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A little bit of history about Easter

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I'll thank you to spare your pity, it seems that we've both said what was important for us to say. For my part, I've invited you to engage in the kind of discussion you claimed to be representing to this audience, that is, the academic discussion of the New Testament and the first century AD (or CE if you prefer). You've not produced anything like the kind of discussion available in higher education. Instead you've given us personal experiences which, though I have no doubt that they form a reasonable basis for your beliefs, are unfortunately not portable for the rest of us.

You say the facts are there to be found if I bother looking. Well, I have looked. There's not one thing you've said about the first century or early Christianity that hasn't been examined in minute detail by current scholarship, both critical and religious, and you have shown absolutely no awareness of it. To the contrary, you've defined them all in one broad stroke (even the critical articles) as CYA. I've produced scholarly sources by those who have done more than you have, studied more than you have, read more than you have, but somehow these people's writings pale next to your somehow superior wisdom. You say you've been there and I've only studied, but I answer that even having been there, you've apparently learned only what you desired to see.

If our subject is Christianity, the messenger IS the message as John's Gospel so famously opened,

quote:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
was
God.

Jesus' message was that he was the one whom the scriptures spoke of, and that he was the fullest expression of their truths.

As far as the future is concerned, it is John again who gives Christianity its future perspective in the New Testament's closing book, Revelation. Having described the final reckoning of evil and the recreation of the world, John's closing words are not so ominous as yours. The Bible's final sentences read, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The Grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen." John is hopeful and confident, just as I am, just as many Christians are, and rightfully so, for that is the historic orthodoxy of Christianity.

If those are not your beliefs, then I'll hazard that your beliefs are not Christian or not orthodox, and I'll not trouble you beyond those distinctions since we are not here to convert one another.

My purpose was to correct our readers' perception of the view of modern scholarship that I felt you were misrepresenting. The quality of your answers has satisfied that purpose, thank you for your dialogue.

ZM out.

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Zane,

I have discussed this with biblical scholars in France, Italy, and I have been to the Holoy Land and done actual physical research there.

The New Testaments 4 Gospels are all at least 3rd hand, possibly 4th. The Gnostic gospels, if you do NOT look at them in a literal sense, but more as a code, so to speak, what Jesus was doing is easily understandable, just as it is in the new testement, if you look at it closely. As a matter of fact it can't help but slap you in the face.

Of course, since it is a religious document, most people look at it in that light, but try to look at it as a political document, and the reasoning and what he was doing, should just about leap out at you.

Your purpose was to CYA your own religious prejudices, I do not have any, I look at ALL religions in their historical context and try to figure out why the religion became what it is, and what the person was actually doing when the religion was created.

Jesus was supposed to be the Jewish Messiah, which is a LOT different then what the Christians claim he was.

Warrior/Priest/King, in that order, head of the Jewish Army, Head of the Jewish religion, and King of the Jewish people. All 3 in one, not only did he have to be born into it, he also had to prove that he was indeed the messiah by passing a number of tests that were told in the Old Testament of his coming.

You may hate the fact that this is indeed what happened, and you may want me to provide you with the step by step documentation of what I know, but I won't and I will not, look to your own gospels and look at it politically instead of religiously and you may get an inkling, if you actually look.

Jesus was married to Mary Magdelene, and had children, the crucifiction, if it actually occurred, was faked and Jesus and his family escaped to France. That family line is alive and well, after 3 tries by the Roman Catholic Church to wipe them out. His "apostles" stayed behind in order to continue the work Jesus had started.

What was that work? to raise an army and create a revolution to toss out the Romans, and prove by throwing out the Romans and saving the Jewish people and homeland that he was indeed the Messiah.

He was unable to do that, and when the Romans began to come after him because of his political activities, which were hidden within his religious teachings, he and his apostles decided that keeping the line of succession intact was more important then getting things moving too quickly in the Holy Land.

So, Zane, have fun, believe what you want, but I have A: seen the geneaologies of this family B: I have discussed this with biblical scholars, and they take this for granted, and C: The actual Messiah, the political Messiah of the Jews, is going to appear, he will be of the correct lineage, a descendant of Jesus, he will also have some of the most important Jewish artifacts in his possession.

Many of the secret societies of today and antiquity have been started because of this "secret", and many have been killed by the church to keep the secret away from the general public or destroy it.

So there it is, all in a nice little package for you. Do some studying up, and you will see it as well, it is about as plain as day if you look at certain documents in a political light instead of a religious one.

