How Christianity's "Jesus" was an invention of desperate men

Arkage

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1. OP was never a follower of "Jesus"/Yahawashi /Yahawa" and was a follower of a man made religion that happened to have the "Bible" somewhere on the table for the pastor to occasional read from, or pretend to read from.
The church I followed explicitly called God "YHVH" or Yahaveh. The church also had studies for literally every book of the Bible going verse by verse through the entire thing explaining context and historical words and themes etc. Not sure what you're trying to get at here.

2. There is no old and new testament if you get down to it, that separation was popularized by the European church. Originally this wouldn't be an issue as it would be a guide to separate the Torah from the post-Jesus scriptures, but several church organizations over a very long period of time have used that separation for misleading BS, and seeral churches have altered or removed books from "canon" which is also a nonsense thing popularized by the European church.
The separation between the OT and NT is explicitly clear. The NT is about Jesus along with a radical alteration of Jewish theology. The OT is the original Jewish theology. I agree that the "canonization" process was a total mess, facilitated by the Orthodox church, which only really serves as an argument to show that the current composition of the Bible was a process of luck and chance, not divine intervention.

3. All scriptures are written by the inspiration of god. Therefore there are no "poor sources" and none of the scriptures contradict each other supporting that. The only thing that would make things seem on clear is failure to understand what's written which is a personal problem.
"Inspiration" of God doesn't mean God moved their hands. There are enough spelling mistakes, geographical errors, and disjointed or nonsensical narratives to point out the obvious human foundation of the narratives. Nevermind the many additions and alternations scribes made to the text during the early years. There are entire books devoted to pointing out this stuff, it's fascinating. Here's a recommendation for those interested.

3. You attack the credibility of Gospel Authors (actually you don't seem to know what the gospels actually originally referred to but I'll let that slide) questioning wee they were and their accounts but with no elaboration and only giving enough for someone who's not a christian to immediately thinks there's an issue, but when you actually start asking questions this falls apart.
I know I didn't get into many details on Gospel authorship. The fact is that all the Gospels were originally circulated anonymously and only later attributed the titles of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John by early church fathers who claimed to know who wrote what. But as I point out in my original paper, there are reasons to think these early church fathers were mistaken in their identification or mislead by imposters claiming to be disciples. Regardless, the authors were all writing Greek narratives, and it's unlikely any of Jesus companions had the time or money or education to learn how to do such a thing, as we're talking about a population in which only 2-3% of people could write.

5. John was not written 60 years after Jesus' death, John mentions "five roofed colonnades of bethesda" Which were destroyed by the Romans a significant but before that so called 60 years, and since Johns writing about them before they were destroyed then the writing would be even earlier.
John is generally agreed to be a product of a variety of sources, all which eventually coalesced into a final form composed around 90-110 AD ( Lincoln, Andrew (2005), Gospel According to St John). This is an assumption based upon the narrative importance John gives to certain events. Bart Ehrman, a scholar on the issue, says "the issues (John) is dealing with (Jewish rejection of the Christian message) can be easily located during this time period, as opposed to the other three Gospels which were written earlier, AND because he does not deal with the Christological “heresies” that are in evidence like the polemics of Ignatius (docetic Christologies etc). So he was probably before Ignatius but after the Synoptics – so near the end of the first century." In addition, the theological message presented in John is much more matured than the earlier Gospels, also indicating it was written last after additional religious theorycraft took place in the early churches.

Is this debatable? Sure. But it's no coincidence that only a small number of religious scholars place the date earlier, and that the majority of scholars, whether religious or secular, place John later. There are entire books devoted to the subject, like the one cited above. As for your historical reference about the pools of Bethesda, you can find the rebuttal to that claim here. The main assertion being that the word tense used for the pools can be used to indicate past and present, and gives no clear timeframe, while there is a good amount of alternative evidence indicating a later timeframe.

6. "Why would Jesus make all of his followers give up all of their earthly possessions and all family, children included?" shows you can't read context, he never actually says this and you have to read precept upon precept. He is clearly saying (as he describes later on as well hence why you're actually supposed to read the darn book) that "leaving" family for him is about you not choosing your family OVER him. As gods word is more important than a family member who doesn't follow, as they will lead you to sin, thus you must not cling to them and leave. It has nothing to do with what you said, which was a voluntary action. Not to mention later on in the new testament that doesn't always happen so.....Also the your mark quotes are out of context as well, you can't argue against scripture if you're going to throw individual sentences out of context.
The disciples themselves claim this is what he demands of them. Matthew 10:28-31:

Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Are you going to argue that non-believing children should be left behind because they will lead the parent to sin? That's silly. The obvious point here is that Jesus wants them to prove their devotion to his cause and to his claim that the end of the wicked age will come soon.

7. There was never a prophecy with any real data time period of when the "end times" would come not even in the manuscripts. Jesus return by the sword is when those times would come, Jesus never gave any hint or mention of any "nearby" time period back then. This becomes even clear if you read everything leading up to the verse your using.
I literally quote Jesus saying people will see the end times in their own lifetime. Early Christians clearly believed this would be the case, and versus demonstrate that churches were getting really anxious and falling apart since they were promised a return in their lifetimes but nothing was happening. You are directly contradicting scripture I cited.

9. 12 disciples has nothing to do with the kingdom of god, the unification of the Jewish nation is about united the 12 TRIBES of Israel together and those same tribes are on the 12 gates. The 12 Apostles were sent to spread the word amongst the nations to help with that. The 12 apostles were not going to be "the rulers" of the kingdom the 12 Tribes together would be the "rulers.
Matthew 19: 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel

The twelve tribes are those who will be judged, not the rulers. Those who followed Jesus, aka his 12 disciples, will sit on 12 thrones and judge/rule over the Jewish nation. This is clear as day.

11. Your resurrection sentence is pointless, one with trying to use a false equivalency, and second for again not reading the bible properly, especially considering the many times Jesus references the books of what they call the "old testament" and that Jesus was already written of before he came. Did you know that Jesus was with Moses in the wilderness? Of course not.
It's true, I did not know that Jesus was with Moses in the wilderness. Neither does 100% of the Jewish population throughout all of known history :messenger_tears_of_joy:

12. There was no game a telephone you're making assumptions without enough information to base it on. Mark also wasn't considered the first book until later, and that was conjecture because it was the shortest book. Matthew was originally considered the first book and in many cases still is. But the isue here is you thinking the other books used mark and than expanded upon it when Mark/Luke, and Matt had certain events covered that happened at the same time. Flawed logic.
Another reason Mark is considered the first because language used within it is more primitive than that found in Luke and Matt. Luke and Matt, when copying Mark's source, cleaned up bits of it here and there, proofreading it. And there are other reasons based around its thematic message and intention. This is not flawed logic.

13. There's a difference between being granted forgiveness and praying for forgiveness, Jesus died for the sins at the time and to be the end of the old sacrificial law (hence why blood needed to be drawn) and this changed the rules to where repentance that is sincere can replace some of the consequences of early sins, like some sins resulted in death. You're twisting understandings.
You're entirely ignorant of the Jewish perspective on any of this, which is common for Christians. They want to tell the Jews how their sin and sacrifices operate just so they can shoehorn in Jesus. Sacrificial law was only a narrow component of sin forgiveness, and the OT explicitly states that a Jew can simply pray for forgiveness when not near the temple:

1 Kings 8:28-30 "Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place.30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.

14. Jesus message wasn't for the whole world, he even directly says that he came for the house of Israel. The words "The world" are misunderstood by you because you don't understand the context and look at it from a vague English point of view as "the entire planet and everyone on it" when that's not the case. There are no contradictions.
I agree, Jesus message was explicitly for his poor Jewish population who was downtrodden by the world at large.

