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Why Jesus?

 

by Dan Barker

 

Freedom From Religion Foundation

 

Jesus has been held in high regard by Christians and non-Christians alike. Regardless of whether he existed in history, or whether he was divine, many have asserted that the New Testament Christ character was the highest example of moral living. Many believe that his teachings, if truly understood and followed, would make this a better world.

 

Is this true? Does Jesus merit the widespread adoration he has received? Let's look at what he said and did.

 

Was Jesus Peaceable And Compassionate?

 

The birth of Jesus was heralded with "Peace on Earth," yet Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to send peace: I came not to send peace but a sword." (Matthew 10:34) "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." (Luke 22:36) "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." (Luke 19:27. In a parable, but spoken of favorably.)

 

The burning of unbelievers during the Inquisition was based on the words of Jesus: "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." (John 15:6)

 

Jesus looked at his critics "with anger" (Mark 3:5), and attacked merchants with a whip (John 2:15). He showed his respect for life by drowning innocent animals (Matthew 8:32). He refused to heal a sick child until he was pressured by the mother (Matthew 15:22-28).

 

The most revealing aspect of his character was his promotion of eternal torment. "The Son of man [Jesus himself] shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:41-42) "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched." (Mark 9:43)

 

Is this nice? Is it exemplary to make your point with threats of violence? Is hell a kind, peaceful idea?

 

Did Jesus Promote "Family Values"?

 

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)

 

"I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." (Matthew 10:35-36)

 

When one of his disciples requested time off for his father's funeral, Jesus rebuked him: "Let the dead bury their dead." (Matthew 8:22)

 

Jesus never used the word "family." He never married or fathered children. To his own mother, he said, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" (John 2:4)

 

What Were His Views On Equality And Social Justice?

 

Jesus encouraged the beating of slaves: "And that servant [slave], which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes." (Luke 12:47) He never denounced servitude, incorporating the master-slave relationship into many of his parables.

 

He did nothing to alleviate poverty. Rather than sell some expensive ointment to help the poor, Jesus wasted it on himself, saying, "Ye have the poor with you always." (Mark 14:3-7)

 

No women were chosen as disciples or invited to the Last Supper.

 

What Moral Advice Did Jesus Give?

 

"There be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." (Matthew 19:12) Some believers, including church father Origen, took this verse literally and castrated themselves. Even metaphorically, this advice is in poor taste.

 

If you do something wrong with your eye or hand, cut/pluck it off (Matthew 5:29-30, in a sexual context).

Marrying a divorced woman is adultery. (Matthew 5:32)

Don't plan for the future. (Matthew 6:34)

Don't save money. (Matthew 6:19-20)

Don't become wealthy. (Mark 10:21-25)

Sell everything and give it to the poor. (Luke 12:33)

Don't work to obtain food. (John 6:27)

Don't have sexual urges. (Matthew 5:28)

Make people want to persecute you. (Matthew 5:11)

Let everyone know you are better than the rest. (Matthew 5:13-16)

Take money from those who have no savings and give it to rich investors. (Luke 19:23-26)

If someone steals from you, don't try to get it back. (Luke 6:30)

If someone hits you, invite them to do it again. (Matthew 5:39)

If you lose a lawsuit, give more than the judgment. (Matthew 5:40)

If someone forces you to walk a mile, walk two miles. (Matthew 5:41)

If anyone asks you for anything, give it to them without question. (Matthew 5:42)

Is this wise? Is this what you would teach your children?

 

Was Jesus Reliable?

 

Jesus told his disciples that they would not die before his second coming: "There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom" (Matthew 16:28). "Behold, I come quickly." (Revelation 3:11) It's been 2,000 years, and believers are still waiting for his "quick" return.

 

He mistakenly claimed that the mustard seed is "the least of all seeds" (Matt. 13:32), and that salt could "lose its savour" (Matthew 5:13).

 

Jesus said that whoever calls somebody a "fool" shall be in danger of hell fire (Matthew 5:22), yet he called people "fools" himself (Matthew 23:17).

