why Jesus myth stuff is bullshit

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why Jesus myth stuff is bullshit

Postby Metacrock on Sun Nov 29, 2015 6:10 am

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Jesus Christ and Mythology

Overview

I. Simplistic Theories And Logical Fallacies

...A. Kane explains how the "borrowing" took Place:

How this pagan-Christian thing happened is an amazing story, not often told. Around the Ancient Mediterranean Christians and Pagans lived in the same cities -- lived in the same neighborhoods, shared friendships, meeting places, jobs, families, ideas -- for centuries. But of their of their interchange of ideas and ideals we hear not a whisper.

But as we have seen Most of these cults weren't even in Palestine, some of the major one's either dint' exist or lacked the key elements to have lent their notions to Christianity during the crucial early phase. Nevertheless there is such a naiveté© about this approach. The people were living near each other so they barrowed each other's ideas. While there was such fertilization, there were also strict prohibitions upon Jews eating with Gentiles and they did not take those lightly. They resented the Roman presence and were not geared to barrow their ideas.

...B. Classic Earmarks of poor Scholarship

......1) Distrust of Real Academic Scholarship

Kane:
Surf to the course descriptions at your favorite university's classics or religion departments, say classics at Harvard, and look for courses comparing and contrasting Christianity to Ancient Pagan religions. You won't find any. Christianity compared to Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, yes. Christianity compared to Paganism, nothing. It's as if a thousand years of western religious history never happened.

He goes on to say that the victors write history so Christianity covered up all the evidence that would prove him right if we had it. As he says:

"History is written by the victors. In the first centuries AD Paganism and Christianity were in competition. The Christians won. The history you know was written by them. Christian or not, you have a Christian perspective on Christianity's uniqueness -- that's the only perspective you've ever heard. ... That's how we see it. That's the Christian history."

Yet a good many of the Scholars I've quoted are not Christians, Robinson, Steleman, Meyer, Hamilton, Cumont, among others are not Christians. Meyer is a source recommended by Kane. Below Eliade, Champbell, Karanye and Gilford are not Christians.

......2) Argument from Silence

Essentially he's saying "the evidence isn't found, so that must prove I'm right." This is a favorite ploy of many skeptics who try to disprove Christianity. Doherty argues this way all the time. A gap exists in our knowledge so I can fill that gap with what I want to be there and the fact that no counter evidence exists proves I'm right. Another version of this is the idea that all the verses about Christianity teaching reincarnation were taken out by the church. I tell them "but there is no textual evidence for that." Some have actually said to me "that proves they got them all!"

..,,,.3) Poor documentation.

There is not a single footnote on Kane's site. He never connects one source to a single point he makes.

...C. Fallacy of Association

see Ronald Nash article: The page is titled: "Was the New Testament Influenced by Pagan Religions?"

Reinhold Neibuhr
"I conclude by noting seven points that undermine liberal efforts to show that first-century Christianity borrowed essential beliefs and practices from the pagan mystery religions.

Arguments offered to "prove" a Christian dependence on the mysteries illustrate the logical fallacy of false cause. This fallacy is committed whenever someone reasons that just because two things exist side by side, one of them must have caused the other. As we all should know, mere coincidence does not prove causal connection. Nor does similarity prove dependence."

II. Some Similarities Do Exist Between all Religions as a Result of Human Nature and Archetypical Patterning.

...A. Cultural Influences.

But most scholars such as anthropologists and historians of religion today no longer think in terms of out right copying. Rather scholars tend more often to think in terms of influence and cultural drift. "Today, however, most scholars are considerably more cautious about the parallels between early Christianity and the mysteries and hesitate before jumping to conclusions about dependence. To be sure, one religious tradition my appropriate themes from another and so it must have been with early Christianity and the mystery religions. Yet Judaism, Christianity, and the mysteries were equally parts of the religious milieu of the Greco-Roman world, and this explains many of their similarities. As Greco-Roman religions they sometimes faced many of the same challenges, proposed similar ways of salvation and shared similar visions of the way to light and life"

[Marvin W. Meyer, ed. The Ancient Mysteries :a Source book. San Francisco: Harper, 1987, 226]

(This is Marvin Meyer, the same source recommended by Kane on his website)

The notion of outright copying is silly. This depends upon a conspiracy which would produce a wooden figure rather than the vibrant breathing unique personality we find in the Jesus of the canonical Gospels. Moreover, Jewish and Hellenistic thought both grew up together in the Eastern end of the Mediterranean. Both owed a little to Egypt and a great deal to the civilization of the Tigris-Euphrates valley. Both alike deriving something from Aegean culture." [D.E.H. Whitely, Jesus College Oxford, Theology of ST. Paul, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1966, 5]. This makes the cultural influence theory all the more likely, but rules out any sort of direct barrowing. These people thought alike in many ways, but why would a Jewish sect go to pagan cults to barrow their mythology consciously?

...B. Archetypical Patterning

......1) Mythical elements derive from psychological archetypes

"Through out the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstance the myths of man have flourished and they have been and they have been the inspiration for whatever else has appeared out of the activities of the human body and mind....Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of permeative and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the very basic magic ring of myth. The wonder is that the characteristic efficacy to touch and inspire deep creative centers dwells in the smallest nursery fairy tale--as the taste of the ocean is contained in a droplet, or the whole mystery of life within the egg of a flea. For the Symbols of mythology are not manufactured; they cannot be ordered, invented, or permanently suppressed. They are spontaneous productions of the psyche, and each bares within it, undamaged, the germ power of its source."

(Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Princeton University Press, 1949, pp. 3-4)

[One would assume than that they cannot, with any great success be artificially copied, and produce anything with the power of the character of Jesus in the four Gospels.]

......2) Definition of Archetypes

The psychologist Carl Jung defines archetypes as "forms or images of a collective nature which occur practically all over the earth as constitutes of myths and at the same time autochthonous, individual products of unconscious origin" (C. G. Jung Psychology and Religion [collected works vol II New York, London: 1958 par. 88]). Campbell tells us "The archetypes to be discovered and assimilated are precisely those that have inspired, throughout the annals of human culture, the basic images, mythology, and vision." (Ibid. 18).

So these images, symbols, and notions about religious figures are in large part products of the human psyche the world over, each viewed through the lens of some particular culture, and with cross fertilization and cultural influences. Now one might object that this makes it all the more likely that the Jesus story is also being viewed through the lens of culture and is merely the product of these archetypes. That is what Campbell himself said, but he also said that that didn't make it unimportant, that doesn't mean that there is no supernatural reality behind it. He was not a Christian, and didn't like Christianity, but he did recognize that there is more to it than just "copying" and more to religion than just "a mere myth."

