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Featured Is Christ Myth Theory Credible?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by steveb1, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    You also still haven't offered any reason why someone, for some unknown reason would invent the worst messiah ever even though they had a blank slate and could make any kind of messiah they wanted to.

    Who do you think invented Jesus? Why did they invent him? Why aren't there any other historical examples of religious becoming "popular" within the same generation of the lives of their completely fictitious founder? Why did he come from Nazareth? Why was his only link to David through Joseph who wasn't even his father?Why did he need to be baptised and have his sins washed away? Why was he wrong about the eschaton? Why was he crucified and thus cursed according to Judaic scripture? Why was he dead when the messiah was supposed to be alive?

    Modern studies (for example Leon Festinger) have shown that people with strong beliefs usually don't lose them when the reality proves them wrong, instead they get more convinced and create a reason why they are still right.

    Beyond 'no contemporary evidence', can you offer an explanation that better explains the evidence we do have than he was a historical person who gained mythical characteristics after his death?

    Is there any other person in history you can think of who people assume didn't exist even though multiple near-contemporary sources believe he existed and even refer to his living brother?

    An argument from silence is only valid when we would expect sources to have existed.

    There seem to be 3 broad approaches to the historical Jesus:

    a) Treat Jesus as a special case with a pro-Christian bias towards the sources
    b) Treat Jesus as a special case with a mythicist bias
    c) Treat him how we would treat any other purported historical figure or event

    a) tends to be the reserve of Christians
    b) is mostly people who see religions as some kind of conspiracy to control and manipulate people or at least have a strong anti-religious animus. As such Christianity can be presented, not just as false, but as devious and mendacious from the start.
    c) tends to be the position adopted by historians from across the belief spectrum, and seems to me to be the most logical approach

    Paul, Mark, Tacitus, Josephus all offer evidence for communities of Christians living across quite a broad geographic area.

    Anthropologists generally believe a (relatively) rapid spread would assume a central figure, rather than a phantom.

    Large enough that multiple sources noted their existence though.

    Tacitus, as a senator and official overseeing religious movements, as well as a noted historian, likely had access to Roman records if he wanted to check them.

    There's no 'clincher' for most people and events in the ancient world. That's why it is a question of probabilities.

    Why do you think 'no clincher' resets probabilities to 50/50.

    We don't assume half of ancient historical figures never existed, we assume they did unless there is good reason to doubt their existence.

    Not at all. Given the evidence it would be quite remarkable if he was a myth; completely unprecedented even.

    Can you think of a remotely comparable scenario in human history?

    One side has numerous points that make it highly probable a man existed, the other side has a very weak argument from silence based around special pleading.

    Even look at other new belief systems at the time, they all tried to burnish their ancient credentials as the Romans were hostile towards innovation (Roman Mithraism appropriated the ancient credentials of Persian for example) and that's why Christianity was less tolerated than Judaism.

    Mythicists believe that Christians invented the most modern religion possible, and, for some completely unknown reason that they make no attempt to explain, invented a dead messiah so utterly lacking in messianic qualities that they ensured rejection by almost all Jews. Because the faith was primarily adopted by gentiles it had no claim to antiquity.

    I'd say its main problem is that it offers no overall explanation that better explains the evidence we do have.

    It would probably be somewhat of a letdown as it would tell of a local preacher who was wrong about stuff then got himself killed :D
     
  2. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    The question wouldn't be the quality of the original story. The question would be, why would that story, regardless of its quality, prove popular? Its original form seems to have involved an ordinary human who found favor with the current God to such an extent that at his death he was not only resurrected but exalted to the rank of a heavenly being. Mark's version is along those lines except that he's exalted at his baptism, not at his resurrection,
    Who invented Enlil, Hekate, Ptah, Ahura Mazda, Zeus, the Great Spirit, the Rainbow Serpent, Ranginui, Krishna? Why?
    Elvis?
    Mark's Jesus expressly wasn't descended from David.
    Because he began as Mark's ordinary Jew.
    In what sense? I mean, everyone's been wrong about the eschaton one way or another.
    All those questions are just as weird about a real Jesus as about a fictional one.
    We're still only arguing probabilities. You insist that I agree your view is extremely probable. It isn't. There's no clincher. Until there's a clincher, I'm satisfied that Paul and the gospels are explicable without an historical Jesus, starting with their being about about a fictitious person.

    So unless you see some prospect of agreeing that neither side has a clincher, and without one a legendary Jesus is a live possibility, I'm not sure this conversation is going to go anywhere.
     
    #202 blü 2, Aug 23, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
  3. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    Except that these followers' connection to Jesus is through Paul, who never met Jesus in person.
     
  4. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    Paul seems to have taken over something like the way
    Brigham Young took over from Joseph Smith.

    I think both men were completely phony opportunists.

    Not to godwin myself, but Hitler was a very ordinary
    sort of person. Banal. Certainly no intellectual
    nor original in any way.

    The circumstances of his time were what made him.

    I see "Jesus" as being comparable in those regards, an
    ordinary man, made extraordinary only by the times.

    All the rhetorical flourishes of "why" this and why that
    If he was not god are covered under that way
    of understanding his role.

    For those who want to believe differently, well, they
    are believers. Singers sing, believers believe things.