 

Regarding his own truthfulness, Jesus gave two conflicting opinions: "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true" (John 5:31), and "Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true" (John 8:14).

 

Was Jesus A Good Example?

 

He irrationally cursed a fig tree for being fruitless out of season (Matthew 21:18-19, and Mark 11:13-14). He broke the law by stealing corn on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23), and he encouraged his disciples to take a horse without asking permission (Matthew 21).

 

The "humble" Jesus said that he was "greater than the temple" (Matt 12:6), "greater than Jonah" (Matthew 12:41), and "greater than Solomon" (Matthew 12:42). He appeared to suffer from a dictator's "paranoia" when he said, "He that is not with me is against me" (Matthew 12:30).

 

Why Jesus?

 

Although other verses can be cited that portray Jesus in a different light, they do not erase the disturbing side of his character. The conflicting passages, however, prove that the New Testament is contradictory.

 

The "Golden Rule" had been said many times by earlier religious leaders. (Confucius: "Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you.") "Turn the other cheek" encourages victims to invite further violence. "Love thy neighbor" applied only to fellow believers. (Neither the Jews nor Jesus showed much love to foreign religions). A few of the Beatitudes ("Blessed are the peacemakers") are acceptable, but they are all conditions of future reward, not based on respect for human life or values.

 

On the whole, Jesus said little that was worthwhile. He introduced nothing new to ethics (except hell). He instituted no social programs. Being "omniscient," he could have shared some useful science or medicine, but he appeared ignorant of such things (as if his character were merely the invention of writers stuck in the first century).

 

Many scholars are doubtful of the historical existence of Jesus. Albert Schweitzer said, "The historical Jesus will be to our time a stranger and an enigma." No first-century writer confirms the Jesus story. The New Testament is internally contradictory and contains historical errors. The story is filled with miracles and other outrageous claims. Consisting mostly of material borrowed from pagan religions, the Jesus story appears to be cut from the same fabric as all other myths and fables.

 

Why is Jesus so special? It would be more reasonable and productive to emulate real, flesh-and-blood human beings who have contributed to humanity--mothers who have given birth, scientists who have alleviated suffering, social reformers who have fought injustice--than to worship a character of such dubious qualities as Jesus.

 

Nontract #12. This nontract is available as an attractive pocket-size "tract" handout, convenient for exchanging with religionists. It may be purchased for $4.00/dozen, or $15.00 for 100.

 

You may email this page, but please do not distribute printed copies of this document in this form.

 

Copyright 1993 by Dan Barker. All rights reserved.

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*sigh*

 

look this is all a logical falacy. if a book is trying to make out a person as a god and perfect, then it would not put him in a bad light in any way. if it does there is an obvious misinterpretation on the part of either the reader, or the scribe.

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*sigh*

 

look this is all a logical falacy. if a book is trying to make out a person as a god and perfect, then it would not put him in a bad light in any way. if it does there is an obvious misinterpretation on the part of either the reader, or the scribe.

Okay, for the sake of argument, the scribe(s) copied the words and actions of Jesus incorrectly decades and decades after his alleged life. And the reader, reads wrongly transcribed words even more wrongly. (Yeah, I am being delibrate here in my language.)

 

So after all that, we are to accept that Jesus was perfect, admirable, pure, and ethical in everyway? Either way or compounded, how are we to accept the synoptics at face value?

 

Soule... is this right? Otherwise correct me or expound upon the point you wish to make. You're not very clear here. Also, which logical fallacy (ie what is the formal name of the fallacy) did Barker committ?

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*sigh*

 

look this is all a logical falacy. if a book is trying to make out a person as a god and perfect, then it would not put him in a bad light in any way. if it does there is an obvious misinterpretation on the part of either the reader, or the scribe.

Okay, for the sake of argument, the scribe(s) copied the words and actions of Jesus incorrectly decades and decades after his alleged life. And the reader, reads wrongly transcribed words even more wrongly. (Yeah, I am being delibrate here in my language.)

 

So after all that, we are to accept that Jesus was perfect, admirable, pure, and ethical in everyway? Either way or compounded, how are we to accept the synoptics at face value?