......3) Source of the archetypes

Jung didn't really stipulate what the final source of archetypes was, it was psychological, and indicative of some higher reality in a Platonic sense perhaps. Marcea Elliade was the other great Mythological scholar; founder of the field of History of Religions at University of Chicago. He was also an official Guru in the Hindu religion (although he was Rumanian) and was a believer in mystical consciousness and Higher reality (see Dudley Gilford III, Religion on Trail.) Champbell also hints at a higher source for the archetypes. How else could these psychological figures and symbols be embed in the human psyche if not some correspondence to a higher reality? With a strict materialist interpretation it makes no sense to even suppose that they exist. yet they are found all over the world, the same basic heroes doing the same basic things, the same elements (See Champbell The Hero With a Thousand Faces) Therefore, they are the product of the link between the human psyche and a higher reality. Not to suggest that some higher reality is telling us about real people doing real things, but that these heroes are symbols for everyone, for the individual and his/her journey through life.

...C. The Archetypical Demonstrates Jesus Deity All the More.

As C.S. Lewis is reputed to have said, with all the dying and rising gods of pagan mythology one might get the idea that it actually happened in some historical instance. IF someone really embodied the details of these myths it would go a long way toward proving that God designed it that way, especially since that historical figure is recorded living long after most of these myths were told. The myths exist as far away as the other side of the world, and yet here is a man who actually lives them and embodies them.

Eliade quotes Fr. Beirnaert:

[the Christian sacraments direct the believer's mind to the power of God in history] ...This new meaning must not lead us to deny the permanence of the ancient meaning [of the archetypes found in the sacraments]. By its renewal of the great figures and symbolization's of natural religion, Christianity has also renewed their vitality and their powers in the depths of the psyche. The mythical and archetypical dimension remains none the less real for being henceforth subordinate to another. The Christian may well be a man who has ceased to look for his spiritual salvation in myths and in experience of the immanent archetypes alone; he has not for all that abandoned all that the myths and symbolism's mean and to the psychic man, to the microcosm [...] the adoption by Christ and the Church, of the great images of the Sun, the moon, wood, waster, the sea, and so forth, amounts to an evangelization of the effective powers that they denote. The incarnation must not be reduced to the taking on of the flesh alone. God has intervened even in the collective unconscious that it may be saved and fulfilled. The Christ descended into hell. How then can this salvation reach into our unconsciousness without speaking its language and making use of it's Categories? [Beirnaert, pp. 284-285 quoted in Marcea Eliade, Images and Symbols, Studies in Religious Symbolism, trans. Philip Mairet Kansas City: Sheed Adnrews and McMeel inc. 1952, English trans. Harvil press 1961, pp.160-161.]

In other words, God could still do both, literally fulfill the images of the archetypes in the historical reality of Jesus Christ, and still arrange them so that they speak of the same transcendent reality through their archetypical symbolism. So Jesus is both the literal historical incarnation, the Son of God, and the archetypical mythical savior figure. But no conscious borrowing is required. All that is needed for this is the human psyche.

...D. The Skeptic will argue that the archetypes colored the historical facts

Many of the smaller details of Jesus' life cannot be proven, but the major outline can be. That he lived, was a healer, was a great teacher, was crucified and his followers claimed from an early time that he rose from the dead, that he was the product of Virgin birth etc. these things can be demonstrated as historical. As shown, most skeptics cannot make good on these claims either, but to whatever extent they do, these similarities only add to the indication that God was working through Jesus Christ.


You can find the pages to back all thi8s up here:

http://religiousapriorijesus-bible.blogspot.com/2010/05/mythological-jesus.html

that's the menu, each one of these is a link on that page to a paper. click the link for the menu then look for that paper.


Overview of my arguments against Jesus Myth idea.New

Two Arguments that Kill the Jesus Myth Theory New

Jesus Christ Copy Cat Savior?New
page 2 copy cat savior
Page 3 copy cat

Earl Doherty's Jesus Puzzle part 1...New
Jesus Puzzle 2
Jesus Puzzle 3

Richard Carrier's Standard of Historical Proof
Examining his attempt to use Bayes to bolster
Jesus myth theory.

Richard Carrier's Arguments on Acts as Historical Fiction:
Reviews.
The allogation that Luke copied Joesephus and that Luke
was not a good historian.

Albert Schweitzer, Bruno Bauer, and the Early Jesus Myth Movement.New
Bauer was one of the first Jesus mythers who Schweitzer debunked,, although Schweitzer admired his brilliance.
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Michael Hill's post

Postby Metacrock on Sun Nov 29, 2015 11:12 am

Mike put this on the res thread and I told him to put it here he did not so I am putting it here.


by Michael Hill on Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:17 am




KR Wordgazer wrote:
Michael Hill, I thought this was a discussion about the historicity of the Resurrection. The whole "Jesus was a mythical character" thing goes way past that, into denial of historical consensus. Here is a synopsis of the evidence by a non-Christian:

http://armariummagnus.blogspot.com.au/2 ... again.html

The article is the same boring nonsense I have read and refuted many times before.

The idea that Jesus was a myth came from the fact that there is no evidence to support his existence. There is no anti-christian agenda any more than there is an anti Santa Claus agenda for denying that other mythical character.

Known christian forgeries aside, there is only the hearsay accounts in the bible written long, long after the alleged Jesus lived:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... acter.html

We don't have any evidence for Zeus but that does not mean he did not exist. What a dumbass article. If Jesus were a completely human person who was born and died as humans do and lived a normal life we could say he might have existed. But to compare "Super-Jesus" to normal human beings is nonsense. You cannot say ordinary human being Hannibal lived so that is evidence that Super-Jesus lived.

This utter idiot uses the Josephus nonsense. Arghhhh. 140 years ago, disproving Josephus was said to be as hard as flogging a dead horse. Josephus we are expected to accept believed everything you do about Jesus but remained a Jew. If you are too lazy to check yourself, I will copy and paste the proof that this is a christian forgery (by Eusebius) for you. I say this as most christian are.

Did Paul exist? Probably not:

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/paul.htm

When were the books supposedly by him written? Who knows? The earliest anything we have "by him" is from 250 AD. Undoubtedly there were manuscripts before then, but we have nothing original. Paul never met Jesus and all he says is hearsay.

We do know that various earlier holy people, saviours and such had a number of attributes that the later Jesus had, even dying and rising from the dead. Jesus was just one of the crowd:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World ... ed_Saviors

and it was a big crowd at that. Using the same "evidence" as for Jesus, they all really existed.

The author can whine against people who have said Jesus is a myth but whining is not proof of what he claims.

The Jews wanted nothing to do with Jesus. They know Gods do not have sons so knew he was a fake from Day One so forget the messiah lies.

Amazing. The gospels included real people and real places. How many endless thousands of fictional works do that?

The crucifiction was evidence for Jesus? Proof it happened? Proof any of the so called miracles happened?

Conclusion. The writer is an idiot, and a boring one at that, rehashing old and defeated arguments.Michael Hill Posts: 23Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 2:45 pm







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Re: Michael Hill's post

Postby Metacrock on Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:28 pm

Metacrock wrote:Mike put this on the res thread and I told him to put it here he did not so I am putting it here.


by Michael Hill on Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:17 am




KR Wordgazer wrote:
Michael Hill, I thought this was a discussion about the historicity of the Resurrection. The whole "Jesus was a mythical character" thing goes way past that, into denial of historical consensus. Here is a synopsis of the evidence by a non-Christian:

http://armariummagnus.blogspot.com.au/2 ... again.html


The article is the same boring nonsense I have read and refuted many times before.

