Proof of Jesus?
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25-12-2012, 09:15 AM
RE: Proof of Jesus?
Too many conicidences. http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/ch...rst-jesus/

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25-12-2012, 10:18 PM
RE: Proof of Jesus?
(08-12-2012 11:38 AM)Free Wrote:  I wonder what the odds are that 4 different Gospel writers, Paul, Apostolic Fathers, Josephus, Tacitus, and other writers in the NT from the 1st century all imagined the exact same guy by the name of Jesus who was crucified by Pontius Pilate?

Since I find that none of these writers refer to each other's writings (aside from the Synoptic and Apostolic Fathers) I think we could use a logical and reasonable explanation supported by textual evidence that could provide a better argument for Jesus being a total myth than for existence.

Nobody can say with certainty whether or not Jesus existed or was a total myth, but the argument for existence is certainly far better than the argument for total myth.

Honestly guys, the mythology argument needs to adequately dispute existence, and so far, I have not seen one good argument to dispute it. I see plenty of assertion, supposition, and tons of logical fallacies and lack of reasoning, but not once in 30 years have I seen a good solid argument for total mythology on this subject.

My position remains as it is:

Somebody named Jesus who was regarded as the Christ by many Jews was crucified by Pontius Pilate sometime in the 1st half of the 1st century.

Whoever he was is an entirely different argument.
I used to be in this camp, arguing that it was probably true that Jesus existed (mainly from being convinced by Bart Ehrman's "The Historical Jesus" lectures) but I saw a YouTube video that shot it down so nicely. I can't remember the video, although I remember plenty of the arguments.

You say that it's odd that so many different writers, none of them using each other as a source, referenced the same character... but we can find the same thing happening in the modern day. Take Paul Bunyan for one example. Even if there was a real person named Paul Bunyan, and there's no good reason to suspect there was, the stories about him are obviously fake. Even if there was a real person that the myth was based on, would it even be fair to call him "the real Paul Bunyan" if literally nothing said about him was true? We could all recount stories of Paul Bunyan, and some of these stories would have some overlap, but it's not because they actually happened... it's because we've all heard the same stories.

While there are several "independent" writers that wrote about Jesus, what exactly did they say about him? Paul cites nothing about Jesus except that he was crucified and died for our sins. He doesn't tell a single story about Jesus' life. Matthew and Luke both used Mark as a source, so those aren't independent. John is an independent source, and that's probably why it contradicts the other scriptures on almost every story... it's likely that others who had read Mark (and maybe Matthew and Luke) had passed around these stories orally (public education was not a thing at that time) and the writer of John had heard these stories but only after they'd gotten severely warped from re-tellings... so while it's possible that John was "independent", it was also probably based on the exact same original scripture -- Mark. So we possibly have only 2 sources, Mark and Paul, and Paul doesn't verify Mark's stories. Since it would appear that there was an early religion based on Jesus' life, the fact that Paul believes its basic tenants doesn't prove that there even were stories about Jesus when he wrote his letters, but only a religion based on Jesus... and it's possible that once stories were circulated, Mark wrote them down and everyone copied his tales.

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26-12-2012, 08:51 AM
RE: Proof of Jesus?
(25-12-2012 10:18 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  
(08-12-2012 11:38 AM)Free Wrote:  I wonder what the odds are that 4 different Gospel writers, Paul, Apostolic Fathers, Josephus, Tacitus, and other writers in the NT from the 1st century all imagined the exact same guy by the name of Jesus who was crucified by Pontius Pilate?

Since I find that none of these writers refer to each other's writings (aside from the Synoptic and Apostolic Fathers) I think we could use a logical and reasonable explanation supported by textual evidence that could provide a better argument for Jesus being a total myth than for existence.

Nobody can say with certainty whether or not Jesus existed or was a total myth, but the argument for existence is certainly far better than the argument for total myth.

Honestly guys, the mythology argument needs to adequately dispute existence, and so far, I have not seen one good argument to dispute it. I see plenty of assertion, supposition, and tons of logical fallacies and lack of reasoning, but not once in 30 years have I seen a good solid argument for total mythology on this subject.

My position remains as it is:

Somebody named Jesus who was regarded as the Christ by many Jews was crucified by Pontius Pilate sometime in the 1st half of the 1st century.

