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Jesus - Did he exist?

GUEST,Mojoman 14 Nov 03 - 02:24 PM
Clinton Hammond 14 Nov 03 - 02:27 PM
sapper_82 14 Nov 03 - 02:31 PM
akenaton 14 Nov 03 - 02:55 PM
Big Tim 14 Nov 03 - 02:58 PM
GUEST 14 Nov 03 - 03:00 PM
Amergin 14 Nov 03 - 03:19 PM
Strick 14 Nov 03 - 03:21 PM
Mickey191 14 Nov 03 - 03:30 PM
Mrrzy 14 Nov 03 - 03:36 PM
Peace 14 Nov 03 - 03:38 PM
Bill D 14 Nov 03 - 04:09 PM
Amergin 14 Nov 03 - 04:16 PM
Bobert 14 Nov 03 - 04:31 PM
Uncle_DaveO 14 Nov 03 - 04:31 PM
fat B****rd 14 Nov 03 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 14 Nov 03 - 05:21 PM
TheBigPinkLad 14 Nov 03 - 05:36 PM
Wesley S 14 Nov 03 - 05:37 PM
Don Firth 14 Nov 03 - 05:44 PM
Nerd 14 Nov 03 - 06:01 PM
TheBigPinkLad 14 Nov 03 - 06:10 PM
Rapparee 14 Nov 03 - 06:31 PM
Clinton Hammond 14 Nov 03 - 06:34 PM
mack/misophist 14 Nov 03 - 06:39 PM
TheBigPinkLad 14 Nov 03 - 06:44 PM
Peace 14 Nov 03 - 06:53 PM
Ebbie 14 Nov 03 - 07:08 PM
Bill D 14 Nov 03 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,Clint Keller 14 Nov 03 - 08:12 PM
Rapparee 14 Nov 03 - 08:25 PM
Clinton Hammond 14 Nov 03 - 08:30 PM
Ebbie 14 Nov 03 - 08:32 PM
beadie 14 Nov 03 - 08:37 PM
Little Hawk 14 Nov 03 - 08:47 PM
Rapparee 14 Nov 03 - 09:01 PM
Little Hawk 14 Nov 03 - 09:07 PM
Peace 14 Nov 03 - 09:15 PM
Bill D 14 Nov 03 - 09:23 PM
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John Hardly 14 Nov 03 - 10:14 PM
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Kent Davis 15 Nov 03 - 12:13 AM
Gurney 15 Nov 03 - 06:23 AM
ard mhacha 15 Nov 03 - 06:37 AM
Tam the Bam (Nutter) 15 Nov 03 - 08:08 AM
Uncle_DaveO 15 Nov 03 - 09:00 AM
Rapparee 15 Nov 03 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,mojoman 15 Nov 03 - 09:53 AM
EBarnacle 15 Nov 03 - 09:57 AM
Rapparee 15 Nov 03 - 10:07 AM
Uncle_DaveO 15 Nov 03 - 10:13 AM
Rapparee 15 Nov 03 - 10:19 AM
GUEST 15 Nov 03 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,A casual observor... 15 Nov 03 - 11:39 AM
Bill D 15 Nov 03 - 12:03 PM
Little Hawk 15 Nov 03 - 12:05 PM
John Hardly 15 Nov 03 - 12:23 PM
Mickey191 15 Nov 03 - 01:13 PM
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alanabit 15 Nov 03 - 02:02 PM
GUEST,Mojoman 15 Nov 03 - 02:24 PM
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Little Hawk 16 Nov 03 - 07:19 AM
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Rapparee 16 Nov 03 - 10:51 AM
John Hardly 16 Nov 03 - 11:04 AM
GUEST 16 Nov 03 - 11:32 AM
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GUEST 16 Nov 03 - 11:55 AM
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GUEST 16 Nov 03 - 12:09 PM
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GUEST 16 Nov 03 - 12:21 PM
John Hardly 16 Nov 03 - 12:25 PM
Rapparee 16 Nov 03 - 12:26 PM
GUEST 16 Nov 03 - 12:47 PM
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Peace 16 Nov 03 - 02:09 PM
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Uncle_DaveO 16 Nov 03 - 02:41 PM
GUEST 16 Nov 03 - 02:51 PM
GUEST 16 Nov 03 - 02:55 PM
John Hardly 16 Nov 03 - 03:09 PM
Clinton Hammond 16 Nov 03 - 03:17 PM
Ebbie 16 Nov 03 - 03:23 PM
Peace 16 Nov 03 - 03:28 PM
akenaton 16 Nov 03 - 03:48 PM
GUEST 16 Nov 03 - 04:02 PM
Peace 16 Nov 03 - 04:12 PM
Clinton Hammond 16 Nov 03 - 04:25 PM
Peace 16 Nov 03 - 04:32 PM
akenaton 16 Nov 03 - 04:50 PM
Peace 16 Nov 03 - 05:03 PM
Rapparee 16 Nov 03 - 07:27 PM
GUEST 16 Nov 03 - 08:14 PM
Rapparee 16 Nov 03 - 09:11 PM
Peace 16 Nov 03 - 11:18 PM
GUEST 17 Nov 03 - 01:09 AM
Rapparee 17 Nov 03 - 08:13 AM
Cobble 17 Nov 03 - 09:11 AM
Dave Bryant 17 Nov 03 - 09:56 AM
Peace 17 Nov 03 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,Sttaw Legend 17 Nov 03 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 17 Nov 03 - 10:46 AM
Peace 17 Nov 03 - 10:46 AM
Peace 17 Nov 03 - 10:49 AM
Little Hawk 17 Nov 03 - 11:08 AM
Wolfgang 17 Nov 03 - 11:15 AM
Little Hawk 17 Nov 03 - 11:27 AM
Peace 17 Nov 03 - 12:05 PM
wysiwyg 17 Nov 03 - 12:14 PM
GUEST 17 Nov 03 - 12:29 PM
Little Hawk 17 Nov 03 - 12:54 PM
Nerd 17 Nov 03 - 02:14 PM
GUEST 17 Nov 03 - 02:34 PM
GUEST 17 Nov 03 - 02:37 PM
Don Firth 17 Nov 03 - 02:56 PM
Peace 17 Nov 03 - 03:33 PM
TheBigPinkLad 17 Nov 03 - 04:03 PM
Peace 17 Nov 03 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 17 Nov 03 - 06:00 PM
Peace 17 Nov 03 - 07:14 PM
Rapparee 17 Nov 03 - 08:54 PM
Peace 17 Nov 03 - 09:18 PM
Rapparee 17 Nov 03 - 09:38 PM
Peace 17 Nov 03 - 10:32 PM
Little Hawk 18 Nov 03 - 12:49 AM
Rapparee 18 Nov 03 - 09:45 AM
Uncle_DaveO 18 Nov 03 - 10:28 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 18 Nov 03 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 18 Nov 03 - 12:17 PM
Peace 18 Nov 03 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 18 Nov 03 - 05:53 PM
Rapparee 18 Nov 03 - 10:06 PM
Peace 18 Nov 03 - 10:33 PM
Little Hawk 18 Nov 03 - 10:37 PM
Peace 18 Nov 03 - 10:49 PM
Little Hawk 18 Nov 03 - 11:15 PM
Peace 18 Nov 03 - 11:48 PM
Little Hawk 19 Nov 03 - 12:06 AM
Rapparee 19 Nov 03 - 08:45 AM
Peace 19 Nov 03 - 10:54 AM
Peace 19 Nov 03 - 11:08 AM
GUEST 19 Nov 03 - 06:49 PM
GUEST 20 Nov 03 - 07:04 AM
Raedwulf 20 Nov 03 - 05:46 PM
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GUEST,Tunesmith 21 Nov 03 - 05:58 PM
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Subject: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,Mojoman
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 02:24 PM

What's the current thinking on this issue? I read somewhere that there are various schools of thought. Some say that a person called Jesus may have existed but that he was nothing like the person depicted in the bible. I also read somewhere that a lot of the Catholic clergy are rather sceptical of Jesus's miracle workings. Anyway, what is the latest consensus(!) on all this.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 02:27 PM

Currently there's no 'proof'

But does it matter... if you want believe something like that, proof is immaterial to you...

(A BS thread, I suspect, yes?)


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: sapper_82
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 02:31 PM

There is apparently more documentary evidence that someone called Jesus (or the Aramaic version of our anglicised form) lived in the Holy Land about 2000y ago and caused a bit of a stir than there is for Julius Caesar's invasion of Britain!!


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: akenaton
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 02:55 PM

Apparently there were hundreds of Jesus's in Palestine in New Testament times ,as it was a common name.However the one in question appears to have been a Socialist ,as he seems to have suffered from hypocricy. Espousing the virtues of poverty,meekness ect,while working for a seat on Gods right hand.    Could there be a parallel in the Blair Government??    Cheers Ake.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Big Tim
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 02:58 PM

Try Google!


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 03:00 PM

There was a a guy named Jesus sitting with Juan, Rosalita and Maria when the plane went down in Los Gatos Canyon.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Amergin
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 03:19 PM

I think there was a fellow named Jesus who became a revolutionary figure...a political/religious figure...many mythologies tend to be based on fact...I think he was also crucified as that was a common punishment at one time...for stirring up the people against the establishment...


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Strick
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 03:21 PM

"Apparently there were hundreds of Jesus's in Palestine in New Testament times ,as it was a common name."

Naturally, since Jesus is just the Greek translation of Joshua.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Mickey191
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 03:30 PM

As Akenaton says, it was (and still is) a popular name. Whether he was the product of a virgin birth is, for me, a bit hard to fathom. As also the "rose again from the dead" story. Too much of a pragmatist to buy it.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 03:36 PM

I don't know what the general consensus is, but I raised this very question and the consensus (small small) seems to be that there was actually a rabblerouser who got nixed by the Establishment, yes. Jesus is not unlikely as a name for this real person who then came to be thought of as (what we are now discussing)... but my personal jury is still out on it. I do think Mohammed and Moses were historical, yes?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 03:38 PM

Ask His Dad!


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 04:09 PM

"What is the current consensus?" *sigh*...this HAS to be a troll...I wonder why someone calling themself "Mojoman" would suddenly appera in a folk music forum and ask that?

Let's understand: If someone PROVED there was a historical Jesus, non-believers in the religious aspect would not change their minds. And if all the research in the world failed to prove his existence, the believers would likely still believe as they do.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Amergin
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 04:16 PM

if there was a jesus....that does not mean that he was the son of god...


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 04:31 PM

Ditto, brucie...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 04:31 PM

Virgin birth, being the son of (a) god, and rising from the dead are all sort of "standard" (or at least often-used) features of religions of the period.

As far as I know from what reading I've done, there seems to be no contemporary documentation on such a Yeshua/Joshua/Jesus. Everything we know on his existence documentary-wise was written at least forty years later, by people already firmly in the Christian camp.

Of course that doesn't prove the negative, which is a hard thing to do under the best of circumstances.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: fat B****rd
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 04:41 PM

I'm pretty certain the Biblical Jesus existed. Having said that, although I don't know who wrote them, the contents of The Ten Commandments and The Sermon On The Mount are admirable guides for a decent life.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 05:21 PM

I believe Jesus existed and that he was a good man.

I do however reject the theory of the immacuate conception and that he was the son of God.

Did Mary fool around?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 05:36 PM

The story of Horus predates JC's and is almost identical.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Wesley S
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 05:37 PM

I don't think it's necessary to believe in his existance - it's more important to attempt to act in a Christ-like manner. That's my definition of a Christian. And most of us - myself included - fail at being a Christian every day.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Don Firth
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 05:44 PM

As the cloned Kahless said to Worf just before he beamed down to the Klingon home world, "If the words are true, what does it matter who said them?"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Nerd
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 06:01 PM

Uncle DaveO is right that proving a negative is hard, but I'm not sure there is much controversy on this issue. Jewish, Christian and Muslim establishments all believe that Jesus existed. Most historians believe that he did, too. While it is true that most of the evidence comes from later, this would not be unusual of a person living in the Roman world who died at age 30. Some of the writings related to Jesus claim to be firsthand accounts, and some of those are pretty consistent with one another, so there's no reason to assume he didn't. As both Amergin and BillD pointed out, it is irrelevant in several different ways anyway :)


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 06:10 PM

Wow. You haven't done a lot of research, have you?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 06:31 PM

Better educated folks than me are taking a crack at this question, and especially trying to figure out WHAT Yeshua said and did, as opposed to what the early Church says he said and did.

I suggest the books "The Five Gospels", "The Acts of Jesus," and "The Gospel of Mary" from the Jesus Seminar. You might also check the Gospel of Q
and the Gospel of Thomas, as well as a whole bunch of other things. And don't ignore the problem raised by the Gnostics, who seem to have wanted to inject a "hierarchy of mysteries" into it.

I think that Yeshua existed; the crux of the problem (pun intended) is to try to figure out, 2000 years later, what that dude REALLY said and did.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 06:34 PM

" Most historians believe that he did, too."

Oh no they do not!

Every single piece of evidence that has ever been brought to the fore to 'prove' the supposed existence of Jesus has been PROVEN to be a fake...

The 2 biggest pieces... The Shroud of Turin, and more recently the box that supposedly belonged to Jesus' brother...

