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Old 04-14-2009, 03:01 PM   #1
GarfieldJL
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Whether or not a Man Named Jesus Existed

I'm not going to get into the argument as to whether or not he was the son-of-god, I'm just going to point out that scholars largely agree that Jesus existed.

Quote:
With few exceptions (such as Robert M. Price), virtually all scholars in the fields of biblical studies and history agree that Jesus was a Jewish teacher from Galilee who was regarded as a healer, was baptized by John the Baptist, was accused of sedition against the Roman Empire, and on the orders of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate was sentenced to death by crucifixion.
--wikipedia

You can argue about the miracles, you can argue about whether or not he was the son of god, but most scholars believe the man actually existed.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:02 PM   #2
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Start a new thread with your assertions that Jesus Christ, as depicted in the bible, actually existed and what evidence you have to support that assertion, and I'll show you where your flaws are.
I never said he was actually how the Bible depicted him, I only said the man existed. And I accept your challenge and the idea it is between myself and you.

http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=197105

Oh and Archeological Evidence seems to refute you on another assertion.

Quote:
An inscription found at Tel Dan dated c.850-835 BC, as well as the Mesha Stele from Moab have been interpreted as containing the phrase 'House of David' (ביתדוד). Kenneth Kitchen has proposed that an inscription of c. 945 BC by the Egyptian Pharaoh Shoshenq I mentions "the highlands of David," but this has not been widely accepted.[22] "If the reading of בית דוד [House of David] on the Tel Dan stele is correct, ... then we have solid evidence that a 9th-century BC Aramean king considered the founder of the Judean dynasty to be somebody named דוד" (David).[23]

The Tel Dan stele is largely accepted as supporting the historical existence of a Judean royal dynasty tracing its descent from an individual named David[24].
--wikipedia.org

Seems there is evidence to suggest that King David may have existed too.

Last edited by GarfieldJL; 04-14-2009 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:04 PM   #3
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Did jesus actually exist?

Burden of Proof


First, since christianity makes the claim that Jesus existed and that he was the messiah, the burden of proof is on christianity to support the claim. It is not up to non-theists or theists from other religions to disprove this claim. Although we can clearly show that there is no evidence, it is not on us to prove that there never will be.

Second, this burden of proof is doubly burdensome for christianity. Not only would one have to provide evidence for a historical figure named Jesus (and not just any Jesus, but that Jesus), but they would then have to go on to provide evidence that this person was actually the messiah. While someone hoping to support such a claim would have to prove each point independently, the arguments I will present apply pretty evenly to both claims, so I will not be categorizing them.

With that established, I will present the problems that I see with arguments made by many christians on this topic.

Historical Evidence for Jesus the Man


This one is likely to be simplest and shortest of the sections. The fact is that we don't have any. We don't have any of his personal writings, nor the personal writings of anyone that knew him (friends, family, neighbors, etc). We don't have an official record of birth, death, marriage, etc.

Christians will mostly likely want to point out that literacy rates during that time were abysmal and that the likelihood of such a record existing, let alone surviving, is negligible. They would be absolutely correct. The problem remains that none of these things exist nonetheless, in other words, they cannot deny that there is no historical evidence for this specific man named Jesus. It may be that some day, we discover something (a diary, census data, etc) that clearly shows that this specific man existed, however until that day, the "evidence" box has to remain unchecked on this particular point.

Some other form of evidence will have to exist for rational belief.

Historical Evidence for Jesus the Messiah


Personally, I don't see how the first argument that I presented can be construed as anything other than a show stopper, but alas, this reasoning is not always shared, let alone recognized.

Again, we find ourselves in a situation in which we have no direct evidence, rather indirect evidence via a myriad of sources. Sources that we might use to find evidence for Jesus include:

* The Gospels

* Eyewitness Accounts

* Early Christian Writings

* Contemporary Historians

* Old Testament Prophecy

* Revelation


If there are others that I should have included here, but did not, please let me know and I'll edit as needed (with full credit given).

The Gospels
Based on my experiences, many people tend to consider the gospels eyewitness accounts. They are not.

In order to be an eyewitness accounts, they would have to have been written by contemporaries to Jesus. They were not.

Some would (correctly) point out that it is not uncommon for oral histories to be passed down for generations before finally being put to paper. Yes, this did happen, however we have no evidence that this happened here. Furthermore, even if we accept this to be the case, we have to accept the very strong likelihood that the story changed quite a bit between the alleged witnessing of events and when they were recorded by whomever it was that recorded them (the anonymous authors commonly referred to as "Mark", "Matthew", "Luke", and "John").

Oral histories with many sources will naturally break down over time (as seen is social experiments such as "the telephone game"), so even if we were to assume that the first gospel (G.Mark) was founded in oral tradition, his telling would have cherry-picked details from a wide variety of available tellings. G.Matthew and G.Luke/Acts are based, in part, off of G.Mark and G.John is mostly a separate writing.

Despite some commonalities, each gospel has a differences in their telling of Jesus' story. In several cases, these tellings contradict one another (the day of Jesus' death being just one of more obvious examples).

So the canonical gospels, which cannot be proven to be eyewitness accounts and have no clear authorship, complete with contradictory details, cannot be reasonably taken for evidence for Jesus.