Whoever he was is an entirely different argument.
I used to be in this camp, arguing that it was probably true that Jesus existed (mainly from being convinced by Bart Ehrman's "The Historical Jesus" lectures) but I saw a YouTube video that shot it down so nicely. I can't remember the video, although I remember plenty of the arguments.

You say that it's odd that so many different writers, none of them using each other as a source, referenced the same character... but we can find the same thing happening in the modern day. Take Paul Bunyan for one example. Even if there was a real person named Paul Bunyan, and there's no good reason to suspect there was, the stories about him are obviously fake. Even if there was a real person that the myth was based on, would it even be fair to call him "the real Paul Bunyan" if literally nothing said about him was true? We could all recount stories of Paul Bunyan, and some of these stories would have some overlap, but it's not because they actually happened... it's because we've all heard the same stories.

While there are several "independent" writers that wrote about Jesus, what exactly did they say about him? Paul cites nothing about Jesus except that he was crucified and died for our sins. He doesn't tell a single story about Jesus' life. Matthew and Luke both used Mark as a source, so those aren't independent. John is an independent source, and that's probably why it contradicts the other scriptures on almost every story... it's likely that others who had read Mark (and maybe Matthew and Luke) had passed around these stories orally (public education was not a thing at that time) and the writer of John had heard these stories but only after they'd gotten severely warped from re-tellings... so while it's possible that John was "independent", it was also probably based on the exact same original scripture -- Mark. So we possibly have only 2 sources, Mark and Paul, and Paul doesn't verify Mark's stories. Since it would appear that there was an early religion based on Jesus' life, the fact that Paul believes its basic tenants doesn't prove that there even were stories about Jesus when he wrote his letters, but only a religion based on Jesus... and it's possible that once stories were circulated, Mark wrote them down and everyone copied his tales.


Most of those anti-existence videos are full of holes when analyzed closely.

Despite what you say about all those different writers, almost all of them agree on the following:

There was a man named Jesus who was regarded as the Messiah by many Jews and who was crucified by Pontius Pilate in the first third of the 1st century AD.

There is no one else recorded who can be confused with this same Jesus. No one else named Jesus has been recorded as meeting the above description.

It is from this same man that all the wild fabrications originated from, as well as all the different early sects of his followers including the Christians, Nazarenes, and Gnostics.

Occam's Razor clearly states he most probably- and most likely- existed.

Anything else about the man is speculative at best.

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26-12-2012, 11:25 AM
RE: Proof of Jesus?
(26-12-2012 08:51 AM)Free Wrote:  
(25-12-2012 10:18 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  I used to be in this camp, arguing that it was probably true that Jesus existed (mainly from being convinced by Bart Ehrman's "The Historical Jesus" lectures) but I saw a YouTube video that shot it down so nicely. I can't remember the video, although I remember plenty of the arguments.

You say that it's odd that so many different writers, none of them using each other as a source, referenced the same character... but we can find the same thing happening in the modern day. Take Paul Bunyan for one example. Even if there was a real person named Paul Bunyan, and there's no good reason to suspect there was, the stories about him are obviously fake. Even if there was a real person that the myth was based on, would it even be fair to call him "the real Paul Bunyan" if literally nothing said about him was true? We could all recount stories of Paul Bunyan, and some of these stories would have some overlap, but it's not because they actually happened... it's because we've all heard the same stories.

While there are several "independent" writers that wrote about Jesus, what exactly did they say about him? Paul cites nothing about Jesus except that he was crucified and died for our sins. He doesn't tell a single story about Jesus' life. Matthew and Luke both used Mark as a source, so those aren't independent. John is an independent source, and that's probably why it contradicts the other scriptures on almost every story... it's likely that others who had read Mark (and maybe Matthew and Luke) had passed around these stories orally (public education was not a thing at that time) and the writer of John had heard these stories but only after they'd gotten severely warped from re-tellings... so while it's possible that John was "independent", it was also probably based on the exact same original scripture -- Mark. So we possibly have only 2 sources, Mark and Paul, and Paul doesn't verify Mark's stories. Since it would appear that there was an early religion based on Jesus' life, the fact that Paul believes its basic tenants doesn't prove that there even were stories about Jesus when he wrote his letters, but only a religion based on Jesus... and it's possible that once stories were circulated, Mark wrote them down and everyone copied his tales.


Most of those anti-existence videos are full of holes when analyzed closely.

Despite what you say about all those different writers, almost all of them agree on the following:

There was a man named Jesus who was regarded as the Messiah by many Jews and who was crucified by Pontius Pilate in the first third of the 1st century AD.