Just by way of example...

(note... The Bible, and the writing therein is NOT proof)


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 06:39 PM

Dear Nerd,

When you say "most historians", I find it confusing. Would you cite a few references? The Romans kept remarkable records and a remarkable lot of them have survived. There is no one mentioned who parallels the biblical Jesus. This is not proof of anything, of course, but it is evidence. The gospels, which are supposed to have some of the best evidence, sometimes read as though written by a Martian who knew nothing of Roman law and custom. For example, the idea of Joseph and Mary traveling to register for a "great census"; sorry, no way. One registered at the nearest city. You didn't even have to go yourself.

Whether real or not; no one can say for certain. It is certain that there is no convincing proof. Even our "pilgrim forefathers" knbew that the Christmas storey was bunk. That's why they locked people up for celebrating it.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 06:44 PM

Hey M/m ... I was once locked up for celebrating Christmas!


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 06:53 PM

For non-Christians (and Christians I suppose), the divinity of Jesus (Yeshua, Son of God, etc) was established by the Council of Nicea under the Roman ruler, Constantine c. 320. That such a person existed seems pretty sure; the attributes he may or may not have had are up for grabs. Someone from the House of David was crucified (otherwise why the written sign, 'King of the Jews'?). There are excellent books that delve into the mystery (Holy Blood, Holy Grail; The Messianic Legacy). It seems fairly certain that such a person existed. However, what position he holds in the grand scheme of things is in the air for lots of people.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Ebbie
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 07:08 PM

The immaculate conception theory is often misunderstood by non-Catholics. For a very long time I thought it was in reference to Mary being 'untouched' as she conceived. Only later did I learn that the theory espouses the view that Mary herself was sinless. Which brings up a different thought- if she were sinless, wouldn't that make her a god too? What complicated fools we mortals be!

The views of fundamentalist Christianity seem quite similar to the old views of the people toward the gods of mythology. God's 'need' for adulation and obedience; the endless singing around God's throne; 'eternal rest' by and by; pearly gates and streets of gold; God being aware of what each one is doing, thinking and feeling; hellfire and brimstone. On and on.

On the other hand, I still believe in a created universe, which implies a creator. The beginning of it all is not explained by science, imo. The stars and the planets came from matter that 'was always there'? How does that explain anything at all?

I have an unsophisticated view- I cannot conceive of time and decay producing greater intricacy. In my view everything eventually becomes more primal, more basic. An abandoned bicycle does not become a sleek Ferrari, it becomes a heap of rust which in turn becomes something even more basic. However, evolution within the system makes sense to me.

All this is pretty far from the question: did Jesus exist. It is easy to believe that there is a historical figure who inspired contemporaries by what he taught and how he lived. How that translates into being the 'only' son of God I haven't a clue. But what a legacy.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 07:26 PM

"Some of the writings related to Jesus claim to be firsthand accounts,"
...I hope you don't mean the 4 gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John...none of those writers were contemporaries of Jesus. I believe Matthew wrote 'about' 135 years after the claimed death of Jesus...the others 2 or 3 centuries later. (No, this proves nothing about the religious question)


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 08:12 PM

Doesn't matter. He exists now as a concept. Or maybe several concepts.

clint


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 08:25 PM

Before you start tossing dates around, PLEASE check out the links I put up backaways. The Gospel of Mark was probably the first written, probably around 90 CE. That there were other writings attributing their sayings to Yeshua is also fact -- the Nag Hammadi library, which includes one copy of the "Gospel of Mary of Magdala" for one.

I, myself, can't say for certain that any of YOU exist, much less someone who was supposed to have lived better'n 2K years ago. But some questions would have to be answered by those who claim that Big J didn't exist:

1. Given the undoubted and proven age of some of the manuscripts which profess to give his words, and the remarkable consistency thereof, are you proposing some widespread conspiracy?

2. Related to number 1, what would be the point? There were already enough religions (Mithraism, et al.) around to satisfy 'most anyone.

3. What became Christianity was originally a sub-sect of Judaism, and the Apostles were themselves divided about whether or not a Gentile could become a proto-Christian without first becoming a Jew. Paul, bless his li'l ol' misogynistic heart, was the first the open it up to non-Jews; Peter, the leader in Jerusalem, agreed but only after claiming direct word from Big Daddy ("What I have made clean..."). The Romans didn't care what you worshipped, as long as the plebes were quiet and the taxes rolled in. It's quite clear the Pilate did the deed he's credited with because he was asked to do so by the Jewish leaders -- not because of anything The Man had done. (Oh, yeah, there was no custom of releasing prisoners at Passover.)

4. The "King of Jews" sign was intended as sarcasm.

5. "..of the House and Family of David" was almost certainly added later, to provide authenticity to the claims of the early Christians that JC was The Messiah.

6. Roman records show that there were a LOT of folks popping up, claiming to be the Messiah.

Dang, I wish I had my books out of storage!!!


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 08:30 PM

On that virgin birth thing...

I find the "mistranslation" explanation to be the most likely... That the old word for 'virgin' was very close to the old word for "young girl" and the whole thing is a mistranslation...

Kinda like the old testament "Thou Shalt Not Kill" thing... (Which in the original document, most likely reads, "Thou shalt not murder"... A subtle but important difference)


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Ebbie
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 08:32 PM

Has anyone here read 'Who Wrote the Gospels'? (Randel McCraw Helms. Millennium, 1997) Very interesting, informative and quite convincing.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: beadie
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 08:37 PM

Rapaire:

As to your not being able to affirm that any of us exist, at least as for myself, I refer to your countryman (M. Descartes) and declare,

    "Cogito, ergo sum."


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 08:47 PM

On the original question, did Jesus exist...?

Yes.

And if you think not, then tell yourself also that Buddha, Lao-Tse, Zoroaster, Moses, Krishna, and many others like them did not exist, and rest happy in your assumptions of intellectual impregnability, based upon nothing in fact but your little mental ego.

It's laughable that anyone has to even ask, at this point in human culture, whether Jesus existed, but I heard of a farmer who wouldn't believe in giraffes even after he'd see one, so anything is possible when it comes to belief or disbelief.

Now as to what Jesus was like, exactly, that's a whole other matter, and can lead to some interesting questions and speculations one way or another. I'm still speculating about it, and will probably never reach the end of doing so.

His name wasn't exactly "Jesus", it was "Yeshua" in the language of his time...but has been altered into "Jesus" (Gee-Zuss) in the English language, that's all. The Spanish language on the other hand calls him "Hay-soos" (English phonetic spelling of the Spanish word "Jesus").

- LH


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 09:01 PM

Ah, Beadie, je ne suis pas Francaise. Je suis un American, je vie en Idaho, E-U.

As for M. Descartes, I think that he was misunderstood. What he actually said (and I have this on Very Good Authority Indeed*) was, "Cogito cogito cogito, ergo, cogito cogito sum, cogito." He was a tad unsure of himself, you see.





*Musical fella name of Joe Green.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 09:07 PM

I wonder if Jesus would have been able to believe what has happened in the World since...? (It would not have been easy to, that's for sure.)

- LH


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 09:15 PM

One of the arguments postulated against the first gospel (likely Mark's) being written at such a late date is that no mention is made of the fall of the Temple (or Masada for that matter). Maybe those mentions were expunged. However, it's difficult to see something of that importance (fall of the Temple) being left out. That would then date the first writing to about 60-65 CE, and still 25 or so years after Jesus' death.

Trying to use the Bible as a historical document is difficult. We have the evidence from the Nag Hammadi that not all Gospels have been included in the Bible. We are only too aware that editors have been at the Bible, and various religions have decided to accept only certain books (see difference between Catholic and Protestant versions as to the books included). That Jesus was versed in the Old Testament is obvious. His entry into Jerusalem follows the OT account of the arrival of the Messiah in exquisite detail. But then, why wouldn't he be versed in the OT. He was Jewish and probably a 'minor' rabbi.

Interesting to note the wedding at Cana. In the Jewish custom, the groom served the wine. Why was Jesus serving the wine--after 'making' it? I don't think that the existence of Jesus is in question; however, I think the 'nature' of Jesus is. As Bill D said, no one's mind will be shifted because of anything written here. I mean no offense to anyone's beliefs or religion.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 09:23 PM

"would you like another drink, René?"

"I think not" *POOF*


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 09:42 PM

What's all this about incognito sums? The ergo I got. That's like "Ergo eff yourself", right?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 10:11 PM

Knew a logician who died of ergo poisoning. Oh, nevermind.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: John Hardly
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 10:14 PM

ironic. Those who will doubt the validity of thousands of years of academic pursuit often done in adversarial circumstances...

...because they have faith in some novelist's imaginations that give substance to their faith in nothing.

An agnostic is someone who isn't sure there is a God -- but is damn sure you don't know.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Nov 03 - 10:44 PM

Well, as a Christain, I'd just like to point out that the Gospels, written, yes, some 30 years after Jesus's death are consistent. The story seems to be similar enough... Throw in Paul's letters and I *believe* there is a sufficient body of evidence for *Faith*...

I think the only thing that I can say, which again cannot be emperically proven or disproven, those of us who have found Faith know we are better for it.

If you're lookin' for proof. Forget it. If you're lookin' for peace, a different story, indeed....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Kent Davis
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 12:13 AM

Asking if Jesus existed, and then saying, "But the evidence of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John doesn't count", makes as much sense as asking if Socrates existed, and then saying, "but the evidence of Plato, Xenophon, and Aristophanes doesn't count". Think about it.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Gurney
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 06:23 AM

I would think that the telling point, as Nerd pointed out, is that the MUSLIMS say that he existed, a minor prophet.

In some countries, he's been turned into a major profit.

Wasn't he a wrangler on 'Wagon Train?'


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 06:37 AM

The Aussies cheated in last night`s game they had him on the wing. Ard Mhacha.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Tam the Bam (Nutter)
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 08:08 AM

Yes he did he is mentioned in the Bible which is the word of God.
However if you don't think he exited then that's your bealif and you are entiled to that.

He is after all God's right hand man.

Tom Frae Saltcoats


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 09:00 AM

Beadie:

Rapaire's point, I think, is that he doesn't know for sure that thou cogitest.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 09:39 AM

No, my point is that except for Seamus Kennedy I've never seen another 'catter in the flesh. The rest of you I have to take on faith, pictures can be faked.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,mojoman
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 09:53 AM

I've been following up on a few things mentioned in this tread. First, the similarity between Jesus's biography and that of many earlier godmen is quite remarkable and it would surely be really stretching things to suggest that such similarities were simply a coincidence. Secondly, dating a Gospel by saying it must have been written before the fall of Masada because there is no reference to that event in the bible makes no sense. Why mention Masada? For example, if somebody today wrote a biog. of J.F.K would anyone ask why it didn't include references to events that happened after his death - apart from the various conspiracy theories.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 09:57 AM

Nerd, for a fact, most Jewish scholars question J's existence. The Jews for Jesus are a bunch of apostates who insist that they are still Jewish. They are part of an evangelistic movement which is trying to undermine Judiaism by converting Jews to Christianity on the theory that the Messiah has come. As this is a question of faith rather than evidence, let it go.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 10:07 AM

I think that it's also important, very important, to remember that the Gospels we have were written and re-written and added to and taken from, not only during the early years but since then. And if, during a period where gods and goddesses were dominant features of the religions, then the assertion that YOUR GOD was just like THEIR GOD because YOUR GOD did the same sort of things as THEIR GOD.

Besides, how many resurrection/rebirth myths can you come up with, especially if your experience and knowledge is limited by and affected by the religions around you?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 10:13 AM

Rapaire, even seeing another Mudcatter in the flesh is not proof (in the "Cogito, ergo sum" context) of that Mudcatter's actual existence. That whole argument postulated that someone (God, presumably) was manipulating one's senses, planting impressions in his mind for the purpose of deception, but the fact that the writer could think about that possibility proved that the writer existed.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 10:19 AM

No, I'm pretty well convinced that Seamus Kennedy exists, Uncle Dave. Now YOU, on the other hand....

I'm related to some Oesterreich folks, but that doesn't mean that they exist since I've never (to my knowledge) met them. But my mother told me and I take it on faith (in my mother's teachings).


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 10:40 AM

Somewhere back up there Wesley S said:

"I don't think it's necessary to believe in his existance - it's more important to attempt to act in a Christ-like manner. That's my definition of a Christian. And most of us - myself included - fail at being a Christian every day."

I just don't get this sort of logic. If the majority of self-proclaimed Christians fail so miserably (and consistently so!) at acting in a Christ-like manner, surely the time to return to the drawing board has long since passed?

I rather agree with Gurnie, who pointed out what fools we mere mortals be:

"In some countries, he's been turned into a major profit."

The only reason any religious mythology exists, at the end of the day, is because it is of great benefit to the rulers to impose such beliefs on those ruled. As happened in the era being discussed (just as it is happening today), powerful men will actually invent new religions to seize power from other powerful men.

Seems to work every time.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,A casual observor...
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 11:39 AM

Actually, the Muslims highly revere Jesus. He is one of their most treasured holy figures, but is considered secondary in importance to Mohammed, that's all...not surprising, considering that Mohammed launched the Muslim faith...which was itself a further development of the Judeo-Christian faith. To suppose that all this happened because of someone that "never existed" is like supposing that the Mississippi flows out of a watershed that never existed.