Remember, it is the message, NOT the messenger....

SC Jaguar OUT.....

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quote:

Jesus was married to Mary Magdelene, and had children, the crucifiction, if it actually occurred, was faked and Jesus and his family escaped to France. That family line is alive

Jag, come on!. That which I just quoted from you, has NO PROOF, and has NOT been substantiated through historic proofs, or archeological research.

At the very best, it is nothing, but opinion offered by SOME scholar. And if you believe it, then you are right in asserting your religious beliefs are your own.

Personaly I believe the Messanger is equally as important as the message he contained, in that, I could not contain the ESSENCE of the Message he brought to man. But, that is MY belief.

I agree, that western christianity has developed, in a way, other than the original Esseanic teachings; however, I personally would not Tempt that which I know of as GOD, in belittling the MESSANGER.

to each their own, I suppose.

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The proof is out there, as a matter of fact the geneaological records exist.

The Roman Catholic Church know that it is true.

The geneaology of Mary and Joseph are very well laid out, and Jesus is indeed a DIRECT descendant of King David, and was in fact the true King of the Jews.

There is plenty of information and FACTS that back up that statement.

No opinion at all, the historical veracity of that statement has been thoroughly established.

Sorry, it may not be known all that well here in the states, but in Europe, it is a well established fact.

The family line exists... and their records, along with other proofs, prove that statement to indeed be fact.

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quote:

Sorry, it may not be known all that well here in the states, but in Europe, it is a well established fact.

The family line exists... and their records, along with other proofs, prove that statement to indeed be fact.

How is it, you, and those you refer to in EUROPE, are privy to such information, and ASTUTE scholars from around the world, are not?....just makes me wonder, what is considered "PROOF", by your definition.

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Oh, and because of the fact that I cannot share the info that I have, because I do not have it, it abides in France.

The bible itself gives it away, just from the new testament, you can figure it out.

1: The wedding at Canaan, where Jesus did his supposed first miracle before going on his mission.

If you know the ACTUAL Jewish customs and read that story, it slaps you in the face,

It was indeed Jesus who was getting married.

He was NOT a guest, he was the host, or he would never have been asked, BY HIS MOTHER!! to resupply the wine.

2: If you indeed understand that Nazareth is not Nazareth, but Nazarene.

The story of the resurrection of Lazarus, takes on a WHOLE new meaning. and for goodness sake, if he had actually died, why would the apostles wish to have died as well? It was a symbolic death, NOT literal, and who was Lazarus? He was Mary Magdalenes Brother, Jesus' Brother in law.

Also, Jesus having his feet annointed, who was that? Mary Magdalene, and who in Jewish tradition anoints a mans feet, but either his betrothed or his wife..... It goes a lot deeper then that of course, because Jesus was indeed the King of the Jews, and Mary Magdalene was indeed the one that did it, which in fact proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was either A: Promised to Jesus, or B: already married to him.

The bible gives it away totally, and nobody notices, because they NEVER question it.

And last but not least, VERY few, and I count them on one hand, have there ever been Rabbi's that have NOT been married, most were too young, a 7 year old was given Rabbitic status, etc.

Anyway, 99.99% of Rabbis, HAVE to be married in order to be called Rabbi, it is a Jewish religious law/tradition.

HOW MANY times was Jesus called Rabbi in the bible? Why did they call him Rabbi, because he was a TRAINED and educated Rabbi, that's why, and in order to be called Rabbi, HE HAD TO BE MARRIED!!!!

[ 05-04-2004, 04:14 PM: Message edited by: Jaguar ]

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well, you have a very good argument, concerning the bible, and that its related new testament stories COULD indicate the wedding, which jesus was involved with. It COULD have been his, or one of his families, but everything you have deduced is speculative, and no more valid, than many other speculations as to the personal conscripts which surrounded the life of Jesus and the traditions of the area during the occupation of the old roman empire.

However, one can equally attach Him to the Essene's which were established during the reign of soloman. They where the group set outside the city and kept the ancient biblical text. Jesus' serman on the mount was a quote from the book of enoch, and popular among the Essene movement. The early church, setup by the early apostoles was also a duplicate to the Essene established traditions. And, in such case, Rabboni, was a title(meaning master or TEACHER) and applied to those who specifically were NOT married, and were keepers of the WORD or scriptures.

One theory, is by no means, more substantial than any other. It all comes down to FAITH. or what one chooses to believe.