Eyewitness Accounts
There are no known eyewitness accounts of Jesus' life and death. The closest thing that we have historical evidence for is Saul's (Paul's) vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus. Again, the is not to say that such eyewitness accounts might not be discovered someday, however that still means that we have no evidence now. Furthermore such accounts, once shown not to be forgeries, would only solve the historical Jesus problem, not the messianic Jesus problem.

Early Christian Writings
Many early christian writings, specifically those made by historians, are presented as evidence for historical Jesus. Some of these include the writings of Josephus, Tacticus, Justin Martyr, and others. Besides the obvious fact that none of these authors are contemporaries of Jesus, most of the non-contested passages simply make reference to christianity (many of the works that site Jesus directly have been shown to be forgeries or clerical "enhancements" made during the hand-copying process).

Having knowledge of a religious cult is not proof of the validity of its doctrine, only that it exists. This would be the equivalent of the some future generation using a journalist's report to conclude that David Koresh was the messiah. Therefore, even the historical documents that we do have do not make a strong case for the existence of Jesus.

Contemporary Historians
As alluded to in the previous sections, there are no known contemporary references to Jesus. Even if one were to argue that there would have been no reason to have such references, that would not change the fact that we don't have any. Therefore, no evidence from this area either.

Old Testament Prophecy
I've seen several argument made that Jesus must be the messiah because he meets the qualifications set forth by the prophecies of the OT. Despite the fact that some passages of the bible contradict this argument (Jesus as Isiah) or create logical problems (Jesus comes from the line of David even though he has no biological father), some people still point to this claim as support for their argument.

Paul claims to have been a Pharisee, therefore he would have had working knowledge of OT prophecy. Considering that he's our only "eyewitness" and christianity's first evangelist, it seems pretty obvious that if he wanted to create a cult based on the messiah, all he would have to do is write a story about a guy that meets the conditions of the prophecies and presto...instant messiah. The fact that Paul's fictitious story corroborates key points from the OT's fictitious prophecies is not impressive nor is it convincing.

Revelation
Revelation is the claim that Jesus is real because it has been revealed to someone. Usually this revelation is spiritual in nature, however sometimes there is a physical manifestation. The physical manifestations can usually be dismissed quite readily as mental illness, tricks of light, mass hysteria, or the mathematical probability that some potato chips are just going to bear quasi-accurate resemblances to outlines of cultural icons.

The spiritual revelations might appear to be a harder nut to crack until you consider that people have such "revelations" regardless of culture or era...and most of them have had nothing to do with Jesus. If a christian goes into a cave and meditates/prays for 10 days, he or she is going to claim to have had spiritual contact with Jesus. If a muslim does this, they will claim to have had spiritual contact with allah. If a buddhist does this, they will claim to have spiritual contact with....well, themselves, but you get the point. The only common thread here is that deep introspection causes most humans to have deeply spiritual experiences. To claim that one's own religion is the only one that can do this is to ignore the evidence. To claim that such an experience is proof of their respective deity is foolish.

Experiments using MRI technology have shown that there are "spiritual centers" in our brain. They are active when test subjects pray or meditate. They are also active in atheletes when they "go into The Zone". All these experiments show is that our brain and achieve higher states of consciousness. This is not a christian-specific phenomena.

Therefore, as with all the other examples provided, "revelation" is not evidence for Jesus.

The Story of Jesus is Not Unique



At this point, some might be wondering "well then, where did the story of Jesus come from?".

This is a good question and luckily one that has an answer. Remember that the christian myth takes part during the Roman Empire. The Romans (proper) were pagans that pretty much stole Greek mythology and changed all the names. The stories of Zeus and Jupiter are largely similar, except the names have changed. Hermes is Mercury, Aphrodite is Venus, Poseidon is Neptune, the list goes on and on. To summarize, during the time that christianity is developing, there are a myriad of pagan mythologies available but one of the most prevalent was Greek/Roman myth (keep in mind that christianity is an spin-off of judaism, which itself is one of many religions and not even a very big one at the time).

So what are the components of Jesus' story that really make him special. I believe the following list is representative:

* The Virgin Birth/Son of God

* Miracles

* Death/Sacrifice

* Resurrection/Ascent



The Virgin Birth/Son of God
Ok, this may be the only item in this list that is arguable unique to christianity. However, ignoring the debate of the translation, the fact remains that there are several myths of gods impregnating women. Some of the more well-known Greek heroes resulting from zeus consorting with a mortal woman include:

* Hercules

* Perseus

* Dionysus


There are at least a dozen more myths of about the children that mortal women bore for zeus. And this is just one of the many Greek gods that consorted with mortal women. And this is just one set of myths amongst a myriad of others.

So the idea that a god made a child with a mortal woman is hardly news. In the ancient world, kings and rulers were frequently considered to be the offspring of the gods. Jesus is merely a drop in the ocean of demi-gods.

Miracles
Again, stories about miracle workers are nothing special. All religions contain stories of miracles, and while christianity is no exception, neither is it groundbreaking or unique in this regard.

Death/Sacrifice
I grouped death and sacrifice together because I wanted to limit myself to myths where the hero's death was a sacrificial one.

* Prometheus - son of Zeus. Stole fire from the gods so that mankind could learn and prosper (tree of knowledge anyone?). Zeus punished his son by having him shackled to the side of mountain, where a giant eagle eats his insides every day and his body is magically renewed every night. Prometheus sacrifices for all mankind.

