Jesus Christ - reasons for skepticism

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Quantum Quack, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. Hapsburg Hellenistic polytheist Valued Senior Member

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    Generally, if one uses the publication that presents one's idea as (the sole body of) evidence for said idea, then one's idea has no real backing in fact.
     
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  3. ggazoo Registered Senior Member

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    Not true. He’s referred to in pagan, Jewish, and Christian writings outside the New Testament. The Jewish historian Josephus is especially interesting. I know he's been "refuted" around here, but the fact is that in the pages of his works you can read about New Testament people like the high priests Annas and Caiaphas, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, King Herod, John the Baptist, even Jesus himself and his brother James.

    That is important because there have also been interesting archaeological discoveries as well bearing on the gospels. In 1961 the first archaeological evidence concerning Pilate was unearthed in the town of Caesarea; it was an inscription of a dedication bearing Pilate’s name and title. In 1990 the actual tomb of Caiaphas, the high priest who presided over Jesus’s trial, was discovered south of Jerusalem. The tomb beneath the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem is in all probability the tomb in which Jesus himself was laid by Joseph of Arimathea following the crucifixion.
     
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  5. UncleChrist Another Imaginary Friend Registered Senior Member

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    So if three quacks write books saying JFK was a extraterrestrial
    and you see a half dollar with his picture on it ...
    then that settles it... eh
     
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  7. Woody Musical Creationist Registered Senior Member

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    Get serious. :bugeye:
     
  8. Woody Musical Creationist Registered Senior Member

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    It was observed to be that way, wasn't it? The observation may have lead to a false conclusion, but there was an observation.

    We can believe someone observed it to be that way. I observe the earth and it appears that way to me.

    No, it just proves that things are not what they appear to be.. The question is, did this Jesus person people claimed to see, really do the miracles they thought they saw?

    None of us were there. However, you will find that most historians agree there was a religious leader that gave rise to the religion called Christianity. Every religion has a leader.

    The people that wrote the gospel accounts existed. You can say they were the leaders if you want to, but somebody was the leader. Who do you propose to be the leader?
     
  9. wizard Registered Senior Member

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    woody is very good at evading the point
     
  10. Iasion Registered Senior Member

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    Gday,

    None of which stand up to scrutiny :


    TACITUS (c.112CE)

    Roughly 80 years after the alleged events (and 40 years after the war) Tacitus allegedly wrote a (now) famous passage about "Christ" - this passage has several problems however:
    * Tacitus uses the term "procurator", used in his later times, but not correct for the actual period, when "prefect" was used.
    * Tacitus names the person as "Christ", when Roman records could not possibly have used this name (it would have been "Jesus, son of Joseph" or similar.)
    * This passage is paraphrased by Sulpicius Severus in the 5th century without attributing it to Tacitus, and may have been inserted back into Tacitus from this work.

    This evidence speaks AGAINST it being based on any Roman records -
    but
    merely a few details which Tacitus gathered from Christian stories circulating in his time (c.f. Pliny.)
    So,
    this passage is NOT evidence for Jesus,
    it's just evidence for 2nd century Christian stories about Jesus.


    PLINY the Younger (c.112CE)

    About 80 years after the alleged events, (and over 40 years after the war) Pliny referred to Christians who worshipped a "Christ" as a god, but there is no reference to a historical Jesus or Gospel events.
    So,
    Pliny is not evidence for a historical Jesus of Nazareth,
    just evidence for 2nd century Christians who worshipped a Christ.
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/pliny.html


    SUETONIUS (c.115CE)

    Roughly 80-90 years after the alleged Gospel events, (about 75 years after the war) Suetonius refers to a "Chrestus" who stirred the Jews to trouble in Rome during Claudius' time, but:
    * this "Chrestus" is a Greek name (from "useful"), it is not the same as "Christos"
    * this Chrestus was apparently active in Rome, Jesus never was.
    So,
    this passage is not evidence for Jesus,
    it's nothing to do with Jesus,
    it's evidence for Christians grasping at straws.
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/suetonius.html



    IGNATIUS (107CE? 130-170CE?)

