of Jesus say they aren’t trying to destroy people’s faith.
“I don’t have any desire to upset people,” says Freke. “I do have a passion for the truth. … I don’t think rational people in the 20th century can go down a road just on blind faith.”
Yet Easter was never just about rationale.
The Easter stories about the resurrection are strange: Disciples don’t recognize Jesus as they meet him on the road; he tells someone not to touch him; he eats fish in another.
In the Gospel of Matthew, a resurrected Jesus suddenly appears to a group of disciples and gives them this cryptic message:
“Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
And what did they see: a person, a pagan myth or a savior?
Albert Schweitzer, a 20th-century theologian and missionary, suggested that there will never be one answer to that question. He said that looking for Jesus in history is like looking down a well: You see only your own reflection.
The “real” Jesus, Schweitzer says, will remain “a stranger and an enigma,” someone who is always ahead of us.
The end, fuckers.
A great '80s song
...sorry to bother, but it's me again! Also, Napolean, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzche, voltaire, Bertand Russell, Sir Eddy Gibbon, et al all said that Jesus did not exist! Why should YOU?
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@mike: probably because god doesn't exist. people have prayed and nothing happens because it's not part of his plan, but you're told to pray to change things.
You have to be chosen to believe God. God draws us to him. Neither do he have respect of persons.
...Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine said that JESUS did NOT exist...so therefore, he did not EXIST!
...Thomas Jefferson and Paine said that JESUS did NOT exist...therefore, he did NOT exist!
LOL I do get writer's block at time when I'm fired. Have you ever heard of the term proofreading. You only embarrass yourself among truly neutral and intelligent people with your pathetic attacks.
Not "fired," but "fired up.". You can't even keep your own terms straight!. Either you don't understand what writer's block is or you don't understand what "fired up" is.,. But now that I've seen more of your opinions, writing issues aren't the problem you need to be focusing on, now.
I think the debate of Jesus is probably the oldest and most controversial debate ever, other than, Why are here to begin with?"
One thing I have always like about the gospels is their sheer simplicity. Theologians complicate religion to no end, but they are just a bunch egomaniacs if not downright megalomaniacs; there are exeptions. They need sheep, so they keep their followers sheep; it profits them.
The solution to real religion is really quite simple. It is not about going to church or being a member of a particular religious brand; that's for the sheep, i.e. the vast majority, most of whom have no right to even call themselves 'Christians', talk about taking the Name of the Lord in vain; they are just 'go to Sunday meeting' hypocrites'. When Jesus said "Let the dead bury their own dead," He was talking about the vast majority of people on the planet. True religion is not for the many, never has been, never will be. "Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life; and few there be who find it." True religion is what you live 24/7/365, not a label. Organized religion is just politics in religious garb. And they both have one thing in common; they are criminal organizations on a cosmic scale, they exploit the sheep; not an opinion, an indisputable fact! And that is true whatever brand of religious organization. All religions are branches of the same tree. Read your scriptures attentively; it's all there! The only God I know is the One inside of me at the core of my being; and the One in me is the same One in you. WAKE UP, PEOPLE! Dead people, sleeping people; it's all the same! They are here to feed the worms and bugs! Now that, my friends, is politically incorrect! What is political correctness? Political correctness is never tell the truth. If you do, you might get crucified, figuratively and in some places even literally. Who am I? Just a man!
Wake up and join the real world. It's funny that you used the world word sheep to describe religious people. I use that word when I refer to atheists. Atheists like you only make smart, independent minded people like me laugh. Atheists are also meant for the Republican Party, since they both have a similar limitation on their mental capacity
@ Jim V: I love your spirit, dude. I wish you well on your journey!
The Greatest witness of Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit which filled the apostles in Acts chapter 2. This same spirit dwells and lives in me..I received him by the same method of water baptism in Jesus' name. in which afterwards the Holy Spirit fell upon me in the manner in which Jesus describs in John chapter 7, verses 37-39... :) I long ofr othes to follow on in this experience with Him...There is a big difference in believing in Jesus without any experince and having expeirnced him in the manner described in the bible....