The idea that Jesus was a myth came from the fact that there is no evidence to support his existence. There is no anti-christian agenda any more than there is an anti Santa Claus agenda for denying that other mythical character.


1. I can certainly say the same. I've destroyed this shit, these lies, thousands of times over 16 years on the net. Actually it's like 18. It is a lie to say there's no evidence. You know there is. The problem is atheists have decided they can't win this issue or any so they just refuse to accept the evidence,

2. you dismiss the evidence because it's "religious" most of what we know about the first century is from religious sources. The argument that religious people would lie about Jesus existing is puerile.It assumes they all knew and just lied about it. why would anyone stick with the faith if they knew it was a lie? why would they die for it?

3. I am a trained historian and I know historians do not think this way. I asked a couple of historians for whom I was assistant what they thought about that they both said "why are you arguing with idiots?" I was TA for a big name historian he said "the religious people cared about spreading their beliefs so their books are good evidence of what they believed.


Known christian forgeries aside, there is only the hearsay accounts in the bible written long, long after the alleged Jesus lived:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... acter.html


link doesn't work because I had to move the post. next time post where I say, Now, that dialy mail is a crappy source and that article sux. I can take that guy's argument apart in my sleep.

a. his list of 120 or so articles over three centuries is stupid, there are a couple of hundred in that same period that do talk about Jesus Jesus, maybe even a thousand. He dismisses them like most myther because you have to destroy the good evidence so you can lie about there being none,

b. the article originates on an atheist we site so it's just propaganda.



We don't have any evidence for Zeus but that does not mean he did not exist. What a dumbass article. If Jesus were a completely human person who was born and died as humans do and lived a normal life we could say he might have existed. But to compare "Super-Jesus" to normal human beings is nonsense. You cannot say ordinary human being Hannibal lived so that is evidence that Super-Jesus lived.


1. you are just begging the question, you can't beat the evidence you use your position as proof that mine is wrong. That is obviously circular which means illogical, so you lose. circular reasoning automatically loses the point.

2. that I convoluted. Jesus might exist as a man but he couldn't possibly be more than a man so therefore didn't exist at all?

This utter idiot uses the Josephus nonsense. Arghhhh. 140 years ago, disproving Josephus was said to be as hard as flogging a dead horse. Josephus we are expected to accept believed everything you do about Jesus but remained a Jew. If you are too lazy to check yourself, I will copy and paste the proof that this is a christian forgery (by Eusebius) for you. I say this as most christian are.


1. Josephus was never disproved, that was one of the idiot'w like Bauer who started that nonsense.

2.Joe has two passages you no answer for the James passage that mentions Jesus,

3. A List of Scholar who accept at least some core passage.

John P. Meier
Raymond Brown
Graham Stanton
N.T. Wright
Paula Fredrickson
John D. Crossan
E.P. Sanders
Geza Vermes
Louis Feldman
John Thackeray
Andre Pelletier
Paul Winter
A. Dubarle
Ernst Bammel
Otto Betz
Paul Mier
Ben Witherington
F.F. Bruce
Luke T. Johnson
Craig Blomberg
J. Carleton Paget
Alice Whealey
J. Spencer Kennard
R. Eisler
R.T. France
Gary Habermas
Robert Van Voorst
Shlomo Pines
Edwin M. Yamuchi
James Tabor
John O'Connor-Murphy
Mark Goodacre
Paula Frederiksen
David Flusser
Steve Mason


Alice Whealy, Berkely Cal.

The TF controversy from antiquity to present

PDF, 9
Twentieth century controversy over the Testimonium Flavianum can be distinguished from controversy over the text in the early modern period insofar as it seems generally more academic and less sectarian. While the challenge to the authenticity of the Testimonium in the early modern period was orchestrated almost entirely by Protestant scholars and while in the same period Jews outside the church uniformly denounced the text's authenticity, the twentieth century controversies over the text have been marked by the presence of Jewish scholars for the first time as prominent participants on both sides of the question. In general, the attitudes of Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish and secular scholars towards the text have drawn closer together, with a greater tendency among scholars of all religious backgrounds to see the text as largely authentic. On the one hand this can be interpreted as the result of an increasing trend towards secularism, which is usually seen as product of modernity. On the other hand it can be interpreted as a sort of post-modern disillusionment with the verities of modern skepticism, and an attempt to recapture the sensibility of the ancient world, when it apparently was still possible for a first-century Jew to have written a text as favorable towards Jesus of Nazareth as the Testimonium Flavianum.


this is my pages (3) defending Josephus
[url]http://religiousapriorijesus-bible.blogspot.com/2010/05/secular-and-jewish-historians-josephus.html
[/url]




Did Paul exist? Probably not:

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/paul.htm

the standard Dawkie trick when you can't answer a good source say it didn't exist.

No historian accepts that.


When were the books supposedly by him written? Who knows?


yes we do know. non believing scholars know, JD Crosson and Ehrman know, 52 to 64 AD.



The earliest anything we have "by him" is from 250 AD. Undoubtedly there were manuscripts before then, but we have nothing original. Paul never met Jesus and all he says is hearsay.


Ludicrous! all scholars even Ehrman know 1 cor 51AD. you are talking about the oldest fragment everyone knows that's not when it was written.



We do know that various earlier holy people, saviours and such had a number of attributes that the later Jesus had, even dying and rising from the dead. Jesus was just one of the crowd:




https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World ... ed_Saviors

I've already disproven that it's in this very thread., the books I used are standard mythology books. The similarities disappear when you are not using myther sources,

and it was a big crowd at that. Using the same "evidence" as for Jesus, they all really existed.


Bullsh8it Mithra did not exist, Attis did not exist a bunch did not,.

The author can whine against people who have said Jesus is a myth but whining is not proof of what he claims.


when you going to stop, that guy disproved that nonsense point blank

The Jews wanted nothing to do with Jesus. They know Gods do not have sons so knew he was a fake from Day One so forget the messiah lies.


the Jews said he existed, they said in the first century and we have it and no Jew ever questioned his existence,.


Amazing. The gospels included real people and real places. How many endless thousands of fictional works do that?


that's a total shit argument, it assuming they were novelists and they did not have the novel,



The crucifiction was evidence for Jesus? Proof it happened? Proof any of the so called miracles happened?


history is not roof it's probability and the likelihood is that he was because it's the only story of his death and myth always proliferates.

Conclusion. The writer is an idiot, and a boring one at that, rehashing old and defeated arguments.Michael Hill Posts: 23Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 2:45 pm


Kierkegaard: "He who mocks others mocks himself"

you don't know shit about history.



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Re: why Jesus myth stuff is bullshit

Postby Michael Hill on Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:48 pm

The non christian link you gave did not work, and I did not even have to alter it.

Why is christianity called a faith if there is evidence? Christians talk of evidence and truth but can produce none and just dig up the same old sad nonsense.

Ehrman PROVES in his books that people lied about Jesus from the very beginning. Do you deny Mark 16:9-20 is a forgery?

Yeah, you're a trained socialist too. Is there no beginning to your talents?

