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The Pagan Christ - Comments

ross's Avatar Comment 1 by ross

At last.
The "Achilles Heal" of Christianity starts to go mainstream.

Thu, 06 Dec 2007 23:50:00 UTC | #90526

dazzjazz's Avatar Comment 2 by dazzjazz

where can I see this - anyone got the video?


dazzjazz

Thu, 06 Dec 2007 23:54:00 UTC | #90527

ADH's Avatar Comment 3 by ADH

I haven't had the pleasure of reading this book yet, but just before everyone starts saying: "there you are you see, Christianity is not based on a historical event at all - it's just cobbling together of pre-Christian pagan myths!" maybe it would not be a bad idea to check out this link.

http://www.christian-thinktank.com/copycatwho2.html

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 00:40:00 UTC | #90532

Edanator's Avatar Comment 4 by Edanator

Well, Dr Bart Ehrman, New Testament scholar, was interviewed on the Infidelguy show, and he didn't budge an inch when pressed about the existence of a historical Jesus. He knows most scholars and claimed to not know of ANY serious historian who doubted the existence of Jesus. Dr Ehrman's an agnostic, btw, so he has no hidden motives in covering up the non-existence of Jesus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_Ehrman
http://infidelguy.libsyn.com/

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 01:21:00 UTC | #90546

ross's Avatar Comment 5 by ross

Oh please.
Your single pet agnostic scholar says such and such: therefore it's true.
What about Robert Price or Earl Doherty?
And what about common sense? The Son of God shows up on Earth - virtually the creator of the universe, cures lepers 'n all, raises the dead, feeds thousands of people loaves and fishes, creates havoc, and no one notices? Not a single CREDIBLE reference to this possible source of insurrection found in Roman documents?

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 01:45:00 UTC | #90555

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 6 by Bonzai

And what about common sense? The Son of God shows up on Earth - virtually the creator of the universe, cures lepers 'n all, raises the dead, feeds thousands of people loaves and fishes, creates havoc, and no one notices? Not a single CREDIBLE reference to this possible source of insurrection found in Roman documents?


Bart Ehrman never says any such thing, he is actually an atheist. But saying that Jesus was not God is not the same as saying the guy never existed, I think the mainstream opinion among scholars is that he did exist.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 01:51:00 UTC | #90558

tieInterceptor's Avatar Comment 7 by tieInterceptor

Christianity is a rehash of astrology/Egyptian myths... sounds very much like the first 1/3 of "Zeitgeist the movie"

interesting... link to the Zeitgeist film if anyone wants to check it out.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5547481422995115331


.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 02:27:00 UTC | #90573

Conrad's Avatar Comment 8 by Conrad

Bonzai, you are quite correct to state that the mainstream historian view is that Jesus did exist. After that of course, it is quite clouded. It is those who wish to state that he didn't exist at all though that have their work cut out for them. Not that I would begrudge the finding that Jesus never existed, but the simple fact that people rewriting jesus happened to take from existing myths is nothing unsurprising. Their doing so says nothing about the actual existence of the man.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 03:06:00 UTC | #90589

Jaffas85's Avatar Comment 9 by Jaffas85

There are numerous previous Gods around the medeterranen who had very similar stories to 'Jesus' yet none of them were based on 'historical figures' and no one genuinely asserts that a historical Horus, Krisna or Dionysis actually existed. It is only because the mythological figure of 'Jesus Christ' is so central to Christianity that many people like to assume or 'leave the door open' that a historical Jesus existed.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 03:10:00 UTC | #90592

elise97's Avatar Comment 10 by elise97

the 'mainstream' historical view is that jesus did exist, due to the fact that most biblical historians are christian apologists with vested interests and nice non christian historians dont bother getting involved in the task of destroying the legitimicy of a subject (which is already false by categorisation as religion). the average layman just assumes its impossible to know either way so takes the agnostic view about it, but thinks there must be 'something in it' (and cant be bothed to look into it). well, if you look into the evidence, there is not 'anything in it'. the only evidence is some alleged paragraph by josephus which was added to later by a christian, and proven by textual analysis to be a fraud.

how about the 'acharya s' books and website. seems to know whats shes talking about (i think she should drop the rather new age like name however).