17. Jesus did not command all his followers to give up everything, and there's literal evidence of it in other parts of the book where Jesus was NOT asking certain people who CLEARLY has wealth and possessions to give their things up. You're lack of context is crazy. Bible is precept upon precept, it's not a left to right book, you have to sometimes go back to other areas to see what's referenced. Especially since the English translations may make some words less clear reading in a vacuum.
1st world Christians get especially uncomfortable about the versus in which Jesus and John the baptist continually preach about giving up all material wealth to be saved. He literally says it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Not a bad, immoral rich man, just "rich man." Giving up all material wealth also served a duel purpose: it not only served to help the Jewish community, it helped prove that you really believed Jesus would bring about the end of the evil age and society. He hammers this subject repeatedly.

19. You're taking the eli eli quote out of context while trying to make it seem Jesus didn't know what was going to happen and God actually forsaken Jesus when that a contradiction to something not long before that event. You also lied about it being the only thing he says on the cross.
I didn't say "this is the only thing Jesus says on the cross according to the New Testament." It is specified that the quote is from Matthew, and that in that account, Jesus says nothing except for that phrase while on the cross. I find that the most believable conclusion to his life out of all the Gospels. The fact that you accuse me twice of lying about this is delusional.
 
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appaws

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I’ve read Bart Ehrman and find his arguments to be very persuasive. I’ve also heard him in several debates on the “Unbelievable” Podcast.

Like Ehrman, I think your textual arguments are well calculated to dissuade western Protestants. But Jesus didn’t write a book, he founded a church. All of this has been addressed many times by thousands of saints, scholars, and doctors of the Church.

I commend your amazing effort post! Thanks for taking the time.
 

Arkage

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I’ve read Bart Ehrman and find his arguments to be very persuasive. I’ve also heard him in several debates on the “Unbelievable” Podcast.

Like Ehrman, I think your textual arguments are well calculated to dissuade western Protestants. But Jesus didn’t write a book, he founded a church. All of this has been addressed many times by thousands of saints, scholars, and doctors of the Church.

I commend your amazing effort post! Thanks for taking the time.
Yea most of my post is cribbed directly from what I learned through Ehrman's books. They're great.
 

Barsinister

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Forgetting for a second whether God is imaginary or real, what are your thoughts on a purpose driven life? What does it profit you if someone, reading your debunking, loses their purpose? What does it profit them? What do you proffer in replacement? Nothing? What is the benefit for one to care what you have to write?
 
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I'll try to remember to log on tomorrow and perhaps respond to more distinct points -- but in the big picture, yes this is 100% run of the mill Ehrman-acolyte writing, but that should give one quite a bit of pause as to its seriousness.

Ehrman likes to take on the guise of a weighty scholar in his endlessly breathless repetition of what are benign and well-known matters, reminding me (analogically) of those college students who so often don't recognize that even the early church fathers like Augustine didn't interpret Genesis literally and well recognized every one of the "contradictions" charted in corny contemporary memes like the Atheists Annotated Bible. Likewise, "manuscripts have errors" is roughly the kind of bombshell for which Ehrman will regularly be given brief on-screen appearances on the latest History Channel documentary about the secret history lying hidden behind the biblical texts all these years.

And that points most usefully towards the core problem with his brand of work, which despite its presentable trappings veers ever closer to a Dan Brown-ish revival of the formal / historical criticism that was so fashionable in German circles a century ago. Why? It is all predicated on a way of reading history that has a natural need to privilege conspiracy, hidden sources, covered-over strife underneath any given document. It begins from the premise that the real truth beneath the texts has to be found in the motivations, elisions, missing pieces--but that mode of reading makes it as difficult to read faithfully as in the case of trying to grasp any of the meaning of a novel when you're engaged in chasing hidden signs of biography in your own armchair pscyhoanalysis of the author.

Case in point, from OP:

If a story is changed or manipulated by a scribe or author it's in service to the author's own ideas about Jesus. Any story that is opposite of what early Orthodox Christians would want it to say is more likely authentic.
This seems benign but is a rather fascinating hermeneutical commitment. It reminds me of Oliver O'Donovan's (truly a brilliant mind; you must read him to see what theology looks like; try Resurrection & Moral Order or The Ways of Judgment) absolutely scathing takedown of recent revisionist readings in the Anglican church, where he perfectly captures a nasty little strategy employed here which the supposedly-historical critic to simply ignore the entirety of the text as it stands:

(ii) If a passage of the New Testament speaks [...] in a way that reflects a connexion with ideas current in its own times, it does not interest us. We may learn from Jesus and Paul, it appears, only when they stand out in complete isolation from anything their original hearers could have thought. “Jewish ethical ideas of the day” are a misty background into which almost any words spoken by Jesus or Paul can be made to fade away and be lost sight of. (It requires only a moment’s reflection on their relation to the rabbinic culture to see how this principle can leave us with absolutely nothing in the New Testament to talk about.)

(iii) If there is any complexity, or evidence of debate, in a New Testament discussion [...], it is to be set aside as “contested”. The various strands of New Testament teaching on divorce, for example, which, even without any conscious attempt to harmonise the differences, converge decisively on a general approach which was far from that of the “Jewish ethical ideas of the day”, are, because of their differing pastoral interests, not to be taken into consideration.
In like fashion, you're being quite faithful to Ehrman when you say that authenticity is to be found only where the text seems to move against what we expect these early Christians to believe, but that strategy kills off the mental capacity to actually read. Which is why Ehrman feels often like a better dressed Nicholas Cage hunting for secrets, and why he's fodder for these corny documentaries that seek a shocking conspiracy behind every story. He sees truth as always found in hidden motivations, distortions, etc.

In any case, Ehrman suffers academically from a peculiarly severe poverty of general philosophical sophistication, despite his textual knowledge, and as for the crucial first-discipline of heremeneutics--a rich, long-developed arc in philosophy & theology that examines the relation between transmitted truth and original event, text and meaning, history and observer--his grasp seems so bizarrely atrophied that he actually thinks the entire two-millenia tradition stands or falls on the basis of questions of order of composition, authorial intent, copying errors, etc. As if God working behind the backs of our human intentions was not the primary way that the tradition sees his hand moving in history... to say that Matthew actually had some particular narrow or polemic intention or motivation while writing would be met with a shrug in the past, because of course God carries out his plans by what will always look like utterly human actors from their own horizon.

The truth of the gospels doesn't operate in that way--not to even the early fathers. Setting aside the "Q" nonsense or the even cornier groups like the Jesus Seminar (what Wright says of their confusion over oral tradition here is worth reading, and applies quite well to Ehrman), the various harmonies and dissonances of the texts were always well observed. The longstanding traditional iconography of the four gospel authors as four alternative animals (lion, an eagle, etc) in four quadrants always attested to a kind of unity-in-difference (that parallels the theology of the trinity): God's truth shines forth in multiple beautiful forms, each message carried towards its own aspect of revealing Christ. If you want to read a masterwork on this kind of unity of beauty, and beauty as the nature of Christian truth (think of it as: a seed planted in four forms that reveal the only face of God you can behold, which is Christ as he appears in these four portraits), read David Bentley Hart's The Beauty of the Infinite.

EDIT: I should add that I followed a trajectory somewhat like yours once, and after growing up Methodist, I rejected it wholesale in college as I race into the deep end of philosophy, and I came to thirst for debates with Christians to try and "beat" them. Over a dozen years later, in my thirties, a series of encounters brought me back to a conversion, and to a recognition of just how thin the strands on which I'd built a rejection of the tradition actually were, as well as a sudden sense of how little I'd actually even grasped the way the faith of a lowly uneducated congregant actually functions.
 
