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I Don't Think Jesus Literally Existed


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I have come to believe that Jesus was a symbol of a timeless spiritual truth that Paul became aware of.

 

I realised that God (or the Conscious Universe) forgives sins anyway because Free Will is a kind of learning process for humanity. So God is not exactly going to get angry about our making mistakes - because the whole point of Free Will is to make mistakes. When I realised this it began to seem more troublesome for Jesus to have been a historical figure than to believe that he never existed at all.

 

I used to argue that Jesus was a highly enlightened man, something like the Buddha of the west. But Paul does seem to suggest that Jesus was God, and the whole idea of God making a supreme sacrifice to pay for human sins seemed to be central to Paul's message and the Christian message also. So it left me with a puzzle as to why such an eroneous notion could have come about. It became hard on reflection to separate this message from the Jesus story, even if Jesus never actually called himself God. It is still very much present in the Gospels, this idea of sacrifice to pay for sins.

 

I had read a lot about mystery religions and their similarity to the Gospel story, and I had also read a lot about the Qumran community of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

 

Eventually I decided to look at the evidence in its correct historical order:

 

Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah

 

Mystery Religions and their stories of a god who dies and is resurrected

 

The Qumran community and other jewish sects of the first century AD

 

Paul's letters

 

The Gospels

 

My version of what the whole Jesus thing is all about is now as follows:

 

There were two ways of interpreting the Messiah prophecies of the Old Testament. Saduccees ignored the whole Messiah thing, while Pharisees held it as a far-distant future thing so as not to upset the Romans. But among those who viewed the Messiah prophecies as having great contemporary significance included those who took the prophecies literally and those who interpreted them symbolically.

 

The Zealots (including the Qumran community) took the Messiah prophecies literally. They saw the return of a king of Israel to be imminent, and they rallied behind real flesh-and-blood Messiah figures, resulting in unrest and uprising.

 

Meanwhile, there is likely to have been another sect who viewed the prophecies in a symbolic way. When has fanatic literalism ever existed without its counterpart of gentle symbolism? Also, the prophecies can also be interpreted in this way: as about a new dawning of awareness when God will be seen as the King of the Jews, and the Torah will be written on the hearts of God's people.

 

Now let's look at Paul. He was a thoroughly helllenized Jew, deeply respectful of Greek and Roman ideas but he was inwardly tormented and felt guilty that by being so keen on Greek and Roman ideas he was not being a good or loyal Jew. We know after all that Paul knew a lot of mystery religion terminology and that he was also at one point in his life quite a zealot-like Jew. It would seem that he joined one of the fanatical groups of Jews, the hard-liners that caused so much trouble for the Romans. I think he was probably trying to 'save' himself from his own liberalism, peculiarly tortured man that he was.

 

All zealots hate those that have a more wooly, symbolic interpretation of things - and so Paul was sent to persecute the symbolic messianists (he calls them the 'Church of God in Jerusalem'). When on his way to persecute them however, he must have been reflecting on the doctrines of those he was facing (know your enemy). Something about their interpretation of Messiah Prophecies as symbolic and being about God being the King of Israel struck a chord in his mind and, in that peculiar way that ideas sometimes do, the beliefs of the mystery religions suddenly seemed to connect with this symbolic interpretation of Messiah prophecies. Confused by this new insight, Paul went away into the desert of Arabia to think it all over.

 

When he came back, he had a peculiar new belief system of his own. He had seen a way to unite the beloved ideas of the mystery religions with his Jewish heritage. He had resolved his own torments and guilt, and could see a way out of the dangerous zealotry that was tearing his people apart.

 

Paul saw what the mystery religions were getting at. Through the lens of the Jewish obsession with sins, the mystery religion god could be seen as God dying for the sins of humanity. This was an eternal truth about how God gave us Free Will so that we learn from our mistakes. In a sense, God (who is goodness personified) dies that we may live by even allowing evil to exist in the world. But hopefully by learning from our mistakes we can become holy again and so God is resurrected (and so are we). This is the God who will be the true King of Israel, the Messiah, when a new spiritual awakening allows the Law to be written on the hearts of God's people.

 

Part of this new way of looking at things was that the Jewish Law was part of the whole learning process, but when the learning process is finished and the Spirit of God enters in then there is no need for laws and rules anymore. If you know why something is wrong then you don't need a rule to tell you not to do it, you will naturally do what is right because you have the Spirit of God inside you.

 

Paul had a name for his dying and resurrecting god who was also the King of Israel (ie. God himself) - Joshua Messiah (Joshua led the Israelites home after the period of wandering in the wilderness). Our Bibles translates Joshua Messiah as Jesus Christ however (Joshua and Jesus are the same name in Hebrew - also Messiah and Christ mean the same thing).

 

Paul's ideas were so strange and so much a combination of Greek and Jewish thought however that many people did not understand them. The symbolic messianists in Jerusalem rejected Paul utterly, although Peter and John got won over to Paul's way of thinking. The Zealots were angry and violent towards Paul all of his life. His best converts were in the Greek and Roman world itself. But even among them, there were many who misunderstood. Many of the poor and ordinary Greeks who Paul spoke with were more familiar with the Olympian gods than with mystery religions - and so they tended to interpret this Jesus guy as being a Son of God in the sense of a literal man who was born of God, like many Greek heroes were born of Zeus.

