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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Other Topics  |  Off Topic Discussion  |  Special Poll for Easter - WHO WAS JESUS OF NAZARETH? « previous next »
Poll
Question: Who or what do you think Jesus of Nazareth was?  (Voting closed: May 07, 2012, 03:39:23 PM)
The Son of God - 10 (43.5%)
A First Century Jewish Mystic - 1 (4.3%)
A Lunatic - 0 (0%)
A Prophet - 0 (0%)
Mainly a Myth - 6 (26.1%)
A First Century Political Revolutionary - 6 (26.1%)
A Misunderstood Rabbi - 0 (0%)
Total Voters: 20

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Author Topic: Special Poll for Easter - WHO WAS JESUS OF NAZARETH?  (Read 3596 times)
Mofo Rising
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« Reply #60 on: April 13, 2012, 03:40:14 AM »


About the only thing I truly agree with you on is that neither of us is any more justified in either accepting or rejecting the gospels, or any degree in between, than the other. But I would say that there is both evidence for and against the veracity of the gospels, and too many holes to know the true story. Therefore, I am driven by reason to not accepting them based on a simple rule of not accepting extraordinary claims without extraordinary proof. I don't truly reject them outright either, I simply reject the interpretations and distortions of them by human beings and their emotional limitations.


All fair.

Regarding the emphasized part, however, what if "proof" as you define it cannot exist?

Suppose for a moment that the Gospels are true as written, including the claims of the divinity of Jesus.  Could there be PROOF of this?  Doesn't such proof transcend the testable Laws of the Physical Universe as we know them?

I admire (and agree with) your adherence to the physical laws.  But, they MAY be limiting.  That is, our understanding, our inherent ability to understand, the kind of "proof" needed to "prove" the existence of God the Son may simply not exist.

In this model, are you not preordaining the negative "proof" by demanding such proof fits OUR current models of the physical and historical universe as WE can describe them?

For my part:

I cannot prove the extraordinary claims, but I see no reason to reject them on that basis alone.  Proof is not something I require.  I cannot prove love exists, but I now that I feel something toward my wife and children that is different from what I feel toward other humans.  I cannot prove you perceive "blue" the same way I do, but we can agree that that thing over is "blue."  I cannot prove the sun will come up tomorrow.

I see miracles every day.  Perhaps that's just my interpretation, but I do see things every day that I cannot explain in a "proof" sense.

In fact, even with a very, very deep understanding of the Physical Laws of the Universe and the language of mathematics, I find the very existence of life itself to be quite a miracle.

Much of this discussion involves the accusation of putting the cart before the horse. Those who claim the historical veracity of Jesus claim that the opposition a priori negate the existence of miracles/"extraordinary claims" to justify their views. Those who doubt the veracity claims say pretty much the same thing, but the roles are reversed.

I agree with Flick James here in doubting the veracity of the historical record. 2000 years is an awful long time for any history to remain unscathed; I could have a reasonably good argument about what I had for dinner two weeks ago with anybody who cared enough to think different. All this talk of statistics, or of things taking time to become canon, ignore the mercurial ways of human thought and belief. Humans are not as predictable as most natural phenomenon. Defining where an electron is at any given time would be easier than discovering what one person perceived on any given day.

ulthar brought up this very point in his discussion. Human belief lies in the realms of the subjective. If you need "objective" proof for something such as Love (with a capital L), you are going to live a very sad life. And yet the entire modern world is still built on the things that can be proved objectively, at least as far as we know them. The entirety of human thought is the flowering of our hideously complex thought processes which, as far as anybody can guess, are still built on our bodies and brains being subject to physical law.

More importantly, if the belief in Jesus is subject to laws that transcend our current knowledge, why are we wasting all our time discussing the historical Jesus? The tail end of that train of thought involves the rejection of proof in favor of Faith (with a capital F). If that's the case, then the primacy of Christianity is also called into question, as there are billions of people who follow belief systems that require the same "proof," but are drastically different in their particulars.

If you want to believe something, you will go to extraordinary lengths to prove that belief to yourself and to others. Everybody does that. I'm doing it right now. Even in this example, while I am agreeing with Flick James' arguments, I disagree with his ultimate aims. He is a self-proclaimed deist, where I even reject that belief.