 

Soule... is this right? Otherwise correct me or expound upon the point you wish to make. You're not very clear here. Also, which logical fallacy (ie what is the formal name of the fallacy) did Barker committ?

 

we are to assume that the bible would view jesus in a perfect, admirable, pure, and ethical in every way... way because that is the way the bible says he was, being god and all that. so logically if a part of the bible said anything that was contradictory to these things when it was read in a literal way, then there would be something deeper behind the message or it diddnt mean specifically what it said.

 

also i was using the term "fallacy" quite liberally XD

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we are to assume that the bible would view jesus in a perfect, admirable, pure, and ethical in every way... way because that is the way the bible says he was, being god and all that. so logically if a part of the bible said anything that was contradictory to these things when it was read in a literal way, then there would be something deeper behind the message or it diddnt mean specifically what it said.

 

also i was using the term "fallacy" quite liberally XD

Well, I wouldn't use the term fallacy at all...

 

..other than that...

 

I see where you are coming from. You're suggesting that Jesus spoke in riddles (I think) which is pretty much a premise that Gandy and Freke talked about in The Jesus Mysteries.

 

I really don't see that the synoptics talked about Jesus as the perfect being. That's later evengelism of Paul, or the writers that took his name.

 

Still, I don't see how Barker is error. I think he's addressing the literalist or the "inspirationalist."

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we are to assume that the bible would view jesus in a perfect, admirable, pure, and ethical in every way... way because that is the way the bible says he was, being god and all that. so logically if a part of the bible said anything that was contradictory to these things when it was read in a literal way, then there would be something deeper behind the message or it diddnt mean specifically what it said.

 

also i was using the term "fallacy" quite liberally XD

Well, I wouldn't use the term fallacy at all...

 

..other than that...

 

I see where you are coming from. You're suggesting that Jesus spoke in riddles (I think) which is pretty much a premise that Gandy and Freke talked about in The Jesus Mysteries.

 

I really don't see that the synoptics talked about Jesus as the perfect being. That's later evengelism of Paul, or the writers that took his name.

 

Still, I don't see how Barker is error. I think he's addressing the literalist or the "inspirationalist."

 

well its more that reverand athiestar is wrong in saying that he was an asshole.

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Don't plan for the future. (Matthew 6:34)

Don't save money. (Matthew 6:19-20)

Don't become wealthy. (Mark 10:21-25)

Sell everything and give it to the poor. (Luke 12:33)

Don't work to obtain food. (John 6:27)

 

 

Funny that, all the christians I know who've tried to convert me live in nice expensive houses and are very well off....

 

 

 

 

He refused to heal a sick child until he was pressured by the mother (Matthew 15:22-28).

 

And was also a bigot, saying that non jews were 'dogs'

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Don't plan for the future. (Matthew 6:34)

Don't save money. (Matthew 6:19-20)

Don't become wealthy. (Mark 10:21-25)

Sell everything and give it to the poor. (Luke 12:33)

Don't work to obtain food. (John 6:27)

 

 

Funny that, all the christians I know who've tried to convert me live in nice expensive houses and are very well off....

 

Ain't that the truth! :lmao:

 

There's ample evidence in the Babble that Jebus was a jerk and that Jebus was just like a cult leader. The one book that is supposed to tell us everything about his life and existence really doesn't contain too much that's admirable at all.

 

If the Xian god is all-powerful, then how could the book he inspired his follwers to write contain so much that is easily read against Jebus? You'd think the product of an all-powerful god would be a little more airtight than that.

 

Unless the book, like the religion, is a product of sick minds and cruel hearts. Then I could understand why the content found on the two links above is in there. Makes perfect sense, if Jebus is actually an evil god.

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we are to assume that the bible would view jesus in a perfect, admirable, pure, and ethical in every way... way because that is the way the bible says he was, being god and all that. so logically if a part of the bible said anything that was contradictory to these things when it was read in a literal way, then there would be something deeper behind the message or it diddnt mean specifically what it said.

