Author Topic: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??  (Read 2379 times)

Offline Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #120 on: October 11, 2017, 08:23:39 PM »
I respect atheists to a certain extent because I was one before my apotheosis.

Regards
DL
And I respect some theists--to a certain point.  I can't say I ever was a theist--but it was not through lack of trying.  I tried most of my life to 'find' God; but to no avail.  Begging, critical thinking, meditation, prayer, asking theists, searching in every way I knew how.  Nothing.  I was even a church board president for a year and on the board for 6 years.  I tried.  I now fully realize why--both Jesus and God are fictions, clearly created by people to control other people; power and wealth the creators of religion and all of its trappings.
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 #121 on: October 11, 2017, 08:30:39 PM »
And I respect some theists--to a certain point.  I can't say I ever was a theist--but it was not through lack of trying.  I tried most of my life to 'find' God; but to no avail.  Begging, critical thinking, meditation, prayer, asking theists, searching in every way I knew how.  Nothing.  I was even a church board president for a year and on the board for 6 years.  I tried.  I now fully realize why--both Jesus and God are fictions, clearly created by people to control other people; power and wealth the creators of religion and all of its trappings.



Don't bother.  You won't like what you find!
שלום

Offline Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #122 on: October 11, 2017, 10:34:03 PM »


Don't bother.  You won't like what you find!
You are right.  That clip is like what theists base their beliefs on--nothing there.
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 Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #123 on: October 12, 2017, 10:21:11 AM »
Element 14:
Mystery cults spoke of their beliefs in public through myths and allegory, which symbolized a more secret doctrine that was usually rooted in a more esoteric astral or metaphysical theology.  Therefore, as itself a mystery religion with secret doctrines, Christianity would have done the same.

As we saw before, in the early third century Clement of
Alexandria also referred approvingly to the letters of Plato in which he makes the same argument, that the common people aten't prepared to understand the truth and thus must be told a superficial lie to conceal it from them, and that it would be concealed within riddles and myths only symbolizing or pointing to the truth.  Centuries later Augustine would condemn this widely held principle (that 'it is expedient to deceive the people in matters of religion', a view he suggests was also endorsed by the Roman scholar Varro in the early first century bce), yet at the same time still defends allegorical readings of the Bible when the literal meaning clearly could not be true (as when, e.g., it contradicted established science, a specific problem Augustine was apologetically addressing).  Today we call that hypocrisy.  At any rate, even Augustine, for all his protests, only confirms that the view was entrenched and widely embraced--even by himself.

It is in this context that we might better understand Paul's claim that the gospel preached in public appeared to be 'foolishness' to outsiders, a 'stumbling block' to their understanding (1 Cor. 1.18-2.5), but was not such to those who understood its secret meaning--the gospel not preached in public, but only to insiders (1 Cor. 2.4-3.3).  This was quite th same in other mystery cults:  when in his own mythic narrative Dionysus speaks in riddles and is called foolish, he responds, 'One will seem to be foolish if he speaks wisely to an ignorant man'.  Paul is in effect saying the same thing.  So, too Origen.  Thus it is plausible that, like other mystery cults, Christianity also came to be packaged with a set of earthly tales of its savior that were not meant to be taken literally, except by outsiders--and insiders of insufficient rank, who were variously called even by their own leaders 'babes' or 'simpletons'.
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 #124 on: October 12, 2017, 12:46:58 PM »
Element 14:
Mystery cults spoke of their beliefs in public through myths and allegory, which symbolized a more secret doctrine that was usually rooted in a more esoteric astral or metaphysical theology.  Therefore, as itself a mystery religion with secret doctrines, Christianity would have done the same.

As we saw before, in the early third century Clement of
Alexandria also referred approvingly to the letters of Plato in which he makes the same argument, that the common people aten't prepared to understand the truth and thus must be told a superficial lie to conceal it from them, and that it would be concealed within riddles and myths only symbolizing or pointing to the truth.  Centuries later Augustine would condemn this widely held principle (that 'it is expedient to deceive the people in matters of religion', a view he suggests was also endorsed by the Roman scholar Varro in the early first century bce), yet at the same time still defends allegorical readings of the Bible when the literal meaning clearly could not be true (as when, e.g., it contradicted established science, a specific problem Augustine was apologetically addressing).  Today we call that hypocrisy.  At any rate, even Augustine, for all his protests, only confirms that the view was entrenched and widely embraced--even by himself.