    Introducing magic as an explanation for all that
    happened entertains only the "believers".

    .
     
  5. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson ζει

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    @steveb1

    In your OP, you posed two questions:
    I answered the first question with this:
    I didn't answer the second question; however, for the record, I will now: No,
    • I seriously doubt that there's a possibility, much less a probabilty, that I would be a Christian today if Christ had never lived on the earth on the earth "in the flesh".
    • And, although I believe and have, at one time or another, believed some remarkably odd things, I am hard-pressed to even consider thinking of "revering" a wholly non-material Christ who never lived on earth "in the flesh".
    • Moreover, because I believe what I believe now because certain very important people in my past believed in a historical Jesus, there's a 100% probability that I wouldn't be Terry Sampson today without their belief in a historical Jesus; I'd be John Sterling Mayfield. And take my word for it: I'm quite happy that I'm Terry and not John.
    That said, later in this thread, firedragon and I discussed the possibility that
    would remain in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism.

    Personally, I don't think that could, much less would, be true. firedragon disagreed. Our disagreement led me to wonder what traditional proponents of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism would say: i.e. whether they would agree or not that the fundamental or central scriptural teaching of their separate theologies would remain if their separate "important persons" were not historical., "in the flesh" persons.

    That brings me to the purpose of this post to you: I don't have access to the Buddhism DIR, so I can't ask my question there. Do you have access to the Buddhism DIR? If so, would you post the question there?

    Here's my current version of the question I have in mind: "Would the fundamental or central scriptural teaching of Buddhism remain the same if there never was an historical, "in the flesh" Siddhartha Gautama. To be clear: The question does not ask how Buddhists would "feel" about a non-existent Siddhartha.
     
    #205 Terry Sampson, Aug 23, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
  6. firedragon

    firedragon Well-Known Member

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    Survive?

    Apologies brother. I withdraw from this conversation. Cheers.
     
  7. Muffled

    Muffled Jesus in me

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    I have no idea what you are talking about. I believe there are no myths in the Bible.
     
  8. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    You really should study it some day.
     
  9. susanblange

    susanblange Active Member

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    The myths in the Bible are called parables. Two of them are The Vineyard Isaiah 5, and the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden. It will be the parable at the Messiah's trial and it pretty much sums up the Bible. Psalm 49:4, Psalm 78:2.
     
  10. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Some of the early Churches were founded by Paul, but unless we believe that Paul invented Jesus (which given his actions seems very unlikely) there were others evangelising too, including Jesus' brother.
     
  11. Desert Snake

    Desert Snake ️️️️️️️️️️

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    Matthew 1:1
    Wheres your verse for your argument
     
  12. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    If you mean Mark's Jesus' not being descended from David, 12:35-37.

    Otherwise, what part of my argument?
     
  13. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    But how many of those "numerous" independent sources you mentioned can be traced back to Paul and not them?

    The only one I know of is Josephus (the "James the brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ" reference). Do you have any others that can't be ultimately traced back to Paul?
     
  14. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    The only ones we know are traceable back to Paul are (some of) his Epistles.

    With others we just don't know.
     
  15. Desert Snake

    Desert Snake ️️️️️️️️️️

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    Matthew 22:37-46
     
  16. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Still no sign of Jesus saying "I am God", Still at least 17 examples of Jesus saying "I'm not God" and at least two of Paul saying Jesus isn't God.
     
  17. Desert Snake

    Desert Snake ️️️️️️️️️️

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    Not really.
    John 10:17-18
    'Myself raise'[Jesus , ['all power to do that ' John 10:18

    Romans 10:9
    God raised Jesus

    God is Jesus.
     
  18. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    If that's what you want ─ God to be Jesus ─ then I'm sure God will oblige.

    Just don't claim the NT agrees with you:

    As Paul says:

    1 Corinthians 8: 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ [...]

    Philippians 2:11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    As whoever wrote 1 Timothy says:

    2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

    As the author of Mark says:

    12: 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one;” ... 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he;
    As the Jesus of the author of Matthew says:

    20:23 “to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

    24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
    As the Jesus of the author of Luke says:

    18:19 “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.”​

    And as the Jesus of the author of John says:

    John 8:42 “I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.”

    John 10:29My Father [...] is greater than all”.

    John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”

    John 20:17 “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
    and that's by no means all, but it'll give you the idea.
     
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  19. Desert Snake

    Desert Snake ️️️️️️️️️️

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    Yes I know some of these verses. And others. However if you allow what is probably translation and interpretation, and even if you must, false scripture to tell you what's truth about religion, then you will have no religion.
     
  20. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Then you know they flatly contradict your claim that Jesus is God. But as I said, that doesn't prevent you from believing what you like, just from claiming the NT agrees.
    Fear not: although my Latin is better, I can read koine Greek. Choose any of those verses I quoted that you relevantly say is a mistranslation and we can go through it.
    And which of those passages I quoted above is 'false scripture', do you say?
    This isn't about supporting any religion, simply about what the NT says. If in the NT Jesus had said, "The one God exists as three persons and one substance" then I'd be happy to agree that that's what the NT says. But it doesn't. And one reason it doesn't, as doubtless you know from the history of the early church, is that the Trinity doctrine didn't exist until the 4th century CE.
     
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