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Blood Borne

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It’s very edgy to shit on Christianity. Anyway, I’d rather live in a Christian country than any other place. We all know what happens when Atheists are in charge.

P.S. There’s no such thing as secular, everything is a religion.
 

Bolivar687

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Arkage Arkage , I’m afraid I have some terrible news for you: Bart Ehrman has since backed away from the idea that the New Testament canon is an evolution from failed human prophet to the divine Son of God: “yes, now I agree that Jesus is portrayed as a divine being, a God-man, in all the Gospels.” Although he still insists that this concept developed over the course of time, the entire argument you're making in this thread is no longer espoused by the very scholar you say introduced it to you.

I read the entire post and all I can say is I feel so sorry for how you were lied to in college, which is now so tragically commonplace. Modern academia now teaches that scientific knowledge is socially constructed and that there is no such thing as biological gender. They are redacting and editing out decades of developmental research so they can retroactively say a child does not need a mother and a father. Honest question:

Do you really believe these people told you the truth about the Christian Bible?

As a general matter, it needs to be said that your logic does not survive any real epistemological threshhold. Too often, you ask a general, rhetorical question, offer one plausible, hypothetical explanation, then proceed as if that must certainly be the only real answer. You do this claiming that Matthew must be a polishing up of Mark, or that Christians gave up their possessions because they believed the world was ending. Positing one explanation among infinite possible alternatives is not enough to make an argument.

1. Jesus did not think the world would end imminently.

The Synoptics explicitly establish that Jesus spoke in several layers of meaning beyond their literal semantics (Mk 4:33-34), and so much of the Synoptics proves that your literal interpretation here is simply unsustainable. Matthew 13 recounts several parables about a coming, ongoing age of the Church. Matthew 13 and Luke 12 also include exhortations about vigilance, that the return of Jesus would be a long time in coming, so long that some will fall asleep and doubt that he will ever return. Jesus’ followers could not possibly have had any certainty about the timing of his return. Luke bluntly says: “the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Lk 12:40).

2. Giving up material possessions is a demonstration of the impossibility of man-made salvation.

The audience’s response to the rich man entering heaven (Mt 19:25) is the same as the exhortations on sexual purity (Mt 19:10), even among the twelve themselves - it is beyond what mortal human beings are capable of achieving on their own. He similarly said John the Baptist was the greatest of any man ever born but that he is beneath the worst person in heaven. (Mt 11:11). The conclusion is clear: no one is capable of obtaining salvation without the help of God (Mt 19:26).

Surely you must admit that you are conflating salvation with apocalypse to explain why the early Church established a proto-Marxist community (Acts 4:35). They did not give up their possessions because they didn't need them, they were putting those resources to work for the poor. Christians of every age have strained their means to give and improve society, building cathedrals, shelters, schools, and hospitals. The biography of every Saint is filled with dedication to education and medicine for the less fortunate. The modern University and the Hospital as we understand them is solely a product of the Roman Catholic church. Unless you also think that we’re doing these things because we, too, think the world will soon end, you have to admit that your reasoning is undeniably illogical.

3. The idea that Jews would not expect the Messiah to be the Son of Man is itself a core theme explicitly conveyed by the Gospels.

The fact that a Jew at the time would not expect the Messiah to sacrifice himself is plainly stated time and again by the Synoptics (Mt 16:22). That his disciples falsely believed he was bringing about an earthly kingdom is the entire opening premise of the Acts of the Apostles, the sequel to Luke’s Synoptic Gospel (Acts 1:6).

This goes toward the mystery of the Kingdom of God. The First Book of Samuel describes how God did not want Israel to be a political institution in service to a temporal monarchy - it was intended to be a culture of priests, with God as their King, and He only sanctioned this reluctantly (1 Sm 8:7-8). Jesus came to restore the real divine kingship originally intended, as opposed to material statecraft.

The fact that you mistakenly interpret Jesus’ words as bringing about a political kingdom does not make you an enlightened, 21st century freethinker - it means you're a character stuck inside the Synoptic narratives, and that you don’t even realize it.

4. There is no “evolution” on the resurrection.

Just as this is the core of the Gospel, it is similarly the lodestar of all the flaws in your misconstructions. You claim Jesus hardly if ever discusses resurrection, just after you disingenuously acknowledge in passing that he performed many of them himself. (Mk 5; Lk 7; Jn 11). The confrontation with the Sadducees on what they were best known for, doubting the resurrection, is a focal point of all three Synoptic Gospels (Mt 22; Mk 12; Lk 20), as they then go on to appear three times in Luke’s Acts (chapters 4, 5, and 23). Their obvious significance in the narrative would not have been lost on any Jew at the time.

There’s simply no basis for surprise that the disciples doubted Jesus’ prophecies. From Adam and Eve, the story of Faith is the story of Doubt. In Exodus, God parted a sea, destroyed the Egyptian army, and lead the Israelites to Sinai with fire and smoke, but the moment Moses went up the mountain, they already started worshiping idols of their own manufacture. They continued apostasizing up until the moment they crossed the Jordan and thereafter. Through the Babylonian Captivity and beyond, the Hebrew Bible is a record of the Israelites incessantly betraying God and murdering His prophets.

And of course there's the greatest irony of all - that you yourself do doubt, yet here we are, with the Roman Catholic church today indeed building schools and hospitals and preaching the good news in every nation, language, and culture across the Earth, against all impossible odds.

The contradictions in the resurrection narrative are greatly exaggerated:
  1. All four Gospels unanimously say Mary Magdelene found the empty tomb early in the morning on the first day of the week.
  2. Mark, Matthew and John all have Jesus then appearing to Mary, after the mysterious figure.
  3. Luke and John both have Mary telling Peter, who then runs to find the empty tomb.
  4. Mark, Luke, and John all have Jesus subsequently appearing to the disciples, who doubt and touch his wounds.
  5. Matthew, Mark and Luke write Jesus then telling the disciples to go out and preach to all races and nations. Your claim that the Synoptics depict Jesus only preaching the end of the world exclusively to Jews alone is a complete and utter fabrication.
  6. Mark and Luke finally recount the Ascension into Heaven.
It does not matter if the mysterious anonymous figure with Jesus’s instructions is a man or an Angel, if he gave it to Mary alone or additional women, or which order all this happened in. Your caricature of John as an egregious game of telephone is not true: every element of John 20 is contained within the Synoptics.

5. Sacrifice is indeed indispensable for expiation.

I genuinely have no idea what you are trying to say about sacrifice not being the only remedy for sin. You simply cannot deny that throughout the entire book of Leviticus, sacrifice is the exclusive means of expiation for the gravest of sins. The Passover lamb was indeed a sacrificial offering, for the safe escape out from Egypt. The passover meal is arguably the most important moment of the Torah, as throughout the Mosaic saga, God again and again continues emphasizing how important it is to the liturgical calendar.

Jesus’ founding of the universal church is the release of all mankind from the captivity of every pagan nation and the sin therein. At the Transfiguration, the end of the ministry and beginning of the Road to the Crucifixion, Luke explicitly calls it “his Exodus he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” (Lk 9:31).

You then contradict your own characterization of the Christian dogma by calling it a human sacrifice - it is God making one last entreaty to Israel to repent, and after their final refusal, God offers himself as the last and final sacrifice for the Exodus of all of the world.

Your claim that this is something new from previous Jewish teaching is the single most redundant thing you could ever possibly say about Christianity.

6. Jesus's preaching was not exclusive to Jews.

There is simply no way to understand the Synoptic Parables of the Vineyard (Mt 21; Mk 12; Lk 20), the Great Banquet (Mt 22; Lk 14), or the Prodigal Son's reference to swine (Lk 15) if you doubt this.

