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11 hours ago, DarkBishop said:

I dont know how true it is. Bit in the debate I posted ehrman actually says that evidence of structures in Nazareth at the time have been found. 

 

Like I said I haven't looked that up to verify. Bit he snacks pruce on the hand about it during the debate. 

 

There is also the possibility that he was a Nazarene like Samson. And that was old testament. Maybe it was confused. 

 

I dunno. But thats still a possibility. Carrier and ehrman really do need to have a debate. 

 

 

 

I assume that you're not familiar with the counter arguments against Ehrman's "Did Jesus Exist?" The nazareth debate can be found in Frank Zindler's book: 

 

Books by Frank Zindler - FRANK R ZINDLER (frank-zindler.com)

 

Carrier is using Zindler and Salm and building upon that with his book. 

 

 

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Chapter Two, There is a Good Chance Jesus Never Existed, begins with an intriguing comparison between early Christianity and the much older Egyptian religion of Osiris.  Carrier explains that according to the ancient Greek historian Plutarch, the Egyptian priesthood of the Osiris religion were fully aware that Osiris was not a historical king of Egypt, but they kept up the appearance of the public stories that maintained Osiris was historical, just like Jesus.  Plutarch says “you must not think any of these tales actually happened”(para 11).  He says Gods were always just celestial, in the pure timeless realm of heaven, uncorrupted by earthly existence.

 

And yet, Osiris had a gospel of his time on earth just as Jesus did.  Plutarch says the public myths were all a disguise.  It makes me wonder if Egyptian priests were just as furious about being outed by Plutarch as modern Christian apologists are when the allegorical nature of their myths is discussed.

 

The links between Christianity and Egyptian religion are close.  Egypt and Israel maintained strong economic and cultural relations, with a large Jewish population in Egypt’s main city Alexandria. Egypt ruled Israel for hundreds of years, including at the alleged time of MosesAs well, a series of other similar saviour mystery cults existed nearby, such as Tammuz, Bacchus and Hercules.  Carrier contends that Christianity is the Jewish version of these pagan cults.

 

The comparison between Christianity and Egyptian religion is a topic subject to strong prejudice and taboo.  The Christian reputation of Egypt derives from the demonisation in Exodus, celebrating how ‘pharaoh’s army got drownded’ in the Red Sea. Further, Egypt has a magical reputation, as alleged source of traditions such as hermeticism and tarot, which leads Christians to view it with suspicion.  Even so, Acts 7:22 states “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians”, indicating a level of respect.  Similarly, the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt to escape the massacre of the innocents provided an opportunity within the myth for Jesus Christ to learn about Egyptian religious heritage.

 

The question of to what extent Christianity evolved from Egyptian traditions is so controversial that it is largely suppressed.  The best book I have read about this is Did Moses Exist? by DM Murdock (Acharya S).  Murdock courageously investigates the wide array of similarities between the Gospels and Egyptian myth, first analysed by English writer Gerald Massey.  These extensive points of contact suggest far more detailed dependency than Carrier’s point here about the Osiris stories being a similar allegory for initiatic wisdom within Christianity.  Carrier has been dismissive of Massey, so it is good to see him recognising here this entry point to this important conversation.

 

I think the topic was damaged somewhat by overly speculative comments in the movie Zeitgeist, as I don’t agree with the reasoning for the claim that Horus had twelve disciples.  However, there are abundant parallels between Christ and Horus which do stack up with solid evidence, so the concern that some parallels seem weak should not be used to undermine the overall argument. 

 

The example which in my view clinches the proof of Christian dependence on Egyptian myth is the similarity of roles in the stories of Lazarus and Osiris.  The wordplay begins with the name of Lazarus, “El Azar”, a homonym for Osiris.  Then we see that both are part of equivalent groups of four. Osiris, Horus, Isis and Nephthys match directly at many points of detail to Lazarus, Jesus, Mary and Martha, for example at Pyramid Text Utterance 670.  This tight matching extends to details such as both Mary and Isis represented as sitting, indicating direct evolution of the Gospel story of Lazarus in John 11 from the ancient Egyptian myth of Osiris.  It is remarkable that John cites this story as the main trigger for why Jesus was crucified, with the pharisees saying in direct response to the raising of Lazarus “If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. 