No contemporary accounts of Jesus:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... acter.html

The DM takes it from other sources (often giving them) and you can check them if it is not in your copy of the Guarniad (Guardian).

All atheism is propaganda? It don't come more biased than that. How does it go? "Lalalala, I can't hear youuuuu!"

You claim that saying a human being existed is evidence that Super Jesus existed, and that is your idea of evidence? Is your real name Homer Simpson by any chance?

For extraordinary claims, extraordinary evidence must be produced. You say Super Jesus exists, it needs hard evidence and proof. You say ordinary Jesus existed, it could be allowed without evidence though that would suggest he did nothing special so no one thought him worth mentioning.

I will list Josephus and other phonies on another post since the PROOF is long and since as a typical christian, you fear looking it up for yourself.

What scholars accept and what they can prove are two different things. Others don't accept.

I have shown that there is no evidence, outside the book of lies and hearsay, that Paul existed and all you can do is deny it. Denial seems to solve most of your problems.

"No historian accepts that." You have canvassed them all and have their names and sworn statements denying it? Or is this just more of your blanket denial?

We have no proof of when the books allegedly by Paul were written. If you have been debating christianity for 16-18 years, you will remember then that most accepted that Mark was from about 45AD, Matthew and Luke about 55AD and John about 70AD. No one except a few fundamentalists believe that now. The dating for "Paul" is tied to the belief that a real Paul existed but as I have shown, he probably did not like all the rest of the christian phonies.

Ehrman believes. He does not know because there is no fragments from that date. The Wikipedia lists earliest fragments, and I gave you their date. Again you say all scholars in a desperate attempt to get me to believe you know what you are talking about because the whole world backs your position.

Denial is not proof. Sad but true.

Of course all those saviours did not exist as the Jesus sky fairy did not exist. That is how religions work. Believers deny all the other gods but their own god. As you do.

Again denial for you is equated to proof. What would you do without denial?

Jews are Jews because they do not believe in Jesus. Duh.

The stories made up about Jesus as late as mid second century used people and places from over a hundred years before to make their lies look real.

Your knowledge of history seems to be limited to denying what you don't like while without evidence affirming true what you do like. How many years of schooling did it take you to learn that?
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Re: why Jesus myth stuff is bullshit

Postby Michael Hill on Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:02 pm

Part two of the Jesus fakes:

After Josephus there are other writers who mention Christianity, but even if we are confident that their writings are authentic, they are too late to claim the confirming impact of a first-century witness. Suetonius wrote a biography called Twelve Caesars around the year 112 C.E., mentioning that Claudius “banished the Jews from Rome, since they had made a commotion because of Chrestus,” and that during the time of Nero “punishments were also inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief…” Notice that there is no mention of Jesus by name. It is unlikely that Christianity had spread as far as Rome during the reign of Claudius, or that it was large enough to have caused a revolt. Chrestus does not mean Christ. It was a common name meaning “good,” used by both slaves and free people and occurring more than 80 times in Latin inscriptions.  

Even if Suetonius made a typo and truly meant Christus (Christ), he may have been referring only to the Jews in Rome who were expecting a messiah, not to Jesus of Nazareth. It could have been someone else, maybe a Roman Jew, who stepped forward. It is only eager believers who jump to the conclusion that this provides evidence for Jesus. Nowhere in any of Suetonius’ writings did he mention Jesus of Nazareth. Even if he had, his history would not necessarily have been reliable. He also reported, for example, that Caesar Augustus bodily rose to heaven when he died, an event that few modern scholars consider historical.  

In 112 C.E., Pliny (the younger) said that “Christians were singing a hymn to Christ as to a god…” That’s it. In all of Pliny’s writings, we find one small tangential reference, and not even to Christ, but to Christians. Again, notice the absence of the name Jesus. This could have referred to any of the other “Christs” who were being followed by Jews who thought they had found a messiah. Pliny’s report hardly counts as history since he is only relaying what other people believed. Even if this sentence referred to a group of followers of Jesus, no one denies that Christianity was in existence at that time. Pliny, at the very most, might be useful in documenting the religion, but not the historic Jesus.  

Sometime after 117 C.E., the Roman historian Tacitus wrote in his Annals (Book 15, chapter 44): “Nero looked around for a scapegoat, and inflicted the most fiendish tortures on a group of persons already hated for their crimes. This was the sect known as Christians. Their founder, one Christus, had been put to death by the procurator, Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius. This checked the abominable superstition for a while, but it broke out again and spread, not merely through Judea, where it originated, but even to Rome itself, the great reservoir and collecting ground for every kind of depravity and filth. Those who confessed to being Christians were at once arrested, but on their testimony a great crowd of people were convicted, not so much on the charge of arson, but of hatred of the entire human race.”  

In this passage, Tacitus depicts early Christians as “hated for their crimes” and associated with “depravity and filth.” This is not a flattering picture. But even if it is valid, it tells us nothing about Jesus of Nazareth. Tacitus claims no first-hand knowledge of Christianity. He is merely repeating the then common ideas about Christians. (A modern parallel would be a 20th century historian reporting that Mormons believe that Joseph Smith was visited by the angel Moroni, which would hardly make it historical proof, even though it is as close as a century away.) There is no other historical confirmation that Nero persecuted Christians. Nero did persecute Jews, and perhaps Tacitus was confused about this. There certainly was not a “great crowd” of Christians in Rome around 60 C.E., and the term “Christian” was not in use in the first century. Tacitus is either doctoring history from a distance or repeating a myth without checking his facts. Historians generally agree that Nero did not burn Rome, so Tacitus is in error to suggest that he would have needed a scapegoat in the first place. No one in the second century ever quoted this passage of Tacitus, and in fact it appears almost word-for-word in the writings of someone else, Sulpicius Severus, in the fourth century, where it is mixed in with other myths. The passage is therefore highly suspect and adds virtually no evidence for a historic Jesus.  

In the ninth century a Byzantine writer named George Syncellus quoted a third-century Christian historian named Julius Africanus, who quoted an unknown writer named Thallus on the darkness at the crucifixion: “Thallus in the third book of his history calls this darkness an eclipse of the sun, but in my opinion he is wrong.” All of the works of Africanus are lost, so there is no way to confirm the quote or to examine its context. We have no idea who Thallus was, or when he wrote. Eusebius (fourth century) mentions a history of Thallus in three books ending about 112 C.E. so the suggestion is that Thallus might have been a near contemporary of Jesus. (Actually, the manuscript is damaged, and “Thallus” is merely a guess from “_allos Samaritanos.” That word “allos” actually means “other” in Greek, so it may have been simply saying “the other Samaritan.”) There is no historical evidence of an eclipse during the time Jesus was supposedly crucified. The reason Africanus doubted the eclipse is because Easter happens near the full moon, and a solar eclipse would have been impossible at that time. (Even ancient skeptics knew that the full moon occurs when it is on the opposite side of the earth from the sun, where it is unable to move between the sun and the earth to produce an eclipse.)  