It is in this context that we might better understand Paul's claim that the gospel preached in public appeared to be 'foolishness' to outsiders, a 'stumbling block' to their understanding (1 Cor. 1.18-2.5), but was not such to those who understood its secret meaning--the gospel not preached in public, but only to insiders (1 Cor. 2.4-3.3).  This was quite th same in other mystery cults:  when in his own mythic narrative Dionysus speaks in riddles and is called foolish, he responds, 'One will seem to be foolish if he speaks wisely to an ignorant man'.  Paul is in effect saying the same thing.  So, too Origen.  Thus it is plausible that, like other mystery cults, Christianity also came to be packaged with a set of earthly tales of its savior that were not meant to be taken literally, except by outsiders--and insiders of insufficient rank, who were variously called even by their own leaders 'babes' or 'simpletons'.

Correct again, but adding ... the esoteric retreated into the early monastic movement (Desert Fathers and Mothers) once priests became government employees, seeking advancement in the Roman bureaucracy.  Early catechetical school (school for new believers in Alexandria circa 200 CE) were not conducive to philosophic nuance.  It was rote memorization, the pedagogy used for small children.  Early clergy were simply elders, they weren't necessarily educated men.  So the "higher catechism" didn't last, as the expanding number of congregations brought ignorant men into leadership.  Almost all people back then, were ignorant.  In the older, larger congregations, the episcopacy developed ... and for awhile, these leaders maintained a degree of gymnasium or lyceum education beyond the catechism for the laity.  Expansion of this cult was initially restricted by the requirements of Judaism (circumcision), then it was limited to Greek speakers.  It wasn't until the mid-3rd century CE that the Roman congregation moved from Greek to Latin, and started arguing over the date of Easter with the older Church.

Again given the persecutions before Constantine, and the destruction of the Western church with the fall of Rome, there was hardly any educated Roman Catholics left.  That is why re-education of W Europe came from Ireland, where early Christian converts and refugees from the Continent, were able to prevent complete civilization collapse.  This wasn't true in the Byzantine or E Roman Empire, they were battered, but not destroyed, until much later.
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Offline Baruch

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #125 on: October 12, 2017, 08:07:08 PM »
On Richard Carrier's book  ... I am enjoying the snippets you have been providing.  But now I have looked at the book itself.  Here is his presentation for those who are interested ...



I don't agree with his used of Bayes Theorem .. to be a specious use of statistics.  Basically doing a statistical study of piles of crap, is beside the point.  One simply has to use one's nose.  Crossan had a semi-technical method, which was a rationalization of the conclusion he started from.  When I did my detailed study over 20 years ago, I did my own version of Crossan's method, but without his assumptions.  My conclusion was that there was no historicity to the acts of Jesus, and that the words of Jesus were a conflab of various gnostic sources.  So the question remained, what is gnosticism?  That is what I spent my time on learning, after that.  I agree with his conclusions, just not his faux technical methodology.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 08:09:35 PM by Baruch »
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Offline Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #126 on: October 12, 2017, 08:30:45 PM »
On Richard Carrier's book  ... I am enjoying the snippets you have been providing.  But now I have looked at the book itself.  Here is his presentation for those who are interested ...



I don't agree with his used of Bayes Theorem .. to be a specious use of statistics.  Basically doing a statistical study of piles of crap, is beside the point.  One simply has to use one's nose.  Crossan had a semi-technical method, which was a rationalization of the conclusion he started from.  When I did my detailed study over 20 years ago, I did my own version of Crossan's method, but without his assumptions.  My conclusion was that there was no historicity to the acts of Jesus, and that the words of Jesus were a conflab of various gnostic sources.  So the question remained, what is gnosticism?  That is what I spent my time on learning, after that.  I agree with his conclusions, just not his faux technical methodology.
When I read the book through, I did not quite get a good handle on what Bayes Theorem is.  I know it is a statistical way of looking at history.  I was a bit skeptical of that but did not think I knew enough to make a final decision.  I believe he has also written a book about Bayes Theorem and history.  I keep thinking I should read that; haven't yet.  So, I basically ignored his use of the theorem and looked at his facts.
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 #127 on: October 12, 2017, 08:40:22 PM »
When I read the book through, I did not quite get a good handle on what Bayes Theorem is.  I know it is a statistical way of looking at history.  I was a bit skeptical of that but did not think I knew enough to make a final decision.  I believe he has also written a book about Bayes Theorem and history.  I keep thinking I should read that; haven't yet.  So, I basically ignored his use of the theorem and looked at his facts.

