[split] Debating Lion IRC
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02-02-2013, 01:30 PM (This post was last modified: 02-02-2013 01:41 PM by Lion IRC.)
RE: [split] Debating Lion IRC
(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(24-01-2013 03:20 PM)Lion IRC Wrote:  EXISTING BELIEVERS.

Well BEFORE the written Gospels appeared.

...many of whom would have been eye-witness corroboration sources for what we read in those Gospels.


Correct. Nobody has claimed that.

The name of the person who physically wrote down the text on paper is not known.

Neither do we know for certain that the oldest extant text is the very first time the accounts were written. What we have may be the later result of earlier drafts.

It stands to reason that the sources would want to cross-check and verify details BEFORE committing them into writing.

And as I said earlier, the sources may have required translation.

That the Gospels are given appropriate ''names'' (or letter designations like "Q") for simplicity and convenience has never been a problem for any bible scholars INCLUDING theist scholars.

Now lets get to your noble lie theory and see if it applies to people who faced crucifixion for their stating their unshakable belief that Jesus was seen alive after death.



The Gospels dont ''sound nice''.

The Gospels state things which make their sources look like idiots, cowards, doubters, disloyal to Jesus. The Gospels assert things which, in context, are laughable such as...Jewish women in 33AD being reliable primary witnesses testifying to a male Jewish audience, like the Jewish Messiah being flogged and Crucified, like a physical Resurrection, etc. They would otherwise be ashamed to profess much of what is in the Gospels. And the way a historical text sounds IS a valid method historians use to evaluate its likely authenticity.

Nobody is saying it PROVES anything, but it is certainly a factor used by historians. Embellishment and self-flattery is a motive which distorts the likelihood of a text being entirely factual.

And in this case the historical sources had the additional motive not to write or say anything at all if they wanted to avoid arrest and execution! So they were writing unflattering stuff about themselves that could get them stoned, beheaded, crucified.... Consider



The Gospel writers were doing what they were told by a person they NOW thought without doubt was a divine Being. If they had doubts, they would have waited until the risk of arrest and execution had subsided - they would have waited maybe 400-600 years to pass.

And that leads me to your supposed noble lie examples...




Pammachius 395AD. What does this have to do with the Gospels 350 years earlier?

Jerome is having a petty dispute with someone over a matter which he thinks goes to personal/intellectual credibility.

Nobody in 395AD is getting arrested and tortured for sending letters back and forth debating theology and squabbling about Church politics.

Are you seriously forgetting that the Roman Empire at that time was being ruled by a CHRISTIAN who accepted Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?





Yep. Eusebius stating the bleeding obvious. When writing history propaganda, leave out the unflattering stuff.

The Gospels fail the propaganda test. They were unflattering, embarrassing, shameful, and proclaimed stuff that went not only against Messianic Jewish orthodoxy, but also against Roman theism and politics. The only motive Christians had was to please God. And lying displeases God.

The Nazis would torture you if you DIDNT affirm the Hitler-flattering Nazi propaganda. But thats the exact OPPOSITE of what was going on in AD 50 when the authorities were torturing early Christians.




Again with the...Church Fathers. Christianity was already firmly established as a contending viable, credible theistic worldview. So much so, that it had attained tolerance and the ability to be openly discussed by intellectuals in the safety of an uncensored public square in cosmopolitan Alexandria.



The 5th Century?!!! Man you are late to the party.


Again, completely ignoring the fact that the Gospel authors werent living in the 5th and 6th Centuries by which time Rome was ruled by a Christian. By this time there was certainly a motive to assert POLITICAL influence - nothing to do with pleasing God and EVERYTHING to do with terrestrial self-gain. (Money/power)
Yep - people WILL lie for THAT.


See? You know that the motive to lie for self-gain here is entirely driven by different circumstances.
''Once the Church had gained acceptance...''
YEP. And not before.

Re..."EXISTING BELIEVERS.

Well BEFORE the written Gospels appeared.

...many of whom would have been eye-witness corroboration sources for what we read in those Gospels."

I challenge you to name one eye witness. And prove it. A "Tradition" will not do.

Simon Peter, Saul of Tarsus, Mary Magdalene, Nathanael of Cana, Thomas Didymus, James and John bar Zebedee......

Theres a few to get you started.

Now, what do I have to prove? That these people actually existed? That they ever made any such claims about a person named Jesus? That there was ever a person named Jesus? That Jesus was actually ever Crucified? That an omnipotent God can cause a Resurrection? That God exists?

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  ...Re..."And in this case the historical sources had the additional motive not to
write or say anything at all if they wanted to avoid arrest and
execution! So they were writing unflattering stuff about themselves that
could get them stoned, beheaded, crucified...." OH DEAR! You have almost no understanding of the history. Rome tolerated all religions. Look it up. Rome, in fact, probably created the gospels.

WOW! Rome tolerated all religions? You must be joking. Rome was ruled by a person who demanded worship as if he were a god. Guess what happened of you didnt hail Caesar. Rome did NOT tolerate ALL religions. Rome turned Christians into pet food for wild animals and set Christians on fire while they were still alive. Pliny wrote to the Roman Emperor complaining how hard he was finding it to torture the growing numbers of Christians.

And I'm astonished by your claim that the Gospels were probably created by Rome. Why would Rome create fake Gospels?
Do you also claim they faked the public execution and burial of Jesus?

See, heres a classic case of an alternate hypothesis from Gospel skeptics which demands more wilful suspension of disbelief than the original claim ...that people believed they saw Jesus after He died.

And remember, thats the only thing being debated here in secular historical terms. Not that a supernatural event actually happened - which is the Christian explanation for post-mortem appearances - but that the relevant NATURAL historical events happened. viz; historical Jesus, historical execution, historical burial, historical onlookers, and then documented claims from people who sincerely thought they saw the same person alive after death, and who were willing to stand by those claims until they died.

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re...."But thats the exact OPPOSITE of what was going on in AD 50 when the authorities were torturing early Christians. " HUH? What "authorities?" What "Christians?" Methinks your imagination is out of control.

Given your imaginative 'Rome faked the Gospels' espionage conspiracy theory, I can understand why you say this. Paul was probably a Roman spy right? Pontius Pilate was an invented character who helped with the fake trial and execution for Rome.

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re..."Again with the...Church Fathers. Christianity was already firmly
established as a contending viable, credible theistic worldview." BULLSHIT! You have no understanding of the real history. Christianity always was and still is a bloody mess of incoherent ideas....

A mess of incoherent ideas started by Nero? Or was it Gaius Caligula? Tiberius? Unsure
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02-02-2013, 01:51 PM
RE: [split] Debating Lion IRC
Rejoining the debate... for a bit... Smile

(02-02-2013 01:30 PM)Lion IRC Wrote:  Simon Peter, Saul of Tarsus, Mary Magdalene, Nathanael of Cana, Thomas Didymus, James and John bar Zebedee......
And the proof that they are trust-worthy eye witnesses is... ?

