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What Is The Nature Of Jesus?


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That question was posted on another thread. I wrote some stuff on the topic in my blog. It's nothing but guesses in the dark, but maybe I'll start a new thread and post some of it here for further discussion. I think whole libraries have been written on the topic so perhaps it warrents a separate thread. But don't take anything I write as the definitive and final word because it's nothing but a bit of introductory study in the New Testament.

 

And please, anyone is free to add their own idea or post totally new ideas. I'm just posting this to start it off.

 

Just last week or so I was writing about Jesus' tumultuous relationship with his family, including his mother. That was based on a reading of Mark and Matthew. Now I am reading a book about the Gospel of John and I am presented with a very different picture. His mother is portrayed as being a very important person in his life. Even while reading and writing about the Gospel of Mark, I remembered the story about Mary at the cross when Jesus commended her to John's care. I did not research it. I figured I could reconcile it somehow; maybe they made up before his crucifixion.

 

In Befriending the Beloved Disciple: A Jewish Reading of he Gospel of John, Adele Reinhartz draws my attention in a different direction. She points to the story about the wedding at Cana. I haven't even come to the other indications and I am not sure I want to. This story does not fit together seamlessly as I had thought. I feel let down, betrayed. I had drawn so much consolation from the story of Jesus. But these contradictions cannot all belong to the same person. Jesus cannot have had the very tumultuous relationship at the same time that he had such a loving and intimate relationship with her. It does not make sense.

 

The picture I am getting of Jesus is a very fragmented personality. It's worse than schizophrenia. Even people with schizophrenia have a core personality, I would guess, because my grandmother had a core personality when she had Alzheimers. Even when she made no contact with reality for days and weeks at a time, there was a core personality.

 

In Jesus as portrayed in the gospels there is not. He's nothing but bits and pieces used to serve the various theological purposes/agendas of the writers. Tom Harpur must be right in The Pagan Christ. Jesus is nothing but a myth. He never existed. That is the only thing that makes sense. I had thought there was a consistent picture of him in the NT. There is not.

 

Had I not focused so hard on his personality as portrayed by Mark, I would continue in my blissful ignorance.

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What Is The Nature Of Jesus?

 

There is no evidence that a historical Jesus ever existed. The myth of Christianity is simply a retelling of the ancient myth of the dying and resurrecting Sun God. His nature is similar to other Sun gods such as Khrishna and Mythra.

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Let's see if it will post separately. The above was supposed to be two separate posts but it melded into one single post. I wrote this about a week earlier than the above post.

 

 

Jeus lost his family, too.

 

I suspect what appears in Mark 3:21 and 22 is a sanitized version of what really happened.

 

Jesus is shown as being calm and in control of the situation. Yet according to Mark, his family went out to restrain hm because the neighbours were saying he was out of his mind, and the scribes--the preachers--were saying he was casting out "Beelzebub" or evil spirits "by the ruler of the demons" (Mark 3:21, 22).

 

Jesus' saying about the divided house was probably not uttered in a serene setting in the shade of an awning with his disciples lounging at his feet. That for the best part of his public life he was estranged from his family, rejected in his hometown, and living in Capernaum indicates that something significant happened.

 

After all, Jesus was the guy who at the age of twelve years had out-witted the top profs--or high priests--at the Temple in Jerusalem. What man with his level of intelligence could at the age of thirty be confined to the drugery of a carpenter shop with it's miserly measurements and tight-fisted businessmen? With Jesus' eye for business as well as for ethics there probably wasn't a shrew in the entire surrounding villages and towns who escaped the sharp wit of his tongue. And he probably didn't stop with a simple rebuke. He's the kind of guy who could go on for hours while he was at it. And with no better entertainment we can easily see people flocking out simply to see him flog another cheater. The problem was, he didn't stop with that. He went on to chastise them for worrying about where their next meal was coming from or for wanting to dress well. Driven as he was by intense enthusiasm and sharp wit there could not have been a person within a hundred mile radius who never felt the lash of his tongue.

 

He was probably more or less okay at home. Sounds like the family didn't really know he was out of control until they heard it from others. To Jesus that must have felt like the ultimate betrayal. He must have known what others were saying but surely his family knew him well enough not to listen to such gossip. He was, after all, only telling people what they should have known on their own. But, if they were too ignorant to figure things out on their own, then he would not hesitate to educate them.

 

It was rather bothersome that they brought all their sniffling and crippled and drooling family members out with the expectation that he heal them. Who did they think he was--a healer? There were days when he just walked away and went to find another village that needed a bit of educating. (This is based on Mark's account that he actually did this in the name of spreading the gospel of the kingdom of heaven.) I don't think the old carpenter shop saw too much of him those days.