The Muslims, of course, are less enthusiastic about the organized Christian churches (Christendom) than they are about Jesus... (but Jesus was not a Christian anyway...he was pre-Christian) :-)

Matter of fact, he completely transcended Christianity (and all other organized religions) in the power of his message and example.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 12:03 PM

tam the bam said ..."Yes he did he is mentioned in the Bible which is the word of God.
However if you don't think he exited then that's your bealif and you are entiled to that."

...but the problem is, IF the Bible is the word of God, then in a very important sense, I am NOT 'entitled' to believe otherwise. That seems to be the view of so very many Christians, (for example, the recently deposed chief justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, Roy Moore!). He, and others, would DEMAND that everyone "acknowlege" God..., and "acknowlege" assumes that there is no doubt! And as a side note, folks like ex-justice Moore often state categorically that THEIR religion is the right one, and others are misguided. What if they are right?

The operative word in these discussions is "belief"...we are asked, "do you believe in God?"...and some say "yes", and some say "no", and some say, "I'm not sure"....All of these opinions cannot be correct at the same time, and saying "I'm better for believing" does not solve the problem.

I am not a religious person, but I try very hard to be a GOOD person, and I succeed pretty well without signing my name to some specific list and invoking the name of some long dead prophet of ANY of the religions. Indeed, it seems to me that many adherents of established religions, in the name of promoting their cause, ignore the very precepts of peace and love and brotherhood that their Holy books advise. (Yes, yes...I know we aren't supposed to judge by the worst examples...but, what if they ARE right, as they claim!)

I tried in my earlier posts to simply note the difficulty of deciding a question like "did 'X' exist", but this is at least interesting as a historical, archeological problem as we try to learn more about what made us the way we are. But what we are REALLY faced with is, "if 'X' existed, now what?"

I know that, if *I* were an omnipotent, all-knowing, Supreme Being and Creator, and had a set of rules I wanted my creatures to follow, I would not wait thousands of years between manifestations of the truth! I think it is safe to assume that if the clouds formed every Sabbath morning (no matter which day you think it is!) to form a symbol, and a voice from on High boomed out instructions and admonitions, church attendance would be a bit higher! Needless to say, I don't think weeping statues and faces in grottos and 'visions' by individuals are exactly compelling evidence!

No, NOTHING I have said disproves anything, and if certain denominations are correct, I am doomed to some sort of Eternal Punishment for daring to doubt....

fine...I'll take my chances, and keep on trying to live a decent, sane, loving, happy life in my own deluded way. I have had various evangelical zealots assure me that my soul was in danger and explain the rules and benefits of believing as THEY do....and you know what? They look quite startled when I explain that, if the rules and benefits are as they state, then I do not care to spend eternity that way! I am not worried...but you know....they just might be right. The problem is, once I am 'gone', it will be hard for us to re-debate the matter and for EITHER side to say "I told you so!"

pretty complicated, this being Human stuff..


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 12:05 PM

Good point, Bill.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: John Hardly
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 12:23 PM

Bill D,

There is(are) other option(s). It doesn't have to be the judge Moore is right/you're wrong and therefore Moore has the right to shove it down your throat -- or otherwise coerce you to a set of beliefs and behaviors.

It could be as I (and most believers I know) think. That we are right, you are wrong, and we'd like to convince you (for your own good from our perspective) but if we cannot convince you, no amount of coersion is of any value because the catch is -- any belief not from free will is counter to fundamental Christianity anyway.

I'm not really that comfortable with my above statement -- I prefer to think of it as a willingness among all to discuss beliefs - not a wishing to convince. Still, in the context in which this discussion has developed, I'll let my initial statement stand -- given that I think I'm right, of course I would think it better if others agreed with me.

Now, I may hold certain societal values due to my faith -- and in a democratic society as we have I should have just as much a right as you to vote, and act in civily acceptable ways, to see that what I think is good for society are activated or not dismissed. But those would (if my above mentioned statement about free will and faith hold true) not be in matters of faith. I do believe in the non-establishment clause. (I also am not for the display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings except in such a manner as a general acknowledement of the history of law -- as one might also acknowledge another influential historical code. I am also not for prayer in public schools.)


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Mickey191
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 01:13 PM

My views, since the age of reason, have been antithetical to the religion of my Catholic parents. There were so many things I could not buy into,the immaculate conception, the virgin birth,the trinity, and   transubstantiation to name a few. The old idea that a Friday meat eater could end up in hell sitting next to Hitler or Stalin blew me away. Mentioning this to a cousin, Who is a Christian Brother, I was astonished to hear him say that some of his mentors believe that Those two & countless others of their ilk may not go to hell. That God is too good to send souls to damnation. I'm still trying to fathom this piece of information. My immediate response was-if God is THAT good-where was he in Aushwitz or when Children are in agony?

Does Jesus only Help out when the wine runs short at weddings?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 01:39 PM

Well, Mickey, you are assuming that hell exists by pondering such questions aren't you? What if it doesn't? If it does exist, then what is it like? And is there only one hell or are there many hells? Hell could be a dimension...or many dimensions of nonphysical existence...or it could be simply "the grave" (nothingness, not being...which is what the Jehovah's Witnesses think it is)...or it could be a state of mind here and now while still in physical life...or etc, etc, etc.

Christians can't even agree on what hell is. Japanese Buddhists have their own ideas about hell, as do some other religions.

The sensible thing to do, if you are spiritually inclined, is to continue sincerely searching, asking and investigating all the possibilities and realize that your life is an ongoing effort toward greater self-expression and understanding. If you do this sincerely, you will surely progress and most probably harm no one.

The stupid thing to do is simply accept the entirety of someone else's preconceived ideas about which book is "the one and only Word of God", which prophet is "the one and only Son of God...or the True Prophet", which rules are the "one and only Way" etc...and NEVER deviate from it one iota for fear of going to Hell! "Blind Faith", it's called.

The latter stupid thing is what people in many or most traditional religions have tended to do for the last few thousands of years, while they set about killing each other over doctrinal differences that in truth do not matter!

So, what would your version of hell be?

Mine would be this: Imagining that I am a miserable, short-lived mortal entity of no value, existing in a meaningless universe where everything happened by accident, and doing things that don't matter anyway, because nothing matters. Imagining that "life is hard and then you die". Imagining that people can't be trusted because they're all basically rotten. Imagining that things can only get worse. That would be hell.

I have just described the diametrical opposite of what I believe.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 01:55 PM

By the way, Hitler was in hell for at least the last couple of years of his misguided and doomed administration, and it just kept getting worse by the day. What do you figure those last few days in the bunker must have felt like? Talk about collecting big on karma...

As for Stalin, he seems to have trusted virtually nobody. I'd call that being in hell.

People who believe you'll go to hell for something as trivail as eating meat on Friday probably believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy too.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: alanabit
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 02:02 PM

Point taken Mickey. On an emotional level I often feel the same way. I often feel the same way about the God who was presented to me as a kid. He was set up as some kind of a Grand Spanker in the the sky, who would hand out lollipops if you were good or paste your arse if you were bad. He also had a habit of knowing altogether too much about you and had a touchy ego, which was particularly unsympathetic to non believers.
I don't like to describe myself as a Christian, because it can lead others to believe that I subscribe to all their other beliefs. However, when I read the Bible, I come across sentences like, "The Kingdom lies within." I have not done the reading which would be necessary to formulate a really informed view about the historical Jesus, but that quote makes sense to me. If I think about a God/Life Force or whatever, which represents the best part of a person, I think I am pretty close to what Jesus was talking about.
It is obvious that most of us would say that this quality did not seem very well developed in say, Hitler. "How bad was Hitler?" is a philosophical question which could potentially outrage many people. I have been toying with the idea of starting that thread for some time. It is worth bearing in mind though, that in Hitler's own mind, he was a moralist.
I do not know who the historical Jesus was, but he comes across as one of the better moral teachers/philosophers in history. His teachings were allegorical rather than judgemental. He also seemed to be well removed from those who present God as some sort of cosmic fascist. I don't know if I will ever become a true believer, but I reckon that if Jesus was ever in my local, I would have a pint with him and listen to what he had to say.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,Mojoman
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 02:24 PM

Picking up on various postings, surely the bible story of Jesus could be a fabrication. One could draw a parallel between the "real"Jesus ( if he existed)and the Jesus of the bible by thinking of the distinction between the historical King Arthur, and the medieval "romance" version of Arthur - with the knights of the round table etc. Also, why is it that Jesus wasn't embraced by the Jews - wasn't that the point of his coming to Earth? A sceptic might conclude that the Chritian faith developed away from the Holy Lands because it was easy " to sell" the idea of a "real" Jesus to people who had no means of verifying the truth of the Jesus story.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,Gene Burton
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 03:10 PM

Probably the biggest defect of the theory that the biblical stories about Jesus were all fabrications; is the fact that most of the early Christian leaders (including Paul, Peter, and the likely authors of the Gospels)went to horrendous martyred deaths for the the sake of something they supposedly made up. To put it mildly, it's stretching credulity that somebody would willingly submit themselves to being boiled alive in oil or crucified upside down for a professed belief which they knew for a fact was false.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 03:10 PM

Having re-read the thread, it occurs to me that some here might think from my posts that I believe there was no physical, historical Yeshua/Joshua/Jesus at that time and place about 2,000 years ago.

On the contrary, I do believe (though on what I consider logically unsatisfactory evidence) that such a man existed. Note that I said "believe", not "know". As I pointed out, I don't know of any contemporary independent historical corroboration.

Now I tend to disbelieve many of the incidents and characteristics attributed to that man. I will credit that he was a good man, a relatively learned man (addressed as "rabbi"), a sincere Jew, a committed purifier and shaker-up of the status quo of the Judaism of his time, evidently a persuasive speaker, and all-round charismatic leader. I'm told those things by the gospels, and they are all quite within the realm of believability; I have no particular reason to question those things, so I'll take them as given. But when we come to the virgin birth, various and sundry miracles, or his putative status as "the" son of God (as opposed to "a son of God"), it's a different matter, and I consider the burden of proof is on those who would persuade me of their truth. I have not in my 73 years seen, nor do I ever expect to see any such proof.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 03:12 PM

I believe that Jesus was a great teacher of mankind, and that if we followed in his teachings the world would be a much better place. If he was the son of God or not is not what is important. If we were to follow his commands to love one another and to share all that we have with those less fortunate , would we not be the better for it?
However Karl Marx and Thomas Moore carried a very similar message.
Share what blessings that are bestowed on you and heaven can be created right here on Earth for all of mankind. Ghandi also is a modern example and you can also add Mother Theresa of selflessness. The problem is that most right wing fundamentalist christian hypocrites have no intention of giving up their wealth, except for a token amount that they hope will get their camel through the eye of the needle.
Many protestant fundamentalists claim to believe the bible word for word. The question that I have for them is "do you believe in the infallability of the Pope?" The answer is always "NO!" My reply is that the bible and what books are in it was determined by popes, through devine guidance 1500 years before the Reformation.
   The second question that I would ask is "Was Christ a failure?"
Again I get a resounding "NO!"
I agree that he was not but, the bible teaches that he came to save the Jews. He was not accepted by them so it would seem that saving the Gentiles was plan B. In any case Jesus was a man who could change his plan and was beyond doubt a socialist. I do not always follow his teaching but I am also not a hypocrite who claims to do so but does the opposite


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Mickey191
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 03:16 PM

Alanabit--Love your "Grand Spanker in the sky" anology. Little Hawk--Because 86 % of the time I'm a non believer, I don't subscribe to Hell or Heaven. The discussion with my cousin must have been on one of my 14% days. I don't see him that often & truth to tell, don't express my ever narrowing disbeliefs in the God he serves so well. Even educated people sometimes stun me with their prejudiced view of agnostics and atheists. In a discussion once I expressed an atheistic view. The person said, "I feel sorry for you--you have no conscience then." He was so wrapped up in his 7 day a week bible studies he'd become a damn moron.

I'm sure Jesus existed and did good things. No doubt there are living Saints today. Of that I have no doubt, but I prefer to think these are simply good unselfish people who give freely of themselves and are motivated from within. The Golden Rule, if lived by each and every person, would sanctify this world.
The old saw about religious conflict causing more wars is & always will be true.

I remember once going to a Church (R.C.) in Ireland and passing by a lifesize sculpture of 6 or 7 people fighting the flames of hell. The agony on their faces is etched in my mind. I was about 8 or 9, seeing this thing ticked me off royally. I had enough sense to know this was propaganda to the enth degree. Anyone seeing that piece of work every Sunday was sure as hell(I joke) going to tow the mark. No sinners in that parish.

