• In total there are 6 users online :: 1 registered, 0 hidden and 5 guests (based on users active over the past 60 minutes)
    Most users ever online was 616 on Thu Jan 18, 2024 7:47 pm

Jesus

Engage in conversations about worldwide religions, cults, philosophy, atheism, freethought, critical thinking, and skepticism in this forum.
Forum rules
Do not promote books in this forum. Instead, promote your books in either Authors: Tell us about your FICTION book! or Authors: Tell us about your NON-FICTION book!.

All other Community Rules apply in this and all other forums.
User avatar
Dissident Heart

1F - BRONZE CONTRIBUTOR
I dumpster dive for books!
Posts: 1790
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 11:01 am
20
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Jesus

Unread post

The Season of Lent is well underway for just over a billion of our fellow humans who identify the life, teaching, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus as ultimately important for their lives. These are the folks we call, and they self-identify as "Christians". Lent is the preparation for Easter, which is the time when Christians celebrate the power of life over death and the fecund spirit of God as a liberating, healing and joyous presence.I hope this thread can become a discussion about this Jesus. I invite questions of his historicity; exegesis of the gospel traditions; traditional theological interpretations; the struggle between orthodoxy and heresy in controlling these interpretations; comparison with other Religious leaders; his place in Film and Cinema, Art and Music; his role in other religious traditions such as Judaism and Islam; and what value you glean from his example.I've found this on-line resource to be very valuable when examining all-things New Testament, and Jesus in particular:The New Testament Gateway: The Historical Jesus Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 3/14/06 12:50 pm
User avatar
Mr. P

1F - BRONZE CONTRIBUTOR
Has Plan to Save Books During Fire
Posts: 3826
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:16 am
19
Location: NJ
Has thanked: 5 times
Been thanked: 137 times
Gender:
United States of America

Re: Jesus

Unread post

Any quality sources for the historical accuracy of the life Jesus is said to have lived would be appreciated. Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy PiperEdited by: misterpessimistic  at: 3/14/06 2:16 pm
User avatar
Chris OConnor

1A - OWNER
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame
Posts: 17000
Joined: Sun May 05, 2002 2:43 pm
21
Location: Florida
Has thanked: 3500 times
Been thanked: 1307 times
Gender:
Contact:
United States of America

Re: Jesus

Unread post

Yes, a good starting point would be to provide the premises or data supporting your conclusion. Your conclusion is that "Jesus lived a certain lifestyle," but the reality is this is an unfounded conclusion. What are we to do? ...assume he actually existed? ...or believe he existed because believing he existed creates more good than harm?So before I am interested in discussing the "historical Jesus" let's demonstrate that there actually was a Jesus at some point in history. Let's see a demonstration that Jesus was indeed historical before we try to discuss everything he did or didn't do. Would you agree that this is a silly endeavor if Jesus never really existed, or if Jesus was not the son of a deity? That happens to be the two viewpoints of most BookTalk members, and this thread is nestled within the forums of a freethought community. So start from the beginning and prove Jesus was who he is claimed to have been and then we can have a quality discussion about all that his existence impacted or influenced.Better yet, if you wish to avoid the need to prop up the mythology of Jesus you can avoid it quite easily by rewording your very first sentence. You could have written:Quote:The Season of Lent is well underway for just over a billion of our fellow humans who identify the myth of the life, teaching, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus as ultimately important for their lives. The truth is those billion fellow humans know of nothing but a story. Either the story is true, partially true, or totally fictitious. But it is their "faith" in that story that impacts and influences their lives.If you can successfully demonstrate that Jesus and his teachings are anything but a story then I'll be the first in line to drop to my knees in worship. But I won't hold my breath.This post isn't meant to piss you off either Dissident. As an atheist you have to expect me to take offense, or at least notice of, any post purporting to be a discussion of Jesus. I see absolutely no difference between this thread and one asking the community to have an open and honest discussion of the political views of leprechauns. Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 3/14/06 3:21 pm
Niall001
Stupendously Brilliant
Posts: 706
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2003 4:00 am
20

Re: Jesus

Unread post

Hmmm. Would we really be having this conversation about historical sources if we were talking about say Alexander the Great?Surely, the conclusion that Jesus does not exist should come after some examination of the sources, including the cannonical gospels, the apochrypal texts, known unknowns like the Q document and historical sources? Perhaps then it would be a good idea to compare the evidence for the existence of Jesus with that of other cult leaders and celebrities of his time. There is a wealth of study of the gospels (and other NT material) and well thought out theories in regards the time of their composition which would serve to inform a conclusion. Full of Porn*http://plainofpillars.blogspot.com
User avatar
Dissident Heart

