Discussion about the validity of Jesus' existence

Michael Goff

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(Continued to ensure we don't delve too far off topic in the other thread)

Hmm - see the link to wikipedia I added. I didn't read through all the citations, but there's some good stuff in there.

Anyway - point of the thread isn't to get anyone to change their minds. I listed my "unpopular beliefs". It seems I did a decent job of sticking to the thread topic! ;)
The problem comes when you look at the sources.

> Craig L Bloomberg is a scholar of the New Testament. He has a bias, as he already goes in believing that Jesus existed. He wants it to be so, as he is Christian. He also works at a religious school and believes in the complete historical accuracy of the bible.
> John Dominic Cross is another New Testament scholar. He was formerly a Catholic priest.
> John P. Meier is a priest and a biblical scholar
> Bart D. Ehrman is a New Testament Scholar

Two sources talk about Jospheus, who would have had no ability to know what he wrote about.

>Mark Allan Powell (Ph.D Union Theological Seminary) is the Robert and Phyllis Leatherman Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. He is editor of the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary.
> Maurice Casey is Emeritus Professor at the University of Nottingham, having served there as Professor of New Testament Languages and Literature at the Department of Theology.
> Craig Alan Evans is an evangelical New Testament scholar and author.
> Rev. Thomas P. Rausch, S.J., Ph.D., ... enough said there.

A majority of these sources are people who have a vested interest in it being true. That's not how sources should work. It's essentially Christians saying that their religion is true.

"Don't worry, a major part of our religion is completely true. Evidence? We said it is."

Why can't we find any writings from non-religous people from when he was supposedly alive.
 
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NT1440

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I've been reading a bit on this lately and I've downloaded (but not yet watched) "Caesar's Messiah".

Basically it boils down to that the religion itself may have been a clever tactic of control, in the same way that globalization is simply a means to imbed capitalism into the geopolitical order of the day.

http://uk.prweb.com/releases/2013/10/prweb11201273.htm

Very interesting theory, with some compelling evidence, but further reading is needed on my part to really decide.
 

jrswizzle

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(Continued to ensure we don't delve too far off topic in the other thread)



The problem comes when you look at the sources.

> Craig L Bloomberg is a scholar of the New Testament. He has a bias, as he already goes in believing that Jesus existed. He wants it to be so, as he is Christian. He also works at a religious school and believes in the complete historical accuracy of the bible.
> John Dominic Cross is another New Testament scholar. He was formerly a Catholic priest.
> John P. Meier is a priest and a biblical scholar
> Bart D. Ehrman is a New Testament Scholar

Two sources talk about Jospheus, who would have had no ability to know what he wrote about.

>Mark Allan Powell (Ph.D Union Theological Seminary) is the Robert and Phyllis Leatherman Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. He is editor of the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary.
> Maurice Casey is Emeritus Professor at the University of Nottingham, having served there as Professor of New Testament Languages and Literature at the Department of Theology.
> Craig Alan Evans is an evangelical New Testament scholar and author.
> Rev. Thomas P. Rausch, S.J., Ph.D., ... enough said there.

A majority of these sources are people who have a vested interest in it being true. That's not how sources should work. It's essentially Christians saying that their religion is true.

"Don't worry, a major part of our religion is completely true. Evidence? We said it is."

Why can't we find any writings from non-Christians from when he was supposedly alive.
Probably for the same reason its hard to find any paper that old.....

What are you saying about Josephus - that he has no idea what he was writing about? Or that those who talk about his stuff today don't know.

There's also a Roman senator who, admittedly was born after Jesus lived, talks about the sentencing to death of a man named Jesus by Pontious Pilate in his own historical writings. He doesn't paint Christians in any positive light either - simply a senator who was a history buff.
 

Michael Goff

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Probably for the same reason its hard to find any paper that old.....

What are you saying about Josephus - that he has no idea what he was writing about? Or that those who talk about his stuff today don't know.

There's also a Roman senator who, admittedly was born after Jesus lived, talks about the sentencing to death of a man named Jesus by Pontious Pilate in his own historical writings. He doesn't paint Christians in any positive light either - simply a senator who was a history buff.
So we have a bunch of historical records from people who weren't around when all of this supposedly happened. And you consider that to be good evidence? And I say Jesphus wouldn't know what he's talking about because he wasn't alive at the time.
 

iMacFarlane

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Probably for the same reason its hard to find any paper that old......
Well, no. The reason you don't find any paper that old is because it hadn't been invented yet. Paper was invented in China in between the 1st and 2nd century.