There is a fragment of a personal letter from a Syrian named Mara Bar-Serapion to his son in prison, of uncertain date, probably second or third century, that mentions that the Jews of that time had killed their “wise king.” However, the New Testament reports that the Romans, not the Jews, killed Jesus. The Jews had killed other leaders; for example, the Essene Teacher of Righteousness. If this truly is a report of a historical event rather than the passing on of folklore, it could have been a reference to someone else. It is worthless as evidence for Jesus of Nazareth, yet it can be found on the lists of some Christian scholars as proof that Jesus existed.  

A second-century satirist named Lucian wrote that the basis for the Christian sect was a “man who was crucified in Palestine,” but this is equally worthless as historical evidence. He is merely repeating what Christians believed in the second century. Lucian does not mention Jesus by name. This reference is too late to be considered historical evidence, and since Lucian did not consider himself a historian, neither should we.  

All of these “confirmations” of Jesus are at best second-hand hearsay of what others were thought to have believed. They would be worthless in a court of law. It would be like a witness to a murder saying, “I did not see the act itself, but I read in a letter from someone who is now dead that they heard from a probably reliable source that someone actually believed that a person with the same or similar name committed the crime.”  

BOTTOM OF THE BARREL  

In addition to Josephus, Suetonius, Tacitus and the others, there are a handful of highly questionable, so-called evidences that some Christians have put forward. These include Tertullian (197 C.E.), Phlegon (unknown date), Justin Martyr (about 150 C.E.) and portions of the Jewish Talmud (second through fifth centuries) that mention Jesus in an attempt to discredit Christianity, supposedly showing that even the enemies of Jesus did not doubt his existence. Though all of these late opinions are flimsy, some Christians make a showy point of listing them with little elaboration in their books of apologetics. Ministers can rattle off these “historical confirmations” with little fear that their congregations will take the time to investigate their authenticity.  

I include one other very silly attempt here—the Archko Volume—not because it has ever come up in any of my debates or has been used by serious Christian apologists, but because it shows the lengths to which some believers will go to “prove” Christianity and how eagerly some gullible believers swallow such nonsense. And these are modern believers, supposedly more informed and sophisticated than the ancient writers.  

A Christian actually mailed me a copy of the Archko Volume. This “eyewitness testimony” supposedly reports authentic, first-hand accounts of Jesus from the early first century. It includes letters from Pilate to Rome, glowing interviews of the shepherds outside Bethlehem who visited the baby Jesus at the manger after being awakened by angels, and so on. Its flowery King James prose makes entertaining reading, but it is not considered authentic by any scholar. It was written in the 19th century by a traveling salesman who said he translated it from original documents found in the basement of the Vatican.
The “translations” were mailed overseas in installments, after payment for each one was received. No one has ever seen the original documents.  

In Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell makes an argument that is common among apologists: “There are now more than 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Add over 10,000 Latin Vulgate and at least 9,300 other early versions (MSS) and we have more than 24,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence today. No other document of antiquity even begins to approach such numbers and attestation. In comparison, the Iliad by Homer is second with only 643 manuscripts that still survive.” Do you see how he is piling on numbers? What do the 10,000 Latin Vulgate copies have to do with original Greek manuscripts? This information might cause believers to applaud with smugness, but it misses the point. What does the number of copies have to do with authenticity?  

If a million copies of this book are printed, does it make it any more truthful? Are the “historical” facts reported in the Iliad considered reliable? There are currently hundreds of millions of copies of the Koran in existence, in many forms and scores of translations. Does the sheer number of copies make it more reliable than, say, a single inscription on an Egyptian sarcophagus? This argument is a smokescreen. There are no original manuscripts (autographs) of the bible in existence, so we all agree that we are working from copies of copies. Critics might agree that some current translations of the New Testament are based on a reasonably accurate transcription of variations from early forms of some of the Greek documents, but what does this have to do with authenticity, reliability or truthfulness? And why are there variations at all? Yes, scribes sometimes made minor copying errors, but few believers realize how many discrepancies there are among the manuscripts. Bart Ehrman, in Misquoting Jesus, reminds us that there are more variants among the ancient documents than there are words in the New Testament.  

Another argument made by Josh McDowell and others is the close interval of time between the events or original writing and the earliest copies in our possession. Homer wrote the Iliad in 900 B.C.E., but our earliest copy is from 400 B.C.E.—a span of 500 years. Aristotle wrote in 384-322 B.C.E. and the earliest copy of his work dates from 1100 C.E.—a gap of 1,400 years. In contrast, the New Testament was written (McDowell says) between 40 and 100 C.E., and the earliest copy dates from 125 C.E., a time span of 25 years. Actually, the earliest copy does not date from 125 C.E.—it is the earliest fragment, a few verses from the Gospel of John, that dates from then. There is no way to verify, from those few verses, whether the rest of John or any of the remainder of the New Testament is reliable. Most of the copies of the manuscripts that we have on hand date from a millennium later, so McDowell’s implication is misleading.

All of this is important when considering the reliability of the text itself. A shorter interval of time allows for fewer corruptions and variants. (So, why are there so many variants, if the time was so short?) But even if the time interval were extremely brief, it has no relevance to the reliability of the content. If the New Testament should be considered reliable on this basis, then so should the Book of Mormon, which was supposedly written (copied by Joseph Smith) in 1823 and first published in 1830, a gap of only seven years. In addition to Joseph Smith, there are signed testimonies of 11 witnesses who claimed to have seen the gold tablets on which the angel Moroni wrote the Book of Mormon. We are much closer in history to the origin of Mormonism than to the origin of Christianity. There are millions of copies of the Book of Mormon and a thriving Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (with millions of members and billions of dollars in assets) to prove its veracity. Though most scholars (pro and con) agree that the current edition of the Book of Mormon is a trustworthy copy of the 1830 version, few Christian scholars consider it to be reliable history.
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Re: why Jesus myth stuff is bullshit

Postby Michael Hill on Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:08 pm

What the hell. Part 3.

NOT THE GOSPEL TRUTH   If we stick to the New Testament (we have no choice), how much can we know about the Jesus of history? Although the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—have been placed first in the current ordering, they were not the first books written, nor were they written in that order. The earliest writings about Jesus are those of Paul, who produced his epistles no earlier than the mid 50s C.E. Strangely, Paul, who never met Jesus, mentions very little about the life of the historical Jesus. If Jesus had been a real person, certainly Paul, his main cheerleader, would have talked about him as a man. The Jesus of whom Paul writes is a disembodied, spiritual Christ, speaking from the sky, not a flesh and blood man of history. Paul never talks about Jesus’ parents or the virgin birth or Bethlehem. He never mentions Nazareth, never refers to Jesus as the “Son of man” (as commonly used in the Gospels), avoids recounting a single miracle or deed committed by Jesus (except for reciting the Last Supper ritual), does not fix any historical activities of Jesus in any time or place, makes no reference to any of the 12 apostles by name, omits the trial and fails to place the crucifixion in a geographical location. Paul rarely quotes Jesus, and this is odd since he used many other devices of persuasion to make his points. There are numerous places in the teachings of Paul where he could have and should have invoked the teachings of Jesus, but he ignores them. He contradicts Jesus’ teachings on divorce (I Corinthians 7:10), allowing for none while Jesus permitted exceptions. Jesus taught a trinitarian baptism (“in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost”), but Paul and his disciples baptized in Jesus’ name only—which makes perfect sense if the concept of the trinity was developed later. Paul never claims to have met the pre-resurrected Jesus. In fact, one of the most glaring contradictions of the bible appears in two different accounts of how Paul supposedly met the disembodied Christ for the first time (see Chapter 14).  

