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Has Any Of This Been Debunked?


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If so where can I find it???

 

Thanks

 

 

 

"Typically when this question is asked, the person asking qualifies the question with "outside of the Bible." We do not grant this idea that the Bible cannot be considered a source of evidence for the existence of Jesus. The New Testament contains hundreds of references to Jesus Christ. There are those who date the writing of the Gospels in the second century A.D., 100+ years after Jesus' death. Even if this were the case (which we strongly dispute), in terms of ancient evidences, writings less than 200 years after events took place are considered very reliable evidences. Further, the vast majority of scholars (Christian and non-Christian) will grant that the Epistles of Paul (at least some of them) were in fact written by Paul in the middle of the first century A.D., less than 40 years after Jesus' death. In terms of ancient manuscript evidence, this is extraordinarily strong proof of the existence of a man named Jesus in Israel in the early first century A.D.

 

It is also important to recognize that in 70 A.D., the Romans invaded and destroyed Jerusalem and most of Israel, slaughtering its inhabitants. Entire cities were literally burned to the ground! We should not be surprised, then, if much evidence of Jesus' existence was destroyed. Many of the eye-witnesses of Jesus would have been killed. These facts likely limited the amount of surviving eyewitness testimony of Jesus.

 

Considering the fact that Jesus' ministry was largely confined to a relatively unimportant backwater area in a small corner of the Roman Empire, a surprising amount of information about Jesus can be drawn from secular historical sources. Some of the more important historical evidences of Jesus include the following:

 

The first-century Roman Tacitus, who is considered one of the more accurate historians of the ancient world, mentioned superstitious "Christians " ("named after Christus" which is Latin for Christ), who suffered under Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius. Suetonius, chief secretary to Emperor Hadrian, wrote that there was a man named Chrestus (or Christ) who lived during the first century (Annals 15.44 ).

 

Flavius Josephus is the most famous Jewish historian. In his Antiquities he refers to James, “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ.” There is a controversial verse (18:3) that says, "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats. . . . He was [the] Christ . . . he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him." One version reads, "At this time there was a wise man named Jesus. His conduct was good and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who became his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders."

 

Julius Africanus quotes the historian Thallus in a discussion of the darkness which followed the crucifixion of Christ (Extant Writings, 18).

 

Pliny the Younger, in Letters 10:96, recorded early Christian worship practices including the fact that Christians worshiped Jesus as God and were very ethical, and includes a reference to the love feast and Lord’s Supper.

 

The Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a) confirms Jesus' crucifixion on the eve of Passover, and the accusations against Christ of practicing sorcery and encouraging Jewish apostasy.

 

Lucian of Samosata was a second-century Greek writer who admits that Jesus was worshiped by Christians, introduced new teachings, and was crucified for them. He said that Jesus' teachings included the brotherhood of believers, the importance of conversion, and the importance of denying other gods. Christians lived according to Jesus’ laws, believed themselves immortal, and were characterized by contempt for death, voluntary self-devotion, and renunciation of material goods.

 

Mara Bar-Serapion confirms that Jesus was thought to be a wise and virtuous man, was considered by many to be the king of Israel, was put to death by the Jews, and lived on in the teachings of his followers.

 

Then we have all the Gnostic writings (The Gospel of Truth, The Apocryphon of John, The Gospel of Thomas, The Treatise on Resurrection, etc.) that all mention Jesus.

 

In fact, we can almost reconstruct the gospel just from early non-Christian sources: Jesus was called the Christ (Josephus), did “magic,” led Israel into new teachings, and was hanged on Passover for them (Babylonian Talmud) in Judea (Tacitus), but claimed to be God and would return (Eliezar), which his followers believed - worshipping Him as God (Pliny the Younger).

 

In conclusion, there is overwhelming evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ, both in secular and Biblical history. Perhaps the greatest evidence that Jesus did exist is the fact that literally thousands of Christians in the first century A.D., including the 12 apostles, were willing to give their lives as martyrs for Jesus Christ. People will die for what they believe to be true, but no one will die for what they know to be a lie." - http://www.gotquestions.org/did-Jesus-exist.html

 

And this to.

 

This is actually for other events that happened in the Bible:

 

"The most documented Biblical event is the world-wide flood described in Genesis 6-9. A number of Babylonian documents have been discovered which describe the same flood.

 

The Sumerian King List (pictured here), for example, lists kings who reigned for long periods of time. Then a great flood came. Following the flood, Sumerian kings ruled for much shorter periods of time. This is the same pattern found in the Bible. Men had long life spans before the flood and shorter life spans after the flood. The 11th tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic speaks of an ark, animals taken on the ark, birds sent out during the course of the flood, the ark landing on a mountain, and a sacrifice offered after the ark landed.

 

The Story of Adapa tells of a test for immortality involving food, similar to the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

 

Sumerian tablets record the confusion of language as we have in the Biblical account of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). There was a golden age when all mankind spoke the same language. Speech was then confused by the god Enki, lord of wisdom. The Babylonians had a similar account in which the gods destroyed a temple tower and "scattered them abroad and made strange their speech."

