Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by JustMe, Oct 27, 2011.
Jan 4, 2012
Then I am proud and blessed to live a sad life.
Or that his history was altered posthumously. As far as I know, there are no texts written directly by Jesus.
No, but historians have written about him. Historians who were not trying to promote Christianity, who even disagreed with Jesus. So, we have historical documents of Jesus and even eye-witness testimony when we look at the gospels.
Jan 5, 2012
Ditto what TamiJ said. There are more historical writings--by non-religions writers--about Jesus than about Socrates or Plato. No one seems to doubt their existence. And yes, the secular historian Josephus refers to Jesus' resurrection.
Isn't it funny how logic won't allow fence straddlers?
No, I believe in both.
Jan 6, 2012
I will admit I am no biblical scholar, but I thought the claim that the gospels were eye-witness accounts were purely held by the Christian Church and not supported by biblical historians, and that the gospels don't claim to be eye witness account.
In my opinion, it's the same as any other myth or legend. He could be Odysseus or Macbeth or King Arthur. Likely a real person, exaggerated by story telling and the church and his followers to fulfill their purpose.
Josephus was Jewish, not secular.
Additionally, there are two passages of Josephus that reference Jesus in his entire body of work, and the genuineness and provenance of these passages is questioned. They could be later additions. The oldest manuscript we actually have of the work is from the 11th century.
I can't find the gospels themselves reliable. They do contain much which is historical fact, but they also contain quite a bit which clearly is not.
I have heard many former mormons say this same type of thing. I believe that religion has a significantly negative impact on people who eventually leave that church.
And I do believe in both. They impact my life everday.
Do you suppose that the same is NOT said by Christians and Catholics who eventually leave their churches?
Not to the extreme that it is my Mormons, no.
I've discussed religion on forums for several years. More than a decade, in fact. I've seen comments like this (and far worse) many times from non-believers as well as former believers.
Personally, I think it's sad when someone can't just disagree with a different belief without also feeling the need to belittle that set of beliefs.
Indeed, it is sad.
There are some believers who, in argument, will characterize atheists as "hating" or "resenting" God. This is rarely true, but it is true that there are a number of atheists who resent religion, especially amongst former believers.* They resent being told for years that they were inherently evil, that their just desserts were an eternity of torment. That merely thoughts, or things they did privately involving only themselves, were mortal sins. They may resent being told they cannot marry who they choose (same-sex marriage being only the most recent example of this). Moderates in most faiths would receive dilutions of these messages and may not feel much or any resentment.
But bob, you're fooling yourself if you think it's particular to Mormons. I've heard the same said from ex-Catholic atheists and ex-Christian atheists.
And cerek, I don't mean to contradict you -- it IS still sad that they feel the need to belittle personal views. What I'm trying to show is that in many of this cases it is precisely because of their past experiences that for them it is not mere disagreement. Even for atheists who have never been a part of a religion, there are legitimate reasons they could resent religion.
Those are all very fair points, 3Sons and I agree with what you say.
I have seen Christians claim atheists really just "hate or resent" God, because they just can't believe someone doesn't actually BELIEVE that God exists. Of course, it's silly to accuse someone of "hating" something they don't even believe exists. That would be the same as saying they hate Santa Claus, Bigfoot, for the Loch Ness Monster. On the other hand, I have seen comments from many atheists that DO seem to reflect a rather high level of hate or resentment towards God. I understand their resentment is really more towards the religion rather than the deity, but there comments don't always reflect that.
Also, "inherently sinful" is not the same as "inherently evil", though I realize some preachers and churches fail to make a distinction between the two. That's a bit like saying "All school students are inherently disruptive and disobedient or disrespectful". No, not really. Every student has the capacity for these attitudes and actions, but not every student acts on them. And even those that do are not normally going out of their way to be "bad", they just have a difficult time controlling some of their actions or may have other things going on outside of school that cause them to "lash out" in reaction at school.
I am always respectful of different beliefs, even those completely opposite of my own. All I ask is that others return that same level of respect. We can walk arm-in-arm, even if we don't see eye-to-eye.
It really is very logical when you think about. You are either for it or against it. Hmmm--where have we heard that before?
Yes, Josephus was Jewish, but not a Christian--which would imply an "automatic" adherence to the gospels. We do have manuscripts of the Bible from the first century AD. Much of what is contained in the gospels has been supported through history, and none has been contradicted.