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Originally posted by Jaguar:

1: It was indeed Jesus who was getting married.

He was NOT a guest, he was the host, or he would never have been asked, BY HIS MOTHER!! to resupply the wine.

Jesus and His mother were invited. The groom of the Jewish Marriages at the time was in no way responsible for providing the "refreshments". That was the responsibility of the Parents of those getting married. When agreeing to resupply the wine He was preventing those hosting the party from being disgraced for not having prepared enough supplies for their guests.

if he had actually died, why would the apostles wish to have died as well?

You are forgetting that in the particular city Lazarus dwelled the Jews were seeking to kill Jesus. When Jesus resolved to go despite their intentions the Disciples said; "we might as well go and die along with him". They were speaking about going to die with Jesus, (or so they thought) not dying with Lazarus...of whom was obviously already dead at the time.

Also, Jesus having his feet annointed, who was that? Mary Magdalene, and who in Jewish tradition anoints a mans feet, but either his betrothed or his wife..... It goes a lot deeper then that of course, because Jesus was indeed the King of the Jews, and Mary Magdalene was indeed the one that did it, which in fact proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was either A: Promised to Jesus, or B: already married to him.

The bible gives it away totally, and nobody notices, because they NEVER question it.

You are more correct than you know...but not for what you intend. Jesus is indeed the betrothed of Mary. He is the betrothed of us all. All of mankind has been chosen by Him to be His significant other...and all of the Bible points toward it as you said. So in essence your option A is the correct answer.

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A: the Groom is the one responsible for keeping the wine and food flowing, NOT his parents. It is his First responsibility as host, because he is NOW married. Sorry....

B: The Symbolic death of the student, and being resurrected by the teacher into a new life is a VERY ancient tradition, it is very essenian as Street pointed out, It is an Obvious symbolic tradition. Look at it any way you wish, but the obviousness of it is stark.

C: The annointing of the feet by the wife or the betrothed is ALSO an ancient tradition.

You are looking at it with your religious prejudices, from a historical perspective, the symbolic nature and traditional nature of each of these events is stark, and striking, and oh so obvious.

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JOHN Chapter 2 in the King James version of the Bible:

1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called , and his disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast . And they bare it. 9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Perhaps you can see portions of this passage of scripture which I have set in Bold for you to see.

1) First off there is the first verse where I set bold just the "a". Because the King James Version of the Bible is a word for word translation it is the most accurate. I highlighted the A because it states that the wedding was just A wedding not HIS wedding. The author of this passage is one of Jesus's own disciples why would he referr to it in this manner if it was the marriage of His Lord?

2) EDIT: I forgot to talk about the portion "Jesus was called" Which in itself is just a confirmation that Jesus was...well called.

3) You notice I highlighted "They have no wine." Why would Mary come to Jesus if He was the bridgegroom at this wedding and say "They have no wine." when it would more likely be "WE have no more wine."

4) "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it." I highlight this for a simple piece of logic. If Jesus was the master of this wedding why on earth would Mary have to make a point to tell the servants to obey their own master??

5) "Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast" That statement made by Jesus confirms what I already pointed out in #3. Jesus was not in charge at this wedding and had no real significance there except being a guest along with Mary and the rest of His disciples.

6) "When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom," This portion also confirms that Jesus was not the bridegroom. Why would the master of the feast call too himself the bridegroom instead of Jesus if Jesus was the bridegroom? Remember one of Jesus's own disciples is writing this...why would the author use His name the whole time and then swap to a figure of speech?

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I am sorry forever light, but I am NOT going to argue the point with you.

You can quote the bible all day long, but that will especially NOT move me.

If you wish to change my mind, which you won't, because I have seen the documentation and proofs, although many are now claiming, Jewish and Christian alike, that it does not exist. ROFL, it does exist, I have personally seen it.....

Anyway, the bible, new testament specifically, was written for a purpose, and that purpose was not historical authenticity, but if you look closely at it, the truth is between the lines, no matter how hard they tried to remove some of the more "damaging" information.

Also, some if not most of the translations are off, the King James may claim to be the most reliable, but it still has a myriad of mistakes in it, although when most of the passages were edited for content anyway, it makes it REAL hard for it to be reliable in a historical context.

Anyway, as I said, believe what you wish, I just thought that some of you might be interested in the information.

But do not quote the bible to me please, I have 3 sitting on my bookshelf right now.