 

It seems the underlying meaning of the Lazarus story is that the Roman imperial overlords savagely suppressed the secretive mystery sources of authority of natural religion represented by the Osiris tradition.  As a result, the Egyptian mythology could only obtain ongoing life by transforming and resurrecting in hidden concealed form through the Christian allegory of the miraculous resurrection of Lazarus by Christ.

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Carrier next puts Christian origins into its sociological context, by comparing the saviour cults of Jesus, Osiris, Bacchus and Adonis.    The common features of these four cults included their focus on personal salvation, evolution from prior communal agricultural beliefs, requirements for membership, afterlife guarantees, fictive kin groups, rituals of baptism and communion, secret teachings for initiates, coded language for inner mysteries, ability to adopt surrounding cultural ideas, belief in a supreme God, and a cosmopolitan approach.  They also shared the teaching of death, resurrection and ascension of the saviour figure and a victory over death shared with followers through baptism and communion.  Importantly, they all have stories about them set in human history on earth.

 

This all leads Carrier to ask, given Christianity’s role as the Jewish saviour cult, so similar to these other large religious movements, why we would automatically expect that Osiris, Bacchus and Adonis were fictional inventions but Jesus alone was real.  As he cautiously puts it, this all “lends sufficient grounds to at least suspect Jesus is not the lone strange exception.  That the Gospels are rife with markers typical of mythical persons only further secures this suspicion.”

 

The remarkable point is that so much of Christianity is described by the combination of Judaism with the cultural package common to other saviour cults of the region.  The story of Jesus Christ emerged as the necessary social product of the evolutionary mutation of Judaism into the new cultural niche of the Roman Empire.  The messianic founder figure was required only as a divine being, not as a real person, except in the sense that fictionally placing the divinity within history amplified and reinforced his imaginary messianic identity.

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22 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

I think the topic was damaged somewhat by overly speculative comments in the movie Zeitgeist, as I don’t agree with the reasoning for the claim that Horus had twelve disciples.  However, there are abundant parallels between Christ and Horus which do stack up with solid evidence, so the concern that some parallels seem weak should not be used to undermine the overall argument. 

 

Yes, and then it's hard to go back set it straight. They should have put more thought into the primary source material and how it was conveyed. Massey was noticing the similarities between myths and the iconography that shows Horus with 12 figures representing the 12 hours of day facing towards him, and 12 figures representing the 12 hours of night facing away. He saw where the 12 disciples myth seems to relate this same general astrotheological trend. 12 hours of day and night. 12 constellations of the zodiac / months of the year. And these figures surrounding Horus and the 12 disciples of jesus basically convey the same general mythological, not historical, meanings. 

 

The argument should have been made clearer and framed in such a way that it didn't look like low hanging fruit for apologist's. 

 

22 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

The example which in my view clinches the proof of Christian dependence on Egyptian myth is the similarity of roles in the stories of Lazarus and Osiris.  The wordplay begins with the name of Lazarus, “El Azar”, a homonym for Osiris.  Then we see that both are part of equivalent groups of four. Osiris, Horus, Isis and Nephthys match directly at many points of detail to Lazarus, Jesus, Mary and Martha, for example at Pyramid Text Utterance 670.  This tight matching extends to details such as both Mary and Isis represented as sitting, indicating direct evolution of the Gospel story of Lazarus in John 11 from the ancient Egyptian myth of Osiris.  It is remarkable that John cites this story as the main trigger for why Jesus was crucified, with the pharisees saying in direct response to the raising of Lazarus “If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. 