 

When Paul died, certain people like Mark and MAtthew tried to write his ideas down in a form that would outlast his death (Paul had only written letters, remember). The result was the first gospels, which deliberately bring in a lot of mystery religion stories in order to flesh out the myth of Joshua Messiah (Jesus Christ). They are effectively mystery religion myths in Jewish form. There are also plenty of theological debates between Jesus (ie. Paul's position) and the Pharisees (representing much of Jewish thought). John the Baptist is more or less a stereotyped Qumran community figure.

 

Luke however had misunderstood Paul and took Jesus as a literal person.

 

Many took the Gospels literally, and so the false idea that Jesus was a literal person who was literally God in human form began to grow. A reaction against this literalism was Gnosticism, which perhaps took the symbolism a little too far into the realms of paganism, but they wrote their alternative gospels in an attempt to wake the Literalists up. John's gospel is an attempt I think to bridge the gap between the Literalists and the Gnostics, trying to teach the symbolic nature of the Jesus story in a way that Literalists could accept. However it backfired and was also taken literally.

 

The enmity between Gnostics and Literalists grew but because most of the Literalists were centred around Greece and Rome, they were the ones who gained the greatest political power and influence. When the dying Empire of Rome was looking for a new unifying creed that would also keep the people in line, the Literalist version of Christianity that made people worship a man who was God and feel guilty about their sins was seen as very useful indeed. Constantine 'converted' to Christianity and set up the Council of Nicaea, which enshrined the Trinity and the Dual nature of Christ into orthodoxy and allowed the Gnostics to be persecuted out of existence. The rest is history.

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I have come to believe that Jesus was a symbol of a timeless spiritual truth that Paul became aware of.

Paul? What was his real name? Where was he from? And I'm always wary of anyone claiming anything about a "timeless spiritual truth." Such "truths" are always a human invention.

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I have come to believe that Jesus was a symbol of a timeless spiritual truth that Paul became aware of.

Paul? What was his real name? Where was he from? And I'm always wary of anyone claiming anything about a "timeless spiritual truth." Such "truths" are always a human invention.

 

Well, this was just my interpretation of what happened in the origins of Christianity.

 

Paul was the guy who wrote most of those letters that the New Testament is full of. The Bible claims his original name was Saul.

 

The 'timless truth' I think makes some kind of sense if you believe in God. But mainly I was stating that it was what I believe Paul was driving at, and the message that has since become distorted as Paul has been misunderstood (though it still exists in garbled form).

 

I'm just trying to make sense of what on earth happened to turn Judaism into Christianity. It doesn't necessarily mean that the message Paul was preaching is true.

 

But I do think that Jesus was an invention of Paul's. And that Christianity is a distorted misunderstanding of what was originally a very different belief system to the Christianity that we know today.

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Thanks for writing that EB. It does seem quite plausible that it did occur this way.

 

I still just think that he was a highly enlightened man that was misunderstood by way of leaders (although it doesn't matter to me either way...someone wrote those insights). I think that is why there is the understanding in the bible that Jesus is God even if what was meant was Jesus is God and so is everyone else. With the misunderstanding/misleading that he alone was, this point, while still in there, is not emphasized. No need to really change the message because the message is of a symbolic nature that when taken literally will lead one to the understanding that is presented on the surface. But when taken metaphorically, the same words will lead to a completely different understanding. It matters what they emphasized and did/or did not explain. The ones that did explain this better were discarded. "Lift a rock and you will find me." Gospel of Thomas

 

I would think the mystics within Judiasm would have understood him, but what power lies in mysticism that would be avialable to control the people? None. That is why I feel that most writers and tellers knew the metaphors and symbols to be just that, but like you say, Rome was dying and needed something to regain power and telling everyone that you too are Gods just wouldn't do it. :HaHa:

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I disagree with a number of things you say, but I'm with you on the "no historical Jesus" thing.

 

I agree. There is absolutely no historical evidence of any kind to indicate this Jebus of Nazareth character was ever real. There is evidence for many guys named Jesus, but nothing for the nut depicted in the Babble.

 

Paul? What was his real name? Where was he from? And I'm always wary of anyone claiming anything about a "timeless spiritual truth." Such "truths" are always a human invention.

 

Preach it, brother. Humans are the source of all religions, whether or not any gods exist at all, and all "spiritual truths" are not dictates from any god, but rather truths we've discovered. On our own. I am Pagan and an Asatruar, but I am also Agnostic and a Humanist, and believe in Humanity (which I can see) over gods I cannot.

 

Paul was a mental case, preaching insane drivel in the line of that of Jebus and the Old Testament. He promoted the ideas of slavish obedience to God/Jebus, eternal torment for undesirables, and so on. I fail to see a single truth this clown "realized" and refuse to recognize his "existence" unless/until I see some real evidence.

 

Ditto for Jebus. He never existed, Nazareth did not exist until the second or third century, and nothing he is reported to have said has any moral or spiritual worth - at least in terms of stuff he supposedly came up with on his own. The "Golden Rule" existed prior to the Xian religion and was rather widespread in many forms all over the globe, according to what researchers have learned about various world religions. Other than that, Jebus preached the same shit as found in the Old Testement, again, with the introduction of the Hell myth.