There is archaeological evidence to support both Old and New Testaments.
In response to one comment (sorry, I forget the poster) about whether we can trust that the gospels were eye-witness accounts, there are quite a few scholars who agree on the early dates of the gospels, which would have been some time after Jesus' death, meaning they certainly would have been alive in Jesus' time. Let's look at what we don't see in history: we don't see authors disputing the eye-witness accounts. Many were witness to Jesus' miracles, and the events that occurred surrounding him at the time, but the events reported in the gospels were not disputed. What we do see, though, are many others in history referring to Jesus in historical writings, and many who referred to Jesus in demeaning ways, crediting his miracles to the devil. We see Jesus in the Bible, but we also see him written about from the Gentiles and Jews. Now, one could argue that the gospels are not reliable, but, in addition to their early dating so that these persons would have been alive when Jesus was, let's remember that many of his followers, those who had known him personally and after his resurrection (as is the case with Paul) were killed for their proclamations of him. This would mean that many people created this "myth" about Jesus, never changed their story about him, and were killed as a result.
Are you saying that I was belittling here?
I was simply going off of my personal experience with people I know (some friends, some just aquaintences) who are former mormons. My experience is that their extreme turnaround of beliefs is much greater than those who change from other religions. That is just my own personal experience.
I am not trying to belittle that religion on here. (That is saved for a whole other time and place)
I wasn't saying it is particular to mormons as opposed to ex Catholic atheists or ex Christian atheists. My experience is based on people(those I know who have) who leave the mormon church turning their beliefs around completely to become atheists. I find this happens much more often than someone leaving a Christian church to become atheists. More often I have seen people leave one type of Christian church to go to a different type of Christian church.
Jan 12, 2012
Don't start playing your card that the Mormon church turned me agains the real Jesus please. That gets kind of old.
Also, you're forgetting about the many ex-Catholics, ex-Jews, ex-Jehovah's Witnesses, and ex-Baptists that have their networks of support.
Of course I didn't believe the real Jesus, because there likely never was a real Jesus in the first place, and if there was and he claimed to be the son of God.... let's just say this.
If someone went walking around today saying they were the son of God and had divine powers yet wouldn't show them when their life was on the line, what would people think about him?
I believe in a higher power.
and what is that higher power doing that can't be explained by natural occurrences?
Nathan, this isn't a religion debate site, which is why people will just refuse to engage with you. Additionally, a lot of the people here genuinely like each other even if their opinions do differ on certain topics. So while the site welcomes newcomers, coming in and writing what you did is akin to walking up to a group of people discussing the topic calmly and belittling them. It's unwarranted.
I agree with you that basing life decisions on Biblical sources is problematic, particularly when they impact others' rights (such as gay marriage, or voting for those who oppose gay marriage, or abortion, or teaching of evolution). However, that's not actually what's under discussion.
I agree completely that beliefs are not deserving of respect. When I was young, I once characterized my own mind as a torture chamber for my own beliefs: I "flayed" and "whipped" my beliefs over and over to see how well they stood up. However, people ARE deserving of respect. Some people do need to be shocked into realization, so I think there is a place for your words. I don't think this is the best platform, however.
To get back to the actual topic -- whether Jesus existed -- there is some interesting information out there.
* There are no first-hand accounts of Jesus. Paul never met Jesus (except "spiritually", which really can't be verified).
* The gospels were written anonymously, between approximately 70-90AD, and were compiled into the New Testament in the third century AD.
* There were a number of historians at the time who specifically devoted themselves to cataloguing claims of messiah status (there were apparently a lot), and these did not mention Jesus.
This site (http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/christianity_nojesus.html) gives some of the information, footnoted, in a neutral and respectful tone (so long as you don't open up the comments).
It is true that many died for their belief in Jesus. But I think people die for a lot of reasons, not all of them valid or accurate.
Actually I didn't start this topic. Someone else asked about people's beliefs so if someone is going to state what their beliefs are they are opening themselves to having them challenged.
That may be true, but there is a respectful way to do that. Tomorrow I'm leading a workshop about how to teach communication gambits in the classroom. One of the categories of gambits is how to respectfully disagree with another person.
You seemed to be challenging the person rather than the belief, and doing so using language that is combative and destructive, rather than collaborative. Rather than giving the facts and logic that you say you would ask for, you use inflammatory and hurtful language.