One of them is marked up like a textbook, with notes, passages highlighted etc, so please, I know the bible and what it says, and I look at it in a historical perspective, whereas you are unable to.

I am not a Christian, used to be, but am no longer, haven't been for over 20 years, and would be unable truthfully to claim to be a Christian again, so I do not bother. Just as I could never claim to be a Muslim, or a buddhist, or any of a myriad of other mainstream religions.

The closest my religion could be called would be Pagan, and most Christians think that I worship the devil or some other garbage like that.

Well, considering I don't believe a devil or hell or heaven, or an ALL powerful god exists, it makes it awful hard to guilt me or scare me into believing anything.

So, have a nice day......

And the only reason I stated my "religious" beliefs is because I have had a lot of people PM me asking me what it was.

Pagan is the closest, but then again, it isn't my religion either.

So please do not try and convince me of your religion through the bible, try something new and different, because I trust your bible as far as I can throw it, the bible is not historically accurate, nor is it translated accurately, nor are the books, original in their content, they have been HEAVILY edited. That is a personal thing, it has NOTHING to do with what you want to believe.

Christianity is a great religion, it has a wonderful message, it keeps you moral and happy etc. Wonderul, enjoy.....

Thanks

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Perhaps a translation of language is in order

I am sorry forever light, but I am NOT going to argue the point with you.

aka: Resistance is Futile

You can quote the bible all day long, but that will especially NOT move me.

If you wish to change my mind, which you won't, because I have seen the documentation and proofs, although many are now claiming, Jewish and Christian alike, that it does not exist.

aka: I cannot change because I choose not too and im telling you so.

ROFL, it does exist, I have personally seen it.....

aka: Lookin at a thing in a bag.

Anyway, the bible, new testament specifically, was written for a purpose, and that purpose was not historical authenticity, but if you look closely at it, the truth is between the lines, no matter how hard they tried to remove some of the more "damaging" information. Also, some if not most of the translations are off, the King James may claim to be the most reliable, but it still has a myriad of mistakes in it, although when most of the passages were edited for content anyway, it makes it REAL hard for it to be reliable in a historical context. Also, some if not most of the translations are off, the King James may claim to be the most reliable, but it still has a myriad of mistakes in it, although when most of the passages were edited for content anyway, it makes it REAL hard for it to be reliable in a historical context.

aka: The bible has little or no credibility.

Anyway, as I said, believe what you wish, I just thought that some of you might be interested in the information.

But do not quote the bible to me please, I have 3 sitting on my bookshelf right now.

One of them is marked up like a textbook, with notes, passages highlighted etc, so please, I know the bible and what it says, and I look at it in a historical perspective, whereas you are unable to.

aka: Even thought the bible has little or no credibility it has its uses when it serves my purposes. But no matter the points im trying to make you are too stupid to understand.

I am not a Christian, used to be, but am no longer, haven't been for over 20 years, and would be unable truthfully to claim to be a Christian again, so I do not bother. Just as I could never claim to be a Muslim, or a buddhist, or any of a myriad of other mainstream religions.

The closest my religion could be called would be Pagan, and most Christians think that I worship the devil or some other garbage like that.

Well, considering I don't believe a devil or hell or heaven, or an ALL powerful god exists, it makes it awful hard to guilt me or scare me into believing anything.

aka: I was a Christian, now not a Christian, you dont scare me, ect.

So, have a nice day......

aka: have a nice day

And the only reason I stated my "religious" beliefs is because I have had a lot of people PM me asking me what it was.

Pagan is the closest, but then again, it isn't my religion either.

aka: History is my religion

So please do not try and convince me of your religion through the bible, try something new and different, because I trust your bible as far as I can throw it, the bible is not historically accurate, nor is it translated accurately, nor are the books, original in their content, they have been HEAVILY edited. That is a personal thing, it has NOTHING to do with what you want to believe.

aka: Once again the Bible has little or no credibility whatsoever insofar as it serves my purposes.

Christianity is a great religion, it has a wonderful message, it keeps you moral and happy etc. Wonderul, enjoy.....

aka: Here is your blue pill Mr. Anderson.

Perhaps you get my point maybe not. I think you are operating from certain misconceptions Jag. You are operating under the premise that I am "out to get you" or to "convert you" or whatever you would deem a "religious type" to do. There is a fine line between debating for the profit of knowledge and debating for the sake of the hunt. I believe you are in the latter. You are just making noise on the subject that nobody can hear themselves think.

Here is a bit about me for the sake of sharing.