 

Jebus, God, Paul, Xianity, the Babble - I fail to see the worth in any of them, or the reality of any of it.

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Well, this was just my interpretation of what happened in the origins of Christianity.

Like many other religions the main character did not start the religion, a crazed follower did.

 

Paul was the guy who wrote most of those letters that the New Testament is full of. The Bible claims his original name was Saul.

I know all that. But you didn't answer my questions. The "Paul" that wrote some of the NT is not the Paul/Saul that was one of the 12 apostles. He was given the name Paul probably to give that illusion. They don't know his real name or where he came from. If I remember correctly, most biblical scholars just call him "Q".

 

The 'timless truth' I think makes some kind of sense if you believe in God. But mainly I was stating that it was what I believe Paul was driving at, and the message that has since become distorted as Paul has been misunderstood (though it still exists in garbled form).

Since I don't believe in any gods, these "timeless truths" people are always coming up with make no sense to me. But why even try to understand this "Paul"? It makes no sense to read ancient letters that are trying to convince people to follow his religion. Why not read something newer, more relevant to today?

 

I'm just trying to make sense of what on earth happened to turn Judaism into Christianity. It doesn't necessarily mean that the message Paul was preaching is true.

I realize some people find that to be an interesting pursuit, but I just can't see it. I have much more important things to worry, or think, about. It's a religion I have no intention of joining and other than the effect it's had on history, I don't care much about how it came to be.

 

But I do think that Jesus was an invention of Paul's. And that Christianity is a distorted misunderstanding of what was originally a very different belief system to the Christianity that we know today.

The Jesus of the bible is not real, never was. It doesn't matter who wrote the NT, or who this "Paul" was, it's still a religion which is going to be a distorted view of reality anyway. I guess one could distort a distortion.

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Jebus, God, Paul, Xianity, the Babble - I fail to see the worth in any of them, or the reality of any of it.

Agreed! I just can't understand why so many non believers spend so much time on the bible. I can't see wasting countless hours debating the minutia of every sentence in the bible. I'm not a member of that religion so I don't care what's in the bible.

 

I'm also one of the few around here, and around the Atheists I've met, that has gone one step further and tossed this "spiritual" stuff that some like to talk about. To me there is no "spiritual truth" of any kind. It's just something made up like any other part of any other religion.

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Jebus, God, Paul, Xianity, the Babble - I fail to see the worth in any of them, or the reality of any of it.

Agreed! I just can't understand why so many non believers spend so much time on the bible. I can't see wasting countless hours debating the minutia of every sentence in the bible. I'm not a member of that religion so I don't care what's in the bible.

 

I'm also one of the few around here, and around the Atheists I've met, that has gone one step further and tossed this "spiritual" stuff that some like to talk about. To me there is no "spiritual truth" of any kind. It's just something made up like any other part of any other religion.

 

Well that's the difference, isn't it? Not all non-christians or ex-christians are atheists. Some still have belief in some kind of divine presence in creation, whether they call it God or not.

 

If someone still believes in God - or even believes in an impersonal energy or presence that could be called God - then they still might be willing to believe that there is some spiritual understanding behind the Bible, even if the Christian interpretation of it is the wrong one.

 

What's wrong with rejecting Christianity but still viewing the Bible with respect as a book written by people who were honestly trying to understand God? It is perfectly possible that what the Bible actually says - and what Christianity says that it says - are two totally different things.

 

Why should a hindu not try to understand the Bible according to a hindu perspective, just because he or she doesn't accept the christian interpretation of it? I'm sure christians have their own interpretation of what the Buddha was all about, or what Mohammed was all about. Why shouldn't a non-christian have his or her own interpretation about what the Bible is saying?

 

Some non-christians still believe in God according to their own beliefs. And some might be prepared to accept that some of the Bible might contain some truth that was later distorted by christians. Gnostics for example had a quite different interpretation of the Bible (New Testament and Old) to the interpretations of the form of Christianity that eventually won out and became the dominant one.

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What's wrong with rejecting Christianity but still viewing the Bible with respect as a book written by people who were honestly trying to understand God?

Because there is no reason to believe a god of any kind exists. They weren't trying to understand a god, they were selling one.

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If someone still believes in God - or even believes in an impersonal energy or presence that could be called God - then they still might be willing to believe that there is some spiritual understanding behind the Bible, even if the Christian interpretation of it is the wrong one.

 

Some might - others won't. Why must one still revere the Babble if one wants to be spiritual? I loathe the assumed exclusive connection Xianity still has to spirituality or religion. Both subjects existed long before Xianity and will surely outlive it.

 

What's wrong with rejecting Christianity but still viewing the Bible with respect as a book written by people who were honestly trying to understand God? It is perfectly possible that what the Bible actually says - and what Christianity says that it says - are two totally different things.

 

Certainly, what the Babble says and what is taught in various Xian sects are often different things. Interpreting the Babble to mean something palatable to you is all well and good, and definitely better than taking that crap literally. But it's far from the only book available to the spiritually-inclined, and hardly the most morally acceptable.