 

Things probably came to a head on the day that the scibes arrived from Jerusalem with their sinister pronunciation. They said, "He has Beelzebub, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons."

 

The scribes would not have dirtied their robes and tunics by physically restraining the sweaty ragged back-country maniac but by golly--there were others who would! now that they had this "authority from on high.

 

I think what happened next was that his brothers descended on him as he was talking to a batch of townsmen, totally oblivious to the pronouncement of the Jerusalem scibes. Oh sure, they had made quite a stir but so what! these people were so dull-witted that they got all starry-eyed just because some slightly less dull-wits arrived from The City.

 

I think before he knew what was happening his brothers grasped him from behind and charged him with what the scribes had said. And before he could collect his thoughts they probably had him firmly in their grasp. As he struggled and fought to get free he probably gasped between breaths that a house divided against itself cannot stand--exactly by what right did they do this to him? Anyone knew that if Satan cast out Satan--well, that was simply too stupid for words.

 

His strength was no match for four brothers who were just as strong and virile as he. At last he succombed to exhausion. He meekly went home with them and promised to be a good boy. He probably sneaked out to some wild and lonely spot to take stalk of the situation. After sullenly mulling things over a while he gained some level of serenity. But he wasn't about to repeat this mistake. He knew a back way to this prophet guy who was activating at the Jordan River.

 

Without telling anyone where he was going he went to check out this guy. When he got there, he found out that his name was John and that he was preaching: Repent and be baptized. Jesus was ready for a totally new start in life. He just wanted to be purified from all the dust and filth of the past and start all over with a clean new slate. As he came out of the river after his baptism he felt a deep inner peace, an assurance that he had made the right choice.

 

He soon found a few other guys who didn't know what to do with themselves and who were smarter than the average. They weren't great but they would do. If nothing else, they could act as a body guard next time the scibes turned his brothers and neighbours on him. And none too soon. One day when he was deeply engrossed in teaching the crowds someone said, "Hey dude! your mom and brothers want to talk to you. Better go home!"

 

Enraged he roared, "Who are my mother and brothers? I tell you no one fit for life will listen to his mother and brothers. These people here--they are my mother and brothers and sisters. To hell with the rest of you!"

 

The biblical account says his family couldn't get near him because of the crowd. I think that is how Jesus would have it.

 

What Is The Nature Of Jesus?

 

There is no evidence that a historical Jesus ever existed. The myth of Christianity is simply a retelling of the ancient myth of the dying and resurrecting Sun God. His nature is similar to other Sun gods such as Khrishna and Mythra.

 

If you read Tom Harpur's The Pagan Christ, you will get some well-researched educated guesses on why Jesus is the same as these other gods. Harpur actually compares Jesus with Egyptian gods.

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Jeus lost his family, too.

 

I suspect what appears in Mark 3:21 and 22 is a sanitized version of what really happened.

 

Jesus is shown as being calm and in control of the situation. Yet according to Mark, his family went out to restrain hm because the neighbours were saying he was out of his mind, and the scribes--the preachers--were saying he was casting out "Beelzebub" or evil spirits "by the ruler of the demons" (Mark 3:21, 22).

 

Jesus' saying about the divided house was probably not uttered in a serene setting in the shade of an awning with his disciples lounging at his feet. That for the best part of his public life he was estranged from his family, rejected in his hometown, and living in Capernaum indicates that something significant happened.

 

After all, Jesus was the guy who at the age of twelve years had out-witted the top profs--or high priests--at the Temple in Jerusalem. What man with his level of intelligence could at the age of thirty be confined to the drugery of a carpenter shop with it's miserly measurements and tight-fisted businessmen? With Jesus' eye for business as well as for ethics there probably wasn't a shrew in the entire surrounding villages and towns who escaped the sharp wit of his tongue. And he probably didn't stop with a simple rebuke. He's the kind of guy who could go on for hours while he was at it. And with no better entertainment we can easily see people flocking out simply to see him flog another cheater. The problem was, he didn't stop with that. He went on to chastise them for worrying about where their next meal was coming from or for wanting to dress well. Driven as he was by intense enthusiasm and sharp wit there could not have been a person within a hundred mile radius who never felt the lash of his tongue.

 

He was probably more or less okay at home. Sounds like the family didn't really know he was out of control until they heard it from others. To Jesus that must have felt like the ultimate betrayal. He must have known what others were saying but surely his family knew him well enough not to listen to such gossip. He was, after all, only telling people what they should have known on their own. But, if they were too ignorant to figure things out on their own, then he would not hesitate to educate them.