I believe Jesus Christ died for me and rose again on the 3rd day.

I believe that the Bible is the complete infalliable word of God that He composed through the hands of men.

I believe that all men/women have sinned and are not worthy of the gift of Life God offers us. (Through Jesus)

I know without a single doubt that I know God in a personal manner that can only be compared to a relationship between a man and a woman. He has proven Himself to me one thousand times over.

I post this merely to show that I do have a belief and chances are it was something near to what you "thought" I believed. But wether you even understood what you yourself claim to have believed in is another matter we have touched on before. But you have no obligation to reply to this and I hold you to none. Im not calling your out or standing up to fight. "Turn the other cheek" is what I believe.

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Quote,

"If you wish to change my mind, which you won't, because I have seen the documentation and proofs, although many are now claiming, Jewish and Christian alike, that it does not exist. ROFL, it does exist, I have personally seen it....."

LOL, just because you've seen some documents and what you say is proof, does not mean it really is the truth. I mean if I went over and personally looked at the Shroud of Turin, would that mean it was really some cloth that Jesus was wrapped in? Give me a break.

Quote,

"But do not quote the bible to me please, I have 3 sitting on my bookshelf right now.

One of them is marked up like a textbook, with notes, passages highlighted etc, so please, I know the bible and what it says, and I look at it in a historical perspective, whereas you are unable to."

Apparently, you don't know what it say's. Oh, you might know it say's, however, you do not know what it means.

Oh yes, the truth is in the Bible for a certainty. And you better believe that if God is powerful enough to create the universe, he's powerful enough to make sure that the Holy scriptures made it down to us in these last days the way he wanted it to. Any books not in there were not meant to be there, period.

The Bible has an overall theme. Its easily disernable. It also tells us who Jesus is. There's no mystery to it. Its plain as day. (No, he is not God, he's Gods only begotten son, which means he was the firstborn of all creation Col. 1:15) He came to buy back what Adam lost, which means he was exactly what Adam was, a perfect human being. (Altho he was a spirit creature in his prehuman existence, of course)

Now, if he faked his death, got married, (LOL) and had a family, he would still be alive today as he was perfect.

You seem to think there needs to be some historical document that say's the Bible is inspired or something. Your going about it all wrong. The Bible proves itself mainly thru prophecy. The Jews were looking for the messiah when Jesus arrived on the scene. Why? Because the scriptures pointed to when he would arrive. (Even tho the Jews were hoping he would be an eathly king and throw the Roman Yoke off of them)

He also proved that a perfect human can stay faithful in the face of temptation. (Something Adam and Eve failed on) Prophesies are very numerous throughout the Bible. And you cannot dispute them.

You also seem to think your the grand master of all history teachers. However, your comments, (and lack of comments) prove otherwise.

I say these things because I dispute your claim that the Bible is not historically accurate. I simply cannot stay quiet when someone speaks falsley of Gods word. Especially when that person has no proof, but only gives his opinion.

I have such a wealth of information and am willing to discuss and prove what I say. However, I'm pretty sure you will not prove or discuss what you believe since it seems you think that information is only for higher forms of life.

O well, believe what you want, but that won't change the truth of the matter. You will however find out in the near future.

Untill then, enjoy.......

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quote:

Originally posted by rtoolooze:

Quote,

"If you wish to change my mind, which you won't, because I have seen the documentation and proofs, although many are now claiming, Jewish and Christian alike, that it does not exist. ROFL, it does exist, I have personally seen it....."

LOL, just because you've seen some documents and what you say is proof, does not mean it really is the truth. I mean if I went over and personally looked at the Shroud of Turin, would that mean it was really some cloth that Jesus was wrapped in? Give me a break.

Quote,

"But do not quote the bible to me please, I have 3 sitting on my bookshelf right now.

One of them is marked up like a textbook, with notes, passages highlighted etc, so please, I know the bible and what it says, and I look at it in a historical perspective, whereas you are unable to."

Apparently, you don't know what it say's. Oh, you might know it say's, however, you do not know what it means.

Oh yes, the truth is in the Bible for a certainty. And you better believe that if God is powerful enough to create the universe, he's powerful enough to make sure that the Holy scriptures made it down to us in these last days the way he wanted it to. Any books not in there were not meant to be there, period.