 

Other examples of extra-Biblical confirmation of Biblical events:

 

* Campaign into Israel by Pharaoh Shishak (1 Kings 14:25-26), recorded on the walls of the Temple of Amun in Thebes, Egypt.

 

* Revolt of Moab against Israel (2 Kings 1:1; 3:4-27), recorded on the Mesha Inscription.

 

* Fall of Samaria (2 Kings 17:3-6, 24; 18:9-11) to Sargon II, king of Assyria, as recorded on his palace walls.

 

* Defeat of Ashdod by Sargon II (Isaiah 20:1), as recorded on his palace walls.

 

* Campaign of the Assyrian king Sennacherib against Judah (2 Kings 18:13-16), as recorded on the Taylor Prism.

 

* Siege of Lachish by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:14, 17), as recorded on the Lachish reliefs.

 

* Assassination of Sennacherib by his own sons (2 Kings 19:37), as recorded in the annals of his son Esarhaddon.

 

* Fall of Nineveh as predicted by the prophets Nahum and Zephaniah (2:13-15), recorded on the Tablet of Nabopolasar.

 

* Fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (2 Kings 24:10-14), as recorded in the Babylonian Chronicles.

 

* Captivity of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, in Babylon (2 Kings 24:15-16), as recorded on the Babylonian Ration Records.

 

* Fall of Babylon to the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5:30-31), as recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder.

 

* Freeing of captives in Babylon by Cyrus the Great (Ezra 1:1-4; 6:3-4), as recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder.

 

* The existence of Jesus Christ as recorded by Josephus, Suetonius, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, the Talmud, and Lucian.

 

* Forcing Jews to leave Rome during the reign of Claudius (A.D. 41-54) (Acts 18:2), as recorded by Suetonius." - http://www.christiananswers.net/q-abr/abr-a009.html

 

 

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We have discussed most of those items in other threads, but don't have the links at the moment. Some of our super-search-gurus on the site probably can find some of them.

 

The people that are said to have recorded the existence of Jesus were not contemporary (living at the same time as Jesus).

 

While at the same time, Philo from Alexandria was a contemporary philosphical and religious jewish writer that lived in Jerusalem for a while and did not mention Jesus at all in all his books. Which is very strange since his books were saved through the early Christians, and some of his ideas were incorporated into the Gospels.

 

Secondly supposedly Paul was a student under Gamaliel in Jerusalem, when he was around 20 years old, which could place him in Jerusalem 30 CE, at the same time as Jesus started his ministry. Yet Paul never met Jesus, or saw him, only through a vision some years later. He is full of pride of how he never met Jesus in flesh, but got everything through revelations, and he went away for several years to figure these things out on his own, then come back, preached, started churches and then some years later go back to Jerusalem to tell the Apostels what Jesus really had been teaching. How the heck does that make sense to anyone?

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i think this is probably the best thing i've ever read about "Noah's Flood."

 

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/blacksea/ax/frame.html

 

 

(basically argues that the "flood" was localized in the Near East around the area of the Black Sea c. 9000 BCE. so ancient and cataclysmic in the place where all human civilizations were just emerging, the flood was made "world-wide" in the myths and sold wholesale.)

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i don't think the existence of a human named Jesus is really in question. i think it is his purpose and role that is.

 

i love the circular argument. athiest will argue that the christians borrowed other myths to create the bible. while fundy's will say that the other myths prove thier version is correct.

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So how do you propose we step out of our circles, freeday? Are you a TAG person?

 

I think the methods by which humans generally establish that something is knowledge bring the conclusion that Christianity is not that:

contradictions in the bible

archeological evidence pointing against various bible claims

failure of answers to prayer

psychological harm it does by dividing humanity into "saved" and "damned" and by denying human nature (e.g. homophobia)

etc - stuff we talk about on here all the time

 

So when you conclude that Christianity as a system is not true, then arises the question, how to explain its similarities with pagan religion. The hypothesis that it borrowed from them is more rational than the hypothesis that it's divinely revealed (which it can't be - see above) and pagan religions are corruptions of it.

 

I deny strongly that we all stand locked in our hermeneutical circles. There is common ground in ways that both believers and unbelievers assess truth in a wide range of spheres of life. Apply those to christianity itself and see where it leads you.

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So how do you propose we step out of our circles, freeday? Are you a TAG person?

 

I think the methods by which humans generally establish that something is knowledge bring the conclusion that Christianity is not that:

contradictions in the bible

archeological evidence pointing against various bible claims

failure of answers to prayer

psychological harm it does by dividing humanity into "saved" and "damned" and by denying human nature (e.g. homophobia)

etc - stuff we talk about on here all the time

 

So when you conclude that Christianity as a system is not true, then arises the question, how to explain its similarities with pagan religion. The hypothesis that it borrowed from them is more rational than the hypothesis that it's divinely revealed (which it can't be - see above) and pagan religions are corruptions of it.

 

I deny strongly that we all stand locked in our hermeneutical circles. There is common ground in ways that both believers and unbelievers assess truth in a wide range of spheres of life. Apply those to christianity itself and see where it leads you.

 

you are going to have to use less sophisticated words, i had to google that shit. i wasn't trying to provide an argument for the flood or against the flood. science tells us there has not been a world wide flood that is known. i was just making an observation. people tend to use the information for thier own purposes.