* Dionysus - son of Zeus. Was fed to the titans as a sacrifice (sacrament?). Zeus slew the titans and from their ashes created mankind. Dionysus sacrifices for all mankind.


Here we have just two examples from one religion where the son of a god is sacrificed for mankind.

Resurrection/Ascent
This is another all-too-common theme is mythology. The aforementiond renewal of Prometheus is one example. Hercules mortal body was shed when he died, however his divine spirit returned to be with his father in olympus. Adonis was killed and then brought back to life by Aphrodite.

I'm sure that someone will want to point out that none of these myths match the Jesus myth precisely. To them I would want to point out that no one is going to be compelled to accept a story that sounds exactly like the story they already have. Authors, novelists, playwrights, screenwriters, poets, etc are constantly making variations on a theme in an effort to pass their work of as "new" or "innovative". The early christian writers were exactly the same as our modern writers. They wrote stories that their audiences would accept and enjoy. No surprise that the stories aren't exact duplicates. I think the similarities are much more telling than the differences.

To summarize: The burden of proof is on christians to show that their belief system is true. I've summarized each of the areas where we currently lack any evidence for Jesus' existence, let alone divinity. Finally, I've shown the story of Jesus is not unique or special by comparing it to just one contemporary pagan religion.

I welcome any and all comments, arguments, contrary evidence, etc.

Thanks for reading.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:09 PM   #4
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Okay. I'll agree. A man named Jesus could have existed and he could have been a cult leader of the time.

There is little doubt, however, that the character of Jesus the alleged Christ (the messiah of the Jewish people and the son of a god who performed sorcery and magic) could not have existed as portrayed in the New Testament. If a man named Jesus was a religious figure in antiquity, it isn't the same character of the bible.

For that Jesus (clearly a different person), there is no evidence.


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Old 04-14-2009, 03:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GarfieldJL View Post
Oh and Archeological Evidence seems to refute you on another assertion.

Seems there is evidence to suggest that King David may have existed too.
Hmm... a king named David. Wow. You've certainly got me there. No way can "David" be a common Hebrew name, etc.

In addition, I don't think I ever asserted that a king named David didn't exist.... perhaps you can link to my post where I did.

EDIT: I'll need to leave you guys at it... heading off to a bioarchaeology lecture/lab


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Old 04-14-2009, 03:32 PM   #6
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Okay. I'll agree. A man named Jesus could have existed and he could have been a cult leader of the time.

There is little doubt, however, that the character of Jesus the alleged Christ (the messiah of the Jewish people and the son of a god who performed sorcery and magic) could not have existed as portrayed in the New Testament. If a man named Jesus was a religious figure in antiquity, it isn't the same character of the bible.

For that Jesus (clearly a different person), there is no evidence.
And what's so incredible of the man named Jesus might be the Jesus talked about in the Bible?

Is it the fact the man supposedly worked miracles? For the longest time they thought certain cities didn't exist until they found them. If they've had problems tracking down a city, do you really think you can say definatively that a man didn't exist?

Quote:
He came to his conclusion after re-examining a theory from two amateur scientists that he had earlier dismissed as being from "the lunatic fringe".

Sue Benford and Joe Marina, from Ohio, suspected the 1988 sample was from a damaged section of the linen shroud repaired in the 16th century after being damaged in a fire.

Rogers said: "I was irritated and determined to prove Sue and Joe wrong."

However, when he came to examine threads taken in 1978 - luckily from the same section as the 1988 sample - he found cotton in them.

He said: "The cotton fibres were fairly heavily coated with dye, suggesting they were changed to match the linen during a repair.

"I concluded that area of the shroud was manipulated by someone with great skill.

"Sue and Joe were right. The worst possible sample for carbon dating was taken.
-- telegraph.co.uk

So now that might be the actual burial shroud...

Last edited by GarfieldJL; 04-14-2009 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GarfieldJL View Post
And what's so incredible of the man named Jesus might be the Jesus talked about in the Bible?
What evidence do we have for such a man? Just because a man named Jesus could have existed doesn't mean that he did.

A man named Bob the Muffin-Maker could have existed 2000 years ago, however I suspect that no one is going to take the claim seriously without some form of evidence.

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Originally Posted by GarfieldJL View Post
Is it the fact the man supposedly worked miracles?
Every mythological figure from that era performed miracles. The fact that there are stories of a miracle worker is hardly shocking, compelling, unique, etc.

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Originally Posted by GarfieldJL View Post
For the longest time they thought certain cities didn't exist until they found them.
That's great. But until they found them, they weren't confirmed pieces of the historical record. Same thing applies here. Until we find evidence for jesus, it's just a story.

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Originally Posted by GarfieldJL View Post
If they've had problems tracking down a city, do you really think you can say definatively that a man didn't exist?
Good thing that isn't how burden of proof works then, huh?
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Old 04-14-2009, 05:51 PM   #8
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I was under the impression that this debate was between SkinWalker and myself...
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Old 04-14-2009, 05:53 PM   #9
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I was under the impression that this debate was between SkinWalker and myself...
nope.



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Old 04-14-2009, 06:05 PM   #10
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I'm even willing to restrict the thread to just you and I, booting any commenters out, making it a formal debate. Its your decision. Whatever the outcome of such a thread, I promise no one will doubt my "claims" of anthropology and archaeology following its conclusion.
I say again, I was under the impression that this debate was between SkinWalker and myself only...
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:34 PM   #11
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Like I said, I was "willing" to restrict it. I also said I was willing to debate if you posted "your assertions that Jesus Christ, as depicted in the bible, actually existed and what evidence you have to support that assertion."