Quote:Now, what do I have to prove? That these people actually existed? That they ever made any such claims about a person named Jesus?
It'd be a start.

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  original claim ...that people believed they saw Jesus after He died.
A claim from a *biased source*, unless you have another ?

Quote:historical Jesus, historical execution, historical burial, historical onlookers, and then documented claims from people who sincerely thought they saw the same person alive after death, and who were willing to stand by those claims until they died.
What evidence have you provided for this ? Gospels ? Is there archaeological evidence ? Anything other than scriptural evidence at all ? Or is there some sort of way in which you believe that the NT can be taken as evidence on its own ?

I apologise but after the text wars started I lost interest, hence my somewhat late-for-the-party questions. But I want to avoid reading the whole damn thread if I can - I got enough more interesting books to read myself Tongue
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02-02-2013, 03:45 PM
RE: [split] Debating Lion IRC
I'm still waiting for a response from you, Lion_IRC. Consider

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02-02-2013, 06:49 PM
RE: [split] Debating Lion IRC
(26-01-2013 03:49 PM)Lion IRC Wrote:  
(26-01-2013 02:00 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  I never mentioned Lazarus. That was a lie.

Sorry. It was Jarius' daughter that you mentioned. I apologize. (Please note that a mistake isnt a lie.)

I had you mixed up with Atothetheist who mentioned Lazarus way back when several posters were commenting on biblical instances of resurrection and folk coming out of their graves.


(26-01-2013 02:00 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  ...Death is not a "singularity". Nice try at redefining a word that has no such meaning.

Well I did make it clear that I wasnt using it in the astro-physics sense of the word. But it is a ''singularity'' of another kind. Theres so much woo in cosmology these days, an afterlife space/time dimension may as well on the list of multiverse options. A holographic universe called heaven. A wormhole which opens up when you die. Dark energy sucking you into a quantum vacuum where matter is created out of nothing. Advanced alien beings with abilities we find miraculous. Blink

And death is not sufficiently well-understood that you can claim to know more than anyone else about what comes afterwards UNLESS you wade out of your depth and into metaphysics and theology.

(26-01-2013 02:00 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  ...Death is the cessation of life processes. It's that simple. When your brain chemistry ceases, your consciousness ceases. That's it. There is no possible mechanism for continuation. It's all wishful thinking, because human individuals want to think they are individually importatant. It's childish, wishful fantasy. That's all there is evidence for. No one, or nothing living, ever once has resumed life, after death.

Yawn. Welcome to the party pal! Where have you been?
Folk who hope theres no afterlife are gonna flock to your wishful fantasy religion.
Re..."Yawn. Welcome to the party pal! Where have you been?
Folk who hope theres no afterlife are gonna flock to your wishful fantasy religion."

What, exactly, is your point? You sound as though you're in the game of attracting folks to a religion! Is there any truth in that?
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02-02-2013, 07:01 PM (This post was last modified: 02-02-2013 07:36 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: [split] Debating Lion IRC
"Simon Peter, Saul of Tarsus, Mary Magdalene, Nathanael of Cana, Thomas Didymus, James and John bar Zebedee......

Hahaha. All members of the cult that wanted to gain more business/adherents, so obviously not one is "objective". Try harder Pussy Cat IRC. And if they are SO reliable, why are Mary's and Peter's gospels not "canonical" ? Where is the evidence anything they say is "objective". What does that word even mean in that culture ? If it DOES mean the same thing, why are SO many miracles accepted by SO many people, and SO many gods rising from the dead ? Prove it means the same thing it means today. Saul is an admitted liar. Pussy Cat IRC has no evidence for anything. He had 50 pages to provide some. Don't waste your time folks. He's got none, obviously. Then he tried to change the subject, and THAT didn't work.
Yawn.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
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02-02-2013, 07:48 PM (This post was last modified: 02-02-2013 07:54 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: [split] Debating Lion IRC
(02-02-2013 01:30 PM)Lion IRC Wrote:  
(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re..."EXISTING BELIEVERS.

Well BEFORE the written Gospels appeared.

...many of whom would have been eye-witness corroboration sources for what we read in those Gospels."

I challenge you to name one eye witness. And prove it. A "Tradition" will not do.

Simon Peter, Saul of Tarsus, Mary Magdalene, Nathanael of Cana, Thomas Didymus, James and John bar Zebedee......

Theres a few to get you started.

Now, what do I have to prove? That these people actually existed? That they ever made any such claims about a person named Jesus? That there was ever a person named Jesus? That Jesus was actually ever Crucified? That an omnipotent God can cause a Resurrection? That God exists?

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  ...Re..."And in this case the historical sources had the additional motive not to
write or say anything at all if they wanted to avoid arrest and
execution! So they were writing unflattering stuff about themselves that
could get them stoned, beheaded, crucified...." OH DEAR! You have almost no understanding of the history. Rome tolerated all religions. Look it up. Rome, in fact, probably created the gospels.

WOW! Rome tolerated all religions? You must be joking. Rome was ruled by a person who demanded worship as if he were a god. Guess what happened of you didnt hail Caesar. Rome did NOT tolerate ALL religions. Rome turned Christians into pet food for wild animals and set Christians on fire while they were still alive. Pliny wrote to the Roman Emperor complaining how hard he was finding it to torture the growing numbers of Christians.

And I'm astonished by your claim that the Gospels were probably created by Rome. Why would Rome create fake Gospels?
Do you also claim they faked the public execution and burial of Jesus?

See, heres a classic case of an alternate hypothesis from Gospel skeptics which demands more wilful suspension of disbelief than the original claim ...that people believed they saw Jesus after He died.

And remember, thats the only thing being debated here in secular historical terms. Not that a supernatural event actually happened - which is the Christian explanation for post-mortem appearances - but that the relevant NATURAL historical events happened. viz; historical Jesus, historical execution, historical burial, historical onlookers, and then documented claims from people who sincerely thought they saw the same person alive after death, and who were willing to stand by those claims until they died.

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re...."But thats the exact OPPOSITE of what was going on in AD 50 when the authorities were torturing early Christians. " HUH? What "authorities?" What "Christians?" Methinks your imagination is out of control.

Given your imaginative 'Rome faked the Gospels' espionage conspiracy theory, I can understand why you say this. Paul was probably a Roman spy right? Pontius Pilate was an invented character who helped with the fake trial and execution for Rome.

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re..."Again with the...Church Fathers. Christianity was already firmly
established as a contending viable, credible theistic worldview." BULLSHIT! You have no understanding of the real history. Christianity always was and still is a bloody mess of incoherent ideas....