But that can't be your point . . . that we don't have access to direct information of the era because they had nothing to write on, correct? They wrote on papyrus scrolls, or etched cuniform in clay tablets, engraved hieroglyphics in stone, etc. . .

The Rosetta stone is hella old, and we can still read what those people wrote thousands of years ago today. Paper need not apply.
 

jrswizzle

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Well, no. The reason you don't find any paper that old is because it hadn't been invented yet. Paper was invented in China in between the 1st and 2nd century.

But that can't be your point . . . that we don't have access to direct information of the era because they had nothing to write on, correct? They wrote on papyrus scrolls, or etched cuniform in clay tablets, engraved hieroglyphics in stone, etc. . .

The Rosetta stone is hella old, and we can still read what those people wrote thousands of years ago today. Paper need not apply.
The medium was not the point at all.....
 

jrswizzle

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So we have a bunch of historical records from people who weren't around when all of this supposedly happened. And you consider that to be good evidence? And I say Jesphus wouldn't know what he's talking about because he wasn't alive at the time.
So one has to be alive at the time something happened to be able to be trusted with recounting a historical fact?

If I wrote down that Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed while President - and someone from the future found that and read it, would it not be true? Sure - you may question the validity. But I wouldn't have any motive to write something like that if it weren't true.

Similarly, secular historians like Josephus and Tacitus (the Roman senator I mentioned) wouldn't have any agenda to lie about Jesus being executed by the Romans - especially since there's nothing special about the execution itself religiously. It's the Resurrection that counts.

Other writings from men like Tacitus show he had no particular soft spot for Christians. As a Roman senator, I would think he'd stay away from furthering some religious "myth" if that were truly the case.

There were all kinds of reasons why manuscripts and writings could have been lost. Rome was sacked and burned to the ground, Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. All the wars that have happened in that part of the world since then?

Anyhow - I have no reason to argue this with you given my belief that Jesus existed comes from the Biblical account, which I believe is true because of my Christian faith. You are free to come to your own conclusions.
 

Vetvito

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Everything you see today about the bible is revised editions of revised editions. All from people with their own agenda that voted on what should and shouldn't be included.
 

Michael Goff

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So one has to be alive at the time something happened to be able to be trusted with recounting a historical fact?

If I wrote down that Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed while President - and someone from the future found that and read it, would it not be true? Sure - you may question the validity. But I wouldn't have any motive to write something like that if it weren't true.

Similarly, secular historians like Josephus and Tacitus (the Roman senator I mentioned) wouldn't have any agenda to lie about Jesus being executed by the Romans - especially since there's nothing special about the execution itself religiously. It's the Resurrection that counts.

Other writings from men like Tacitus show he had no particular soft spot for Christians. As a Roman senator, I would think he'd stay away from furthering some religious "myth" if that were truly the case.

There were all kinds of reasons why manuscripts and writings could have been lost. Rome was sacked and burned to the ground, Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. All the wars that have happened in that part of the world since then?

Anyhow - I have no reason to argue this with you given my belief that Jesus existed comes from the Biblical account, which I believe is true because of my Christian faith. You are free to come to your own conclusions.
There is historical evidence, from the time that Lincoln was shot, that he was shot. And by that, I mean the day after, and likely some the day it happened. That isn't even a fair comparison.
 

jrswizzle

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There is historical evidence, from the time that Lincoln was shot, that he was shot. And by that, I mean the day after, and likely some the day it happened. That isn't even a fair comparison.

What it was all destroyed by the time my account was found and read? Does that mean I'm lying?

Is it possible accounts did exist (people, writings) and they simply haven't survived this long?

My point - because these guys wouldn't have any reason to lie (and in Tacitus' instance would likely prefer to stay away from it), it makes sense they aren't lying.
 

jkcerda

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(Continued to ensure we don't delve too far off topic in the other thread)



The problem comes when you look at the sources.

> Craig L Bloomberg is a scholar of the New Testament. He has a bias, as he already goes in believing that Jesus existed. He wants it to be so, as he is Christian. He also works at a religious school and believes in the complete historical accuracy of the bible.
> John Dominic Cross is another New Testament scholar. He was formerly a Catholic priest.
> John P. Meier is a priest and a biblical scholar
> Bart D. Ehrman is a New Testament Scholar

Two sources talk about Jospheus, who would have had no ability to know what he wrote about.