    The letters of Ignatius are traditionally dated to c.107, yet:
    * it is not clear if he really existed, his story is suspicious,
    * his letters are notoriously corrupt and in 2 versions,
    * it is probable that his letters were later forgeries,
    * he mentions only a tiny few items about Jesus.
    So,
    Ignatius is no evidence for Jesus himself,
    at BEST it is 2nd century evidence to a few beliefs about Jesus.
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ignatius.html



    QUADRATUS (c.125CE)

    Quadratus apparently wrote an Apology to Hadrian (117-138), but:
    * we have none of his works,
    * it is not certain when he wrote,
    * all we have is 1 sentence quoted much later.
    So,
    Quadratus is uncertain evidence from about a century later.
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/quadratus.html


    THALLUS (date unknown)

    We have NO certain evidence when Thallus lived or wrote, there are NONE of Thallus' works extant.
    What we DO have is a 9th century reference by George Syncellus who quotes the 3rd century Julianus Africanus, who, speaking of the darkness at the crucifixion, wrote: "Thallus calls this darkness an eclipse".
    But,
    there is NO evidence Thallus made specific reference to Jesus or the Gospel events at all, as there WAS an eclipse in 29. This suggests he merely referred to a known eclipse, but that LATER Christians MIS-interpreted his comment to mean their darkness. (Also note the supposed reference to Thallus in Eusebius is a false reading.)

    Richard Carrier the historian has a good page on Thallus:
    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/thallus.html

    So,
    Thallus is no evidence for Jesus at all,
    merely evidence for Christian wishful thinking.


    PHLEGON (c.140)

    Phlegon wrote during the 140s - his works are lost. Later, Origen, Eusebius, and Julianus Africanus (as quoted by George Syncellus) refer to him, but quote differently his reference to an eclipse. There is no evidence Phlegon actually said anything about Gospel events, he was merely talking about an eclipse (they DO happen) which LATER Christians argued was the "darkness" in their stories.
    So,
    Phlegon is no evidence for Jesus at all -
    merely evidence for Christian wishful thinking.


    VALENTINUS (c.140CE)

    In mid 2nd century the GNOSTIC Valentinus almost became Bishop of Rome, but:
    * he was several generations after the alleged events,
    * he wrote of an esoteric, Gnostic Jesus and Christ,
    * he mentioned no historical details about Jesus.
    So,
    Valentinus is no evidence for a historical Jesus.
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/valentinus.html


    POLYCARP (c.155CE)

    Polycarp wrote in mid 2nd century, but :
    * he is several generations after the alleged events,
    * he gives many sayings of Jesus (some of which do NOT match the Gospels),
    * he does NOT name any evangelist or Gospel.
    So,
    Polycarp knew sayings of Jesus,
    but provides no actual evidence for a historical Jesus.
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/polycarp.html


    LUCIAN (c.170CE)

    Nearly one-and-a-half CENTURIES after the alleged events, Lucian satirised Christians, but :
    * this was several generations later,
    * Lucian does NOT even mention Jesus or Christ by name.
    So,
    Lucian is no evidence for a historical Jesus, merely late 2nd century lampooning of Christians.


    GALEN (late 2nd C.)

    Late 2nd century, Galen makes a few references to Christians, and briefly to Christ.
    This is far too late to be evidence for Jesus.


    NUMENIUS (2nd C.?)

    In the 3rd century, Origen claimed Numenius "quotes also a narrative regarding Jesus--without, however, mentioning His name" - i.e. Numenius mentioned a story but said nothing about Jesus, but by Origen's time it had become attached to Jesus' name.
    This not any evidence for Jesus, it's just later wishful thinking.


    TALMUD (3rd C. and later)

    There are some possible references in the Talmud, but:
    * these references are from 3rd century or later, and seem to be (unfriendly) Jewish responses to Christian claims.
    * the references are highly variant, have many cryptic names for Jesus, and very different to the Gospel stories (e.g. one story has "Jesus" born about 100BC.)
    So,
    the Talmud contains NO evidence for Jesus,
    the Talmud merely has much later Jewish responses to the Gospel stories.



    MARA BAR SERAPION (date unknown)

    A fragment which includes -
    "... What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King?",
    in the context of ancient leaders like Socrates.
    It is NOT at all clear WHEN this manuscript was written, nor exactly who it is referring too, but there is no evidence it is Jesus.



    In short,
    * there are no Roman recods of Jesus,
    * there is no contemporary evidence for Jesus,
    * the claimed evidence is very weak - late, forged, suspect or not about Jesus at all.
    * the T.F. is probably the best "evidence", but it is at best corrupt, at worst forged.