But when you didn't stipulate a desire to debate one-on-one and when you moved the goal post to "just a guy named Jesus who was a teacher," there really wasn't anything left to debate.

It seemed prudent to move Achilles thread here since he posted just seconds after yours.


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Old 04-15-2009, 12:08 AM   #12
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Like I said, I was "willing" to restrict it. I also said I was willing to debate if you posted "your assertions that Jesus Christ, as depicted in the bible, actually existed and what evidence you have to support that assertion."
The only reason I posted this topic was because of the restriction part. I want an intelligent conversation not a liberal member pile-on.

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Originally Posted by SkinWalker
But when you didn't stipulate a desire to debate one-on-one and when you moved the goal post to "just a guy named Jesus who was a teacher," there really wasn't anything left to debate.
My contention is that Jesus the man, is the Jesus that is in the Bible, how much of it is real is a matter for debate. What I find interesting is that many archeologists try their darnedest to prove any ancient literary work to be complete and total garbage, only they end up with egg in their faces. Another thing to consider is that there are people in the Bible that did not have 'supernatural powers' and you can also argue that most of those people didn't really have those powers but they prayed to God, and God answered their prayers. The loan exception I believe is Jesus, and even then he often prayed to God.

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It seemed prudent to move Achilles thread here since he posted just seconds after yours.
The first post of his fine, the following posts of jmac and Achilles, uh no.
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Old 04-22-2009, 03:41 PM   #13
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Regardless of who he was, I always thought people in that time period kept records. Especially of court cases which Jesus was in with Pilot. I'd think especially records of sentences and with it being such a high profile case of that time during passover it'd be something documented. As far as Wiki is concerned, you can edit pages. So whatever Wikis are concerned they are only as valid as to their sources, if those sources are baised, etc. So historically with artifacts we can tell the lifestyle, and other physical things, but if Jesus's case was not documented then that says to me either the documentation has already decayed to dust, has yet to be found, or court cases were not documented.


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Old 04-22-2009, 04:01 PM   #14
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Or maybe the case never took place
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Old 04-22-2009, 04:19 PM   #15
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Hey though I have my faith I like you was aslo asking a question regarding court case record keeping of that time. I'm curious too.


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Old 04-22-2009, 05:37 PM   #16
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Regardless of who he was, I always thought people in that time period kept records.
Okay. Could you please tell me where I can find copies?

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Especially of court cases which Jesus was in with Pilot. I'd think especially records of sentences and with it being such a high profile case of that time during passover it'd be something documented.
One might think, huh? All the more curious that to the best of my knowledge, no record exists.

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So historically with artifacts we can tell the lifestyle, and other physical things, but if Jesus's case was not documented then that says to me either the documentation has already decayed to dust, has yet to be found, or court cases were not documented.
Quoting mur'phon for emphasis.
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Old 04-24-2009, 02:04 PM   #17
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Just like the other topic about asking is there any good reason to believe in god I said I really don't think it can be proven. Same for here. For some it's a matter of faith and for others it's a matter of physical evidence to back up the claim of the man Jesus or existence of a god. To be objective I doubt anyone can provide proof either way other than saying there is lack or the other side saying here's all of these miracles. And again another man's miracle is another man's luck.

As for documentation I don't think we'd have much left to this day. People often in that day at least from NatGeo says they wrote on papyrus from a papaya tree. That would be long time dust already. Now there was that Gospel of Judas document supposedly bought in the Israel antiquities community. Which by the way has been known to have forgeries, those creating forgeries, and other such items. And this gospel of Judas at least to my knowledge is the only thing with mention of Jesus I've heard of. But again some guy back then could've been making a ancient forgery from back then that now is continued by another who wanted to make money off of the forgery. And all you can prove by carbon dating because pieces of the document from the special I saw were burnt to determine how old the document was. All they could determine is that this material was as old as so number of years leading back to that time period of the speculated Jesus's day. So again even with that all you can say is forgery or not this document came from around this time period.

So again I doubt there is any evidence of Jesus to prove, or evidence to disprove his existence. Again with some it's a matter of faith that doesn't require or cares to look at evidence or lack there of. While the other side wishes to have proof.



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Old 04-24-2009, 02:22 PM   #18
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And this gospel of Judas at least to my knowledge is the only thing with mention of Jesus I've heard of.
The entire new testament discusses jesus. You are apparently unfamiliar with the text.

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So again I doubt there is any evidence of Jesus to prove, or evidence to disprove his existence.
Therefore, since the christian community can provide no means to verify their claims that a man named jesus existed, no rational person should not accept the claim that a man named jesus existed. kthxbai.
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Old 04-24-2009, 03:06 PM   #19
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Just like the other topic about asking is there any good reason to believe in god I said I really don't think it can be proven. Same for here. For some it's a matter of faith and for others it's a matter of physical evidence to back up the claim of the man Jesus or existence of a god. To be objective I doubt anyone can provide proof either way other than saying there is lack or the other side saying here's all of these miracles. And again another man's miracle is another man's luck.