7. The idea that Mark came first, the very foundation of your entire argument, is completely made up.
 
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Madonis

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Frankly, I think the presence of multiple historical inaccuracies upon close inspection and the use of contradictory information is already enough to make one into a skeptic towards scripture. There might be a God, for all we know, but I do not see myself in a position to pick and choose a religion. I can respect those who have strong spiritual beliefs, however, but I will not share them until they are proven true.

Arkage Arkage , I’m afraid I have some terrible news for you: Bart Ehrman has since backed away from the idea that the New Testament canon is an evolution from failed human prophet to the divine Son of God: “yes, now I agree that Jesus is portrayed as a divine being, a God-man, in all the Gospels.” Although he still insists that this concept developed over the course of time, the entire argument you're making in this thread is no longer espoused by the very scholar you say introduced it to you.
Ongoing scholarship should be open to change as more information is analyzed or discussed. It's rarely meant to be set in stone, nor automatically embraced. In other words, that's not surprising.

I read the entire post and all I can say is I feel so sorry for how you were lied to in college, which is now so tragically commonplace. Modern academia now teaches that scientific knowledge is socially constructed and that there is no such thing as biological gender. They are redacting and editing out decades of developmental research so they can retroactively say a child does not need a mother and a father. Honest question:

Do you truly believe these people told you the truth about the Christian Bible?
Leaving aside those unrelated subjects and sticking with the main topic of this discussion...the social construction of human knowledge makes perfect sense when it comes to history and science alike.

That's not even a "lie" either, unless you wish to believe the entire history of science, which is full of changes and revisions, consists of people intentionally lying to each other (in which case, of course, many of the actual lies found throughout the history of religion are not only not too far behind but also far more numerous).

In a few words, Arkage is under no obligation to instantly follow or dismiss any particular possibility.
 
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Enygger_Tzu

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The Greek word itself (proskuneo) has both a secular and religious application.
The Greek verb "προσκυνώ/proskyno" literally means "to bow" and it is used to denote worship to a king and a God or semi-God.

However, Jesus teaching was of humbleness, of devotion, of servitude, so no one would take his meaning to mean that he meant worship to his person as a man rather as son of God.
 
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You do you you OP. Sounds like you are just regurgitating and conforming someone else’s teachings against a faith. How ironic.
 

Arkage

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Ehrman likes to take on the guise of a weighty scholar in his endlessly breathless repetition of what are benign and well-known matters, reminding me (analogically) of those college students who so often don't recognize that even the early church fathers like Augustine didn't interpret Genesis literally and well recognized every one of the "contradictions" charted in corny contemporary memes like the Atheists Annotated Bible. Likewise, "manuscripts have errors" is roughly the kind of bombshell for which Ehrman will regularly be given brief on-screen appearances on the latest History Channel documentary about the secret history lying hidden behind the biblical texts all these years.
Early church fathers interpreting Genesis symbolically doesn't imply much beyond an attempt to corroborate it with known reality. There's no indication that the actual authors nor the original adherents to the oral tradition nor of the written tradition took it symbolically. On their face symbolic interpretations are always a last resort for what is otherwise literal nonsense. It is an escape hatch for every bad or illogical or immoral story the Bible contains to find justification for its existence.

In like fashion, you're being quite faithful to Ehrman when you say that authenticity is to be found only where the text seems to move against what we expect these early Christians to believe, but that strategy kills off the mental capacity to actually read. Which is why Ehrman feels often like a better dressed Nicholas Cage hunting for secrets, and why he's fodder for these corny documentaries that seek a shocking conspiracy behind every story. He sees truth as always found in hidden motivations, distortions, etc.
Cutting against the grain is only one of four different criteria. Diluting the full scope of critical theory down to one concept is disingenuous. Counterintuitive messages that are found in multiple sources, and extensively so, are more reliable than just a single one. How to be saved, and the coming of the end times, are two fairly counter intuitive messages that Jesus talks about repeatedly in multiple sources.

Additionally, this really depends upon what you consider "early" Christians. If we're talking those who followed Jesus in daily life, the "contradictory" bits blend in with what we would imagine them to believe in, Jewish tradition, i.e. the independent historical context of an Apocalyptic Jews savior aligns nicely with the bits that deeply frame Jesus as an apocalyptic savior. The argument between Peter and Paul is incredibly important in relation to what we'd like to say about the early church and the conflicts found within it. If we're talking about a later group of "early" Christians things get much messier. What if "contradictory" teachings match a particular gnostic sect better than Orthodoxy? That remains evidence of nothing, as Orthodoxy's victory over Gnostics has no traceable connection what the "truth" of Jesus was either way.

In any case, Ehrman suffers academically from a peculiarly severe poverty of general philosophical sophistication, despite his textual knowledge, and as for the crucial first-discipline of heremeneutics--a rich, long-developed arc in philosophy & theology that examines the relation between transmitted truth and original event, text and meaning, history and observer--his grasp seems so bizarrely atrophied that he actually thinks the entire two-millenia tradition stands or falls on the basis of questions of order of composition, authorial intent, copying errors, etc. As if God working behind the backs of our human intentions was not the primary way that the tradition sees his hand moving in history... to say that Matthew actually had some particular narrow or polemic intention or motivation while writing would be met with a shrug in the past, because of course God carries out his plans by what will always look like utterly human actors from their own horizon.
Matthew having a polemic intention isn't an end unto itself. The point is to distill the known sources from a range of most likely to least likely story based upon typical criteria that historians use, the four I listed. Matthew having a particular intent doesn't matter so much as what he says is also corroborated by other accounts. Also, two-millenia of tradition means nothing when the entirely of the foundation stands or falls upon the 80-100 years after his death, through multiple oral and written sources all messily composed into various groupings of anonymous texts.

The truth of the gospels doesn't operate in that way--not to even the early fathers. Setting aside the "Q" nonsense or the even cornier groups like the Jesus Seminar (what Wright says of their confusion over oral tradition here is worth reading, and applies quite well to Ehrman), the various harmonies and dissonances of the texts were always well observed. The longstanding traditional iconography of the four gospel authors as four alternative animals (lion, an eagle, etc) in four quadrants always attested to a kind of unity-in-difference (that parallels the theology of the trinity): God's truth shines forth in multiple beautiful forms, each message carried towards its own aspect of revealing Christ. If you want to read a masterwork on this kind of unity of beauty, and beauty as the nature of Christian truth (think of it as: a seed planted in four forms that reveal the only face of God you can behold, which is Christ as he appears in these four portraits), read David Bentley Hart's The Beauty of the Infinite.
The fact you label Q as Ehrman-nonsense, rather than a theory with widely held acceptance by a large majority of Biblical scholars (including both Catholics and Protestants and of course secularists) tells me a lot about your own biases in play here.

EDIT: I should add that I followed a trajectory somewhat like yours once, and after growing up Methodist, I rejected it wholesale in college as I race into the deep end of philosophy, and I came to thirst for debates with Christians to try and "beat" them. Over a dozen years later, in my thirties, a series of encounters brought me back to a conversion, and to a recognition of just how thin the strands on which I'd built a rejection of the tradition actually were, as well as a sudden sense of how little I'd actually even grasped the way the faith of a lowly uneducated congregant actually functions.
I never really pursued "beating" Christians as an atheist. I used to play that game as a Christian in my teens as I knew the verses well and would like to catch them in what I thought of as mistakes of doctrine. When I become atheist I didn't dwell much on Christianity beyond the broader arguments of unmitigated suffering and exclusionary salvation, both of which I've come to find utterly repellent. If a (Christian) god does exist, I find him so ethically bankrupt as a deity that I have no interest in following him to begin with. And an extra nugget: the only way any of Jesus own followers, who saw Jesus resurrect dead men, could believe Jesus actually rose from the dead himself was to see him in person or through a magic vision. Yet we, who have experience no miracles, who have seen no body, who receive no visions striking us nearly blind, are expected to burn in hell if we don't believe it happened. If Jesus' own disciples (and Paul) were subject to the same "lack-of-magical-visions" reality that everyone else in the world has to deal with, they would've undoubtedly ended up in hell. The foundation of "salvation through faith" is proven absurd through the very story itself.
 
