Two Plus Two Newer Archives  

Go Back   Two Plus Two Newer Archives > Other Topics > Science, Math, and Philosophy

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-07-2007, 05:03 PM
Mendacious Mendacious is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Planet Lovetron
Posts: 1,010
Default Beginning of Christianity

When I was in College I took a course called “Historical Jesus” (girlfriend at the time was taking the course). I seldom went, but did attend the last day of class when the professor gave his take on what history tells us about the ultimate question of Jesus status as supernatural figure. I will do my best to paraphrase.

He said that Jesus lived in a time where cooky crackpot alternative apocalyptic nuts roamed the streets—mostly without any significant followers. When Jesus, who wasn’t too far from this mold, actually started to develop a following and began to call into question the Jewish Clergy, he was discredited to the public, and put to Death as a threat to the order. Here is where things become interesting. After Jesus died, Jesus's followers (none of whom was previously impressive in the slightest) by all rights should have disbanded, lucky to have their skins intact, as Jesus at this point was not a popular guy. Instead, they claim he was resurrected, and at great cost to themselves and without any financial backing or incentive became absolutely devoted zealots with his ressurection as the foundation of their belief. His conclusion was that the only explanation was the disciples truly believed in the resurrection.

Assuming this is a reasonable accounting of the “history” involved, why did Jesus’ disciples insist he had resurrected and risk their necks for seemingly no gain and a lot of hardship when they would have been so much better off slinking away?

This isn’t meant as a “proof” or to convince anyone of anything, it is just something that seems interesting about the origins of Christianity.

Anyone else find this sufficiently puzzling to comment?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 11-07-2007, 05:12 PM
tame_deuces tame_deuces is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,494
Default Re: Beginning of Christianity

If we assume he lived (which is hotly debated in itself):

1. It can have been random chance striking gold.
2. It could be he had the same charisma and control over his group as leaders of some of the more extreme religious sects today. Him claiming he would be resurrected could be sufficient itself to make them believe it.
3. One or more of the followers could be suffering from heavy psychosis, making the story 'believable' for the others. This is not an uncommon thing in small extreme religious sects. (Holding that the leader of your 13-man group is the son of god qualifies as extreme btw).
4. The story could have been altered many years later to fit the story better, the 'true' facts may be completely different. Since we don't have genuine proof of what happened in those days we are relying on the bible alone to say what happened before the resurrection. It may be a flawed source.

I'll agree that it is a neat little puzzle, but there are worse ones out there. [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-07-2007, 05:59 PM
Phil153 Phil153 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 4,905
Default Re: Beginning of Christianity

I don't find it puzzling at all. Muhammed did similar highly impressive things, but Christians never seem to want to talk about him.

As for the professor's points - almost all of the things he claims have no independent historical evidence apart from the bible. If someone called Jesus did exist, we know virtually nothing reliable about him.

[ QUOTE ]
Assuming this is a reasonable accounting of the “history” involved, why did Jesus’ disciples insist he had resurrected and risk their necks for seemingly no gain and a lot of hardship when they would have been so much better off slinking away?

[/ QUOTE ]
Have you heard of Falun Gong? Of Buddhist monks? They suffer massive persecution without any promise of reward. Jesus promised eternal life to those who followed him, and forgiveness from the jealous, spiteful, scary God portrayed in the OT. Is it that surprising that some were taken by his message - especially if he performed convincing miracles?

[ QUOTE ]
Assuming this is a reasonable accounting of the “history” involved, why did Jesus’ disciples insist he had resurrected and risk their necks for seemingly no gain and a lot of hardship when they would have been so much better off slinking away?

[/ QUOTE ]
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the only thing we independently know is that a certain religious groups became an occasional problem for Roman authorities some years after Jesus's death. It's likely many believed he rose from the dead, if that story was told. Just as millions today belief absolutely in the the blatant fraud, the Sai Baba, even in this modern age.

I wrote a piece a while back about various scenarios of how the Jesus stories and following could have come about. There are many plausible explanations that don't involve a corpse coming back to life.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-07-2007, 06:11 PM
Splendour Splendour is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 650
Default Re: Beginning of Christianity

Well here is a wikipedia quote:

Re: Jesus as Myth here is an excerpt

"Michael Grant stated that the view is derived from a lack of application of historical methods:

…if we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned. ... To sum up, modern critical methods fail to support the Christ myth theory. It has 'again and again been answered and annihilated by first rank scholars.' In recent years, 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary.[73]

The non-historicity theory is regarded as effectively refuted by almost all Biblical scholars and historians"


It is rather odd that people keep making this myth argument around the person of Jesus. They don't seem to do it around Mohammed or Buddha. They just single Jesus out.

It is possible to look up many of the old Hebrew Kings listed in the Old Testament and find Ahab, Hezekiah, David...all listed as actual historical personages. If you take a look at archaeology the History channel has several different programs devoted to biblical archaeology. They have one that explains how volcanoes figured into the Exodus from Egypt plagues, they have one where they found the city of Jericho (with evidence the walls actually tumbled down).

Quote 2:
from: http://www.christiananswers.net/christmas/skeptic.html

Prophecies from the Old Testament were fulfilled in Jesus' life, death and resurrection. Nearly 300 predictions from hundreds of years before his birth were acknowledged by rabbis as having been made in reference to a coming deliverer they called the Messiah.

These predictions included Bethlehem as the place of his birth (Micah 5:2), that he would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14 in the Septuagint Greek translation c.a. 250 B.C.E.), and that the time of his birth would be just before Israel lost their sovereign power as a nation (Genesis 49:10)--this took place just after the beginning of the First Century C.E. when Archelaus took the throne.