 

It gets a lot of flak from people here, because it promotes racism, murder, elitism, homophobia, prejudice and hatred of many kinds, and is extremely divisive. Once many folks realize that, it's hard to give it the respect we used to. Kind of like revering the Communist Manifesto after seeing what Communism really is, if you follow me.

 

Why should a hindu not try to understand the Bible according to a hindu perspective, just because he or she doesn't accept the christian interpretation of it? I'm sure christians have their own interpretation of what the Buddha was all about, or what Mohammed was all about. Why shouldn't a non-christian have his or her own interpretation about what the Bible is saying?

 

Non-xians are certainly free to have their own interpretations, but people like Dave and myself both question holding the Babble in any regard whatsoever. Our interpretation is that it is a sick book full of sick garbage with no moral worth in the least, and this will remain unless proven false.

 

A better question would be to ask why should a Hindu waste his or her time with the Babble to begin with? A Hindu has Hindu religious writings to explore, as well as those of other, more morally acceptable religions. Why waste time with a hateful cult like Xianity? Any single book on Wicca, for example, is more ethically enlightening than a thousand written about the Babble.

 

Some non-christians still believe in God according to their own beliefs. And some might be prepared to accept that some of the Bible might contain some truth that was later distorted by christians. Gnostics for example had a quite different interpretation of the Bible (New Testament and Old) to the interpretations of the form of Christianity that eventually won out and became the dominant one.

 

Again, why bother with any of that Abrahamic trash? All of the Abrahamic cults, taken together, represent only a small blip on the religious radar of the world. They are only an odd deviation from humanity's general religious tendencies. As such, combined with their innate ugliness, they are more worthy of dismissal than further study.

 

I loathe how the idea that anything religious or spiritual must be either Xian or at least connected to it is still strong in society, but it is on the way out. It's like saying any good political idea must be connected with Mein Kampf or the Manifesto, for example. Humanity will not religiously progress as long as filth like the Babble is still revered or respected in any way. It promotes hatefulness and intolerance, and I will respond to it in kind.

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I have come to believe that Jesus was a symbol of a timeless spiritual truth that Paul became aware of.

 

I realised that God (or the Conscious Universe) forgives sins anyway because Free Will is a kind of learning process for humanity. So God is not exactly going to get angry about our making mistakes - because the whole point of Free Will is to make mistakes. When I realised this it began to seem more troublesome for Jesus to have been a historical figure than to believe that he never existed at all.

I have to think that you give Paul way to much credit. Re-read him again. He's far from figuring out any "timeless spiritual truths."

 

I'd also have to ask what purpose does it serve a "conscience" universe to have us humans go through a learning process of any kind? What's in it for us? What's in it for it? If the "point" is to make mistakes then there can be no such thing as "sin" since sinning would be the point of the exercise, wouldn't it? Perhaps I'm missing something here?

 

 

Eventually I decided to look at the evidence in its correct historical order:

 

Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah

Mystery Religions and their stories of a god who dies and is resurrected

The Qumran community and other jewish sects of the first century AD

Paul's letters

The Gospels

I'll credit you on your research but it seems incomplete. Did you further read the church fathers beyond the gospel accounts? If so, did you see how they don't agree with the others? Did you read the historians from the time such as Philo or Josephus to get a feel for the situation in the area? Philo also has many interesting things to say from a philosophic point of view. In addition to these the apocryphal writings (both Jewish and xian) are very important to see what else was being said on these same topics (but are not canon today). Things like the Shepherd of Hermas is a good one for example.

 

What you'll find is that jesus wasn't that important and neither was Paul. The church reigned supreme in the orthodox writings that we have with us today and the reason should be obvious (after the fact).

 

There were two ways of interpreting the Messiah prophecies of the Old Testament. Saduccees ignored the whole Messiah thing, while Pharisees held it as a far-distant future thing so as not to upset the Romans. But among those who viewed the Messiah prophecies as having great contemporary significance included those who took the prophecies literally and those who interpreted them symbolically.

 

The Zealots (including the Qumran community) took the Messiah prophecies literally. They saw the return of a king of Israel to be imminent, and they rallied behind real flesh-and-blood Messiah figures, resulting in unrest and uprising.

This is what makes me think you didn't read to discover the conditions of the day. No one really cared what the Romans thought. They hated them and didn't pretend otherwise. If any group were to cater to them it would have been the Sadducees since they controlled the temple but it was really the Romans job to keep the peace and not the other way around. The Romans did a very good job giving the Jews wide berth when it came to their religion and the Jews did a very good job pissing the Romans off in spite of it. Needless to say it was the in-fighting between the various Jewish groups that was causing much of the troubles just prior to the 1st Roman War. Had it not happened there would have likely been somewhat of a civil war taking place. This, of course, ignores the Samaritans (they had their own beliefs which caused problems on top of the political mess they got themselves into with the Romans/Jews) and the unknown faith system up in the Galilee area that seemed to be a real problem too.

