"Jesus" really wasn't such a great guy!
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29-08-2011, 01:06 PM (This post was last modified: 29-08-2011 03:21 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: "Jesus" really wasn't such a great guy!
(28-08-2011 07:17 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Jesus is saying you won't be happy, and you're going to run into trouble in the afterlife ( which he never proved exists) ...

Could you provide me some passages which you think show Jesus believed in an afterlife. I've found the standard ones Christians have brought up to me in the past less than persuasive. A couple of examples.

"And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:39-43 KJV)

This is your last chance, dude. We're about to be out of here. Realize now this is all make-believe bullshit and let it go. At least we can go out enlightened together. But no biggie either way.

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. " (John 14:1-6 KJV)

I am God and so are you. There are many paths to realizing this; if there was only a single path I would have told you. But I'm gonna go on up ahead and blaze a trail so we can meet up ahead, you ain't gotta follow that trail but I'm just trying to make it easier, more navigable. You should know upfront that no man can follow this particular path for long without realizing this is all make-believe bullshit and denying his own self.

(28-08-2011 07:17 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  You too are "reading" ie "interpreting" the spirit story. Fair enough...but, really, you can't be sure this is what "jesus" meant.

I guess. I really don't give a shit what Christians or anybody else thinks Jesus meant. The only thing I give a shit about is what I think Jesus meant. Now others can influence my opinion based on new evidence or previously unconsidered reasoning, but in the end it's my call. Christians are the ultimate blasphemers by taking a simple and elegant message and perverting it into something obscene, untenable, and unrecognizable. But it doesn't prevent me from taking a lesson from it anymore than I am prevented from taking a lesson of moderation from "Goldilocks and the 3 Bears", or a lesson of the dangers of narcissism from "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", or a lesson of unfounded alarmism from "Chicken Little", or a lesson of suspicion of from "Little Red Riding Hood", or a lesson in the strength of foundations from the "The Big Bad Wolf and the 3 Little Pigs" ....

I think the gospels should be read like fairy tales. There are valuable lessons there to be gotten, gained and grokked. The rest is just narrative bullshit from the Peanut Gallery in an attempt to make it entertaining.

(28-08-2011 07:17 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Hey girlyman, I value yiour input. Do you agree with me?

I agree with you and angry_liberal in the sense that the Christian Church has perverted the message into something obscene, blasphemous, untenable, immoral and dangerous. But I don't blame the message here, I blame the messengers. And they have damned themselves by precluding the option that this is all just make-believe bullshit and they are just fly shit on the wall. And I think their virulent activities we are witnessing of late are just death throes. They will be out of here soon enough.. ... They're dying out cause the youth ain't buying it.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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30-08-2011, 03:07 AM (This post was last modified: 30-08-2011 03:29 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: "Jesus" really wasn't such a great guy!
(29-08-2011 01:06 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(28-08-2011 07:17 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Jesus is saying you won't be happy, and you're going to run into trouble in the afterlife ( which he never proved exists) ...

Could you provide me some passages which you think show Jesus believed in an afterlife. I've found the standard ones Christians have brought up to me in the past less than persuasive. A couple of examples.

"And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:39-43 KJV)

This is your last chance, dude. We're about to be out of here. Realize now this is all make-believe bullshit and let it go. At least we can go out enlightened together. But no biggie either way.

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. " (John 14:1-6 KJV)

I am God and so are you. There are many paths to realizing this; if there was only a single path I would have told you. But I'm gonna go on up ahead and blaze a trail so we can meet up ahead, you ain't gotta follow that trail but I'm just trying to make it easier, more navigable. You should know upfront that no man can follow this particular path for long without realizing this is all make-believe bullshit and denying his own self.

(28-08-2011 07:17 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  You too are "reading" ie "interpreting" the spirit story. Fair enough...but, really, you can't be sure this is what "jesus" meant.

I guess. I really don't give a shit what Christians or anybody else thinks Jesus meant. The only thing I give a shit about is what I think Jesus meant. Now others can influence my opinion based on new evidence or previously unconsidered reasoning, but in the end it's my call. Christians are the ultimate blasphemers by taking a simple and elegant message and perverting it into something obscene, untenable, and unrecognizable. But it doesn't prevent me from taking a lesson from it anymore than I am prevented from taking a lesson of moderation from "Goldilocks and the 3 Bears", or a lesson of the dangers of narcissism from "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", or a lesson of unfounded alarmism from "Chicken Little", or a lesson of suspicion of from "Little Red Riding Hood", or a lesson in the strength of foundations from the "The Big Bad Wolf and the 3 Little Pigs" ....