The Best Commentary on Religion of all time!!!
Believe in Jesus and live. Keep eating the fruit of ungodly wisdom and die.
Uh, sure. You'll die either way.
The flesh of a man die but not his spirit.
Uriah, other than because somebody said so (or wrote so), how do you claim to know that? What is that claim based upon? What exactly is a spirit, how is it observed, and how do you know exactly what this undefined invisible thing does after a person dies?
my claim..because i stopped breathing saw Jesus on a cloud then woke up(knowing i wasnt sleep) gasping for air then lived. If you choose to not believe it nothing i say can make you believe it.
So much for a god of love.
Would you love someone that doesnt obey?
Uriah , my cousen had a similar experiece only he was smoking some good pot and saw Jesus in a cloud off San Francisco Beach... he been a good christian for more than thirty years... Me? I got filled with the Holy Spirit in 1978, this according to Jesus' words in John 7 :37-39 .... I had a similar experience smoking some colombian in 1975 but I attributted that to the pot...perhaps that helped me turn to him in 1978... Who knows , only it's been fun sailing along in life with him since
I see God everyday; well most days. Wakes me up in the morning and gently fades off into a beautiful set every evening, only to rise again the next morning. Yes, my God is the sun – without it, there is no life. Besides stars there are many gods through out this universe and on this planet – people just aren't aware enough to recognise them.
Prayer changes things...
You make me laugh silly man. Atheism and the Tea Party philosophy are the two biggest mental impairments that have yet to be diagnosed as such. Intelligent Christians and Democrats are the best thinkers
Here's a case of "blind reason". I don't understand how any reputable author or scholar claiming the non existence of Jesus Christ could deny the very historical precedent of the Old Testament. The idea that a Savior that was to come in the meridian of time has been around for thousands of years prior to His birth. Why couldn't it be possible, that non Jewish civilizations could have picked up on similar stories and assimilated them for their own purposes?
Because, Charles, we can track the myths and their spread from a particular point in time and geography.. The Jesus was built on myths based on myths based on myths based on myths back to the first story told around a campfire to combat the loneliness of death.. If all myths originated with Jews, we'd know that very distinctly.. The historical record shows us that as myths move across time and cultures they pick up values and leave others behind.. The myths evolve as much as their principle characters and the ideals they perpetuate..
Momoya is an atheist believes in nothing, nothing matters – no such things as god, no right no wrong- just hum di dum and doodle do. La di da- of there's a dead squirel in the road, let pull over and eat it. Life is great. The Atheist. lol
Atheists "believe" in all sorts of things, just not one of the thousands of myths about god.. God believers cannot demonstrate logically why their belief is correct; thus, the proper response is disbelief in all of them.
Yes reject those gods! shame on them. now let us atheists go eat the bark off a tree, and then stand like inhuman zombies in the woods and say - hummmm hummmmm lol The Atheists – we are beleivers of nothing and proud of it! lol
How proud is your god of these sort of tactics, do you think?. Atheists only disbelieve in gods; they believe in all sorts of other things.
new, did your mother bounce you off a wall, or what? You are completely insane.
Fact: Jesus existed and Price is a stupid hothead who can't accept. His ridiculous accusation that Tacitus and Josephus believed are not reliable because they believed in Hercules is easy to counter. Tacitus criticized Jesus in his writing and . Josephus also was a Jew who did not believe in Hercules and was trying to write his history so Pagans of the Roman Empire would read it as well. Freedom of religion wasn't so accepted in the Roman Empire like it is here in the United States
Sorry for the improper grammar. I tend to have writer's block when I'm fired up.
If you were "all fired up," then you didn't have writer's block..
kjym since Jesus existed you neednin attack an athiest who doesn't believe or gives you reasons why they don't...
The Holy Spirit is the cure all for unbelief if you have that then you needn worry about unbelievers unbelief....