 

Now let's look at Paul. He was a thoroughly helllenized Jew, deeply respectful of Greek and Roman ideas but he was inwardly tormented and felt guilty that by being so keen on Greek and Roman ideas he was not being a good or loyal Jew. We know after all that Paul knew a lot of mystery religion terminology and that he was also at one point in his life quite a zealot-like Jew. It would seem that he joined one of the fanatical groups of Jews, the hard-liners that caused so much trouble for the Romans. I think he was probably trying to 'save' himself from his own liberalism, peculiarly tortured man that he was.

Keep in mind when you look at Paul that you are taking Paul's word on Paul. The only other info is from Acts and that is anonymous (people say it's from Luke, Paul's friend, but that's unknown...even if it is Luke, then it is still biased). Paul also tends to lie a lot. He twists the OT scriptures around to suit him and he boasts like crazy to suit him. He basically seems to say what he needs to say when he needs to say it. He doesn't seem to be the most reliable witness. People just project this onto him since they've been told their whole lives he's reliable and good (and some things he says are damned poetic and "good" but that doesn't negate the rest).

 

Anyhow, if Paul was a Pharisee, as he claimed, then odds are he wasn't a zealot. They seemed to be (according to Josephus) two distinct groups. He did appear that he might have worked for the temple going after some group. Perhaps the Essenes since they claimed they were supposedly the true group that were supposed to be running the temple and they did have people in Damascus at the time Saul was supposed to go up there. But the Romans wouldn't let "hit squads" simply wonder the streets so even though the temple would have authorized it he still would have been breaking Roman law (unless he was just rounding people up like a bounty hunter...and then it could be borderline okay as long as he never left Judea). Zealots, on the other hand, tended to kill people so that's why associating him with that group is dangerous. The people with jesus were definitely zealots and did carry weapons. This made them all dangerous by association as far as the Romans would have been concerned.

 

Part of this new way of looking at things was that the Jewish Law was part of the whole learning process, but when the learning process is finished and the Spirit of God enters in then there is no need for laws and rules anymore. If you know why something is wrong then you don't need a rule to tell you not to do it, you will naturally do what is right because you have the Spirit of God inside you.

Actually, Paul turns his gods perfect and eternal Law...that the ancients like David saw as a blessing and loved, into a filthy curse that god sent to condemn people. That's a little worse that what you're saying here. If you were a mainstream Jew would you want to hear that? I doubt it.

 

When Paul died, certain people like Mark and MAtthew tried to write his ideas down in a form that would outlast his death (Paul had only written letters, remember). The result was the first gospels, which deliberately bring in a lot of mystery religion stories in order to flesh out the myth of Joshua Messiah (Jesus Christ). They are effectively mystery religion myths in Jewish form. There are also plenty of theological debates between Jesus (ie. Paul's position) and the Pharisees (representing much of Jewish thought). John the Baptist is more or less a stereotyped Qumran community figure.

 

Luke however had misunderstood Paul and took Jesus as a literal person.

Who are Mark, Matthew, Luke and John? Anonymous people that cannot, in any way, shape or form, be tied to Paul (or any of the people/events that are described in the books bearing their names). Paul and jesus disagree on a number of key points whereas the Pharisees and jesus agree on most everything except for the minor point that jesus matters. Maybe not in the biblical text proper but in the belief system itself as described by others. The Pharisees were the only group to survive the fall of the temple and the war so they made a good group for jesus to spar with.

 

A reaction against this literalism was Gnosticism, which perhaps took the symbolism a little too far into the realms of paganism, but they wrote their alternative gospels in an attempt to wake the Literalists up.

I'm confused. The Gnostics believed that jesus was real. The Gnostic beliefs varied, but in a nutshell, they believed that the creator god (YHWH in this case) was evil. He made an imperfect world. He then was going to send a messiah. Unknown to him the higher, good, god was also going to send a messiah. The Jews were following the creator god and were expecting the wrong guy so when jesus, the messiah from the good god showed up they didn't recognize him. They killed him off, but not before he passed on the Gnosis (knowledge), of how to attain the next life. So death freed him from his imperfect body. This is the secret they then shared in their religion. If you were to join you would have learned this too so you could be freed from your imperfect body and the tyranny of the evil creator god.

 

But, as I said, there seem to many definitions for this so perhaps you've stumbled onto something different than what I've managed to find? Mine are usually in reference to the Nag Hammadi texts (so a little late). Even the earlier texts still seem to have jesus as a literal human though.

 

When the dying Empire of Rome was looking for a new unifying creed ...

This I agree with. The cult of the Emperor was no longer effective and something new had to come in to replace it. The Cult of Isis had a huge following but didn't require anything from its followers (ie. no real central powers), the cults to Mithras didn't allow women/slaves and a major xian leader had the ear of (the would be) Caesar. Sounds too good to be true. In retrospect it's too bad we didn't get Isis. :(

 

mwc

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I loathe how the idea that anything religious or spiritual must be either Xian or at least connected to it is still strong in society, but it is on the way out. It's like saying any good political idea must be connected with Mein Kampf or the Manifesto, for example. Humanity will not religiously progress as long as filth like the Babble is still revered or respected in any way. It promotes hatefulness and intolerance, and I will respond to it in kind.

I have to agree but sometimes baby steps are needed. A little weening as opposed to just being ripped away from the old teat. ;)

 

Personally I get just a little sick when I see movies based on the bible stories since it lends them a little credibility (you never see stories from other mythologies treated seriously...as matters of fact) but maybe over time they'll dilute things down (or so I'm hoping) and people will see them as just another story?