1F - BRONZE CONTRIBUTOR
I dumpster dive for books!
Posts: 1790
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 11:01 am
20
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Re: Jesus

Unread post

Mr. P: Any quality sources for the historical accuracy of the life Jesus is said to have lived would be appreciated.As I said in my initial post the New Testament Gateway: Historical Jesus link is an excellent starting point for identifying the leading scholars in the field. The Jesus Seminar provides a collection of scholarly work where the words and deeds of Jesus are decided upon through a painstaking public forum of debate, dialogue and actual voting. Words that come straight from Jesus get a red vote; words that Jesus probably said get a pink vote; words that Jesus didn't say, but contain similar ideas get a gray vote; words that are not Jesus' and are fully the result of later redaction get a black vote. Crucial to the Jesus Seminar is the inclusion of non-canonical text, such as the Gospel of Thomas and others found in Nag Hamadi and historical Gnostic sources. The Seminar is roundly rejected by the more Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christian scholars for a number of reasons: it's historical-critical approach to Scripture; it's allowing of extra-canonical text into the discussion regarding the historical Jesus; and its democratic approach to public voting regarding scholarly conclusions. Finally, the Seminar provides rich, conflicting, and highly engaging array of portraits of what Jesus said and did, few of which add up to the cosmic tyrant that much of Christian orthodoxy has identified as Lord and Savior.Historical Jesus Theories is an excellent assortment of the leading authors and their books on the subject. You'll find a good mix of views from Jesus as Myth, or Revolutionary, or Apocalyptic Prophet, or Jewish Cynic, Sage and Mystic, to Savior. I hope it helps display the rich field of study that makes upthe "Quest for the Historical Jesus", and avoids simplistic reductions in any direction; be they "The Bible is absolutely authoritative and flawless" or its twin "The Bible is total hogwash and nonsense".Chris: Your conclusion is that "Jesus lived a certain lifestyle," but the reality is this is an unfounded conclusion. What are we to do? ...assume he actually existed?Hopefully the material I've referred to Mr. P above will show that the historical Jesus is hardly an unfounded myth; but is instead a human person within a particular historical setting that has been captured in layers of human, all-too human propaganda, myth, lies, and (thank God) some accuracy. The canonical and extra-canonical material is a formidable body of imperfect evidence that only a prejudiced, unscholarly viewpoint (in my opinion) will reject apriori as "unfounded". The scholars I refer to are not fundamentalist literalists hell-bent on defending pristine scriptural inerrancy. I only hope you are willing to explore their conclusions with an open mind.
User avatar
Dissident Heart

1F - BRONZE CONTRIBUTOR
I dumpster dive for books!
Posts: 1790
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 11:01 am
20
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Jesus: In Judaism and Islam

Unread post

One element of this thread I hope develops is how other world religions interpret and make sense of Jesus. Two reasons why I think this important is specifically in relation to our current bloody conflicts within the Abrahamic ecumene of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and generally in relation to how we understand the human propensity for religiosity and spiritual practice.In the first case, Jesus has a powerful role in all three Abrahamic traditions: a complex, conflicting, volatile, provocative and, hopefully, restorative role. One book worth considering is Jesus Through Jewish Eyes: Rabbis and Scholars Engage an Ancient Brother in a New Conversation. This book brings together many Jewish perspectives on who Jesus was, his importance for Jewish self-understanding, and various ways that contemporary thinkers are reconsidering millenia of negative evaluations in hopes of creating new futures within Judaism and between the two Religions. None of these voices reflect traditional, orthodox Christian theology and their portraits of Jesus will infuriate some while encouraging others.One book that relates Jesus to the younger Abrahamic sibling is The Muslim Jesus: Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature (Convergences: Inventories of the Present) Professor Khalidi painstakingly examines the entire wealth of Muslim literary and oral tradtion as it realtes to Jesus. He provides an excellent historical description of the evolution of Islam and Jesus within it, as well as a highly readable examination of the Quran, Hadith and other literary sources. Following his analysis is a wealth of "Jesus sayings" chronicled in historical sequence from all these Muslim traditions. Again, for Christians who think they have nothing to learn from Islam, this book challenges them to see Jesus with new eyes and hopefully building bridges along the way.Jesus can serve to be a boundary and source of conflict between these three religions. He can also serve as a bridge to greater self-knowledge and exchange of ideas. The hope is that along the way peace (shalom and salaam) can be fostered; rather than war continued. Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 3/15/06 2:32 pm
MadArchitect

