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10/26/12 1:27 PM
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JitsuGuy
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My journey of faith has been rocky... Questions I could not find answers to. Much of my fundamental ideas due to my upbringing - I've departed from. I'm not sure where I stand on the existence of Jesus and the accounts of this person based on biblical texts... I lean more towards the idea that he did not exist... But the jury is still out on that one for me...

Where I'm at now is that I believe in a creator but do not believe any religious text has the monopoly on who the Creator is. I believe there is more to us than just skin and bones. I'm currently subscribe to the idea that our conscience is not built by our physical selves... But rather that our physical selves are simply a transport or shell that houses our conscientiousness while we explore and experience the physical.

I'm reading a book called Proof of Heaven by a neurologist who had a near death experience. I believe NDE's provide many questions that science cannot answer. Experiences that the physical brain itself could not possibly create. Knowledge that comes to a person through NDE's that they would not otherwise attain.

I dunno... But I'm searching. There's just got to be more to all of this... But to add to that... I'm unsure of our beginnings... If we were created or if in fact evolution was the mechanism that brought us here. I have leanings towards a creation scenario but don't believe the biblical account. But I'm open to ideas.

Above all else, I believe that love is our sole purpose and the single most powerful force in the cosmos. And that we grow as a people when we share love with others. Embracing each others as equals - despite our differences. Ultimately, I feel this is what matters most. The golden rule. Treat others how you would like to be treated, walk in accountability to yourself without the judgment of others as a focus. We can all learn from each other and together, if we're open to new ideas, maybe one day we can find out the meaning of this existence before we pass away from this plane of existence into the next.

Be friendly, be loving and be mindful of each other. Life is short and we have so far to go. Leave a legacy and be remembered for doing your best and helping others achieve joy. Contribute to the greater good. Be different. Be love.
10/26/12 6:22 PM
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zealot66
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I think you are at the beginning of a journey, not the end of it. Once you can 'lose your religion',you can begin again to figure it out. When you have attachments to certain dogma's, ideas that were pounded into your head in an unfair manner. ( If I told my son that we never landed on the moon since he was 5, he would believe it ). I think people need to face up to things as an adult and find their own faith. For many, that faith is christianity. I tell you this,

Once I gave up on christianity, I never sought another religion, Not interested, thank you. I'm trying to find the truth, wherever that leads. I have had the good fortune to study Ancient History as my college major and about 30 years of interest and reading about the ancient world. Every since is was 10. Indiana Jones was my inspiration.

I do believe for sure that Jesus existed in the first century, Just like George Washington did and we are finding proof that King David existed as a king in Jerusalem through archaeology. I don't think that you will find a relic that was attached to Jesus. David was a much more prominent character to Israel than Jesus. It wasnt until AFTER Jesus was gone that he became important and not really for another century did he beigin to take hold of some recognition in Palestine because Jerusalem and Israel and the Jews were demolished and dispersed by the Romans in 70 AD. Banned for Jerusalem for decades and was a peasant preacher. he left nothing behind except his followers but that is enough for me to believe he ixisted. Society was advanced enough that an imaginary character would not have created a follwoing like he did.

Christianity would have faded out especially under Roman rule and the coming of historical thought and the beginning of record keeping.

10/27/12 10:11 AM
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gord96
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Edited: 11/11/12 9:39 PM
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Keep seeking! God won't stop seeking you. Grace and peace.
10/30/12 1:57 PM
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JitsuGuy
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No, I don't believe there exists reasonable proof of the existence of Jesus outside the Bible. The writings of his existence by Josephus are odd and many believe were later forged by the church in the 11th century. Josehpus also wrote of Hercules. Was he real too? Add to that, that Josephus only gave the alleged water-walker, death-raiser and multiplier of food, a little under a paragraph.

It should also be noted that this period of Judea is document by around 30 different writers of that time. We have a good record of its history. These writers make no mention of Jesus. Such a mover and shaker but Historians left him out.

Why is that?
10/30/12 4:40 PM
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zealot66
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I didn't cite Josephu's spurious passages as proof for Jesus. I cited it as circumstantial evidence. Out of curiosity, where do you believe this person arises out of history. You might enjoy a book by a ragin heretic called John Dominic Crossan called the Historical Jesus. It examines the social political setting that Jesus arose out of and he is not welcome amongst evangelicals. I learned a ton from his books. And how its likely that traditions of a middle eastern peasant was turned into the messiah in peoples belief.