I guess what I'm trying and failing to say is that the history of human thought is a life of its own. The ascent of Christianity in the Western world is a supremely important event, as is the ascendance of Islam in the Middle East. I view both as kluge. Not true, but important to anybody who wants to understand people and this history of this planet.
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« Reply #61 on: April 13, 2012, 06:21:55 AM »

A salient point.  I have always said that reason, intellect, history, and archeology can take you on a journey towards faith, but in the end, belief still hinges on faith at some point.

St. Augustine nailed it:  "Unless you believe, you cannot understand."
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« Reply #62 on: April 13, 2012, 09:10:16 AM »

Quote
If you want to believe something, you will go to extraordinary lengths to prove that belief to yourself and to others. Everybody does that. I'm doing it right now. Even in this example, while I am agreeing with Flick James' arguments, I disagree with his ultimate aims. He is a self-proclaimed deist, where I even reject that belief.

But you agree with my arguments. Good enough for me.  Cheers
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« Reply #63 on: April 13, 2012, 01:01:23 PM »

When it comes to whether or not Jesus rose from the dead, is the son of God, or if the Bible is the word of God, I think of the blip that Christianity is in the scheme of human history. Yes, Jesus carries a significant weight in the development of Western societies for 2000 years. Judaism has carried this weight for the bulk of written history. And then there is archelogical record that predates recorded history. The Gobekli Tepe temple discovered in Turkey predates all of it, and is one of the most intriguing archeological finds of all time. It is dated at almost 12,000 years old, and represents a religious temple and capability that far exceed what would have been though possible for such a hunter-gatherer society. And that is only the top of it, with only about 5% having been uncovered. It is estimated to take another 50 years before the entire thing is uncovered. To imagine that human at that time were able to erect something like that is staggering.

If Christianity is the one true faith, and Judaism as it's precedent, then what of Gobekli Tepe? What religious belief does it represent? What was behind it's building?

This clearly shows religious thought being older than anybody 100 years ago would have imagined. Whether there is a God intervening in our affairs or not, or if religion was an invention of the human mind for contemplation of the mysteries of nature, I find the topic fascinating. I hear the notion that the historical weight of Christianity should tell me something, as if it is a justification of the veracity of Biblical narratives or that it must be at least related to the work of God. The historical significance of Christianity cannot be denied, but when I put it up against the whole of historical and pre-historical record, there is way more to consider than Christianity and Judaism.
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« Reply #64 on: April 13, 2012, 05:54:03 PM »

I think that God predates all of us, and has been revealing Himself to mankind throughout the ages . . . Hebrews 1:1 kinda sums that up for me.
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« Reply #65 on: April 13, 2012, 05:57:28 PM »

I think that God predates all of us, and has been revealing Himself to mankind throughout the ages . . . Hebrews 1:1 kinda sums that up for me.

I couldn't agree more.
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« Reply #66 on: April 13, 2012, 08:57:23 PM »

There isn't a board anywhere else that would have this kind of discussion happen with such geniality.

Sorry for the smarminess, guys, but I have to say it makes me smile.  Thank you for that after a long day at work.

Just speaking for myself, my work is one of the strongest builders of my faith.   I look at the human body closely and in a lot of detail, daily, in sickness and in health.  The complexity and grandeur of what we have been made to be... it's beyond anything that could have happened by anything less than great design.  We are a master creation from someone who is incomprehensible in his skill at creation.  There is nothing that can shake that belief in me, even if I do have my moments of doubt (as all believers do).

We have our flaws, and we aren't made to last forever, but the human body is the greatest of all engineering.  I have the privilege of focusing on it each day as my career.  I rely, daily, on how the body repairs itself.  Sometimes I can help encourage processes to take a better course, sometimes not.   But what really surprises me is the strength of disbelief it takes to closely examine us and then to reject a creator.   Of all of general revelation, we are what move me the most.
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« Reply #67 on: April 14, 2012, 11:43:56 PM »


I could have a reasonably good argument about what I had for dinner two weeks ago with anybody who cared enough to think different.


Okay, I know you can see the problem with the equation of this and the Gospels.

First of all, they were recorded eyewitness testimony (at least according to the claims, which we have not alternate evidence).  This would be like saying that I saw you eat a hamburger, and someone saying "no you did not."  How can we, 2000 years ago, say what Mark did or did not see?  Or Luke?  Etc.

We can question that he saw it, and we can question that he saw what he recorded.  But again, we are no more justified in denying than accepting it.

Secondly, there is a BIG difference between remembering or recording the mundane, such as what I had for dinner, and recording big events like the Gospel stories.  This alone does not make the true, but it does remove this type of rebuttal from the equation.