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Hi, freeday, OK, cool. When you talked about circular arguments of both fundies and atheists about the same topics, it sounded as though you were saying that both "sides" argue by assuming their conclusion in the premises of their argument. Your reference to scientific ways of evaluating Flood stories is not that, so cool.

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Hans has pretty well covered the subject...but you have to understand that Christians can not even tell you which century this man was supposedly born in. Their gospels either make no mention of his birth or place him in either the 1st century BCE or the 1st century CE! No matter how you try to figure it, the milestones of the story (baptised by John the Baptist, executed by Pontius Pilate, dying after John the Baptist, etc) can not be met by either story. If you can't true these gospels for something as simple as the birth, how can you trust any other message? - Heimdall :yellow:

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Vargo, good post.

 

Everything you posted has been debunked, EVERYTHING, (even by me) but that is not relevant to theists, if you where not lead to god by reason or evidence, you cannot be lead away by reason or evidence, and all the "evidence" cited is just spin used to re-assure the flock. They never intend to convince the likes of us with it, as we know better, this is about keeping the un-critical, and un-curious from reality, and it’s pretty easy to fool the already fooled, when you know whatever you say they will never seek to confirm or correct.

 

As to Jesus being historical, the burden of proof is on those who say he existed, as they have yet to provide any evidence, but rely on popular consensus. We have not been able to debunk any proof, as they havn't given any. We are still waiting.

For e.g., when they say they have contemporary evidence, and quote Josephus, who wasn’t contemporary, we could write huge essays debunking it, but there is no need as they haven’t given the proof they said they would. We are not obligated to deal with it. This stance holds them more to account that going though their smokescreens as if anything we said meant a damn to them.

 

(If you really want, I could debunk every sentance of your quote anyway, I'm kind of in the mood)

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i don't think the existence of a human named Jesus is really in question. i think it is his purpose and role that is.

Well, not everyone agrees to that. I would say that there is a possibility that there was a man, but his name unknown, and only a good and philosophical teacher.

 

First of all I think that the name "Jesus" was a title, not a name. Many "Jesus-es" or Messiahs came out of Jerusalem at that time, and all of them saw themselves as the special elected servants of God. All these different characters' stories gave some input to the story of the amalgamated Jesus. On top of this you had mystery religions, Pagans, Gnostic, Jewish, Essenes and Greek myths that where in people daily talk and understanding of things. It would be very natural for a person to interpret what they learned about a new religious hero into the context of their old religion and belief. They unintentionally or intentionally amended the new hero story with bits and pieces of what they thought a real god hero should have. On top of that there is some strong evidence that the Jewish Wars that Josephus wrote, were mixed into the Gospel story. So I think the final touch of the mixed bag of religious ideas were made by the Romans, who or why I don't know though.

 

i love the circular argument. athiest will argue that the christians borrowed other myths to create the bible. while fundy's will say that the other myths prove thier version is correct.

I don't know if I would call it circular, because it's not really logical arguments that are made, but conclusions made from circumstantial evidence. We can see the parallels, and some are stronger than other, and it's only our theories to explain these parallels that differ. We have two hypotheses to explain the phenomenon and I believe the natural explanation makes more sense.

 

Consider that if earlier mystery religions several hundred years before Jesus, did have the same mythological archetypes as the Gospels, a fundamentalist would say that Satan created those religions before time to setup a confusion to destroy the "real" religion. But then the problem for me is that it practically say that Satan have the power of premonition and prophesy! Satan is given the powers of omniscience, just like God. The fundamentalist is then in effect making Satan equal in powers to God, and no fundamentalist would agree to that. So which way is it? Satan can foresee the "salvation events" and make fake religions before time, or he can't foresee things and the earlier religions were borrowed into Christianity?

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Exactly, Christianity has to a certain extent to become more a denial of reality than an affirmation of fantasy. This is understandable as many Gnostic elements influenced the Christianity we have today, which when the situation demands it causes them to revert to a paranoid view that anything in reality that contradicts their dogma is an illusion. Both Justin martyr and Descartes envisioned a Demon manufacturing allusions to fool one's mind, but in Descartes case he imagined it could fool one completely about everything we experience. This "Matrix" view keeps reappearing, with the Gnostics it was originally an honest theological position, albeit a neurotic one, but with Christianity they use it in order to get out of accepting uncomfortable truths. First it was contemporary mystery cults, then it was Galileo's orbital theories, then geological layers, then dinosaur bones, and as science discovers more things about the universe, such discoveries will inevitably conflict with Christian fantasy, causing fundamentalists to close their eyes and ears to all reality. Even reason and logic are under attack, soon they will trust nothing but what their Pastor says, and will be completely disconnected from this planet and our species. They will hate the universe for Jesus.

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I could not resist it.

 

"Typically when this question is asked, the person asking qualifies the question with "outside of the Bible." We do not grant this idea that the Bible cannot be considered a source of evidence for the existence of Jesus.

 

Well you would not, but if someone already believes then all debate, reason or inquiry is out of the question. You cannot expect everyone to accept everything in the Bible when looking for proof or evidence, because if you regard the Bible as reliable, you might as well be a believer and therefore not require proof or evidence.