 

It was rather bothersome that they brought all their sniffling and crippled and drooling family members out with the expectation that he heal them. Who did they think he was--a healer? There were days when he just walked away and went to find another village that needed a bit of educating. (This is based on Mark's account that he actually did this in the name of spreading the gospel of the kingdom of heaven.) I don't think the old carpenter shop saw too much of him those days.

 

Things probably came to a head on the day that the scibes arrived from Jerusalem with their sinister pronunciation. They said, "He has Beelzebub, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons."

 

The scribes would not have dirtied their robes and tunics by physically restraining the sweaty ragged back-country maniac but by golly--there were others who would! now that they had this "authority from on high.

 

I think what happened next was that his brothers descended on him as he was talking to a batch of townsmen, totally oblivious to the pronouncement of the Jerusalem scibes. Oh sure, they had made quite a stir but so what! these people were so dull-witted that they got all starry-eyed just because some slightly less dull-wits arrived from The City.

 

I think before he knew what was happening his brothers grasped him from behind and charged him with what the scribes had said. And before he could collect his thoughts they probably had him firmly in their grasp. As he struggled and fought to get free he probably gasped between breaths that a house divided against itself cannot stand--exactly by what right did they do this to him? Anyone knew that if Satan cast out Satan--well, that was simply too stupid for words.

 

His strength was no match for four brothers who were just as strong and virile as he. At last he succombed to exhausion. He meekly went home with them and promised to be a good boy. He probably sneaked out to some wild and lonely spot to take stalk of the situation. After sullenly mulling things over a while he gained some level of serenity. But he wasn't about to repeat this mistake. He knew a back way to this prophet guy who was activating at the Jordan River.

 

Without telling anyone where he was going he went to check out this guy. When he got there, he found out that his name was John and that he was preaching: Repent and be baptized. Jesus was ready for a totally new start in life. He just wanted to be purified from all the dust and filth of the past and start all over with a clean new slate. As he came out of the river after his baptism he felt a deep inner peace, an assurance that he had made the right choice.

 

He soon found a few other guys who didn't know what to do with themselves and who were smarter than the average. They weren't great but they would do. If nothing else, they could act as a body guard next time the scibes turned his brothers and neighbours on him. And none too soon. One day when he was deeply engrossed in teaching the crowds someone said, "Hey dude! your mom and brothers want to talk to you. Better go home!"

 

Enraged he roared, "Who are my mother and brothers? I tell you no one fit for life will listen to his mother and brothers. These people here--they are my mother and brothers and sisters. To hell with the rest of you!"

 

The biblical account says his family couldn't get near him because of the crowd. I think that is how Jesus would have it.

 

What Is The Nature Of Jesus?

 

There is no evidence that a historical Jesus ever existed. The myth of Christianity is simply a retelling of the ancient myth of the dying and resurrecting Sun God. His nature is similar to other Sun gods such as Khrishna and Mythra.

 

If you read Tom Harpur's The Pagan Christ, you will get some well-researched educated guesses on why Jesus is the same as these other gods. Harpur actually compares Jesus with Egyptian gods.

 

Very well written, RubySera, and you have some interesting views. I look forward to reading more of your insights!

 

The different portraits of Jesus in the gospels indicate to me that they are trustworthy accounts: No one sat down and decided to make things conform, to get the story straight, so as to better sell their invention from whole-cloth.

 

Instead, four distinct Jesus traditions are captured by the four accounts. Just as we all are multifaceted and multi-personalitied (is that a word?), and just as my mother would tell the life story of her son, me, differently that I would or my sister would or my partner would, the story of Jesus is told differently through various eyes.

 

Compiled as they were within 30 to 70 years of the lifetime of Jesus, the gospels are more trustworthy from a purely historical point of view than, say, the Torah which was compiled hundreds and in some cases thousands of years after the alleged events.

 

One view from one person. Thanks for reading.

 

-CC in MA (I have grown tired of typing "currentchristian in massachusetts")

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The different portraits of Jesus in the gospels indicate to me that they are trustworthy accounts: No one sat down and decided to make things conform, to get the story straight, so as to better sell their invention from whole-cloth.

 

Instead, four distinct Jesus traditions are captured by the four accounts. Just as we all are multifaceted and multi-personalitied (is that a word?), and just as my mother would tell the life story of her son, me, differently that I would or my sister would or my partner would, the story of Jesus is told differently through various eyes.