The “silence of Paul” is one of the thorny problems confronting defenders of a historical Jesus. The Christ in Paul’s writings is a different character from the Jesus of the Gospels. Paul adds not a speck of historical documentation for the story. Even Paul’s supposed confirmation of the resurrection in I Corinthians 15:3-8 contradicts the Gospels when it says that Jesus first was seen of “Cephas [Peter], then of the twelve” (see Chapter 16).  

The Gospels were written no earlier than 70 C.E., and most likely were written during the 90s C.E. and later. They all pretend to be biographies of Jesus. No one knows who wrote these books, the names having been added later as a matter of convenience. The writer of Matthew, for example, refers to “Matthew” in the third person. Neither Mark nor Luke appears in any list of the disciples of Jesus, and we have no way of knowing where they got their information. The general scholarly consensus is that Mark was written first (based on an earlier “proto-Mark” now lost, which shows that even the earliest Gospel contains second-hand data) and that the writers of Matthew and Luke borrowed from Mark, adapting and adding to it. Matthew, Mark and Luke are commonly known as the “synoptic Gospels” since they share much common material. The writer of John appears to have written in isolation, and the Jesus portrayed in his story is a different character. John contains little in common with the other three, and where it does overlap it is often contradictory.  

There is very little that can be ascertained from the four Gospels about the historic Jesus. His birthday is unknown. In fact, the year of Jesus’ birth cannot be known. The writer of Matthew says Jesus was born “in the days of Herod the king.” Herod died in 4 B.C.E. Luke reports that Jesus was born “when Cyrenius [Quirinius] was governor of Syria.” Cyrenius became governor of Syria in 6 C.E. That is a discrepancy of at least nine years. (There was no year zero.) Luke says Jesus was born during a Roman census, and it is true that there was a census in 6 C.E. This would have been when Jesus was at least nine years old, according to Matthew. There is no evidence of any earlier census during the reign of Augustus; Palestine was not part of the Roman Empire until 6 C.E. Perhaps Matthew was right, or perhaps Luke was right, but both could not have been right. (See Chapter 13 for the exact citations.)  

Matthew reports that Herod slaughtered all the first-born in the land in order to execute Jesus. No historian, contemporary or later, mentions this supposed genocide, an event that should have caught someone’s attention. None of the other biblical writers mention it.  

The genealogies of Jesus present a particularly embarrassing (to believers) example of why the Gospel writers are not reliable historians. Matthew gives a genealogy of Jesus consisting of 28 names from David down to Joseph. Luke gives a reverse genealogy of Jesus consisting of 43 names from Joseph back to David. They each purport to prove that Jesus is of royal blood, though neither of them explains why Joseph’s genealogy is relevant if he was not Jesus’ father: Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Ghost. (I’d like to see the genome of the Holy Ghost’s DNA.) Matthew’s line goes from David’s son Solomon, while Luke’s goes from David’s son Nathan. The two genealogies could not have been for the same person.  

Matthew’s line is like this: David, Solomon, 11 other names, Josiah, Jechoniah, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud, six other names, Matthan, Jacob and Joseph. Luke’s line is like this: David, Nathan, 17 other names (none identical to Matthew’s list), Melchi, Neri, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Rhesa, 15 other names (none identical to Matthew’s list), Matthat, Heli and Joseph.  

Some defenders of Christianity assert that this is not contradictory at all because Matthew’s line is through Joseph and Luke’s line is through Mary, even though a simple glance at the text shows that they both name Joseph. No problem, say the apologists: Luke named Joseph, but he really meant Mary. Since Joseph was the legal parent of Jesus, and since Jewish genealogies are patrilineal, it makes perfect sense to say that Heli (their choice for Mary’s father) had a son named Joseph who had a son named Jesus. Believe it or not, many Christians can make these statements with a straight face. In any event, they will not find a shred of evidence to support such a notion.  

There is an insurmountable problem to this argument: the two genealogies intersect. Notice that besides starting with David and ending with Joseph, the lines share two names: Shealtiel and Zerubbabel, both commonly known from the period of the Babylonian captivity. If Matthew and Luke present two distinct parental genealogies, as the apologists assert, there should be no intersection. In a last-ditch defense, some very creative apologists have hypothesized that Shealtiel’s grandmother could have had two husbands and that her sons Jechoniah and Neri represent two distinct paternal lines, but this is painfully speculative.  

The two genealogies are widely different in length. One would have to suppose that something in Nathan’s genes caused every one of the men in his line to sire sons when they were 50 percent younger (on average) than the men in Solomon’s line.  

Matthew’s line omits four names from the genealogy given in the Old Testament (between Joram and Jotham), and this makes sense when you notice that Matthew is trying to force his list into three neat groups of 14 names each. (Seven is the Hebrew’s most sacred number.) He leaves out exactly the right number of names to make it fit. Some have argued that it was common to skip generations and this does not make it incorrect. A great-great grandfather is just as much an ancestor as a grandfather. This might be true, except that Matthew explicitly reports that it was exactly 14 generations: “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1:17) Matthew is caught tinkering with the facts. His reliability as a historian is severely crippled.  

Another problem is that Luke’s genealogy of Jesus goes through Nathan, which was not the royal line. Nor could Matthew’s line be royal after Jeconiah because the divine prophecy says of Jeconiah that “no man of his seed shall prosper sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.” (Jeremiah 22:30) Even if Luke’s line is truly through Mary, Luke reports that Mary was a cousin to Elizabeth, who was of the tribe of Levi, not the royal line.  

(Some Christians desperately suggest that the word “cousin” might allowably be translated “countrywoman,” just as believers might call each other “brother” or “sister,” but this is ad hoc.)  

Since Jesus was not the son of Joseph, and since Jesus himself appears to deny his Davidic ancestry (Matthew 22:41-46), the whole genealogy is pointless. Instead of rooting Jesus in history, it provides critics with an open window on the myth-making process. The Gospel writers wanted to make of their hero nothing less than what was claimed of saviors of other religions: a king born of a virgin.  

The earliest Gospel written was Mark. Matthew and Luke based their stories on Mark, editing according to their own purposes. All scholars agree that the last 12 verses of Mark, in modern translations, are highly dubious. Most agree that they do not belong in the bible. The earliest ancient documents of Mark end right after the women find the empty tomb. This means that in the first biography, on which the others based their reports, there is no post-resurrection appearance or ascension of Jesus. Noticing the problem, a Christian scribe at a much later time inserted verses 9-20. The Gospel accounts cannot be considered historical, but even if they were, they tell us that the earliest biography of Jesus contains no resurrection! They tell us that the Gospels were edited, adapted, altered and appended at later times to make them fit the particular sectarian theology of the writers.  