 

Christians don't seem to see that seeing the Bible as reliable is a leap of faith, every bit as indefensible as excepting the resurrection. "They do not grant this idea"? Well tough, this is like using the testimony of Tom Thumb to prove the existence of Thumbelina. What is wrong with more gradual intermediary steps to accepting Christianity, why must be always take a leap? Why do they expect that we must begin every investigation on the assumption that the Bible can be trusted? Do they so despise scepticism and doubt, but they would deny us the right not to take the Bible's word for it? The Bible is sectarian religious propaganda, this is evident in every line, the idea that it is dispassionate and objective is contradicted by its language, each gospel writers personal alterations to the story, and the very nature of the events described, not to mention the fact that you have a huge amount of theological essays and ramblings either side of the Gospels. Only Luke even pretends to be part of a tradition of intellectual historical writers, and he is the most easily debunked, because he creates this impression by plagiarising Josephus. You’d think this fact would make Christians more wary of using Josephus for "proof".

 

The New Testament contains hundreds of references to Jesus Christ.

 

So? The lord of the Rings contains hundreds of references to Gandalf. If everyone these references describes either a theological idea or a fictional character, then quantity alone is not enough to prove his existence. If we had hundreds of references from hundreds of non-Christian, Pagan or secular sources, and not just from an obscure and quite frankly fanatical cult, then this argument would have more credibility. But the holy documents of every religion contain references to fictional deities, it is begging the question for Christianity’s holy documents to be exempt from this reasonable demand for more more than just religious rhetoric.

 

There are those who date the writing of the Gospels in the second century A.D., 100+ years after Jesus' death.

 

And they do so based on good argument and evidence. New findings put the first gospel at 140 or later, this is the most reasonable date so far, all attempts to put it earlier are theologically derived, not rational or empirical.

 

 

Even if this were the case (which we strongly dispute),

 

Any arguments for early dates are fallacious and driven by theological necessity. You don't have to take my word for it, study them yourself, they are no more intellectually honest than the works of Lee Strobel.

 

in terms of ancient evidences, writings less than 200 years after events took place are considered very reliable evidences.

 

By whom? No historian considers any writings prior to WW2 to be intrinsically reliable. That is a universal position. They always demand external confirmation before they take anything seriously. And if these are "eyewitness" accounts, less than 200 years is truly appalling. Particularly at a time when education and literacy was at its height, there was barely a middle-class Roman or rabbi who could not read or write. You are using your own standards to vindicate your own evidences. The only advantage you have is that most mainstream historians do not apply their standards to religious claims, as it is professionally unwise. They let you get away with making these claims, not only that your material is true, but they meet standards they could never hope to.

 

Further, the vast majority of scholars (Christian and non-Christian) will grant that the Epistles of Paul (at least some of them) were in fact written by Paul in the middle of the first century A.D., less than 40 years after Jesus' death. In terms of ancient manuscript evidence, this is extraordinarily strong proof of the existence of a man named Jesus in Israel in the early first century A.D.

 

It is not, for the simple reason that Paul does not talk about a man named Jesus in Israel (you mean Judea) in the early first century A. D. Even if the Mythicist hypothesis was wrong, Paul does not confirm any of the crucial details surrounding Jesus's life, only the central theological “events”. You may be able use him to prove people believed in Jesus, but not that anyone was Jesus, as there is no historical or earthly context. In fact the credible early dates of Paul's Epistles are actually a problem for Christianity, as they result in a suspiciously large gap between themselves and the Gospels. These gaps are filled with accounts by church fathers and bishops that describe a Christian belief system radically out of tune with the gospel picture.

 

If Paul’s writings were in line with the gospels the early dates would be “better” (if not good) evidence, but they are so riddled with interpolation, with many Epistles falsely accredited to Paul and they so contradict the Gospels that they do not help your case. True, the invention of a historical figure is unlikely to take place by the time of Paul's writings, although claims of resurrections and miracles have been shown to often occur within a person's lifetime, let alone decades later. Paul does not discount however either the theory that Jesus was invented as a mythical being, as his Jesus did not live mere decades earlier, or that the resurrection was invented. Let alone the miracles which he does not mention. Either way, if a historical Jesus can be seen Paul's writings, which I doubt, nothing can be reliably proved about him from them. And the usual claims that resurrection claims and miracles could not have been invented by Paul's time was disproved long ago. And best you have a Jesus, nothing more, at worst absolutely nothing.

 

It is also important to recognize that in 70 A.D., the Romans invaded and destroyed Jerusalem and most of Israel, slaughtering its inhabitants. Entire cities were literally burned to the ground! We should not be surprised, then, if much evidence of Jesus' existence was destroyed.

 

"Much evidence"? This is just an excuse for the fact that you do not have any. Even if I were to concede that it is a reasonable one, we are not obligated to take your word for it is just because you have a reason for having no evidence. You are supposed to provide more than just a demand to believe blindly, but all your arguments keep reverting to a request for faith. Given that most (if not all) of the Christian movements we have evidence of, existed outside Judea, is it unreasonable to expect that they might have preserved some evidence themselves? Instead we have fraud after fraud being perpetrated, but only after the belief in historical Jesus became widespread, before that all the documents of these churches contradict the gospel accounts.