 

Compiled as they were within 30 to 70 years of the lifetime of Jesus, the gospels are more trustworthy from a purely historical point of view than, say, the Torah which was compiled hundreds and in some cases thousands of years after the alleged events.

 

 

CC, it sounds as though you are claiming less than inerrancy for the gospels. Since they contradict each other on various points, they are not inerrant, right? Would you perhaps say they don't err on theological points but that inerrancy doesn't apply to all the statements of fact made in them?

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Instead, four distinct Jesus traditions are captured by the four accounts.

 

Quite wrong. We don't have four distinct versions of the Jesus story.

 

Luke and Matthew are universally accepted as being derivative of Mark. Along with acceptance that another source was used, the various layerings of the sayings known as Q.

 

So, we basically have two distinct Jesus traditions. The synoptics and John.

 

(well, three actually, if you consider the earliest of the christological concepts - those found in Paul's early writings)

 

And the three versions cannot be reconciled into one human being.

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The different portraits of Jesus in the gospels indicate to me that they are trustworthy accounts: No one sat down and decided to make things conform, to get the story straight, so as to better sell their invention from whole-cloth.

 

Instead, four distinct Jesus traditions are captured by the four accounts. Just as we all are multifaceted and multi-personalitied (is that a word?), and just as my mother would tell the life story of her son, me, differently that I would or my sister would or my partner would, the story of Jesus is told differently through various eyes.

 

Compiled as they were within 30 to 70 years of the lifetime of Jesus, the gospels are more trustworthy from a purely historical point of view than, say, the Torah which was compiled hundreds and in some cases thousands of years after the alleged events.

 

CC, it sounds as though you are claiming less than inerrancy for the gospels. Since they contradict each other on various points, they are not inerrant, right? Would you perhaps say they don't err on theological points but that inerrancy doesn't apply to all the statements of fact made in them?

 

For me, the gospels record the life of Jesus, and quite accuratley. But, and I've used this example before, we don't even know exactly what Abraham Lincoln said at Gettysburg back in November 1863. The newspaper scribes reported slightly different words here and there and even those copies of the "Gettysburg Address" in Lincoln's own hand have some differences (minimal). We have no idea how he presented the speech, what his voice sounded like, which words he emphasized (e.g., "of," "by," and "for," or "the people"). While my view is that Jesus was the Great Ambassador of the Great One (no, not Jackie Gleason! :HaHa: ) and that one gets a very close reading of his life in the gospels, inerrancy is never claimed by the gospels themselves and I'd never use that word in describing it. Jesus was/is inerrant; the Bible's account of his life or of any other event is not.

 

CC in MA

 

 

Instead, four distinct Jesus traditions are captured by the four accounts.

 

Quite wrong. We don't have four distinct versions of the Jesus story.

 

Luke and Matthew are universally accepted as being derivative of Mark. Along with acceptance that another source was used, the various layerings of the sayings known as Q.

 

So, we basically have two distinct Jesus traditions. The synoptics and John.

 

(well, three actually, if you consider the earliest of the christological concepts - those found in Paul's early writings)

 

And the three versions cannot be reconciled into one human being.

 

You raise a good point, Mythra. The synoptics are very similar and some scholars do surmise the existence of Q (a conclusion based on a reasonable reading of the synoptic gospels, but primarily an issue of faith as Q has yet to be found). But even within the synoptic gospels, each has its own points to make and includes material unique to itself. John is altogether different, more spiritualized one could say. We mustn't forget, too, that there are the Gnostic Gospels. While written later than the canonical gospels and less "trustworthy" in their historicity, nevertheless a unique and fascinating look at the meaning of the life of Christ.

 

-CC in MA

 

 

Mythra, your answer to the "any gods?" question is quite clever!

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The synoptics are very similar and some scholars do surmise the existence of Q (a conclusion based on a reasonable reading of the synoptic gospels, but primarily an issue of faith as Q has yet to be found).

 

I like that. Q is an issue of faith, but your dating of the writings about Jesus (30-70 years) is stated as a fact.

 

The truth is, both are based on educated conjecture. (since P52 is the oldest fragment of the gospels, and it can be dated anywhere from 125 - 150 C.E.)

 

Even for most external writings (such as Papias and Ignatius) - we are taking the word of a fourth century apologist who admits that he will only record things that are profitable to the faith.

 

Christianity is not on as solid a rock as some would have us believe.

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What is the nature of Jesus?

 

My guess is that he is an empty vessel in which people of different times and places can pour their notions of what is good and sacred into for the purposes worship. He is an icon, a symbol, a place marker, a reference point, a role model.