I think the gospels should be read like fairy tales. There are valuable lessons there to be gotten, gained and grokked. The rest is just narrative bullshit from the Peanut Gallery in an attempt to make it entertaining.

(28-08-2011 07:17 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Hey girlyman, I value yiour input. Do you agree with me?

I agree with you and angry_liberal in the sense that the Christian Church has perverted the message into something obscene, blasphemous, untenable, immoral and dangerous. But I don't blame the message here, I blame the messengers. And they have damned themselves by precluding the option that this is all just make-believe bullshit and they are just fly shit on the wall. And I think their virulent activities we are witnessing of late are just death throes. They will be out of here soon enough.. ... They're dying out cause the youth ain't buying it.

Hi girlyman, re "Jesus" and the afterlife...
"And if anyone does not welcome you or listen to what you have to say, as you walk out of the house or town shake the dust from your feet. I tell you solemnly on the day of judgment it will not go as hard with the land of Sodom and Gomorrah as with that town” (Matthew 10:14-15 NJB).

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!...woe to you, blind guides...You blind fools!...You blind men!...You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” (Matthew 23:13-34 NJB).

“Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me” (Mark 10:21 NJB).

“Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it for the eternal life” (John 12:25 NJB).

There are scores of other quotes.

I agree the quote from Luke chapter 23 is less than convincing. Imagine 3 Jewish dudes hung up naked and slowly killed on crosses having a conversation about one of them being the son of God in a religion that had yet to be invented. Its just too stupid to be plausible. John 14 is also pathetically implausible, quite apart from the fact dead men don't talk. The real Jesus would would never imagined God had a son.

Mate, I hear it you get something out of the gospels. I agree that churches have perverted "the message". I would add that that the message itself is already perverted and unhealthy.

There is a reason the youth ain't buying it. The entire foundation of Christian belief, the Bible, which underpins the whole show, is never honestly critically examined in church. This is the main reason most well-educated, informed, and intelligent young people are not compelled to go to church. There have been very many large studies showing that, statistically speaking, average intelligence and religiosity are inversely proportional. (http://www.skeptictank.org/hs/iq_relig.htm)
(29-08-2011 10:20 AM)angry_liberal Wrote:  
(28-08-2011 05:40 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I'm genuinely interested in who you think the great leaders of the church are or were. I'm not disagreeing with you, but interested.
I was not thinking of anyone in particular. I was just trying to say if Christianity is true then we cannot see into people's hearts (like God can) and work out who is saved and who damned because we cannot see their deepest motivations. Certainly a lot of church leaders ought to be damned given they way they have persecuted heretics, witches and so on.
On the other hand Christianity may be false in which case all Christians are at best a really sorry lot.

(28-08-2011 05:40 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Just so I understand you better, are you saying you think Jesus is coming back?
No I consider myself an atheist. But I am increasingly playing with seeing things from a Christian point of view (particularly C.S.Lewis). From this point of view Jesus' return is promised - though I still don't really see where the Americans get the rapture from.

Hi.

Mmmmm. You got me intrigued. I wonder what C S Lewis could have said to make you think Christianity might be based on truth? No doubt he is a very good author ( as a kid I enjoyed his books) but he has not looked at the Jesus story in its true historical context. Although I haven't read his whole book I've read him quoted saying Jesus was either the son of god or a clever trickster, and he is sure the former , not the latter. Such black and white thinking is not in the slightest convincing to the historian.

ps re the rapture...read this...

The Second Coming of Jesus
Paul believed that Jesus was soon going to come back to earth:
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4 16-18 KJV). A few years later, in about 53 AD, Jesus still hadn’t reappeared but Paul kept his congregations on their toes in anticipation:
"Brothers this is what I mean: our time is growing short. Those who have wives should live as though they had none, and those who mourn should live as though they had nothing to mourn for; those who are enjoying life should live as though there were nothing to laugh about; those whose life is buying things should live as though they had nothing of their own; and those who have to deal with the world should not become engrossed in it. I say this because the world as we know it is passing away" (I Corinthians 7:29-31 NJB). Ten years later Paul was still preaching that the end of the world was imminent, and then he died.