 

Many of the eye-witnesses of Jesus would have been killed.

 

Assuming there were any. And shouldn't they have gone abroad on their "great commission"? Why are these Christians not mentioned in the many detailed accounts of the war? Did they do nothing to distinguish themselves, before being killed? The problem is, that the war is used not only as an excuse for why there is no evidence, but it was also used by the early Christian historical revisionists, i.e. the gospel writers, as the reason why they set the story in Judea, a place that no longer existed. No witnesses to contradict the story. A bit like setting a story in Hiroshima or Nagasaki after 45.

 

It was also the invent that galvanised the (Gentile, Pauline) Christians, as it seemed to confirm their beliefs that the covenant with the Jews was broken, and also served as evidence that the Jews were being punished for killing Jesus. (There is in fact no evidence that the Jews were blamed until after the war, most likely the death of Jesus was used to explain this catastrophe) And of course the Gospels were able to mentioned this event, pretending it had been prophesied by Jesus. Christianity has done nothing but exploit this terrible tragedy for their own ends. Pretending to have prophesied it, pretending it legitimised their theology, using it as cover for revisionism, and finally as an excuse for no evidence. If I were Jewish I’d be rather irritated by all this.

 

These facts likely limited the amount of surviving eyewitness testimony of Jesus.

 

You have failed to demonstrate that there is any eyewitness testimony to Jesus. Also this does not work in the case of historians who were eyewitnesses and survived, such as Josephus. Paul is not an eyewitness to Jesus’ ministry, and none of the Gospels have traits of being eyewitness accounts, much the opposite they show many traits of being literature.

 

 

Considering the fact that Jesus' ministry was largely confined to a relatively unimportant backwater area in a small corner of the Roman Empire,

 

“Fact”? Begging the question. This was not a backwater, Galilee (or Judea in John) was a thriving hub with many urban areas. Besides it is clear from the writings of Mark that he wanted his Jesus to be as low-key as possible, in order to smuggle him into history. (Hence the rather odd ending) True, if you take away the miracles and much of the controversy surrounding Jesus, you do have a rather obscure teacher, whose ministry only lasted one year, (or three in john) and whose teachings where for the time rather mediocre. (this at least is true) But that is not the Jesus you worship, or the one you want us to believe in. Your Jesus was an astounding figure, whose teachings were revolutionary, aroused the furore of the Pharisees and Sadducees, and performed many miracles in front of thousands of witnesses, and rose bodily into the air in front of all of Jerusalem, surrounded by many great signs and portents. True these prodigies were the products of later gospel writers, keen to an elaborate on what was a rather anticlimactic messiah in Mark. But it proves that Mark was right all along to make Jesus a secretive mediocrity, if even now you have to use his strategy to claims he was historical.

 

a surprising amount of information about Jesus can be drawn from secular historical sources.

 

Pay attention to the terms is used here, and compare them to the quality of this "evidence".

 

Some of the more important historical evidences of Jesus include the following:

 

The terminology here is disingenuous, the sources they are about to name are the only so-called secular sources for Jesus. Verbally, it is possible to debunk the lot in less than ten minutes, and recite them all in one. That's how little there is.

 

The first-century Roman Tacitus, who is considered one of the more accurate historians of the ancient world, mentioned superstitious "Christians " ("named after Christus" which is Latin for Christ), who suffered under Pontius Pilate during the reign of Tiberius.

 

He would not having given the Latin version if he was repeating verbatim the name they used to refer to him. He would do if however if they were using the title Christ. A common one, and evidence shows it did not become Jesus' actual name till much later. Tacitus is merely repeating hearsay, he is not a contemporary witness to Jesus, and is only describing Christians, and their beliefs, not Jesus. He does not show that he has seen any independent evidence (documents, records etc) for Jesus. Even though this is what Christians wish to imply. There is another problem, this passage is most likely fraudulent, as it refers to Nero being blamed for the fire of Rome, when he wasn't even in the area, and there is no reference to him being blamed in any other documents. Rome was catching fire all the time, and there was rarely a need for a scapegoat.

 

Besides at this time he was still the darling of the people. Even after death he still had so many deluded followers that many claimed that he had come back to life, (though I doubt Christians will believe such claims). The passage says he publicly executing Christians, when in reality he banned public displays of barbarity, being immoral but pretentious. And the fact remains that Tacitus does not refer to Christians in any other passage, which makes sense if this is an interpolation, as you can only insert so much before ruining the scroll count. It was precisely because he was considered “one of the more accurate historians of the ancient world” that this passage was inserted in his work.

 

I will not rule out the possibility that this is genuine, but there is strong evidence against it, and even if it was it is not evidence of Jesus as a historical figure, so debunking it is largely redundant. As I said earlier, they have presented no evidence. This is just yet another bogus martyrdom myth. There is no evidence of Christians being persecuted in the first century whatsoever, and they would not have been as Rome had a standard policy of religious tolerance. Besides they were too small and obscure, (not to mention derivative) a cult anyway. True some Christians were killed by Romans, but only after they became a significant pain. Even then I prefure the term prosecuted, not persecuted, as the Roman legal system was the most just of its time, and usually only the leaders were punished. Not to mention the fact that many followers were so deranged that they wanted to be killed by the Roman authorities. (like suicide bombers today) This led to rules against a suicide. With such people it would have been a miracle if they weren't occasionally killed by Rome.