>Mark Allan Powell (Ph.D Union Theological Seminary) is the Robert and Phyllis Leatherman Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. He is editor of the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary.
> Maurice Casey is Emeritus Professor at the University of Nottingham, having served there as Professor of New Testament Languages and Literature at the Department of Theology.
> Craig Alan Evans is an evangelical New Testament scholar and author.
> Rev. Thomas P. Rausch, S.J., Ph.D., ... enough said there.

A majority of these sources are people who have a vested interest in it being true. That's not how sources should work. It's essentially Christians saying that their religion is true.

"Don't worry, a major part of our religion is completely true. Evidence? We said it is."

Why can't we find any writings from non-Christians from when he was supposedly alive.
what difference will it make IF Jesus existed? will atheist convert? Muslims?
 

localoid

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There is historical evidence, from the time that Lincoln was shot, that he was shot. And by that, I mean the day after, and likely some the day it happened. That isn't even a fair comparison.
Since President Andrew Johnson ordered the formation of a military commission to try the accused conspirators there are voluminous trial transcripts that documented evidence, testimony, etc.
 

chown33

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My point - because these guys wouldn't have any reason to lie (and in Tacitus' instance would likely prefer to stay away from it), it makes sense they aren't lying.
Those guys don't have to be lying to be incorrect. Just because someone isn't lying (intentionally deceiving) doesn't mean they're correct. They could be passing along unreliable rumors, which aren't substantiated. They could have read it in another source, presumed it reliable, but that source got it from an unsubstantiated story.

There's a whole lot of reasons someone can be wrong that don't require them to be lying.
 

Michael Goff

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What it was all destroyed by the time my account was found and read? Does that mean I'm lying?

Is it possible accounts did exist (people, writings) and they simply haven't survived this long?

My point - because these guys wouldn't have any reason to lie (and in Tacitus' instance would likely prefer to stay away from it), it makes sense they aren't lying.
Considering the records from further back exist, I am doubting that they just mysteriously disappeared.

what difference will it make IF Jesus existed? will atheist convert? Muslims?
It makes all the difference in the world. If Jesus can be proven to have not existed, that negates a large portion of a belief system.

Since President Andrew Johnson ordered the formation of a military commission to try the accused conspirators there are voluminous trial transcripts that documented evidence, testimony, etc.
Yep. But apparently it is just like claiming a guy with no recorded history from before recorded history was alive. Something with good evidence is the same as something without it.
 

Sydde

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Are we delving into this because there will be a total eclipse of the Easter Moon? And because Easter will be on Adolf Hitler's birthday?
 

citizenzen

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Those guys don't have to be lying to be incorrect. Just because someone isn't lying (intentionally deceiving) doesn't mean they're correct. They could be passing along unreliable rumors, which aren't substantiated. They could have read it in another source, presumed it reliable, but that source got it from an unsubstantiated story.

There's a whole lot of reasons someone can be wrong that don't require them to be lying.
This reflects my own thoughts as I was reading the thread.

It makes all the difference in the world. If Jesus can be proven to have not existed, that negates a large portion of a belief system.
That would be a difficult thing to prove.
 

chown33

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It makes all the difference in the world. If Jesus can be proven to have not existed, that negates a large portion of a belief system.
An interesting hypothesis, but I don't think it necessarily works that way.

First, we have to consider what constitutes proof. Or, if you will, "proof", because it's the subjective interpretation of proof that counts here. I think the the Prove that god exists thread is an existence proof (!) that what constitutes proof can and does vary. If there's no agreement on what constitutes adequate proof, then there's literally no way to prove anything.

Second, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It may be a strong indicator, but it's nevertheless not evidence of absence.

Third, even when there is reliable evidence of the existence of a person (say, Joseph Smith or Bahá'u'lláh), this doesn't always lead to conclusive evidence that what they are saying is provable, deniable, arguable, or lies at any particular point in the spectrum from incontrovertible proof to utter malarkey. That is, a person can exist without being divine, or even a messenger of the divine, and even in light of the acts making up one's life, one's status as a messenger of the divine can all too easily be questioned. If this weren't so, there wouldn't be as many different and divergent faiths as there are.