 

also i was using the term "fallacy" quite liberally XD

Well, I wouldn't use the term fallacy at all...

 

..other than that...

 

I see where you are coming from. You're suggesting that Jesus spoke in riddles (I think) which is pretty much a premise that Gandy and Freke talked about in The Jesus Mysteries.

 

I really don't see that the synoptics talked about Jesus as the perfect being. That's later evengelism of Paul, or the writers that took his name.

 

Still, I don't see how Barker is error. I think he's addressing the literalist or the "inspirationalist."

 

well its more that reverand athiestar is wrong in saying that he was an asshole.

 

I guess it all depends on your definition of what an ass is. But any man who claims to be "I am" before Abe is by of implication the guy who authorized genocide. Even of the sheep and blades of grass! Yah, that's kinda asshole-ish if you ask me.

 

Btw, ever heard of the Jefferson Bible? Good ole Tom was so incensed by the assholish stuff of the bible, that he chopped it up to present Jesus as a modern, moral man (well modern for 18th cent America). Took a sissors and chopped up the bible in two seperate occasions. We now have in print his later effort. Pretty good work for a deist.

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You know, we're all fed the that Jesus was a kind, just, loving, otherworldly being of unlimited godly compassion. But when I was a christian and read some of the NT before, something always bothered me about Jesus. Now I just realized what it was. That's not how the Bible portrays him. I don't know why I never made that connection before.

 

I'm not sure I can call him a jerk or an asshole or a cult leader because I don't believe he even existed. But the chistians either need to follow their Bible or follow their ideals. They can't do both.

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Unless the book, like the religion, is a product of sick minds and cruel hearts. Then I could understand why the content found on the two links above is in there. Makes perfect sense, if Jebus is actually an evil god.

 

..... um... the book wasnt suposidly writen by god. it was inspired by him. it is a product of humans. so yes. a product of sick minds and cruel hearts. not to mention highly flawed, and not ment to be taken literally.

 

 

 

 

 

Don't plan for the future. (Matthew 6:34)

Don't save money. (Matthew 6:19-20)

Don't become wealthy. (Mark 10:21-25)

Sell everything and give it to the poor. (Luke 12:33)

Don't work to obtain food. (John 6:27)

 

yeah this is what the literal interpretation would say. which is the reason that a literal interpretation of the bible makes absolutely no sense, showing further evidence that it is not ment to be taken literally.

 

dont plan for the future. dont you mean "live in the here and now?"

 

dont save money. buddhist culture stresses poverty as an excercise of eliminating desire, and because jesus was taught in a buddhist culture... it only makes sense that he would further these teachings.

 

dont become wealthy. see dont save money.

 

sell everything and give it to the poor. see dont save money.

 

dont work to obtain food. again a literal interpretation of this makes absolutely no sense. but if you look at it from an eastern philosophy point of view. "dont work to obtain what you desire" the basic teaching is that you should work to work, not to obtain the desired.

 

"He refused to heal a sick child until he was pressured by the mother."

if you had these powers of healing, would you heal everyone who came to you and asked, which would be pretty much everybody?

 

"And was also a bigot, saying that non jews were 'dogs'."

 

are you absolutely sure that was a direct quote from jesus, and not the interpretation or opinion of the thousands of different scribes who translated the different gospels that we have, that contradict each other?

 

stop taking the bible literally. too many people are too ignorant. you dont need to join them.

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..... um... the book wasnt suposidly writen by god. it was inspired by him. it is a product of humans. so yes. a product of sick minds and cruel hearts. not to mention highly flawed, and not ment to be taken literally.

 

If the Xian god is all-powerful, then how could the book he inspired his follwers to write contain so much that is easily read against Jebus?

 

That's what I said :nono:

 

stop taking the bible literally. too many people are too ignorant. you dont need to join them.

 

I take the Babble literally (after a fashion - I don't believe a word of it is true, but I do believe it was intended to be taken as truth) because that's the only way to judge a religion like Xianity. Xianity is sold as being so necessary for our souls. If we are to believe Jebus lived, did miracles, and rose from the dead, then why not accept the rest of the book literally?