L.H.- I think Hell is living a life without ever knowing love. As for your description I thought of the minister in the Mathew Shepard story. His life of hatred qualify (to me) as hell- but he's enjoying his mission. That might be a good question to ask
also-people's views of hell. IMO, Religion has always been used as a tool to keep the populace in line. Ireland is grand example.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,Gene Burton
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 03:20 PM

Also seems to be worth pointing out that not all Christian fundamentalists are right-wing (well, I'n not anyway)...Even a casual reading of the New Testament will reveal that the early church communities organized their economies collectively.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,mojoman
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 03:41 PM

One posting suggests that the story of Jesus must be true because a lot of the biblical early Christian leaders died for their faith - BUT is there any historical evidence for this? And, apart from that, let's face it, lots of people have died for all sorts of questionable causes- and are still doing so.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 03:41 PM

History is a fabrication. The winners write the books. However, bear in mind that thousands of early believers in someone named Jesus Christ (use the name you prefer) martyred themselves rather than renounce their faith. The martyrs endured some heavy shit: scourgings, racks, slow broiling, being burned alive, being eaten alive by animals, beheadings, other forms of torture. This occurred in the city of Rome under various Roman leaders. It also occurred about 150-300 years after the death of someone known as Jesus Christ, the individual who started the Christian movement. The historical evidence for this is clear. The divinity of Jesus was determined at the 325 CE Council of Nicea (attended by 300 Bishops from various churches AND Constantine). Constantine did not convert to Christianity until he was near his death--he also, if we can trust the coinage of the time, kept the Sun god on his coins as well as the Cross. No doubt walking both sides of the street. That said, many Bishops wrote him letters AFTER the vote that established the divinity of Christ saying that they felt pressured. DOH! The First Council of 325 established that Jesus was the same as God. Thus we have the beginning of the 'mystery of faith' as espoused by the Catholic Church. There has, as you know, been a split between the Eastern and Western Church. Also, the split that took place when the land of the Angles broke with the Church (Old 'enry VIII) further divided the Catholic Church and the authority of Rome (Vatican). What the various churches have done seems to have little to do with Jesus. That continues to be a problem.

To suggest that Jesus did not exist is foolish, because too much speaks for his existence. Maybe what is at task is the 'nature' of the 'man' who came to mean so much to so many. I do not belong to any religion, and I too have articles of faith that I question. The Crucifixion seems to have been well planned and enacted just as it was foretold in the Old Testament. No surprise there.

As someone noted above, the 'sign', "King of the Jews" is interpreted as either a slur or a truth. He may have been the 'rightful' temporal king. The messiahship is another issue. Claiming to be a Messiah is not a crime in Judaism--never was. But challenging the temporal authority of the Sanhedrin certainly was. The 'historical' Jesus did that.

And for now, a great day to everyone.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 03:56 PM

Here's my penny's worth. The problem is this: There may have been a "holy man" called Jesus 2000yrs ago, BUT it does look like the bible writers then created a huge "Jesus myth" by borrowing wholesale from the "lives" of earlier godmen and throwing in some wise words taken from Greek and Egyptian philosophy. Mankind had been "sold" - and died for - fabricated gods for 4,000yrs or more.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,mojoman
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 04:48 PM

One thing does occur to me about this thread - and previous ones in a similar vein -, and that is that nearly every contributor seems firmly entrenched in their beliefs and have no intention of being pesuaded to move an inch. How come nobody ever -or very rarely - says something like, "Hey, I hadn't thought of that, maybe you have a point there".


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 05:12 PM

OK, mojoman: I hadn't thought of asking the question you did. Where do you stand on all this?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 05:38 PM

Hey, Mickey, well said. I understand you fine, and I agree that "Hell is living a life without ever knowing love". Exactly. That's it in a nutshell.

The bible writers may very well have exaggerated certain incidents, misunderstood certain incidents, AND mixed in various religious notions previously common in the religious stories of their time...such as the "virgin birth". I think that the immediate disciples (the apostles) were also stricken with guilt for having run out on Jesus when he was arrested, and that this colored the whole religion that followed with a really unhealthy guilt complex that has been the bane of organized Christian life ever since.

Furthermore, what is taken literally may not have been meant literally, but may have been allegorical. A "virgin" birth might indicate a birth that was spiritually pure in some way or that carried forward no "sin" (to use the Bible word) or karma. If so, it would not rest upon physical concerns at all, but upon inner concerns regarding Mary, Joseph, and the child...things which are neither physical nor physically provable in any fashion.

The spiritual adepts of the time may well have understood that the teachings were allegorical, but the common people clearly did not and took it all literally, as many do to this day.

A literal interpretation of the entire Bible leads directly to logical contradictions in a number of areas, so I very much doubt that every passage is intended literally. If so, forget it, cos it doesn't add up.

You have to look at each story in context, and think about it. What point is it intended to make?

- LH


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 06:20 PM

    The only reason any religious mythology exists, at the end of the day,
    is because it is of great benefit to the rulers to impose such beliefs on those ruled.
    As happened in the era being discussed (just as it is happening today),
    powerful men will actually invent new religions to seize power from other powerful men.
...but I got my religious beliefs from my grandmother, and from other people who inspired me - not from powerful men. And although I'm a Roman Catholic, I didn't get my religious beliefs from Rome, and I don't depend on Rome for religious guidance. Rome guides my faith about as effectively as George Bush guides my being an American. Rome does have a function in my being a Catholic, and George does have some effect on me as an American, but they are not the central focus points of the faith and citizenship of the person known as Joe Offer.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 06:21 PM

Gene Burton...regarding your first post- That is rather a "straw man" argument. No one I know suggests that anyone died horribly in defense of a belief that they KNEW was false, or had made up THEMSELVES! But many have died for beliefs that someone else made up!(Witness Jonestown, or those who committed suicide when that comet was approaching several years ago). There are strange cults today that people are willing to die for....

And I don't see that "fabrication" necessarily means intentional fabrication. It might well be a partial truth that began with a historical figure, embroidered by much re-telling and wishful thinking. (Note that MANY people today believe that Jews stayed home from the World Trade Center on 9/11..etc..despite obvious evidence to the contrary.)

The truth or falsity of the world's major religions is simply too complex and lost in history to be proven one way or another...so, for my part, I am reduced to evaluating them by their deeds, logic, whether they claim absolute 'truth'.....and whether they insist that *I* listen to them, too! At least the Muslims don't have missionaries knocking at my door!


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Don Firth
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 06:22 PM

Had a long chat with a pastor some years ago about matters such as the immaculate conception and Jesus' ascension to heaven in the body, that sort of thing. This particular pastor was the one who, after many years of not going to church, got me going again, not because of any "conversion" or anything like that, but just because I wanted to hear what he had to say.

"It's a manner of storytelling," he said. "If you examine the stories about prominent figures in all of the world's religions, particularly the founders or major prophets, you'll note that they're all supposed to have come to earth in some miraculous way, performed various miracles while they were here, and then departed in some miraculous way. Historically true? Extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, that's the mythology. The gynecological and obstetric details of Jesus' conception and birth are something no one knows. Nobody was there taking notes. So all this was added by storytellers, in the style of religious storytellers, after Jesus became a religious prophet. Same with Buddha, same with Krishna, same with Zeus, all of them. It's the storyteller's way of emphasizing that this was no ordinary person. But—what really makes the person extraordinary is not how they were born or how they died, but what they taught while they were here. The problem is, all too many people get hung up on the mythology and miss the whole point of what the religion is trying to teach."

I didn't have to accept the orthodoxy that put me off years ago. This was a pastor I could talk with.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,mojoman
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 06:36 PM

My position is open, and various postings here have given me food for thought, AND here's another thought: If- for arguments sake - the Jesus story was a fabrication, why was such a fabrication conceived? I'm sure somebody has already come up with an logical explanation.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 06:39 PM

Organized religions have always ticked me off a bit. It was a priest I could speak with--a very human individual--who effected my conversion from atheism to a belief in God. Much like Don's story above. I don't adhere to a given faith, but I do have faith. Equally, there are happy atheists in the world, and that's OK with me, too. I get a bit put out when people come to my door with the intent of enlightening me. I don't dislike those who do, but I don't generally have much time for them, either. Much like people who push their unfounded opinions on me. I kinda wanna say "Eff off." Religions tend to effect some social control, but I know many 'organized-religion' people who do try to makes the lives of others more comfortable. I suppose good people are where one finds them, in or out of the church.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Mickey191
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 07:27 PM

Mojoman, You question why some of us don't seem open to new ideas on a very old subject. For the most part it's because, probably, we've done a hell of a lot of thinking on this most important subject. I've tried to accommodate the Catholic Church into my life.I cannot reason away it's inconsistancies & the faith based precepts. I could say more, but do not want to get into mud slinging. I've studied other religions & find much hypocrisy & that "We're the true Church" crap. Unless some brainchild comes up with a brand new, earth shaking idea, or proof of a Divine being, most of us will probably just go on trying to live a "good" life.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 07:45 PM

For the same reason we dress up other characters from the popular culture: because we have to. Arthur (who appears in the Welsh "Mabinogian") and Robin Hood (who appeared in his own TV series when I was a kid) were needed. We ain't got all that many heroes. We still have folks out today lookin' for the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail (and no one knows for sure exactly what that is). I don't think Jesus was 'fabricated', but I do wonder if what all we say about him is true. Why did Sun Myung Moon do so well in North America? Why did people 'follow' Charles Manson? Why do we believer men landed on the moo? I think the reasons are the same. As people, we need something bigger than ourselves to believe in. Maybe that's why we should choose our heroes wisely. Just some thoughts. And you, my friend, have certainly posted a thread that got way far lots of action in a two-day period.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 07:47 PM

Freudian slip--I meant to say moon, with apologies to the cow. HA!


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Sleepless Dad
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 07:52 PM

It doesn't matter to if Jesus, Buddah or any other holyman existed. The real question to me is - do their teachings and beliefs have any value and substance for todays world.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 09:36 PM

once more....it would NOT have to be an out-and-out LIE type fabrication, like sitting down and asking.."what's the wildest story I can invent that I can put over on these suckers?"......it could EASILY be a totally honest, sincere story begun by many people about some locally famous rabble-rouser who got good press, and added to by people who misunderstood the claims. (There was no CNN back then!...not that it would make much difference)...

If David Koresh could convince all those people in Waco, Texas that HE was sorta divine, and get them to die in a fire with him, why couldn't some guy 2000 years ago, with GOOD intentions, get stories told about him till the real truth was buried in myth?

The real problem was, that many dishonest leaders throughout history saw a way to use those stories, whether true or not, and subvert and pervert them for their own purposes. There have been POPES that were said to be not exactly righteous believers!...But they knew how to exploit a good story...


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 09:54 PM

"why couldn't some guy 2000 years ago, with GOOD intentions, get stories told about him till the real truth was buried in myth?"

Well, it's possible, but there's still no evidence to support his existance...


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 10:39 PM

There's no empirical evidence to support Harim Ben Afsadhi's existence either, and after 2,000 years that's hardly surprising...

- LH


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 10:43 PM

Well, whether he existed or not, he does now!


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Bobert
Date: 15 Nov 03 - 11:22 PM

Well, just gotta stay with this one 'cause if I can bring one person to the Lord then it's a bargain... This ain't about emperical evidence, it's about Faith... If any one you were to read the Gospels and the letters of Paul, I think you might come awy with different opinions. Yes, these books weren't written until well after Jesus's death but should that matter? There is a commonality that can be found that, thoungh not empirical, points to a man, Jesus, that had a lot to say about man's relationship to God.

Like a mid-course correction, Jesus (or whomevr you want to plug in here) taught the lessons of a "Loving God" and "forgiveness"... These are some pretty important changes that have allowed us to not only have a relationship with God but also create a situation where we can shed guilt as we do so...

Like I said, those of us who are *true* Christains of Faith, know in our hearts that our Faith is of definate benefit in our lives...

Praise be to God....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 12:31 AM

Mojoman said:

If- for arguments sake - the Jesus story was a fabrication, why was such a fabrication conceived? I'm sure somebody has already come up with an logical explanation.

I heard, a long time ago, an explanation. The speaker was talking about theological development, theological history, the historical research into New Testament times and the early days of the Christian movement. He mentioned the view (and I don't even recall whether he adopted it as his own view, or on what basis it might have been formed) that many of the stories of miracles, etc., were originally little playlets, to be put on for moral instruction of an illiterate people, not necessarily to be taken as fact but as dramatic illustrations of various points--allegories, I suppose you'd say--and that later their intended meaning was lost in literal reading.

An interesting thought.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 01:09 AM

Yes, I suspect that that is exactly what most of them were...allegories. On the other hand, if you were to go into martial arts or yoga very deeply, for long enough, around the right people, you might see something you would consider miraculous...in that it was very, very unusual and was something most people cannot do in their wildest dreams.

I suspect Jesus did a few things like that too, here and there.

Put it all together and you've got some wonderful stories to tell.

Miracles are still happening nowadays. I've seen a couple. But I will not discuss them here for the benefit of someone's idle curiosity. They did not (except for one) occur within the context of the Christian religion, not that it really matters...

Miracles happen every day on this planet, it wasn't just a case of someone remarkable who lived 2,000 years ago.

My thing about Harim Ben Afsadhi was a joke. He was the camel seller who lived next door to Jesus' family when Jesus was a teenager. No one remembers him today (except me) and no evidence is around now proving he ever existed, as far as anyone knows. In that respect he (and Jesus) were exactly like 99.99999999 % of all the people back then, of whom we have no evidence that can convince Clinton Hammond that they ever existed. :-) Big deal.

