Jesus myth
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29-01-2014, 05:50 PM
RE: Jesus myth
Former...
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29-01-2014, 05:52 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(29-01-2014 05:50 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  Former...
Okay so ... Testimonium Flavium? What's your stand, total or partial interpolation?

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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29-01-2014, 05:58 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(29-01-2014 05:47 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  
(29-01-2014 05:46 PM)WillHopp Wrote:  I think I'm gonna cry.

Screw you.

Smile

I was only joking, though I really was happy to see you two settle this.

Check out my now-defunct atheism blog. It's just a blog, no ads, no revenue, no gods.
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Atheism promotes critical thinking; theism promotes hypocritical thinking. -- Me
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29-01-2014, 06:29 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(29-01-2014 05:25 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  Free: I reread the thread and I think we both owe each other an apology. We each clearly got frustrated early on (I still contend you did not understand the points I was making and responded with strong answers to questions I did not ask. And I can see why you were frustrated with my refusal to see your points -- but it's because the points you made were missing the questions I was asking). You did get condescending, I did get defensive, and we talked past each other instead of to each other. I'm sorry.

I do not agree with your conclusion on the value of the line in Tacitus. While I agree that the line contributes to historicity when added to other pieces of evidence, I do not believe the addition of that line to other pieces of evidence is warranted. Josephus is better for that purpose.

Brownshirt: Appeal to the majority and appeal to authority would have led me from my cults to mainstream Christianity. I continue to believe that a historic Jesus offers a better explanation for the rise of Christianity than a completely mythic one. But I reach that conclusion at this stage in my research on the subject, still open to evidence and arguments from both sides, because that's what skeptics do. The motto of this site is "Assume nothing; Question everything," is it not?

TwoCult,
I'm curious. You seem very intelligent and well read. What 2 cults are you a survivor of? How did you get sucked in and how did you escape? It's OK if you dont want to reply.

Doc
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29-01-2014, 06:50 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(29-01-2014 05:25 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  Free: I reread the thread and I think we both owe each other an apology. We each clearly got frustrated early on (I still contend you did not understand the points I was making and responded with strong answers to questions I did not ask. And I can see why you were frustrated with my refusal to see your points -- but it's because the points you made were missing the questions I was asking). You did get condescending, I did get defensive, and we talked past each other instead of to each other. I'm sorry.

I do not agree with your conclusion on the value of the line in Tacitus. While I agree that the line contributes to historicity when added to other pieces of evidence, I do not believe the addition of that line to other pieces of evidence is warranted. Josephus is better for that purpose.

Brownshirt: Appeal to the majority and appeal to authority would have led me from my cults to mainstream Christianity. I continue to believe that a historic Jesus offers a better explanation for the rise of Christianity than a completely mythic one. But I reach that conclusion at this stage in my research on the subject, still open to evidence and arguments from both sides, because that's what skeptics do. The motto of this site is "Assume nothing; Question everything," is it not?

I don't see an issue with appealing to the majority if the population you're referencing are the experts on a subject. On that basis you could claim that evolution is not correct as it also is an appeal to the majority. If renders anything an appeal to the majority, which I personally would find a futile view to espouse.

I'm fairly sure that most Christians hold the myth of Jesus as history, all I'm saying is Jesus the man more likely than not existed based on the evidence we have at hand. I find the claims of the lack of primary sources to disprove Jesus, for example, a tenuous claim. It seems to promote that literacy and publishing methods were akin to the modern world, therefore, the lack of this type of evidence disproves Jesus.

I'm not a sceptic at all, so the motto of this site is not my motto. If you assume nothing, then you will know nothing apart from tautologies or possibly how you experienced something. I must admit I find scepticism to be a very peculiar philosophy. By the constant suspension of knowing any truth, you render knowing truth unobtainable. Which I find to be the statement of, you cannot know truth, and as a statement about truth, it's a contradiction.
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29-01-2014, 08:38 PM (This post was last modified: 29-01-2014 09:17 PM by TwoCultSurvivor.)
RE: Jesus myth
Brownshirt: I don't want you to think I'm ignoring you, but it's bedtime and my kids are just too adorable. Talk to you tomorrow.