You are not likely to remember what you had for dinner two weeks ago, but you ARE likely to remember that you were very nearly in a traffic collision or a family member called saying they were terminally ill...or that a friend was executed by crucifixion on a cross. 

One might also more faithfully remember that he saw a dead friend appear, with witnesses, in a room, or an "enemy" appear after death on a road than one might remember a mundane event like an ordinary dinner.

I'm not trying to convince anyone that the resurrection story is true, but that the accounting of it is at least faithful.  I don't know what Mark or Luke actually saw, but again, what we have is what we have.
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« Reply #68 on: April 15, 2012, 12:08:22 AM »

I will say this - the four Biblical gospels are the earliest and most detailed accounts of the life of Jesus. 
All the other stuff comes later.  So if someone claims they are not historically accurate, or authentic, or
whatever, then no historically accurate, authentic records exist.
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« Reply #69 on: April 15, 2012, 02:37:57 AM »


I could have a reasonably good argument about what I had for dinner two weeks ago with anybody who cared enough to think different.


Okay, I know you can see the problem with the equation of this and the Gospels.

First of all, they were recorded eyewitness testimony (at least according to the claims, which we have not alternate evidence).  This would be like saying that I saw you eat a hamburger, and someone saying "no you did not."  How can we, 2000 years ago, say what Mark did or did not see?  Or Luke?  Etc.

We can question that he saw it, and we can question that he saw what he recorded.  But again, we are no more justified in denying than accepting it.

Secondly, there is a BIG difference between remembering or recording the mundane, such as what I had for dinner, and recording big events like the Gospel stories.  This alone does not make the true, but it does remove this type of rebuttal from the equation.

You are not likely to remember what you had for dinner two weeks ago, but you ARE likely to remember that you were very nearly in a traffic collision or a family member called saying they were terminally ill...or that a friend was executed by crucifixion on a cross.  

One might also more faithfully remember that he saw a dead friend appear, with witnesses, in a room, or an "enemy" appear after death on a road than one might remember a mundane event like an ordinary dinner.

I'm not trying to convince anyone that the resurrection story is true, but that the accounting of it is at least faithful.  I don't know what Mark or Luke actually saw, but again, what we have is what we have.

Sure. That's a valid point. I've never had a dead person resurrected in front of me. If that ever happened, I'm sure I'd remember it more than the meatloaf I ate two weeks ago.

But then again I've never had to stump for oral histories two millenia old.

My more important point was the inconsistency of human memory and two millenia of time.

We are "no more justified in denying in accepting it"? Really? How many people do you know that have come back from the dead? Not kind of dead, fully dead.

People confabulate, and time is the greatest impetus of myth creation.

You are providing special importance to this one point of human history. Granted, that's a big part of accepting the reality of a religion, but for those who don't share the same belief it is a rather large pill to swallow.

We have our flaws, and we aren't made to last forever, but the human body is the greatest of all engineering.  I have the privilege of focusing on it each day as my career.  I rely, daily, on how the body repairs itself.  Sometimes I can help encourage processes to take a better course, sometimes not.   But what really surprises me is the strength of disbelief it takes to closely examine us and then to reject a creator.   Of all of general revelation, we are what move me the most.

Or the strength of belief it takes to look at the same thing and validate a creator. That conclusion is not a given. I've got my good things and you've got yours.

All I usually ask is to at least attempt to countenance the idea that you may be wrong. Give it a go.
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« Reply #70 on: April 15, 2012, 01:21:08 PM »

"oral histories two millenia old" is not an accurate description.
"Written records 2000 years old" is more to the point.

Granted, we don't have the original copies, but compared to other works of similar antiquity, the abundance of New Testament manuscripts, and the gap of time that separates these copies from the originals, is negligible.  Just to give one example: No scholar disputes that the text we have of Julius Caesar's COMMENTARIES ON THE GALLIC WARS is intact and accurately transmitted and copied.  Yet this narrative, which was composed in the 50's BC, is known to us from about a dozen or so copies, the oldest of which postdates the composition of the original by over 1,000 years.  On the other hand, we have two COMPLETE texts of the NT (Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus) that date to about 300 years after composition of the original, and copies and fragments of individual books, verses, and passages that go back (in several cases) within less than a century of the original composition.  Textual analysis (which is actually a pretty hard science, attempting to establish original wording by analyzing later copies) says that the New Testament text has been passed down with a textual purity in excess of 98%.  While you can (and many do) dispute whether are not the events recorded in the New Testament actually happened, the idea that the text itself has been corrupted and garbled over the centuries is 98% or more untrue (my book on textual analysis is out on loan, but the actual figure may be more like 99.2% - I'm erring on the side of caution).