    Iasion
     
  11. Iasion Registered Senior Member

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    348
    Gday,

    Yes - quite interesting,
    but no - very poor evidence for Jesus :

    JOSEPHUS (c.96CE)

    The famous Testamonium Flavianum (the T.F.) in the Antiquities of the Jews is considered probably the best evidence for Jesus, yet it has some serious problems :
    * the T.F. as it stands uses clearly Christian phrases and names Christ as Messiah, it could not possibly have been written by the devout Jew Josephus (who remained a Jew and refused to call anyone "messiah" in his book which was partly about how false messiahs kept leading Israel astray.),
    * The T.F. was not mentioned by any of the early Church fathers who reviewed Josephus.
    * Origen even says Josephus does NOT call Jesus the Messiah, showing the passage was not present c.200CE.
    * The T.F. first showed up in manuscripts of Eusebius, and was still absent from some manuscripts as late as 8th century.
    * The other tiny passage in Josephus refers to Jesus, son of Damneus. The phrase "so-called Christ" may have been a later addition by a Christian who also mis-understood which Jesus was refered to.

    An analysis of Josephus can be found here:
    http://www.humanists.net/jesuspuzzle/supp10.htm

    In short - this passage is possibly a total forgery (or at best a corrupt form of a lost original.)
    But, yes,
    it COULD just be actual evidence for Jesus - late, corrupt, controversial but just POSSIBLY real historical evidence.


    Ah,
    so you already know Josephus is worthless as evidence - but you are going to keep citing it, and put "refuted" in scare quotes so you can pretend it hasn't really been refuted ? Does that sound reasonable to you ?


    In fact -
    there is NO archeological evidence for Jesus, or the Gospel events.
    None. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

    But incredibly, faithful believers actually seem to believe that mentioning a real place makes a story true !
    Wow !
    According to this argument, James Bond is a true story, and Harry Potter is real - they both have real places and people mentioned.

    How silly.


    Iasion
     
  12. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    A summary so far:

    1. Illogical use of one man to convey a message. If God is as he is supposed to be why would he limit the conveyance of his message to the immediate contacts that one man Jesus would make. Why not tell the entire world simultaneously?

    2. If Jesus as portrayed performed many healing including resurrections of the Dead, why is there no evidence given by those that had been resurrected or by families of those resurrected?
    3. Resurrecting a dead person would in any century be an amazing event and surely humans being human we would see ample written or other wise independent documented evidence that would support the notion of this extraordinary ability that Jesus is said to have had. None is presented and I ask why not?

    4. The focus of evidence in support of the Christ is focused only on his disciples and possibly other small accounts that are incapable of being falsified. Eye witness accounts that are too few when there must have been thousands of eye witness accounts worthy of historical recording if Jesus existence had been real and true.

    5. That the account of Jesus appears to have been deliberately established in a way that can not be falsified. In other words the church at the time appears to have generated a story that can never be proven or declared false thus leaving it entire up to the work of evangelists to market the notion.
      Generally, if one uses the publication that presents one's idea as (the sole body of) evidence for said idea, then one's idea has no real backing in fact. [~ unable to be falsified or proven ]


      The reason why it appears to be deliberate act is because it is literally unable to be falsified. There were no records enough to prove either way. No remains[ apparently his body disappeared from the tomb ~ so hunting for a corpse is not going to go any where is it?]

    6. From a morality perspective I find it abhorrent and absurd that the church can condone and even worship the crucification of Jesus as being a necessary requirement of his so called father God. This says an awful lot about the nature and morality of that said God. To string his own son up on a cross after having him beaten half to death and claim that it is a necessary thing to do given his all powerful position this reeks of nothing but abuse thus the context of the crucification must be invalid.

    7. Being heavily involved in marketing strategies over the years suggest to me that the Church has exemplified the most persuasive marketing technique known to man kind. Creating the demand [ sinners ] and providing the only solution [ Belief in Jesus ]

    8. We remain with absolutely NO evidence that anything miraculous has ever occurred and we have no reliable evidence that a Jesus actually existed.

    9. Perhaps because his disciples who must have known him better than anyone else and would therefore at the very least have looked upon him as a very dear friend if not the Saviour/messiah, had such little regard for him that that didn't even stay awake with him in the garden of gethsemane ...
     
  13. ggazoo Registered Senior Member

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    320
    I suppose then, that the question is this: how historically reliable are the New Testament documents?