Paul was the founding evangelist of a doomsday cult. (http://www.philipharland.com/Blog/2006/1...w-nt-26/). The members of his communities who believed him lived in daily expectation of the return of Christ and the end of the world. This was central to the message Paul was selling. 2000 years on the earth is still circling around the sun just like it has been doing for the last four and a half billion years, so Paul’s predictions have been proven fanciful and wrong.

Cult leaders such as Paul have, throughout history, predicted fabulous or cataclysmic events such as the reappearance of Jesus or the end of the world are on the verge of happening. Their agenda was to create excitement and anticipation and make themselves the center of attention. None of their predictions have ever come true.

Then you need to read up about a dude called John Nelson Darby....here is a good start...http://fivecentstand.blogspot.com/2007/07/rapture-theory-by-john-nelson-darby.html
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30-08-2011, 09:47 AM
RE: "Jesus" really wasn't such a great guy!
(30-08-2011 03:07 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I agree the quote from Luke chapter 23 is less than convincing. Imagine 3 Jewish dudes hung up naked and slowly killed on crosses having a conversation about one of them being the son of God in a religion that had yet to be invented. Its just too stupid to be plausible.
There is a difference between being implausible and being impossible. Many things that seem implausible or illogical actually happen. And isn't it possible that being faced with certain death might make a person think seriously about what would happen afterward?

Quote:Although I haven't read his whole book I've read him quoted saying Jesus was either the son of god or a clever trickster, and he is sure the former , not the latter. Such black and white thinking is not in the slightest convincing to the historian.
Sometimes statements that seem unreasonable make perfect sense if you read them in their original context.

The information in ancient libraries came from real minds of real people. The far more complex information in cells came from the far more intelligent mind of God.
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30-08-2011, 08:47 PM (This post was last modified: 30-08-2011 09:55 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: "Jesus" really wasn't such a great guy!
(30-08-2011 09:47 AM)theophilus Wrote:  And isn't it possible that being faced with certain death might make a person think seriously about what would happen afterward?

It most certainly would, "There's nothing to clear the mind like a hanging in the morning." The difference between you and me is what we see while looking at the same thing. I see an abyss and you see something else.

(30-08-2011 09:47 AM)theophilus Wrote:  Sometimes statements that seem unreasonable make perfect sense if you read them in their original context.

Where you gonna get that shit from some 2000 years later, translated from several different languages, secondhand ... third or fourth hand or n'th hand? But yes, it's easy to rationalize any particular interpretation of the gospels by claiming that you have privileged access to the original context. We need to resist that temptation.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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31-08-2011, 10:32 AM
RE: "Jesus" really wasn't such a great guy!
(30-08-2011 08:47 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(30-08-2011 09:47 AM)theophilus Wrote:  Sometimes statements that seem unreasonable make perfect sense if you read them in their original context.

Where you gonna get that shit from some 2000 years later, translated from several different languages, secondhand ... third or fourth hand or n'th hand? But yes, it's easy to rationalize any particular interpretation of the gospels by claiming that you have privileged access to the original context. We need to resist that temptation.
Modern translations are not third or fourth hand copies. Translators go directly to the oldest manuscripts and translate directly from them. Access to the original context is available to anyone who is willing to do a little research.

http://carm.org/manuscript-evidence

http://carm.org/old-testament-corrupted

The information in ancient libraries came from real minds of real people. The far more complex information in cells came from the far more intelligent mind of God.
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31-08-2011, 09:59 PM
RE: "Jesus" really wasn't such a great guy!
(31-08-2011 10:32 AM)theophilus Wrote:  
(30-08-2011 08:47 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(30-08-2011 09:47 AM)theophilus Wrote:  Sometimes statements that seem unreasonable make perfect sense if you read them in their original context.

Where you gonna get that shit from some 2000 years later, translated from several different languages, secondhand ... third or fourth hand or n'th hand? But yes, it's easy to rationalize any particular interpretation of the gospels by claiming that you have privileged access to the original context. We need to resist that temptation.
Modern translations are not third or fourth hand copies. Translators go directly to the oldest manuscripts and translate directly from them. Access to the original context is available to anyone who is willing to do a little research.

http://carm.org/manuscript-evidence

http://carm.org/old-testament-corrupted

Theo, you and the authors of your links are plainly wrong about this. Do some more reading on this topic and you will discover the following conclusions about the gospels. It took me a lot of reading and thinking to come to these conclusions...but is worth you reading this as it will help you put the gospels into their proper historical context...