10/30/12 4:43 PM
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zealot66
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Oh and the second part of your question I have answered elsewhere and ties into themes in Crossans book. Jesus was NOT a big deal or a mover and shaker in the generation following him. It wasn't until after the first century that Christianity started to get into the mainstream and really into the 2-300's. I was fortunate enough to spend my college years getting a BA in Classis/Ancient History from a totally secular perspective. I'm not just talking out of my ass.

10/30/12 5:52 PM
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JitsuGuy
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Edited: 10/30/12 5:54 PM
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I'm currently about to read The Jesus Mysteries by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy.

I believe the idea of this Jesus fellow is derived by man and used as a control mechanism as is much of religion.

I'm not saying you're talking out of your ass but you do know that there are those who spent just as much of their lives studying and researching the same historical data and do not believe in Jesus, don't you?

It's not as cut and dry as the church would like everyone to believe. That's the problem. .
10/30/12 10:08 PM
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micmac
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I believe Jesus' existence is without doubt. God's existence is up to the individual seeking Him. If you have a truly repentant heart, you will find Him. Phone Post
10/31/12 4:14 PM
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770mdm
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I don't think you need to be repentant to find God.  You need to develope a connection with him!  

10/31/12 5:15 PM
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zealot66
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You will find that the majority of serious historians acknowledge the existence of a person named Jesus of Nazareth in the first century. What he said and what he did, that's where people diverge. Quite frankly, most of the people who deny that a person named Jesus of Nazarethe existed are desperate people who want to put out something controversial in hopes that they might cash in and become an 'expert' for the other side. Something so outrageous that they have to get attention amongst their peers. Kind of like every 20 years, the idea of Jesus being gay or married or that there was a lost tribe of israel, they found the arc of the covenant, etc. 

They like to go into the surrounding and contemporary mythologies to prove that Jesus didn't exist.  That he was a made up character. What he taught and did can hardly be proved by history. Do you also deny the existence of Paul, Peter, etc ? They would  be the chief architects of such a conspiracy. It makes not a bit of difference to me if a person believes in the historicity of a person named Jesus of Nazareth that tangled with the temple in Jerusalem and was crucified, it really doesn't but I think that when you read history and wild theories keep in mind the historians and what their agenda is. Writing another book that says' hey, I have proof Jesus existed.......Well, it probably wouldn't make it off their word processer to a publisher. Say Jesus was Gay or a legend and poof, peopel are sosoooooooooooo interested in the new ( old ) theory recycled.

10/31/12 5:29 PM
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JitsuGuy
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Those historians are sell-outs. Where's the evidence? It is not there.

He existed in a world that is replete with historians and letter-writers, both on the Jewish and Roman sides of society. This was not a silent period of history! And yet not a single one of them mentioned a single word about his existence, much less corroborating any single thing that the Bible says he did. We have only one source that mentions him: the Bible. One group that discusses him: the Bible's various unknown authors. And not a single one of these paltry few sources are contemporary and not a single one of their claims has been verified (in fact many, such as the claim that a "worldwide census" occurred at Jesus' birth, have been resoundingly shown to be impossible).

If one wishes to assert the historicity of Jesus Christ, that is a positive claim that demands positive evidence. There simply isn't any. The matter is compounded by the claims around his mythic nature; if anybody at the time took his claims of divinity seriously, I'd expect people to be even more spazzed about writing about him and discussing his various claims. But there's nothing.
11/1/12 3:59 PM
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zealot66
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You apparently did not see my explanation as to why Jesus was not mentioned nor understand the context in which he lived but since you have it figured out, I'll let you bone up on all the books you bought. Been there done that 15 years ago. I'm no closer to a fundagelical than I was then but I have put perspecitve between me and it.

A word of advice about 'freeing yourself'. I've done it myself but you are headed down a pointless road to try and disprove anything. Be careful staring too hard directly into they eyes of something you hate. It will eat your soul till you become a bitter old man.

11/2/12 4:21 AM
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VitorSuckedBonesToes
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I've been dealing with this too.

The confusion began when I was younger, when it was prophesied an anti-christ would come. He'd be worshipped, and followed, and perform miracles with many followers.
He'd sit on the throne in Jerusalem, and would resurrect from a fatal wound.

People worship and praise Jesus, although were he here, he'd tell them not to.
An entire country built on a belief by a few. To accept some scripture and not others. And to "accept him into your heart". Where is that written in any canon?
To "tithe", although from what I've read, "tithe" means "tenth", and was reserved for rebuilding of the church by JEWS.