There is no one else recorded who can be confused with this same Jesus. No one else named Jesus has been recorded as meeting the above description.

It is from this same man that all the wild fabrications originated from, as well as all the different early sects of his followers including the Christians, Nazarenes, and Gnostics.

Occam's Razor clearly states he most probably- and most likely- existed.

Anything else about the man is speculative at best.
Unfortunately, he can easily be confused with Simon of Perea. See the above link to the National Geo video.

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26-12-2012, 11:32 AM
RE: Proof of Jesus?
(26-12-2012 08:51 AM)Free Wrote:  There was a man named Jesus who was regarded as the Messiah by many Jews and who was crucified by Pontius Pilate in the first third of the 1st century AD.

...
(26-12-2012 08:51 AM)Free Wrote:  Occam's Razor clearly states he most probably- and most likely- existed.

Anything else about the man is speculative at best.
I'm sorry, "regarded as the Messiah by many Jews"? Putting it in bold doesn't make it more truthful. You realize that the Jews don't see Jesus as the Messiah now, right? It's highly unlikely that they ever did. They didn't even in Paul's time.

1 Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,

The Jews weren't expecting a crucified Messiah, and as I stated before, that's entirely all that Paul had to say about Jesus' life. He was preaching to the gentiles mainly because the Jews didn't care to hear it.

It does seem that many gentiles immediately picked up on this idea that he was the Messiah, but if the stories about Jesus are to be believed, none of them were witnesses of any of his acts -- Jesus' ministry was entirely to the Jews. So again, this is within the realm of hearsay, just like Paul Bunyan who, incidentally, could also be proven true by Occam's Razor if you're going to misuse it like that. Smoke doesn't always mean fire... some myths are actually built out of zero truth, such as Greek and Roman Mythology.

Occam's Razor suggests that the tale that requires accepting the least amount of details is probably true. When we look at a tale such as a Greek myth, it's more plausible that the gods that are said to have done impossible things never existed, rather than to accept that the gods existed but didn't do the things that were claimed of them. To say that Jesus is entirely fictional is "simple".

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26-12-2012, 07:23 PM
RE: Proof of Jesus?
Quote:I'm sorry, "regarded as the Messiah by many Jews"?

Yes.

Quote:Putting it in bold doesn't make it more truthful.

Nor does it make it any less truthful either.

Quote:You realize that the Jews don't see Jesus as the Messiah now, right?

Fallacious reasoning known as:

Presentism:

"Presentism is a mode of literary or historical analysis in which present-day ideas and perspectives are anachronistically introduced into depictions or interpretations of the past. Some modern historians seek to avoid presentism in their work because they believe it creates a distorted understanding of their subject matter. The practice of Presentism is a common fallacy in historical writings."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presentism_..._analysis)

Quote:It's highly unlikely that they ever did.

Your evidence for this assertion is where?

Quote:They didn't even in Paul's time.

Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles

Faulty reasoning. You are mixing two different time-lines. This quote of Paul speaks to post-crucifixion, and not to pre-crucifixion when many Jews considered this Jesus to be the Messiah.

Quote:The Jews weren't expecting a crucified Messiah, and as I stated before, that's entirely all that Paul had to say about Jesus' life. He was preaching to the gentiles mainly because the Jews didn't care to hear it.

Irrelevant.

Quote:It does seem that many gentiles immediately picked up on this idea that he was the Messiah, but if the stories about Jesus are to be believed, none of them were witnesses of any of his acts.

Irrelevant

Quote:Jesus' ministry was entirely to the Jews.

Self contradiction:

Question: If Jesus did not exist, how then could his ministry be entirely to the Jews?

Quote:So again, this is within the realm of hearsay, just like Paul Bunyan who, incidentally, could also be proven true by Occam's Razor if you're going to misuse it like that. Smoke doesn't always mean fire... some myths are actually built out of zero truth, such as Greek and Roman Mythology.

False comparison:

There are no multiple attestations regarding the existence of Paul Bunyan.


Quote:Occam's Razor suggests that the tale that requires accepting the least amount of details is probably true. When we look at a tale such as a Greek myth, it's more plausible that the gods that are said to have done impossible things never existed, rather than to accept that the gods existed but didn't do the things that were claimed of them. To say that Jesus is entirely fictional is "simple".