Eye Witness Accounts?
“It is certain that the New Testament was not written by Christ himself, nor by his apostles, but a long while after them, by some unknown persons, who, lest they should not be credited when they wrote of affairs they were little acquainted with, affixed to their works the names of the apostles, or of such as were supposed to have been their companions, asserting that what they had written themselves was written according to these persons to whom they ascribed it.”
St. Faustus (ca. 490 CE) Most Christians believe direct witnesses of Jesus’ life wrote the four gospels. This is undoubtedly not the case. It is almost universally accepted by modern non-evangelical scholars that none of the authors of the Gospels had ever met Jesus or anyone who had known him. Even the conservative Catholic encyclopaedia states
“It thus appears that the present titles of the Gospels are not traceable to the Evangelists themselves.” The encyclopaedia uses the word “evangelist” to avoid use of the word “apostle” or “disciple”. Elsewhere they claim, “The Apostles, indeed, were evangelists”. So what they are effectively admitting is that the authors of the gospels were not Jesus’ apostles.

One only needs to open any of the Gospels to appreciate they were not written by eyewitnesses, or even by people who talked to eyewitnesses. There are no interviews of Jesus or his disciples or of any of the characters in the action. Nowhere in any of the Gospels do we read a phrase such as
“ I, Matthew/Mark/Luke/John” saw this or heard that. Nowhere does an author say
“ I was present when” this or that happened, or
“ I talked to... who told me...so I asked him...”. Everything is written as pure narrative, because the authors had no direct relation with the events described.
Modern churchmen either don’t know the original followers of Jesus did not write the Gospels, or choose not to discuss this very important fact. They are not being honest about the primary source of the dogma they promote.
“Matthew”, “Mark”, “Luke” and “John”
We don’t know who wrote the gospels. The true identities of these authors are not recorded anywhere in church writings.

Each gospel was originally written by anonymous individuals and then heavily edited by numerous unknown others over subsequent years. It became impossible to genuinely accredit one person with the authorship, which is why I have used the term “originally written”. So all commentary on who might have originally written the gospels involves much guesswork.

It was a common practice at the time to attribute writings to well-known persons to lend them authority. For example many letters attributed to Paul were not actually written by him.

Matthew and John were two of the original disciples of Jesus. Luke was a physician who accompanied Paul on some of his missionary journeys. Mark was the son of a woman named Mary who had a house in Jerusalem and there may have been another Mark who was an acquaintance of the disciple Peter. None of these people, if they ever existed, were the authors of the gospels. The four names simply sounded authoritative and that is why they were attached to the Gospels.

The Catholic encyclopaedia states
“the canonical Gospels were regarded as of Apostolic authority…” as if that meant the canonical gospels were of Apostolic authority, and continues “…two of them being ascribed to the Apostles St. Matthew and St. John, respectively, and two to St. Mark and St. Luke, the respective companions of St. Peter and St. Paul.” The same encyclopaedia states elsewhere that these names were not traceable to the evangelists!

The first record of anybody clearly associating the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John with these books was Irenaeus in about 180 CE, 150 years after Jesus’ ministry. Luke was probably originally written some years before this time, because a character named Marcion is aware of an abbreviated version of Luke, although not called Luke, in the 140’s CE. Some writings from early men of the church written prior to 180 CE record some of the teachings of Jesus that are similar to those recorded in the four gospels, but there is no evidence they were sourced from the gospels as we know them today.

The identities of, as well as some relevant facts about an author are the primary factors that give any historical document its legitimacy. Consider the example set by Josephus, the most important Jewish historian of all, who wrote in the same era. He related his own life, gave an account of his family, his childhood, and his education; he then told of his travels, some of what he did, and of the books he wrote, and the books themselves bore an announcement of his authorship; for instance:
"I, Joseph, the son of Matthias, by birth an Hebrew, a priest also, and one who at first fought against the Romans myself, and was forced to be present at what was done afterwards, am the author of this work" ("Wars of the Jews," Preface, sec. I). We know exactly who the author was. To which of the Gospels is such an announcement prefixed? None. Every mark of authenticity is present in Josephus and absent in the Gospels.