A mess of incoherent ideas started by Nero? Or was it Gaius Caligula? Tiberius? Unsure
I was asking you to prove they were "believers" ie Christians, and to use some quality source in the process.
Ok...here we go....you claim these "followers" were "believers..."

1. Simon Peter.

He probably existed. He was a Jew, a Nazarene, never a Christian. Fought with Paul, (one of the first Christians-see 1 Corinthians, written by Paul). Story in Acts about him being a Christian is fiction, written over 50 years after Peter probably died. 1,2, Peter in bible NOT written by "Peter," these letters never mention Jeebus did miracles or rose from the dead.

2. Saul of Tarsus.

Existed. But....

Paul Knew Almost Nothing of the Jesus in the Gospels


Most Christians assume Paul was restating the wisdom of Jesus, but he never claimed he received inspiration from Jesus or from Jesus’ disciples. Paul held his message came from God and was about his Christ. It was not from
Jesus.


Paul's Christ was someone different from the miracle-working preacher in the Gospels, the Jesus we think we know. Amazingly, in the twenty-first century, we know more about “Jesus” than Paul did! He wrote


“Must I go on boasting, though there is nothing to be gained by it? But I will move onto the visions and revelations I have had from the Lord. (2 Cor. 12:1–4, NJB). Paul was claiming he’d received visions and revelations from the Lord (Yahweh.)


Paul (or possibly an interpolator) wrote,


“Even if we did once know Christ in the flesh, that is not how we know him now” (2 Cor. 5:16, NJB). He was only interested in the idea of a resurrected spirit, his Christ figurehead. He thought Christ was a mystery, one that he had a
particularly good understanding of:


“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Eph. 3:4, KJV), and someone passing himself off as Paul wrote


“Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds”(Col. 4:3, KJV).


He didn't give a fig tree about the life or teaching of a once living human Jesus. The only thing that mattered to him was that a Christ was crucified and resurrected. He rambled on and on about the supposed significance of Christ's death, not his life.


Who then, was Paul’s Christ? It was someone who Paul thought had existed in heaven since the beginning of time, yet only revealed to the world via his interpretation of scripture. Douglas Lockhart (http://douglaslockhart.com/) and a number of other scholars (http://www.jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/BkrvEll.htm) think it could have been the “Teacher of
Righteousness” written about in the Dead Sea Scrolls. There are many theories as to who this character was, one of which is that he was an Essene leader, a priest, who lived perhaps a hundred years before Yeshua who had disapproved of the Hasmonean high priest. The community this teacher inspired may have been a sect that believed the teacher of righteousness would soon return from the dead. Lockhart also believes this sect may well have been the same sect Paul set out to persecute, yet ended up trying to join, and he may have spent some time in Arabia learning their teachings. This would explain Paul’s complete ignorance of the Jesus we think we know.


Paul’s mysterious Christ is a difficult idea for modern readers to grasp, and in my opinion it’s not worth the effort. It helps to remember that the sources of Paul’s ideas are obscure; that his writings have been tampered with; that original meaning is often lost in translations; that the Jesus stories we know so well only finished being cobbled together in the fourth century, and Paul had never read them; and that Paul was just odd.


In the gentile world of the time there was competition from many dying and rising gods. Mithras was an example well known to Paul. Those gods often didn’t have a mortal life that was remembered, just like his Christ. It was only the myth of them dying and rising again that gave them significance, just like his Christ. Paul’s Christ was probably his own
Judaic myth invented to compete with these other cults. The idea that Christ would one day be equated with Yeshua may not ever have been on his radar. (http://www.jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/parttwo.htm).


The authors and editors of the Gospels may have superimposed Paul’s “Christ” into the biographies of Jesus in the gospels. They might also have edited “Jesus” into Paul’s writings where he had written only “Christ.” Paul does say that he met “the brother of the Lord” i.e. James (see below), and does say Jesus was crucified by Pontius Pilate, yet these would have been easy interpolations for second century Christians to insert. I can’t prove this happened, yet I think it likely.


Most Christians I have talked to about this are perplexed, and with good reason, because Paul’s lack of commentary on Jesus undermines the account about Jesus being an inspiring, insightful individual that had so impressed his disciples, someone with amazing charisma who preached wise anecdotes. This is an image created by churchmen using the gospels. Paul knew none of this. Outside of scripture he only ever acknowledged one teacher of wisdom—himself. An authoritative Yeshua, even though recently deceased, would have focused the limelight on someone more significant than himself, and I don’t think he would have liked that.


3. Mary Magadalene.

May have existed. No record from her about what she believed. Like Peter, would have been Jewish, not a Christian. Was probably dead before the first gospel was ever written (average life expectancy in first century Galilee....25 years)

4. Nathaneal of Cana.

Mentioned in gospels under different names. Insignificant. No secular record of what he said or did.

5. James and John bar Zebedee......

May have existed. Jews. Fundamentalist Jews. Thought Jesus was a great guy, but not the son of God. So they weren't Christians. So not "believers"
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02-02-2013, 08:05 PM (This post was last modified: 02-02-2013 08:09 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: [split] Debating Lion IRC
(02-02-2013 01:30 PM)Lion IRC Wrote:  
(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re..."EXISTING BELIEVERS.

Well BEFORE the written Gospels appeared.

...many of whom would have been eye-witness corroboration sources for what we read in those Gospels."

I challenge you to name one eye witness. And prove it. A "Tradition" will not do.

Simon Peter, Saul of Tarsus, Mary Magdalene, Nathanael of Cana, Thomas Didymus, James and John bar Zebedee......

Theres a few to get you started.

Now, what do I have to prove? That these people actually existed? That they ever made any such claims about a person named Jesus? That there was ever a person named Jesus? That Jesus was actually ever Crucified? That an omnipotent God can cause a Resurrection? That God exists?

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  ...Re..."And in this case the historical sources had the additional motive not to
write or say anything at all if they wanted to avoid arrest and
execution! So they were writing unflattering stuff about themselves that
could get them stoned, beheaded, crucified...." OH DEAR! You have almost no understanding of the history. Rome tolerated all religions. Look it up. Rome, in fact, probably created the gospels.

WOW! Rome tolerated all religions? You must be joking. Rome was ruled by a person who demanded worship as if he were a god. Guess what happened of you didnt hail Caesar. Rome did NOT tolerate ALL religions. Rome turned Christians into pet food for wild animals and set Christians on fire while they were still alive. Pliny wrote to the Roman Emperor complaining how hard he was finding it to torture the growing numbers of Christians.

And I'm astonished by your claim that the Gospels were probably created by Rome. Why would Rome create fake Gospels?
Do you also claim they faked the public execution and burial of Jesus?