The Bible has an overall theme. Its easily disernable. It also tells us who Jesus is. There's no mystery to it. Its plain as day. (No, he is not God, he's Gods only begotten son, which means he was the firstborn of all creation Col. 1:15) He came to buy back what Adam lost, which means he was exactly what Adam was, a perfect human being. (Altho he was a spirit creature in his prehuman existence, of course)

Now, if he faked his death, got married, (LOL) and had a family, he would still be alive today as he was perfect.

You seem to think there needs to be some historical document that say's the Bible is inspired or something. Your going about it all wrong. The Bible proves itself mainly thru prophecy. The Jews were looking for the messiah when Jesus arrived on the scene. Why? Because the scriptures pointed to when he would arrive. (Even tho the Jews were hoping he would be an eathly king and throw the Roman Yoke off of them)

He also proved that a perfect human can stay faithful in the face of temptation. (Something Adam and Eve failed on) Prophesies are very numerous throughout the Bible. And you cannot dispute them.

You also seem to think your the grand master of all history teachers. However, your comments, (and lack of comments) prove otherwise.

I say these things because I dispute your claim that the Bible is not historically accurate. I simply cannot stay quiet when someone speaks falsley of Gods word. Especially when that person has no proof, but only gives his opinion.

I have such a wealth of information and am willing to discuss and prove what I say. However, I'm pretty sure you will not prove or discuss what you believe since it seems you think that information is only for higher forms of life.

O well, believe what you want, but that won't change the truth of the matter. You will however find out in the near future.

Untill then, enjoy.......

I shall enjoy, Thank you very much.

Christianity is a YOUNG religion, and does not have a monopoly on the truth, that I can guarantee.

As a matter of fact, most of it's truth is not.

But, believe what you wish, I on the other hand do know the historical truth, and in the future we shall all know, and the future is getting closer every day.

Many Christians make the mistake of telling me that since they are right, that I am wrong and therefore are going to be punished.

Sorry, ain't gonna happen, and I am 100% sure of that.

Have a nice day.

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Sorry this is reviving this topic so late, but for a while now, IÔÇÖve been chewing over in my mind whether or not to discuss this topic in depth. In my thinking, I keep coming back to the same question- would there be any point?

For example, if someone were to answer all the intellectual objections mentioned here to your satisfaction, Jag, would you change your mind about the historical accuracy of the New Testament, or would you just go looking around for more objections? (IÔÇÖm not promising I will, I just want to know if there would be any point in trying)

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Object all you want....

Don't matter to me at all.

Fire away, you won't convince me nor convert me, but hey, give it your best shot....

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Interesting discussion.

I am debating whether to get my two cents out and throw them in. Ah, why not?

[backspace key held down a long time]

All I'm going to say is this:

Be in the world not of the world,

Learn from the human experience we chose to come here for.

The exciting part is that I may never get to meet you folks in person, but I will get to meet you all eventually.

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First of all, IÔÇÖd like to apologise for the way you seem to have been treated in the past by those who call themselves Christians (accurately or inaccurately). I am sorry that they failed to appreciate your intellectual needs, or were unable to satisfy your thirst for truth. I apologise for those who (perhaps unintentionally) misrepresented the Christian faith with pat answers or even tried to manipulate you to do things their way.

Most of JagÔÇÖs objections have been intellectual ones, but I have noticed in this thread that a number of peopleÔÇÖs replies were more statements of faith than intellectual counter-arguments. I am personally encouraged to see so many professing Christians active on these forums, and have nothing against such statements, but in my opinion they are not the most helpful responses to the objections raised. I am going to approach these issues from a mainly intellectual point of view. If that upsets some people, then IÔÇÖm afraid that wonÔÇÖt change my stance, this is how itÔÇÖs going to be. Personal experience relevant to the issue at hand is welcome, but I would ask those who wish to jump into the discussion with statements of personal belief to rather channel all that positive energy into prayer for wisdom and insight for all those taking part, myself included, as that will be of most benefit.

OK, before we start the discussion proper, I feel it necessary that we agree on some ground rules.