As for documentation I don't think we'd have much left to this day. People often in that day at least from NatGeo says they wrote on papyrus from a papaya tree. That would be long time dust already. Now there was that Gospel of Judas document supposedly bought in the Israel antiquities community. Which by the way has been known to have forgeries, those creating forgeries, and other such items. And this gospel of Judas at least to my knowledge is the only thing with mention of Jesus I've heard of. But again some guy back then could've been making a ancient forgery from back then that now is continued by another who wanted to make money off of the forgery. And all you can prove by carbon dating because pieces of the document from the special I saw were burnt to determine how old the document was. All they could determine is that this material was as old as so number of years leading back to that time period of the speculated Jesus's day. So again even with that all you can say is forgery or not this document came from around this time period.

So again I doubt there is any evidence of Jesus to prove, or evidence to disprove his existence. Again with some it's a matter of faith that doesn't require or cares to look at evidence or lack there of. While the other side wishes to have proof.
*draws a big red circle ^^*

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Old 04-24-2009, 03:16 PM   #20
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Both have their opinions of each other. The one side thinks the other is offlish and lacks credibility. They both have different idology, and of course they'd have apposing views of each other. Your viewpoint, and their viewpoint. Again both judge lack of evidence or proof of evidence in different ways. Both have drawn their conclusions. And that is that.


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Old 04-24-2009, 03:34 PM   #21
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This isn't a matter of opinion. Either there is evidence (and therefore cause) or there is not.

If the former is true, then people such as myself are wrong and can be shown to be so. If the latter is true, then people such as yourself are wrong and can be shown to be so. The problem is that one side wants to have it's cake and eat it too. They want to be able to admit that there is no evidence yet still convince others (themselves?) that they have good reason for their beliefs.
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Old 04-24-2009, 05:26 PM   #22
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I'm speaking as to both sides and how each sees things. Science has their reasoning, idology, what they consider this and that, their rules. And then there is the religous commmunity that has their form of idology, thinking, reasoning, what they consider proof, etc. Like I said they'll believe they the way they want, and science will view them in tehir thinking. Reasoning to the two is different. Both think differently. Both can claim their right by their reasoning based on how one sees the other and how the other sees the world. So really the two are at an impass to which neither will yeild.


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Old 04-24-2009, 06:38 PM   #23
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I'm speaking as to both sides and how each sees things. Science has their reasoning, idology, what they consider this and that, their rules.
It isn't a "science vs non-science" question.

I'm holding a million dollars in my hand. True or false?

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And then there is the religous commmunity that has their form of idology, thinking, reasoning, what they consider proof, etc.
Err, I don't know about that. I don't know that I would say that the religious community claims to have "proof". What they do have is a system that reward believing things without any proof.

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Like I said they'll believe they the way they want, and science will view them in tehir thinking. Reasoning to the two is different. Both think differently. Both can claim their right by their reasoning based on how one sees the other and how the other sees the world. So really the two are at an impass to which neither will yeild.
No, you're still missing the point. I'll repeat myself again: everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Jesus either existed or he did not. It's not a matter of opinion.
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:08 PM   #24
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With your million dollar comment how do you know I'm not holding a billion dollars. Again my point is one side's faith is another side's lack of proof. Just another example to allow me to show here's both side's logic.

Again religon doesn't care about proof since they operate on the idea of faith. Science operates on the scientic principal of proof. Science wants religon to provide proof because they are judging them based on their thought process. Religon is doing the same to science. They think Science should have a little faith. Both are unwilling to do so. Again both sides are at an impass. One side says they are not. The other says they are not. Agreeing to disagree.


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Old 04-24-2009, 11:42 PM   #25
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"Faith is believing what you know ain't so." - Mark Twain.

What good reason is there to accept the fantastic claim that Jesus existed as told in Biblical mythology?

Science asks for evidence and rational discourse of religious claims, particularly in so far as they affect the natural world and the effectiveness and efficiency of scientific discovery and research. Religion hardly wants the same of science. Science cannot operate on the same kind of "faith" that religion thrives under because it is without reason or logic. The sort of faith present in science comes through evidence and tested hypotheses.

Faith in an imaginary, magical being (i.e. Jesus the alleged christ) is blind faith.

Faith that f=ma is the same as a=f/m is faith in the observable; the testable; the verifiable. This is the kind of faith that allows us to sleep on an airplane at 32,000 feet.


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Old 04-25-2009, 01:15 AM   #26
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With your million dollar comment how do you know I'm not holding a billion dollars.
You didn't answer my question.

I don't know that you're not holding a billion dollars. The fact is that I'm going to be skeptical of the claim and probably require some sort of evidence before I accept that you are, in fact, holding a billion dollars in your hand.

Same thing goes for any claim. The more fantastic the claim, the better the evidence has to be. The more important or relevant the claim is, the greater amount of scrutiny the evidence will need to be subjected to.

If I were to blindly accept that you had a billion dollars just because you said so and I couldn't prove that you didn't have a billion dollars, then I would be making a serious error in reasoning and judgment and my peers would correctly think me to be a fool.

Yet billions of people around the world accept that jesus christ was the son of god, came to earth and died for our sins, and that only through him can one gain eternal salvation...and there isn't single shred of evidence that even hints that any of it is true. But believing it anyway is considered to be the best thing one can possibly do within that culture. Right.

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Again my point is one side's faith is another side's lack of proof.
Wrong. Burden of proof doesn't work like that.