We don’t know from where and when these authors sourced their information because they didn’t document these details either, and early church fathers and historians were unable or neglected to document it too. If this weren’t the Bible a historian would quickly lose interest in examining the gospels. The Gospels are a very important part of the Bible, so thousands of scholars over the last few centuries have spent countless hours discussing the relation between the gospels and the real Jesus. They often don’t agree about many of their conclusions because there simply just aren’t enough facts to work with, so they have to make educated guesses.

It is generally accepted today that the original version of Mark was the first gospel written because both Matthew and Luke copy Mark, sometimes word for word, and sometimes with editorial changes, exaggerations and additions. Of the 661 verses in Marks' Gospel, Matthew uses about 607 and Luke uses about 360.

Mark’s book was written mostly from a Jewish point-of-view, claiming that Jesus was the long awaited messiah of Jewish tradition. So the community who originally wrote Mark may have been Jewish, although that is by no means certain because there are many errors in Mark about Jewish customs and Palestinian geography. It is clear that gentile (non Jewish) authors have had a big hand in the product that ended up being labelled as Mark’s.

No modern scholar I have read thinks Matthew the author was a companion of Jesus. This gospel emphasised how Jesus fitted into Jewish history and fulfilled scripture's predictions. Some examples are when the author appealed to Old Testament texts for evidence of Jesus' Davidic descent (1:1-17) and the virgin birth (1:23) at Bethlehem (2:6). Matthew was primarily concerned with making Jesus attractive to the Jews; he had Jesus saying to the disciples
"Do not turn your steps to pagan territory…go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 10:5-6 NJB). Matthew's Greek is said to be a little "rough" and "Aramaic". The original gospel of Matthew probably originated from a Jewish community, although gentile editors and interpolators later added to the original writings, as there are also many anti Semitic statements and concepts in Matthew.

Most scholars don't think Luke the author was the physician and friend of Saint Paul. Even if he was, it did not qualify him to write about the life of Jesus, because Paul never met the living Jesus. Luke introduced his gospel by stating he wished to write an orderly account of Jesus' life.

"Seeing that many others have undertaken to draw up accounts of the events that have taken place among us, exactly as those were handed down to us by those who from the outset were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, I in my turn, after carefully going over the whole story from the beginning, have decided to write an ordered account for you, Theophilus, so that your Excellency may learn how well founded the teaching is that you have received". (Luke 1:1-5 NJB). This introduction disqualified him as a direct witness of Jesus. Luke wrote “eyewitnesses” handed down information to “us” but doesn’t say who either group was or what they were eyewitnesses to. He doesn’t say who Theophilus was. If Luke’s associates had been eyewitnesses of Jesus’ ministry he would and should have provided more details, so his introduction adds nothing to his credibility.

Luke was writing his gospel to clear up some issues from other accounts of Jesus' life. Which other accounts? He doesn’t say. They could include Mark's (we know he was familiar with Mark’s gospel) and/or Matthew's, yet he could be referring to any of the 200 or more written stories about Jesus we know were circulating at the time.

Luke’s Greek is said to be more cultivated and polished than Mark's and Matthew's, so he was probably a Gentile. He didn’t include Mark’s and Matthew’s most Judaic verses. For example his genealogy of Jesus went all the way back to Adam, the world's first man, who presumably was not a Jew, whereas Matthew's genealogy of Jesus was completely different and goes back to Abraham, the father of the Jews. Mark and Matthew named Jesus’ brothers, who all had very Jewish names, whereas Luke decided to not name them at all. He had a very pro gentile anti Jewish bias.

What about John? One of the authors of this gospel claimed he was, in fact, John the disciple, but this gospel was first written at least 100 years after Jesus died.
John’s Jesus was far less human, more exalted, and very much the Son of God. By the time John was first written, some Christian groups were starting to definitively separate from the parent Judaism. John’s gospel seems to have a Semitic origin as judged by its vocabulary and style. It was probably originally written by a Jew, but there was obviously more gentile input into John than in Mark and Matthew.
I will return to discussing the Gospels’ authorship later in the book.
When Were the Gospels Written?
If Jesus existed, he probably died sometime between the years 28-35 CE. We know Mark wrote, at the very earliest, in or about 70 CE, because Paul, who died probably in the mid 60’s, knows nothing of the gospels. Mark effectively dates his own authorship as post 70 CE by having Jesus predict the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred in 70 CE.