Doc: my family were Jehovah's Witnesses when I grew up. That ended when my parents divorced. I was in my late teens when I was attracted to The Way International. That's a longer story. I left a short time after I joined, but remained involved with a splinter group for the better part of a decade. Then I started in regular churches before deciding I was agnostic about a year and a half ago.
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...g-the-Dark
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid331242
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29-01-2014, 09:14 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(29-01-2014 08:38 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  Brownshirt: I don't want you to think I'm ignoring you, but it's bedtime and my kids are just too adorable. Talk to you tomorrow.

Doc: my family were Jehovah's Witnesses when I grew up. That ended when my parents divorced. I was in my late teens when I was attracted to The Way International. That's a longer story. I left a short time after I joined, but remained involved with a splinter group for the better part of a decade. Then I started in regular churches before deciding I was agnostic about a year and a half ago.
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...g-the-Dark

What!!? Your kids are more important than responding to a random on the net? Crazy.
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30-01-2014, 12:05 PM (This post was last modified: 30-01-2014 01:07 PM by TwoCultSurvivor.)
RE: Jesus myth
Catching up on posts from last night:

Willhop: I knew you were joking. I hope it was clear that I was joking too. I don't want to screw you, nor do I think you should screw yourself. Unless, of course, you're lonely or something, in which case... don't tell us.

Free, you asked:
Quote:Okay so ... Testimonium Flavium? What's your stand, total or partial interpolation?

My stand is agnostic.

The Tacitus discussion was a debate over the historical value of the line, not its authenticity. I presumed it to be authentic and we disagree about its ramifications. Carrier believes it is not authentic and makes an interesting case (I borrowed his Hitler Homer Bible Christ book on Kindle and read the relevant chapter). But I do not know nearly enough about the debate or the quality of the evidence to reach a conclusion. Nor do I really care to all that much: establishing the authenticity of a line that (in my unlearned opinion) has so little value to the question of mythicism makes no sense. It only makes sense if the line's authenticity adds significant value to the argument. In other words, I can assume the line to be totally authentic and still maintain my position.

The question of interpolation is one of evidence, and I haven't read up enough on the evidence to make even a qualified amateur judgment, much less one that could withstand rigorous questioning. That applies equally to the Tacitus line and the TF.

You raise interesting points I had not previously considered. However, you appear to be under the impression that those who question the TF's authenticity also believe that it was an act of deliberate deception. Some of what I have read indicates that if it was an interpolation, it was not a deliberate one.

Clearly SOME of the TF is an interpolation. On that much there doesn't seem to be a whole heck of a lot of debate. But there does seem to be considerable debate over WHAT was interpolated and over whether it is ALL an interpolation. I'm probably too early in the learning process to really form a fixed opinion. My bias (because I read it first) is that it is ALL an interpolation. When I recognize a bias in terms of my position on a question, I try to overcome that bias by making concession to the other side and seeing how well it holds up. I'm still early in that process with the TF. So I can't answer your question with confidence. At first blush, conceding authenticity holds up better than I expected it to.

DocSkeptic: Did I answer your question fully enough? I left the Jehovah's Witnesses (JW's) because my parents divorced when I was 12 and I stopped going to services. This was before I was baptized, so I was never "officially" a Jehovah's Witness (you're not official until baptism). I left the Way International (TWI) because it tore itself apart in the late 1980s. I was involved with an offshoot/splinter group for a few years, got married, and left informally after I got divorced (my heart was still there, but my attendance was not).

The two cults had quite a bit in common, but could not have been more different in practice and appearance. Both rejected the Trinity, believing Jesus to be subordinate to God the Father. Both groups believed that death was the absence of consciousness, which would not be restored until the second coming of Christ. But JW's were more rigid in their adherence to rules and laws, while TWI was more relaxed, "not under the law," emphasizing the "manifestations [NOT gifts] of the spirit." I spoke in tongues a LOT.

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ht=tongues

After I stopped attending TWI offshoot meetings, I decided to attend regular evangelical churches, never really letting go of the beliefs I picked up in TWI.

The other posts I linked to describe my deconversion process.

Brownshirt: I don't think we mean the same thing when we refer to skepticism. If we did, you would never say you're not a skeptic. Skepticism is an approach, not a destination, and it DOES allow you to draw conclusions beyond accepting mere tautologies. The idea is to "assume nothing; question everything." It does not follow that you must doubt everything or deny everything. I do not doubt evolution, but I only accepted it after years of denying it. As long as I denied it, I could not advance in my knowledge. But when I questioned it, I learned it was true. It fits the evidence. It happened. It's happening now.