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 04:38:00 UTC | #90618

ADH's Avatar Comment 11 by ADH

It is sooooo typical of contributors to these threads to airbruch out of existence that which it is inconvenient to take on bard. As I hinted in my earlier "preemptive" contribution, this reaction does not in the least surprise me. It is the well-worn strategy o historical revisionism. Take David Irvine for example.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 05:22:00 UTC | #90630

Aaron's Avatar Comment 12 by Aaron

I don't mean to just espouse the middle of the road stance here but couldn't it be that Jesus actually existed and well after his death many of the attributes of the pre-Christian gods were applied to his legacy to strengthen his character as a spiritual leader?

I second Edanator's remarks. I listened to the Infidel Guy interview with Bart Ehrman yesterday. He has said himself he's an agnostic. That coming from a former evangelical to me means he's an atheist. He provided Paul's letters in Galatians which are known to be authentic in which Paul mentions in an off-handed fashion that he met with "James the brother of the lord". To that my atheism replies "Who cares?" There is still zippo for evidence that supports the supernatural claims of his existence.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 05:48:00 UTC | #90635

monoape's Avatar Comment 13 by monoape

For those of us outside the USA: the TV channels / times - are they 'mainstream / primetime' viewing?

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 06:01:00 UTC | #90638

Murray Keedis's Avatar Comment 14 by Murray Keedis

Monoape, the CBC stands for the "Canadian Broadcasting Corporation". This was aired on a mainsream channel in a primetime slot.

Harpur's book, "The Pagan Christ", was also a best-seller in Canada. The booked generated (and continues to generate) a fair amount of debate regarding the (non) existence of Christ and Christianity's co-opting of other religious traditions, festivals and icons. A fascinating read.

Harpur, incidentally, is not an atheist. He's a former Anglican minister who is disgusted by the literal treatment of the Bible.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 06:21:00 UTC | #90644

djspideyspinster's Avatar Comment 15 by djspideyspinster

I love truth. It is my desire to learn the truth, which is why I read articles and comment boards such as these and others written by atheists, agnostics, and Christians. I enjoy credible scholarship and exploring both sides of a debate. I don't care what the person believes that is writing an article, I want to know, as Mr. Dawkins often says, "Is it true?"

Tom Harpur may be many things, but a scholar he is not. The following links will expose that to any willing to read and consider the points made:

1) http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/jesusexisthub.html
2)http://www.tektonics.org/harpur01.html

I realize those that are fimiliar with the author, J.P. Holding, may not like his approach, however, it's apparent that most of you have NO problem with name calling and I encourage you to actually consider the points he makes and not how he makes them.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 07:09:00 UTC | #90660

monoape's Avatar Comment 16 by monoape

Thanks, Murray - I should've spotted the URL (www.cbc.ca) to know it was Canadian. Good to hear that it had a prime time airing.

Think I'll add this book to my reading list.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 07:14:00 UTC | #90663

monoape's Avatar Comment 17 by monoape

@ djspideyspinster - I scanned most of the first link you provided and found it a rather meandering, waffly sermon that provides little in the way of fact or reasonable argument. However, I picked out one piece of clear language:

"Highly reliable sources. There are two of these: Tacitus and Josephus."

I would suggest anyone who considers Josephus to be a 'highly reliable' extra-biblical source of evidence for Jesus' existence to read a little further, perhaps starting with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus#Testimonium_Flavianum. I recall someone describing the paragraphs describing Jesus as though "someone had inserted a chewing gum advert in to a book written by Chaucer".

Both articles appear to me to be more of the "I know Jesus is the son of (a) god, I just need to find the evidence" variety.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 07:45:00 UTC | #90676

bamafreethinker's Avatar Comment 18 by bamafreethinker

For a very thorough (and free) examination of all of the contemporary historians of the first century – it's hard to beat John Remsberg's almost 100 year old book - The Christ. A link to it is here: http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/rmsbrg00.htm

This is the one book that absolutely ripped faith from its already weakening hold on me. I remember finishing the last sentence in this exhaustive criticism of Christianity and feeling the weight of over 30 years of doubt worry, and fearful study being lifted off of me and an amazing change in my perspective on life, love and the world around me. It's a little out-dated, but it's hard to find anything like it. And did I mention it's free?