Certainly the point is belief, and the level of power you have over the enemy is based on you disabling your brain and just choosing to believe.

Now then, there is a way which seems right to a man, the end of which is death. What seems right to me is using the brain I was given.

Rocks and hard places

And it's written "fathers do not exasperate your children", yet we as men are children of our father, and exasperated. Phone Post
11/2/12 9:18 AM
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JitsuGuy
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zealot66 - 

You apparently did not see my explanation as to why Jesus was not mentioned nor understand the context in which he lived but since you have it figured out, I'll let you bone up on all the books you bought. Been there done that 15 years ago. I'm no closer to a fundagelical than I was then but I have put perspecitve between me and it.

A word of advice about 'freeing yourself'. I've done it myself but you are headed down a pointless road to try and disprove anything. Be careful staring too hard directly into they eyes of something you hate. It will eat your soul till you become a bitter old man.


You have me mixed up with someone else. I firmly believe there is existence after our physical death. But I don't believe the Bible has the monopoly on this... I don't believe Jesus was real. I'm sorry but the evidence just isn't there for me... The bible is a religious text it's very difficult to use anything from it as proof of anything.



11/2/12 1:37 PM
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thedogofdogs
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good read..voted all of you up

11/2/12 4:45 PM
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zealot66
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JitsuGuy - 
zealot66 - 

You apparently did not see my explanation as to why Jesus was not mentioned nor understand the context in which he lived but since you have it figured out, I'll let you bone up on all the books you bought. Been there done that 15 years ago. I'm no closer to a fundagelical than I was then but I have put perspecitve between me and it.

A word of advice about 'freeing yourself'. I've done it myself but you are headed down a pointless road to try and disprove anything. Be careful staring too hard directly into they eyes of something you hate. It will eat your soul till you become a bitter old man.


You have me mixed up with someone else. I firmly believe there is existence after our physical death. But I don't believe the Bible has the monopoly on this... I don't believe Jesus was real. I'm sorry but the evidence just isn't there for me... The bible is a religious text it's very difficult to use anything from it as proof of anything.




I know the ins and outs of the theories that Jesus never existed. It would be worth your time to read this blog post that addresses the questions you just posed, No roman history, such a big deal but nothing, etc. You can apply this to several figures we routinely accept as historical. You might understand too that there is Jesus of Nazareth and the transformation through Christian thought and writings to Jesus the Christ. 

It seems that to add to your investigations that you factor in not just polar opposites, aka evangelical aplogetics to the mythology of Jesus and look at the in between that does not have the agenda that either of these have.

Evangelicals will go to their grave believing that Noah's Ark was real and Atheists or deniers that a person named Jesus of Nazareth existed and was turned into Jesus Christ will go down screaming to their grave that its all myth myth myth. 

Make sure you look in between the polar opposites because just like politics, the truth is somewhere in between. There are tons of scholarly books from a secualr perspective studying the rise of Christianity and how it turned from what was likely an intinerant preacher into the 'dazzling' Jesus Christ. I got my degree from a totally secular perspective coming into it with a religious perspective and I have found balance in between. You rarely find truths in absolutism or extremes. 

This blog is just one of a million random online sources and REALLY, after you read your mythology books, you should pick up The Historical Jesus by JD Crossan. it explains the likely trajectory of a peasant turned into a religious figure.

http://bede.org.uk/jesusmyth.htm

 

Occasionally people ask why there is no record of Jesus in Roman records. The answer is that there are no surviving Roman records but only highly parochial Roman historians who had little interest in the comings and goings of minor cults and were far more concerned about Emperors and Kings. Jesus made a very small splash while he was alive and there was no reason for Roman historians to notice him.

 
11/2/12 4:47 PM
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zealot66
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Christianity is mentioned by the historian Tacitus in the early second century. But he talks about it only because Christians were unfortunate enough to be made scapegoats by the Emperor Nero for the great fire of Rome. Tacitus is interested in the Emperor, not his victims about whom he gives very limited information. Still, he does tell us that Jesus existed and was crucified under Pontius Pilate. Jesus Mythologists counter this by claiming that he could have got his information from Christians which means his evidence is not independent. So, we have a very convenient situation for the Jesus Mythologists. Until Christianity had spread no one except Christians would be interested in Jesus but all later records are ruled out of court as they are tainted by association with Christianity. This sort of special pleading is one of the reasons that modern historians have no time for these theories as they are set up to be impossible to disprove. In fact, Christian evidence for a human Jesus who was crucified is trustworthy because it ran counter to the myths of the time and suggested that he had suffered a humiliating death. If they made it up and then suppressed the truth with clinical efficiency, why did they come up with a story which even the Christian apologist, Tertullian, admitted was absurd? It seems far more likely that they had a large number of historical facts thSometimes Jesus Mythologists will produce long lists of writers none of whom have the slightest reason to mention an obscure Jewish miracle worker and somehow think this strengthens their point. In fact, it has all the relevance of picking fifty books off your local library shelf and finding that none of them mention Carl Sagan. Does that mean he did not exist either? Jesus was not even a failed military leader of the kind that Romans might have noticed - especially if he had been defeated by someone famous.