 

If you insist it's to be taken symbolically, then take the entire thing that way. There are some people here who do. You may want to talk to them. But Xianity proper is a literalist religion, positing that the god of the Babble is real and did everything he is depicted as having done.

 

That said, to take the Babble literally is to see in the easiest fashion all the wrongs in it. Those who insist some parts are literal and some figurative are just making excuses.

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we are to assume that the bible would view jesus in a perfect, admirable, pure, and ethical in every way... way because that is the way the bible says he was, being god and all that. so logically if a part of the bible said anything that was contradictory to these things when it was read in a literal way, then there would be something deeper behind the message or it diddnt mean specifically what it said.

So after reading through the posts I want to see if I've got this straight.

 

If the bible says something to the effect of jesus is "perfect, admirable, pure, and ethical in every way" then that part of the bible is correct and can be simply accepted no questions asked.

 

However, if the bible shows jesus in a manner that is not entirely consistent with said attributes then either the reader is in error, a scribe was in error somewhere along the way (not the original author of course) or that portion of the text is not to be read literally and steps must be taken so that when everything is said and done the item(s) in question shows jesus to be "perfect, admirable, pure, and ethical in every way."

 

Am I getting this right? This is, of course, for the NT but I am assuming there is a similar methodology for the OT as well. Basically, "god" is always "good" and it is our "understanding" that is in error if we see anything to the contrary.

 

mwc

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we are to assume that the bible would view jesus in a perfect, admirable, pure, and ethical in every way... way because that is the way the bible says he was, being god and all that. so logically if a part of the bible said anything that was contradictory to these things when it was read in a literal way, then there would be something deeper behind the message or it diddnt mean specifically what it said.

So after reading through the posts I want to see if I've got this straight.

 

If the bible says something to the effect of jesus is "perfect, admirable, pure, and ethical in every way" then that part of the bible is correct and can be simply accepted no questions asked.

 

However, if the bible shows jesus in a manner that is not entirely consistent with said attributes then either the reader is in error, a scribe was in error somewhere along the way (not the original author of course) or that portion of the text is not to be read literally and steps must be taken so that when everything is said and done the item(s) in question shows jesus to be "perfect, admirable, pure, and ethical in every way."

 

Am I getting this right? This is, of course, for the NT but I am assuming there is a similar methodology for the OT as well. Basically, "god" is always "good" and it is our "understanding" that is in error if we see anything to the contrary.

 

mwc

 

yeah you pretty much got it right. if a book is trying to show someone as perfect and instead depicts him as a complete asshole, then, logically, there must be a reason. now because this religion is so freaking popular and many people belive in it, we can assume that there is a logical explination for this contradiction. either that or we can say that everyone is a complete idiot.

 

though because of personal experiances and running into christians who are definately not idiots, then we must assume that the reason is not because people are complete idiots.

 

next we can say that the book itself, or the wording thereof is wrong. this is completely possible.

 

next we can say that the reader is at fault, that they are not reading in the way that they are suposed to. such as taking it literally. which is also completely possible.

 

next we can say that jesus was indeed an asshole. that is besides the point. the book itself is trying to portray him as god and perfect. therefor it would not include in it anythign that would be contradictory to that.

 

we can say that the origional bible was wrong, though that would be illogical. if one were trying to portray someone as perfect, then one would not portray him as an asshole.

 

in conclusion all that i can say is that some of the bible is ment to be taken literally, such as the passion and ressurection, and other parts that are ment to be taken figuratively. such as the entire book of revelations. because there is evidence of both figurative and literal interpretation of the bible, then one can say that this is the most logical conclusion. the problem lies in defining which parts should be considered literal and which parts should be consideread figurative.

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Actually, I don't think the bible is "trying" to make Jesus a perfect anything. The synoptics are bedtime or campfire stories that need human motivation, protagnists (Jesus) and antigonists (wether its satan, bad rabbi's, clueless disciples, and saucy prositutes – kidding about that) otherwise the stories would be without a point. In short, we're dealing with fiction, and that fictional characters – Jesus, fucks up and does questionable things and we can judge for ourselves.