Christians aren't justified in believing whatever they want until someone comes along and proves those beliefs are false. And a lack of faith doesn't require any faith at all. So your argument falls apart in both directions.

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Again religon doesn't care about proof since they operate on the idea of faith.
Right. See above.

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Science operates on the scientic principal of proof.
Nope. Last I checked "proof" was a mathematical term. Science deals with models of understanding based on evidence and observation.

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Science wants religon to provide proof because they are judging them based on their thought process.
Yeah, crazy. Only wanting to accept that which can be demonstrated to be real. What a bunch of wackos.

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Religon is doing the same to science.
Wut?

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They think Science should have a little faith.
Okay fine. Why is this a good thing? And have a little faith in what? Russell's teapot? The flying spaghetti monster? That a million angels can dance on the head of a pin? What precisely should science-minded people have a little bit of faith in?
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Old 04-25-2009, 10:30 AM   #27
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Yeah, crazy. Only wanting to accept that which can be demonstrated to be real. What a bunch of wackos.


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Old 04-25-2009, 02:01 PM   #28
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Religon is doing the same to science. They think Science should have a little faith.
I'm a believer, and I believe that this would be disastrous for science if allowed. You do understand that if science were to ever involve unprovable assumptions such as faith that it would cease to be credible and would become worthless, right? Its credibility depends upon its remaining completely independent of any unscientific influences.

If science is ever going to prove anything religious, it will have to do so completely by accident.


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Old 04-25-2009, 02:27 PM   #29
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I'm not holding a billion dollars. Again my point is one side's faith is another side's lack of proof. Just another example to allow me to show here's both side's logic.
Sorry your side of this argument is not logical and I’m going beyond skepticism here.

Since the largest bill U.S. currency in circulation today is the $100. bill. Achilles could be holding a Million Dollars in $100. bills or about 23 lbs. You on the other hand would be holding a little over 22002. lbs by holding a Billion Dollars worth of $100. bills.

If I’m wrong, then you may want to contact Hossein Rezazadeh of Iran, the most he could lift is 581 lbs.

Look what teaching science in science class can do.

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Old 04-25-2009, 02:45 PM   #30
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Wait a minute: if a million dollars in $100 bills weighs 23lb, wouldn't a billion dollars in $100 bills weigh 23,000lb?


"They should rename the team to the Washington Government Sucks. Put Obama on the helmet. Line the entire walls of the stadium with the actual text of the ACA.
Fix their home team score on the board to the debt clock, they can win every game 17,000,000,000,000 to 24. Losing team gets taxed by the IRS 100%, then droned."
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Old 04-25-2009, 02:49 PM   #31
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Wait a minute: if a million dollars in $100 bills weighs 23lb, wouldn't a billion dollars in $100 bills weigh 23,000lb?
About, I messed up. Fixed thanks.
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Old 04-25-2009, 02:53 PM   #32
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Well, either way, I guess you really squashed that one.


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Old 04-25-2009, 05:03 PM   #33
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About the money amount I was speaking hypothetically. Of course holding a billion would be far fetched to hold. Ah focusing on minor meaningless details. Yawn. Skinwalker thanks for your post. I agree. One functions on the unsean, the other deals with the physical, and believes what they can see and touch. And whatever you wish to say calling religous people whatever you want is your opinnion. They can have theirs of yours. You think well religon shouldn't be allowed to do this, and they vise versa all opinions and reasoning from the two viewpoints. Religous community thinks one way and science thinks another. They criticise each other. In the end with this each side already had their conclusions from the start. Nothing has been acomplished aside from energy used through the mind, and keystrokes of the fingers. Energy and time has been used. And to a final end both sides will think as they wish. One side might feel they won for having the final post, or another might feel they made a better argument, all in all nothing really constructive has occured. And threads with this same topic might be happening across the internet elsewhere. I can hypothosize this. Will one assume so or will one not. In the end with them the same outcome. Everyone has their minds made up, both sides believe as they will. Religon will think as they do regardless of lack of evidence, or anything of the physical. Science willl reject religon's claims and say what they will about the religous community. And again ohters see themselves as victors in a thread based on their reasoning, how they see things, etc. Again time used and energy also used to come to the same conclustions both sides originally had at the start. Both sides are closed minded though they say they are not. Because really both sides are incompatable to each other. Like an American device being plugged into a European outlit. Again nothing truly accomplished.


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Old 04-25-2009, 05:17 PM   #34
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Billions in bonds could be fairly light

Of course nobody said it had to be US dollars either.


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Old 04-25-2009, 05:30 PM   #35
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Sorry, I figured you would understand the reason behind my nitpick. Obliviously you do not get it and I will quit wasting my and your time trying to explain it.

I’m of the Religious community and I would appreciate you not continuing to include us all in an illogical argument. I’m illogical enough on my own and this is not a one side of an argument or the other. The tread asked if a man named Jesus existed and I have yet to see any contemporary physical proof of a man named Jesus existents. About the closest thing I’ve been able to find is a block of limestone with the name of Pilate (as in Pontius Pilate) inscribed on it. This however, does not prove a man name Jesus existed, but it proves to me a man name Pilate existed and he was governor of ludaea.