Remsberg spends an entire chapter on the almost certainly erroneous reference to Jesus in Josephus here: http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/rmsbrg02.htm

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 08:18:00 UTC | #90689

USA_Limey's Avatar Comment 19 by USA_Limey

Shouldn't the fact that there is a debate AT ALL be enough to cast doubt on the story of Christ? After all, this was meant to be the most momentous event in human history, a direct intervention by god; sending us his son to save us right?

You'd think he would have made the paper trail a bit more convincing.

Oh, and shame about those Aboriginal Austrailians who had to wait another 1,700 years for the 'good news'

What bollocks.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 08:25:00 UTC | #90691

ADH's Avatar Comment 20 by ADH

I'm sorry but I'm not going to let you get away with this monoape.

This is the quote from Josephus in question. It is taken from his Jewish Antiquities.

"3.3 Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, IF IT BE LAWFUL TO CALL HIM A MAN; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; FOR HE APPEARED TO THEM ALIVE ON THE THIRD DAY; AS THE DIVINE PROPHETS HAD FORETOLD THESE AND TEN THOUSAND OTHER THINGS CONCERNING HIM. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

If you check this out you will find that the parts of the quote that I have rewritten in block capitals were indeed a 4th century interpolation. Nevertheless the consensus is that the rest of the text was indeed written by Jsephus.

The main support for the authenticity of the passage as having been written by Josephus comes from another of the Antiquities - namely nº 20.9.1:
"He (Ananus) concened the council of judges and brought before it the brother of Jesus - the one called the "Christ" - whose name was James, and certain others. But those of the city considered to be the most fair-minded and strict concerning the laws were offended at this and sent to the king secretly urging him to command Ananus to take such actions no longer".

For a number of reasons scholars do not doubt the authenticity of this second passage. The point of the text is not to reflect on who Jesus or his followers were but to report on the reasons for Ananus having been deposed as High Priest. There is therefore nothing specifically Christian about it. It seems safe to assume that this second passage presupposes an earlier reference to Jesus in the Antiquities. Most scholars believe the earlier reference to be the one earlier cited from Antiquities 18.

You should know bay now that Wikipedia articles have to be taken with a barrel or two of salt. I'm sure that if I had used Wikipedia to support any of my points you would have quite ightly told me the same.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 08:41:00 UTC | #90692

USA_Limey's Avatar Comment 21 by USA_Limey

Comment #95048 by ADH Comment #95048.

ADH, can't you recognize that that the fact alone that this is all debatable and questionable and shrouded in antiquity makes the likelihood of it being true rather suspect.

Based on the available evidence what is more likely?

A) Jesus was the divine some of god sent to redeem us.

B) He was just some guy who's story got spun out of all recognition into a new religion for political reasons.

Again, based on the paucity of evidence, which is more LIKELY? It's really that simple.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 08:51:00 UTC | #90695

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 22 by Steve Zara

USA_Limey makes a good point. There is evidence that Roman Emperors were historical figures. Many were proclaimed to be Gods. The senate deified Julius Caesar, and Augustus styled himself "Son of a God". The difference between them and Jesus is that we know this from contemporary writings. So, if you are going to believe that someone was a God because of words in old books, surely it would make more sense to believe that of the Roman Emperors? This is a serious question.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 08:56:00 UTC | #90697

monoape's Avatar Comment 23 by monoape

I remember finishing the last sentence in this exhaustive criticism of Christianity and feeling the weight of over 30 years of doubt worry, and fearful study being lifted off of me and an amazing change in my perspective on life, love and the world around me.


I find that words written by those who have de-programmed themselves some of the most poignant and compelling. Bravo, bamafreethinker.

I'm not going to let you get away with this monoape.


[goggle-eyed look] I'm not, or attempting to, 'get away' with anything! I'm purely putting forward a very commonly held assessment of the authenticity of the claimed 'Jesus paragrpahs' in Josephus' writings.

You should know bay now that Wikipedia articles have to be taken with a barrel or two of salt. I'm sure that if I had used Wikipedia to support any of my points you would have quite ightly told me the same.


No one is claiming Wikipedia to be a 'gospel' of information, it's simply a well-organised, peer-edited resource. There is certainly inaccuracy and disinformation, but that doesn't mean you can dismiss it all out of hand. Your reaction smacks of some form of fallacious argument (not sure which variety - perhaps someone could help me?).

No, if you had referenced Wikipedia I would have addressed the content and not the source.

