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Why People Doubt Jesus Existed

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Oberon, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. footprints

    footprints Well-Known Member

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    Why people doubt Jesus existed.

    You left out the main one, because they can. This is what their intelligence has given them, when they have related and associated to all their knowledge, gained from their life experience. It is the perception they have been left with.

    I put it this way; Deny the person if you will, but don't deny the teachings.
     
  2. Dirty Penguin

    Dirty Penguin Master Of Ceremony

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    Agreed....:clap
     
  3. Dirty Penguin

    Dirty Penguin Master Of Ceremony

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    I think I see your point here. I can pretty much agree....

    Assuming those were his teachings though. I see nothing of his "reported" teachings to be that much different or noteworthy than those who came before him.
     
  4. Oberon

    Oberon Well-Known Member

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    Actually, not only are the vast majority of the books on a mythical jesus not even written by scholars of any sort (like Doherty or Freke and Gandy) but those that ARE written by scholars in some area (even if it is German studies, as with Wells) are not works of scholarship. In other words, when looking at actual scholarship surrounding the historical Jesus (meaning books or monographs by published by an academic press, or peer-reviewed journals), you just can't find the "jesus myth" theories. They aren't scholarship, they are popular books written for the public, who are often not in a good position to evaluate the claims.
     
  5. angellous_evangellous

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    Yep.

    That would mean actual work rather than just making stuff up.
     
  6. dogsgod

    dogsgod Well-Known Member

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    Doubts about the existence of an historical Jesus are nothing new. We can read of doubts in The Bible about an historical existence of Jesus in the book of 2 John, written late in the 1st century or early 2nd century.


    John 2 tells of many preaching about Jesus Christ at the time but not considering him as having existed in flesh and blood:

    2 John 1:
    7 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. 11Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.
    1 John is much the same:



    1 John 4:
    1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
     
  7. angellous_evangellous

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    Ever hear of gnosticism(s)?

    These verses do not demonstrate that people denied that Jesus existed, but that he existed in the flesh. The gnostics believed that Jesus only existed in spirit.
     
    #27 angellous_evangellous, Mar 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2010
  8. Oberon

    Oberon Well-Known Member

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    Funny to see my words written by another. Dogsgod already tried to quote those lines as evidence, and I already pointed out there relationship with docetism. None so blind as those that will not see.
     
  9. angellous_evangellous

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    Oh, I didn't see that. :biglaugh:
     
  10. dogsgod

    dogsgod Well-Known Member

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    Did you read what I posted? John 2 tells of many preaching about Jesus Christ at the time but not considering him as having existed in flesh and blood.
     
  11. dogsgod

    dogsgod Well-Known Member

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    John 1 and 2 demonstrate that there were those that preached of a Jesus Christ, but at the same time did not believe he was an historical Jesus. I can provide a variety of beliefs of what Christ was prior to the adoption of Catholicism by the Roman Empire in the 4th century, but this discussion is becoming a waste of time.
     
  12. Oberon

    Oberon Well-Known Member

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    There is a big difference between saying that Jesus only appeared human (i.e. did not actually exist as flesh and blood, but only appeared to have flesh and blood) and saying that Jesus was merely a spiritual being who never walked on earth. The docetics didn't believe in the kind of mythical Jesus you argue for (i.e. one who never existed, but was some divinity like Osiris or Zeus who was later "historicized" in the gospels). They believed that Jesus was there on earth at a particular time and place just like the authors of gospels, the church fathers, etc. The difference was whether he was there as fully human, or only in the appearance of flesh.
     
  13. angellous_evangellous

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    *drools on shirt*
     
  14. Oberon

    Oberon Well-Known Member

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    If only you were familiar with gnostic currents within early christianity. Again, there is a difference between a belief that Jesus never came to earth and was no different for some christians than Zeus, Osiris, etc, were for pagans. Unfortunately for you, that was not the case. Those addressed in in John 1 and 2 believed that Jesus was on earth, doing the same things that Mark, Matthew, Luke, John, and so forth describe. The difference was that they believed he only appeared to be flesh and blood. The fact that they believed he wasn't flesh and blood does not mean they didn't believe he wasn't a historical figure who came to earth preaching and teaching.

    Except you lack an understanding of the diversity of beliefs in early christianity. So you really can't.