Another false comparison. We are not speaking about myths, but only the following:

There was a man named Jesus who was regarded as the Messiah by many Jews and who was then crucified by Pontius Pilate in the first third of the 1st century AD.

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26-12-2012, 10:24 PM
RE: Proof of Jesus?
Free, is there any disconfirming evidence of your hypothesis? Or would you write off anything you don't like or don't agree with as "irrelevent" or "fallacious"?

I know how logic works, and I understand logical fallacies. I'm not saying that it's impossible for me to utter a fallacy, but it's highly unlikely, especially since I proofread my posts shortly after I post them. It would seem that you didn't even keep an open mind, but rather looked for the quickest ways to shoot my argument down so that you didn't have to even consider it. I'm not saying this simply because you're not convinced (because I didn't expect you would be) but because you didn't actually answer the arguments themselves.

I empathize with your point-of-view. In fact, I even argued your point-of-view against another atheist. And more recently I argued the position I'm arguing now, complete with YouTube video (posted below). Clearly I have an open mind to the subject, and I could be convinced of what you believe. However, I don't think you'll be the one to win me over (any more than DeistPaladin could have convinced me that Jesus didn't exist because of contradictions in the bible, a bad argument). Your position still boils down to "at least *some* part of it must be true -- the part that hasn't yet been thoroughly debunked". I gave you good analogies that I imagine you agree are about entirely fictional characters. It doesn't matter if there's an inconsequential differences, such as "Paul Bunyan is not attested to by multiple attestations" (are you positing that only one person ever spread this myth?) or the like. You're just looking for flaws, not for a serious conversation.




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27-12-2012, 08:17 AM (This post was last modified: 27-12-2012 01:00 PM by Free.)
RE: Proof of Jesus?
Quote:Free, is there any disconfirming evidence of your hypothesis? Or would you write off anything you don't like or don't agree with as "irrelevent" or "fallacious"?

What I like or dislike is irrelevant.

Quote:I know how logic works, and I understand logical fallacies. I'm not saying that it's impossible for me to utter a fallacy, but it's highly unlikely, especially since I proofread my posts shortly after I post them.

No one, including myself, is immune to using logical fallacies. As for you, you most definitely did use logical fallacies.



Quote:It would seem that you didn't even keep an open mind, but rather looked for the quickest ways to shoot my argument down so that you didn't have to even consider it.

On the contrary, I have an exceptionally open mind. Another thing I do is study the art of argumentation, and in real life I am an x-champion debater.

Do not confuse what I do as some kind of personal attack, nor is it following any kind of agenda. I am merely demonstrating the errors in your method of argument, and when the method has been compromised, you end up with no point to make.

Yes, I understand how it can anger people, but as an atheist it is exactly what I do to theists to destroy their arguments as well. It's nothing personal, but only that I enjoy attacking the method to expose its flaws.

Quote: I'm not saying this simply because you're not convinced (because I didn't expect you would be) but because you didn't actually answer the arguments themselves.

When your method of argument has been compromised, you do not have a point to make. Re-examine your argument and how I answered it. I am not trying to be patronizing, but only forcing you to understand where your argument has problems.

The truth is, aside from historical value, I do not actually care if Jesus existed or not.

Quote:I empathize with your point-of-view. In fact, I even argued your point-of-view against another atheist. And more recently I argued the position I'm arguing now, complete with YouTube video (posted below). Clearly I have an open mind to the subject, and I could be convinced of what you believe. However, I don't think you'll be the one to win me over (any more than DeistPaladin could have convinced me that Jesus didn't exist because of contradictions in the bible, a bad argument). Your position still boils down to "at least *some* part of it must be true -- the part that hasn't yet been thoroughly debunked". I gave you good analogies that I imagine you agree are about entirely fictional characters. It doesn't matter if there's an inconsequential differences, such as "Paul Bunyan is not attested to by multiple attestations" (are you positing that only one person ever spread this myth?) or the like. You're just looking for flaws, not for a serious conversation.

When the flaws are found in your method of argument, how can there be any kind of serious argument?

Without revealing too much about myself, I am as close to an actual historian as one can get. I have a couple of years of university education, and about 3 decades of study. It's not what I do for a living, as in real life I am a CEO of a small tech corporation.

What I do is solve problems by the process of elimination. In regards to this Jesus issue, I eliminate faulty arguments, inconclusive data, and assertion.

Then whatever is left over is where the truth will be. We can say anything we want, but at the end of the day if what we say has no support, then no point has been made.