 

There's numerous Egyptian connections throughout. To me the question is more how would someone get off thinking that these things weren't lifted from Egyptian mythology?

 

35 minutes ago, Robert_Tulip said:

This all leads Carrier to ask, given Christianity’s role as the Jewish saviour cult, so similar to these other large religious movements, why we would automatically expect that Osiris, Bacchus and Adonis were fictional inventions but Jesus alone was real.  As he cautiously puts it, this all “lends sufficient grounds to at least suspect Jesus is not the lone strange exception.  That the Gospels are rife with markers typical of mythical persons only further secures this suspicion.”

 

People now don't seem to understand the savior cult issue. That christianity was one of many. Which rose above the rest and went forward through time. 

 

The other issue is how irrelevant it would be if there were any eccentric preacher figures involved in the Osiris, Bacchus, Adonis cults. They'd be lost to history as well. Whatever their real lives were would be clouded over with mythology and astrotheological allegory. And it essentially wouldn't matter one bit how, if anyone at all, was ever really at the base level of any of these myths. Whoever they may have been, if anyone at all, are clearly NOT the characters of the myths. It's the myths that people are dealing with, not historical personages. 

 

 

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I'm dam near Richard Dawkins level atheism where the christ myth is concerned. He's 99.9% lacking belief in gods. 

 

I'm like 99.9% mythicist, lacking belief in any one historical jesus at the core of the myths. That little 1% is for Ehrman and everyone's else's phantom early 1st century jesus who would have been beyond mundane. 

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2 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

That jesus never really existed? 

My personal take is essentially I don't give a shit if a literal historical jesus ever existed or not.  I know the jesus presented in the gospels is a lie, just like Prince Siddhartha was not born fully able to walk and talk.  Beyond that, it's all academic.   I respect people who do care enough to look deeper into the myths and attempt to elucidate the truth; but I just don't really care, myself.1

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20 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

My personal take is essentially I don't give a shit if a literal historical jesus ever existed or not.  I know the jesus presented in the gospels is a lie, just like Prince Siddhartha was not born fully able to walk and talk.  Beyond that, it's all academic.   I respect people who do care enough to look deeper into the myths and attempt to elucidate the truth; but I just don't really care, myself.1

Yes, and for practical purposes it makes no difference to the religious narrative if the Jesus character was a real person, cobbled together from several real people, or totally fabricated. Since so much of the story as told in the Bible is demonstrably not factual, then why bend over backwards to make the main character of the story an actual, historical person? 

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1 hour ago, florduh said:

Yes, and for practical purposes it makes no difference to the religious narrative if the Jesus character was a real person, cobbled together from several real people, or totally fabricated. Since so much of the story as told in the Bible is demonstrably not factual, then why bend over backwards to make the main character of the story an actual, historical person? 

Agreed, it's like arguing over whether or not a real Harry Potter existed while ignoring the fact that Whomping Willows have never been discovered in nature, a school of witchcraft would never receive any kind of educational accreditation, and Latinized encantations hold no more power than any other words, no matter how forcefully they're spoken.  But, oh, we have reason to believe that a Harold Patter once lived on Cricket Lane in Sussex and had a shade tree interest in sleight of hand; so, maybe the stories were based on him...

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6 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

I'm like 99.9% mythicist, lacking belief in any one historical jesus at the core of the myths.

I reject the historical Jesus 100%.  The underlying message is that applying scientific method to Christian origins, the historical Jesus is as likely as a flat earth, ie 0%. Just as we can explain flat earth thinking by pointing to the basic mistake involved in extrapolating from immediate appearance, so too we can explain the persistence of Jesus Historicist thinking in a similar way.  The later Gospels were designed to create the appearance of being historical, but the slightest examination shows they are not.