Most scholars think Matthew was originally written next, then Luke, and John's gospel was written last.

No first century source ever mentions the existence of any of the four Gospels, so there is no particular reason to even date them to originating in the first century! In fact the gospels are noticeably absent from the writings of the Church fathers and apologists until towards the end of the second century. I think the gospels were only originally written well into the second century, a minimum of 70 years after Jesus died.
The Problem of Translation.
The Gospels as we have them today were not originally written in Aramaic, Jesus' native language, but in Greek, which has then been translated into English. To translate a language is difficult and invariably introduces errors. Jesus’ words and the stories of what he did have been translated twice in all of the gospels. This fact is often overlooked when the supposed words of Jesus are carefully dissected looking for their true meaning.
The Words of Jesus?
There is no evidence Jesus had a chronicler writing down his words as he spoke, so any true record of Jesus’ words must have been entirely reliant on the oral tradition. Yet his very words are supposedly quoted in long passages throughout the gospels. For example there is a monologue delivered by Jesus that goes on barely uninterrupted for almost 10 pages of the Jerusalem Bible in John 13-18, and there are similar lengthy monologues in Matthew. It is not possible these were the very words of Jesus.

People did not write things down like we do today. They were far more reliant on word of mouth to communicate. Papyrus, the ancient equivalent of paper, was very expensive and hard to get hold of, as was ink. It is highly unlikely any of Jesus’ disciples could read or write. They were itinerant, poor, and lived in fear of their enemies. They would have been too concerned with day-to-day survival to document Jesus’ words for posterity.

What about the so-called “oral tradition”? In reality people have trouble remembering words from conversations five minutes ago and their memories are very prone to suggestion, exaggeration and confabulation. People forget, alter and exaggerate details.

Let's consider a modern analogy. Imagine a prominent politician gave a speech in your local town hall seventy years ago. One year later he was assassinated. A publicist asks you to write a detailed short story about the life of the politician, whom you have never met, nor had anyone else in your acquaintance. You are told that quoting his actual words was very important. You could ask anyone you could find who may know something about him, but you can’t use modern conveniences such as the telephone, internet or the library. What a difficult task. A large amount of embellishing and pure fabrication would be required. Imagine you used your creative flair to stitch together a story. It was translated into Greek by a third party and presented to the publicist. He was impressed with the script and handed it on to his marketing people who tied up some loose ends and inconsistencies and added some details of their own to give it more punch and make it more sellable. They had it translated into Aramaic, promoted it heavily through a chain of bookstores and it became a best seller in Egypt.

Most of the story would have been sourced from the creative imagination of you the author and poorly remembered facts and rumours. The translators and editors would have butchered the script.

The job the original authors of Mark’s gospel had would have been even more difficult. They were writing 70-150+ years after Jesus’ death, so in reality any spoken stories they heard about Jesus at best would have been third hand and more likely fourth or fifth hand, or have no relation to an actual historical figure at all. A war had devastated Jewish society in the interim. It would seem there is no possibility the gospel stories could contain the actual words of Jesus.

Why Were the Gospels Written?
Modern biographies are based on factual accounts of an individual’s life. Unlike modern biographies, most ancient authors told a story about a man which was stylised. To accurately document the actual thoughts, words and actions of the character was not thought of as particularly important, as they wrote biographies to promote moral messages. The Gospels were written to convince the public to join a religious cult. They were propaganda tools that integrated the theological, philosophical and social ideals of the cult. Each gospel created a “Christ of faith”, and all four Christs are slightly to significantly different. Each was written for the use of the people in the communities in which the authors lived, not for distant future generations of people. They tell us a lot about the subjective ideas of the people who wrote them but unfortunately are not so good at telling us about the historical Jesus.

Roughly 1900 years ago, educational standards were very poor. It is estimated that only 20% of people in the Roman Empire could read at all and less than 10% could read well (William Harris). If you grew up outside a larger city you almost certainly grew up illiterate, particularly if you were poor. So it is very unlikely that Jesus or any of his disciples could read or write.

The Catholic Encyclopaedia disagrees with the great majority of historians when discussing the literacy of those in Jesus’ circle;
“we may suppose that the Apostles, at least most of them, read and spoke Greek as well as Aramaic, from their childhood.” They “suppose” that most of the apostles could read and write in not one, but two languages! They cannot support this claim with evidence. They are hinting that the apostles wrote the gospels, yet admit elsewhere they didn’t.