You will find any attempt to disprove existence as to be an extremely daunting task, since one cannot prove a negative. Attempting to disprove the evidence with speculation and assertion will be unsuccessful, since speculation and assertion demonstrates absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

So don't take anything I say personally. Just examine your method of arguing and try to adjust it to defeat the argument for existence.

PS: As far as the video is concerned, it took less than 6 minutes to see his first error, which was his failure to acknowledge Paul as a 1st century contemporary of Jesus.

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30-12-2012, 06:54 PM (This post was last modified: 30-12-2012 06:58 PM by Starcrash.)
RE: Proof of Jesus?
(27-12-2012 08:17 AM)Free Wrote:  
Quote:Free, is there any disconfirming evidence of your hypothesis? Or would you write off anything you don't like or don't agree with as "irrelevent" or "fallacious"?

What I like or dislike is irrelevant.

No, it's really not. Are you familiar with the "fallacy fallacy"? It's where you write off an argument entirely because you spot a fallacy (or think you did). You made it clear that you don't recognize this fallacy when you said "most of those anti-existence arguments are full of holes when analyzed closely" and when you continue to play "spot the fallacy" with my arguments.

The reason that dis-confirming evidence is required in your arguments (and mine, and everyone's) is to prevent confirmation bias from preventing rational thought. If you don't recognize a line of evidence that would change your mind if it was presented, then you really don't have the "open mind" that you're claiming to have -- it means you can make any evidence fit your preconceived belief. And that appears to be the case here. Your evidence for Jesus of Nazareth is that there are "multiple attestations" of his existence, and when I attempted to prove that those multiple attestations are all from only one or two sources at most, you tried to find a flaw in my argument rather than to present evidence to the contrary. Did you realize that multiple attestations, even if you could prove such a case, is not enough to prove Jesus was real? There have been false events and false people attested to by multiple witnesses, and because of that, your evidence requires a stronger backing... but it doesn't even have that, and you'd recognize that if you weighed the evidence yourself rather than to try to block my attempts to provide evidence by calling it "flawed". You, too, are capable of bringing evidence against your argument forward. Have you even tried?

And please, stop trying to prove that you're an "expert" in debate and historical method. I've heard real experts discuss historical method, which is why I recognized your method to be lacking. And if you really were an "x-champion debater", I'd imagine you could (and would) cite it. I'm not going to take your word for it, especially after these examples given of your performance. But even if those things were true, they wouldn't make your evidence stronger or your argument more valid.

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30-12-2012, 09:20 PM
RE: Proof of Jesus?
Quote:No, it's really not. Are you familiar with the "fallacy fallacy"? It's where you write off an argument entirely because you spot a fallacy (or think you did). You made it clear that you don't recognize this fallacy when you said "most of those anti-existence arguments are full of holes when analyzed closely" and when you continue to play "spot the fallacy" with my arguments.

The reason that dis-confirming evidence is required in your arguments (and mine, and everyone's) is to prevent confirmation bias from preventing rational thought. If you don't recognize a line of evidence that would change your mind if it was presented, then you really don't have the "open mind" that you're claiming to have -- it means you can make any evidence fit your preconceived belief. And that appears to be the case here. Your evidence for Jesus of Nazareth is that there are "multiple attestations" of his existence, and when I attempted to prove that those multiple attestations are all from only one or two sources at most, you tried to find a flaw in my argument rather than to present evidence to the contrary. Did you realize that multiple attestations, even if you could prove such a case, is not enough to prove Jesus was real? There have been false events and false people attested to by multiple witnesses, and because of that, your evidence requires a stronger backing... but it doesn't even have that, and you'd recognize that if you weighed the evidence yourself rather than to try to block my attempts to provide evidence by calling it "flawed". You, too, are capable of bringing evidence against your argument forward. Have you even tried?

And please, stop trying to prove that you're an "expert" in debate and historical method. I've heard real experts discuss historical method, which is why I recognized your method to be lacking. And if you really were an "x-champion debater", I'd imagine you could (and would) cite it. I'm not going to take your word for it, especially after these examples given of your performance. But even if those things were true, they wouldn't make your evidence stronger or your argument more valid.



Well, if you really think all that, then watch closely how, with one simple request, your argument will utterly be destroyed.


Question: Can you provide any evidence whatsoever to demonstrate that Jesus did not exist?



I'll await your answer. Let's see how you do.

Smile

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