So basically, nice premise, but in practice, I don't think it will work.
 

alent1234

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So we have a bunch of historical records from people who weren't around when all of this supposedly happened. And you consider that to be good evidence? And I say Jesphus wouldn't know what he's talking about because he wasn't alive at the time.

the romans executing a somewhat rich Jewish carpenter named Joshua with guilty feelings about his money was hardly news for most people.

----------

Considering the records from further back exist, I am doubting that they just mysteriously disappeared.



It makes all the difference in the world. If Jesus can be proven to have not existed, that negates a large portion of a belief system.



Yep. But apparently it is just like claiming a guy with no recorded history from before recorded history was alive. Something with good evidence is the same as something without it.
a lot of them were destroyed, partly by infighting within Christianity. even today you take 10 Christians from around the world and chances are they will have vastly different beliefs about a lot of things
 

Michael Goff

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This reflects my own thoughts as I was reading the thread.



That would be a difficult thing to prove.
But it'd be worth it.

An interesting hypothesis, but I don't think it necessarily works that way.

First, we have to consider what constitutes proof. Or, if you will, "proof", because it's the subjective interpretation of proof that counts here. I think the the Prove that god exists thread is an existence proof (!) that what constitutes proof can and does vary. If there's no agreement on what constitutes adequate proof, then there's literally no way to prove anything.

Second, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It may be a strong indicator, but it's nevertheless not evidence of absence.

Third, even when there is reliable evidence of the existence of a person (say, Joseph Smith or Bahá'u'lláh), this doesn't always lead to conclusive evidence that what they are saying is provable, deniable, arguable, or lies at any particular point in the spectrum from incontrovertible proof to utter malarkey. That is, a person can exist without being divine, or even a messenger of the divine, and even in light of the acts making up one's life, one's status as a messenger of the divine can all too easily be questioned. If this weren't so, there wouldn't be as many different and divergent faiths as there are.

So basically, nice premise, but in practice, I don't think it will work.
Well, yes, proving his existence wouldn't prove he was divine. And yes, concrete proof would be incredibly hard. It is rather difficult to prove somebody didn't exist, beyond saying there's no good evidence to support it. I would honestly like to say, though, that given 100% evidence one way or the other, though, that we could make some headway. I truly believe that the average person is smarter than assumed.

Jesus is mentioned several times in the Quran, does that count?
I'm looking for a non-religious text, so u=unfortunately no.

the romans executing a somewhat rich Jewish carpenter named Joshua with guilty feelings about his money was hardly news for most people.

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a lot of them were destroyed, partly by infighting within Christianity. even today you take 10 Christians from around the world and chances are they will have vastly different beliefs about a lot of things
Convenient.
 

Michael Goff

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Ah yes - you had said "non-Christian" at first. Didn't realize you were gonna move the goalposts on us.
My mistake, I used poor wording. I had meant non-religious the entire time, but I had actually forgotten that he was in any other religious text. Or we can assume I'm moving some sort of goalpost. Whatever helps you sleep at night.
 

Huntn

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Everything you see today about the bible is revised editions of revised editions. All from people with their own agenda that voted on what should and shouldn't be included.
Like the Gospel of Judas?

Additionally there is no way to verify the authenticity of the original scripts. And I'm not talking about if they were written a long time ago, I'm referring to their truth as historical documents. As in, do you believe everything in print? ;)
 

jkcerda

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Additionally there is no way to verify the authenticity of the original scripts. And I'm not talking about if they were written a long time ago, I'm referring to their truth as historical documents. As in, do you believe everything in print? ;)
what are you talking about? was the bible not autographed by Jesus?:confused::confused:

-----------hope I am not hijacking this thread-----
discussion in another forum brought up an interesting point, what if Satan created/hijacked/changed the bible in order to control the masses? keep enough of the original message in it with a ton of control for the pious?
 

Huntn

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what are you talking about? was the bible not autographed by Jesus?:confused::confused:

-----------hope I am not hijacking this thread-----
discussion in another forum brought up an interesting point, what if Satan created/hijacked/changed the bible in order to control the masses? keep enough of the original message in it with a ton of control for the pious?
The one in the Vatican's vault with the postmortem signature? :p

Would God have allowed Satan to do this? That is one of the things about the Devil and Demons, they seem to operate at the leave of God so their actions are approved.