The Gospels themselves are admittedly propagandistic: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31) This hardly sounds like the stuff of objective historical reporting. This verse sends up a red flag that what we are reading should be taken with a very large grain of salt.
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Re: why Jesus myth stuff is bullshit

Postby KR Wordgazer on Sun Nov 29, 2015 8:40 pm

Lots of use of loaded language by Michael Hill. If I don't agree with him it's because I'm too "lazy" to look up the evidence. Riiight.

James McGrath makes a good point that atheists who insist on Jesus-as-myth are doing much the same thing as fundamentalist Christians who insist on young-earth Creationism. In the teeth of overwhelming evidence in both cases.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringo ... llacy.html

A quote:

One feature that young-earth creationists, mythicists, and other proponents of pseudoscholarly ideas have in common in the way they treat the writings of actual experts in the field in question.

On the one hand, they will mine the writings of experts for sound bites and quotes that seem to support their viewpoint, and will pepper their blog posts and discussion board comments with them liberally.

On the other hand, they dismiss at least one of the central conclusions drawn by those experts, and write about them in relation to that particular matter as if they were completely incompetent ignoramuses who cannot be trusted to draw logical, reasoned conclusions.

I think we should call this the “Schroedinger’s Scholar Fallacy.” Clearly both characterizations of experts in a field cannot be right simultaneously. Either they are capable of doing valid work in their discipline, in which case their acceptance of evolution, or the existence of a historical Jesus, or whatever else, cannot be chalked up to stupidity; or they are indeed incompetent, in which case they cannot serve as authorities to appeal to in order to bolster one’s own case, since they are just as likely to have botched those points as any others if they really are as gullible and illogical as is claimed.

But in the realms of mythicism and creationism, scholars seem to exist in a state of quantum paradox, like Schroedinger’s cat, being both reliable authorities with genuine expertise, and ignorant fools, and coexisting as both simultaneously.
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Re: why Jesus myth stuff is bullshit

Postby Michael Hill on Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:57 am

HOW DID THE MYTH ORIGINATE?  

If Jesus is a myth or a legend, how did the story originate? How did there come to be a worldwide following of billions of Christians spanning two millennia if the story is not true? An idea does not need to be true in order to be believed, and the same could be asked about any other myth: Santa Claus, William Tell or Zeus. Nevertheless, it is not unfair to ask skeptics to suggest an alternative to historicity.  

There are a number of plausible explanations for a natural origin of the Jesus myth, none of which can be proved with certainty. Unbelievers are not in agreement, nor need they be. Some skeptics think that Jesus never existed at all and that the myth came into being through a literary process. Other skeptics deny that the Jesus character portrayed in the New Testament existed, but feel that there could have been a first-century personality after whom the exaggerated myth was patterned. Others believe that Jesus did exist, and that some parts of the New Testament are accurate, although the miracles and the claim to deity are due to later editing of the original story. Still others claim that the New Testament is basically true in all of its accounts except that there are natural explanations for the miracle stories. (It is not just atheists who possess these views. Many liberal Christians, such as Paul Tillich, have “de-mythologized” the New Testament.)  

None of these views can be proved, any more than the orthodox position can be proved. What they demonstrate is that since there do exist plausible natural alternatives, it is irrational to jump to a supernatural conclusion.

1) One of the views, held by J. M. Robertson and others, is that the Jesus myth was patterned after a story found in the Jewish Talmudic literature about the illegitimate son of a woman named Miriam (Mary) and a Roman soldier named Pandera, sometimes called Joseph Pandera. In Christianity and Mythology, Robertson writes: “…we see cause to suspect that the movement really originated with the Talmudic Jesus Ben Pandera, who was stoned to death and hanged on a tree, for blasphemy or heresy, on the eve of a Passover in the reign of Alexander Jannaeus (106-79 B.C.E.).” Dr. Low, an accomplished Hebraist, is satisfied that this Jesus was the founder of the Essene sect, whose resemblance to the legendary early Christians has so greatly exercised Christian speculation.  

2) Another view is that the Jesus myth grew out of a pre-Christian cult of Joshua. Some suggest that the New Testament story about swapping Jesus for Barabbas (meaning “son of the father”) arose from the tension between two different Joshua factions. Origen mentioned a “Jesus Barabbas.” The name “Jesus” is the Greek for Joshua (“Yeshua” in Hebrew). In Mark 9:38 the disciples of Jesus saw another man who was casting out devils in the name of Jesus (Joshua). The Sibyllene Oracles identify Jesus with Joshua, regarding the sun standing still.  

3) Other scholars suggest that the Jesus story is simply a fanciful patchwork of pieces borrowed from other religions. Pagan mythical parallels can be found for almost every item in the New Testament: the Last Supper, Peter’s denial, Pilate’s wife’s dream, the crown of thorns, the vinegar and gall at the crucifixion, the mocking inscription over the cross, the Passion, the trial, Pilate’s washing of hands, the carrying of the cross, the talk between the two thieves hanging beside Jesus, and so on. There were many crucified sun gods before Jesus. There was the crucifixion of Antigonus, the “King of the Jews,” and Cyrus, a Messianic figure. Prometheus and Heracles wear mock crowns, and in some versions of the story Prometheus is executed by crucifixion. Babylonian prisoners dressed as kings for five days, then they were stripped, scourged and crucified.  

Attis was a self-castrated god-man who was born of a virgin, worshipped between March 22 and March 27 (vernal equinox) and hanged on a cut pine tree. He escaped, fled, descended into a cave, died, rose again and was later called “Father God.” The Greek god Dionysus was a man-god said to be the “Son of Zeus.” He was killed, buried, descended into hell, and rose from the dead to sit at the right hand of the father. His empty tomb at Delphi was long preserved and venerated by believers. The Egyptian Osiris, two millennia earlier, was said to have been slain by Typhon, rose again and became ruler of the dead. There is the story about Simon the Cyrenian sun God who carried pillars to his death. (Compare with Simon the Cyrene who carried the cross of Jesus in the New Testament.) Before Jesus there were many ascension myths. Adonis and Attis also suffered and died to rise again. So did Enoch, Elijah, Krishna, Heracles, Dionysus and, later, Mary.  

Mithra was a virgin-born Persian god. In 307 C.E. (just before Constantine institutionalized Christianity), the Roman emperor officially designated that Mithra was to be the “Protector of the Empire.” Historian Barbara Walker records this about Mithra:  

“Mithra was born on the 25th of December…which was finally taken over by Christians in the 4th century as the birthday of Christ. Some say Mithra sprang from an incestuous union between the sun god and his own mother… Some claimed Mithra’s mother was a mortal virgin. Others said Mithra had no mother, but was miraculously born of a female Rock, the petra genetrix, fertilized by the Heavenly Father’s phallic lightning.  