 

The only thing they had to contend with was criticisms from intellectuals in the second century, who pointed out their religion was complete bull. Mentioning very much the same problems we see today, credulity, fraud, plagiarism ect. Funny how Christians never quote these sources. (The ones they didn't burn) Also laying these charges against Nero is a popular Christian ploy, Matthew did the same thing with Herod, who’s similar crimes made him a perfect villain to threaten the baby Jesus, essentially trying to hide a tree in a forest. To this day apologists claim that Herod had so many crimes against him that no one would have noticed him slaughtering the first born of Bethlehem (and actually the surrounding area as well), despite the fact that Josephus would not have failed to mention such an event.

 

Suetonius, chief secretary to Emperor Hadrian, wrote that there was a man named Chrestus (or Christ) who lived during the first century (Annals 15.44 ).

 

Notice how the Christians here do not actually quote the passage? That is because it tells of Jews rebelling in Rome, under the orders of a contemporary leader, whose name was not a derivation of Christ, but a common one for liberated slaves. Christians would not claim that Jesus was starting rebellions decades after his death, in Rome, as a leader of Jews. Nothing in this passage even remotely resembles any event in Christian "history". This is the only quote they have that I would say is most likely genuine, but that is principally because it has nothing to do with Christianity. And even if indeed referred to Jesus, Suetonius was (once more), not a contemporary witness! And gives no details of Chrestus whatsoever. This is truly the most pathetic piece of evidence they have. And is used only by the most desperate apologists. Again there is no real need to debunk this, as it does not deserve to be even classed as possible evidence.

 

Flavius Josephus is the most famous Jewish historian. In his Antiquities he refers to James, “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ.”

 

Many scholars believe this passage was referring to a James who was the brother of a member of the temple hierarchy. "Who was called Christ" is the suspected interpolation, regardless this passage is once more pathetic and not a contemporary account.

 

There is a controversial verse

 

“Controversial” is an understatement! This passage (the TF) has been eviscerated many times over. It is extremely problematic for apologists to use the TF on none Christians, (who’ve actually done their homework) is as it will embroil them in many hours of debate, that they cannot possibly win. At best all it does is stall the proceedings, if you are the type who can believe in this passage despite the innumerable objections, then clearly you are not looking for evidence anyway. Again we come back to blind faith. For the most part apologists rely on the followers simply being ignorant of the scholarly objections.

 

(18:3) that says, "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats. . . . He was [the] Christ . . . he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him."

 

I will not list all the objections to this passage, (as I have not got all year) but only point out that a Jewish person could not write such blasphemy, nor was Josephus sympathetic to Messiahs, nor does this passage work in its context, nor would the resurrection have be seen as forfilling prophecy according to the Jewish understanding of the Messiah. It is purely Christian theology that the old Testament predicts any of the events in Jesus's life, either Josephus first knew of and sympathised with the many attempts by Matthew (who haven't written his gospel yet) to use the old Testament to legitimise Jesus’ messianic credentials, or a later Christian is putting his theology in Josephus's mouth.

 

One version reads,

 

And there you have it, if nothing else this is the most damning proof against the TF, the fact that there are two versions of it! Joe’s work is not significantly altered in the Slavic version (which the apologists is referring to), except in this passage which was clearly elaborated by redactors, in fact there are so many layers of elaboration. This clearly fits the pattern of gradual interpolation, done so as not to attract suspicion, and theological elaboration, the way that later gospels elaborate Mark. Christians may be liars and frauds, but at least there deceptions fit a consistent pattern.

 

"At this time there was a wise man named Jesus. His conduct was good and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who became his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders."

 

The “perhaps” was added in order to make the passage less suspicious, most likely a reaction to doubts voiced by the followers. Also Josephus would not have regarded Jesus‘ overturning the moneylender’s tables in the Temple as "good". This is precisely what a Christian would right if he had only a few sentences in which to confirm his beliefs.

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Considering the fact that Jesus' ministry was largely confined to a relatively unimportant backwater area in a small corner of the Roman Empire, a surprising amount of information about Jesus can be drawn from secular historical sources

 

Check out this article

 

http://www.geocities.com/b_r_a_d_99/fame.htm

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Julius Africanus quotes the historian Thallus in a discussion of the darkness which followed the crucifixion of Christ (Extant Writings, 18).

 

He was discussing an eclipse, not a supernatural phenomena, which does not match any of the possible dates of the crucifixion, and in any case this is an extraordinarily weak link. If my faith rested on such an a reference I would truly be in trouble. Not to mention the fact that the darkness was only mentioned by Matthew, in a section where he also introduces a great many other ridiculously over the top miracles, that have become something of an embarrassment to the more rational believers. It highly unlikely that if all the dead of Jerusalem truly did come back to life, historians would only mentioned the fact that is also became dark at the time.

 

Pliny the Younger, in Letters 10:96, recorded early Christian worship practices including the fact that Christians worshiped Jesus as God and were very ethical, and includes a reference to the love feast and Lord’s Supper.