This should be done to prevent us getting side-tracked on minor issues, and prevent the use of philosophical tricks to obscure the issue at hand or mislead those observing the discussion. These will apply to anyone who wishes to take part in this discussion (and ideally to all intellectual discussions, but thatÔÇÖs asking a bit much ):

1. No personal attacks or insults, including accusations of low intelligence. I sort of assumed that was a given in these forums, but some of the political threads have been bordering on flame wars, and I sincerely hope to prevent this thread becoming another such victim of human passions. I have a lot of respect for your opinions and your character, for the stands you make (for example your stance on marriage) and the personal choices you have made (for example time with your family over higher income ÔÇô I have made a similar choice myself) I do not assume to be your intellectual equal, Jag, let alone superior. I just hope I am close enough to your intellectual level to make this whole exercise interesting for you, and maybe even give you some food for thought. I may well be in for an intellectual hiding along the way, but IÔÇÖm prepared to risk that

2. (This is linked to 1) DonÔÇÖt take it personally. This is an intellectual discussion, not a fight to the death. The other guy (or gal) did not insult your mother (if they did, then they will be reprimanded for breaking rule 1, and are in danger of being kicked off the forum) they are just disagreeing with what they think you just said.

3. No using highly emotive language without proper intellectual justification. If you are going to use words like ÔÇÿscandalÔÇÖ, ÔÇÿcover-upÔÇÖ, ÔÇÿconspiracyÔÇÖ, ÔÇÿdeceitfulÔÇÖ etc. then you must provide evidence to show that this is the case. Such words should not be used in throwaway comments as an excuse for lack of evidence.

4. (Similar to 3) No hiding behind high-sounding buzzwords or complex intellectual jargon. For example, if I throw phrases like ÔÇÿtypological prophecyÔÇÖ into my posts here and there without explanation (ÔÇÿcause I saw it in an article last week and liked the sound of it), it might make me look intelligent (or more like big-headed) but at least 95% of the people reading will have absolutely no clue what IÔÇÖm on about. Be prepared to clarify what you said. If someone misunderstands something or asks you to clarify, it is not a sign of their intellectually inferiority or hostile intent, you may have just been unclear. As the old addage goes: ÔÇ£If a man is unable to simplify a concept and explain it so that the average person on the street can understand, the chances are he doesnÔÇÖt understand it himself.ÔÇØ

5. Go easy on the capital letters and exclamation marks. Using them occasionally when you want to REALLY emphasise something important is fine, but CONSTANTLY using them THROUGHOUT EVERY POST gets EXTREMELY ANNOYING and EVERYONE ELSE taking part in the discussion GETS SICK AND TIRED of reading WHATEVER you have to say. See what I mean?

6. All arguments count both ways. For example, if a reliability test is to be applied to one source, then it must also be applied to all other relevant sources. If a document you view as reliable fails a reliability test that you use on other documents, you must either reject that document as unreliable, or reject that test as useless and stop using it on other documents; A test either applies to all documents or to none. This especially applies to truth tests that fail when applied to themselves, known as ÔÇÿself-stultifying argumentsÔÇÖ. (E.g. ÔÇ£there is no such thing as truthÔÇØ, or ÔÇ£the truth cannot be knownÔÇØ)

7. If you do not wish to dispute a point, then you should concede it, instead of just changing the subject to avoid having to admit the other person is right about something. The only ÔÇÿget-outÔÇÖ clause would be to admit you do not have enough information to comment and will come back to that point after doing some research.

Do you wish to dispute, qualify or add to any of the rules in this list?

On a personal note, I must warn those taking part that my response time will be slow (partly because of my time-limited connection, meaning read one evening (in my time-zone(GMT+1)), reply the next at the earliest unless I can reply very briefly, partly because I like to plan my responses and carefully consider what I say, and some days I donÔÇÖt even have access to my computer, lengthening the process even further) I hope this will be acceptable and not too frustrating for those taking part/observing. I would also prefer to deal with one issue at a time, to avoid confusion and keep posts to a manageable length (of course with the possibility of returning to an issue at a later date).

To accept, press 1

To end the process now, press 2

to further clarify/modify, press 3

for communication in Swahili, press 4

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I think I would have a lot to add in this conversation, however while reading the rules, I broke almost all of them.

I guess I will just watch the show....

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quote:

Originally posted by echo:

I think I would have a lot to add in this conversation, however while reading the rules, I broke almost all of them.

I guess I will just watch the show....

Shows over and has been for a while, this thread needs to dies a slow and painful death.

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Guest rtoolooze

Sounds good Ben. I will participate, and agree to the rules.

I'm waiting for the first issue. You have the ball, its your turn.

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quote:

Originally posted by rtoolooze:

Sounds good Ben. I will participate, and agree to the rules.

I'm waiting for the first issue. You have the ball, its your turn.

Oh come ON!!! No fair!!!

OK, OK, I agree to the rules, let's get this show on the road then....

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OK, great.