    It's here we confront the very crucial question of the burden of proof. Should we assume that the gospels are reliable unless they are proven to be unreliable? Or should we assume the gospels are unreliable unless they are proven to be reliable? Are they innocent until proven guilty or guilty until proven innocent? The skeptics here at sciforums almost always assume that the gospels are guilty until proven innocent, that is, you assume that the gospels are unreliable unless and until they are proven to be correct concerning some particular fact.

    Is this seriously the procedure of skeptical critics, or am I of base here? :shrug:
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009
  14. UncleChrist Another Imaginary Friend Registered Senior Member

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    133
    Way off base there ggazoo
    extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
     
  15. TheVisitor The Journey is the Reward Registered Senior Member

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    Ordinary - Extraordinary
    Natural - Supernatural

    The laws of physics show us certain things that are true.
    The law of opposites in action for example.
    -Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

    It's not too hard to understand that "the things that are seen were created by the things that are unseen".

    The Bible is a repository of truth beyond any science man can comprehend.
    It's their own lack of comprehension that creates the contradictions they say they find in it.

    Don't confuse the actions of "the church" with the truth contained in the Bible.
    Those actions are just another example of Man's "lack of comprehension".

    As far as evidence....no evidence given for all to see.
    That is the point.

    The one holding all the cards doesn't brag about it. He tries to make you think someone else has them.
    Does a Black Belt act the fool, showing off his abilities?
    No.
    As a mater of fact, the whole effort here has been for God to hide Himself from the general multitudes.
    That's why Jesus spoke to them in parables only.
    It was not His turn just yet.
    There is a set timetable to this thing. If God is anything He is a Man of His Word.

    Perhaps what the world has mistaken for God is really an impostor. Still a god by definition.
    The Bible says there are "gods many, and lords many".
    But there is only one true God.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009
  16. Hapsburg Hellenistic polytheist Valued Senior Member

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    5,200
    I'm not denying that Jesus, the man, existed. It's the theological and religious notions associated with him that are without historical foundation.

    Not that such a thing invalidates Christianity; it's of no consequence to me as to what others believe. I mean, my beliefs (polytheism, nature worship) has been persecuted for over a millennia; it'd be hypocritical of me to discriminate the beliefs of others.
     
  17. Tnerb Banned Banned

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    lol.
    Yeah...... lol.
     
  18. TheVisitor The Journey is the Reward Registered Senior Member

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    I didn't say there is only one god.
    Only one "true" God.

    True

    - free from error; especially conforming to fact or truth

    - expressing or given to expressing the truth;

    -having a legally established claim; "the legitimate heir"; "the true and lawful king"

    -The complete or whole as opposed to the partial.
     
  19. wizard Registered Senior Member

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    131
    how do you know there aren't two true gods, or none at all?
     
  20. Iasion Registered Senior Member

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    Gday,

    I suppose then, that the question is this: how historically reliable are the Qura'an documents? It's here we confront the very crucial question of the burden of proof. Should we assume that the Qura'an is reliable unless it is proven to be unreliable? Or should we assume the Qura'an is unreliable unless it is proven to be reliable?


    The burden of proof is on the positive claimant -

    If YOU claim the Bible is reliable, it's up to YOU to show that.
    If someone claims the Qura'an is reliable, it's up to THEM to show that.

    Do you accept the Qura'an as reliable?
    No?
    Well, that's exactly how the Bible should be treated too.

    But somehow, Christians want Christian holy book to get a free ride, while rejecting all OTHER Holy Books - what nonsense.

    The Bible is riddled with errors of all kinds, just like the Qura'an, and the Greek myths, and a dozen other ancient traditions.

    Iasion
     
  21. Woody Musical Creationist Registered Senior Member

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    2,419
    So tell us who you think the leader was, or do you propose god created the gospel accounts himself? :shrug:
     
  22. Woody Musical Creationist Registered Senior Member

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    2,419
    But somebody authored ALL of the texts... except maybe Joseph Smith's golden tablets. Do you believe Joseph Smith, the founder of mormonism, was a real person?
     
  23. Iasion Registered Senior Member

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    348
    Gday,

    Pardon?
    What is your point?

    Yes, Joseph Smith existed - so what?
    Yes, all documents have authors - so what?

    Did Bacchus exist?
    Did Hercules exist?
    Did Osiris exist?
    Did Xenu exist?
    Do the Ascended Masters exist?


    Iasion
     

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