 

This one annoys me most of all. I happen to be a fan of both Pliny the Elder and Younger. They were amongst the most ethical and educated human beings on the planet. Selfless, compassionate, and enlightened. The Elder himself sacrificed his life trying to rescue the victims of the Vesuvius corruption. The passage in question describes Pliny, for no adequately explained reason, torturing women (which was against Roman principles, let alone Pliny’s character) in order to find out if they were Christians, the details of the passage are absurd, and once more disagree with the fact that Romans tolerated people's religious beliefs. The Roman Empire was pluralistic and cosmopolitan, people were constantly coming up with new religions every five seconds, and the Roman empire largely ignored them. It is bad enough when Christian redactors tried to smear Nero, who despite his immorality should not have been accused of crimes he not commit, but when they lay such a ridiculous charge against a person universally recognised for his moral behaviour, it's just shows that Christians know no bounds to their deception. And what makes it worse is that many scholars today still uncritically repeated this passage as if it was genuine. I know no scholars who critically analyse it and conclude that it is. And besides, once more, even if this was genuine, Pliny was not a contemporary witness to Jesus, was only repeating what Christians were saying. Once more they provide no evidence.

 

The Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a) confirms Jesus' crucifixion on the eve of Passover, and the accusations against Christ of practicing sorcery and encouraging Jewish apostasy.

 

This one is interesting, in short the Babylonian Talmud was written centuries later, and there is no way to guarantee they weren't merely repeating what they've heard Christians say.

 

The more complicated answer is that, (and this is well documented) the Jews actually had no memory or references to Jesus whatsoever. But after hearing so many accusations against them by Christians, they decided that they must have in their records references to him, however brief or obleak. In other words they were tricked into constructing false memories of Jesus. Many proceeded to take references to characters with similar names, who were accused of blasphemy, or died around the time of Passover, and despite the enormous differences, cobbled them together into a "Anti gospel". Essentially an attempt at a rebuttal to Christian claims against them. Written so Jewish students could have something to say when proselytised to, or bullied. Ironically they were later pressured by Christians to censor these passages, as they do not cast Jesus in a favourable light. Now of course they are brought out by Christians as proof, despite the fact that they radically contradict the gospel accounts, and were constructed from references to other characters. For more on this read The Jews Jesus the Jews never knew by Frank R. Zindler

 

Lucian of Samosata was a second-century Greek writer who admits that Jesus was worshiped by Christians, introduced new teachings, and was crucified for them. He said that Jesus' teachings included the brotherhood of believers, the importance of conversion, and the importance of denying other gods. Christians lived according to Jesus’ laws, believed themselves immortal, and were characterized by contempt for death, voluntary self-devotion, and renunciation of material goods.

 

This reference to Lucien's report on Christians has been carefully referred to, so as not to quote anything Lucien actually says. The reason is that Lucien does not make Christianity look good. “admits”?!? Sneaky term, he ridicules them from beginning to end, what's to admit? Lucian’s main focus was on Peregrinus, a Cynic, and con artist. This is interesting, as its supports many critical scholars hypothesis that the Q source was of cynic origins, as this shows a flow of traffic between Christianity and the Cynics. Any such evidence is important, in debunking the idea that Christianity was new or unique, the reality always showing that all its various aspects were derived from either Jewish or pagan sources. Although Lucien does show Christianity to have some virtues, (not that even I doubted that it did) his main point regarding them is that they were extremely credulous, and not only followed every swindler who came their way, (as they do today) but also added their teachings to their cannon of holy law.

 

 

This is very telling, as it provides a background into the way later epistles and gospel details were added to what became the new Testament. Anyway, the important thing is that all Lucien is doing is describing second century Christianity, nothing he says contradicts even the most sceptical person's position, and indeed supports are claims. What Christians appear to be doing is assuming that these historians, despite the fact that they only briefly mention Christianity, must have bothered to do intense research, and found out about to Jesus for themselves. Not bothering to mentioned this research binge, or the sources, but simply summarising in a few sentences. Thusly providing evidence of documents now lost to us. This is one hell of an assumption. Lucian only mentioned the Christians in passing, why would he have done more than simply repeat what they said? He repeats their beliefs about to Jesus, not to confirm them, but simply to give the reader some background as to this obscure sect. Why would he not simply repeat their more reasonable claims concerning Jesus? Does he show any knowledge of Jesus he could not have gained from Christians at the time? Besides when you have earlier writings by Christians that contradict current Christian dogma, later pagan writings that “confirm” it (long after they where developed either way)are irrelevant.

 

 

Mara Bar-Serapion confirms that Jesus was thought to be a wise and virtuous man, was considered by many to be the king of Israel, was put to death by the Jews, and lived on in the teachings of his followers.

 

One problem, the passage in question does not mention Jesus. That is a not insignificant point the Christian fails to mention. (Even if you do what Christians all do, and assume it refers to Jesus, they should at least show the passage, and not pretend that there is no doubt, or that it mentions him explicitly) Even according to the gospel stories he was not widely recognised as "king". The writer in question was not a contemporary witness either way. This is not a Christian writing this, and it is hard to believe anyone but a Christian was referring to Jesus in such a way, comparing him to Socrates or Pythagoras. (Or would even of heard of Jesus) Also the context shows he was talking of distant times, and there have been many other dispersions in Jewish history. Also this passages is ironically often used by Biblical literalists, who proceed not to take the reference to a King literally, as technically no Jewish kings ruled in the first century, but rather at the times corresponding to the other references. Here is a more details debunking of this passage.