 

He says something to the effect of, "No greater love does a man have than to lay down his life for another." Then he proceeds to do just that. My guess is that he is an ideal of sorts.

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The synoptics are very similar and some scholars do surmise the existence of Q (a conclusion based on a reasonable reading of the synoptic gospels, but primarily an issue of faith as Q has yet to be found).

 

I like that. Q is an issue of faith, but your dating of the writings about Jesus (30-70 years) is stated as a fact.

 

The truth is, both are based on educated conjecture. (since P52 is the oldest fragment of the gospels, and it can be dated anywhere from 125 - 150 C.E.)

 

Even for most external writings (such as Papias and Ignatius) - we are taking the word of a fourth century apologist who admits that he will only record things that are profitable to the faith.

 

Christianity is not on as solid a rock as some would have us believe.

 

Hi again Mythra. Yes, somewhat I'd say. There is conjecture regarding the dating of the original writing of the gospels. But most scholars (and I don't worship scholars, by the way!) date the writing of the gospels to anywhere from 30-70 years after the life of Jesus. Ignatius, for example, who died somewhere about 100 CE (some say as early as 98 and others as late as 117) quoted from the gospel of Matthew.

 

It seems generally agreed that the author of Luke and the author of Acts of the Apostles are one and the same. Luke was written first. Acts does not make note of the persecution of the Christians by Nero or the deaths of Paul or Peter. These events happened around 64 - 68 CE. Therefore, one could conject with some "authority" that Luke was written prior to these events, prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.

 

No matter, really. While it is interesting (in fact, fascinating) to know when these gospels were written and by whom, the more weighty matter is: Does Jesus have anything to offer a person in the 21st century? (It's a personal answer, of course.)

 

Coincidentally, just last week I stumbled on this fine website for the library in Manchester, England, that houses P52, the gospel of John fragment you refer to. Here's the link for anyone interested:

 

P52

 

-CC in MA

 

What is the nature of Jesus?

 

My guess is that he is an empty vessel in which people of different times and places can pour their notions of what is good and sacred into for the purposes worship. He is an icon, a symbol, a place marker, a reference point, a role model.

 

He says something to the effect of, "No greater love does a man have than to lay down his life for another." Then he proceeds to do just that. My guess is that he is an ideal of sorts.

 

I like this a lot.

 

-CC in MA

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For me, the gospels record the life of Jesus, and quite accuratley....
Since they do not agree, how can they be claimed to be accurate? Since not one of the authors ever met the guy, how can they be claimed to be accurate?
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I remember when I was in the process of leaving xtianity thinking about the "pictures" of Jesus. The whole time I was a xtian I thought the representations of how he looked were true. :HaHa:

Then I found out there were absolutely no documented drawings, paintings, anything and that was all man made as well.

:Doh:

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For me, the gospels record the life of Jesus, and quite accuratley....
Since they do not agree, how can they be claimed to be accurate? Since not one of the authors ever met the guy, how can they be claimed to be accurate?

 

Since CC never met Jesus it is preposterous for him/her to make any claims of accuracy. What CC probably means is that he/she likes the portrait he/she has developed for him/herself. In order to derive a consistent portrait of Jesus from the bits and pieces recorded by the various biblical writers we have to pick and choose what we want, and then we have to put our own spin on that. Over the past two centuries many "Life of Jesus" books have been written. One person who studied these books said each person created Jesus in their own image. That's my words, obviously, but the point is clear. Humans tend to see Jesus as the ideal form of themselves. But anyone who looks critically and honestly at the different records can see that no consistent image emerges.

 

CC said:

 

Compiled as they were within 30 to 70 years of the lifetime of Jesus, the gospels are more trustworthy from a purely historical point of view than, say, the Torah which was compiled hundreds and in some cases thousands of years after the alleged events.

 

CC, your jab at the Torah is probably not okay. As a Christian I think you are allowed to critique the Old Testament but probably not jab at the Jews' sacred text.

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I remember when I was in the process of leaving xtianity thinking about the "pictures" of Jesus. The whole time I was a xtian I thought the representations of how he looked were true. :HaHa:

Then I found out there were absolutely no documented drawings, paintings, anything and that was all man made as well. :Doh:

And it's always a long blond haired, bearded, white guy. He would have had much darker skin, been shorter, and had dark, kinky, hair and beard.