 

Oh, there is no such thing as an "original bible." It never existed and never floated down from heaven on golden plate.

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in conclusion all that i can say is that some of the bible is ment to be taken literally, such as the passion and ressurection, and other parts that are ment to be taken figuratively. such as the entire book of revelations. because there is evidence of both figurative and literal interpretation of the bible, then one can say that this is the most logical conclusion. the problem lies in defining which parts should be considered literal and which parts should be consideread figurative.

Agree 100%. Which I guess is another flaw with the bible. In a lot of cases there is no way of knowing what is literal and what is symbolic. You have to wonder what God was playing at when he had this book put together.

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I think that Jesus was a perfect spiritual model in the first century and for a few hundred years after. I couldn't subcribe to the model of third century spirituality anymore than I would subscribe to a model of third century medicine no matter how much contemporary white wash is thrown on it. It's antiquated, outdated, and stuck in the distant past, given to us from a society and culture that no longer exists.

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Actually, I don't think the bible is "trying" to make Jesus a perfect anything. The synoptics are bedtime or campfire stories that need human motivation, protagnists (Jesus) and antigonists (wether its satan, bad rabbi's, clueless disciples, and saucy prositutes – kidding about that) otherwise the stories would be without a point. In short, we're dealing with fiction, and that fictional characters – Jesus, fucks up and does questionable things and we can judge for ourselves.

 

Oh, there is no such thing as an "original bible." It never existed and never floated down from heaven on golden plate.

 

it would truly be awesome if you could prove sutch a thing. however the historical accuracy of the bible points to otherwise. though if you could give evidence that would make this debate that much more interesting.

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in conclusion all that i can say is that some of the bible is ment to be taken literally, such as the passion and ressurection, and other parts that are ment to be taken figuratively. such as the entire book of revelations. because there is evidence of both figurative and literal interpretation of the bible, then one can say that this is the most logical conclusion. the problem lies in defining which parts should be considered literal and which parts should be consideread figurative.

So do you believe this or are you playing a "devils advocate" of sorts?

 

So who gets to judge? You? Me? A council? Who picks them? What are their rules? Is it the same rules that decided that decided that jesus was the same substance as god at the Council of Nicea? You realize the emperor made the final call on that and over the course of that century the decision reversed a number of times depending which emperor was in power and his personal preference, right? Is this the method to be used? It worked in the past.

 

If the text is not clear cut then how can you know for certain that the passion and resurrection are to be taken literally? Perhaps you are in error and they are figurative? If this process is as difficult as you say, and we are fallable, then it seems one can never declare with certainty one way or another which interpretation is the correct one. At one point the church had up to eight ways (hope I'm remembering that number right) of interpreting certain texts. Seems a bit overkill to me but I guess they wanted to be as certain as possible.

 

But as far as presenting jesus as perfect, this I would say is not the case. You have the examples (I won't look it up but I can if need be) of where he takes two tries to heal the blind man, where he can't do many miracles in his home town because they have no faith in him, and where he is "drained" of energy when the woman touches him without warning. These are not interpretive errors. Certainly not the first example. This cannot be a reader or scribe error. Jesus simply takes two tries. Other than dramatic effect this is not a perfect act. You must now "spin" it to make it so. To say he could have done it right the first time but he chose to do it otherwise for some perfect reason. The perfection was in the imperfect way he did it. These are ways to see what you want to see, which is a perfect jesus, but the story is not presenting him that way. Later authors try to portray a more perfect jesus and as we approach present day we definately want to only see an absolutely perfect jesus but the original story was of a prophet, chosen by god...another Moses who somehow along the way got turned into a god.

 

mwc

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Actually, I don't think the bible is "trying" to make Jesus a perfect anything. The synoptics are bedtime or campfire stories that need human motivation, protagnists (Jesus) and antigonists (wether its satan, bad rabbi's, clueless disciples, and saucy prositutes – kidding about that) otherwise the stories would be without a point. In short, we're dealing with fiction, and that fictional characters – Jesus, fucks up and does questionable things and we can judge for ourselves.