On the other hand, very few of them delivered such profound teachings that they created in their wake a major religion and a whole civilization which has endured to the present day!

Find me evidence that Buddha existed. Find me evidence that Lao-Tse existed. Find me evidence that the Yellow Emperor (in China) existed. Such evidence will not be found in physical artifacts (which can always be disputed over by learned people, as to their authenticity and meaning), but in what Jesus, Buddha, Lao-Tse, and the Yellow Emperor achieved in affecting the awareness of living people, then and now. In the case of all of them, the achievement was absolutely profound, and is the strongest evidence that they did exist.

As for Harim Ben Afsadhi, well, like the other millions and millions of ordinary people who did not launch a major new philosophy and change civilization he remains a mere footnote, and no one will even care to debate over whether he existed. But he was a good camel seller, nonetheless!

- LH


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 01:17 AM

Harim Ben Afsadhi was a thief, and you know it! He charged twice as much as the camels were worth, and he stole most of them. He was related by marriage to a distant cousin of mine. Thanks for reminding me.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Mickey191
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 02:01 AM

I was telling my hospitalized cousin about this thread. He had a defibulator planted in his chest yesterday. I mentioned the Stalin, Hitler & Hell story from above. THe product of a Catholic education, he informed me that Stalin was in heaven. How would you know this I asked? An assignment from his teacher Sister Ann was to pray for one year,for someone who had just died. That person might have to spend a year in purgatory, but Heaven was assured. He'd seen the headline in the Newspaper that Stalin had passed. He being a good little 8 year old prayed for the required time. So Old Joe might be looking down on us. NOT! I wonder if the good sister believed what she was teaching.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Gurney
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 04:46 AM

Sleepless Dad (been there) Yes, they do have relevance today, just as guidelines for living and co-existing. Pick any flavour you fancy, read the book yourself, make your own mind up.
It is those 'teachers' that get up my nose,who preach that they alone know the way, and you won't get to a good next life unless you follow THEIR swerve.

You will not go to (insert choice) if [a] you eat meat on Friday/ [b]mix different threads in your clothing/ [c]accept women as equals/[d] slaughter animals et al et al...


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 07:19 AM

And specially NOT if you deny that Harim Ben Afsadhi ever existed, just because you can't find any of his DNA around anywhere in 2003!!!

Hey, come one, brucie! What else is a good camel salesman supposed to do, eh?

- LH


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 07:37 AM

He prayed for Stalin for a year??? LOL! I sure hope Stalin properly appreciates the efforts of one good little Catholic boy on his behalf...


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 10:51 AM

Well, you know that they are called "parables." And if you were teaching something that could get you killed in any of several very nasty ways you might want to disguise that teaching as a story and let the hearers figure it out for themselves.

Just for grits and shins, here's a chronology of Christian scripture, with the dates supplied by the best scholarly techniques. I've put an asterisk (star, splat, *) by those which the scholars are certain of but for which we don't have physical copies.

50 - 70 CE

*Sayings Gospel Q
*First edition of Thomas
Gospel Oxyrhynchus 1224
*Signs gospel

70 -80 CE

Mark
Egerton Gospel

80 - 90 CE

Matthew
Luke

90 - 100 CE

John

100 - 150 CE

Gospel of Peter
Gospel of Mary
Secret Mark
Infancy Gospel of James
Infancy Gospel of Thomas
Secret James
The Amulet (Gospel Oxyrhynchus 840)
Dialogue of the Savior

150 CE and later

Gospel of the Ebionites
Gospel of the Hebrews
Gospel of the Nazoreans
Gospel of the Savior

(from "The Gospel of Jesus according to the Jesus Seminar" (Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge Press, 1999).


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: John Hardly
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 11:04 AM

I guess it is a rare person who approaches what he wants to believe with the same skepticism he shows for what he wants not to believe.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 11:32 AM

All religion, when studied in an objective manner as "history" (which, as someone else has pointed out, isn't objectively fact based either) is nothing more or less than a given culture's myths, and that includes Christianity. Some find their culture's religious/spiritual myths comforting and uplifting, others find them damaging and destructive. The difference seems to defy all logic, as the ways in which religious dogma is imposed upon us by our society/culture doesn't seem to matter to most people (ie, whether it is imposed lovingly and gently, or harshly and punitively).

If more people would be required to study comparative mythology, and were told that religion is not fact-based, or historically accurate, (ie, if we were allowed to be raised and educated without the blinders of our ancestors' religius dogma), the world would be a much finer, more enlightened place to live.

Secularism is the best thing to have happened to the planet, and I look forward hopefully to a day when my descendants won't have to put up with the superstitious dogma, the hate, the bigotry, and the violence of politically motivated religious conflict. In other words, my most fervent wishes are that the human race can quickly (for humans) transcend this dark era of human history, where religious dogma kept us deluded and divided.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: John Hardly
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 11:43 AM

yeah, hopefully one day we will have a shared, single, approved set of superstitious dogma, hate, bigotry, and violence of politically motivated religious persecution...

...and nobody to waste them on.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 11:55 AM

From John Hardly:

"yeah, hopefully one day we will have a shared, single, approved set of superstitious dogma, hate, bigotry, and violence of politically motivated religious persecution..."

Why do you (arrogantly) presume that secularism is defined by a single, approved set of beliefs? Those are your prejudices, sir. Not mine.

It is wholly possible to have a spiritually based intellectual understanding of the universe and life upon earth, which is neither dogmatic, nor one prescribed by one's culture. It is also simple and easy to live a decent life with one's own set of ethics to govern one's behavior in the world, without any religious knowledge whatsoever.

Could it be the most bigoted among us are the religiously inclined, who refuse to tolerate those who don't believe in religion at all?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 12:03 PM

I think that it's thread drift to discuss the ugliness foisted upon humanity by various Churches (Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc.) and whether or not Yeshua, purported founder of Christianity, existed as an historical personage.

No person even passingly conversant with history can deny that foulness has been done in the name of religion, or that religious teachings have been used to justify it. Nor can such deny that politics and religion have been horribly intertwined, usually with the religious justification for the politics taken out of context.

Yet there does seem to be threads of thought common to those recognized as religious thinkers: don't kill without necessity, don't steal, tell the truth, take care of other people, and so on. These are common not only to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, but to Wicca, Odinism, Taoism, Animism, and even with atheism, Nazism, and whatever it is that Ayn Rand was proposing. They even condemn the same "sins": greed, sloth, lust, and the rest.

It seems to me that we have to seperate the ACTUAL teachings of religious leaders and what has been taught were the teachings. And we really MUST get religion and politics into seperate bottles.

As friends of mine once said, "We don't let the Catholic Church interfer with our religion."


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 12:09 PM

"I think that it's thread drift to discuss...whether or not Yeshua, purported founder of Christianity, existed as an historical personage."

Uh, check the thread title there Rapaire! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 12:13 PM

I always find it intersting when people launch into "this is how it is"-type communication without having the realism to say "This is what I BELIEVE or EXPERIENCE." Call me crazy, but I prefer most sweeping statements of "truth" to have some context of credibility within which to view them. (As in, "You learned it HOW? And did you mean to communicate that this was the end of your exploration of the matter? Or might you, being human, be at some specific point along a journey of discovery-- is this what you see and think in THIS memment?) But what I experience is that a forum sure is a good place to rip off a paragraph or two of absolutes, from some distance and free of anything messy like a day-in-day-out relationship to complicate the communication-- you know, no need to actually try to live out the stated "truth" where someone might actually be close enough to see how it's working in application, or if it is being applied at all.... those little life details tend to get a little messier than the proclamations that seem so sensible in a setting like this. :~)

I also find it very interesting that people think their sweeping belief statements will have any value in a setting where the more, the merrier.... pop up a fresh tissue every 60 seconds for another world-shaking, life-changing TRUTH--- listen up, here's the REAL THING this time.... oops there goes another one... till it's all a soup of indeterminate flavor and nutritional content.... and it's used-kleenex soup, at that. Well, maybe there is something in it all-- there goes a piece of corn floating by now; mmm, tastes good.... but I bet know where I'll see THAT kernel next...

We hash these Major Life Questions out week after week in a class designed to make the communication WORK. And as interesting as this thread might be for a moment's entertainment, that class is (IMO) far more interesting. We do the real-life work necessary to earn an openness of mutual communication, and give as much value as we're asking for.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 12:21 PM

Spoken like a true Christian, peeved that secularists would dare enter a conversation about the existence of Christ as an historic versus a mythological figure, Susan.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: John Hardly
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 12:25 PM

I can't believe I'm going to do this...have a dialogue with an anonymous poster...but...

I don't see near the arrogance in my post that I do in this:
"All religion, when studied in an objective manner as "history" (which, as someone else has pointed out, isn't objectively fact based either) is nothing more or less than a given culture's myths, and that includes Christianity."
in which you utterly dismiss any possibility that my beliefs could be founded in a reality.

You are angered that I dared to imply a collective sensibility among secuarists, while you have pooled the entirety of all religious belief for centuries and dismissed them as false.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 12:26 PM

I apologize for any confusion in the opening sentence of my last post -- I was typing it without my glasses on.

I meant to say that it is thread drift to discuss the ugliness done in the name of Religion in a thread intended to discuss the historical existence of Yeshua, claimed founder of Christianity.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 12:47 PM

Not angered at all Mr. Hardly, although I understand that is what you would like to believe about me.

Would you be willing to define the "collective sensibility among secularists" you are basing your assumptions upon for us? It would make it much easier to converse if I knew what that collective sensibility is you believe to be commonly shared by secularists, as I, a self-proclaimed secularist, am aware of none.

BTW, you are jumping to some rather strange conclusions if you are assuming that my equating religion with mythology presumes that all religion and all mythology are false. I'm guessing (and freely admit I could well be guessing wrong) you might be equating the word "secular" with "secular humanism" which is usually defined as being antagonistic towards religion. I am not antagonistic towards religion, but towards religious dogma, as I am dogma of all kinds.

There are many possible explanations for human behavior, as there are many explanations for physical phenomena--including unusual and strange physical phenomena and human behavior--that can be explained to different people's satisfaction alternatively by theology, philosophy, physics, ethics, astronomy, environmental activism, social justice work, all sorts of things.

I don't claim to be certain of anything, and the older I get, and the more I learn, the less certain about things I become. But that doesn't mean I'll ever become religious. Why? It is based upon a shoddy foundation of faith first, and when that fails, the assertion that religious belief should be considered equal with the considerable body of knowledge we now possess to counter religious belief as fact or truth (even truth with a capital T, and the word "spiritual" in front of it).

I, and millions of other secularists have seen precious little evidence that organized religion has been a positive force for humanity, regardless of the religion, or the good intentions of the religiously inclined. Quite the opposite, in fact.

If my saying so troubles the waters for the religiously inclined, so be it. You and Susan are certainly intelligent enough to appreciate that my refusal to accept your religious world view doesn't mean I am seeking ways to outlaw your beliefs. Illegitimize them in the sense that they are now hopelessly outdated, yes. But outlaw them? Never. That would be to commit the same sins of the religious followers, something secularists I know have no interest in pursuing. Better we let the religions die their own natural deaths, as they will inevitably.

Christianity is certainly on it's way out in it's stronghold areas of Europe and North America, thank goodness. Or hadn't you heard?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: John Hardly
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 01:16 PM

hey, now that you've explained yourself a bit I guess I'd have to admit that I don't disagree with too many of your suppositions. Heck, I've even posted here that I think that philosophies and religions should compete in an open manner -- sans governmental aid -- and survive or die on their worthiness or lack thereof. I just think one will survive and you don't.

I know Christianity is a dying religion. I do believe it's a living faith though.

May the force be with you, man.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 01:27 PM

Secularists have an ethic (or ethical structure) that they get from those who raised them, society around them and schools they attended. That is the thing that GUEST alludes to. It could be considered a religious belief. (Don't flip over the word. I don't mean 'organized religion'.) I mean a set of values that one takes into one's daily life. That is not at all unlike what 'religious' people do. Not all secularists are moral people by anyone's definition of the term. Nor are all religious people moral. To pretend otherwise is foolishness. So, where does that leave us?

To suggest that all religion is a travesty or a sham or a hoax is plain wrong. That type of sweeping statement has more commerce with totalitarianism than it does with democracy. Much like saying all Americans are bad because many of them elected Bush as their president. Basically, the statement is false. I know good secularists and good religious people.

What various people do in the name of their belief system is on occasion shocking. If it is your intent to say that any 'ism' is a religion, then I suppose no one escapes the guilt. However, I think that isn't what you are saying. If you are saying that you don't like organized religion, OK. No pressure from me. But, if you are suggesting that people are weak, bad or easily led simply because they 'belong' to an organized religion, then I think you are very wrong. Secularists don't have a corner on the morals market.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 01:42 PM

I'm with Guests last few posts... well done!

"I look forward hopefully to a day when my descendants won't have to put up with the superstitious dogma, the hate, the bigotry, and the violence of politically motivated religious conflict"

Here frigg'n here!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 01:50 PM

brucie, you are putting words in my mouth by saying that "secularists believe..." though, aren't you? Tsk, tsk.

You say:

"Secularists have an ethic (or ethical structure) that they get from those who raised them, society around them and schools they attended."