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Thurible

Formerly 'CatholicGamerGuy'
Aug 15, 2018
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On their face symbolic interpretations are always a last resort for what is otherwise literal nonsense. It is an escape hatch for every bad or illogical or immoral story the Bible contains to find justification for its existence.
Is it so? Why does everything need to be literally interpreted? Also, what about the different proses written with different books? They were literally written for different purposes for different audiences. Can you really say that everything in scripture is absolutely literal, and if so, why? To me, its like looking at a library full of books and just outright saying every single book is fiction.

When I become atheist I didn't dwell much on Christianity beyond the broader arguments of unmitigated suffering and exclusionary salvation, both of which I've come to find utterly repellent
If Jesus' own disciples (and Paul) were subject to the same "lack-of-magical-visions" reality that everyone else in the world has to deal with, they would've undoubtedly had ended up in hell.
I'm curious as to what you believe hell is. I feel as if you think hell is something that is forced upon a soul and that it is a 100% fact that everyone who hasn't been part of the faith is damned.

I've always understood hell to be a place where the people who reject God out of their own choice go to because God is simply not cruel enough to let those who do not want to be with Him be stuck with Him in eternity. I don't think God just judges His creation and forces them into hell, the creation chooses to go to hell. Also, It is almost always described as a place of impossible to comprehend pain and suffering, but I'm told that the reason why the suffering is so great is because it is an existence without God, not because there may be fire or unimaginable torture. Without the source of love there can't be any love and "life" in hell is meaningless.

For all we know hell could actually be a paradise with every want and desire satiated, except for the love of God. Though that does not make it a good.

I don't know who is in hell or even if anyone resides in it (I would assume that it is inhabited though). Even Mao could be with God now. I don't believe in making assumptions about the "fate" of others unless you are talking about saints. Non-christians are probably more likely to go to hell than practicing christians, but I am not God who knows how people will be judged in death (this does not mean however that certain lifestyles and actions are good and kosher, and that everyone is going to heaven so Christian faith of no importance, quite the opposite in fact. Helping people become saints is important so they can see God).

The foundation of "salvation through faith" is proven absurd through the very story itself.
I've always believed in faith and good works. Faith alone isn't good, one needs to act on it. One could be an incredibly good and moral character with faith, yet do absolutely nothing in times of crisis when someone needs them.



I'm not as good at this arguing thing as Contrarian (he seems to be a very smart cookie, I should also probably read up on Q theory more). Just wanted to make some points and learn a bit from your perspective. I'll say you have thought out your perspective and have put some research into it. I'm glad that this thread seems amicable for the most part.
 

Arkage

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Arkage Arkage , I’m afraid I have some terrible news for you: Bart Ehrman has since backed away from the idea that the New Testament canon is an evolution from failed human prophet to the divine Son of God: “yes, now I agree that Jesus is portrayed as a divine being, a God-man, in all the Gospels.” Although he still insists that this concept developed over the course of time, the entire argument you're making in this thread is no longer espoused by the very scholar you say introduced it to you.
Thanks for this update! However my entire argument isn't "The Synoptics authors didn't think Jesus was divine/God" - in fact I never make that claim in the OP. I do have a single sentence claiming this in my original paper, which I will remove, but it certainly isn't key to anything. That claim itself has no impact upon the actual main point, which is that Jesus is an evolution of a failed Jewish prophet into God incarnate. You admit that Ehrman claims the divinity concept "developed over the course of time." Is this not literally part the overall "evolution from failed Jewish prophet to divine son of God" theory?

So what did change? As far as I can tell, the issue on whether the Gospels ever specifically state Jesus is God. Ehrman seems to have written a whole book about this new correction/theory which I'll have to read. It was apparently spurred by a book he read on how Roman civilization viewed the phrase "Son of God." So his view of the phrase "Son of God" seems to have changed from a secular meaning toward implying some level of divinity, along with Son of Man. I do have some passages about this which I'll now need to correct, though in total I add up only 11 sentences concerning these phrase from my entire original paper. What's more, is that it can now be replaced with a fascinating new theory on how Jesus' Godhood in particular evolved throughout the New Testament. I found a PDF to his college course that goes over his theory to a good extent. This is probably actually worth including in the OP in some way, so thank you for bringing it to my attention!

In any case: on his direct Divinity. The reason why the narratives of Jesus' were written down to begin with is because people thought he resurrected. Because of this belief they needed to develop an explanation for this event - divinity of some sort, as it really didn't mesh with Messianic prophecy. The earliest explanation for his divinity, according to Ehrman, is found in what he qualifies as "pre-literary tradition" (you can read what that means in the PDF. He takes it to mean earliest known oral traditions):

Romans 1:3-4 Regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

Acts: 13:33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

These imply that the earliest understanding of how or why Jesus was granted "Godhood" was because of the resurrection event. Later, the "Christ" event keeps getting pushed back further and further in Jesus' timeline, following the already established Mark->Matt/Luke-> John pattern to a tee. For those interested in the details, check out the PDF specifically at Lecture 14. Here is a short summary:

The idea that Jesus became the Son of God at the Resurrection is in our oldest pre-literary traditions. The idea that he became the Son of God at his baptism is in the oldest Gospel, Mark. The idea that he was born the Son of God is in the next two Gospels to be written, Matthew and Luke. And the idea that he had always been the Son of God from eternity past is in the last of the Gospels to be written, John.
Go even further in time and we see Christian sects (docetists) believing that Jesus was never human at all: that his crucifixion was actually an illusion by God. The trend is clear.

I read the entire post and all I can say is I feel so sorry for how you were lied to in college, which is now so tragically commonplace. Modern academia now teaches that scientific knowledge is socially constructed and that there is no such thing as biological gender. They are redacting and editing out decades of developmental research so they can retroactively say a child does not need a mother and a father. Honest question:

Do you really believe these people told you the truth about the Christian Bible?
I wasn't lied to in college as I didn't learn about these things from anyone in college. I learned them during the years I went to college through books I read on my own as I have a deep interest in the topic. My interest and meanderings on this topic were of my own accord. But continue your "I feel sad for you, college brainwashed you" narrative if it strokes your ego.

1. Jesus did not think the world would end imminently.

The Synoptics explicitly establish that Jesus spoke in several layers of meaning beyond their literal semantics (Mk 4:33-34), and so much of the Synoptics proves that your literal interpretation here is simply unsustainable. Matthew 13 recounts several parables about a coming, ongoing age of the Church. Matthew 13 and Luke 12 also include exhortations about vigilance, that the return of Jesus would be a long time in coming, so long that some will fall asleep and doubt that he will ever return. Jesus’ followers could not possibly have had any certainty about the timing of his return. Luke bluntly says: “the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Lk 12:40).
Mark 4:33 talks about Jesus speaking in parables right after it tells a story about Jesus telling a parable. You don't get to then shift the parable claim onto unrelated prophecies in later chapters. Matthew 13 also explicit says the stories he's telling are parables. Matthew 13 says nothing about Jesus being a "long time coming" - this is a lie. Quote an exact verse. As for Luke 12, Jesus is talked directly to his disciples about how they need to be prepared for his return. He's not talking to you, nor Christians generally. Christians such as yourself love doing this: you essentially place yourself in the disciples shoes and ask "What is Jesus telling me?" in an egocentric way rather than the obvious reading of "What is Jesus telling the people he's actually talk to?" It is true Luke 12 says Jesus claims his time will be a "long time coming," but regardless his audience was his disciples. They were the ones who needed to wait for the thief in the night, and they were the ones that waited for nothing, as nothing actually happened and the apocalyptic Son of Man never arrived to destroy the wicked.