Very well put, MissCelia. I had several things I wanted to say and had a fairly long response ready to submit, but your post says it much more clearly and succinctly.
What I felt is I was answering the question they asked. I didn't feel it was directed at them personally. However, I am quite angered about religion and the damage it does to society so maybe it seemed bold to others.
I'm an atheist so I get your frustrations and feelings. However, the OP was asking if your religion believed in God and not Jesus.
Your anger is obvious and understandable up to a point. I have a very good r/l friend that hates all religion in general and Christianity especially, but we still manage to have intelligent (although sometimes intense) discussions on religion.
There is a difference between being "bold" and being insulting. Claiming other beliefs deserve to be ridiculed and Christians "run away like chickens with their butts on fire" is not being bold, it is being insulting. When you are able to recognize the difference between the two, you will find your arguments are more solid and, generally, will be better received. Stick with the arguments based on logic and reason and avoid those that resort to name-calling.
That actually was a response to religious missionaries that try to dominate the conversation and run away when they can see they are fighting a losing battle.
Until I mentioned that I was an Ex-Mormon and someone discounted my whole argument by saying that rarely do true Christians ever leave their beliefs like this and have this anger.
This was making an assumption that because I was Mormon before that means I know nothing of what it means to be a Christian.
You tell me. I can only give you personal instances where things
have happened in my life that seem to be responses to my prayers.
I can elaborate if you wish. Btw I have a close friend (conservative even) that is an atheist. I think he bases it on he and his siblings being abused badly by an uncle for years without being protected by their parents. I think it fuels his being an alcoholic and makes him reject AA because of their religious tenants.
Perhaps you didn't mean to imply this, stephen, but atheism does not "fuel" being an alcoholic.
Also, while I can't say anything specific about what your friend bases his atheism on (and even your own decision that it's based on being abused by an uncle seems rather speculative), the vast majority of atheists do not base it on childhood abuse.
Well I don't base beliefs about the truth based on emotional appeal. I actually wasn't bashing your opinion but just asking to elaborate on what made you come to the conclusion of a higher power. Answers to prayer I don't see as anything more than human psychology. I believe people had metaphysical experiences, but I don't believe they were metaphysical.
Can you clarify this last statement a little bit.
You believe people had metaphysical experiences, but you don't believe the experiences were metaphysical? Or you do you not think the people experiencing them believed in the metaphysical and, thus, attributed the experience to supernatural instead?
Just trying to figure out exactly what you are saying there.
I agree it is sometimes easy to tell when fighting a losing battle with someone in a religious discussion. I've done this for years and can tell pretty quickly when the other person is interested in a true discussion and when they just interested in lashing out or insulting religion. In the second case, I've learned it usually isn't worth the time or effort to try continuing the conversation because neither side will benefit from it.
Yes, I started this topic. I asked if anyone believes in God but either 1) doesn't believe in Jesus, or 2) believes he existed but doesn't value his existence, meaning you believe in a higher power but that Jesus plays no role in your presence here or the (possible) afterlife.
My issue with your contributions is that you lack proper communication skills, in my humble opinion.
I believe in God and I follow Hinduism. I believe in a god called Satya Sai Baba, who passed away recently. However, I also believe in Jesus, Allah, etc. My religious organization tries to incorporate things from ALL religions because we believe that God is just one thing, but Jesus, etc. are just different reincarnations or forms to reach God.
An answer to your question: Religion has given me a lot; my life would not be the same without it. Ever since I was little, my religious organization has given us classes that taught us about good values, truth, caring, and service. I participated in service projects. I am a better person because of my religion. We sing devotional songs, and I feel a great sense of bliss when participating. Religion is not just having a sense of comfort---that barely plays a role for me. It's developing values that I choose to live my life according to.
I think my friend is an atheist because he believes God would have saved him and his siblings from the abuse and now uses the booze to make the pain (or whatever) go away.
I find it almost bizarre that we can flail away about religion that is just a personal choice but political activity is taboo. Our lives and jobs are affected so strongly by the actions of moronic elected officials it would seem a real thing to discuss.
What I meant was I believe that people had personal experiences but I don't believe any divine manifestation was behind all of them.
Like for example, if I pray for 1000 dollars because I won't be able to pay my rent for the month if I don't get it, and then a week later I get a cost of living raise for over 1000, that doesn't mean God answered my prayer.
Praying to God makes as much sense as praying to a jug of milk or any other inanimate object.