 

 

Since CC never met Jesus it is preposterous for him/her to make any claims of accuracy. What CC probably means is that he/she likes the portrait he/she has developed for him/herself. In order to derive a consistent portrait of Jesus from the bits and pieces recorded by the various biblical writers we have to pick and choose what we want, and then we have to put our own spin on that. Over the past two centuries many "Life of Jesus" books have been written. One person who studied these books said each person created Jesus in their own image. That's my words, obviously, but the point is clear. Humans tend to see Jesus as the ideal form of themselves. But anyone who looks critically and honestly at the different records can see that no consistent image emerges.
That's my point, except you put it in better words. :grin: EVERYTHING about this jesus is made up! Not one historical fact about him exists.
CC said:

 

Compiled as they were within 30 to 70 years of the lifetime of Jesus, the gospels are more trustworthy from a purely historical point of view than, say, the Torah which was compiled hundreds and in some cases thousands of years after the alleged events.

CC, your jab at the Torah is probably not okay. As a Christian I think you are allowed to critique the Old Testament but probably not jab at the Jews' sacred text.
He's right though. The OT was written thousands of years after the alleged events. What he got wrong was that a gap of only "30 to 70 years" makes something more historically accurate. Not one of the authors of the NT interviewed anyone that actually heard anything jesus said. There is no historical provenance for any of the claims made in the NT.
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For me, the gospels record the life of Jesus, and quite accuratley....
Since they do not agree, how can they be claimed to be accurate? Since not one of the authors ever met the guy, how can they be claimed to be accurate?

 

The disagreements are minimal. If Matthew wrote that Jesus was crucifed, and Mark recorded that he was stonned to death, while Luke purported that he died of cancer and John didn't make mention of what happened to him -- this would constitute a major disagreement, a deal-stealer actually. The differences among the gospels are no more serious than those one would encounter reading the accident report of four witnesses.

 

The patristic fathers record that in fact the authors of Matthew and John were among the disciples and that Luke and Mark were among disciples of disciples. That's a close connection. Even if the authorship is not as noted as early as the first half of the second century, I see no reason to entertain major doubts about the gospels' authenticity as a reliable record of the life of Jesus, nor do I see any reason to allow minimal disagreement to be faith-shattering. But I do not hold to an inerrancy view of scripture of a verbal plenary view and am not, therefore, tied down to defending every jot and tittle of any scriptural account.

 

-CC in MA

 

I remember when I was in the process of leaving xtianity thinking about the "pictures" of Jesus. The whole time I was a xtian I thought the representations of how he looked were true. :HaHa:

Then I found out there were absolutely no documented drawings, paintings, anything and that was all man made as well.

:Doh:

 

It's funny how "silly" we all can be, thinking that Jesus looked like the medieval white guy of so many religious paintings! I don't like visible representations of Jesus and definitely not those of God. Pictures, statues, etc. absolutely recreate these two in our image. Very confining. It's fine if others want to create them and make use of them in devotion, but drawings and paintings are very distracting to me. (I didn't grow up RC, obviously.)

 

-CC in MA

 

 

Since CC never met Jesus it is preposterous for him/her to make any claims of accuracy. What CC probably means is that he/she likes the portrait he/she has developed for him/herself. In order to derive a consistent portrait of Jesus from the bits and pieces recorded by the various biblical writers we have to pick and choose what we want, and then we have to put our own spin on that. Over the past two centuries many "Life of Jesus" books have been written. One person who studied these books said each person created Jesus in their own image. That's my words, obviously, but the point is clear. Humans tend to see Jesus as the ideal form of themselves. But anyone who looks critically and honestly at the different records can see that no consistent image emerges.

 

CC said:

 

Compiled as they were within 30 to 70 years of the lifetime of Jesus, the gospels are more trustworthy from a purely historical point of view than, say, the Torah which was compiled hundreds and in some cases thousands of years after the alleged events.

 

CC, your jab at the Torah is probably not okay. As a Christian I think you are allowed to critique the Old Testament but probably not jab at the Jews' sacred text.

 

Hello RubySera. You are right that we all spin the gospels! You also are right that we have a strong tendency to create Jesus in our ideal image. But I do not feel that this is problematic -- to an extent. You also are right that I never met Jesus. :grin: But that does not preclude me from making claims about the historicity of any document purporting to tell the story of Jesus or George Washington or Elizabeth Cady Stanton or any other figure for that matter. Shall we dismiss all historians from all our college campuses simply because they did not meet the characters they write about?

 

Please excuse me for not writing more clearly about the Torah. I definitely did not mean to take a punch at it. What I meant to say is that from a purely historical viewpoint the gospels serve better as "primary source documents" than does the Torah written as it was so long after the alleged events transpired. I certainly meant my words as a critique, not a jab.

 

-CC in MA (male, just so you don't have to do the he/she and him/her thing :grin: )

 

 

And it's always a long blond haired, bearded, white guy. He would have had much darker skin, been shorter, and had dark, kinky, hair and beard.