Christians are required only that they believe..there is no demand that athiests believe..so don't get upset with them... get upset with yourse fthat you can't reach them thought the many weapons God gave you...you ask What weaposn? :)
the weaposn that are mightty thought God to the pulliong down of strong holds casting down imaginations and every high thing thatexalts itself agasisnt rthe knowledge of God...c
Paul of Tarsus lied to convert people to the religion he founded. 1 Corinthians 9:20-23. "And so to the Jews I became as a Jew; that I might gain Jews ... to those without law I became as without law .... to the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to people of all sorts ...."
You speak in the language of absolute nonsense
Your statement is either a blatant lie or plainly ignorant of certain facts. Paul was already a Jew by blood, this is a fact. He was an honorary Roman citizen. Acts 21:39 Paul is a Jew
Acts 22:25 Paul is a Roman citizen
I'm just quoting Corinthians, which clearly says that Paul went around pretending to be what he was not, not just to the Jews but to others as well ... including the weak.
Including the weak? Shame, shame, shame.
I'm an atheist and I don't hate christians or any other religion. I just wish they would realise that it's a mental illness that can be corrected with medicine and facts and a bit of counseling. All will be well. And if the bible says it's the word of god, then surely Wheaties is the breakfast of Champions since it says so on the box.
Well I'm really glad one of the fastest growing populations in the US is atheists and non-religious people. I'm so fed up with the lies and ignorance religions breed and nurture.
Atheism itself is a mental disorder created by gutless people who can't accept the truth and run away from depression. Tacitus was a follower of the Roman belief that Hercules was a god and Josephus was Jewish and did not believe Hercules was real to that extent. It's one thing to write about Hercules to a Pagan audience in the Roman Empire and another to believe that he actually existed
This is a curious statement....religious zeal is a mental illness, let's think about this statement. How does "mental illness" benefit the survival of the human race? 95% of human beings on this planet have a "mental illness" according to your statement, as well as the atheistic belief system you subscribe, that should qualify the remaining 5% as some form of mental illness. If it is indeed as "mental illness" as you state, it seems that this mental illness benefits humanity, and has throughout history.
The definition of "mental illness" is about the most fluid definition of a society.. Certainly if most people claim to have a relationship with an invisible and undetectable being, they get very special treatment for mental disorder.. However, the popularity of a particular religious myth can allow for a subversion of this definition of delusion..
When 99% of aztecs believe that a young child's heart be ripped out in order for the sun to rise, that culture doesn't consider it insane to kill an innocent in the name of a non-proven deity.. Had a person in their culture gone around ripping out infant's hearts for some guy named "jesus" who he talked to as god, he'd have been deemed mentally incompetent.. The issue is the forgiveness a society allows to its dominant myth in being ridiculous and allowing for otherwise "mentally deficient" behavior.. We forgive it because we all want the connecting, comforting myth that defines our culture's place in the timeline.
But a box of Wheaties never claims to prove the validity of its words, whereas the Bible does, though prophecy, and then goes on to do just that by predicting to the day when the Messiah would enter Jerusalem and also predicting to the day when Israel's punishment would end (the day Israel became a nation again in 1948. The Bible also says that we are to test its words to see that they are true. It's not about blind faith. Atheism takes more blind faith, because you deny out of hand any possibility of the supernatural. You have constructed a tiny box of reality and refuse to consider anything outside that box. And yet atheists consider Christians narrow minded??? It is atheists who choose to stay in the Matrix rather than to wake up and see reality. Like Plato's Parable of the Cave, your reality is only the shadows cast on the wall of the cave. You cannot see the actual statues that cast the shadows, so they don't exist to you. But you can't even fathom the reality outside the cave in the sunlight. Atheists are to be pitied.
Hey Atheist, why don't you go some where, far away- stare at the sky for 46 hours, then croak, quietly. We don't you to disturb us. Joking of course- but hey why not make fun of the atheist? there's no right no wrong no god, no nothing just breath and walk around in a mindless trance- Atheism the 'who gives a hoot' religion lol
The bible is incorrect in its two creation accounts, the account of the flood, and the account of the Jews in Egypt.. The proof is in on those accounts and many more.. The bible is a myth, and does NOT represent an accurate account of any people, god, or supernatural realm.. There is no sense in believing in a being and realm who can't be proved..