See, heres a classic case of an alternate hypothesis from Gospel skeptics which demands more wilful suspension of disbelief than the original claim ...that people believed they saw Jesus after He died.

And remember, thats the only thing being debated here in secular historical terms. Not that a supernatural event actually happened - which is the Christian explanation for post-mortem appearances - but that the relevant NATURAL historical events happened. viz; historical Jesus, historical execution, historical burial, historical onlookers, and then documented claims from people who sincerely thought they saw the same person alive after death, and who were willing to stand by those claims until they died.

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re...."But thats the exact OPPOSITE of what was going on in AD 50 when the authorities were torturing early Christians. " HUH? What "authorities?" What "Christians?" Methinks your imagination is out of control.

Given your imaginative 'Rome faked the Gospels' espionage conspiracy theory, I can understand why you say this. Paul was probably a Roman spy right? Pontius Pilate was an invented character who helped with the fake trial and execution for Rome.

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re..."Again with the...Church Fathers. Christianity was already firmly
established as a contending viable, credible theistic worldview." BULLSHIT! You have no understanding of the real history. Christianity always was and still is a bloody mess of incoherent ideas....

A mess of incoherent ideas started by Nero? Or was it Gaius Caligula? Tiberius? Unsure
Re..."WOW! Rome tolerated all religions? You must be joking. Rome was ruled by a person who demanded worship as if he were a god."

A short history lesson for you. I strongly suggest you do some reading for yourself too.


Other Cults


In the first four centuries CE, there was a huge trade network from Europe all the way to China.
Goods were not the only commodities traded; philosophies, traditions and manuscripts were shared amongst the world’s people. Rome absorbed the gods of the provinces it conquered. By the end of the first century, there were so many foreign gods that almost every day of the year celebrated some divinity. Roman citizens were encouraged to give offerings to these gods to maintain the “Pax Deorum” (the peace of the gods.) These cults, including Christianity, vied with their contemporaries for supremacy, and borrowed ideas from each other. Gods who became men, sons of gods, births to virgin mothers on or near the 25th of December, baptisms, miracles, healings, deaths due to hanging on trees or crucifixion, risings from the dead, and belief being the basis for salvation, were all traditional themes. (http://freetruth.50webs.org/B1a.htm). Here are some examples.


Krishna, the central character of an Indian myth dating back to 1400 BCE, had his birth signaled by a star in the East and attended by angels and shepherds. His father was a carpenter. A tyrant slaughtered thousands of innocent infants to get the baby. Krishna survived and grew up to raise the dead and heal lepers, the deaf and the blind. He was killed around age 30 and the sun darkened. He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, and became the second person of a trinity. Christianity has repeatedly failed to make any headway in India. One of the reasons is that many Indians have recognized it as an imitation of their own traditions.(http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jckr1.htm)


Buddhist monks travelled to Egypt, Greece and Asia Minor four centuries before Christ. Buddha, traditionally said to have lived c 600 BCE, was born to the virgin Maya. A king threatened the baby’s life. He was baptized in water, taught in a temple at age 12, healed the sick, fed 500 men from a small basket, walked on water and taught the parable of the prodigal son. His followers were obliged to take vows of poverty and to renounce the world, sex and family. (http://jdstone.org/cr/files/j_buddah.html)


Dionysis of Greece was born in a manger to a virgin on 25th December, performed miracles, turned water into wine, was eaten in a Eucharistic ritual, and in one version of events rose from the dead on March 25th.


Stories about Osiris of Egypt predate Christ by thousands of years. His birth was announced by 3 wise men. He was called the resurrection and the Life and the Good Shepherd. He suffered, died and rose again. His flesh was eaten as wheat cakes. (http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa2.htm).


He had a son called Horus, (http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa5b.htm), whose birth was announced by a
star in the east and attended by 3 wise men. He was born of the virgin Isis-Meri on the 25th December in a cave. At age 12 he was a teacher in a temple, then disappeared for 18 years, returned into circulation and was
baptized at age 30. He had 12 disciples, performed miracles, exorcised demons, raised men from the dead, walked on water, delivered a sermon on the mount, was crucified between two thieves, and was buried for 3 days before he was
resurrected from the dead.


There were many others, including Adduk and Marduk of Assyria, Adonis, Aesclepius, Apollo, Hercules and Zeus of Greece, Alcides of Thebes, Hermes of Greece/Egypt, Issa of Arabia, Jupiter of Rome and Serapis of Egypt who had striking similarities to the Christian mythology.


Jesus had to be distinguished from these other gods, so the church fathers made a big deal out
of how he came “in the flesh.” They then derided other gods as mythical.
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02-02-2013, 08:15 PM (This post was last modified: 02-02-2013 08:29 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: [split] Debating Lion IRC
(02-02-2013 01:30 PM)Lion IRC Wrote:  
(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re..."EXISTING BELIEVERS.

Well BEFORE the written Gospels appeared.

...many of whom would have been eye-witness corroboration sources for what we read in those Gospels."

I challenge you to name one eye witness. And prove it. A "Tradition" will not do.

Simon Peter, Saul of Tarsus, Mary Magdalene, Nathanael of Cana, Thomas Didymus, James and John bar Zebedee......

Theres a few to get you started.

Now, what do I have to prove? That these people actually existed? That they ever made any such claims about a person named Jesus? That there was ever a person named Jesus? That Jesus was actually ever Crucified? That an omnipotent God can cause a Resurrection? That God exists?

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  ...Re..."And in this case the historical sources had the additional motive not to
write or say anything at all if they wanted to avoid arrest and
execution! So they were writing unflattering stuff about themselves that
could get them stoned, beheaded, crucified...." OH DEAR! You have almost no understanding of the history. Rome tolerated all religions. Look it up. Rome, in fact, probably created the gospels.

WOW! Rome tolerated all religions? You must be joking. Rome was ruled by a person who demanded worship as if he were a god. Guess what happened of you didnt hail Caesar. Rome did NOT tolerate ALL religions. Rome turned Christians into pet food for wild animals and set Christians on fire while they were still alive. Pliny wrote to the Roman Emperor complaining how hard he was finding it to torture the growing numbers of Christians.

And I'm astonished by your claim that the Gospels were probably created by Rome. Why would Rome create fake Gospels?
Do you also claim they faked the public execution and burial of Jesus?

See, heres a classic case of an alternate hypothesis from Gospel skeptics which demands more wilful suspension of disbelief than the original claim ...that people believed they saw Jesus after He died.

And remember, thats the only thing being debated here in secular historical terms. Not that a supernatural event actually happened - which is the Christian explanation for post-mortem appearances - but that the relevant NATURAL historical events happened. viz; historical Jesus, historical execution, historical burial, historical onlookers, and then documented claims from people who sincerely thought they saw the same person alive after death, and who were willing to stand by those claims until they died.