 

The same holds true when only bible god is called God but all other gods are called out by name or some other qualification gets put next to them. Little propaganda tricks like that get to me. He's the xian god, or YHWH, or bible god or some other lame things...but not God. I don't know "God" and, to date, no one else does either (or they've failed to produce such a creature...maybe he's in their closet?). Oops. Sorry for the little rant there. ;)

 

mwc

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What's wrong with rejecting Christianity but still viewing the Bible with respect as a book written by people who were honestly trying to understand God?

Because there is no reason to believe a god of any kind exists. They weren't trying to understand a god, they were selling one.

 

You are as dogmatic and fanatical in your belief that there is no god, as fundamentalist christians are in selling their god.

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Why must one still revere the Babble if one wants to be spiritual? I loathe the assumed exclusive connection Xianity still has to spirituality or religion. Both subjects existed long before Xianity and will surely outlive it.

 

you don't have to. I prefer to look into things - all things - and try to understand them. There is no exclusive connection between christianity and sprituality. The Koran, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, Tao te Ching, Buddhist scriptures etc etc are just as worthy of study by those who are spiritually inclined. In fact I would urge people with spiritual beliefs to study all religious texts as far as is humanly possible, so as not to be biased.

 

Certainly, what the Babble says and what is taught in various Xian sects are often different things. Interpreting the Babble to mean something palatable to you is all well and good, and definitely better than taking that crap literally. But it's far from the only book available to the spiritually-inclined, and hardly the most morally acceptable.

 

No indeed. And I personally find the Upanishads to be far more enlightening and useful.

 

It gets a lot of flak from people here, because it promotes racism, murder, elitism, homophobia, prejudice and hatred of many kinds, and is extremely divisive. Once many folks realize that, it's hard to give it the respect we used to. Kind of like revering the Communist Manifesto after seeing what Communism really is, if you follow me.

 

Agreed. But I don't believe in throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Just because there is some utter, twisted bollocks in there, why should I not make use of and study what truth or wisdom there is in there also? I will simply ignore the hateful, twisted stuff along with the utter nonsense but try and make sense of everything in there, in case there is something of worth. But then I am philosophically inclined and I tend to try and make sense of everything.

 

Non-xians are certainly free to have their own interpretations, but people like Dave and myself both question holding the Babble in any regard whatsoever. Our interpretation is that it is a sick book full of sick garbage with no moral worth in the least, and this will remain unless proven false.

 

I tend to steer clear of certain parts of the Bible because I find them intensely morally objectionable. I do find it hard to read much of it these days because it's either very confusing or very objectionable. I don't bother much with it these days, except when arguing against christians and I need to look something up (it's best to know what you're talking about after all). However I have in the past studied it in depth and have come to my own conclusions about what is in there. Which I'm glad I have done, because there really is no point in arguing against christians' claims unless you know what you are talking about

 

A better question would be to ask why should a Hindu waste his or her time with the Babble to begin with? A Hindu has Hindu religious writings to explore, as well as those of other, more morally acceptable religions. Why waste time with a hateful cult like Xianity? Any single book on Wicca, for example, is more ethically enlightening than a thousand written about the Babble.

 

True, very true. But the more tolerant your own position, the more likely you are to check something out and try to understand it, even if you do conclude that it is morally objectionable. And if there is some truth or wisdom in there, then you will admit to that because it doesn't weaken your own position to do that if you are convinced that your own position is the correct one.

 

It is precisely because fanatic christians and fanatic moslems do not bother to read the scriptures of other religious faiths that I think they are frightened that their own beliefs are a load of bullshit that won't stand examination or comparison with other faiths.

 

So the tolerant and those with truth on their sides should study other scriptures, even if they find them to be false. It is what marks one out as the better man.

 

Again, why bother with any of that Abrahamic trash? All of the Abrahamic cults, taken together, represent only a small blip on the religious radar of the world. They are only an odd deviation from humanity's general religious tendencies. As such, combined with their innate ugliness, they are more worthy of dismissal than further study.

 

I loathe how the idea that anything religious or spiritual must be either Xian or at least connected to it is still strong in society, but it is on the way out. It's like saying any good political idea must be connected with Mein Kampf or the Manifesto, for example. Humanity will not religiously progress as long as filth like the Babble is still revered or respected in any way. It promotes hatefulness and intolerance, and I will respond to it in kind.

 

And all the above has already been answered in my previous comments. I am not saying that religious ideas have to be connected to christianity. I am simply saying that any religious tradition should at least be respected enough to be studied by those that are spiritually inclined and therefore have an interest in spiritual matters. Atheists are of course free to ignore or not, as they see fit. I am also saying that it is irrational to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because some aspects of a book are morally objectionable, doesn't mean there might not be something of worth in there. Especially considering that it is the work of many different writers. Maybe some of them were ignorant, twisted fuckholes. But some of them may have been honest seekers, every bit as worthy of paying attention to as the writers of the Upanishads. It's worthwhile taking a fresh look, not being biased in either way, and seeing what makes sense and what doesn't. If you are not a christian anymore then you don't have to accept it all - you can pick apart the good bits from the bad bits. What's so wrong with that?