The video mentions Crossan's new book, which unknown to me, repeat what I have posted recently here, that the Gospels are parables themselves.
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Offline Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #128 on: October 13, 2017, 09:27:43 AM »
Element 15:
Christianity began as a charismatic cult in which many of its leaders and members displayed evidence of schizotypal personalities.  They naturally and regularly hallucinated (seeing visions and hearing voices), often believed their dreams were divine communications, achieved trance states, practiced glossolalia, and were highly susceptible to psychosomatic illness (like 'possession' and hysterical blindness, muteness and paralysis).

Similarly, the fact that Christians regarded as inspired scripture such books as Daniel, which depict authoritative information coming from God through both visions and drams, entails that Christians believed authoritative information came from God through visions and dreams (otherwise they would not deem such books as honest or reliable, much less scripture). They could therefore see their own visions and dreams as communications from God, too.  .....................This is a radically different cultural contest then we live in now.

Earliest Christianity can be characterized as a revitalization movement.  It is thus notable that 'trance behavior', including the regular mission-oriented hallucination among leaders and members 'looms large in the descriptive data of most of the revitalization movements also frequently practice glossolalia, prophesy, 'faith healing', possession and exorcism.  Earliest Christianity thus perfectly aligns with known anthropological models, and can only be understood in that context.
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 #129 on: October 13, 2017, 06:40:51 PM »
Element 15:
Christianity began as a charismatic cult in which many of its leaders and members displayed evidence of schizotypal personalities.  They naturally and regularly hallucinated (seeing visions and hearing voices), often believed their dreams were divine communications, achieved trance states, practiced glossolalia, and were highly susceptible to psychosomatic illness (like 'possession' and hysterical blindness, muteness and paralysis).

Similarly, the fact that Christians regarded as inspired scripture such books as Daniel, which depict authoritative information coming from God through both visions and drams, entails that Christians believed authoritative information came from God through visions and dreams (otherwise they would not deem such books as honest or reliable, much less scripture). They could therefore see their own visions and dreams as communications from God, too.  .....................This is a radically different cultural contest then we live in now.

Earliest Christianity can be characterized as a revitalization movement.  It is thus notable that 'trance behavior', including the regular mission-oriented hallucination among leaders and members 'looms large in the descriptive data of most of the revitalization movements also frequently practice glossolalia, prophesy, 'faith healing', possession and exorcism.  Earliest Christianity thus perfectly aligns with known anthropological models, and can only be understood in that context.

Correct again.  But the Normies in ancient times and now, are the sick ones.  Though what is Normie now is different than in ancient times.  Modernity is a Western illness (channeling ME folks today) and subversive imperialism.  Basically recapitulating Crossan's recent book, what was considered normal to Greco-Romans 2000 years ago, not to mention what is considered normal to their Gentile descendants today, is bad culture, bad society, bad people.

Taking this up a notch, it will be the Kekistani revival that will restore what is left of modernity after The Great Reboot.  No electricity leads to no computers leads to no commerce or governance.  You can't run your iCrap by rubbing two sticks together.  Will life still be worth living?  Sure ... because people, however few or many, are what is of value.  Material goods are part of the sickness that distracts us from holy poverty.

A note on charismaticism .. this was dead in the Church more or less from the end of the 2nd century CE.  Without that, even the pre-Constantinian church, proto-orthodox or otherwise was spiritually dead.  No gnosis, no life.  Except for a few brave souls in the Egyptian and Syrian deserts (Desert Fathers and Mothers).  Once an Orthodox Church was formed, in full partnership with the Greco-Roman Mafia, it was worse than dead.

Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason - by Michel Foucault.  Madness is mostly a social construct, same as racism.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 07:25:38 PM by Baruch »
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Offline Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #130 on: October 14, 2017, 09:00:13 AM »
Element 16:
The earliest Christians claimed they knew at least some (if not all) facts and teachings of Jesus from revelation and scripture (rather than from witnesses), and they regarded these as more reliable sources than word-of-mouth (only many generations later did Christian views on this point noticeably change).  As Paul says in Rom. 16.25-26:  "My gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages, but now is made visible through the prophetic scriptures and is made known to all nations according to the command of the eternal God, for the obedience of faith."
And in Galatians 1 he swears up and down, repeatedly, that he did not learn the gospel from oral tradition, but revelation alone, thus illustrating the order of values:  he and his congregations respected revelations far more than human traditions.

................................thus Paul appears to be saying that Jesus is made to say in Luke, that these facts are learned about Jesus from the scriptures, and that extracting that information from scriptures requires proper divine inspiration (Lk. 24.45) Thus Rom 16.25-26 could be saying that a hallucinated Jesus taught Paul (and other apostles) exactly what the risen Jesus teaches them in Luke 24:  that certain facts about him can be found in the scriptures, and how to find them.

The precedent is thus well established.  A living, earthly Jesus was simply not the only available source for receiving sayings and teachings from and about him.
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 #131 on: October 14, 2017, 09:17:08 AM »
Element 16:
The earliest Christians claimed they knew at least some (if not all) facts and teachings of Jesus from revelation and scripture (rather than from witnesses), and they regarded these as more reliable sources than word-of-mouth (only many generations later did Christian views on this point noticeably change).  As Paul says in Rom. 16.25-26:  "My gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages, but now is made visible through the prophetic scriptures and is made known to all nations according to the command of the eternal God, for the obedience of faith."
And in Galatians 1 he swears up and down, repeatedly, that he did not learn the gospel from oral tradition, but revelation alone, thus illustrating the order of values:  he and his congregations respected revelations far more than human traditions.

................................thus Paul appears to be saying that Jesus is made to say in Luke, that these facts are learned about Jesus from the scriptures, and that extracting that information from scriptures requires proper divine inspiration (Lk. 24.45) Thus Rom 16.25-26 could be saying that a hallucinated Jesus taught Paul (and other apostles) exactly what the risen Jesus teaches them in Luke 24:  that certain facts about him can be found in the scriptures, and how to find them.

The precedent is thus well established.  A living, earthly Jesus was simply not the only available source for receiving sayings and teachings from and about him.

Correct again.  Carrier however contends with mythicists as well, because he takes an atheist POV.  To him, any religious person is insane, and atheists are sane.  Therefore any myth making is BS, not a proper reaction to reality.  The "mythicists" per se, are trying to understand Jesus as myth, Carrier is trying to dismiss Jesus as myth.  Not the same thing at all.  But there is ars-verite in the stories, because they are based on things that did happen or could have happened, not just myth.  There was a Mecca and a Hajj, that was pagan.  There was a Jerusalem and a Passover, that was Jewish.  When apocalyptic types grasp that reality for their own purposes ... that is when you get the Jewish Messianics and the Arab Messianics going.  Jewish messianism was successfully suppressed, with great loss of life on both sides, by the Romans.  The Romans and the Persians were not sufficient to suppress the Arab messianism.

And like the Qumran movement of 2000 years ago, the Muhammad movement was apocalyptic, was in the desert, had a charismatic leader, was going to overturn the injustice of the world (in Arabic, religion is "din" or "justice").  And both were influenced by the Persians (Zoroastrianism) ... who believed in an apocalypse.  So Muslims today, in so far as they understand their own beliefs ... are an apocalyptic sect trying to bring about the destruction of the world, for justice.  And like the Qumran "sons of light" or their Persian equivalents ... there will be a purified community of survivors, who will restore purity in an impure world.  This is why Islam is uncompromising.  The Qumran movement, or the Zoroastrians, had they continued to grow, would have made the same theocratic threat.  And time rolls on ... Iran and Saudi Arabia are still out there, and the apocalypse awaits.  Of course the Vikings had the same POV ... may the Gotterdamerung commence!  They got valkyries instead of hoarse.