Actually, my ethical framework has been only somewhat informed by those influences, although I confess that my own moral and ethical framework continues to include certain religious influences (though not exclusively Christian ones). Sorry to disappoint you on that score, brucie.

Am I suggesting that all religion is a hoax or a sham? I don't think I am--that isn't my intention, at any rate. But I am suggesting that the body of knowledge we have regarding religion and mythology's role and function in society has passed the use-by date. But c'mon brucie, that isn't "totalitarian" in the least! You are grossly exaggerating the effects of secular questioning of religious dogma!

All I'm saying is that when one studies the world's religions side by side with the world's mythologies with an open mind (rather than one closed to the possibility that one's own religious or mythological beliefs may not be any more true and rooted in fact than any other), one can easily come to the (not particularly remarkable) conclusion that the Christian dogma the West has been force fed (yes, force fed) as children, cannot be proven as more or less "true" than Buddhism, say. And if Buddhism is as true as Christianity, than how can a questioning, intelligent adult come to the conclusion that the one religion is more right and true than the other? Now, I can accept that all religious theology isn't created equally. But having studied all the major world religion's basic theologies, it is pretty clear to me that there is no winner take all. So how can you square that with the dogma that our own Christian religion is more right and true than all others?

Since you also note that the religious are no more or less moral than the secularly inclined, and vice versa, I think we are not as far apart as you might think. Unless you keep equating secularism with totalitarianism, of course.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 01:56 PM

BTW, I would never claim that secularists have a corner on the morals market, but I do claim that secularists have a much better informed outlook on the knowledge front. Many of them are both smart and informed, AND decent and ethical. But some of them, just like the religiously inclined, are both smart and informed, and good at acting like they are decent and ethical. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: John Hardly
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 02:06 PM

"...when one studies the world's religions side by side with the world's mythologies with an open mind"

...and I think what I would say is that this is not likely (an open mind, that is).

We all have our predispositions. Most of the time when I hear "with an open mind" I infer a mindset that has confused "empirical" with "real".

I infer from your posts (and now CH who praises your erudite prose) that given the confines of your narrow view, the religious could not study with and "open mind" -- or we didn't arrive at our conclusions with as open a mind as you are capable. You are of a more highly evolved sub-species? *lol*

Yup, our preconceptions appear to be more obvious than yours.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 02:09 PM

Guest: You are a very good writer and moderately good thinker. Too bad we likely won't ever meet, have a beer or two and solve the problems of the world. I am not an 'organized religion' guy. My feelings about it run along the lines of Groucho's statement that he wouldn't belong to any organization that would have him as a member. One's theism or non-theism doesn't really determine how a person will act (behave) in any given situation. I happen to agree with you about the force feeding of dogma. That is also one of the responsibilities of schools in this world. (Schools should teach how to think, but more often than not they teach what to think.) In time the savage beast doth bear the yoke. True that if we look at the Book of Martyrs, history of the dozen or so Crusades, various wars around the world we will find religious beliefs to be tied up in the bundle. But we will also find political beliefs, ethical beliefs, personal beliefs, etc., in the same pile. So, my secular friend, have a good day. You goin' to church or have you been and returned? ;).


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 02:32 PM

Dangerous practice to infer my views based upon the posts of someone who claims to agree with what I post, John Hardly.

BTW, what say you to my "narrow view" that one religion does not trump another? Could it possibly be "real" (the word you keep using to make these fine distinctions) that Buddhism does, in fact, trump Christianity? That what you are defining as "real" simply means "your reality" and not "all reality"?

brucie, thank you for the compliment regarding my writing. As regards my thinking, I stand in awe of your sense of superiority regarding your own. ;-)

As to your question:

"You goin' to church or have you been and returned?" I keep council with those who left for church long ago, but never found my way to that Broken Promise Land.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 02:41 PM

The words "myth" and "mythology" have been tossed around some here, so I'll quote (or maybe it's more of a paraphrase, but close) something a preacher friend of mine told me:

"A myth is a story, told as of something that happened a long time ago, about things that are always true."

Note that there's nothing there to the effect that the events related didn't happen. Thus, to speak of "The Jesus myth" neither asserts nor denies his one-time existence nor the reality of the miracles, etc. Instead, it refers to those stories as dealing with timeless principles.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 02:51 PM

Here is the Merriam Webster definition of myth (and I have now officially exceeded the number of times allowed in a single day to quote from a dictionary). I offer it simply, for clarity sake, as an a good example of what I personally believe a myth to be:

Main Entry: myth
Pronunciation: 'mith
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek mythos
Date: 1830
1 a : a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon b : PARABLE, ALLEGORY
2 a : a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; especially : one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society b : an unfounded or false notion
3 : a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence
4 : the whole body of myths

Now, in contrast to that definition (and purely for argument sake), here is the Merriam Webster online definition of religion:

Main Entry: re·li·gion
Pronunciation: ri-'li-j&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back -- more at RELY
Date: 13th century
1 a : the state of a religious b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
- re·li·gion·less adjective


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 02:55 PM

Thanks all for the fine banter on a Sunday afternoon. However, I must now bugger out to do my secular duties, which include preparing a dinner to take to a work colleague tomorrow whose husband is currently going through chemotherapy, and then be off to see a Shakespeare play ("Othello" if you must know!)

I wish all of you well, and keep up the grand conversation!


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: John Hardly
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 03:09 PM

"Dangerous practice to infer my views based upon the posts of someone who claims to agree with what I post, John Hardly."

Well, I read that'n through about seven times (perfect number, donchaknow) and still don't understand.

"BTW, what say you to my "narrow view" that one religion does not trump another? Could it possibly be "real" (the word you keep using to make these fine distinctions) that Buddhism does, in fact, trump Christianity? That what you are defining as "real" simply means "your reality" and not "all reality"?"

Read that'n through a few times and all I can do is try to answer what I think you mean.

Yup, I think it's possible that Buddism could trump Christianity -- I don't believe it does, and I live my life according to my sense that the opposite is true. I'm aware that I live by faith -- that I accept what I can know and that I know that I don't know everything.

I ascribe to accepting the empirical. I also don't assume that everything that seems to be fact is fact. I also accept that even within my belief structure I show a certain trust in sources of information -- I may try to be choosy about my sources, but, ultimately I have to accept that I cannot test everything in life -- that I must trust somewhere.

But I also believe that most people are in the same boat -- we are all source dependent because it is not possible to know everything empirically.

Take news for instance. This is one reason why the left and right are so polarized -- we now each have incotrovertable sources to prove each of our sides in the political debate.

Of course we know this isn't logically possible, but since we cannot actually empirically test everything we are resposible for knowing (as citizens) we run our tests on our sources because we cannot test the facts themselves.

That's why it's critical to "hold your own guy's feet to the fire". For a conservative, it should shake him to the extent to which he values it as a source, everytime he catches Rush Limbaugh in a lie. Similarly, it should matter to a liberal, to the extent that they value him as a source, everytime Michael Moore lies.

All this to say that this thread is FULL of statements that imply an intimate knowledge of empirical truth (not a bunch of second.......or third......or fourth hand information from prejudiced sources).......from a bunch of folks stuck at home with nothing better to do on a weekend than post on an internet forum (hardly likely to be the source of incontrovertable truth). It's interesting to share views and hear how others think -- but this has been one decidedly arrogant thread as a whole. Very little "I think" and lotsa "It is".

Gotta go. I have a few worlds to save before dinner.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 03:17 PM

"Dangerous practice to infer my views based upon the posts of someone who claims to agree with what I post, John Hardly."

Well, I read that'n through about seven times (perfect number, donchaknow) and still don't understand.

------------------------------------------------------

Guest is asking not to be tarred with the same brush that wankers try to tar me with here, just because I agree with his/her post here... It's a backhanded way of throwing my expression of support back at me...

At least that's how I read it...


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Ebbie
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 03:23 PM

Good post, John Hardly.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 03:28 PM

Guest: You said--

brucie, thank you for the compliment regarding my writing. As regards my thinking, I stand in awe of your sense of superiority regarding your own. ;-). Hey, what can I say; it's a gift.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: akenaton
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 03:48 PM

In my opionion, GUEST is correct and all you Mudcats are wrong .
All the myths, simply provide a focus for our bigotry and hatred.
A true understanding of how nature works, should give peace of mind and an exceptance of our own mortallity....Well said GUEST...


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 04:02 PM

It looks to me as though John Hardly's source preferences privlege his sources of information a little too conveniently, in order to rationalize his faith. John Hardly, I am assuming (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that you were raised to be a Christian in a predominately Christian culture. If my assumption is correct, I fail to see how you *allowing* that Buddhism could trump Christianity, is anything more than a rationalization for your belief that it doesn't. Same for your suggestion that you ascribe to empirical knowledge, while also dismissing it as irrelevant in your individual case. It seems obvious to me that you reject any empirical knowledge which challenges your faith. A bit too selective, that.

I grant you, it is extremely difficult for any of us to step outside the boundaries of our own cultural beliefs, even when looking at the obvious.

I offer, by way of example, the outcome of the jury trial of the police officers who beat Rodney King. That all white jury refused to believe what they saw, ie that the police officers were guilty of using excessive force against Rodney King, because it would require them siding with a black man of questionable moral character, against white police officers. They couldn't step out of their own cultural bias to do the right thing OR believe what their own eyes told them. This is an extreme example of course, and I use it only to starkly illustrate my point. I am not suggesting you would have done the same. I am just trying to show how hard it is for us to go beyond the boundaries of our own culture's conventional wisdom.

It sure looks to me like your thinking, sophisticated as it may be, simply would never allow you to accept that your Christian faith could be anything but an incontrovertible truth. That has nothing to do with empirical fact, or what's "real" as you define it. It does, however, have everything to do with your cultural bias, IMO. So you see, while I can accept your willingness to discuss the subject and argue a few points, I find your unshakable certainty that your choices regarding the Christian faith undermine your otherwise pretty good arguments about things like the fallacy of facts and such.

And Clinton, my remark that it was dangerous to assume what my views were by basing those assumptions on what you said was meant as no disrespect to you or your opinions. I was merely trying to point out it was dangerous to infer that the first person's opinion could be discerned from or equated to, the expression of a third person's opinion.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 04:12 PM

akenaton: You just said that big fishes eat littler fishes eat even littler fishes, etc. Yeah, nature works that way. But there is no way to remove the myths. They are here. And with us. This thread, started by Mojoman, has caused quite a stir. It has garnered about 125 posts in two days. Interesting.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 04:25 PM

"was meant as no disrespect to you or your opinions"

Fair nuff guest!

I grock ya...


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 04:32 PM

Guest: When you used the phrase 'your Christian faith' in your 04:02 post, you nailed it. It is a matter of faith for those who believe. And that's not surprising. We live our lives on faith. We have faith that the sun will rise, that we won't be smitten by a BIG asteroid, that no one will use way far lots of nuclear weapons, that we will be alive tomorrow. We have faith that if we do more good than bad, our children will inherit a better world. That's the way I see it, anyway. Faith develops, as does science. Our understandings of things change with time. Physicists and mathemeticians are working with (I think) eleven dimensions. Einstein pondered stuff with three and time. Religion seems not to have remained static either. Even dictionaries have boobooed big time, but we make the assumption that generally they're accurate. (Webster's Third said we could use infer and imply interchangeably. That doesn't mean ya throw out the whole book.) We accept that on faith. I accept on faith that you mean what you say. I accept on faith that people who believe in their various religions mean what they say. Back to you, Chet.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: akenaton
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 04:50 PM

Brucie..I dont for one moment disagree that the world is full of religious lunatics. A lot of people for some unfathomable reason want to live for ever...I think its all to do with the human ego...I was simply saying that these myths regarding "ever lasting life", will all dissolve and be replaced by other myths that we cant even contemplate.
If humanity survives that long.
My remark about nature, was not only the "law of the jungle",but an understanding of our true place within the natural cycle,which is far below that which most of us assume.
I havnt got GUEST'S way with words,but at least I understand the importance of what he says....Ake


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 05:03 PM

Your way with words is fine, akenaton. I agree with much of what you guys are saying. Religions have polarized people, no doubt. But then so have politics, philosophy, etc. Bad people--even in a good religion--will pervert it. My remark was flippant, and I apologize for that. Bruce.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 07:27 PM

One of the things which should be done is to seperate "Jesus Christ" and "Jesus of Nazareth." "Jesus Christ" is the Christian godhead figure, the Son of God, and includes the Greek "Christ" or "Anointed One." Jesus of Nazareth (call him "JN" to differeniate him from "JC") is the historical personage, JC is what the early Christian church made JN into.

If you accept that there was a JN person, perhaps a sage or rabbi, living about 2K years ago, then a case can be made that what we call "the New Testament" is at least partially from from what he taught. If you want to argue that JN is JC, then you move into a different realm entirely.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 08:14 PM

Executed by Rome in Israel. Real name Jeshua B'ar Joshua.

Not a Messiach.

Had a normal human father, ie Mary did have a man!

Did not claim to be the 'savior'. Had a girlfriend!

Many lies esp from the author claiming to be Paul.

Besides records cited above- there are also Temple records which clearly tell a different tale.. How about these few facts..