 

http://www.infidels.org/library/magazines/.../4/4mara95.html

 

Then we have all the Gnostic writings (The Gospel of Truth, The Apocryphon of John, The Gospel of Thomas, The Treatise on Resurrection, etc.) that all mention Jesus.

 

This requires a more complex rebuttal. In brief none of the Gnostic gospels were written any earlier than the orthodox ones, and their treatment of Jesus is clearly allegorical, symbolic, and often at variance with the orthodox gospels. People died for these gospels, at the hands of orthodox Christians, it was heresy to own them. They were considered blasphemous, most were destroyed, and now that some have come to light, Christians (with so little else to go on) pretend that they are proof, when previously they did everything they could destroy them. These Gnostic gospels are theology not evidence, same as their new Testament rivals.

 

Besides these gospels are written in order to legitimise teachings of particular sects, a common practice was to attribute them to either an obscure disciple, or one that had not yet had a gospel named after them. This way they could claim that their teachings went back to Jesus himself, but through only one disciple, they had exclusive claim to. This succeeded the original practice of receiving messages from Jesus in visions, similar to Paul’s. After the idea of a historical Jesus, became accepted even among the Gnostic's, then they had to come with ways of tracing back all their teachings to that earthly ministry. These are all clearly religious documents, they do not support the gospel story itself, in any but vaguest way, if that, (and away they were trying to fit their teaching into that framework, they were not in a position to collaborate it) they give Jesus words and actions according to their theology, in very much way he the same way that the four orthodox gospels do. There is no more evidence of Jesus in these, than in the references to Jesus in the book of Mormon. They are too late, and besides earlier Gnostic beliefs contradicts the historical Jesus idea.

 

In fact, we can almost reconstruct the gospel just from early non-Christian sources: Jesus was called the Christ (Josephus), did “magic,” led Israel into new teachings, and was hanged on Passover for them (Babylonian Talmud) in Judea (Tacitus), but claimed to be God and would return (Eliezar), which his followers believed - worshipping Him as God (Pliny the Younger).

 

It is precisely because we are able to reconstruct from barely a dozen sentences Christian doctrine concerning Jesus that people should be suspicious. Yes, a very scanty account, but mentions all the essentials of the gospels. But that is only because they are based on the gospels. Christians here show themselves to be similarly obtuse when they point to all the new Testament passages that are similar to those in the old Testament, never realising that it is old Testament passages that the new Testament writers used for inspiration. Such an inability to see the most obvious answer still astounds me. Besides all these examples of “pious fraud” are just the tip of the iceberg, the sheer scale of fakery and deception within Christianity would take a thousand years to detail, it's that vast. Yet despite that, no amount of suspicion breaks their faith in these passages, which might as well be in the Bible itself, for all the blind faith they have in them.

 

Besides, even if these passages were genuine, these are hardly detailed secular accounts. So few words hardly constitute evidence, not for an event which was supposedly the most important in history. Could you fashion a religion out of these references? Are they indistinguishable from the many other accounts of miracles and "wise" teachers?

 

In conclusion, there is overwhelming evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ, both in secular and Biblical history.

 

This is just a gross exaggeration. "overwhelming"? Barely half a pager A4? It's bad enough that they ignore the evidence against these passages, but to take these few words and call them a overwhelming, just strikes me as overcompensating.

 

Perhaps the greatest evidence that Jesus did exist is the fact that literally thousands of Christians in the first century A.D., including the 12 apostles, were willing to give their lives as martyrs for Jesus Christ.

 

I wondered when they would mention this. Let us begin with the fact that there is no evidence that any of the apostles were martyred.. (We have already dealt with the legendary first century martyrs.) For the apostles, all we have our conflicting and contradictory legends, which are as absurd as they are improbable. (For example Thomas is martyred in three different continents!) They conflict with the context of the time, they fit in with the other martyr legends, and are romances, period. Besides what of all the other religions who have martyrs? (More reliably proven ones) and what of the possibility that they were willing to die for a mythical Christ? How many died for Isis, how many die for Zeus, how many died for Thor? Or Allah as I write this? This is just another argument that they should have stopped using long ago. It is pathetically disingenuous.

 

People will die for what they believe to be true, but no one will die for what they know to be a lie."

 

Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard? Besides no one doubts that Christians believe their doctrines to be true, we just doubt that they are right.

 

Once more, the only proof they offer is faith, this time, their own.

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Snip

 

Good post,

 

 

On another local forum in my town, With out too much plagiarizing I cut and copy some of this materiel, I did some paraphrasing at best, but I did put your name down as help source of information referring to this web-site's forum.

The only response I got back was this.

 

 

 

I don't think that any of us got far enough into the post to get interested. The truth should not take that much explaining! Keep it concise or you lose by default!

 

What kind of bullshit is this? :loser:

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