Some historians do claim that some common Jews were able to read and write in their native language by virtue of the fact that they so regularly read the Torah. That may be true, but the more likely reality is that Jesus’ poor peasant disciples were illiterate. To imagine these very common peasants were bilingual is absurd.

Access to books was very limited and there was no mass media, so what the average person thought about the world was only what he had learnt from experience and what his parents and neighbours had told him. He had little or no understanding of science, history or reasoned critical thought, so believed in gods, ghosts, spirits, demons, witches etc. If there was sickness in a household the local wizard or priest was called. It was an age in which myths were true and stories of magic and miracles were believed. Only the more educated members of society questioned belief in these things.

The gospel authors knew they had little need to appeal to reason or common sense to sell a story. Nor did they need to tell the truth about events that had happened over seventy years earlier in another part of the world, as their audience had neither the means nor the inclination to check out the facts. What was important for them was to have gospels appealing enough to compete with scores of other interesting cults so that an unsophisticated audience would be impressed. They were writing stylised biographies using the standards of the time. The authors would not have considered themselves dishonest; but judged by modern standards they were.

In the first 200 years of each gospel’s existence copyists, translators, editors, interpreters and interpolators altered the original writings by adding in or subtracting whatever they thought might be useful. So the dates that are commonly given for the authorship of each gospel (ranging from 70 CE to 180 CE) are only of limited usefulness and can only be thought of as when the first drafts were composed. It was only in the later 4th century that the gospels had finished evolving and were accepted as the legacy of the apostolic age.
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01-09-2011, 06:57 AM
RE: "Jesus" really wasn't such a great guy!
(30-08-2011 09:47 AM)theophilus Wrote:  And isn't it possible that being faced with certain death might make a person think seriously about what would happen afterward?
The chance that in the face of certain death I will think seriously about God, heaven or hell, is about the same as the chance that you will think seriously about the Tooth Fairy and the Elysium Fields. It might happen - but I bet it doesn't.

Believe nothing you hear and only half what you see
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02-09-2011, 09:56 PM
RE: "Jesus" really wasn't such a great guy!
"Jesus" was also very INCONSISTENT;


Jesus said
“The father is in me, and I in Him” (John 10:38 NJB), and,
"I and my father are one" (John 14:30 NJB). We were told that he is a part of, and equal to his father. Yet Jesus also spoke of his father as someone else:
"For the father is greater than I" (John 14:28 NJB), and,
"For God sent his son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved." (John 3:17 NJB). In the fourth century people murdered others because of disagreements over whether Jesus was God, son of God, or man. If the different authors of John had come to some consensus on whom Jesus was, maybe these fanatics wouldn’t have lost their lives and the Bible wouldn’t be so confusing.

Jesus said,
"Were I to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid" (John 5:31 NJB). This was followed a few chapters later by
"It is true that I am testifying on my own behalf, but my testimony is still valid...” (John 8:14 NJB).

Jesus said,
"You have the poor with you always, but you will not always have me" (Matthew 26:11 NJB). Then he said,
"Know that I am with you always, yes to the end of time" (Matthew 28:20 NJB).

Jesus said,
"Love your enemies; bless them that curse you," (Matthew 5:44), but ignored his own advice by repeatedly denouncing his opposition:
"You brood of vipers, how can your speech be good when you are evil? For words flow out of what fills the heart" (Matthew 12:34 NJB), and,
"Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of corruption" (Matthew 23:27 NJB). One does not love and bless one’s enemies by insulting them.

Jesus said,
“Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be recognised as children of God” (Matthew 5:9 NJB). He then said
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34 NJB), and,
“If you have no sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36 NJB).

The Bible said,
“These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: 'Do not make your way to gentile territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go instead to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-6 NJB). Then Jesus contradicted himself:
“Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19 NJB).

There were obviously too many different authors putting words in Jesus’ mouth. A public figure that was reported as making these gaffs today would be picked to pieces and laughed at by the public.
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03-09-2011, 10:27 AM (This post was last modified: 03-09-2011 10:42 AM by theophilus.)
RE: "Jesus" really wasn't such a great guy!
(02-09-2011 09:56 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "Jesus" was also very INCONSISTENT;
It is possible to make anyone appear inconsistent by citing statements which appear contradictory when they are viewed in isolation out context.