Oh, I believe people have their minds made up given the current evidence. However, that does not mean people are so closed minded that they are not willing to rethink their position given new evidence. That is usually just us on the religious side that refuse to examine new evidence that goes against our beliefs.
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Old 04-25-2009, 05:53 PM   #36
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In general my friend in general I say on both sides. You are of course entitled to your own conclusions in that you do not wish to be lumped to a generality. And I shall say it again. Both sides will not change the other's minds if they both are closed minded. As for the Jesus stuff you sai some are open minded on both sides. Both will say either you are not practicing science and are choosing to be ignorant by choosing the other side, and the other will say you are choosing to loook at thing from the physical and not the spiritual. Word choices very. But in the end proof matters more to science. Things they can touch, see, hear, smell. Things of the five senses or at least one. Religon acts on faith and does not care of evidence. Yes it may strengthen their faith, or do nothing to it. It's their choice what they wish to do with the evidence or lack their of. People will make their conclusions. Pointless. Non closed minded will change sides and each side will place a lable on the other and judge them on their thinking. So yesh that can happen. You've said there has been no proof for Jesus's existence. I said what one said would say it doesn't matter for it is a matter of faith. Or it might strengthen their faith. Other's may say lack of evidence means they'll choose science and reject religion.

Science is happy for that outcome. But in the end numbers change sides, but now that people have switched sides the entity of religion and the entity of science remain the same. Only the people in both changed.And conclusion of the two upon the other remains.


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Old 04-25-2009, 05:53 PM   #37
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*snipped for brevity*

So your argument is that we shouldn't have any more discussions, because we can't change the world?

Seriously?

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Old 04-25-2009, 06:00 PM   #38
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SD Nihil, please do not post in this thread either, until you have points that are discuss-able and a position. Further posts that do not may be considered off-topic or trolling and subject to deletion. PM me if you have questions or concerns.


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Old 05-05-2009, 03:14 AM   #39
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Let me just say I would LOVE to jump into this debate, but it's late and I realize I don't have the time necessary to spend on it. So I'll just throw in some general remarks for a start...

I have debated the historicity of Jesus with all sorts of conspiracy theorists off and on for the past three years or so, on IMDB.com (boards like "The God Who Wasn't There," "Religulous," and "The Da Vinci Code" amongst others). I've sometimes argued by myself, sometimes with other religious folks and sometimes had atheists on my side. One thing to keep in mind is that no matter how much you might disagree with Jesus' reputed teachings or the practices of Christians or their theological beliefs (including belief in scriptural inerrancy), this is irrelevant to whether the man actually lived.

Note that I use the term "Myther" here not in a pejorative sense, but to refer to people who think Jesus was just a fictional character or hoax, rather than a real human being.

Now this is one of those debates where people are quick to accuse me and say "well, as a Christian, you're biased." But if I were shown overwhelming evidence that Jesus never existed as a historical person, that would pretty much shatter my faith. And I wouldn't want to believe in a system I knew was nonsense. For me, the foundation of Christianity is that Jesus was an actual person. If he was merely some metaphor, or a plagiarism of some other gods or unrelated persons, that's it, as far as I'm concerned. Time to consider some other religion (Conservative Judaism strikes me as a pretty good one)!

For me, it's not merely a matter of an appeal to authority (ie: that the majority of modern experts in the related fields, whether believers or non-believers accept that Yeshua bar Yosef, known to us as Jesus of Nazareth, called Christ, was a real historical person, upon which the religion known as Christianity, and the character of the New Testament, was based), though this helps (the burden of proof is on the minority challenging the experts, here). Rather, as a budding "expert" myself (though by no means at the top of the game yet, I assure you) the evidence I've seen thus far is convincing. There's multiple attestations of a figure who sounds an awful lot like Jesus, a Jewish cult leader with a brother named James, in the right place, and the right time... both in non-Christian and Christian sources (the latter, though biased, are useful, especially since several of them are independent of one another). Some are quick to point out that these scholars don't all agree exactly what Jesus was really like, or precisely the main focus of his teachings. However that is a bit like saying because mainstream scientists disagree over the precise mechanisms or systems of evolution, that evolution is "in crisis" or "just a theory" (and somehow alternative theories like creationism are just as valid). The point is they agree on certain minimum things, sufficient to say he existed.

Then there's the absence of any critiques of Christianity charging that Jesus was a hoax (which one might expect if that's how it happened, or at least a forceful defense by a Christian apologist early on that he wasn't). Finally, the fact that the earliest attestations are from contemporaries, within a very short time frame (for antiquity), basically a few decades after his death, makes it less likely that he was simply invented.

The notion that all the texts were tampered with later by Christian scribes needs to be demonstrated. The only reference we know is tampered with is the infamous "Testimonium Flavium." Even still, most scholars believe that it is still partially genuine. The references to James elsewhere in Josephus are not contested by modern scholars, and in context there is nothing that appears out of place for a Jewish commentator like Josephus (who is discussing the fall of a high priest connected to the death of James).

The arguments that earlier gods were identical or very close to Jesus is probably the weakest Myther argument, and is at the bottom of the list of acceptable evidences for Mythicism, but I generally ask "Copycat Mythicists" to show from pre-Christian texts the evidence for these other gods having "Jesus-like" characteristics. Typically, all they can do is cite vague "lists" that have appeared in non-scholarly works since the 19th century.

The idea that if one strips away the "supernatural elements" (the theological claims about Jesus which history alone cannot prove or disprove), one ends up with a "different Jesus" than the Jesus of the bible, and so therefore somehow indirectly proves Jesus was a Myth, is, I think a poor argument.