Counter to this, Mark 13:30 "in this generation." Jesus was always preaching the coming of the Son of Man, and the destruction of the wicked, to his captive audience.

2. Giving up material possessions is a demonstration of the impossibility of man-made salvation.

The audience’s response to the rich man entering heaven (Mt 19:25) is the same as the exhortations on sexual purity (Mt 19:10), even among the twelve themselves - it is beyond what mortal human beings are capable of achieving on their own. He similarly said John the Baptist was the greatest of any man ever born but that he is beneath the worst person in heaven. (Mt 11:11). The conclusion is clear: no one is capable of obtaining salvation without the help of God (Mt 19:26).

Surely you must admit that you are conflating salvation with apocalypse to explain why the early Church established a proto-Marxist community (Acts 4:35). They did not give up their possessions because they didn't need them, they were putting those resources to work for the poor. Christians of every age have strained their means to give and improve society, building cathedrals, shelters, schools, and clinics. The biography of every Saint is filled with dedication to education and medicine for the less fortunate. The modern University and the Hospital as we understand them is solely a product of the Roman Catholic church. Unless you also think that we’re doing these things because we, too, think the world will soon end, you have to admit that your reasoning is undeniably illogical.
Giving up your material wealth to follow Jesus is not "beyond human achievement." The disciples themselves literally claim that this is what they've done:

Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” Mark 10:28

Mt 19:10 is not just addressing sexual purity, it's addressing the commandments, as Jesus says in that section you need to stick with Jewish law. The man then responds with "All these I have kept." Jesus doesn't scoff at him but rather accepts the fact that it's certainly possible for a Jew to keep Jewish law, and make atonements for wrongdoing for forgiveness just as had been happening for thousands of years prior.

Right after your Mt 19:26 quote about needing God's help, the disciples directly say, again, that they've given up everything to follow Jesus (Matt 19:27), which is demonstrating exactly how humans are meeting the expectations set by his demands: giving up wealth, keep the law according to Jewish tradition. They really aren't that impossible to do, believe it or not. I already said this giving up of wealth played a dual role: one was the humanitarian effort to help the poor Jewish population he was preaching and serving, the second was to prove one's own faith to his apocalyptic message (though that was more in reference to family). Not sure why you're bringing up stuff I already addressed and conflating it with other specifics like abandoning your children (Mk 10:29).

3. The idea that Jews would not expect the Messiah to be the Son of Man is itself a core theme explicitly conveyed by the Gospels.

The fact that a Jew at the time would not expect the Messiah to sacrifice himself is plainly stated time and again by the Synoptics (Mt 16:22). That his disciples falsely believed he was bringing about an earthly kingdom is the entire opening premise of the Acts of the Apostles, the second half of Luke’s Synoptic Gospel (Acts 1:6).

This goes toward the mystery of the Kingdom of God. The First Book of Samuel describes how God did not want Israel to be a political institution in service to a temporal monarchy - it was intended to be a culture of priests, with God as their King, and He only sanctioned this reluctantly (1 Sm 8:7-8). Jesus came to restore the real divine kingship originally intended, as opposed to material statecraft.

The fact that you mistakenly interpret Jesus’ words as bringing about a political kingdom does not make you an enlightened, 21st century freethinker - it means you're a character stuck inside the Synoptic narratives, and that you don’t even realize it.
Yes, Jews did not expect the Messiah to sacrifice himself because that goes against all OT scripture about Messiahs. And the disciples believed he was bringing about an earthly kingdom because that is what Jesus actually promises to them (Matt 19:28). The fact that later scribes/early church fathers attempted to do damage control within the texts is of no surprise, and is the very premise of my argument.

Claiming Jesus somehow restores a real "divine kingship" is truly bizarre ChirstTheory. The point of the statecraft was to curb disobedience to the Lord. Jesus did nothing to curb disobedience, he just offered a supposedly more streamlined way of cleaning your slate after said disobedience happens. Your conflation of these various concepts is peak Christian talk transplanting Jewish concepts into your own messed up framework. The fact you think that Jesus wasn't talking about a political kingdom means you no nothing about the historical context of Apocalyptic Jews and nothing about the OT scripture on what the Messiah would do. The fact that so many Christians still think, after 2,000 years, there has to be an inevitable 2nd coming of Jesus for him to "really" have completed all his work should be enough of a hint that shit didn't go down right.

4. There is no “evolution” on the resurrection.

Just as this is the core of the Gospel, it is similarly the lodestar of all the flaws in your misconstructions. You claim Jesus hardly if ever discusses resurrection, just after you disingenuously acknowledge in passing that he performed many of them himself. (Mk 5; Lk 7; Jn 11). The confrontation with the Sadducees on what they were best known for, doubting the resurrection, is a focal point of all three Synoptic Gospels (Mt 22; Mk 12; Lk 20), as they then go on to appear three times in Luke’s Acts (chapters 4, 5, and 23). Their obvious significance in the narrative would not have been lost on any Jew at the time.

There’s simply no way you can feign surprise that the disciples doubted Jesus’ prophecies if you have any Biblical literacy whatsoever. From Adam and Eve, the story of Faith is the story of Doubt. In Exodus, God parted a sea, destroyed the Egyptian army, and lead the Israelites to Sinai with fire and smoke, but the moment Moses went up the mountain, they already started worshiping idols of their own manufacture. They continued apostasizing up until the moment they crossed the Jordan and thereafter. Through the Babylonian Captivity and beyond, the Hebrew Bible is a record of the Israelites incessantly betraying God and murdering His prophets.

And of course there's the greatest irony of all - that you yourself do doubt, yet here we are, with the Roman Catholic church today indeed building schools and hospitals and preaching the good news in every nation, language, and culture across the Earth, against all impossible odds.

The contradictions in the resurrection narrative are greatly exaggerated:
  1. All four Gospels unanimously say Mary Magdelene found the empty tomb early in the morning on the first day of the week.
  2. Mark, Matthew and John all have Jesus then appearing to Mary, after the mysterious figure.
  3. Luke and John both have Mary telling Peter, who then runs to find the empty tomb.
  4. Mark, Luke, and John all have Jesus subsequently appearing to the disciples, who doubt and touch his wounds.
  5. Matthew, Mark and Luke write Jesus then telling the disciples to go out and preach to all races and nations. Your claim that the Synoptics depict Jesus only preaching the end of the world exclusively to Jews alone is a complete and utter fabrication.
  6. Mark and Luke finally recount the Ascension into Heaven.
It does not matter if the mysterious anonymous figure with Jesus’s instructions is a man or an Angel, if he gave it to Mary alone or additional women, or which order all this happened in. Your caricature of John as an egregious game of telephone is a point-blank falsehood: every element of John 20 is contained within the Synoptics.
When I say Jesus didn't discuss resurrection, I'm talking about his own, not miracles he supposedly performed on others. I thought that would've been obvious, as I contextualize within what "the point" of Jesus was. The "resurrection" argument he had with the Sadducees fits an apocalyptic framework as the concept clearly has Jewish origins, see here. I also wouldn't call a ~10 verse Gospel story a "focal point" compared to the lengthy chapters of end-times talk in each Synoptic. This is clearly disingenuous framing.