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re...."But thats the exact OPPOSITE of what was going on in AD 50 when the authorities were torturing early Christians. " HUH? What "authorities?" What "Christians?" Methinks your imagination is out of control.

Given your imaginative 'Rome faked the Gospels' espionage conspiracy theory, I can understand why you say this. Paul was probably a Roman spy right? Pontius Pilate was an invented character who helped with the fake trial and execution for Rome.

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re..."Again with the...Church Fathers. Christianity was already firmly
established as a contending viable, credible theistic worldview." BULLSHIT! You have no understanding of the real history. Christianity always was and still is a bloody mess of incoherent ideas....

A mess of incoherent ideas started by Nero? Or was it Gaius Caligula? Tiberius? Unsure
Re..."And I'm astonished by your claim that the Gospels were probably created by Rome. Why would Rome create fake Gospels?"

SEE BELOW...next post


Re..."Do you also claim they faked the public execution and burial of Jesus?"

NO

Re..."Paul was probably a Roman spy right?"

YES!!

Was Christianity Roman Government Propaganda?


There’s a fascinating angle to consider. I think it’s probable that an arm of the Roman government instigated Paul’s pagan propaganda. The fact that belief in the divinity of Jesus arose in many diverse areas of the empire a number of decades after his death suggests that it came from a central source such as the government. In those times it was obviously easier to promote untruthful propaganda than it is today, because the public was less informed.

There was good reason to mar the power of Judaism, and particularly messianic Nazarenism. The Romans were trying to stop a war. They had to counter Jewish extremists who promoted the subversive idea that their own king should govern the world on behalf of God and in place of Caesar. If the Romans couldn’t pacify the Jews, it would set a dangerous precedent for other races to revolt. They needed to keep control over the trade routes to Asia and Egypt. They must have been frustrated at having to repeatedly use force to suppress Jewish extremists, as it was disruptive, expensive, and taxing on the army. Roman vitriol bubbled over when soldiers razed the Temple in 70 CE when there was no military need to do so. Judaism’s nerve center had to be destroyed.

I suspect the Roman government promoted its own propaganda that included Paul’s writings and the Gospels. They would have known ideas could be as effective as weapons. I think they tried to weaken Judaism by
infiltrating and diluting it with gentiles. A tale that the Jewish messiah had already been and gone, but wasn’t a political activist, rather a spiritual intermediary between God and man, would have suited their agenda perfectly. If
the idea caught on, there’d be no more messiahs and no more revolts.

“Blessed are the peacemakers,” “turn the other cheek,” “love your enemies” and “pay your taxes” meant you didn’t cause trouble and obeyed your Roman superiors. To promote this would’ve been a lot less expensive and less hassle than having to use force.

There could’ve been many “Pauls” throughout the empire working as government agents, spreading propaganda. One of the reasons I think this is that he wrote to a community in Rome to introduce himself, and they clearly already had some beliefs about a Christ.

I think Paul attempted to infiltrate the Nazarenes to undermine them and their messianic message. I suspect (but can’t
prove) he would have passed information about them on to Roman authorities. His conversion and his rather novel beliefs were his cover and his modus operandi.

Paul preached at precisely the time when Jewish messianic fervor was building in momentum and needed to be quelled. These were the decades before it exploded in the war of 66 -70 CE.

This fits with Paul being a Roman citizen who had dubious Pharisaic credentials.

It would help explain how he managed to support himself financially. It might also explain why he asked for the community in Rome’s prayers that his financial gift to the Nazarenes in Jerusalem would be accepted; he was trying to endear himself to them using bribery.

It fits with a man who may have been at first in league with the Sadducees, and therefore persecuting Nazarenes, but later preached that for some the Torah was obsolete, and that Christ was not a crucified political dissident but a pro-Roman God risen from the dead.

It clarifies why he was repetitively roughed up by traditional Jews nearly everywhere he went, yet was never attacked by gentiles.

It explains why Roman authorities treated him so well, despite the fact he so regularly disturbed the peace.

It makes clear why he wrote this to a Roman community:

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those
who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to
you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually
to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs,
fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” (Romans 13:1-7 KJV). A government agent wrote this, not a Pharisee who’s seen the light!

It fits with the fact the book of Acts states:

“Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul” (Acts 13:1, KJV). So the earliest Christian community at Antioch boasted a member of the family of Herod Antipas, the pro-Roman Tetrarch who had murdered John the Baptist, and Paul (Saul) was associated with him.


Paul finished off his letter to the Philippians with a salutation:

“All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household”(Phil. 4:22, KJV).This confirms that Paul had contact with the Emperor Nero’s family.

Paul’s “arrest” by the Romans isn’t inconsistent with the fact he was in league with them. Things had got a little out of control and he ended up being a source of civil unrest. He’d become a diehard dogmatist causing trouble wherever he went. Instead of undermining Judaism, he incited Jews to the point of violence, something Rome didn’t want. The “arrest” was, in fact, for his own protection. Reading between the lines, he was never treated like a prisoner. Rather, there were remarkable Roman resources used to protect him.

If this propaganda theory is true, Paul was a spy and a charlatan; a cog in the wheel of a cunning government plan. I’m
not suggesting that he didn’t wholeheartedly believe in the value of what he was doing. There’s no doubt that if he’d been more successful two large wars may have been averted. Yet it means that the fundamental tenets of Christianity
are a fiction. It means Rome created Jesus, the Christ, a benign pacifist messiah.

Even today, most non-Jews misunderstand what the actual (Jewish) Messianic movement was. This misunderstanding was Rome’s doing.

The government may have twisted the knife to further wound Judaism by blaming Jesus’ crucifixion on the Jews and making Romans look like the innocent good guys. A flagrant manipulation of facts is a recurrent theme in world history when powerful governments try to control popular opinion.

The government didn’t want messiahs claiming the right to rule and inciting Jewish peasants to insurrection. Vespasian, Titus and Domitian sought out members of the “royal house of David” in the late decades of the first century to help
make sure this didn’t happen.

The government hoped the story of the new idol would convince people that true spirituality and the promise of eternal life were synonymous with getting along with them. It was the winners that wrote the history. Christianity solidified the allegiance of people throughout the Empire to Rome.

It would explain why Jesus would say

“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” (Matthew 21;43 KJV). “He” was saying that the nation of Israel had been permanently rejected as the people of God, and given to gentile converts.

This explains why the true identities of all four Gospel authors are unknown. If this theory is true, it’s ironic that the
gospels, said to be so truthful, became the most successful literary enterprises ever undertaken in the history of the
world, yet were so manufactured. I’ll discuss the gospels in more depth later.

