Author Topic: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??  (Read 2422 times)

Offline Baruch

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2017, 01:29:15 PM »
History is relentless.  Someday, the US will go the way of the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the French and the Brits. 

But not THIS century...  Ask the Germans and the Japanese.

What about the POV ... history is moving faster now?  Future Shock?
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Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2017, 01:50:27 PM »
I haven't yet come across this Richard Carrier book, but I look forward to reading it if I get the chance. In my case, though, he'd definitely be preaching to the choir, since I don't believe that any such person as the biblical Jesus ever existed. I have read some other books on the subject, so I'm not completely ignorant of the various arguments for and against a historical Jesus.

I subscribe to astro-theology, which claims that Jesus is just another sun god for the new age that saw the sun leave the sign of Taurus the bull )Mithras), Aries, then the goat (Moses), and enters Pisces, the fish (Jesus). I guess we'll soon need a new sun god, though, as we enter the age of Aquarius. I wonder if that'll happen.




« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 02:08:39 PM by Unbeliever »
God Not Found
“Money supplants skill; it's possession allows us to become happily stupid.”
Bill McKibben, The Age of Missing Information

Offline Cavebear

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2017, 01:52:01 PM »
What about the POV ... history is moving faster now?  Future Shock?

Except in wars, history is tectonic...
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Online Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2017, 01:58:35 PM »
Correct.  Begging the question.  But it wasn't Christianity as we know it, that happened in 325 CE in Nicea, under Constantine.  All Christianity before that, is mis-named as such.  Rome had a great oppressive politics and propaganda machine.  Constantine made up shit, and erased evidence.  His clergy were government employees, who did his bidding.  The Christian Bible was canonized by priests acting as political agents of the State ... over the next 100 years.  It is a fact, but irrelevant, that Armenia and Ethiopia established State churches around the same time.  There were some Gentile Christian groups that escaped State control, in Persia, where they were oppressed by the Sassanids because they were suspected as a Fifth Column.  But the making of Zoroastrianism into a State church in Sassanid Persia, preceded all this by about 75 years, so the others had a prototype to imitate.  Constantine replaced one State church (paganism) with another, for his own political goals as head of the Roman Mafia.  There was no separation of Church and State ever ... once the Church got going, until relatively recently.  There still isn't in Germany, GB etc.  Gentile Christians (135 CE forward) were only free because they were a criminal sedition against the Roman State church (paganism).

As far as the historical Jesus goes, I used to care, but have grown past that after I did my own research circa 1997.  We can't see thru the evidence because of the deep weeds of propaganda.  There is only history as entertainment, not as fact.

BTW - this kind of analysis is common to the Jesus Seminar and John Dominic Crossan ... who was part of the Jesus Seminar, but independent of it.  Even Crossan isn't skeptical enough, because he is still a Christian.  John Shelby Spong is another Jesus Seminar type ... and he comes closer, because he recognizes the Jewish aspect.  Orthodox Rabbis don't because they reject everything Gentile as non-kosher, including even Jewish Christians.  Just another failed messiah, if historical, or just another fake messiah, if ahistorical.
I quite agree.  The 'finished' (although it is never finished and changes with the different generations) product came from Constantine's efforts. But with his elements, Carrier will tie in the prototype Christianity with the current one.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Online Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2017, 02:04:24 PM »
That is a common Unitarian-Universalist POV ... not even Protestant.  But still religious.  I initially assumed that too, until I completed my own research.  Basically, the Jesus Seminar, Crossan, et al were trying to establish a non-orthodox view of a historical Jesus ... for me they failed, they demonstrated that Jesus was mythical.
When the Jesus Seminar started I was deeply interested in it.  Went to a couple of their seminars in Santa Rosa, CA.  Those were interesting.  Karen Armstrong and Bishop Spong were featured speakers--liked them both.  I remember there was quite a bit of discussion of the Red Letter bible and attended a couple of discussions dealing with it.  But I don't remember hearing much about Jesus not being an actual historical figure.  I'm not sure Carrier would be a welcome guest at a seminar. 
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Online Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2017, 02:08:57 PM »
I haven't yet come across this Richard Carrier book, but I look forward to reading it if I get the chance. In my case, though, he'd definitely be preaching to the choir, since I don't believe that any such person as the biblical Jesus ever existed. I have read some other books on the subject, so I'm not completely ignorant of the various arguments for and against a historical Jesus.