 

at they had to rationalise into a religion rather than creating all these difficulties for themselves.

 

Peace and don't ever get to the place where you have it all figured out because then we lose the greatest gift of life, learning...........Dan

 
11/2/12 5:11 PM
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zealot66
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existence_of_Jesus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_myth_theory

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus

 

Wikipeida is often a good starting source but by no means a definitive or fully trustworthy but I'm suprised how much they are able to together to start a search.

11/21/12 1:31 PM
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JitsuGuy
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Who was Jesus? When did he live? How do we know this? Don't source directly nor indirectly Josephus, Tacitus (both were additions to the text), nor any biblical documents. But only sources from his time. Nothing after 100 CE (70 years after he supposedly died). Remember, it can't be stuff just sourced off the sources listed.
11/21/12 3:55 PM
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zealot66
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Really, I don't have the time or care enough to write out a whole thesis. I've pointed out resources that address these issues, I did my homework and hopefully in time you will do yours. Doing a thorough job meand you read and asses both ends of the spectrum. I spent 15 years grappling with these issues and I don't think one single post will help you much. If you decide to relegate Jesus to a myth ( which there are elements of myth similarities in it ) its not a honest view. For better or worse, I lean towards Crossan's theory of how what what was likely a middleastern peasant preacher into what we call Jesus Christ. It happened over time like you point out but thats part of the whole Jesus narrative. There are not going to be magic bullet single phrase or single facts that answer the questions you have. Nor are you going to come to a honest conclusion by reading One book or One man's theories. I cite Crossan alot because he resonates with me on a personal level and he lived a life of faith and a scholar but came to different conclusions about the historical Jesus and the Jesus called the Christ. 

Personally,I wrestle with what it all means and how fact and fiction tie in together but it is what we have. I'm not really interested in any other religious figure or another religion. I do study some buddhism but not as a religion but more of a philosophy on life. 

Good luck in your search. If you really want to spend the time, there are a multitude of resources out there. 

11/21/12 7:45 PM
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RoidsGracie
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The theories about how Jesus was a character developed by a group of people based on previous religious characters never really made sense to me. The theory that there was indeed a historical figured named Jesus and after he died, because of the extraordinary influence he had on those with associated with him and through the power of his personality; his followers began to believe that he was a divine figure and began to associate characteristics to him that was previous associated with other gods is more likely. You can see this with many other historical figures who are obscure but whose existence is generally not doubted. King Arthur was a Roman general living in Britain but somehow became the leader of Knights of the Round Table ruling over a kingdom. For a non-Western view, look at the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The characters in the novel were all historical figures though their deeds had been exaggerated or simply just fabricated.

The truth is that we most likely never have definite proof unless there is some sort of ground breaking archaeological discovery for the reasons zealot stated. The Christian church and Jesus simply would not have been of interest to any sort of record keepers or historians in it's early years. Jesus was an obscure figure in a backwater province of the Roman Empire during his earthly life and his followers did not become noticed in the empire until his earthly life was long over.

The only thing we can have some certainty of is that there was a group of people that claimed to have known Jesus personally and to have been taught by him. These people wrote about him as an actual human being who lived among other human beings but at the same time he possessed traits that seemed to indicate he was also more then just a man. Now whether their claims is true, that's a whole other story but it can't be doubted that there was indeed some people who did indeed have these beliefs about him.
11/21/12 8:29 PM
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RoidsGracie
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I simply apply Occam's Razor - what's more likely; that a group of Jewish peasants conjured a character out of thin air and then concocted this figure's supposed teachings and then went around spreading these teachings even doing so ostracized them from their community and even resulted in bodily injury and death and that they did this despite knowing that there was no truth behind anything they were telling people? Or that these people really did follow a man named Jesus and were so inspired by what they learned from him that they were willing to put everything on the line to share his teachings?