The historical Jesus is incompatible with scientific knowledge in a range of ways, and not just because he supposedly performs miracles.  I will get back later to more of the fatal anomalies Carrier identifies with historicism, building on the list I provided above.  Non-historical explanations fully explain the existing data and align with scientific knowledge.  The invention of Jesus Christ coheres entirely with the discoveries of modern psychology about the propensity of the human mind to accept false beliefs. 

If we believe in scientific knowledge, we accept that the universe exists as described by modern systematic research.  Fantasists who disagree with the consistent explanations of reality based on science put themselves outside the frame of rational conversation.

The church deliberately created a mental virus through its insistence on historicism, an infection that is very hard to shake.  People have long noticed the mythical sources of the Gospels, they just weren't allowed to say. Heresy was a capital crime under Christendom for more than a thousand years. This abusive bullying is deeply embedded within Christian culture and continues to traumatise this debate. The psychology means people are intimidated into an inability to study and discuss the evidence. 

The real problem is not whether Jesus really existed, it is why people continue to believe myths when the evidence shows they are totally implausible. My view is the way around this is to respect the poetic meaning within Christian faith while insisting the traditional literal interpretation is obsolete.

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3 hours ago, florduh said:

for practical purposes it makes no difference to the religious narrative if the Jesus character was a real person

I disagree.  The religious narrative of church belief is based on the claim that God miraculously intervened in history through the incarnation of Christ.  If we accept that Jesus was fictional, it shows that the whole story is a parable.  As I mentioned above, Carrier explains the evolution of Christian dogma as beginning from a purely imaginary revelation with Paul, mutating into sacred allegory in Mark, and then undergoing its final mutation in Luke and John.  Their claims that “ the things that have been fulfilled among us… were handed down to us by … eyewitnesses” (Luke 1) and that ‘these things were written that you might believe Jesus is the Christ” (John 20:31) made historicism central to Christian faith, radically excluding the ‘sacred allegory’ interpretation of Mark. 

A big part of the power of the church rested upon its claim of unique apostolic succession, contact with the Historical Jesus.  Pulling the rug out from under this story completely destroys the conventional religious narrative, creating the need for a less arrogant and exclusive approach if the church is to have any credibility.

To say Jesus was fiction is resisted so strongly because it is so embarrassing, as a demonstration of the psychological gullibility of humanity.  Such a dose of humility, on top of all the doses of crow pie that churches have been forced to consume in recent years, is of great value in opening up a genuine conversation between the church and modern scientific thinking.

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20 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

My personal take is essentially I don't give a shit if a literal historical jesus ever existed or not.  I know the jesus presented in the gospels is a lie, just like Prince Siddhartha was not born fully able to walk and talk.  Beyond that, it's all academic.   I respect people who do care enough to look deeper into the myths and attempt to elucidate the truth; but I just don't really care, myself.1

 

This is what is destroying christianity. People getting to where they just don't give a shit. It's sending the numbers down considerably by the looks of things. 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 8/29/2021 at 4:48 PM, DarkBishop said:

Ehrman has also publicly addressed Carrier's use of Bayes' Theorem, stating that "most historians simply don't think you can do history that way."

Carrier's use of Bayes' Theorem is a controversial point.  Today while out riding my bicycle in the beautiful early spring weather I listened to the UK BBC In Our Time podcast where presenter Melvin Bragg interviews distinguished academics for 50 minutes about a specific topic.  Today the topic was the great French mathematician and astronomer of the late eighteenth century, Laplace, sometimes called the French Newton. I highly recommend this program - you can hear it at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000twgj

 

The reason I mention this is that it turns out that Laplace was actually responsible for putting Bayes Theorem into a more rigorous form.  The penny dropped for me when one of the experts explained that Bayes Theorem is inverse probability - meaning you use it when you have a bunch of facts and want to know what probably caused those facts to arise.  This concept of 'inverse probability' is exactly what we need to analyse Christian origins. We all know the glorious results of the Christian church taking power and obliterating all its rivals, but we don't know how it happened.  So a method that systematically compares the likelihood of all the alternative possible causes in a factual way provides the most scientific method available.  