 

Yep!

 

-CC in MA

 

Since CC never met Jesus it is preposterous for him/her to make any claims of accuracy. What CC probably means is that he/she likes the portrait he/she has developed for him/herself. In order to derive a consistent portrait of Jesus from the bits and pieces recorded by the various biblical writers we have to pick and choose what we want, and then we have to put our own spin on that. Over the past two centuries many "Life of Jesus" books have been written. One person who studied these books said each person created Jesus in their own image. That's my words, obviously, but the point is clear. Humans tend to see Jesus as the ideal form of themselves. But anyone who looks critically and honestly at the different records can see that no consistent image emerges.
That's my point, except you put it in better words. :grin: EVERYTHING about this jesus is made up! Not one historical fact about him exists.

 

If you want to believe, by faith, that everything about Jesus in the gospels is made up you have that right, but so do those who want to believe that nothing about Jesus was made up. My view is that the gospels present a good word-picture of who Jesus was.

 

-CC in MA

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Okay Mr. CC (I thought you sounded like a male but one can never know), there is much to critique in your posts.

 

1. You should be aware that when you join a site with the name "exChristian" you are speaking to people who have no intention to keep the "faith of our fathers." We have, in fact, deconverted. And for very good reason, if you ever bother reading *and understanding* our testimonies.

 

Thus statements about the relevancy of the accuracy of the gospels to faith are totally and completely beside the point. They are IRRELEVANT. Get that?

 

2. You emphasize that the differences between the four gospels are minimal *as are the differences between eye witness reports of a traffic accident.* Okay, CC, so when lawyers, judges, and juries spend days, weeks, months, working out the details about who is guilty and innocent in a traffic accident they are in fact spending all this highly-priced time on minor issues? Seems you have never been closely involved.

 

As a Christian you should be especially aware of the importance of details. Most church splits occur over smaller details than the differences between the four gospels. I question whether you have ever read the Bible, much less studied it indepth without care as to what you find--with an open mind.

 

CC said:

 

The patristic fathers record that in fact the authors of Matthew and John were among the disciples and that Luke and Mark were among disciples of disciples. That's a close connection.

 

WHAT???? Did you lose your mind or something? Maybe you don't know what you are saying. You are saying that I am in a position to make factual statements about your grandfather and his friends and what they believed and stood for because I am living in the same era. Culture, ethnicity, and geography have no bearing on how valid my statement will be. That I never met anyone from your family and don't know a single name of anyone in your family is also irrrelevant. The fact that you live in the general geographical area in which the Puritans settled 400 years ago tells me all I ever need to know about your grandfather and co.

 

I know this stuff well enough to start a religion and it will still be absolutely true two thousand years from now. This accurate history that I know about your forebears beyond a shadow of a doubt is so accurate that it is worth dying for. Thousands will be martyred and become religious heroes.

 

If you think that is ridiculous, think again about the relationship of the Church Fathers with Jesus.

  1. They lived much later.
  2. They lived in a different part of the world.
  3. They came from a very different culture and religion.

The writers of the books known to us as Matthew and John were probably not among Jesus' disciples. I get that from more than one New Testament scholar. We don't know who Luke and Mark were. Probably none of these things were written down in the lifetime of any of Jesus' disciples, nor of the next generation. None of the four gospels were likely written before 70 AD, and some may have been written as late as 200 AD.

 

Next time you report about a traffic accident be sure it happened in your lifetime and in the approximate vicinity of where you actually were when it proportedly occurred. Oops! We are talking about religious truths.....who cares.........what does it matter......christians twist stuff to prove they are right. That they've got the dates, names, and place wrong is irrelevant.

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CC said:

 

If you want to believe, by faith, that everything about Jesus in the gospels is made up you have that right, but so do those who want to believe that nothing about Jesus was made up. My view is that the gospels present a good word-picture of who Jesus was.

 

What I want to believe is beside the point. What is possible to believe is another story altogether. Not that you are going to want to believe this because you are a fundy christian and fundy christians choose their beliefs. Must be made of different stuff than the rest of us but so be it.

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The more research I do, the more I am convinced that Jesus is a myth. In fact, I ran across this page just last night, and found it quite impressive. Biblically educated Jews generally do an excellent job of debunking Christianity.

 

http://mama.indstate.edu/users/nizrael/jesusrefutation.html

 

There isn't the slightest bit of evidence that a historical Jesus ever lived.