I subscribe to astro-theology, which claims that Jesus is just another sun god for the new age that saw the sun leave the sign of Taurus the bull )Mithras), and enter Pisces, the fish (Jesus). I guess we'll soon need a new sun god, though, as we enter the age of Aquarius. I wonder if that'll happen.


By the time I had picked up Carrier's book, he was preaching to the choir in my case, as well.  But the historian in me wanted to see how Carrier handled the data and how he argued his case.  I was and am, impressed.

Like you, I think of Jesus as the Sun of God.  I think sun worshiping was strong in that region and time frame.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Offline Cavebear

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2017, 02:14:22 PM »
When the Jesus Seminar started I was deeply interested in it.  Went to a couple of their seminars in Santa Rosa, CA.  Those were interesting.  Karen Armstrong and Bishop Spong were featured speakers--liked them both.  I remember there was quite a bit of discussion of the Red Letter bible and attended a couple of discussions dealing with it.  But I don't remember hearing much about Jesus not being an actual historical figure.  I'm not sure Carrier would be a welcome guest at a seminar.
Politics beats religion eventually.  If Italy took over the Vatican and killed the Pope, do you think all of catholic SA could raises armies to invade Italy.  Do you think such an aramada would be permitted by the Rest Of The World?. 
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Online Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2017, 06:02:31 PM »
Element 4:
a.  Palestine in the early first century CE was experiencing a rash of messianism. 
b.  It is therefore no oddity or accident that this is exactly when Christianity arouse.  It was yet another messiah cult in the midst of a fad for just such cults.
c.  That it among them would alone survive and spread can therefore be the product of natural selection: so many variations of the same theme were being tried, odds are one of them would by
     chance be successful, hitting all the right notes and dodging all the right bullets.  The lucky winner in that contest just happened to be Christianity. 

Regardless, all the evidence is clear enough on the general fact of the matter:  the first century had exploded with messianic fervor, to the point that it's not at all surprising one of these countless new messianic cults would become more successful than the rest (the others being wiped out or not adopting the right mix of popular attributes), even standing a fair chance of becoming a world religion (as any successful cult has a shot of doing).  And Christianity is exactly such a messianic cult arising exactly when such cults were popular, and in the very same place.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2017, 06:53:26 PM »
If it hadn't been for the council of Nicea and Constantine, I doubt we'd ever have even heard of Judaism, much less Christianity. They'd simply have been ancient cults that anthropologists would study, and that's about it.
God Not Found
“Money supplants skill; it's possession allows us to become happily stupid.”
Bill McKibben, The Age of Missing Information

Offline Baruch

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2017, 07:56:00 PM »
When the Jesus Seminar started I was deeply interested in it.  Went to a couple of their seminars in Santa Rosa, CA.  Those were interesting.  Karen Armstrong and Bishop Spong were featured speakers--liked them both.  I remember there was quite a bit of discussion of the Red Letter bible and attended a couple of discussions dealing with it.  But I don't remember hearing much about Jesus not being an actual historical figure.  I'm not sure Carrier would be a welcome guest at a seminar.

Karen Armstrong was a very important part, and Elaine Pagels.  The women contributed a lot.  The "mythicists" are the ones who deny any historicity.  I would deny the importance of any historicity.  Not quite the same.  And yes, the Jesus Seminar was a kind of minimalist apologetic to the "G-d is dead" theology.  The only one I got to hear live was Spong.  One of the minor members, who was an expert in parables, was one of my wife's professors at seminary.  The dean of that school was an expert in Montanism.  When my wife was in seminary, all of this was very hot for me, I ate it up.  But in the end I had to dismiss the methodology used by the Jesus Seminar and the somewhat different method used by Crossan.  I admire their work, but they were apologists in any case.  It is very hard for one's theology not to be warped by the culture of one's own time.  Montanism was an early charismatic movement.
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Offline Baruch

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2017, 07:58:44 PM »
By the time I had picked up Carrier's book, he was preaching to the choir in my case, as well.  But the historian in me wanted to see how Carrier handled the data and how he argued his case.  I was and am, impressed.