 

I have studied mathematics quite a bit, but I confess I found Carrier's use of Bayes Theorem in On The Historicity of Jesus somewhat unclear.  So I was not surprised to find that Jesus From Outer Space totally leaves it out. His feedback from readers - like Ehrman's dismissive comment -  must have made him see it as too technical for a general audience.

 

Going back to the quote from Ehrman attacking Carrier, I don't understand his point.  What is it about inverse probability that makes it unsuitable for the study of history?  It looks exactly what we need in such a case as the historicity of Jesus, where known effects can be analysed in terms of their most probable cause.  I think this just shows that Ehrman's support for the historical Jesus is pure politics and emotion with no scholarly merit.  He knows that, which is why he won't debate Carrier.

 

It may be that the existence of Jesus Christ is a special case in history.  There are few similar examples where the current set of known facts is explained by incompatible rival processes of events.  Inverse probability is uniquely suited to the case where historicists say the Gospels describe historical events and mythicists counter that the Gospels are sacred allegory.  I will ask Carrier if there are other historical examples where Bayes' Theorem applies.

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On 9/6/2021 at 7:34 AM, Joshpantera said:

This is what is destroying christianity. People getting to where they just don't give a shit. It's sending the numbers down considerably by the looks of things. 

Yes, and this common indifference reflects the dire moral confusion within Christianity.  When people see the gross incoherence of faith, how church leaders insist on the truth of false claims, the natural conclusion is that Christian faith appears not to be redeemable against any coherent ethical vision.

 

My view is that mythicism can actually redeem Christianity, by putting it onto a factual historical basis instead of its current framework of supernatural emotional fantasy.  The argument is that Christianity originated with a highly enlightened ethical framework, but this origin was almost completely lost under the onslaught of populist faith in the ancient Roman Empire.

 

The result is that the false populist corruption of the original sacred allegory by the church has led to the origins becoming invisible, such that people cannot imagine any form of faith other than the popular fantasy.  And yet, elements of the origin can be reconstructed by methods such as Bayes Theorem.  As ever though, such a reconstruction will struggle to overcome preconceptions.  My argument is that astrology was actually central to the origins of Christianity, but that is such a repugnant suggestion for believers and disbelievers alike that it is simply dismissed out of hand, without any study of the evidence.

 

I am currently writing commentary on the new psychology book Think Again by Adam Grant.  He quotes the famous line from George Costanza, ‘it’s not a lie if you believe it’, something that I am sure many ex-Christians can relate to as a source of pain from their time in the church.  Grant says this idea reflects how emotional intelligence needs to avoid internalising our feelings and desires as beliefs. But the church lacks emotional intelligence, and instead accepts the path of greatest comfort, believing its own lies.  After thousands of years of false belief people become indignant at the suggestion that these dogmas could have originated in pure deception.

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Expanding on the problem of evidence, Carrier asks (p41) if we can rescue the historical Jesus from our justified suspicions that he was invented. Unfortunately, every single mention of the historical Jesus has a genetic line of descent back to the single origin of the story in the Gospel of Mark, which itself has all the hallmarks of fictional mythology, constructed as sacred allegory, and is therefore extremely dubious.  There is simply nothing to independently corroborate Mark, despite the desperate lies of apologists to the contrary. That slender reed was enough to construct the fabulous certainties of Christendom.

 

The mention of Jesus by the Jewish historian Josephus was a fraudulent interpolation added by the Christian historian Eusebius, to overcome the shock of the absence of Jesus from the original text.  This is simply proved by the fact that the theologian Origen wrote extensively about the very chapter in Josephus where this text appears, in a book devoted to proving Jesus was real, but did not notice that Josephus mentioned Jesus. 