Oh, and shame about those Aboriginal Austrailians who had to wait another 1,700 years for the 'good news'

What bollocks.


Nice one, centurion.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 09:18:00 UTC | #90705

ADH's Avatar Comment 24 by ADH

Steve, therein in act lies the challenge that Jesus indircetly issued to Caesar, as Paul later points out in Romans. "You think you are the Son of God. You are not - I am!". By entering Jerusalem as he did, by going into the temple he was, in a sense, claiming possession of the "throne" at the centre of the holy of holies he was claiming that the Kingdom of God had come with himself as King, that the prophecies about the Kingdom of God were being fulfilled right in front of them. He knew that by doing that he would be bringing upon himself the wrath of Rome, not only of the Jewis authorities - there wasn't room or two kingdoms in the Roman territories. Rome had a pretty brutal way of dealing with what they perceived as sedition. That's how the Jewish leaders got the Romans on their side: "If you don't deal with this guy you'll be no friend of Caesar's" they said to Pilate. And in a sense they were right. Caesar, for the reasons you pointed out, could brook no rivalry.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 09:25:00 UTC | #90707

monoape's Avatar Comment 25 by monoape

As we have a couple of the 'opposing team' in this thread, perhaps they would like to respond to a question I posed on another forum recently (I'm assuming that you subscribe to the Christian overseer):

Finally, a question for the Jeebus Gang: did it ever occur to you that the god you believe in is almost always dependent on when and where you were born? It has nothing to do with fact and validity. If you'd been born in Iran, you'd be on your little carpet 5 times a day, bobbing up and down to Mecca. If you'd been born in Denmark 2000 years ago, you'd been damn sure Odin and Valhalla was The Real Deal.


If anyone has a few minutes to kill, taken from http://forums.courier-journal.com/viewtopic.php?t=86665

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 09:31:00 UTC | #90708

USA_Limey's Avatar Comment 26 by USA_Limey

ADH,

Did anything you just say in Comment 95063 give us any reason to accept the divinity of Christ?

Jesus was a political activist who didn't like the Roman occupation or the Jewish leadership. Great - ok great, I could be persuaded to go with that. Do we need to go further? Why make him god?

Can we just drop that rubbish?

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 09:32:00 UTC | #90709

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 27 by Steve Zara

Steve, therein in act lies the challenge that Jesus indircetly issued to Caesar, as Paul later points out in Romans. "You think you are the Son of God. You are not - I am!".


You are missing the point of my post. The statements about the activities, and divinity, of the Roman emperors was contemporary. This is a non-contemporary report from Paul.

I think as a general principle, we take contemporary reports over those written decades or centuries later.

(If this sounds like I am being deliberately provocative here, I hope you don't mind. I think that this is the way ideas should be tested)

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 09:41:00 UTC | #90715

monoape's Avatar Comment 28 by monoape

Oh, and shame about those Aboriginal Austrailians who had to wait another 1,700 years for the 'good news'


Actually USA_Limey, if we accept that the 'Aussie locals' arrived on the continent ~45,000 years ago, they had to wait (along with the rest of us) a feckin' long time before they received the 'good news' and became aware of their status as sinners in need of redemption! And there they were, catching fish, fornicating and chillin' out, with no knowledge that Yahweh wasn't happy with them. Lucky they were saved by those righteous Christians (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolen_Generation). [sigh]

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 09:44:00 UTC | #90716

elise97's Avatar Comment 29 by elise97

i think its pretty ironic that ADH goes all sceptical about wikipedia articles, that have at least to endure a modicum of 'peer review' by possibly experts in their field but seems happy to defend the veracity of much of what is after all a scrappy 2000 year old account, written by someone whose 'journalistic' integrity we havnt the foggiest about, and whose very account of whatever he was on about you agree has been fiddled about with in some way.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 09:47:00 UTC | #90717

USA_Limey's Avatar Comment 30 by USA_Limey

Monoape wrote:

if we accept that the 'Aussie locals' arrived on the continent ~45,000 years ago, they had to wait (along with the rest of us) a feckin' long time


Quite right.

Consider my time scale as beginning with the final revelation of God.

Well, almost final. I suppose the messages of Mohammed and Joseph Smith with have to join the queue.

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 10:00:00 UTC | #90719