The atheist does not deny the possibility of the supernatural, the atheist sees no need to believe in a state of existence that can't be proven.. When the supernatural can be defined and determined to exist, the atheist will follow that evidence to its conclusion.. I'd rather be honest with myself about there being no evidence for god than project my own ego as my god, as many christians do.. I do pity the believer who cannot help but use the same mechanism as the muslim and the hindu–faith.. Yet the believer can never say why faith should be relied upon for proper service to his god while it should not be relied upon for the service of anther man's god.
It's stupid to believe in a good god who commands you to love your enemies while frying his in a lake of fire for all eternity.. I mean, why can god make mathematics and chemistry so reliable and easy to discover, but every other person has a different idea of who god is and what he wants!??! He has to sacrifice himself to himself to appease himself because a rib woman was convinced by a talking snake to commit wrong before she knew what "wrong" meant so an invisible disease (sin) affected an invisible body part (sou) for all humanity.. God is a combination of myths who contradicts himself in the bible so many times that there's really not even a god to believe or disbelieve.. The character doesn't hold up as reality because of all its shifting desires and plans and mistakes and foibles from cover to cover.. If the god of the bible is just too stupid to be believed..
Hey, new, why don't you go somewhere that requires that all believe as you do. This country isn't it.
kjnm:"Atheism itself is a mental disorder created by gutless people who can't accept the truth and run away from depression. "
Wow, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Trust me, it is much "nicer" to believe that I get to spend more time with my deceased mother, family, and friends that it is to think I will never see them again. However, just because I wish it were that way, doesn't make it so. It isn't "hope," but an inability to face the truth. Choosing a non-theist approach is much harder, more cold. It is the harder decision. Seems to me like someone else is running from that depression.
Mental illness cannot truly be treated with medicine. The mentally ill are not suffering from a medicine defiency. They are suffering from being brainwashed by a culture saturated in lies. Religionists are like children who still believe in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Some, probably most, actually want to believe because the alternative, which to them is "atheism" is simply not palatable. This extreme, black and white kind of thinking is what has polarized humanity for centuries. Now, with our miracle drugs, we simply want to medicate the believers into oblivion and be done with it. Bad idea.
"voice of reason", you are lying. You do hate Christians, thogh maybe not for the reasons you profess. You and your cronies, such as momoya, are constantly on this blog about religion when you have faith in only yourselves with an agenda to go out of your way to ridicule and insult other people's beliefs. It all begs the question – why are you constantly on a blog about faith when you are a vacuum of faith....and I don't have any need for you to answer that question but please answer that question for yourself and open yourself up to the answers that might lead you to a different path than the unhappy one that you are on now.
Is this really what it comes down to?. Rather than offer up the slightest shred of evidence or rational argument, you ad hominem?. If you don't want to be ridiculed, then stop believing in stupid sh!t.. It's as simple as that.. But if you're going to believe in stuff like a god who can't manage to communicate himself as well as he communicates math, chemistry, and physics while he sacrifices himself to himself to appease himself so he doesn't have to do something to you he doesn't want to do–then recognize that it's a special deal you have and its going to earn you a little mocking..
You christians want to have your cake and eat it too, but it doesn't work that way.. You can't be a complete d!ckhead about how we can't prove your god doesn't exist and how obvious christianity is and then cry foul a few hours later because you realize you don't have any logic to stand on.. You want to mock in the name of your god, but you don't want to be mocked.. You want others to believe as you do based on faith, but you won't accept mountains and mountains of evidence that implies your belief is wrong.. You want to believe that somehow you were born in exactly the right time and place so that you would be properly trained by your community to worship god correctly, but you won't believe for a second that another person on the other side of the globe might have been born in exactly the right time and place so that he was properly trained by his community to worship god correctly..
You guys want all grace and no responsibility.. You've been excusing your god from being reasonable and just for so long that you now feel that everybody has to do the same for you.. But we won't.. Just because you forgive your god's stupidity and hate in order to get along doesn't mean that we have to forgive your stupidity and hate in order to get along.. It's all your own sh!t you folks complain about, but you think that because there's more of you that you can somehow fool everybody into thinking that the sh!t is actually ours.. Own up to it and deal with it.