Quote:Jesus said
“The father is in me, and I in Him” (John 10:38 NJB), and,
"I and my father are one" (John 14:30 NJB). We were told that he is a part of, and equal to his father. Yet Jesus also spoke of his father as someone else:
"For the father is greater than I" (John 14:28 NJB), and,
"For God sent his son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved." (John 3:17 NJB). In the fourth century people murdered others because of disagreements over whether Jesus was God, son of God, or man. If the different authors of John had come to some consensus on whom Jesus was, maybe these fanatics wouldn’t have lost their lives and the Bible wouldn’t be so confusing.
Jesus was all three of these, God, son of God, and man. He was God and equal to the father but in his incarnation he took on a human form and temporarily assmed a lower position. People wouldn't have killed each other over this is they had simply obeyed Jesus' command to love each other.

Quote:Jesus said,
"Were I to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid" (John 5:31 NJB). This was followed a few chapters later by
"It is true that I am testifying on my own behalf, but my testimony is still valid...” (John 8:14 NJB).
Here is a little of the context of the first statement:
Quote:If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true.
John 5:31,31 ESV
Under the Mosaic law two witnesses were required to establish legally that something was true.

Quote:Jesus said,
"You have the poor with you always, but you will not always have me" (Matthew 26:11 NJB). Then he said,
"Know that I am with you always, yes to the end of time" (Matthew 28:20 NJB).
The first statement was made before his crucifixion and he meant that he would soon be taken away from them by his death. The second was after his resurrection and although he wouldn't be present physically he would send the Holy Spirit and would be spiritually present with them.

Quote:Jesus said,
"Love your enemies; bless them that curse you," (Matthew 5:44), but ignored his own advice by repeatedly denouncing his opposition:
"You brood of vipers, how can your speech be good when you are evil? For words flow out of what fills the heart" (Matthew 12:34 NJB), and,
"Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside, but inside are full of the bones of the dead and every kind of corruption" (Matthew 23:27 NJB). One does not love and bless one’s enemies by insulting them.
The people he denounced were leading others away from the truth. Sometimes it is necessary to speak out against evildoers to keep them from hurting others.

Quote:Jesus said,
“Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be recognised as children of God” (Matthew 5:9 NJB). He then said
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34 NJB), and,
“If you have no sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36 NJB).
The entire human race has fallen into sin and is in a state of war with God. Jesus came to make a way we can be forgiven and be at peace with God, but there are some who reject this gift and continue in a state of war. They are then in a state of conflict with those who follow God.

Quote:The Bible said,
“These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: 'Do not make your way to gentile territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go instead to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-6 NJB). Then Jesus contradicted himself:
“Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19 NJB).
The first command was given before the crucifixion; the second was given after the resurrection. This isn't a contradiction but simply different stages of Jesus' work.

Quote:There were obviously too many different authors putting words in Jesus’ mouth. A public figure that was reported as making these gaffs today would be picked to pieces and laughed at by the public.
What you find when you read the Bible depends on what you are looking for. If you have already decided that the Bible is false you will find things which seem to support your belief and will overlook those things which would prove you wrong. On the other hand if you read it with an open mind and are willing to accept the possibility that it is true, you might find that it isn't really contradictory at all.

The information in ancient libraries came from real minds of real people. The far more complex information in cells came from the far more intelligent mind of God.
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03-09-2011, 11:10 AM
 
RE: "Jesus" really wasn't such a great guy!
I am only now seeking to dissect the new testament, I am hoping to attend a debate in Dallas soon with Bart Erhman vs some other guy, but you are definitely on to something here. We know just as the garden or eden story and the flood are doom to close inspection so should Jesus. Carefully his message has been guarded and massaged of the centuries. I hope to learn something from this debate as many have vaunted Erhman as "the man" with the gospel. You make several points here, 1. exclusivity of favor 2. patronage of massacre 3. faith for candy...very good points one and all. Most faithful suburban christian know very little of the bible outside their preacher lips and spittle, and quickly distance from the old testament waving as you have said the flag of the bright and shiney Jesus. It is here that our future debates must be made. Just as Mohammed will be next. So I give a a vote of confidence and encourage you continue this line of thought...Thanks
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