Now, as I see it, a lot of the issues revolve around sources. How do you determine what is a reliable historical source and what is not?

So let's start by setting out what criteria you use (or should be used) to determine whether an ancient source can be trusted (or how much it can be trusted) and go on from there.

So, gentlemen, if you please...

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Still no takers? IÔÇÖll have to post my own, then:

1. The sourceÔÇÖs accuracy should be confirmed by other evidence, preferably on multiple points, preferably from multiple sources and preferably in multiple types of evidence:

- primary (eyewitness accounts)

- secondary (official records, historianÔÇÖs publications, documents containing citations or references to the source in question)

- tertiary (peopleÔÇÖs personal reactions to/opinions of the source or events described in it)

- circumstantial (physical/political/social/economic/religious impact of events described in the source)

This is a good principle, if there is no other evidence that supports anything the source says, or the only evidence that does is extremely vague or unreliable by any other test, then the source should be viewed with suspicion. However, this principle is often overused in the so-called ÔÇÿargument from silenceÔÇÖ which goes something like this:

If there is no other source to confirm that an event described in the source occurred, then the source cannot be trusted at that point (or at all in the extreme version of the argument)

The vast majority of historical knowledge is from single sources, and a lack of evidence on a single point doesnÔÇÖt mean that much. ÔÇÿAbsence of evidence is not evidence of absenceÔÇÖ, especially when weÔÇÖre talking about ancient evidence. Things get broken, torn, lost, destroyed (intentionally or accidentally) or simply decompose through improper storage through the ravages of time. Any archaeologist will tell you that there are huge holes in all the records, including the official ones. The most academically sound move we can make is to suspend judgement on this point and look at other points where there are overlapping sources or evidence one way or the other. If the source is found to be accurate on other surrounding points, then it is academically sound to accept its reporting on the points where no other evidence exists.

Where two sources contradict each other in significant ways, but one is demonstrably much less reliable than the other by all other tests, then the less reliable one should give way to the more reliable one, itÔÇÖs trustworthiness remaining unaffected.

2. The source should have been originally written a relatively short time after the events it describes, the shorter the better. Most scholars would agree that it is only more than two generations away (i.e. after the last person to have had direct contact with living eyewitnesses has died) that legends have any real chance of creeping into the accounts and being believed by anyone of intelligence. This gives us a time period of 80-100 years after the event (20-year-old eyewitness dies aged 60-70, 20 year-old at his death dies aged 60-70). However there are a large number of ancient documents that donÔÇÖt meet this criteria which virtually all scholars trust as historically reliable.

3. There should be enough documentary evidence to be sure that what we now have has not been significantly changed through incompetent or dishonest copying. This should include a relatively short timespan between the oldest copy we have and the date of the original document, and a low variance between the copies that we have. The more ancient copies we have, the more sure we can be of the level of variance between them. We can also compare the copies of the source we have with any other ancient documents (letters, commentaries) containing citations from that source, which may also help us with how the passage was understood and/or applied at the time.

4. Another issue is that of the authorÔÇÖs bias, or rather intellectual honesty. Every single author, modern or ancient is biased in some way and is attempting to convince his audience of something, but that doesnÔÇÖt make their work invalid. To illustrate:

There are two mutually exclusive theories, X and Y, one of which is true, and proponents of those theories, Mr A and Mr B. A is biased towards theory X and B is biased towards theory Y, but one of them is still correct, despite being biased.

A good modern example would be the Jewish historians who investigated the holocaust. They were very biased for their own people, but this drove them to work very thoroughly and produce the most reliable and detailed reports possible to ensure something like that could never happen again. Later came revisionist historians who tried to play down the importance of those events or denied them ever happening at all.

The real issue is whether their bias negates their intellectual integrity. Do they (or their initial audience) seem able to discern between reliable and unreliable sources, between truth and fiction? Do they gloss over uncomfortable details or glamorise events or do they report calmly, leaving in even things that are embarrassing for ÔÇÿtheir sideÔÇÖ? Is the information presented in a verifiable way, or does the author attempt to hide behind a screen of mystery?

Things to consider.

My boys have been preventing me getting a decent nightÔÇÖs sleep for the past few days, so I canÔÇÖt think of anything else right now. If anyone else can think of some good criteria to be added to this list, or wish to comment on or disagree with anything IÔÇÖve said here, feel free. If no-one has anything to add, then we can start applying these criteria (one at a time) to various documents. After that we can move on to other issues such as borrowing, messianic expectations at the time etc.

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