 

The mention of Christ by Tacitus, if genuine, only proves that a century after the purported time of Christ there were Christians who believed he was real. 

 

The main problem with the Gospels is that their genre is propaganda, not history.  Carrier describes the Gospel of John as having “patently mythical structure, explicitly stated propagandistic aims, evident deceptions and dependence on prior Gospels.”  Luke and Matthew are just creative rewrites of Mark. For real history, as distinct from Christian apologetics, that all means the Gospels have no weight as evidence.

 

Acts is worse, “demonstrably a work of revisionist fiction in the guise of history.”  Like the Gospels, and unlike real ancient historians, Acts shows no interest in sources.  It has nothing about Jesus that does not depend on Mark except perhaps one line about angelic revelation to Paul (23:9).

 

Carrier says the purpose of Mark’s Gospel was to mythically reify Paul’s Epistles, whose Jesus was entirely imaginary.  Reification is the psychological fallacy of converting an abstract idea into something real, filling in the blanks to construct a desired story.  Modern psychology sees reification as a common problem, with people finding the need to simplify complex ideas by presenting them in material terms, so that metaphors come to wrongly be regarded as literal statements of fact.  That is exactly what happened with Christian origins. 

 

As such, the most plausible evolutionary framework to explain the causation of the myth of Christ begins with a purely abstract concept which was gradually reified into the living breathing shitting talking one and only Son of the Most High God, Jesus of Nazareth.   

 

Carrier and I agree that this abstract concept came from astronomy, but differ on the process.  The irony is that Carrier believes the original authors fallaciously reified the metaphorical language about the descent of Christ from heaven to earth, so he rejects reification in Mark as actually 'sacred allegory', but not in his reconstruction of the origins of the story.  My view is that no such reification is involved in the original imagination of the Christ story based on visual observation of the precession of the equinox.

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Once again I was out on the bicycle this morning in the spring sunshine, listening to the BBC In Our Time podcast, this time about John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.  What caught my attention was the discussion about salvation, explained in terms of the individual believer being converted to true faith and going to heaven after death, which struck me as a thoroughly obsolete doctrine. The program noted that this whole line of religion has steadily lost popular appeal over the last half century. I suggest that is no wonder in view of its implausibility. Could Christianity actually have started off with a more coherent theory of salvation than this familiar teaching?

 

I raise the theme of salvation here to question Richard Carrier’s claim in Jesus From Outer Space that the earliest Christians had a focus on personal salvation.  That was obviously true of the church as it expanded, and remains the basis of evangelical faith today. However, my view is that the earliest Christianity was a cosmic philosophy in which individual salvation was a secondary factor.  This shift from a global to a personal moral focus was a key change.

 

My reading of the Bible sees this personal salvation doctrine as a selfish emotional distortion of the original high moral vision of planetary salvation.  This selfish view grew as literal orthodoxy took over from the original symbolic allegory.  The problem was that the mass audience could not engage with the original impersonal morality of universal love, with its planetary consciousness. 

 

Just to speak of a planetary consciousness in the ancient world seems surprising.  Yet the whole world appears as a key moral factor in Matt 24:14, Rev 1:7 and numerous other verses. The tension between this universal outlook and a more personal pastoral motivation of believers is in my view essential to properly interpret Christian origins.  By asserting a purely personal focus in the original cult, Carrier introduces a major assumption that I think distorts his perspective.

 

The church has indeed focused on personal salvation, yet the Gospels have a clear focus on saving the world understood in a wholistic rather than individual sense. Believers might say a text like John 3:17 “I came to save the world not to condemn it” simply means Jesus wanted to convert everyone to Christianity, but I prefer to read this as calling for planetary transformation.  That lines up with the sheep and goats story in Matthew 25, where salvation is defined purely in terms of your efforts to help others, with no belief involved whatsoever.