Momoya – you've been here for a while and have seen plenty of logic, reason and arguments that satisfies almost all sane people so I won't rehash what you already know. But you can't seem to answer the basic question of why are you here on this blog? You are constantly here....you are someone that supposedly has no faith or belief in God but you are here on this religious blog constantly. Are you so full of hate that you need to constantly lash our at your "enemies"? Or are you still searching for a reason to believe in what your heart and soul know to be the truth? Please put down your hate. I don't hate you because I've been the "searcher" who was trying to justify with my mind what my heart was telling me....I won't lie, it took a while but it happened for me and can for you too. Don't give up or just dismiss your feelings as false. I believe in you but it's nothing like the love that God has for you.....I am admittedly very imperfect but His perfect love can & will change your life. I apologize if I've offend you with any of my earlier posts.
John, I know why I'm here, and it's stupid of you to as.sume that I am here for the reasons you want to be true.. When you attempt to change the subject to the reasons for atheists on this site, you miss out on an opportunity to show how your faith is correct.. Why do christians like you dodge your responsibility in favor of stupid issues that don't really matter?.
Why the change of heart so much of the time, John?. You guys come on here all fired up to show how smart you are and how correct is your faith, and fifteen minutes later you won't even acknowledge that you started the debate and you began the mudslinging from a position of ignorance and bigotry?. Do you have any idea how often I ignore hateful speech specifically directed at me, here?. Do you have any idea how many times I have ignored insult after insult after insult and continued to state my argument in a friendly, respectful manner–and never once brought up the fact that I was being quite gracious and forgiving in only responding clearly and without the hurtful tone directed at me?. I would say that at least half the posts I reply to express some level of disgust and arrogance, but rarely do I even make mention of the poor behavior..
Evading the issues and suddenly expressing the desire to "play nice" is all fine and good if you started with that att.itude, but not when you came storming in here like a Arizona razor-back on methamphetamine.. Especially after history shows us you'll probably do exactly the same thing next time you have a discussion with an atheist.. Again, you'll go roaring in there like your god has more proof than gravity, screaming about how stupid everybody is to not as.ses god exactly the same way you do, and having to backtrack under the "Let's All Get Along" banner as soon as you realize that.. "Oops, don't really have 'nuthin' but m' faith, I guess, and oops, it aint really that much differnt than the faith of the muslim or the hindu–since god is so incommunicable that all god believers have to use so much of it."
Aubrey, you make me laugh. Atheists are pathetic, gutless and mentally ill weenies who need to join the real world.
(Religious standing completely aside) I've just been skimming comments, so I can't speak for the entire 129 pages of back-and-forth. So if what I'm about to say doesn't apply to your previous comments, well, I'm sorry. But what I've noticed so far is that some of your comments have seemed to be the most dismissive and cruelest in terms of personal attack. I don't think your appeal to pity that "everyone here is mean and hateful towards me" is very strong when your contributions to this discussion have been ANYTHING but charitable, kind, or tolerant.
Stop calling people that believe differently than you "stupid" (your apparent go-to adjective). As you've probably noticed, attacks like that don't change beliefs.
OK momoya, I’ll play the silly game and address your issues as time permits. You say you know why you are here but fail to share it to prove my premise is incorrect.
I think my faith is indeed the correct faith but I have explored other faiths from both a logical and intuitive standpoint. My conclusions left me with the three main monotheistic religions of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Further study led me to Christianity but I can certainly understand why people chose either of the others because the fact that God exists is easy but everything after that is open for debate & interpretation to me. Sharing with you the why I think God exists is indeed my responsibility but I don’t really think you want to hear it because the propensities you’ve shown are ones dealing with hurling insults & accusations, attacking without logic, and acting the exact way that you accuse others of acting.