1E - BANNED
The Pope of Literature
Posts: 2553
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2004 4:24 am
19
Location: decentralized

Re: Jesus

Unread post

I probably don't have any business sticking my nose into this discussion, since I don't really intend to discuss the subject, but I do have a comment to make about the validity of the topic.Chris says, Let's see a demonstration that Jesus was indeed historical before we try to discuss everything he did or didn't do.To be fair to Dissident's original post, the "historical" was only one point of view out of many that he suggested, and I don't think that it's the most important one that could be discussed in a forum like this. The context that he made the original post in was that of the season of Lent, and that points us to an important aspect of the whole topic of Jesus, that regardless of whether or not anyone in this particular forum believes in Jesus -- either as God incarnate or even just as a human, historical figure -- belief in Jesus is an important part of the lives of billions of people world-wide. So it seems to me that, for those of us who are trying to understand, say, current events, or even just mass psychology, a discussion of the meanings of Jesus can have real benefits to our understanding, even if we're not looking to buy into the doctrines. To take up Chris' analogy, it's not at all absurd to discuss the meaning of Leprechauns if you live in a nation where you're outnumbered by Leprechaun believers 100 to 1.My points is this: when Chris says, So start from the beginning and prove Jesus was who he is claimed to have been and then we can have a quality discussion about all that his existence impacted or influenced, that statement ignores the fact that the influence and impact are there regardless of whether or not that belief is justified. Even if everyone in the world decided to day that there was no such historical personage, it would still be worth discussion -- just as the Ptolemaic cosmology is still worth discussion -- for the simple fact that it serves as the key to understanding a good two thousand years of Western civilized history.The problem, I think, lies here: If you can successfully demonstrate that Jesus and his teachings are anything but a story then I'll be the first in line to drop to my knees in worship. Now, for all I know, Dissident's ultimate plan may be to try to convert all the atheists in BookTalk to his brand of Christianity. But I haven't seen him make an overt attempt at that yet. Just discussing an important cultural figure is not conversion. And I don't see why a thread on the figure of Jesus should be offensive to an atheist if it's handled in the proper manner.
User avatar
riverc0il
Senior
Posts: 373
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 10:08 pm
18
Location: Ashland, NH

Re: Jesus: In Judaism and Islam

Unread post

like mad, this may be unfair of me to jump in here without the desire to stick around and discuss the topic at hand. but might i suggest looking at the modern implications of the belief in the story of jesus and its effects on people and society?for example, i am so often puzzled by all this "what would jesus" do stuff. more often than not (from what i have heard about jesus), almost everyone i know does exactly opposite what i suspect jesus would have done if people describe him accurately.the cultural take is also a good one. it doesn't matter if jesus really lived or if he didn't. or if he did live but the stories are accurate or not. that is historical scholarship that shall forever remain contested so long as christian faith exists. but seems to be more worthy of discussion and a more interesting take is the implications what people think about jesus and how they act, or don't act, based on their belief or lack their of. a figure need not have actually existed to have a real and huge impact and implications on a people and society whether they believe in jesus or not. therefore, i think the discussion not only appropriate for this community, but relevent. that said, i have no desire to proceed further with this discussion just wanted to suggest a direction for things to proceed in the current environment.
User avatar
Dissident Heart

1F - BRONZE CONTRIBUTOR
I dumpster dive for books!
Posts: 1790
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 11:01 am
20
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Listen Jesus

Unread post

Chris: If you can successfully demonstrate that Jesus and his teachings are anything but a story then I'll be the first in line to drop to my knees in worship.I'm not sure if I could successfully demonstrate this to you, but I think there is enough historical probability and plausibility to identify a kernal of actual personality at the core of these narratives. These narratives, as I see it, are the reverberations created by the words and deeds of a real person. You argue there is nothing but words; I claim that the word became flesh. I'm interested in why you would worship this Jesus if the narratives were proven historically accurate. What is it about these narratives that would bring you to your knees in worshipful adoration?MA: Just discussing an important cultural figure is not conversion. I don't think it possible to convert anybody by way of this discussion board. I think metanoia (conversion) requires more than intellectual assent to a series of arguments. In other words, I don't think apologetics does the trick. I think people find lasting, transformative and healing power through the Jesus narratives by participating in a communion of shared meal and free healing. There is much more to be said about this, no doubt. I also think discussions about Jesus should agitate participants into the kind of self-reflection that demands a response; and this response is where we find our character and destiny...again, much more to be said about this.
lanceman1971