Bible literacy, and being unfaithful in the face of miracles, is a garbage concept to begin with. Hint: I don't believe in miracles. Their doubt of a Resurrection after him already having performed a resurrection himself, despite his prophecy of the entire timeline, despite the extreme short time frame to wait (3 days), and being skeptical even after confirmation, is all blatantly absurd and something only a religious adherent who already has their chips invested could justify.

1) Yes, an empty tomb is completely within the realm of reality. I do not doubt that.
2) Mark does not have Jesus appear to Mary because the last 12 versus were added by scribes because they didn't like the ending. See here.
3) See 1.
4) No Mark doesn't, see 2. Also, Matt has nobody touching wounds, and some of the disciples doubt it's him upon seeing him. Oh and don't forget that Jesus does some secret disguises and teleportation house tricks in Luke because he's a shenanigans-kind-of-guy by then. :messenger_tears_of_joy:
5) It's true, Jesus post-resurrection suddenly changes his mind and accepts Gentiles with an open heart! Which are just coincidentally the only people in early Christianity who would accept some weird God-man failed Messiah figure, as the Jews were clearly no longer interested. Jesus certainly has marketing skills! (To be clear, I consider post-Resurrection speeches historically unreliable and thus don't include them, lol)
6) See 2

5. Sacrifice is indeed indispensable for expiation.

I genuinely have no idea what you are trying to say about sacrifice not being the only remedy for sin. You simply cannot deny that throughout the entire book of Leviticus, sacrifice is the exclusive means of expiation for the gravest of sins. The Passover lamb was indeed a sacrificial offering, for the safe escape out from Egypt. The passover meal is arguably the most important moment of the Torah, as throughout the Mosaic saga, God again and again continues emphasizing how important it is to the liturgical calendar.

Jesus’ founding of the universal church is the release of all mankind from the captivity of every pagan nation and the sin therein. At the Transfiguration, the end of the ministry and beginning of the Road to the Crucifixion, Luke explicitly calls it “his Exodus he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” (Lk 9:31).

You then flat out contradict your own characterization of the Christian dogma by calling it a human sacrifice - it is God making one last entreaty to Israel to repent, and after their final refusal, God offers himself as the last and final sacrifice for the Exodus of all of the world.

Your claim that this is something new from previous Jewish teaching is the single most redundant thing you could ever possibly say about Christianity.
Maybe you should ask a practicing Jew how much blood sacrifice they've done the past ~2,000 years. See Hosea 14:2, Psalm 32:5, Jonah 3:6-10, 2 Chron 6:36-40, 1 Kings 8:28-30 for forgiving all manner of Jewish sins through Jewish prayer by the Jewish God, especially after the destruction of the first temple 500+ years before Jesus enters the scene. The Pharisees were also pro-prayer and against sacrifice throughout Jesus' time. Sacrifices were also used much more for celebration or petition rather than sin forgiveness. Some "sacrifices" involved paying back a person for stolen goods/property/damage, etc. In other words, the atonement system for Jews isn't a neat, tidy package of "Jews required blood sacrifice for everything and Jesus got rid of that" that the Christian narrative demands. Christianity essentially had to stereotype Judaism into some weird caricature of itself in order to shoehorn Jesus into it. Also, the passover lamb wasn't to escape Egypt. It was to prevent a death angel from killing their first born son (but not anyone else in the house, weird rules). This also makes no sense as an analogy to Jesus.

6. Jesus's preaching was not exclusive to Jews.

There is simply no way to understand the Synoptic Parables of the Vineyard (Mt 21; Mk 12; Lk 20), the Great Banquet (Mt 22; Lk 14), or the Prodigal Son's reference to swine (Lk 15) if you doubt this.
The Vineyard has nothing to do with Jew vs Gentile. It has to do with Jews who are in power and Jesus' distrust of them since his audience (the poor Jewish population) was suffering under them. It literally says Jesus was threatening the "chief priests" with this parable. Matt 22 also has nothing to do with Jew vs Gentile. In fact in the Lk version he's clearly just pissed at the Jews who are too busy to pay him any attention, so he praises his audience (primariliy poor/crippled Jews) as the ones who are invited to the table. The Matt version takes a it a step further, in that the poor/crippled audience still needs to follow tradition (wedding garb aka Jewish law) to be accepted into the new kingdom of God. Prodigal Son, also literally nothing to do with Jew vs Gentile. I mean, do you even care that Jesus was literally talking to a Jewish audience 100% of the time during these stories? He wasn't talking to you, and he wasn't talking to converted Christians. It truly is a bizarre insistence in removing all context. Prodigal Son is about how those who always do right should have an open heart and not be bitter when those who do wrong then receive praise for doing right. Hint: not all "parables" are deep mysteries, in fact most of them are pretty basic, but fairly poetic. Like Aesop's fables.


The idea that Mark came first is held by the large majority of Biblical scholars whether religious or secular, for a myriad of reasons.. I cannot find a single legit source for further info on your link's claims. The same article is copy-pasted into multiple janky Christian "news" websites when I try to search for it. The evidence chain seems to be article->professor guy-> book by Jewish guy -> 2 specific Talmud story by Gamaliel. Gamaliel died in 52 AD yet the article says this "tale" is dated to be as old as 72 AD. Dated how? As in when it was written (which I think is the implication with the use of the word "tale" rather than "parchment") or when they can carbon date the paper to? Who knows? Why did they date it 72 if it's indeed a textual determination? Who did the dating? How was authorship determined if the man passed away 20 years prior?

Additionally it seems only a single line of text was supposedly directly "copied" from Matthew to this text, a highly idiosyncratic phrase "I have not come to take away from the Law of Moses nor add to the Law of Moses" - a phrase that could've easily passed (and undoubtedly did) through oral tradition in tact. The other phrase is simply described as "loosely" quoting a statement from the sermon on the mount, inside a completely unrelated story about a corrupt judge. Uh, ok? Since Gamaliel was in direct contact with early Christians should we not assume he heard a phrase or quote here and there about what Jesus said? If two sentences, one "loosely based" and in an entirely different context, are all you have demonstrating he had the Gospel of Matthew in his possession you have much lower qualifications for dating than those who believe in Marcan priority.
 
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Arkage

Gold Member
Sep 25, 2012
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Is it so? Why does everything need to be literally interpreted? Also, what about the different proses written with different books? They were literally written for different purposes for different audiences. Can you really say that everything in scripture is absolutely literal, and if so, why? To me, its like looking at a library full of books and just outright saying every single book is fiction.
Everything doesn't need to be literally interpreted, I didn't mean to imply as much. This is specifically in reference to the beginning stories of Genesis, in which the two narratives contradict each other in a variety of ways yet were held to be literal understandings of how the world was created up until the point that science started directly contradicting it. Then the story was transplanted into a "well it's symbolic" framework. To clarify my point was that there are many stories or claims that were originally understood to be literal truths but would then hit the wall of secular reality, whether through evolving ethics or evolving understanding of the world, where people then dismissed their prior literal meaning and turned it into symbolic blather to save the story, and the Bible, from any implication of having "bad" ethics or factually incorrect events/stories.

I'm curious as to what you believe hell is. I feel as if you think hell is something that is forced upon a soul and that it is a 100% fact that everyone who hasn't been part of the faith is damned.

I've always understood hell to be a place where the people who reject God out of their own choice go to because God is simply not cruel enough to let those who do not want to be with Him be stuck with Him in eternity. I don't think God just judges His creation and forces them into hell, the creation chooses to go to hell. Also, It is almost always described as a place of impossible to comprehend pain and suffering, but I'm told that the reason why the suffering is so great is because it is an existence without God, not because there may be fire or unimaginable torture. Without the source of love there can't be any love and "life" in hell is meaningless.

For all we know hell could actually be a paradise with every want and desire satiated, except for the love of God. Though that does not make it a good.