I have no change of heart on any position which is just another example of an accusation based on no logic. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. do come to this blog to comment on issues pertaining to their faith…not much of a shock since this is a blog about faith. I know that all atheists aren’t like you but all of your posts that I’ve seen have been attacking people that have “faith” while you have none (which goes back to my original comment of wondering why you are even on this blog unless you are just trolling). People of faith could indeed come on here and debate about the merits of articles or nuances of faith but I’ve never seen it happen because of constant attacks by atheists which has made allies of all the different religions (which is a positive of atheistic behavior on the site, thank you). I know that you have stated that you’ve stated your argument (again why you are picking an argument on a faith blog?) in a friendly, gracious, forgiving, respectful manner without the hurtful tone directed at you….I just have never seen it.
I’ve not tried to evade any issue but I may have….could you tell me what your issue is and I’ll try to address it if I can. I will concede that I don’t have all the answers (I’m not God) and I’m not an apologist (they may be able to answer your questions more fully – many sites to be found on google). But what I can’t do is try to explain why you see the splinter in everyone else’s (especially mine) eye but not the 2×4 in your own. And am I to assume that this last comment was friendly and gracious without the mocking and insults that I’ve seen in other posts…if so then I’ll have to concede again that I just don’t understand the definition of those words as you see them but try to fly the “Let’s All Get Along” banner I’ve been labeled with it (and I don’t mind that label, thanks).
CNN's anti-Christianity crusade continues, how shocking...
Oh, keep your panties on, big boy.. Almost 90% of people in the US are christian, and almost 95% are believers in god.. Every president has been christian, and there's not but a handful on-christians in all of Congress..
We atheists just laugh at your continued need for your binky, but momma society and daddy government WANT you to keep that thing all the way in your mouth at all times.. They're not taking it away from you anytime soon.. Stay distracted, satisfied, and suckling.
It's not an attack when you are just stating facts from history. People feel like they are under attack when they don't feel comfortable in their own religion.
Hello all you Saints and sinners.. you know who you are!!!
Every time I read an article like this, I thank God that He revealed Himself to me when I sought Him out, just as Jesus promised He would. I don't waste my time arguing about what happened in the past. Jesus is here with me now, revealing Himself to me in my spirit every day.
He will do the same for you if you want. But you know what it will mean.. you'll be changed forever, forsaking your sinful ways and living a righteous life. But don't be afraid to walk with God. God is good! He is lovely, and once you fall in love with God, you will enjoy and love righteousness, and despise your former sinful life.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest"
Jesus is everything you are looking for in life. Praise God and Bless you all.
Repent and ask Jesus to forgive your sin and give you a new heart with new desires. "In that day I will remember their sins no more" "I will be their God, and they will be my people" " I will write my laws on their hearts"
Praise God for Jesus Christ!!
Please see my response to your (non-)response below . . .
To claim that a perfect and loving omnipotent force uses threats of eternal torture is like claiming lasers only work if a guy in china is eating rice crispies with orange painted chopsticks. It's just too unintelligible to even be stupid.
ARTICLE: "The evidence against Jesus’ existence:
-The Apostle Paul never referred to a historical Jesus."
I've just gotta throw it out there that this seems to me to be the most damning aspect of the Mythicists' case. The fact that neither Paul nor the other epistle writers seemed to know anything about the (alleged) earthly ministry of Jesus lends considerable weight to the Mythicists' assertion that this (alleged) earthly ministry had not yet been "created" when the epistles were written, and was not "created" until the Gospels were written (years after the epistles were written).
Otherwise, what we're expected to believe is that these epistle writers (Paul & Co.) took on the mission of explaining and trying to convince their world why Jesus should be worshiped, and didn't think it was relevant to tell them, for example, that he was born of a virgin? Didn't think it was relevant to tell them that the Spirit came down from heaven at his baptism and announced "This is my beloved son"? Didn't think it was relevant to tell them that he walked on water? Didn't think it was relevant to tell them that he turned water to wine? Didn't think it was relevant to tell them that he fed thousands with scraps? Didn't think it was relevant to tell them that he healed many? Didn't think it was relevant to tell them that he raised Lazarus from the dead? Didn't think it was relevant to tell them ONE WORD of any of his (alleged) teachings or sermons?