 

So when Carrier says Christianity began as a cult of personal salvation, I doubt this refers to the earliest version of the faith.  As I explained in my recent paper on Christianity for the Age of Aquarius, my hypothesis is that the church began by constructing the Jesus story from the visual and symbolic astronomy of zodiac ages, grounded in Platonic philosophy.  The idea is that they thought a whole age of belief, the Age of Pisces, would have to continue for two millennia before the world would be ready for the real path of secular salvation, the age of knowledge, in the Age of Aquarius. 

 

This idea rests on a claimed predictive mapping of ancient astrology onto history by the Gospel authors.  It is based on the suggestion that they considered human society was so depraved that people had no immediate prospect of finding shared salvation, in terms of making the world a better place, so the Age of Pisces would need to be an age of belief preparing the way for a time when the world will be able to engage with a more universal and scientific approach to religion.  They therefore presented a sequential story in the Bible, based on the first and second incarnations of Christ.  The first period imagined the Age of Pisces as a period where salvation was wrongly imagined in purely individual terms of personal afterlife, because that was all the mass audience could support.  The authors imagined a slow cultural evolution toward a tipping point when the necessary collective vision of transforming the planet would become socially viable, at the dawn of the Age of Aquarius, symbolised by the second coming of Jesus Christ.

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57 minutes ago, Robert_Tulip said:

John 3:17 “I came to save the world not to condemn it” simply means Jesus wanted to convert everyone to Christianity, but I prefer to read this as calling for planetary transformation.  That lines up with the sheep and goats story in Matthew 25, where salvation is defined purely in terms of your efforts to help others, with no belief involved whatsoever.

 

So when Carrier says Christianity began as a cult of personal salvation, I doubt this refers to the earliest version of the faith.  As I explained in my recent paper on Christianity for the Age of Aquarius, my hypothesis is that the church began by constructing the Jesus story from the visual and symbolic astronomy of zodiac ages, grounded in Platonic philosophy.  The idea is that they thought a whole age of belief, the Age of Pisces, would have to continue for two millennia before the world would be ready for the real path of secular salvation, the age of knowledge, in the Age of Aquarius. 

 

These were all beliefs in the early church. The Doherty model shows that many different beliefs were afoot. The personal salvation and planetary salvation are both there. The idea in revelation that earth will be "made new" reflects the same idea as John and Matthew. No one goes anywhere. Not off and away to the 7th heaven. They remain on the earth transformed and made new. Praising YHWH for ever and ever from here. 

 

But the idea of a 7 layered heavens also appears to remain into revelation. Carrier is picking up on beliefs that did exist. They apparently thought in terms of a 7 layered universe where for whatever reason they envisioned, precession was part of the 7 layered cosmos. They likely thought that jesus was a figure who could travel up and down through the 7 layered cosmos and that precession was a way of mapping out long timelines. If there's going to be a TOE for christian origins, it will have to answer everything. Carrier is neglecting precession, you're neglecting the 7 layered cosmos. It looks like both have to factor in if a TOE is ever to be achieved by anyone. 

 

Thoughts????

 

 

 

 

 

 

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44 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

These were all beliefs in the early church. The Doherty model shows that many different beliefs were afoot. The personal salvation and planetary salvation are both there.

Sure, and I acknowledge they were both there, but the question is to thread the line through all the various beliefs to determine which ones were decisive in constructing Christianity as the ultimately victorious ideology.  My view is that the popular personal salvation line was all about emotion and lacked intellectual content.  It panders to the emotional question ‘do you want to go to heaven or hell?’  By contrast, to say Christianity originated with a theory of planetary salvation, using the astronomy of precession as its framework of history, is a purely intellectual philosophical approach.  It develops the idea of heaven as the vision of what the earth could become if the planet was perfectly governed.  That is the vision of the future Age of Aquarius that is developed with the Revelation idea of a new heaven and a new earth.

44 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

The idea in revelation that earth will be "made new" reflects the same idea as John and Matthew. No one goes anywhere. Not off and away to the 7th heaven. They remain on the earth transformed and made new. Praising YHWH for ever and ever from here. 