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Thank you. At last, someone is actually answering my post properly rather than just attacking me for supporting Paul's views at all, or for paying any attention to what's in the Bible at all. I honestly don't know why it's so wrong that I should decide to look into something and study it for the sake of wanting to understand something that is puzzling to me. I'm not saying that anyone else should pay any attention to what's in the Bible at all. Why should I be attacked for simply laying out my own version of what I think happened?

 

*clears throat* anyway - thanks for actually engaging with what I wrote mwc. You raise some interesting points - and there are some things there that I might need to look further into. Thanks.

 

Who are Mark, Matthew, Luke and John? Anonymous people that cannot, in any way, shape or form, be tied to Paul (or any of the people/events that are described in the books bearing their names). Paul and jesus disagree on a number of key points whereas the Pharisees and jesus agree on most everything except for the minor point that jesus matters. Maybe not in the biblical text proper but in the belief system itself as described by others. The Pharisees were the only group to survive the fall of the temple and the war so they made a good group for jesus to spar with.

 

Well, Luke and Mark are both supposed to have been aquaintances of Paul. Paul certainly mentions a Luke. Paul also mentions John in relation to Peter. It is possible that this is the John who appeared in the Gospels (even though the gospels are fictional) and who wrote one of them.

 

I'm confused. The Gnostics believed that jesus was real. The Gnostic beliefs varied, but in a nutshell, they believed that the creator god (YHWH in this case) was evil. He made an imperfect world. He then was going to send a messiah. Unknown to him the higher, good, god was also going to send a messiah. The Jews were following the creator god and were expecting the wrong guy so when jesus, the messiah from the good god showed up they didn't recognize him. They killed him off, but not before he passed on the Gnosis (knowledge), of how to attain the next life. So death freed him from his imperfect body. This is the secret they then shared in their religion. If you were to join you would have learned this too so you could be freed from your imperfect body and the tyranny of the evil creator god.

 

But, as I said, there seem to many definitions for this so perhaps you've stumbled onto something different than what I've managed to find? Mine are usually in reference to the Nag Hammadi texts (so a little late). Even the earlier texts still seem to have jesus as a literal human though.

 

Only if you take what they say literally. Their 'literal Jesus' had some pretty strange and crazy things written about him. Ok, maybe most of my knowledge of what the Gnostics wrote comes from 'the Jesus Mysteries' book. But I do agree that the strange things written about Jesus in some of those gnostic gospels make a lot more sense when taken as symbolic. The mystical interpretations presented by those gnostic gospels seem to encourage such an interpretation.

 

But the Literalists interpreted those gnostic gospels literally, which is why they got so offended that blasphemous nonsense was being written about their saviour. Funny really, seeing as their saviour was a mythic invention all along anyway.

 

This I agree with. The cult of the Emperor was no longer effective and something new had to come in to replace it. The Cult of Isis had a huge following but didn't require anything from its followers (ie. no real central powers), the cults to Mithras didn't allow women/slaves and a major xian leader had the ear of (the would be) Caesar. Sounds too good to be true. In retrospect it's too bad we didn't get Isis. :(

 

mwc

 

Well, the Catholic Church at least does honour the Virgin Mary. Mary's portrayal at times echoes the cult of Isis (there are remarkable similarities between depicitions of the Madonna and Child, and Isis with the baby Horus).

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Thank you. At last, someone is actually answering my post properly rather than just attacking me for supporting Paul's views at all, or for paying any attention to what's in the Bible at all. I honestly don't know why it's so wrong that I should decide to look into something and study it for the sake of wanting to understand something that is puzzling to me. I'm not saying that anyone else should pay any attention to what's in the Bible at all. Why should I be attacked for simply laying out my own version of what I think happened?

 

*clears throat* anyway - thanks for actually engaging with what I wrote mwc. You raise some interesting points - and there are some things there that I might need to look further into. Thanks.

 

What...am I invisible? I didn't attack you, but you didn't respond to my post. :P

 

 

 

That's okay...

 

 

 

 

 

I'll just go sit in the rejection chair....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:HaHa:

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You are as dogmatic and fanatical in your belief that there is no god, as fundamentalist christians are in selling their god.

Which is no different than your dogmatic and fanatical belief in this "spiritual" garbage. You need to prove these gods and this "spiritual" crap exists BEFORE you start making wild claims about it.

 

"Seek and ye shall find." Well..... you're finding exactly what you're seeking. Maybe if you open your mind a bit, you just might find something else..... like reality.

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You are as dogmatic and fanatical in your belief that there is no god, as fundamentalist christians are in selling their god.

Which is no different than your dogmatic and fanatical belief in this "spiritual" garbage. You need to prove these gods and this "spiritual" crap exists BEFORE you start making wild claims about it.

 

"Seek and ye shall find." Well..... you're finding exactly what you're seeking. Maybe if you open your mind a bit, you just might find something else..... like reality.

Prove it exists or prove that people think it exists? Go research some Egytian mysticism and go from there. There is proof that people think it does exist.

 

You don't have to believe it is real in order to understand that this is what many people thought then and now.

 

I didn't see anywhere where EB claims that you have to believe it. S/he is just stating that this is what is in there.