I've heard no response from the Christian community which answers this gaping hole in the epistle writers' knowledge of their Savior - at least no answer which passes the smell test.
Just sayin' . . .
You should really take the time to read the New Testament, then you will see the absurdity of the claims of the skeptics. These people are just more haters, who have nothing better to do with their lives than try to tear down someone elses faith. The proofs against them are so overwhelming it exhausts me just to think of them.
Since you've taken the time to read the skeptics writings, can you say you've given an equal amount of effort to review the arguments on the other side? A good place to start is Josh Mc Dowells reference book "Evidence that demands a verdict" He was an atheist who set out to prove Christianity wrong, and ended up converted. Lee Strobels book series "The Case for..." is also good for those just beginning in Christian Apologetics.
If you haven't taken time to read the other side of the story, you need to ask yourself why. The probable answer has nothing to do with searching out truth, but it is a fear driven decision... you are afraid you may find that Christianity is indeed based on real history and fact, and you will be faced with the decision you are trying to avoid. To give your life to Christ or not.
Stop running, search for the truth honestly.
@ Bobs Friend
The Bible was first started in about 30 AD and completed around 40 AD ... and the Catholic church were the sole athorities for centuries. (it was illegal for it to be translated out of latin, and even the people allowed to interprete it were restricted)
once the lutherans broke away it open the door for other versions – and in the 19th century it was a free-for-all, anyone that didnt agree with the accepted versions made their own.
the only proof for Jesus is the bible...the only proof for the bible is... you guessed it, the bible.... and its all based on Judaism, which borrowed heavily from the babylonian and egyptian Patheons – a game of Oneupsmanship designed to maintain control over their tribes. That is historical fact.
@ Bobs Friend:
1) Let me start by saying that nothing you've said addresses the point (of the Mythicists) that I raised. This is typical of the responses I get when I broach this subject. I guess I could put those typical responses into three groups: 1) "Mythicists are just haters"; 2) "Look at all the other stuff that proves Jesus existed"; 3) "Paul & Co. just didn't think any of that stuff (virgin birth, miracles, teachings, etc.) were important." Your response exemplifies #1 & #2 nicely. Congrats.
2) If, after addressing number 1 above, you'd like to compare resumés, let's (but if you don't have at least a Masters of Divinity degree, you might want to "stay on the porch").
Big Art, I come from a heavy orthodox Roman Cath background. I totally understand your irritation with people like Bobs Friend. Those apologists try to use 'faith' as 'proof'. That's oxy-moronic. The very definition of 'faith', means it can't be used as 'proof'.
I ain't an RC or Christian anymore. Haven't been for many years. I agree with a lot of what you Mythicists say. The voids and contradictions are everywhere in the NT. I do believe there was a historical Jesus however. I just think His message got perverted or twisted, within the oral tradition, before it was written down. As you mentioned, Paul wrote down his letters, before he ever read anything about the historical Jesus.
I think all the myth and "add-on" to the historical Jesus, stems from two major and ancient thinking processes of mankind. Way before Jesus, all cultures believed you connect to God, via "asceticism" and "supernaturally dispensed religion or sacred scripture".
To me, the real historical Jesus, came to say, you don't need to be ascetic or religious, to connect with God!? Now Jesus didn't really knock asceticism or even religion, but if you're going to go that route, then believe it at 100%! Be ye hot, (like John the Baptist)!?
The Buddha, who lived way before Jesus and Paul and JB, started out as an ascetic. Paul had a psychotic experience and became an ascetic. All RC saints are viewed as ascetic in some form or another.
To me that's what is missing in interpreting or reading between the lines, in the historical-critical synoptic gospels and Jesus!? Simply put, Jesus was "not" an ascetic. He came eating and drinking, and didn't fast at the feast, etc. etc. Early on in the Gospels, He juxtaposes Himself against JB. The historical Jesus wasn't "religious" either. He talked about destroying the temple/church and He was always bad mouthing that fig bush. He would bad mouth the Hebrew clerics at large, (Pharisee and Sadducee). Apparently He diminished scripture and the prophets too?! He told people not to think that He came to "destroy" everything that had come before; but rather to fulfill!? Mankind was not made for the Sabbath...etc.