Jeshua B'ar Joshua was Jewish - ie he kept all the holy days. For centuries people have used the word Jesus or HaZeus to refer to him, but OC that is not what these words refer to.

Let the poor fellow rest in peace and quit insulting the Lord by praying to a dead Jewish person


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 09:11 PM

If, Guest, Jeshua bar Joshua IS the same person as Jesus of Nazareth, he couldn't have been a "good" Jew (although he was Jewish). It is quite clear from the writings about him that he ate with sinners and low-lifes, defamed the Sabbath, and failed to keep Jewish dining (as opposed to dietary) laws.

There is also considerable thought that Jesus of Nazareth never rose from the dead. I have also come across some thought that he was a hunchbacked dwarf with very dark skin (can't remember where though).


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 16 Nov 03 - 11:18 PM

There is also serious research into Jesus' having left a bloodline--children. Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln got into that. The different accounts of his arrest, crucifixion, interment in the cave, his rising after three days--are all up for grabs. That I grant. I have some problems of belief in many of the aforementioned areas. But, the thread title is "Jesus-Did he exist?" If he didn't, lots of the world has been conned (and most 'catters who responded to this thread), or indeed he did. There has been some excellent 'debate' on this thread. What I found most interesting was the propensity of people to yea or nay religions built around the guy (or Guy, depending on your belief and adherence to language conventions) over what is an article of faith for many. Logic just don't enter into it.
As Guest pointed out, mythology is a part of our world, for better or worse. Jung spoke of archetypes in the human subconscious, and people who think aliens intervened in human genetic affairs posit that humans have been altered, and the mythologies are a quest to make 'sense' of the human condition. The 'human race' memory holds many things we have trouble understanding, and regardless of one's professed beliefs, the myths, tales and fables keep on keepin' on. There seems to be a need for that in humans. Neat thread.
The issue as some have seen it is one of religion vs truth, or Jesus the man vs Jesus the G-d. Fact is, that doesn't matter to people who believe in the Christian religions (or any other religion for that matter), nor does it matter to those who believe in any other ism. Truth is what we believe--rightly or wrongly. We can argue that light speed is a constant. Does that make it a truth? So many truths have been rewritten. I think that one will be, too. Maybe one day we'll be privy to it. Right now, anybody's guess is as good as anybody else's. And I see I've held forth enough, already. Y'all have a good evening.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 01:09 AM

Dear Rapaire your ideas about good Jews are interesting. I don't know of anyone that is that good a Jew in the strict sense you seem to imply, nobody is perfect.

So as you can easily see Jeshua had to be a great deal MORE than merely a good Jew.

Revolutionary? msytic? who knows - but I am certain his death could not be the basis for anything which the deaths of millions of Jews - women and children as well as men - in WW2 could not. So who now is to be 'the' Messiach?

Perhaps we are still awaiting the Messiach?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 08:13 AM

Guest,

My remarks about JN's "good Jewishness" are not something I made up, but are attested to in the New Testament. The Pharisees and other leaders of the Jews were "down" on him, constantly questioning him and his followers, about eating with sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, and other low life. JN himself stated that "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." And JN roundly criticized those who kept the letter of the (Jewish) law but not the spirit. As for the rest of it -- the Resurrection and all -- well, that falls into "matters of faith" and I won't get into that aspect of it.   And as Brucie wrote, I bid you all good day.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Cobble
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 09:11 AM

Anyone mentioned the dead sea scrolls yet, written at the time, confirmation of the stories in the bible so says science. Lots of people with bad hangups here I think. LIVE and let LIVE.

                               Cobble


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 09:56 AM

Mojoman - Did he exist ?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 10:29 AM

Yeah, of course, he's alive and well on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,Sttaw Legend
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 10:40 AM

He has a gig on the 25th December apparently, he is a big star from the east


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 10:46 AM

The Bible under King James was re-written to accomodate warring interpretations by various religious denominations. As the saying goes reputed to American Indians, "Churches are created so the white man can argue about God."

The Bible as we know it was re-written many times by clerics and is filled with inconsistencies and if taken literally, the point is lost. Joseph Campbell says we need our myths to codify our behavior.

Some Hindu sects refer to "Issa" saying that this was Jesus as guru and studied in India.


I personally don't care if Jesus existed or not. The "Sermon on the Mount" is the most beautiful part of the Bible to me. Not many so-called Christians practice it, however.

I concurr with Campbell that Christianity was meant to be a Pacifist religion. I believe that Mohandas Ghandi was more a Christian than most Christians and he was a Hindu.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 10:46 AM

Does he have three sidemen? Herod wants to know.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 10:49 AM

I'm partial to Psalm 23. The remark above was for GUEST, sttaw legend.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 11:08 AM

Yes, Gandhi was a fine example of a true Christian, according to the original teachings given by Jesus.

Boy, this thread has really been popular, hasn't it?

Now here's a further thought: As God (by one interpretation, at least) is an omnipresent spiritual force, energy, intelligence, and/or being....then God is by definition within and all around everyone and everything, and is within your every whirling atom at this very moment. Therefore, everyone is a projected aspect of God made individual, although they may not be conscious of it (probably aren't). Therefore everyone is the Son (or Daughter) of God, whether they know it or not. When they do know it, experience that knowing, and act accordingly, then they are enlightened and their behaviour becomes very loving, because they see themselves clearly in everyone else. Jesus was evidently such a person, and that's why he affected others so strongly and became famous. There have been many such people, although very few who had as big an effect on the rest of humanity as he did. There are such people walking the planet right now.

Don't believe it? Well, you don't have to...the world won't stop turning if you don't, and you will get along just fine in your own particular fashion, being exactly what you want to be.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 11:15 AM

Couple of months ago, same ideas in this thread

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 11:27 AM

Yep. It's an always stimulating subject... :-)


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 12:05 PM

I have trouble with the notion that Christianity is per force a pacifist religion. We have that nagging little thing in Matthew where Jesus is quoted as saying, "I come not to bring peace but the sword." That gets glossed over lots. I don't know why a cohort was sent to Gesthemene to arrest him if he was known to be so peaceful. One of his guys lopped of a centurion's ear, presumably with the sword he brought instead of peace.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 12:14 PM

In response to an earlier comment directed my way-- people who know me well know my preference for flexible, relationship-based thinking and communication with Christians to the same (perhaps greater) degree as with non-Christians. The class I referenced in my post provides precisely that opportunity, as an open-minded reading might have suggested.

From my view, strong beliefs do not equate to closed minds, any more than closed minds equate to strong beliefs.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 12:29 PM

"At times it does seem a shame that Noah and his party didn't miss the boat." -- Mark Twain


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 12:54 PM

Here's my take on the "not peace but a sword" line...

Any process of genuine spiritual change or enlightenment brings profound disturbance into the life of a person. It rocks the boat. It divides truth from falsehood. It's not comfortable. The sword of keen perception divides truth from falsehood, cuts away the dross...and that's painful!

I believe it was that sword that Jesus referred to...not a physical sword at all.

As to his actual conduct and the example he set, it was decidedly nonviolent. He never did physical harm to anyone, although he scolded the moneylenders in the temple in such a way as to put "the fear of God" (to use an expression) in them.

In the incident in the garden, he rebuked the apostle who had struck off the soldier's ear, told him to stop being violent...and healed the ear, then surrendered calmly to his arrest. Entirely nonviolent response. It was his followers who, in their fear, resorted to violence on occasion...and in so doing they violated the example he had given them.

Yes, the soldiers expected resistance. Why would they not have? Police always expect the possibility of resistance, and go prepared for it.

As for the Christian churches, they have a history drenched in blood, but that doesn't say much about Jesus.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Nerd
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 02:14 PM

Once again, all I said was that most historians believe he existed, not that they believe anything about his birth story, immaculate conception, Virgin birth, Cherry Tree Carol, etc. In fact, nobody who could have known that part of the story firsthand (Mary, Joseph, Wise Men, etc) left any accounts. People who knew Jesus and may well have written accounts(like Thomas) would only have known him as an adult. In Rapaire's sense, I am referring to JN, not JC. It is simplest to assume that the messianic stories that, as many have pointed out above, floated around at that time, attached themselves to actual people rather than fictional ones. It's not certain, but it's a decent bet.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 02:34 PM

Dear Rapaire your reply
"And JN roundly criticized those who kept the letter of the (Jewish) law but not the spirit."

..is not that exceptional since most Rabbais would agree with it, and even in those days most Jews would have agreed as well. So it appears that is was not just about religion, it HAD to have been about other things. Perhaps money, perhaps power, perhaps revolution. Read again the reported reply 'give to Rome...'

I think the man started off with a scriptural plan but things got out of hand and he ended up sincerely believing things that proved to be false. He knew that he was NOT G_d. "the Father etc"

Born and reared a Jew the man went through all the rituals.
He knew and taught the Jewish Law, many called him Rabbai. He was then a Jew. He believed his mission was for the Jews, ALL of them. His entire life was Jewish - about them, about their society and for that alone. Anything else is makebelieve or simply evil.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 02:37 PM

The first gospel was written by Mark - see Coptic Church Egypt - Aramaic etc


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Don Firth
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 02:56 PM

I agree with Frank Hamilton about the Sermon on the Mount. I believe that this—and one other section—are the real core of genuine Christianity. The other section I'm referring to is found in Matthew 25. It goes
        "I was hungry, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: I was naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came unto me."
        And they asked him, saying, "Lord, when did you hunger and we fed you? Or thirst, and we gave you drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in? Or naked and clothe you? Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?"
        And he answered them, saying, "Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me."
Unfortunately, one does not find very many of the more highly vocal self-proclaimed "Christians" (including, some of the "born again" dudes currently in government) talking about these passages. In fact, they keep legislating against the principles espoused.

And brucie, regarding the statement, "I come not to bring peace, but the sword." That one sentence is taken out of context, and it is often quoted by those who wish to convince others that Jesus would approve of their particular war or act of violence. The statement certainly doesn't negate any of Jesus' "peace talk" that went before and came after. This does not contradict "Blessed are the peacemakers." If you read the entire passage, what Jesus is doing is warning those who chose to follow him that it is not going to be all beer and skittles, fun and games. The "sword" that Jesus is talking about is metaphorical. It is a "sword of cleavage" (No, not that kind of cleavage!). Part of the cleavage is that some are ready for the consequences of choosing to follow him, while others may not be. Another part of the cleavage is that bitter divisions may arise between those who followed him and those who rejected him. And sometimes the division will be between father and son, or mother and daughter. Be prepared to be disowned by your friends, family, and even by society. If you chose to do this, be prepared to be an outcast.

Was Jesus in any way warlike? There is considerable speculation about the actual motivation of Judas and why he betrayed Jesus. Was he just unmitigated evil? A tool of the devil? Or did his betrayal spring from more human emotions? Consider that Judas was a Zealot, one of those dedicated to driving the Romans out and freeing the Hebrews. The messiah that the the Zealots were hoping for was another David, a "Warrior King," who would lead them into battle and drive out the Romans as he did with the Philistines. Judas wasn't the only one of Jesus' disciples who felt this way. But when it finally sank in to Judas what Jesus was really all about—that he was not a "Warrior King," but the "Prince of Peace"—he was bitterly disillusioned and disappointed. Jesus, it seems, was not talking about actual physical swords. "This man," Judas decided, "is not the messiah!" Hence, the betrayal.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 03:33 PM

Good point, Don. You too LH. I think that Jesus HAD to be cricified to fulfill the OT prophecy. Someone had to sell him out, and I think Judas drew the short straw. Jesus wasn't as well known in his time as we seem to think, otherwise why the kiss to point him out to the authorities?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 04:03 PM

You can rationalize anything.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 04:11 PM

Ya cannot! OK, rationalize Bush, I dare ya!


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 06:00 PM

Two things I have concluded from this thread:

Artificial Insemination was invented 9 months before Jesus' birth.

Cats continue to get a raw deal when it comes to how popular dogma is.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 07:14 PM

. . . and cloning was invented when Eve was made from the rib of Adam.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 08:54 PM

Brucie, you're assuming that Jesus of Nazareth was the person fortold by the OT prophets. Suppose he wasn't? There's a lot of scholarly thought to the effect that the bits about fulfilling the OT prophecies were inserted after the fact to demonstrate JN's messianic status.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 09:18 PM

Yeah, there's that. But it's just too pat for me. I don't know that we'll get to the bottom of it here, but it's interesting to toss it all back and forth and back . . . .

The RC Church has become the 'official' interpreter of stuff to do with Jesus. But read the Book of Martyrs, examine the Inquisition, and it's clear that whoever Jesus really was, he ain't that today.

Personally, I don't mind who believes what. My relationship with God doesn't really include Jesus, no offense. I've run the gamut of JC the Revolutionary, the God, the Son of God, the Nazarene, the Jew, the this and the that. God does it for me. I don't require a Trinity--which has almost become a quartet with the inclusion of Mary. The doctoring of the prophesy that deals with the arrival of the Messiah didn't fly with the Jews. They're still waiting. The Christian world figures he arrived once but it's the second arrival that will mean business. Beats me.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 09:38 PM

The RC church decides about Jesus? You mean outside of church doctrine? Heavens to betsy, no!!! Seems like every church has something to say about JC, from the "Son of God" and "Virgin Birth" bits to the Mormons' "physical son of God and an unnamed woman, conceived by actual intercourse."