Appeal to authority may save time, but it remains a fallacy for good reason. When the majority of people who considered themselves astronomers and scientists accepted a geocentric model of the universe, they majority was wrong. The majority reflected the prevailing bias, not the truth. What turned the tide was not the majority opinion of the educated, but the evidence. If no one were willing to question the majority opinion, even the majority opinion of the educated experts, progress would never have been made.

Geocentrism v. heliocentrism. Creation v. evolution. It wasn't the opinions of the experts that made the difference. It was the evidence. The majority opinion of the experts changed to fit the evidence, as it should.

And that brings us back to the Jesus Myth theory. The majority opinion argues for historicism. Mythicism questions the majority opinion of the experts. And what it reveals is that the argument for historicism is not nearly as strong as historicists make it out to be. Having said that, I feel I must repeat that I still believe the historicist case is stronger than the mythicist case. And it is the historicist that has the burden of proof. That's why I bristled when Free asked me to prove certain documents existed. If the mythicist position is correct, the documents he demanded of me would not exist, which is the mythicists' point. My failure to produce them reflects a hole in the historicist position, not the mythicist!

Back on point: I do not consider myself a historicist just because the majority of scholars are historicists. The majority of scholars entered the field with an enormous bias and a built-in hostility to the mythicist position. They enter the field to prove their faith, not to challenge its basis. And while it is a tribute to their integrity that so many DO end up challenging long-cherished assumptions, the question of whether they have adequately challenged THIS assumption remains a fair one. I don't think they have. I think the reliance on appeal to authority reflects the fact that an argument based solely on the evidence would not get them as far as they would like.

Ask a biologist for the basis of his belief in evolution, and you will be greeted with a mountain of incontrovertible evidence. Ask a historicist for the basis of his belief in a historic Jesus, and you get your intelligence insulted for daring to ask the question, an appeal to authority, and scraps, tiny scraps of historic evidence that shows a lot less than I would like it to show. The gospels? Please! Not reliable in the slightest. Paul? Amazing for how much he doesn't say about a historic Jesus (and the authenticity of the things he does say gets challenged all the time by the very scholars whose opinions form the majority view on historicism. Huh?)

When I weigh the evidence on the Jesus Myth theory, I believe that its problems outweigh its valid observations. Historicism, for all its "holes," still makes better sense to me as a reason for the rise of Christianity in the first century. That's why I still count myself in the historicist camp. Does that mean I believe Jesus was executed under Pilate? Weakly. I honestly believe a "proven" answer to that question is lost to history. But the evidence we do have leans in that direction. I would love for that evidence to be stronger. I don't think Tacitus adds to it (sorry, Free. We just disagree). Josephus might. Maybe. And it looks for all the world to me that "maybe" is as close as we're going to get to an answer.

Annnnnnnnd my 15 minutes are up.
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30-01-2014, 01:59 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(29-01-2014 01:51 PM)Free Wrote:  The problem with this is that those who spent years on the study of ancient history and who utilize the proper methods to determine its authenticity; who have the education, techniques, and resources available almost unanimously agree on the genuineness of Tacitus.

If it's authenticity was discussed, I missed that part of the discussion. This seemed to me to be primarily about it's relevancy toward a historical Jesus proposition.

But, I will say again, there's a reason history is a liberal art, and not a science. It's methods are not even designed to discern objective truth. That isn't the purpose of the field of history.

Softly, softly, catchee monkey.
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30-01-2014, 02:44 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(30-01-2014 01:59 PM)toadaly Wrote:  
(29-01-2014 01:51 PM)Free Wrote:  The problem with this is that those who spent years on the study of ancient history and who utilize the proper methods to determine its authenticity; who have the education, techniques, and resources available almost unanimously agree on the genuineness of Tacitus.

If it's authenticity was discussed, I missed that part of the discussion. This seemed to me to be primarily about it's relevancy toward a historical Jesus proposition.

But, I will say again, there's a reason history is a liberal art, and not a science. It's methods are not even designed to discern objective truth. That isn't the purpose of the field of history.

That is correct, particularly in regards to ancient history. The best it can ever do is to gather up as much evidence as possible to approximate the truth as closely as possible, and then apply the argument to the best explanation, with no bias involved.

We can't do much better than that, but some hard-core skeptics seem to think that more is required because they want conclusive evidence, particularly in regards to the issue of Jesus/Christ. Their positions are deemed unreasonable in light of what can actually be done.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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