    Given that you are unfamiliar with many essential aspects of historical Jesus research, and your faith in a mythical christ rivals the most literalist christian, yes, any discussion of the historicity of Jesus with you is a waste of time (at least as far as your viewpoint is concerned).
     
  15. Quagmire

    Quagmire Imaginary talking monkey
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    Religion:
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    Unfortunately, the people who need to read it the most probably wont. :p

    I think a lot of it is an after-effect of the whole guilt-by-reason-of-existence doctrine of Original sin that everyone in western society has been repeatedly exposed to and that most of us have been directly indoctrinated into from birth.

    It's a powerful message that generates all kinds of detrimental subconscious programing that, unfortunately, doesn't go away just because we've rejected the theology;

    Someone who's consciously walked away from the church may still be operating subconsciously under the impression that "the world is a battle ground between invisible forces vying for my soul and, for all intents and purposes, I've already lost by being born". It doesn't make for a peaceful inner-existence.

    It isn't surprising then that once most of us reach an age where we can think for ourselves we go out looking for a way to nullify the effects of that programing.

    The idea that Jesus never existed is the Holy Grail of nullifiers: If Jesus never existed than obviously the whole thing is a lie. Case closed.

    It's an easy fix, and it's a hard thing for people to let go of, even in the face of the evidence.

    Because they guy with the BA is telling him what he wants to hear.


    Because it's what they don't want to hear.

    It's just another easy answer.
     
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  16. footprints

    footprints Well-Known Member

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    Does it really matter if there was a Jesus? Certainly the evidence is there as to the validy of the teachings, irrespective of who created them. This knowledge was brought to life and credited to Jesus. In respect of those who passed on this knowledge, I too accredit this knowledge to Jesus. It is the knowledge which counts, not who is credited for it. The teachings of Jesus may have the same effect as other paths before him and after him, albeit his methods were decisively different, quicker, but just as effective.

    Any path of enlightenment is equally valid. One does not take away from the credit of the other, but enhances it, supports it and gives the other credit. It is the scientific method, and all who conduct the same experiment will find the same resultant as many have done and testify to. It is only those who have not put this to the test themselves or gave it a half hearted effort, who live in denial of them.
     
  17. dogsgod

    dogsgod Well-Known Member

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    What is a lie? If the Jesus of early Christianity was a personification of an ideal savior or mythical being of whom earthly events were later attached, or it all literally happened exactly as The Bible says, or somewhere in between, what difference does it make? It was not a lie to the Christians Origen writes of that denied Jesus was born to Mary:


    Marcion, I suppose, took sound words in a wrong sense, when he rejected His birth from Mary, and declared that as to His divine nature He was not born of Mary, and hence made bold to delete from the Gospel the passages which have this effect. And a like fate seems to have overtaken those who make away with His humanity and receive His deity alone; and also those opposites of these who cancel His deity and confess Him as a man to be a holy man, and the most righteous of all men.
    - Commentary on the Gospel of John (Book X); Origen, 3rd century



    I don't understand your argument, the mythology is all there whether Jesus is viewed as historical or not.
     
  18. Quagmire

    Quagmire Imaginary talking monkey
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    I'm guessing we don't get many Marcionians here.


    The point is the mythology loses any credibility it had as anything other than mythology if Jesus never existed.
     
  19. Agnostic75

    Agnostic75 Well-Known Member

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    I think that it a good thing for people to discuss the historical Jesus issue on occasion, but I hope that not too much is being taken away from debating general apologectics, which assumes that a historical Jesus existed.

    I am undecided regarding the existence of a historical Jesus.
     
  20. SkinnyCheruscian

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    I do not quite understand the development of the discussion with respect to the first question: Why people doubt that Jesus existed?

    The answer is quite clear. From a modern understanding of history, multiple lines of evidence are needed but are lacking: The canonical gospels are not independent of each other, and the testimonium Flavium in the available form is clearly a forgery (he possibly mentioned Jesus, but certainly not in the positive tone of the present text).

    In any case, the above scarcity of sources means a lack of positive evidence, which is different from a proof that Jesus did not exist. I am not sure how such a proof should look like: An ancient document listing things that did not exist at the time of its writing?

    As far as I know, the doubts about the historicity of Jesus were stronger some time ago, say 50 years. According to my layman knowledge, most today historians seem to think that Jesus probably existed. Whether he had much in common with the person described in the gospels is another question.
     
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