“Mithra’s birth was witnessed by shepherds and by Magi who brought gifts to his sacred birth-cave of the Rock. Mithra performed the usual assortment of miracles: raising the dead, healing the sick, making the blind see and the lame walk, casting out devils. As a Peter, son of the petra, he carried the keys of the kingdom of heaven… His triumph and ascension to heaven were celebrated at the spring equinox (Easter)…  

“Before returning to heaven, Mithra celebrated a Last Supper with his twelve disciples, who represented the twelve signs of the zodiac. In memory of this, his worshippers partook of a sacramental meal of bread marked with a cross. This was one of seven Mithraic sacraments, the models for the Christians’ seven sacraments. It was called mizd, Latin missa, English mass. Mithra’s image was buried in a rock tomb… He was withdrawn from it and said to live again.  

“Like early Christianity, Mithraism was an ascetic, anti-female religion. Its priesthood consisted of celibate men only…  

“What began in water would end in fire, according to Mithraic eschatology. The great battle between the forces of light and darkness in the Last Days would destroy the earth with its upheavals and burnings. Virtuous ones…would be saved. Sinful ones…would be cast into hell… The Christian notion of salvation was almost wholly a product of this Persian eschatology, adopted by Semitic eremites and sun-cultists like the Essenes, and by Roman military men who thought the rigid discipline and vivid battle-imagery of Mithraism appropriate for warriors.  

“After extensive contact with Mithraism, Christians also began to describe themselves as soldiers for Christ;… to celebrate their feasts on Sun-day rather than the Jewish sabbath… Like Mithraists, Christians practiced baptism to ascend after death through the planetary spheres to the highest heaven, while the wicked (unbaptized)

would be dragged down to darkness.” (The Woman’s Encyclopedia Of Myths And Secrets, pages 663-665)  

The name “Mary” is common to names given to mothers of other gods: the Syrian Myrrha, the Greek Maia and the Hindu Maya all derived from the familiar “Ma” for mother. The phrases “Word of God” and “Lamb of God” are probably connected, due to a misunderstanding of words that are similar in different languages. The Greek word “logos,” which means “word,” was used originally by the gnostics and is translated as “imerah” in Hebrew. The word “immera” in Aramaic means “lamb.” It is easy to see how some Jews, living at the intersection of so many cultures and languages, could be confused and influenced by so many competing religious ideas.  

Christianity appears to have been cut from the same fabric as pagan mythology, and early Christians admitted it. Arguing with pagans around 150 C.E., Justin Martyr said: “When we say that the Word, who is the first born of God, was produced without sexual union, and that he, Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven; we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter (Zeus).”  

In the fourth century a Christian scholar named Fermicus attempted to establish the uniqueness of Christianity, but he was met at every turn by pagan precedents to the story of Jesus. He is reported to have said: “Habet Diabolus Christos sous!” (“The Devil has his Christs!”) If early Christians, who were closer to the events than we are, said the story of Jesus is “nothing different” from paganism, can modern skeptics be faulted for suspecting the same thing?  

4) W. B. Smith thinks there was a pre-Christian Jesus cult of Gnosticism. There is an ancient papyrus that has these words: “I adjure thee by the God of the Hebrews, Jesus.” The Jesus Mysteries: Was the Original Jesus a Pagan God? makes a compelling case that the original Christians were indeed gnostics and that the story of Jesus was invented by Hellenistic Jews in Alexandria as a mystery play patterned after the Osiris/Dionysus mystery cults, and was not to be taken literally. The play depicted a god-man who died and came back to life. It was only after Constantine in the fourth century decreed that the story should be literal and suppressed Gnosticism that the life of Jesus became suddenly “historical.”  

5) G. A. Wells is another scholar who believes Jesus never existed as a historical person. He and others see Jesus as the personification of Old Testament “wisdom.” The Dead Sea Scrolls have Essene commentary on the Old Testament wisdom literature, and Wells has found many parallels with the life of Jesus. The book of Proverbs depicts “Wisdom” as having been created by God first, before heaven and earth. Wisdom mediates in creation and leads humans into truth. Wisdom is the governor and sustainer of the universe. Wisdom comes to dwell among men and bestows gifts. Most people reject Wisdom and it returns to heaven. Solomon’s idea of a just man is one who is persecuted and condemned to a shameful death, but then God gives him eternal life, counting him as one of the “sons of God,” giving him a crown and calling him the “servant of the Lord.” He is despised and rejected. In The Jesus of History and Myth, R. J. Hoffman writes: “In sum, musing on the Wisdom and on other Jewish literature could have prompted the earliest Christians to suppose that a preexistent redeemer had suffered crucifixion, the most shameful death of all, before being exalted to God’s right hand.”  

6) Randall Helms in the article “Fiction in the Gospels” in Jesus in History and Myth presents another view. Helms notices that there are many literary parallels between Old Testament and New Testament stories. He calls this “self-reflexive fiction.” It is as if there are some skeletal templates into which the Jews placed their stories. One example is the comparison between the raising of the son of the widow of Nain in Luke 7:11-16 and the raising of the son of a widow of Zarephath in I Kings 17. Not only is the content similar, but the structure of the tale is almost identical. Other examples are the storm stories in Psalms and Jonah compared with the New Testament storm story in Mark 4:37-41, and the story of Elijah’s food multiplication with that of Jesus. The first-century Jews were simply rewriting old stories, like a movie remake. This view, in and of itself, does not completely account for the entire Jesus myth, but it does show how literary parallels can play a part in the elaboration of a fable.  

7) John Allegro suggested that the Jesus character was patterned after the Essene Teacher of Righteousness, who was crucified in 88 B.C.E. He wrote that the Dead Sea Scrolls prove that the Essenes interpreted the Old Testament in a way to make it fit their own messiah. Allegro writes: “When Josephus speaks of the Essene’s reverence for their ‘Lawgiver’…we may assume reasonably that he speaks of their Teacher, the ‘Joshua/Jesus’ of the Last Days. By the first century, therefore, it seems that he was being accorded semi-divine status, and that his role of Messiah, or Christ, was fully appreciated.” (The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth)  

8) An example of one of the many naturalistic attempts to explain the miracles is the “swoon theory” found in The Passover Plot by Dr. Hugh J. Schonfield. This is the idea that the resurrection story is basically historically accurate but that Jesus merely fainted, and was presumed to be dead, coming back to consciousness later.  

Some of these explanations turn out to be just as difficult to believe as the miracle reports themselves, in my opinion. But they are, nevertheless, viable hypotheses that show that even if the documents are entirely reliable, the story itself can be explained in other ways. If it is possible for part of a story to be misunderstood or exaggerated, then why not the whole thing?  

Prudent history demands that until all natural explanations for the origin of an outrageous tale are completely ruled out, it is irresponsible to hold to the literal, historical truth of what appears to be just another myth.
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Re: why Jesus myth stuff is bullshit

Postby Metacrock on Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:40 am

any evidence that contradicts his ideology is wrong a priori. He wont dare apply this hermeneutic of suspicion to his own speculative drivel. All sources that prove Jesus must be mythical too, Paul proves Jesus sp Pail didn't exist. Petr proves Paul so they actually do hjave a Petger myth movement.

one wonders if anyone existed jn the ancient world.
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Re: why Jesus myth stuff is bullshit

Postby Metacrock on Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:35 pm

stop flamig tha's not going to make me post them faster
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