In modern times, this is called propaganda, disinformation or psychological warfare. It’s fascinating to imagine these subversive tactics as part of the first-century Roman Empire and jaw-dropping to realize the dogma has survived
without being exposed for what it probably is, and is still coloring the way people, and in particular trusting Christians, look at the world.


The reader may be wondering why, if this is true, it’s often claimed the government persecuted Christians. The fact is persecution of Christians wasn’t often a policy of the state. Rome was tolerant of all religions, including Christianity. Persecution happened sporadically many years later, but only if Christians refused to worship the state’s gods. By this time the militaristic ambitions of peasant Jews had been finally and definitively crushed in the second Jewish war of 132-5 CE, and there were different agendas on the government’s mind. (see http://www.religionfacts.com/christianit...cution.htm). What’s more, many stories of supposed persecutions of Christians by the Roman government are, in fact, now recognized as ninth century exaggerations and fabrications.

It took a lot of reading and thinking before the idea that Christianity could have originated in the government dawned on me, and I was encouraged by discovering that many other commentators had deduced something similar too. Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon co-wrote “Operation Messiah” in which they postulate that Paul was

“supporting the imperial structure, benefiting from it, cooperating with it, often saved by it. The end product for Rome was exactly what it wanted - a loyal, other –worldly, spiritual movement that was completely divorced from Palestinian
revolutionary movements, from Jewish nationalism and from any challenge to Roman imperial authority. Its followers were supposed to pay taxes and be loyal citizens of the emperor.”

Peter Cresswell, Joseph Atwill, and no doubt many other authors have reached similar conclusions.

I hope the reader understands the significance of this. If this is true, Christianity has been the most monumental fraud ever inflicted on humankind.

References:


Cresswell, Peter 2010 “Jesus the Terrorist” O books, Winchester, UK.


Eisenman, Robert H. “James the Brother of Jesus:
The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea
Scrolls”



Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon co-wrote “Operation Messiah”


http://www.angelfire.com/wi/famtree/romned.html


http://www.uhcg.org/HoI/James-Bro-of-Jesus.html


http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/j...t-warrior/


http://bhairavah.blogspot.com.au/2009/11...jesus.html


https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/libr...d345414791
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02-02-2013, 08:40 PM (This post was last modified: 03-02-2013 03:59 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: [split] Debating Lion IRC
(02-02-2013 01:30 PM)Lion IRC Wrote:  
(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re..."EXISTING BELIEVERS.

Well BEFORE the written Gospels appeared.

...many of whom would have been eye-witness corroboration sources for what we read in those Gospels."

I challenge you to name one eye witness. And prove it. A "Tradition" will not do.

Simon Peter, Saul of Tarsus, Mary Magdalene, Nathanael of Cana, Thomas Didymus, James and John bar Zebedee......

Theres a few to get you started.

Now, what do I have to prove? That these people actually existed? That they ever made any such claims about a person named Jesus? That there was ever a person named Jesus? That Jesus was actually ever Crucified? That an omnipotent God can cause a Resurrection? That God exists?

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  ...Re..."And in this case the historical sources had the additional motive not to
write or say anything at all if they wanted to avoid arrest and
execution! So they were writing unflattering stuff about themselves that
could get them stoned, beheaded, crucified...." OH DEAR! You have almost no understanding of the history. Rome tolerated all religions. Look it up. Rome, in fact, probably created the gospels.

WOW! Rome tolerated all religions? You must be joking. Rome was ruled by a person who demanded worship as if he were a god. Guess what happened of you didnt hail Caesar. Rome did NOT tolerate ALL religions. Rome turned Christians into pet food for wild animals and set Christians on fire while they were still alive. Pliny wrote to the Roman Emperor complaining how hard he was finding it to torture the growing numbers of Christians.

And I'm astonished by your claim that the Gospels were probably created by Rome. Why would Rome create fake Gospels?
Do you also claim they faked the public execution and burial of Jesus?

See, heres a classic case of an alternate hypothesis from Gospel skeptics which demands more wilful suspension of disbelief than the original claim ...that people believed they saw Jesus after He died.

And remember, thats the only thing being debated here in secular historical terms. Not that a supernatural event actually happened - which is the Christian explanation for post-mortem appearances - but that the relevant NATURAL historical events happened. viz; historical Jesus, historical execution, historical burial, historical onlookers, and then documented claims from people who sincerely thought they saw the same person alive after death, and who were willing to stand by those claims until they died.

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re...."But thats the exact OPPOSITE of what was going on in AD 50 when the authorities were torturing early Christians. " HUH? What "authorities?" What "Christians?" Methinks your imagination is out of control.

Given your imaginative 'Rome faked the Gospels' espionage conspiracy theory, I can understand why you say this. Paul was probably a Roman spy right? Pontius Pilate was an invented character who helped with the fake trial and execution for Rome.

(02-02-2013 01:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re..."Again with the...Church Fathers. Christianity was already firmly
established as a contending viable, credible theistic worldview." BULLSHIT! You have no understanding of the real history. Christianity always was and still is a bloody mess of incoherent ideas....

A mess of incoherent ideas started by Nero? Or was it Gaius Caligula? Tiberius? Unsure
Re..."A mess of incoherent ideas started by Nero? Or was it Gaius Caligula? Tiberius? [Image: unsure.gif]"

AH...thankyou for asking LOL. Actually, it could have been Titus. Apologies to anyone who's read this before, but I've added more to it and I think it really is fascinating history...


Atwill’s Theory

There’s a fascinating, intriguing theory about the origins of the gospels that fits with my suspicion that Christianity originated as government propaganda. The contemporary writer Joseph Atwill, who spent ten years studying the gospels, the Dead Sea scrolls and the works of Josephus, thinks intellectuals working for the government during the Flavian dynasty (69-96 CE) wrote the original versions of the gospels.

He writes in his 2005 book “Caesar’s Messiah” (http://www.amazon.com/Caes+ars-Messiah-R...oks&ie=UTF) about events from the ministry of Jesus that closely parallel Titus’ military campaign in the first Jewish war. He believes that intellectuals under the direction of Titus created the gospels, and incorporated a skillful satire of the Jews that becomes apparent on reading Josephus’ “Wars of the Jews” and his “The Life of Flavius Josephus.”

Mr Atwill believes that Titus had the gospels invented for two reasons; firstly to act as a theological barrier against the spread of messianic Judaism, and secondly because if he could get Jews to worship “Jesus,” it would mean they accepted Roman authority. Titus had decimated militant Judaism in 70 CE, but he couldn’t get the Jewish prisoners to worship him as Lord. The revolt may have been crushed, but the religion that inspired it wasn’t. It became obvious that Jews were still dreaming about their messiah, so Titus transformed himself into the embodiment of their dreams. He had a derivative of Judaism created that worshipped him (as Jesus) without its followers knowing it. He became the Son of God, sent by his father. Vespasian had already been deified by the Roman Senate. The agenda was to tame Judaism by transforming it into a cooperative, government friendly religion.