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you don't have to. I prefer to look into things - all things - and try to understand them. There is no exclusive connection between christianity and sprituality. The Koran, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, Tao te Ching, Buddhist scriptures etc etc are just as worthy of study by those who are spiritually inclined. In fact I would urge people with spiritual beliefs to study all religious texts as far as is humanly possible, so as not to be biased.

 

A wise idea - noble texts will stand the test of inquiry, whilst twisted shit like the Torah, the Babble, and the Koran will be quickly seen for what they are - sick books with sick ideas. I'm all for open investigation, since that is what has allowed people to expose the Abrahamic scrawlngs for the garbage they are.

 

No indeed. And I personally find the Upanishads to be far more enlightening and useful.

 

I did also :)

 

Agreed. But I don't believe in throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Just because there is some utter, twisted bollocks in there, why should I not make use of and study what truth or wisdom there is in there also? I will simply ignore the hateful, twisted stuff along with the utter nonsense but try and make sense of everything in there, in case there is something of worth. But then I am philosophically inclined and I tend to try and make sense of everything.

 

It's always good to keep an eye on things, to remain open-minded, but I only see bathwater - no baby. Again, aside from maybe three or four verses (out of the thousands that make up the Babble), there is either absurdity, sick shit, or just really boring stories. The Golden Rule, the injunctions against rape and murder and theft (despite the fact that Yahooweh is depicted as having willfully engaged in all three), and the overall concept of an eye for an eye are perhaps the only things approaching good morality that I would accept as being found in the Babble, but these are found in many other religions as well, and often better stated. As usual, most other religions and philosophies do a better job of conveying morality than any Abrahamic cult.

 

I tend to steer clear of certain parts of the Bible because I find them intensely morally objectionable. I do find it hard to read much of it these days because it's either very confusing or very objectionable. I don't bother much with it these days, except when arguing against christians and I need to look something up (it's best to know what you're talking about after all). However I have in the past studied it in depth and have come to my own conclusions about what is in there. Which I'm glad I have done, because there really is no point in arguing against christians' claims unless you know what you are talking about.

 

It is precisely because fanatic christians and fanatic moslems do not bother to read the scriptures of other religious faiths that I think they are frightened that their own beliefs are a load of bullshit that won't stand examination or comparison with other faiths.

 

So the tolerant and those with truth on their sides should study other scriptures, even if they find them to be false. It is what marks one out as the better man.

 

Which is the second best point about knowing the Babble well - it's the best tool against Xianity. Nothing defeats it like its own "holy" book. I just disagree that there's any real worth to be found in it, aside from the ease with which it destroys its own claims.

 

It definitely makes you the better man to actually study that which you oppose, but I just disagree that there is anything edifying or ennobling in the Babble that isn't found elsewhere, and better stated.

 

There's nothing wrong with examining the Babble to see just what it really contains, but you are making the claim that there is something worthwhile there. I fail to see it. Don't be so surprised that people challenge claims when they are made - that is what we do here.

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Sorry, the burden of proof is on those claiming gods, or "spirituality" exists.

I don't think anyone's denying that "spirituality" exists, so much as the "spirtual realm" that many refer to in this regard.

 

To me, "spiritual" is really just and a description for those concerned with deeper matters than day to day living. In that regards, I'd say everyone here is spiritual, simply by the fact that they took the time to come here.

 

That being said, any claim to the existence of "god" or a "spiritual realm" most definitely would have the burden of proof laid upon it.

 

IMOHO,

:thanks:

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Prove it exists....

..."spirituality" exists.

Then prove it.

 

See, I can screw with a post too to make it look like you said something you didn't.

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Sorry, the burden of proof is on those claiming gods, or "spirituality" exists.

I don't think anyone's denying that "spirituality" exists, so much as the "spirtual realm" that many refer to in this regard.

 

To me, "spiritual" is really just and a description for those concerned with deeper matters than day to day living. In that regards, I'd say everyone here is spiritual, simply by the fact that they took the time to come here.

 

That being said, any claim to the existence of "god" or a "spiritual realm" most definitely would have the burden of proof laid upon it.

 

IMOHO,

:thanks:

Thank you Skankboy.

 

Dave just screws with posts to make them say what he wants them to say. I never said that the burden of proof lies anywhere else.

 

He is such fun... :twitch:

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Prove it exists....

Sorry, the burden of proof is on those claiming gods, or "spirituality" exists.

Yes, it's true, but doesn't it depend on context though?

 

If someone just keeps a belief to themselves and maybe share it with others, without expecting them to convert or even the others to even believe the same or even recognize the belief to be true, is it then necessary to demand proofs for what they might believe? I think I can demand of proof when someone is trying to tell me that I have to believe the same, or that they force me to admit they must be right in some way, then I would need to have some sort of evidence that would pursuade me to change my mind. I'm sure if we looked at all your opinions and all my opinions we would have many similarities and many differences, and yet between you and me we have never demanded to get a full account of all the logical reasoning and proofs to these differences.

 

(FYI, personally I don't think there are any gods or spirits either, but OTOH it also depends on what someone really mean when they use those words... I do have daemons running on my Linux box, so they exists. :) )

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