 

Oh, there is no such thing as an "original bible." It never existed and never floated down from heaven on golden plate.

 

it would truly be awesome if you could prove sutch a thing. however the historical accuracy of the bible points to otherwise. though if you could give evidence that would make this debate that much more interesting.

Historical accuracy? Before I pummel you mercilessly over this statement, I'd like you to define what you mean by historical accuracy. The bible might get a few places right (OT), but do we take every romance novel as non-fiction centered around the Civil War as true? Is Gladiator a true story? Take a moment and recondiser your statement, or be extra careful in your qualification of it.

 

If you evidence to the contrary, bring it on. I'd like to see it. But if want to back up your assertion that the bible is historically accurate, you'll have quite a job on your hands considering many of the books are pseudepigraphic and/or anonymous, written decades to centuries after the alledged events by different authors representing different cultures and values, and the whole thing has been selectively edited by various councils with a political agenda. Not to mention that Matt was a total ham when it came to understading Isiah and double application. Oh and just what kind of evidence can you site for miracles and supernatural? Perhaps you'd like to have a formal debate about it? PM me and meet me in Arena then.

 

Secondly, when I state that synoptics are bedtime or campfire stories, I am refering to that the synoptics show an arc of embellishment on the character of Jesus. Even if Jesus really did exist, what can we say is really true him in the stories about him? Since we've quoted Dan Barker so much in the course of this thread, I willl so again:

 

"A legend begins with a basic story (true or false) that grows into something more embellished and exaggerated as the years pass. When we look at the documents of the resurrection of Jesus, we see that the earliest accounts are very simple, later retellings are more complex, and the latest tales are fantastic. In other words, they look exactly like a legend.

 

The documents that contain a resurrection story[30] are usually dated like this:

 

Writer Date Resurrection passage

Paul: 50-55 (I Cor. 15:3-8)

Mark: 70 (Mark 16)

Matthew: 80 (Matthew 28)

Luke: 85 (Luke 24)

Gospel of Peter: 85-90 (Fragment)

John: 95 (John 20-21)

 

This is the general dating agreed upon by most scholars, including the Westar Institute. Some conservative scholars prefer to date them earlier, and others have moved some of them later, but this would not change the order of the writing [31], which is more important than the actual dates when considering legendary growth. Shifting the dates changes the shape but not the fact of the growth curve.

 

I made a list of things I consider "extraordinary" (natural and supernatural) in the stories between the crucifixion and ascension of Jesus: earthquakes, angel(s), rolling stone, dead bodies crawling from Jerusalem graves ("Halloween"[32]), Jesus appearing out of thin air ("Now you see him") and disappearing ("Now you don't"), the "fish story" miracle[33], Peter's noncanonical "extravaganza" exit from the tomb (see below), a giant Jesus with head in the clouds, a talking cross, and a bodily ascension into heaven. Perhaps others would choose a slightly different list, but I'm certain it would include most of the same.

 

Then I counted the number of extraordinary events that appear in each account:

 

Writer Extraordinary events

Paul: 0

Mark: 1

Matthew: 4

Luke: 5

Peter: 6

John: 8+"

 

Check the whole article out for yourself. I have other such analysis sitting in my achieves here if your so interested, let me know. This just happens to be the one I can think of off the top my head.

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however the historical accuracy of the bible points to otherwise.

 

Where is the historical evidence for the resurrection of the zombies saints and the great earthquake at the end of Matthew?

 

And I would like you to point to the Officially Isreali position on the accuracy of the bible

 

King David and Jerusalem- Myth and Reality

 

Until very recently, there was no evidence outside the Bible for the existence of King David. There are no references to him in Egyptian, Syrian or Assyrian documents of the time, and the many archaeological digs in the City of David failed to turn up so much as a mention of his name

....

The saga of the Israelites, as told in the Bible, was designed as a morality tale to prove the importance of faith in the One God. The stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Joshua demonstrate that the Israelites were rewarded when they obeyed God, but were punished when they strayed.