Using religion for the good of the state was a well-established practice in ancient Rome. It was done to subdue stubborn Jews and to stroke Titus’ ego by surreptitiously getting them to worship him. The Flavians fancied Christianity might flourish before the Gospels’ satirical level became widely known. The gospels were designed to become apparent as satire only to the more educated classes who could recognize the parallels in Josephus’ works. If this is true, they were a very black comedy.

Josephus was an adopted member of the Imperial family. He lived in the imperial palace, and was their official historian. He would have considered Vespasian and Titus divine, or been pleased to help propagate the myth. Titus supported the publication of his “Wars of the Jews.”

Titus became emperor in 79 CE, and was deified shortly after his death in 81 CE. The historian Seutonius says of him

“I have likewise been informed by many persons, that he was remarkably quick in writing short-hand, would in merriment and jest engage with his secretaries in the imitation of any hand-writing he saw, and often say, ‘that he was admirably qualified for forgery.’" (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, section 466).

Titus had his writers who wrote the gospels backdate Jesus’ ministry to c.30 CE, thereby enabling “Jesus” to foresee events in the future war.

As part of the scheme, Josephus shaped some of the details of his history of the war so it appeared that the messiah fulfilled predictions from the book of Daniel.

There were plenty of people in the Flavian household who, like Josephus, were familiar enough with Judaism to help create Christianity. Titus’ mistress Bernice was a Jew of Maccabean descent. Tiberias Alexander, a Jew, was chief of staff to Titus during the siege of Jerusalem. He was also the nephew of Philo, the well-known Jewish philosopher. John of Gischala, one of the main leaders of the Jewish revolt, had been transported as a prisoner back to Rome, but not executed. Atwill believes his inside knowledge of the struggle against Rome was used by the Flavians to help fabricate gospel fictions.

Titus Flavius fulfilled in real life many of “Jesus’” prophesies, nearly forty years after “Jesus” spoke them. Titus was in his late 20’s, just like Jesus. Jesus and Titus both preached “good news,” and both were sent on a mission from God, their father. Both began their three-year campaigns in Galilee and finished them in Jerusalem. Atwill believes the site of today’s Nazareth was chosen in the fourth century because it was the location of Titus’ first battle in Galilee. Titus is the “son of man” who “laid low” many Galilean towns, surrounded Jerusalem and destroys the buildings therein, all as predicted by Jesus.

“For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” (Luke 19:43-44 KJV). Many Jews had been trapped inside Jerusalem’s walls because they didn’t know the Romans were coming.

Jesus predicted the annihilation of a “wicked generation,” which is precisely what Titus did.

The understanding that a “generation” lasted forty years comes from the Torah

“And the Lord's anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the Lord, was consumed. (Numbers 32;13 KJV). They were wicked because they’d rebelled against Rome.

Mark’s gospel says:

And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 4:18-19 KJV). That sounds like a nice story, but takes on a more macabre meaning if read in conjunction with Josephus’ Wars of the Jews in which he relates the story of a battle between Jews and Titus’ troops on the same sea of Galilee:

“Sometimes the Romans leapt into their ships, with swords in their hands, and slew them; but when some of them met the vessels, the Romans caught them by the middle, and destroyed at once their ships and themselves who were taken in them. And for such as were drowning in the sea, if they lifted their heads up above the water, they were either killed by darts, or caught by the vessels; but if, in the desperate case they were in, they attempted to swim to their enemies, the Romans cut off their heads or their hands…”

Hence Titus’ troops followed him on to the Sea of Galilee where they became “fishers of men.”

We read in Luke chapter eight

“And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. And when he went forth to
land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness. And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.” (Luke 8;26-38 KJV).

This is an odd tale. There’s no theological or moral principle that can be gleaned about demons entering a herd of swine that then drowned. Why would the demons wish to enter swine, and why do these swine rush into the lake?

The answer is that the story makes sense as a satire of Josephus’ description of the battle of Gadara. Gadara was
located east of the Jordan River on a mountain about 10 kilometers south-east of The Sea of Galilee. The people of Gadara were known as “Gadarenes.” (http://www.keyway.ca/htm2001/20010621.htm).

Atwill thinks the “demon possessed man” is a satire of John of Gischala. This is how Josephus describes John

“Yet did John demonstrate by his actions that these Sicarii were more moderate than he was himself, for he not only slew all such as gave him good counsel to do what was right, but treated them worst of all…he filled his entire country with ten thousand instances of wickedness” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews)

Josephus describes the battle of Gadara:

“These things were told Vespasian by deserters…Accordingly, he marched against Gadara…but Placidus…slew all that
he overtook, as far as Jordan; and when he had driven the whole multitude to the riverside…he put his soldiers in array over against them…At which flight, hand to hand, fifteen thousand of them were slain, while the number of those
that were unwillingly forced to leap into Jordan was prodigious.” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews)

John was the rebel leader who commanded “legions” of the Sicarii, who “infected” many people, who were denigrated as swine. These people were slain or drowned in the river Jordan.

Here is part of Matthew’s version of the story:

“And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with
devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
(Matthew 8;28-29 KJV).

What’s “the time” the “devils” are referring to? It could have been the capture of John and Simon at the end of the campaign.

Jesus repeatedly says

“…repent for the kingdom of God is at hand…” (Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15.)

Titus wanted the Jews to “repent” for their rebellion against Rome. The “kingdom of God” that was “at hand” was the conquering of Jerusalem by Vespasian (God.)

Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 AD, as foretold by Jesus.

"As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” (Luke 21:6 KJV, see also Matt. 24:1; Mark 13:1).

How then, does Atwill explain the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus? The parallel is in Josephus’ autobiography “The Life of Flavius Josephus”

“Moreover, when the city Jerusalem was taken by force…I was sent by Titus Caesar…to a certain village called Thecoa, in order to know whether it were a place fit for a camp; as I came back, I saw many captives crucified, and remembered three of them as my former acquaintance. I was very sorry at this in my mind, and went with tears in my eyes to Titus, and told him of them; so he immediately commanded them to be taken down, and to have the greatest care taken of them, in order to their recovery; yet two of them died under the physician’s hands, while the third recovered. (75, 417, 420-421). So three men were crucified, but only one survived. The person who begged the Roman commander to take the survivor down from the cross was Josephus himself, whose Jewish name was Joseph Bar Matthias, from which the gospels get Joseph “of Arimathea,” the man who allegedly asked Pilate for Jesus’ body.