And yes I do realize that people will sacrifice themselves for hopeless and irrational causes but when they do so it is because they truly in their heart of hearts believe in what they are dying for. So these people may have been delusional - but they did believe in what they were doing. That's why I can't buy into the theory that somehow a group of people came up with all these stories and teachings to control other people and they were willing to die for these fables despite not believing in it. And if the goal of people like St. Paul and Peter was to acquire power and wealth over others they sure did a pretty poor job of it unlike say Ron Hubbard or people who entered the Catholic priesthood during the Middle Ages.
11/22/12 11:28 AM
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zealot66
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Very well said. The subject is so large, there just isn't a magical one liner to make either case. One other reason writings do not appear is that by and large christianity was carried by oral teachings and stories. They didn't have a reporter documenting every detail as hit happened. They didn't even understand what was happening at the time much less to look into the future and know that we would demand proof that he existed. Ancient minds didn't think historically like we do in general. Even the lives of the emporers were recorded usually after their deaths, we don't know that they kept daily journals of the goings on of what they ate for breakfast or dinner, what miracle the preformed and what date. 

Bottom line is people have dedicated their entire lives to the study of one person and still uncover things. You have to do your homework before you pronounce a verdict. And even then, its YOUR verdict.

11/23/12 2:51 PM
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JitsuGuy
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It's a story of supernatural significance with very sketchy historical support outside of it's own religious text. The majority of people having never witnessed people walking on water, raising others from the dead and multiplying food, are going to find it completely outlandish to believe such things. And for this, they are treated by this same religious text as lesser human beings worthy of punishment or some form of "correction."

Sure, there's people very well-studied on both sides of the issue that come to completely different conclusions. Yet, these same people would agree on the existence of other significant historical figures throughout history. Why is that? Because contrary to what the church would have you to believe, proving the existence of a supernatural savior that walked the planet does not have much evidence to support the claim.

As it stands now... Many or most of the believers in the Church never question the existence of Jesus... They just go with the flow assuming what they're taught is truth. Outside of the bible they couldn't provide much of anything to support this idea this guy was real. And this is how truth is often lost generations later. Was it truth to begin with? Do they care? I don't think many do.

If someone wants to claim Jesus was historical, he's got to do a lot more than "WELL HE MIGHT HAVE EXISTED, SO YOU CAN'T SAY OTHERWISE." No. If he existed, and he was anything close to what the Bible claims about him, then that is something history can and should support. We have letters from that time about everything under the sun; SOMEONE might have put in one single line about this weird Jewish miracle freakshow going on in Jerusalem that one wild weekend; someone might have mentioned the Pentecost infilling; someone might have mentioned the trial. And yet, nothing.

I see no more reason to accept his historicity than I do that of Yahweh himself. "Well he MIGHT exist" is not evidence. "Well some other ancient figure might not exist so Jesus might" is not evidence. "Well absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" is not evidence either. EVIDENCE please. If you have none, then you cannot claim he is historical. The best history can do is waft its palms skyward and say "Well, the stories certainly fit in with those of all the other Judean wizards running around at the time...." And that's not at all close to saying that there was a real Jesus. As I learned more and more history, I found nothing at all to support the idea of a historical Jesus.

The funny part? I don't think the earliest church really cared much about that. It's the modern age and its polarization of fundamentalism that insists that Jesus had to be a real flesh-and-blood person and ties the entire religion's validity upon him being a real boy.

Follow the evidence.

11/23/12 6:11 PM
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zealot66
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you are falling into the trap both sides try to use to prove their point. You are assuming that there were very many christians at all until the second century and they were usually slaves and kept under the radar and 'there surely must have been records of someone this large of a following' 

The NT would lead you to believe that it was a mass social movement from the day of pentecost onwards. Tens of thousands. Not likely. Not to mention slaves and laborers didn't spend time reading and writing. Think of the fact that the gospels were probably written towards the end of the first century. You have an oral tradition handed among slaves and lower class people for 70 years. Who would take notice? Roman authorities wouldn't have thought twice about documenting a crazy desert preacher that was only in the Roman eye for what ? a week at most, then crucified. People were crucified all the time, literally. 'Just another wayward Jews that some slaves are claiming to rise from the dead.'  Romans didn't even take time to establish or record the differences between jewish sects. Josephus is the only person that records the history of the Jews in the first century. 

No I don't believe that Josephus said anything special about Jesus but likely did mention him as he did other zealots of the time in brief fashion. Christianity wasn't on the radar. Thats all man.


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