The ‘rapture’ idea from Thessalonians of the last Trump is about the most crazy and emotional idea in the whole Bible.  It is absurd magical fantasy, designed to suck in gullible believers who are scared of going to hell.  By contrast, the concept of planetary transformation in a New Age that runs through the New Testament is perfectly compatible with modern science, and offers a way to understand Christianity in a purely rational way, interpreting all the magic as metaphor for real possibilities.

44 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

But the idea of a 7 layered heavens also appears to remain into revelation. Carrier is picking up on beliefs that did exist. They apparently thought in terms of a 7 layered universe where for whatever reason they envisioned, precession was part of the 7 layered cosmos.

The seven heavens of ancient cosmology were simply the crystal spheres holding the seven planets, in order the Moon, then Sun, Mercury and Venus in various orders as 2, 3 and 4, then Mars, Jupiter and Saturn as 5, 6 and 7.  The eighth heaven is the fixed stars. The precession is essentially a movement of the equinox against the eighth heaven in this cosmology. 

 

I was intrigued to read the Gnostic text The Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth, but found it disappointing, like most Gnostic texts.  I thought it might present the equinoctial circle of the celestial equator as the ninth heaven, but if so it is too cryptic.  Maybe the tantalising missing lines revealed that the ninth heaven was precession?

44 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

They likely thought that jesus was a figure who could travel up and down through the 7 layered cosmos and that precession was a way of mapping out long timelines. If there's going to be a TOE for christian origins, it will have to answer everything.

That literal ascent and descent of Christ, like climbing Jacob’s ladder, seems to be what Carrier is saying, but I have not seen good evidence for it, and he only briefly alludes to this in Jesus From Outer Space.  The Ascension of Isaiah beginning at Chapter 6 is his main source, but Carrier seems to think the first Christians took this literally, imagining Jesus as an extra-terrestrial alien, when in fact that is as implausible as the rapture.  My view is that The Ascension of Isaiah can best be read as allegory for precession, with the descent of Christ to earth a parable for the gradual movement of the equinox point to the boundary of Aries and Pisces, which marks the imagined moment of celestial harmony at the incarnation of Christ. It all means that the pre-existent Christ was a purely spiritual and conceptual way to imagine cosmic rationality, not a material being.

44 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

Carrier is neglecting precession, you're neglecting the 7 layered cosmos. It looks like both have to factor in if a TOE is ever to be achieved by anyone. 

I am not neglecting the 7 layered cosmos, I simply disagree that a material movement of Christ through the planets helps to explain original Christian thinking.  It is a nice fable, like walking on water, but lacks the explanatory power of the precession hypothesis.

44 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

Thoughts????

In The Ascension of Isaiah, (6.13; 7.8; 11:39-40) the Seventh Heaven corresponds to the sphere of Saturn.  Also known as Old Father Time or Kronos, Saturn links closely to the Mithraic God of Time, Aion, as the outer boundary of the solar system, representative of cosmic wisdom. It is presented as a secret.

I wrote an essay on Aion, who evolved into Saint Peter holding the keys of heaven and earth.  The Mithraic statues of Aion contain abundant precessional imagery, notably the Lion-Man axis representing the 12,000 years from the Age of Leo (Zep Tepi) to the coming Age of Aquarius, encircled by the six ages represented by the coils of the snake.

At 7.10, The Ascension cites the Hermetic idea As Above So Below, which also appears in The Lord’s Prayer.  7.22 places the throne of Christ above all heavens, a position equivalent to seeing the precession movement as the ninth heaven.    

Overall, this text simply does not do the work Carrier asks of it, to construct a literal vision of Jesus travelling physically through outer space.  Given that Carrier rejects the whole Gospel text as sacred allegory, ie as something not literally believed at first, he should similarly reject this allegorical story.

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