Jesus myth
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30-01-2014, 03:11 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(30-01-2014 12:05 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  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.

TwoCult,
Yes, I read your post last night and your introductory post as well. Thanks for taking the time to reply. I find other people's spiritual journeys fascinating. If we count your attendance at evangelical churches, you could be a Three(ormore)CultSurvivor.

I am somewhat familiar with both cults. I read up a lot on cults when I was with the Plymouth Brethren, pitying them without realizing that I was in one myself. Officially, of course, the PB are considered mainstream but the view from the outside is sure different from that on the inside.

Regards,

Doc
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30-01-2014, 03:51 PM
RE: Jesus myth
But I was never really "in" evangelical Christianity. I attended, even got baptized, but I disagreed on the minor, inconsequential question of "Who is God?" so I think they would rightly disown me as ever being a "member." I think they got like $50 from me over the years I went to their churches. A tip for the band.
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30-01-2014, 03:56 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(30-01-2014 03:51 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  I think they got like $50 from me over the years I went to their churches. A tip for the band.

Yeah, but how much did you claim on your tax return?

Tip - God can multiply $50/- to any amount you choose. Witness the "five loaves and two fishes" story.

Keep up the good work,

Doc
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30-01-2014, 04:11 PM
RE: Jesus myth
Jumping off from Free's post this afternoon: the problem with "argument to the best explanation" is, even if we accept historicity as the best explanation for the Tacitus line, we have to concede that it is not the only explanation (and that it is not even the only reasonable explanation). No one's demanding conclusive proof, least of all me. I am merely recognizing that we don't HAVE conclusive proof. And it is not unreasonable to recognize this simple fact.

What would be unreasonable would be for me to conclude, based on what we know of the Tacitus line, that the mythicist interpretation of that line's value is correct. THAT would be unreasonable. I think Free, when you argue that mythicists are being unreasonable in demanding conclusive evidence, you are arguing against THIS conclusion, not against the argument I'm actually making.

My position is actually neutral. I don't think the line in Tacitus reinforces either the historicist or the mythicist position. It helps the former for what it says, and it helps the latter for how it says it and what it omits. And that's it.
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30-01-2014, 04:14 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(30-01-2014 12:05 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  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.

Yes there are instances where this fallacy is used incorrectly, although science and history are different spheres and have different means for the majority to believe, or consider it to be true. However, the Jesus Myth seems to hold more appeal to atheists so they can counter theism, so there's an emotive reason behind the scepticism of Jesus as man position. Based on the evidence held (e.g. Tacitus, Josephus and that the bible was able to flourish) it seems highly likely that Jesus existed. You can be sceptical if you choose, but based on the currently available evidence it seems that he did, and this is the consensus of Historians. I've heard agnostic historians claim that anyone worth their salt as a historian believes Jesus was an historical figure. The common theories against Jesus existing often comes from atheists, e.g. Mithras or a Flavian conspiracy theory.


Quote: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?)

That's an interesting perspective, where I'm from questioning evolution would result in sneer, while questioning Jesus would not. Remember I don't believe in Jesus as the son of god, I simply believe he existed and would be surprised if any evidence would be found to confirm this beyond what we know now. If he didn't exist then, we're obviously not going to obtain any evidence.
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30-01-2014, 04:39 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(30-01-2014 04:11 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  Jumping off from Free's post this afternoon: the problem with "argument to the best explanation" is, even if we accept historicity as the best explanation for the Tacitus line, we have to concede that it is not the only explanation (and that it is not even the only reasonable explanation). No one's demanding conclusive proof, least of all me. I am merely recognizing that we don't HAVE conclusive proof. And it is not unreasonable to recognize this simple fact.

Personally, although I agree there is nothing approaching conclusive proof one way or another, it seems to me that the mythicist position has more explanatory power, and is still consistent with all the evidence. The Jesus of early Christianity, is at least 99% mythical (notional number out of a hat). We're arguing over the remaining 1%, and that 1% adds little to nothing toward understanding what was going on at that time. You just don't need a human Jesus to explain anything, nor does that presumption add much at all.

Softly, softly, catchee monkey.
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30-01-2014, 04:39 PM
RE: Jesus myth
I don't disagree with your major points, Brownshirt. I quibble with your use of the term skepticism (why are we spelling it differently, by the way?)

I am trying to distinguish between skepticism and doubt. I do not doubt that Jesus existed, but it is perfectly fair to approach the question of whether he existed with skepticism -- on both sides. I can treat the proposition "Jesus existed" with just as much skepticism as I treat the proposition "Jesus did not exist." I apply that skepticism to the evidence as warranted: does this piece of evidence prove what these folks say it proves?

Wasn't there someone who recently claimed he found proof that Jesus never existed? I remember reading about it recently, and not being convinced by his argument. Forgive me for not remembering the details, but others here may remember exactly who/what I'm talking about, and I'm sure it was brought up early in this thread. The point is, I approached his argument skeptically: not because I did or did not agree with it, but because that is the best way to approach claims. When a claim survives a skeptical analysis, you can place greater confidence in it.

Skepticism is not cynicism. It is not stubborn denial. It is a healthy way to approach evidence. I fear that you are missing parts of what I am saying because you and I are defining the word differently. Forgive me if I seem like a bore trying to explain exactly what I mean by using that word.
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30-01-2014, 04:52 PM (This post was last modified: 30-01-2014 05:16 PM by toadaly.)
RE: Jesus myth
(30-01-2014 04:14 PM)Brownshirt Wrote:  ...
However, the Jesus Myth seems to hold more appeal to atheists so they can counter theism, so there's an emotive reason behind the scepticism of Jesus as man position. Based on the evidence held (e.g. Tacitus, Josephus and that the bible was able to flourish) it seems highly likely that Jesus existed.

While I agree that atheists who are ex-Christians probably do have an emotional stake in the nonexistence of Jesus, I think you've got it back ward. It those types of doubt that tend to result in Christians becoming atheists in the first place, not the other way around.

...as for whether or not it's highly likely, that's totally subjective at this point. I don't consider Tacitus to be even relevant to the discussion. In Josephus, the TF is an obvious forgery, so how much stock do we put into the assumption that the blurb about James in Antiquities remains unmolested and that Josephus was not merely confusing a title James held as head of the church, with a blood relationship?

(EDIT) ...since we're discussing Josephus (and Atwill in my next post), at least in passing, Antiquities book 20, chapter 5 has something interesting in it: And besides this, the sons of Judas of Galilee were now slain; I mean of that Judas who caused the people to revolt, when Cyrenius came to take an account of the estates of the Jews, as we have showed in a foregoing book. The names of those sons were James and Simon, whom Alexander commanded to be crucified.

Does any of this feel vaguely familiar?

Softly, softly, catchee monkey.
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30-01-2014, 04:55 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(30-01-2014 04:39 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  Wasn't there someone who recently claimed he found proof that Jesus never existed? I remember reading about it recently, and not being convinced by his argument.

I'm guessing that you are referring to Atwill's announcement back in ~October, that ended up being nothing but a conference to discuss points he makes in Ceasar's Messiah?

Softly, softly, catchee monkey.
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30-01-2014, 05:06 PM
RE: Jesus myth
Yes, Toadaly, that's the one.
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