It is significant that when Israel cried, "Woe to us, for the scepter has been removed and the Messiah has not come!" (Talmud, Babylon, Sanhedrin), Jesus was walking in their midst.


It was also predicted that he would perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5,6), that he would enter Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9), would die a dreadful, yet substitutionary death (Isaiah 53) by crucifixion (Psalm 22:14-17), a form of death not even known at the time of the psalm's composition, and that he would be raised from the dead (Psalm 16:9f).

No one else in history can remotely claim to be the object of such prophecies except Jesus of Nazareth.

Astonishingly, the chances of fulfilling just eight specific prophecies is one in 100,000,000,000,000,000 notes a panel of scientists with the American Scientific Affiliation. See Josh McDowell's New Evidence that Demands a Verdict. (Nelson, 1999), p. 164f. See also an interview with Rev. Louis Lapides in "The Fingerprint Evidence: Did Jesus--and Jesus Alone--Match the Identity of the Messiah?" found in Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ, (Zondervan, 1998), p.171f. Lapides is a Jew who moved from agnosticism to belief in Jesus as the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament.

Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-07-2007, 06:22 PM
tame_deuces tame_deuces is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,494
Default Re: Beginning of Christianity

[ QUOTE ]

It is rather odd that people keep making this myth argument around the person of Jesus. They don't seem to do it around Mohammed or Buddha. They just single Jesus out.

[/ QUOTE ]

The historical case for Mohammed is much stronger - though disputed with some. Also Mohammed was seen as a prophet, not the son of god walking around waking people from the dead and being resurrected, so the burden for a proper historical footprint on Jesus is big.

I also think you're stretching the 'it is because we are Christian' thing, that's just because most theists on this board are Christians it will seem that way.

As for Buddha, there have been several Buddhas. In most buddism Buddha is a title, not a specific being.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-07-2007, 06:27 PM
Mendacious Mendacious is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Planet Lovetron
Posts: 1,010
Default Re: Beginning of Christianity

My understanding is that there were many many historical accounts written about Jesus, that predate the Bible (which only contains 4 of these "gospels". See the Dead Sea Scrolls. Many of these accounts diverge widely but there are consistancies as well as other corroborating accounts that are not of a religious nature.

I would be surprised that amongst historians that there is any real dispute of the existance, however, I would agree that very little that is reliable is known about him-- other than he had followers, and he was put to death.

Historically, my impression was that Jesus did not claim to be a messiah or promise "eternal life" at least during his life, or even claim to be the son of God. Had any of these things occurred I think he would have been considered a much greater crackpot and never gained any traction at all. I also don't think there is any truly historic evidence of miracles. I do think he offered a tremendously populist message to the people-- which had the potential to resonate. But that doesn't explain the whole ressurection scenario. Is your supposition that the disciples simply made up the resurrection?

With respect to the monks you describe, they are trained and taught and indoctrinated to become what they become. My impression is that historically, Jesus followers took his teaching and were inspired. It really doesn't seem quite the same thing.

I would be interested in the piece you wrote.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-07-2007, 06:32 PM
Mendacious Mendacious is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Planet Lovetron
Posts: 1,010
Default Re: Beginning of Christianity

[ QUOTE ]
Astonishingly, the chances of fulfilling just eight specific prophecies is one in 100,000,000,000,000,000 notes a panel of scientists with the American Scientific Affiliation.

[/ QUOTE ]

Interestingly, viewing the gospels "historically" the conclusion of the course work was that the Gospels were tortuously written to make it appear as though Jesus was a fulfillment of prophesies, to the point that the "historical account of Jesus" even has Jesus going to Egypt to fulfill a prophecy that clearly purtained to Moses and not the Messiah. The conclusion was that the fulfillment of prophecies was historically concocted.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-07-2007, 06:43 PM
KikoSanchez KikoSanchez is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 55
Default Re: Beginning of Christianity

Many people believe that disjointed accounts of various prophets of the time may have culminated to be what we now know as the character of Jesus.

As for the all the prophecies, it is no coincidence people would apply such dates and concepts to their next 'messiah'. It is because many previous religious personas were born on Dec 25th, had 12 followers, died and rose again on the 3rd day, etc. Just look at Mithras or a dozen other ancient characters. Not to mention, religious people were always looking for and speculating on a messiah, as they still do (sometimes in the case of the antichrist). Then some men go out and take a baby, call him God's son and raise him as such. If you were born into this environment, you'd probably believe you were the son of god too.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-07-2007, 06:45 PM
Splendour Splendour is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 650
Default Re: Beginning of Christianity

Quote: I don't find it puzzling at all. Muhammed did similar highly impressive things, but Christians never seem to want to talk about him


We don't need to. "Everything ended on the cross". This is a quote from 2 Arabs who converted to Christianity who I listened to on a radio a few weeks back.

The bible basically says to believe on Christ. Once you're convinced then actually no comparison is necessary. We recognize how high Christ's claim is and we are to beware of changed messages from later prophets. One thing is quite obvious to any Christian who looks at Muslims they have more rituals to obey. They pray 5 times a day facing Mecca. Christians are no longer to be bound by a high degree of ritualism. All of the kosher rules of Leviticus have been lifted from us. Our rituals are kept to a minimum compared to Islam's. We're suppose to live it (be born again) and concentrate on spiritual change.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-07-2007, 06:46 PM
madnak madnak is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Brooklyn (Red Hook)
Posts: 5,271
Default Re: Beginning of Christianity

[ QUOTE ]
As for Buddha, there have been several Buddhas. In most buddism Buddha is a title, not a specific being.

[/ QUOTE ]

And the existence of Gautama, "the" Buddha, is questioned plenty.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:35 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.