  We've all played or heard of the game "Telephone," where you put 20 people in a circle and whisper something in the first person's ear, and he whispers it to the person next to them, until it makes the full circle.  Then the last person stands and says out loud what he was told, and the originator of the phrase says what it was to begin with - and the last version is hopelessly garbled.  People want to say the Scriptures were like that.  But the Scriptures are more like a written note that was passed around the circle, and then copied by each person that received it.  The amount of error is far, far less, and more likely to be minor things like spelling and syntax rather than actual meaning.  Now some would say the oral transmission of the Gospels before they were written down is like "telephone," and that the "embellishment" of the narratives of Jesus occurred during that time.  However, just as in the game, at the end, the originator of the phrase is there to explain what he said to the first person, at the time the three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) were written, most of the original apostles were still alive and could confirm the facts that were being recorded.

  So in the final analysis, the question is: Did these men, who personally knew and were instructed by Jesus of Nazareth, tell the truth?  I believe they did.  And that belief is at the heart of my faith.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2012, 03:45:27 PM by indianasmith » Logged

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« Reply #71 on: April 15, 2012, 03:11:45 PM »


All I usually ask is to at least attempt to countenance the idea that you may be wrong. Give it a go.


I usually try to keep my part in these discussions "intellectual" (for lack of a better word), but will stray into personal territory here for just a moment.

I have given that a go.  In fact, I do all the time.  I seem to spend a great deal of time merely moving from one 'crisis of Faith' to another.

I self-identified as an atheist for many years.  I did believe in "something" but not God - a God or any God that I could not see and touch.  I put ontology ahead of everything else in my life.

While considerably less dramatic, you could say that I my "Paul on the road to Damascus" moment.  Well, it would better be described as a series of them, and they continue to today.

I once thought I "knew" faith was a waste of time and effort.  As I opened my mind, a very painful process I assure you, I realized a deeper truth was all around me.  I began to see things that I had never noticed before.  These were not "events" such as turning water into wine, but rather very open, very clear failures of ontology and "the story" it told.

What was I left with then?  All of these failures of the "here and now" (let's call it) fit with the Biblical story - the ENTIRETY of that story, what one might call "the main theme" that ties the whole book together - in a profound way.

I cannot deny I continue to have questions.  That's part of the process.  No one "knows" any of the answers on this stuff.  But I can say with 100% honesty that my faith has put me on a path of higher understanding of the universe around me (and my place in it) than I EVER had before.  Giving up myself to a higher path (again, a continual process) has led to this.

I am grossly simplifying, and I hope you understand that.  My faith is not one of dogmatic acceptance, but one of continual challenge - the challenge for ME to grow and to understand.

So to your comment, I have given considering that I am wrong a go, and would merely respectfully ask that you do so as well.
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« Reply #72 on: April 16, 2012, 01:15:33 AM »


All I usually ask is to at least attempt to countenance the idea that you may be wrong. Give it a go.

So to your comment, I have given considering that I am wrong a go, and would merely respectfully ask that you do so as well.

Oh, I do. Absolutely.

This is a direct response to ulthar, but I mean it to all who contribute. While it is a bit much to ask me to respect your beliefs, I respect everybody's path to those beliefs. I do not discount anything, I value every input. I disagree, and in something as highly loaded as religious belief, that's not always a comfortable place to be. But to all who contribute, I respect that you believe what you do and how you got there.

I'm not aiming the idea that "you might be wrong" at anybody in particular, I'm aiming it at everybody, including myself. I make a special effort to see everybody's point of view.

So I disagree and am vocal about it. I'm flippant by nature, but understand that I value the argument. I may attack your arguments, but I still respect you (whoever you are) as a human being.
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« Reply #73 on: April 16, 2012, 06:35:54 PM »

I will say this - the four Biblical gospels are the earliest and most detailed accounts of the life of Jesus. 
All the other stuff comes later.  So if someone claims they are not historically accurate, or authentic, or
whatever, then no historically accurate, authentic records exist.

That's been my point all along.
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« Reply #74 on: April 16, 2012, 06:41:14 PM »

ulthar,

After careful consideration, I do believe that you may actually be more argumentative than I, and this is no small feat. If there were an award I was aware of I would give it to you.
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