Re: Jesus

Unread post

Chris,____________________________________________What are we to do? ...assume he actually existed? ...or believe he existed because believing he existed creates more good than harm?____________________________________________I agree this is a relevant topic. I think it is obvious that religion in general has done harm beyond human comprehension. The fact that Jesus existed is not in dispute. Pick up a history book on the subject (authored by an academic, not a religious fanatic) and you will find that he existed. I think debate about how he lived his life is irrelevent, you have no more evidence about how jesus lived his life than by how I live my life. So based on the fact that there is no way of knowing if anything about Jesus is even remotely accurate, let us go further back in history, 5000 years before Jesus ever existed.Or even better yet, lets talk about being a rational person. If I told you that I believed I had a million dollars burried in my back yard, you would say prove it. I would then tell you I can't. You would reply, then why on earth do you believe that it's there. I would then simply say, "because it makes me feel better knowing that if I need it, I have a million dollars burried in my back yard". You would say I am a nut job and you would be right. Now if you came to a neighborhood party and eveyone on my block told you I had a million dollars burried in my back yard you would probably believe it with little queston. Why? Because there is sanity in numbers. Billions of people believe in a God so it is considered sane, but if I told you that god was talking to me during a thunder storm and using rain drops as morris code. You would have me locked up in a second and labeled a lunatic.The position of the religous is that you just have to have faith. Where else in our lives do we take things on faith? No where not one single area. We demand proof of everything. Proof that our kids are being taken care of at school or daycare. Proof that our money is being handled appropriatly. Proof that our doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants and engineers are all certified and qualified. But we don't need proof when it comes to religion.And moderates are worse than fanaticals. We say that the terrorist in the middle east or insane religious fanaticals, but they are just bein good muslims. If you don't believe me ACTUALLY READ the Quran. Billions of people have been slaughtered in the last 2000 years by christians because of there faith. If you don't believe me pick up an academic history book. Every war from 7000 years ago until today is because of or heavily influenced by religious thinking. Even Iraq, president Bush "God spoke to me and told me that this was the right thing to do".Let's look at Deuteronomy 13:7-11 and see what the lord wants us to do, and I quote,"If your brother, the son of your father or of your mother, or your son or daughter, or the spouse whom you embrace, or your most intimate friend, tries to secretly seduce you, saying, "Let us go and serve other gods," unknown to you or your ancestors before you, gods of the peoples surrounding you, whether near you or far away, anywhere throughout the world, you must not consent, you must not listen to him, you must show him no pity, you must not spare him or conceal his guilt. No, you must KILL him, your hand must strike the first blow in puttin ghim to death and the hands of the rest of the people following. You must stone him to death, since he has tried to divert you from Yahweh your God..."This is the word of God know by all three religions as they are all dirivitive of judaism.Quran 9:123 reads "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them. Know that God is with the righteous.This is the scary thing, you have several sides all totally delusional to what reality really is and they are both making decisions based on this type of insanity.Did Jesus exist? Of course he did, so what, so did Ghangis Khan, we can't prove that he lived his life a certain way either. We can't prove any of it, yet people devote their lives. If I started a church that prayed to King Tritan I would be labled a fruit cake, but if I could convince 800 million people to believe me, it would be a bonifide and respected religion. It is just as rediculas as the other religions that exist today.The only reason these religions exist today is because the side that chose this as their religion won the wars. If the Germanians had defeated Ceasar, then we would be worshiping several Gods one of which was a tree.--------------------------------------------Quote from History Book:The Germanic and Celtic tribes in the Netherlands in the pre-Roman era had animistic religions with several gods, which had a direct influence on daily life. One of the Germanic gods was Donar, the god of thunder - the thunder heard during thunderstorms was attributed to him. The Germanians worshipped trees, and one reminder of this practice is the Christmas tree.The ancient Egyptians worshipped a god called Ra, who had the head of a hawk and wore the sun as a blazing disk in his crown. At the solstice, when Ra began to recover from the illness, the Egyptians filled their homes with green palm rushes which symbolized for them the triumph of life over death. Early Romans marked the solstice with a feast called the Saturnalia in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. The Romans knew that the solstice meant that soon farms and orchards would be green and fruitful. To mark the occasion, they decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs. In Northern Europe the mysterious Druids, the priests of the ancient Celts, also decorated their temples with evergreen boughs as a symbol of everlasting life. The fierce Vikings in Scandinavia thought that evergreens were the special plant of the sun god, Balder. Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles. ----------------------------------------------Yet most christians think that is has something to do with God. Just yet another thing Christianity stole from other religions.
Post Reply

Return to “Religion & Philosophy”