Like you, I think of Jesus as the Sun of God.  I think sun worshiping was strong in that region and time frame.

Well given that Constantine was originally a worshipper of Sol Invictus ... it is pretty obvious for him.  What it meant to Paul, is maybe not quite the same, and Paul different markedly from the other apostles.
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Online Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2017, 08:04:52 PM »
Karen Armstrong was a very important part, and Elaine Pagels.  The women contributed a lot.  The "mythicists" are the ones who deny any historicity.  I would deny the importance of any historicity.  Not quite the same.  And yes, the Jesus Seminar was a kind of minimalist apologetic to the "G-d is dead" theology.  The only one I got to hear live was Spong.  One of the minor members, who was an expert in parables, was one of my wife's professors at seminary.  The dean of that school was an expert in Montanism.  When my wife was in seminary, all of this was very hot for me, I ate it up.  But in the end I had to dismiss the methodology used by the Jesus Seminar and the somewhat different method used by Crossan.  I admire their work, but they were apologists in any case.  It is very hard for one's theology not to be warped by the culture of one's own time.  Montanism was an early charismatic movement.
I think the Jesus Seminar was an important step in the search for the historical Jesus that was begun in the 1800's.  And I think that that is an important search.  It seems important that establishing that Jesus was a fiction and how that could be, will make it easier to establish that god is also a fiction. 
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Offline Baruch

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2017, 08:06:18 PM »
Element 4:
a.  Palestine in the early first century CE was experiencing a rash of messianism. 
b.  It is therefore no oddity or accident that this is exactly when Christianity arouse.  It was yet another messiah cult in the midst of a fad for just such cults.
c.  That it among them would alone survive and spread can therefore be the product of natural selection: so many variations of the same theme were being tried, odds are one of them would by
     chance be successful, hitting all the right notes and dodging all the right bullets.  The lucky winner in that contest just happened to be Christianity. 

Regardless, all the evidence is clear enough on the general fact of the matter:  the first century had exploded with messianic fervor, to the point that it's not at all surprising one of these countless new messianic cults would become more successful than the rest (the others being wiped out or not adopting the right mix of popular attributes), even standing a fair chance of becoming a world religion (as any successful cult has a shot of doing).  And Christianity is exactly such a messianic cult arising exactly when such cults were popular, and in the very same place.

Correct again.  But where is point #3?

I would modify slightly ... Jewish pacifist cults survived because they were pacifist.  Jewish pro-Roman cults survived because they were pro-Roman.  Anti-Roman or violent Jewish cults only survived outside of the reach of the Romans (in Persia).  Gentile pacifist cults also survived (see Pauline churches).  Gentile being = pro-Roman.  So yes, there was a Darwinian selection going on, that led to a small set of cults that weren't targets of Roman legions.  One set of these developed into the limited spectrum of pre-Constantinian Christianity, and the other set developed into the limited spectrum of pre-Constantinian Judaism.  But even after Constantine, the new systems took awhile to settle down ... and then Rome fell to the Germans ... Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch fell to first the Persians, and then to the Muslims.  Leaving only Constantinople as the only orthodoxy under Imperial control.  The slow recovery, and non-submission of the Roman church, was decisive for its differences with Constantinople .. it wasn't just Latin vs Greek.
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Offline Baruch

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2017, 08:07:48 PM »
If it hadn't been for the council of Nicea and Constantine, I doubt we'd ever have even heard of Judaism, much less Christianity. They'd simply have been ancient cults that anthropologists would study, and that's about it.

If Alexander had lived longer, and had adopted Buddhism as had King Menander of Punjab (Indo-Greek) a bit later ... we would never have heard of Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity or Islam.
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Offline Baruch

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2017, 08:08:47 PM »
Politics beats religion eventually.  If Italy took over the Vatican and killed the Pope, do you think all of catholic SA could raises armies to invade Italy.  Do you think such an aramada would be permitted by the Rest Of The World?.

They already did under Mussolini.  The Concordat between Fascist Italy and the Vatican.  And without firing a single shot.
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