Besides, who'd listen?? The majority of Catholics in the Western world don't believe
everything the Vatican says anymore, and certainly those "heretical" Protestant churches wouldn't.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 17 Nov 03 - 10:32 PM

Rapaire,

Have you read the book, HB, HG? Curious.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 12:49 AM

Martin, you're just being silly about the immaculate conception thing by insisting on interpreting it as a literal, physical concept. It could have meant any number of other things than that. For instance, I heard a rather wise man say once: "All conception is immaculate." and I understood at once what he meant by saying that. Do you?

Even if all conception were not immaculate (which it probably is)...any physical, biological conception done in an immaculate CONSCIOUSNESS (state of mind) would be immaculate (not negative or unclean in any way). There is nothing necessarily non-immaculate about having physical sex! (despite the pernicious efforts of generations of prudish people and sick churches to convince everyone to the contrary and make them think that both sex and the body are dirty and evil)

brucie: The concept of "trinity" is merely one way (and a rather good one) of looking at any particular system of unity. For instance, a human being can be looked at as a trinity of body, mind, and spirit...or body, emotional self, and logical self...or solid, fluid, and air...or head, trunk, and limbs...etc.

A single divine being can also be looked at in 3 aspects...or 4 aspects...or 7 aspects...or 12 aspects...or 10,000 aspects...and "God" has been looked at in all those ways by various organized religions. Just pick the way(s) that suit you, that's all...if "trinity" doesn't suit you...well, okay. It's just one formal way of looking at the concept of a divinity, and it's one of many ways. Where people err is in assuming that their favourite way of describing God is the BEST or the ONLY way. Not so!

The Earth itself can be looked at as a trinity of earth, water, and sky...or as a quartet of earth, water, fire, and air. All these modes work fine, and they also serve to awaken keener awareness and understanding in people.

But trinity is VERY important in our reality, and I'll tell you why: because we live in a THREE-Dimensional reality, that's why!

The most important and basic thing is Unity, the number 1. The next most basic thing is Duality, the number 2. We see duality everywhere in life. The next most basic thing is Trinity, the number 3, and we see that everywhere too, but have to look just a little harder, because it's more complex than Duality. The next most basic thing is a division of four, and we see many of those too... here's an obvious one: North, South, East and West. Here's another one: Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall.

And one more obvious trinity: Mother, Father, and Child. It is that trinity, I think, which is basic to the Judeo-Christian faiths, but they were so relentlessly patriarchal that they altered "Mother" into a genderless "Holy Spirit" instead. The Christ was clearly the Child.

That's where the trinity really comes from....father, mother, and child. The Catholic Church tried to compensate for the lack of an official female aspect of God in their official trinity by sanctifying Mary...and in so doing they were also appeasing the pre-Christian peoples in Europe to whom the Goddess had been vitally important...equally as important as the male God figure. The pre-Christians were, in that way, closer to the truth.

Mary was a sort of politically inspired Catholic replacement for the ancient Earth Goddess, but the official trinity of Christendom should already have included the Mother anyway, quite regardless of Mary.

It's a very flawed religion that puts 95% of its emphasis on male aspects of reality, and leaves the other 5% for female ones. It takes an even balance of the two to make this creation.

- LH

p.s. I am a male, as I think most of you know by now. At least, I am this time around... :-) (Past lives, that's another thing.) I recommend either mode of existence, male or female, highly. They're both great in some ways, difficult in others, and therein lies the spice of the whole thing.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 09:45 AM

Brucie,

I've read the Old and New Testaments several times end-to-end and individually several time. Also pop into the NT from time to time and read around in it. And in the King James, Douay, RSV, Jerusalem, Scholar and other versions. Also the Gospels of Thomas, James, and Mary as well as other "Apocrophal" writings (Revelation, Tobit, Esther, et al. -- it depends on your Bible). In translations; the only "old" language I an faintly conversant with is Latin. Greek, Hebrew, Coptic, and Aramaic aren't on my language list I'm afraid.

I've also read Lao Tzu, Confucious, various Zen koans and writings, the writings of the Buddha, the Book of Mormon (and Doctrine and Covenants), the "mythologies" of various places (Norse, Yupik, Aleut, Inuit, Navaho, Greek, Celtic, Finnish, for example).

That's what comes to mind right now, anyway. Oh, yeah, commentaries on the above, too. And histories of the various Churches.

I guess that's what happens when you're a bibliomaniacal librarian. There's a LOT of religious-related stuff out there.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 10:28 AM

Martin, you're just being silly about the immaculate conception thing by insisting on interpreting it as a literal, physical concept.

There's a misunderstanding of a term here. "Immaculate conception" is not just another way of referring to a virgin birth, or the inception thereof.

"Immaculate conception" doesn't even refer to Jesus. It refers to Mary, who was, under the doctrine of immaculate conception, born without the taint of original sin.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 10:40 AM

For a Christian, the "proof" of Jesus is written on the heart. As the Teddy Bears sang many years ago, "To Know Him Is To Love Him."

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 12:17 PM

Little Hawk:

Your wise man is not so wise when he says all conception is immaculate. Tell that to some one who has been raped.

As for your aspect on trinity, I say you have obviously been brainwashed.

Oh, and I am not an atheist by far. As a Jew, I simply reject the concept of Christ as the messiah. Jews don't need a trinity to believe in or symbolize about. Just God is enough.

Women have an equal part in virtually all aspects of reformed Judiasm.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 01:25 PM

Martin Gibson: Still doesn't answer the question: Did he exist?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 05:53 PM

Earlier I said he probably did.

Didn't Jesus Alou play for the Giants?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 10:06 PM

Is this thread title punctuated wrong?

Should it be "Jesus! Did he exist?"

Then we could talk about Reagan and Bush or anybody that's unbelievable.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 10:33 PM

Sorry, Martin. Didn't remember. Shalom.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 10:37 PM

Who have I been brainwashed by, Martin? I belong to no particular organized religion, but see some value in all of them. I belong to no particular sacred tradition or church, but see some value in (almost) all of them. There are good people in most churches, and not-so-good people too.

If you mean that I have been influenced by what is around me, well, then, we have all been brainwashed. People only ever CALL it "brainwashing" when they are of a different opinion about something, and in so doing they are primarily expressing their own form of prejudice in more cases than not...or their desire to "win" the argument through hyperbole (reduce the other person's credibility by insulting him).

You say you are a Jew. Yes, I understand that Jews don't "need a trinity". Nobody needs a trinity in order to worship God, but if they freely choose to see God in 3 aspects, what's wrong with that? Nothing. The Hindus choose to see God (the One God, who cannot be described in totality using ANY words) revealed in thousands of forms, even millions of forms, and what's wrong with that? Nothing. They are well aware that all those forms are simply aspects of the one God. Are you saying that although you and I have millions of different aspects and characteristics, God can only have one, and we're not allowed to discuss God's different aspects? Ridiculous. God has every aspect. To see in God the Mother, the Father, and the Child is no more offensive to Judaism than it is to any other religion.

You say you don't see Christ as "the messiah". Fine. I don't see why you have to. If you don't see him as your messiah, then he isn't your messiah, but he may be someone else's. I think, myself, that there have been many messiahs for humanity down through the ages, and there are more yet to come. Why limit the title to Jesus?

Rape is a spectacularly non-immaculate act in its quality and intention (and I suspected you would raise it as an example, because that's exactly where the logical mind would immediately go to discredit my argument), BUT any conception that results from rape or any other act is pure in itself. It's the launching of an innocent, precious, unique new life. The child is not to blame for the act of rape that allowed the child entry into this world, and to think so would be madness. Such madness has been common in prudish societies since ancient times. The concept of a "bastard" was unknown among more enlightened tribal people in some simpler societies, like the Hawaiian, for example. Of course, we all have different ideas about who is more enlightened and who is not...

I don't know about Jesus Alou, but there are many people named "Jesus" in the Hispanic cultures, and there are many people named Mohammed in the Muslim cultures. I haven't met anyone named "Buddha" yet...or Jehovah.

Why limit yourself to the definition of being "a Jew"? Doesn't it tend to kind of narrow the viewpoint? I'll tell you what I am: I'm a living spirit in a human body. I'm a human being. Beyond that, what difference does it make what I am? This makes you my brother, but am I yours?

- LH


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 10:49 PM

Well, you're both mine. Unless one of you's a girl. Then that would make me both a brother AND a sister. (I always had difficulties with how to name family relations.)


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 11:15 PM

Right on, brucie! I can hardly resist starting a thread called "Marmite - Does it exist???" (but I'm afraid Joe Offer would really get irritated if I did...you can imagine what it might spawn in further copycat threads...)


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 18 Nov 03 - 11:48 PM

Hey, LH, then we could have "Son of Marmite", "Revenge of Marmite". (There's a real industry in the making here. Ya just gotta be the first to see it.) We could go to a movie studio and make hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Cross marmite with terminator and get Marminator (or Termite). Maybe hire the Governor of California to star in the first film. I'm sharing this willingly; work with me. Here's the title of our first film: "Clone of Marminator: The Tepid End of the Gene Pool." Has a ring to it, don't ya think? Don't worry that someone might take the idea and run with it. There's more where that came from.

So, to get back to the real question, like I'm a guy, right, and if my brother and his wife have a girl child, am I an aunt or an uncle? I have the feeling no one will answer me on this one, 'cause you're probably thinking I'm joking.

Or a chain of stores: "Marmite R Us", but to distinguish the chain from the Toy people, we turn the M backwards. I'm gonna give this a little more thought. I'll get back to you.

This is NOT a Nigerian scam letter. If you want to invest in the film, we refuse to accept more than $25,000 from any single individual. If you're married, $50,000. Sorry about the thread creep. Something just took over. But if any people in the world would understand the 'creative impulse', it would be 'catters.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 12:06 AM

Brucie, you are an unsung genius! This is an idea whose time has come. "The Marminator!" I love it! How about "Attack of the Marmites"??? They could be giant rodents who emerge from the Earth's core due to the collapsing magnetic field of the planet and the Madonna-Britney kiss causing instability in the Earth's rotational axis. I visualize a tidal wave of gigantic, chittering marmites advancing on Washington, siezing people, cars, and Abrams tanks in their pincer-like jaws, without regard to race, creed or religion.

Only The Marminator can stop them! (Enter Arnold, packing firepower like you've never seen before...except maybe in the last 20 or so action films...)

It can't fail. I see big bucks here.

Now where were we?

Oh, yeah. You're an uncle, man. An uncle.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 08:45 AM

"Marmite vs. Vegimite: The Armegeddon Duel".


(Armeggedon outa here...)


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 10:54 AM

I love you guys! It's like knowing you have an IQ of 186 and finding out you're the dumbest one in the room. We are talkin' BIG BUCKS here. This cannot fail. And on top of that I'm an uncle, and I don't have a brother with a kid. And because I'm an uncle, then that little girl my brother and his wife didn't have is my nephew. I GET IT NOW!

Hey guys, we'll all write it, one of you directs, the other produces and I interview the actresses who are over the age of 21--and have ID to prove it. Seems like a fair division of labour to me. How's it with you guys? And we get to wear shades, right, designer shades. And maybe dress like the Blues Brothers. What do ya think?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Peace
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 11:08 AM

Fellow Movie Makers and Would-be Multimillionaires: We are gonna get in serious trouble for thread creep here. I cannot tell a lie: Little Hawk caused it. I'm gonna start a thread under the name The Marminator, and I want to thank Jesus for making this possible, (and LH and Rapaire). I should warn you that they are certifiable, but they don't get near sharp or pointy things.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Nov 03 - 06:49 PM

Wild and weirder than anyother book for a long time

http://www.suntimes.com/output/religion/cst-nws-req29.html

So why not have an Anglican GayBishop?

Perhaps there is more to G W Bush in the Palace than we had first been misled to believe?, and what about that Prince of Wales|? ... G W and Charles?


Gay parade?


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 07:04 AM

there were and are lots of them


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 05:46 PM

I've skimmed the thread. I think many of you would find "Jesus, The Man" by Barbara Thiering an interesting read. She is a committed christer who says that her findings bolstered her faith. As a definite mocker, I find (like many) that her evidence only proves the defects I find in their dogma. Decide for yourself, but it's an interesting & thought provoking read.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Nov 03 - 06:30 PM

...and also interesting is this book...Jesus Christs ..a study of the issue in literary satire. I have owned it for years, but didn't realize it was back in print.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 21 Nov 03 - 05:58 PM

It seems to me that some people ( the majority?) must be genetically predisposed to religion. That would explain a lot.


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Subject: RE: Jesus - Did he exist?
From: GUEST,Mojoman
Date: 22 Nov 03 - 06:15 PM

I've come to conclusion that the Jesus who was born in Bethehem, performed miracles, died on the cross, but rose from the dead, and will return at the end of time, never existed. He was created - in troubled times - to fulfill a need. And I think that a lot of Christians realise this, but they have found a way to accomodate all the glaring inconsistencies of the Jesus story. And the strange thing is, that although they living a lie, they are also probably happier and more contented in themselves than us disbelievers.


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