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1. You should be aware that when you join a site with the name "exChristian" you are speaking to people who have no intention to keep the "faith of our fathers." We have, in fact, deconverted. And for very good reason, if you ever bother reading *and understanding* our testimonies.

 

Thus statements about the relevancy of the accuracy of the gospels to faith are totally and completely beside the point. They are IRRELEVANT. Get that?

 

If you will read some of my past posts you will notice that I was alerted to this web forum by an agnotic friend who thought I might be interested in responding to a thread "calling liberal Christians" to comment. I responded in that thread, then read some others, and responded. You'll notice, however, that while I read many other posts in other threads, I post only in "General Theological Issues."

 

As I said in one post, I don't feel I have a right to post in other areas when this forum is designated for ex-Christians. But if you and others who are ex-Christians find my presence unsatisfactory, I will immediately cease posting and say goodbye with no hard feelings. I've learned a lot by reading and posting and exchanging ideas with all of you and will take those happy memories with me. Please do let me know if you prefer not to have a current Christian in a forum for ex-Christians.

 

-CC in MA

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....The disagreements are minimal......
Uh.... sorry.... there are HUGE differences and your best argument is to is minimalize them? Draw up a chart of all the alleged miracles and important events. You'll see they do not match.
The patristic fathers record that in fact the authors of Matthew and John were among the disciples and that Luke and Mark were among disciples of disciples.
Oh, come on. You're going to have to do better than that. It seems you need to do a bit more studying. The NAMES are the same but they are not the same people.
If you want to believe, by faith, that everything about Jesus in the gospels is made up you have that right, but so do those who want to believe that nothing about Jesus was made up. My view is that the gospels present a good word-picture of who Jesus was.
No faith needed, only common sense. You are the one relying upon belief here, not me. That you BELIEVE, in spite of the evidence to the contrary, that the NT gives a good "word picture" (whatever that is) of a mythical character in a religious text is your business, but I choose to base my life on reality, not myth. And I do so based on evidence, not faith.
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As a Christian you should be especially aware of the importance of details. Most church splits occur over smaller details than the differences between the four gospels. I question whether you have ever read the Bible, much less studied it indepth without care as to what you find--with an open mind.

 

You are so right about church splits. Too bad, in my view, that so many are so chained down to their views, their interpretations, their beliefs, that minor disagreements can't at the very least be tolerated.

 

You are so wrong, however, about my experiences with the Bible. I've read it five or six times and studied it thousands and thousands of hours. And you are incorrect in judging me as closed minded. While I can be, of course, I try very hard to be open minded.

 

-CC in MA

 

....The disagreements are minimal......
Uh.... sorry.... there are HUGE differences and your best argument is to is minimalize them? Draw up a chart of all the alleged miracles and important events. You'll see they do not match.
The patristic fathers record that in fact the authors of Matthew and John were among the disciples and that Luke and Mark were among disciples of disciples.
Oh, come on. You're going to have to do better than that. It seems you need to do a bit more studying. The NAMES are the same but they are not the same people.
If you want to believe, by faith, that everything about Jesus in the gospels is made up you have that right, but so do those who want to believe that nothing about Jesus was made up. My view is that the gospels present a good word-picture of who Jesus was.
No faith needed, only common sense. You are the one relying upon belief here, not me. That you BELIEVE, in spite of the evidence to the contrary, that the NT gives a good "word picture" (whatever that is) of a mythical character in a religious text is your business, but I choose to base my life on reality, not myth. And I do so based on evidence, not faith.

 

Hello Dave. I'm not saying I agree with the patristic fathers regarding the authorship of Matthew and John, only that many of the so-called fathers held that view. While the topic of authorship is of interest, it doesn't really matter all that much.

 

I maintain my view that the differences among the gospels are minimal. But I respect your contrary view about that, and about what is reality and what is myth in the Bible or the Qur'an or the Bhagavad-Gita or the New York Times!

 

-CC in MA

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The disagreements are minimal.

 

FALSE. The gospels are hopelessly contradictory. See this link:

 

http://ffrf.org/books/lfif/?t=stone

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WHAT???? Did you lose your mind or something? Maybe you don't know what you are saying.

 

Gosh, I don't think so, but anything is possible.

 

-CC in MA

 

 

And please, anyone is free to add their own idea or post totally new ideas. I'm just posting this to start it off.

 

Did I take you too literally in the founding post of this thread?

 

-CC in MA

 

 

......christians twist stuff to prove they are right. That they've got the dates, names, and place wrong is irrelevant.

 

I agree that some do. So do some scientists and politicans and entertainers and atheists and everyone. Our shared humanity ever manifest.

 

-CC in MA

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