When Rome went to war it had a long tradition of absorbing the religions of its opponents. It was easier and more cost effective than allowing those gods to remain enemies, thereby risking more wrangles with the rank and file rallying under them. This was another example, yet with its own unique twist. The authors were hoping to convince Hebrews that Jesus, who was really Titus, had predicted the future, and had been the messiah they’d been waiting for. “Jesus” was designed to deprive them of the desire to start insurrections. Titus was, in effect, trying to rewrite Jewish scripture to make it government friendly.

If this is true, Christianity was a very clever, and in one sense humorous, product of the broader struggle that had been going on since Alexander the great in 333 BCE, the one between Hellenism with its polytheism, cleverness and rationalism, and Judaism’s monotheism, subservience and faith.

This neatly explains how Christianity, a pro-Roman religion reliant on the gospels and said to promote pacifism and obedience, allegedly emerged from a Judean cult in a nation that had over a one hundred year history of a militant struggle against Rome. It explains why a pacifist preacher, was created out of the story of an unsuccessful upstart. It’s why the true identities of all the four gospel authors are unknown. It’s why “Jesus” referred to Jews (his own companions!) who rebelled against Rome as a “wicked generation.” It’s why the “second coming” of Jesus never happened; it was Titus who came instead. It’s why the gospels are so often anti Semitic. It nicely explains why “Jesus” would say

“And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.’ (Matthew 5:41 KJB,) about Roman soldiers conscripting people to carry their packs.

It also explanations why “Jesus” was able to predict the future, as noticed by the credulous (or dishonest) Eusebius:

“If anyone compares the words of our savior with the other accounts of the historian (Josephus) concerning the whole war, how can one fail to wonder, and to admit that the foreknowledge and the prophecy of our Saviour were truly divine and marvelously strange.” (Church History, Book III, Chapter VII.) Eusebius failed to realize, or admit, that the gospels’ authors had used Josephus to create Jesus. Even some modern Christian apologists think
Jesus predicted the future. (http://www.ukapologetics.net/09/AD70.htm)

It explains why the gospels were first written in Greek and how Christianity’s structures of authority, namely churches and the college of bishops, were based on Roman, not Judaic, traditions.

It’s why so many members of the Roman imperial family were said to be promoting Christianity, for example Flavius Clemens, later said to be the fourth pope, Bernice, Titus’ mistress, and Flavia Domitilla, Vespasian’s granddaughter. If these people were “Christians,” they were so in name only as part of the propaganda, as they couldn’t have believed in their own spoof.

Atwill thinks the Flavians didn’t intend sophisticated, educated people similar to themselves to read their invention as serious literature or history. It was intended for militant Jews and the hoi polloi, people Josephus referred to as “slaves” and “scum.” Propaganda was a powerful tool in Roman times, just as it is today. Public opinion was easily manipulated, because people didn’t have the means to check out the facts.

If Atwill’s theory is correct, Christians have been unwittingly worshiping Titus Flavius for nearly 2000 years. Jesus’ injunctions to love your enemies, turn the other cheek, aspire to poverty, dream about heaven, and pay your taxes take on a sinister meaning, because they were invented to pacify peasants and slaves.Titus' invented religion, the one said to be the basis of western morality, took hold partly because common people didn't have the intellectual armor to guard against it, and it succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of the Flavians. Titus, lying in his grave, has had an embarrassed grin on his face for the last two millennia. He was responsible for the most monumental fraud ever inflicted on mankind.

This theory adds weight to the hypothesis that Paul’s Christianity originated as part of a government plot. Paul probably
wrote well before the Flavians, yet there’s a good reason why the propaganda could have started in Paul’s day; Rome was trying to prevent a war with the Jews. Mr Atwill will be writing a subsequent book that helps explain Paul’s role in the scheme.

There is, however, in my opinion, what seems to be a few minor problem with the theory. Atwill has proposed the four gospels were originally written under Titus’ direction, yet it’s a fact that no first century source ever mentions the existence of any of the four Gospels, so there’s no particular reason to even date them from the first century. (see http://www.harrington-sites.com/f5.htm). There are, however, many possible explanations that render Atwill’s theory still plausible. One is that the story of Jesus, but not the gospels as we know them now, was first written in the 70’s. It could be that they were only given names in the later second century. It could also be that later Christians intent on promoting the later versions removed allexplicit mentions of first century gospels.

Many scholars disagree with me and think the gospels were first penned in the later first century, which fits perfectly with the theory.

Atwill implies all the four gospels were written simultaneously. This idea isn’t generally accepted, because Mark appears to have been written first. I find it hard to imagine why the government would invent four different accounts, although it’s possible. It seems more likely to me they wrote one, the original version of Mark, and the others evolved from this as the second century progressed.

Atwill doesn’t explain the proliferation of dozens of now apocryphal gospels in the second century, or the success of
Marcion and the gnostics, but neither does anyone else.

I haven’t done justice to all of Atwill’s ideas, so I encourage anyone interested to read his fascinating book.

Where does this leave my theory that there existed an historical Yeshua who tried to start a war with Rome? I admit it makes a “non existent” Jesus more probable, yet I don’t think the ideas are mutually exclusive. It’s not hard to imagine Jewish and Roman intellectuals deciding to use the memory of a political activist crucified under Pontius Pilate roughly forty years earlier as the foundation for a very tall tale. Considering the gospels as we have them today made use of many sources for inspiration, there was still room to add in details about Yeshua as the decades went by.

The truth about what may have happened 2000 years ago makes a fascinating discussion. We’ll probably never know for sure, unless startling facts are one day discovered in the bowels of the Vatican or somewhere else.

All historians have their own opinions, and to varying degrees we all turn Yeshua into what we imagine. I think while we may be unsure of the exact details, the whole Christian narrative reeks of political propaganda.
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02-02-2013, 09:03 PM
RE: [split] Debating Lion IRC
(28-01-2013 08:51 PM)Lion IRC Wrote:  
(26-01-2013 09:39 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  No one asserts anything in Cosmology about aliens, ever, except their probability by the Drake equation.

So the Drake equation proves your claim wrong that nobody considers alien intelligence in cosmology.
I suppose panspermia and intelligent design are never discussed in cosmology in your neck of the woods.
Ever heard of a guy named Nick Lane.
Excuse me ? Dr. Lane is a Biologist. Not a Cosmologist. There have been various theories advanced about the possibilty of "panspermia", BY BIOLOGISTS. Not Cosmosolgists. It's not what Cosmologists "do". When was your last science course, Pussy Cat IRC ? The Drake equation is a probability theory that the could be other intelligences. It says nothing specific about "aliens" until there is EVIDENCE for them. You DO have a problem keeping to the subject YOU are discussing, or understanding it's context.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
"And you quit footing the bill for these nations that are oil rich - we're paying for some of their *squirmishes* that have been going on for centuries" - Sarah Palin
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