Again, I think the historical or real Jesus, came to say you can connect and know God, without asceticism and religion. Nobody had ever done that before. That's why He became known as the Christ. He was very different, and very special!?
Big Art, just as you mentioned, a huge part of the New Testament is probably myth, or a major alteration in what He really said. The authors of the gospels, 70 years out, tried to make Him conform to previous sacred scriptures, and traditional asceticism.
Now, that He was a total myth, like a Paul Bunyan or Thor, etc; I don't believe that. To me, there was most definitely a Jesus of Galilee.
Big Art: I understand that you'd like me to get into apologetics, which I spent many years early in my journey to faith doing. I guess I'm just bored with it all; the facts are out there for people to find. I find critics of Christ to reserve their hypercriticism for Christ alone, they apply these kind of standards to no other field of endeavor. I know, because I used to be one of them.
But then I did what the Bible calls all men to do: Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, repent and believe.
I was blessed repeatedly with the prescence of God, and I know you don't believe it. But it is a gift available to all of Gods children.
However, not all people are destined to come to faith. You may indeed be one of those people destined to shake your arrogant fist at God forever. That is your decision. I pray for you, because I know for a certainty that God is, His Son is Jesus Christ, and He paid for all of my sins on the Cross.
As we see in the Gospels, even people who saw blind men healed, refused to believe what was right in front of their eyes. I suspect no proof will convince you. If there is a proof, God knows what that is and I pray that he provides it for you.
God Bless you.
Bob's Friend, I suspect that if you were raised in the Middle East you'd be using very similar arguments for Allah and his will instead of the god you currently worship.. Why is god such a horrible communicator about himself when math and chemistry are obvious and lead to greater understanding?. Why must believers of all different gods agree on math?
Oh the Atheists, woop di do- no god no right no wrong- no nothing just– blah blah blah, because nothing matters anyway. oh someone, is sick – let me make then into an end table – why not nothing matters, hey who's to say a end table isn't more important than a person? Who made that rule anyway? The Atheists
new, did you fall on your head? Your posts are incredibly stupid. Really, dear, get some help. You sound as if you're suffering from FAS.
I thank you, once again, for you (non-)response to the Mythicist challenge to your position. And though you enjoin us all to "Stop running, search for the truth honestly," you are running away under the cover of "Oh, this responding to challenges to my position stuff is just so boring." Can't say I really blame you though. If what I believed was based on a myth that tries to appear historical, I'd probably run too.
"Peace 2 U!"
@ Jim V:
I tried to post this down here, but it ended up posting above by Carlin . . . but just wanted to say that I love your spirit. I wish you well on your journey!
@ Big Art –
Why are you & "Masters of Divinity" degree here on this religious blog if you aren't searching for your way back to God? I think that you have found that, in your case, you aren't going to be able to cognitively make that leap back to God that your intuition is telling you is right. I fervently hope that you can find some peace from your pain (which is why you are here) and I think you know where you can find it.....just do it.
"Peace 4 U!"
John, stop deflecting unless you're ready to admit that it's the only thing you can do because you don't have a single, solitary, reason to believe in your desert-war god.. Prove something already.
Matt in NM, Big Art and Jim V, the proof of Jesus' historical existence is through many Pagan historians too. There writings are all over the internet You all should quit spewing pathetic and actually do neutral research in an adult manner. You all belong in the mentally ill Republican Party
Look what you made me do. I got so riled about by your pathetic comments that I typed NM instead of NW. Republicans and Atheists were meant for each other, because they're so self-centered, dimwitted and share the fact that they have limited mental capacities.
@ new, @ John, & @ kjnm:
Allow me to refresh your memories on my response to Bobs Friend's (non-)response above:
Yes, new, I may be an Atheist to whom nothing matters, but try addressing the point.
Yes, John, I may be in agony over my separation from God, but try addressing the point.
Yes, kjmn, I may be a pathetic, mentally ill, dimwitted, self-centered Republican, but TRY ADDRESSING THE FRICKIN' POINT!
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