The Jesus movement spun this around ... the kingdom was in Heaven or here and now, not after revolution on Earth.  Ordinary Judaism and Islam and the Church each in their own way, are for a political kingdom on Earth ... they are coopted by power, money and fame.  That is why I am a heretic ... and why I agree with the Jesus movement, but am not a Christian.  Jesus is a myth, but Jewish, and gnostic.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 09:22:12 AM by Baruch »
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Offline Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #132 on: October 14, 2017, 10:32:57 AM »
Correct again.  Carrier however contends with mythicists as well, because he takes an atheist POV.  To him, any religious person is insane, and atheists are sane.  Therefore any myth making is BS, not a proper reaction to reality.  The "mythicists" per se, are trying to understand Jesus as myth, Carrier is trying to dismiss Jesus as myth.  Not the same thing at all.  But there is ars-verite in the stories, because they are based on things that did happen or could have happened, not just myth.  There was a Mecca and a Hajj, that was pagan.  There was a Jerusalem and a Passover, that was Jewish.  When apocalyptic types grasp that reality for their own purposes ... that is when you get the Jewish Messianics and the Arab Messianics going.  Jewish messianism was successfully suppressed, with great loss of life on both sides, by the Romans.  The Romans and the Persians were not sufficient to suppress the Arab messianism.

And like the Qumran movement of 2000 years ago, the Muhammad movement was apocalyptic, was in the desert, had a charismatic leader, was going to overturn the injustice of the world (in Arabic, religion is "din" or "justice").  And both were influenced by the Persians (Zoroastrianism) ... who believed in an apocalypse.  So Muslims today, in so far as they understand their own beliefs ... are an apocalyptic sect trying to bring about the destruction of the world, for justice.  And like the Qumran "sons of light" or their Persian equivalents ... there will be a purified community of survivors, who will restore purity in an impure world.  This is why Islam is uncompromising.  The Qumran movement, or the Zoroastrians, had they continued to grow, would have made the same theocratic threat.  And time rolls on ... Iran and Saudi Arabia are still out there, and the apocalypse awaits.  Of course the Vikings had the same POV ... may the Gotterdamerung commence!  They got valkyries instead of hoarse.

The Jesus movement spun this around ... the kingdom was in Heaven or here and now, not after revolution on Earth.  Ordinary Judaism and Islam and the Church each in their own way, are for a political kingdom on Earth ... they are coopted by power, money and fame.  That is why I am a heretic ... and why I agree with the Jesus movement, but am not a Christian.  Jesus is a myth, but Jewish, and gnostic.
Yes, Jesus is a myth, Jewish and gnostic.  Paul makes that plain.  And he was the first Christian (of the stripe that survived) to write--and he says the same thing.  And Carrier is trying to establish that.
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 Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #133 on: October 14, 2017, 10:59:34 AM »
Element 17:
The fundamental features of the gospel story of Jesus can be read out of the Jewish scriptures.  The influence of the OT on the NT has been much written on, but here I mean to say that this fact, in conjunction with the evidence of previous elements makes it plausible to ask whether the gospel was actually discovered and learned from the scriptures, rather than the scriptures being consulted after the fact as a merely defensive reinforcement for key claims Christians were making supposedly on other grounds.

All of this is not itself a proof that Christians did find every key element of their gospel by scouring scripture for secret messages, producing their gospel like a pesher (with assistance from 'revelations' and ecstatic 'inspiration').  But the evidence above is sufficient to establish that they could have.  The usual claim, of course, is that Christians sought out Isaiah 53 after the fact (and all scholars agree it was a key text employed by Christians as a prophecy of their Christ), and not as inspiration (i.e. finding the passage first, and then concocting a savior to match). But we don't really know it was the one and not the other.  Prior to any specific evidence either way, the one is as likely as the others.  The ease with which we can produce the Christian gospel solely by constructing a messianic pesher out to the OT scriptures (and other scriptures the Christians used) is therefore something we must include in our background knowledge.
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 #134 on: October 14, 2017, 11:55:16 AM »
Correct again ...

"rather than the scriptures being consulted after the fact as a merely defensive reinforcement for key claims Christians were making supposedly on other grounds." ... absolutely.  Not only esoteric exegesis of Genesis and Ezekiel (see Kabbalah of 2000 years ago) but also the I-Ching version of Judaism.  Basically taking a Torah, and finding a random passage as an answer to a petitioners question.  An early form of Practical Kabbalah, and then there is gematria (learned originally from the Greeks who did this in their language).  For instance "serpent" in Genesis is the same "number" as "messiah".  But the "serpent" of Genesis wasn't seen so much as a snake, as a dragon, like Apep in Egyptian mythology.
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