 

The historical evidence to back up these events is sparse, and, in some cases, contradictory. In particular, the account of Joshua's conquest of Canaan is inconsistent with the archaeological evidence. Cities supposedly conquered by Joshua in the 14th century bce were destroyed long before he came on the scene. Some, such as Ai and Arad, had been ruins for a 1000 years.

....

The conclusion is somewhat startling to Bible readers who know the Canaanites portrayed in the Bible as immoral idolaters: most of the Israelites were in fact formerly Canaanites. The story of Abraham's journey from Ur of the Chaldees, the Patriarchs, the Exodus, Sinai, and the conquest of Canaan, all these were apparently based on legends that the various elements brought with them from their countries of origin. The consolidation of the Israelites into a nation was not the result of wanderings in the desert and divine revelation, but came from the need to defend themselves against the Philistines, who settled in the Canaanite coastal plain more or less at the same time the Israelites were establishing themselves in the hills.

 

....

The Book of Judges, which directly contradicts Joshua, and shows the Israelites settling the land over a prolonged period, is nearer historical reality; but even it cannot be taken at face value.

 

And here is the position of the orthodox Jews with regards to the bible

http://www.aish.com/spirituality/48ways/Wa..._For_Living.asp

 

These explanations are missing the point. Torah isn't a history book, a physics book or a storybook. Rather, it is Torat Chaim - literally "instructions for living." Every word, every phrase contains a message how to maximize pleasure in life. Look for the deeper message - the wisdom within - and you will reap immense rewards.

 

Having said that, the Jews themselves admit that there is little historical evidence for the bible nor they care about it, so I don't know on what basis are you claiming the accuracy of the bible

 

 

now because this religion is so freaking popular and many people belive in it, we can assume that there is a logical explination for this contradiction. either that or we can say that everyone is a complete idiot.

 

Is your arguement here that because many people believe in christianity, there it is true or has to be logical.

 

Pleeasse. learn to debate. By that standard we should all jump in on the Mormon or Scientology train because so many people believe in it.

 

This is nothing than rhethoric.

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haha no i'd rather not debate it as i dont know enogh about the topic and you would probably destroy me as you obviously know more about that particular aspect of the bible.

 

talking to a christian friend "all civilizations mentioned in the bible have been found." and aparently the ark has been found on mount arat. though how much i actually believe that is questionable... suposidly the record of the crucifiction has been found in the old roman archives of pilate. chariots have been found under the red sea.

 

though i am gonna hafta side with you guys on this one. the refrences that he gave me looked too much like propaganda.

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haha no i'd rather not debate it as i dont know enogh about the topic and you would probably destroy me as you obviously know more about that particular aspect of the bible.

 

talking to a christian friend "all civilizations mentioned in the bible have been found." and aparently the ark has been found on mount arat. though how much i actually believe that is questionable... suposidly the record of the crucifiction has been found in the old roman archives of pilate. chariots have been found under the red sea.

 

though i am gonna hafta side with you guys on this one. the refrences that he gave me looked too much like propaganda.

You made the right call in this case. ;)

 

There's another thread in this same sub-forum called just "Jesus" and this very same subject matter was just touched on. The Ark and the chariots are pretty much bunk (unless they go up for peer review some day...which I'd love to see...but the guy that "finds" these things is basically a fraud). The whole record of the crucifixion is a forgery (it would have been stolen long ago if it were real...imagine that in your private collection). All the "civilizations" from the bible have been found...if you sort of attribute known peoples to some of those found in the bible (we think these people over here might be these people mentioned by this person in this verse...so if extremely vague connections and random guesses aren't a problem for you then this is true).

 

I personally consider myself a novice when it comes to a lot of this history but I've totally become engrossed in it and have been reading it like crazy for months. I know I've barely scratched the surface and I've read volumes of information (I wish I was this interested when I was a student). I can only imagine what some of these other guys, who really know their stuff, might do to someone in a debate. :HaHa:

 

mwc

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