That would be akin to arguing that Sathya Sai Baba is a Myth, because his followers believe him to be a Godman, possessing divine attributes, and able to do miracles, possessing wisdom beyond that of mere mortals, while the rest of the world tends to regard him as some kind of deluded street magician, if not an outright con. The "Mythic" argument is that Jesus never existed, not that some of his powers were exaggerated, or some of his teachings untrue. That would be shifting the goalposts. Agnostics like Bart Ehrman have no trouble doubting that Jesus was divine, or had any kind of supernatural abilities, yet nevertheless accept his historical existence based on the evidence which explains the origins of Christianity better than some kind of convoluted invention conspiracy.

And finally, admitting that someone "just like Jesus" at the same time as Jesus, existed, is conceding the argument. Saying "well it was a common name back then" is a non-argument (but I hear that one often).

I'll check back in awhile. If nothing ever comes of it, on the one hand I'll be disappointed I didn't get to have a hearty debate with you all like in the old days, but on the other I'll be pleased that another internet conspiracy theory has failed to gain a foothold in these hallowed forums...


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Old 05-05-2009, 03:49 AM   #40
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Now this is one of those debates where people are quick to accuse me and say "well, as a Christian, you're biased." But if I were shown overwhelming evidence that Jesus never existed as a historical person, that would pretty much shatter my faith.
As I have pointed out before, Kurgan, believing something first and then expecting others to disprove it isn't how it works. You can do it that way, but that isn't being intellectually honest and no one who is is going to take you seriously.

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And I wouldn't want to believe in a system I knew was nonsense. For me, the foundation of Christianity is that Jesus was an actual person.
Right, hence why this conversation is going to go nowhere quick: you have a vested interest in a particular outcome that prevents you from participating objectively. I give you kudos for giving it a name, but the reality seems to be that you haven't closed the loop within your own thinking.

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If he was merely some metaphor, or a plagiarism of some other gods or unrelated persons, that's it, as far as I'm concerned. Time to consider some other religion (Conservative Judaism strikes me as a pretty good one)!
And if some similar crisis were to befall that one too? Would you just keep hopping from faith-to-faith until there weren't anymore without checking the veracity of any of them beforehand?

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For me, it's not merely a matter of an appeal to authority (ie: that the majority of modern experts in the related fields, whether believers or non-believers accept that Yeshua bar Yosef, known to us as Jesus of Nazareth, called Christ, was a real historical person, upon which the religion known as Christianity, and the character of the New Testament, was based), though this helps (the burden of proof is on the minority challenging the experts, here).
You seem to be invoking appeal to authority as basis for a valid argument. You are aware that appeal to authority is a logical fallacy, correct?

Also, as I have pointed out repeatedly, this isn't how burden of proof works. The party making the claim has the burden of proof to support that claim. In this case, those that claim that jesus was an actual historical person have the burden of proof for supporting that claim. "Minority" vs. "majority" viewpoint has absolutely nothing to do with anything.

It's disappointing that you approach this thread as though you want to have a legitimate debate in good faith, yet you continue to attempt to rearrange the rules as you go along.

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Rather, as a budding "expert" myself (though by no means at the top of the game yet, I assure you) the evidence I've seen thus far is convincing.
I've been waiting months to see it too.

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There's multiple attestations of a figure who sounds an awful lot like Jesus, a Jewish cult leader with a brother named James, in the right place, and the right time... both in non-Christian and Christian sources (the latter, though biased, are useful, especially since several of them are independent of one another). Some are quick to point out that these scholars don't all agree exactly what Jesus was really like, or precisely the main focus of his teachings. However that is a bit like saying because mainstream scientists disagree over the precise mechanisms or systems of evolution, that evolution is "in crisis" or "just a theory" (and somehow alternative theories like creationism are just as valid). The point is they agree on certain minimum things, sufficient to say he existed.
Hardly convincing. Groups of people that already believe X write about X existing. Later "scholars" (who also believe X), see said documents and then argue that this is confirmation of X. Said "scholars" also decide that other "scholars" who believe X are legitimate and those that do not are not. Cozy.

Of course what we don't have to have for this model to work is X itself.

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Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
Then there's the absence of any critiques of Christianity charging that Jesus was a hoax (which one might expect if that's how it happened, or at least a forceful defense by a Christian apologist early on that he wasn't).
Except that "christianity" wasn't established until decades after his alleged death. And what do we have to corroborate said death? Why the stories themselves, of course!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
The notion that all the texts were tampered with later by Christian scribes needs to be demonstrated.
Says that man that has repeatedly claimed to be familiar with Bart Ehrman's writing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
The only reference we know is tampered with is the infamous "Testimonium Flavium." Even still, most scholars believe that it is still partially genuine. The references to James elsewhere in Josephus are not contested by modern scholars, and in context there is nothing that appears out of place for a Jewish commentator like Josephus (who is discussing the fall of a high priest connected to the death of James).
See earlier explanation of "scholars".

The rest of your post is a series of strawmen. Glad to see you're back, Kurgan!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurgan View Post
I'll check back in awhile. If nothing ever comes of it, on the one hand I'll be disappointed I didn't get to have a hearty debate with you all like in the old days, but on the other I'll be pleased that another internet conspiracy theory has failed to gain a foothold in these hallowed forums...
Says the guy that excused himself from our last debate

TTFN.
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