I don't know who is in hell or even if anyone resides in it (I would assume that it is inhabited though). Even Mao could be with God now. I don't believe in making assumptions about the "fate" of others unless you are talking about saints. Non-christians are probably more likely to go to hell than practicing christians, but I am not God who knows how people will be judged in death (this does not mean however that certain lifestyles and actions are good and kosher, and that everyone is going to heaven so Christian faith of no importance, quite the opposite in fact. Helping people become saints is important so they can see God).
Hell is traditionally described as place of torment and suffering, with continual references to fire implying a great deal of suffering i.e. burning alive eternally. Your body and soul are destroyed there and you should fear it (Matt 10:28). It's specifically framed as a punishment for nonbelievers (read more here). You have a very peculiar view on what hell is for being a Catholic. Sounds like your personal ethics don't align very closely with the Church. Welcome to my world.


I've always believed in faith and good works. Faith alone isn't good, one needs to act on it. One could be an incredibly good and moral character with faith, yet do absolutely nothing in times of crisis when someone needs them.

I'm not as good at this arguing thing as Contrarian (he seems to be a very smart cookie, I should also probably read up on Q theory more). Just wanted to make some points and learn a bit from your perspective. I'll say you have thought out your perspective and have put some research into it. I'm glad that this thread seems amicable for the most part.
The NT is often contradictory in this message. Paul says all you need is faith and works have nothing to do with it, and that those who say you need works are foolish and ignorant (Romans 4:1-5, Ephesians 2:8-9). James says works are required or else faith is dead, that works are indeed what justify your salvation (James 2:14-26). Peter said you need to hold Jewish tradition/law, also under the umbrella term "works" (Gal 2:11-16). Should we be surprised that James, the brother of Jesus, and Peter, a beloved disciple, were both repeating what Jesus said is required for salvation in the Synoptics? Works are precisely how Jesus said you needed to saved. Matt 5:17-20 says follow Jewish law, Matt 7:15-23 says those who bear good fruit (works) will be saved as opposed to those just thinking of themselves as a good tree prophesying about Jesus (faith).

Paul, a person who never met Jesus and only came up with his doctrines through some magical visions, is in direct contrast to actual followers of Jesus and Jesus himself. But since he was so prolific in building the early Church his voice ended up smothering out the others. Early Christians eventually settled on some weird, farcical combination of these contrasting beliefs because nobody liked the uncomfortable truth that Paul was shitting on Jesus and his own disciples' salvation message.
 
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appaws

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Everything doesn't need to be literally interpreted, I didn't mean to imply as much. This is specifically in reference to the beginning stories of Genesis, in which the two narratives contradict each other in a variety of ways yet were held to be literal understandings of how the world was created up until the point that science started directly contradicting it. Then the story was transplanted into a "well it's symbolic" framework. To clarify my point was that there are many stories or claims that were originally understood to be literal truths but would then hit the wall of secular reality, whether through evolving ethics or evolving understanding of the world, where people then dismissed their prior literal meaning and turned it into symbolic blather to save the story, and the Bible, from any implication of having "bad" ethics or factually incorrect events/stories.
Again, this is one of the reasons that I say that your arguments are very tailored to do battle within a Protestant framework. The older apostolic traditions, like Catholic and Orthodox, have never been particularly hung up on a literal reading of Genesis, or of much of the Old Testament.

Hell is traditionally described as place of torment and suffering, with continual references to fire implying a great deal of suffering i.e. burning alive eternally. Your body and soul are destroyed there and you should fear it (Matt 10:28). It's specifically framed as a punishment for nonbelievers (read more here). You have a very peculiar view on what hell is for being a Catholic. Sounds like your personal ethics don't align very closely with the Church. Welcome to my world.
It is hard for moderns to accept Hell. No matter how religious we are, we are still creatures of our era and cannot escape it. I think CGG and his views on Hell are reflective of that. We all have questions and doubts about elements of our faith, but the key point is that we accept the fact that we are likely wrong and give intellectual assent to the teachings of the church.

I have a big one of my own. I cannot escape my doubts about the perpetual virginity of Mary. I just don't see any real reason why it would be wrong for Jospeh to lie with his wife and have children with her, after the birth of Christ. The Catholic attempts to explain away Jesus having brothers with tricks of translation, etc. have always struck me as disingenuous. And why would Mary lying with her husband, as it is natural and right for a woman to do, in any way detract from her perect role as Mother of God, etc.?

But I humbly accept that Saints, Church fathers, Popes, and scholars by the thousands have examined these things and through the Holy Spirit come to the truth of them. They know more than me and I accept that. One disease of modernity that I am thankfully free from is the belief that every twist of my meandering mind is somehow valuable in and of itself and needs to be tweeted out and liked by at least 1000 people.

Early Christians eventually settled on some weird, farcical combination of these contrasting beliefs because nobody liked the uncomfortable truth that Paul was shitting on Jesus and his own disciples' salvation message.
I think you can only reach this by reading the NT when you go in with the "GOTCHA" spirit in mind. Again I think these elements only seem "contrasting" when read with the intent of debunking Protestant Christianity. There is no great tension or contradiction between faith and works when you trace the apostolic tradition.
 
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Early church fathers interpreting Genesis symbolically doesn't imply much beyond an attempt to corroborate it with known reality. There's no indication that the actual authors nor the original adherents to the oral tradition nor of the written tradition took it symbolically. On their face symbolic interpretations are always a last resort for what is otherwise literal nonsense. It is an escape hatch for every bad or illogical or immoral story the Bible contains to find justification for its existence.
This statement flies in the face of even the Jewish practice of reading scripture during the time of Jesus; scripture was understood to refer to a real past, yes, but by means of repetitions, cycles, promises / failures to point to deeper meanings behind physical events, and other ways in which the words reveal the meaning of the past in a prophetic way, rather than reporting it as flat facts in the way a history book would in our era.

You're stuck, like Ehrman, in a bizarrely simplistic polarity between "literal" and "symbolic" as if either of these on its own is even a serious or coherent position. Flatly "historical" texts are not even the core of the Old Testament; prophecy looms large everywhere, alongside wisdom literature, prayer, etc -- and if you understand how prophetic language operates (which Jesus constantly uses as well), you will be much better able to grasp how something like Genesis is neither a flat history nor a purely symbolic allegory. It refers to a reality (God's creation of us), yet even the NT authors themselves ("for God, one day is like a thousand years") read it as a kind of prophetic revelation of the shape of God's actions relative to man, not as an account of how it would look if you were "standing there" watching the earth form in front of you. Prophecy interprets the historical events of the present--which may have perfectly natural causes seen on their own--as part of God's actions relative to us, and, likewise, the histories in scripture keep a record of the meaning of the past, a history of revelation that recounts the inner truth of events as part of a long story between God and man working itself out. And this working out is largely behind the backs of the people there at the time; just as a prophet will interpret the meaning and reality of the present moment in a new light that disregards the conscious intentions of everyone.

Cutting against the grain is only one of four different criteria. Diluting the full scope of critical theory down to one concept is disingenuous. Counterintuitive messages that are found in multiple sources, and extensively so, are more reliable than just a single one. How to be saved, and the coming of the end times, are two fairly counter intuitive messages that Jesus talks about repeatedly in multiple sources.
"The earlier the better" etc is not any improvement over "cutting against the grain." The timelines of texts are extremely tendentious, constantly disputed or revised, and hypothetical--it's absurd to hang an interpretive theory on that basis. I've seen this in other areas as well, like the attempts to separate several stages of Plato's works as developments based on equally fuzzy timelines, and all it does it to render the reader incapable to seeing the harmony of the work, because they're constantly placing each statement into their timeline as a new intervention, revision, etc.

"The more sources, the better" is also flimsy. Given, for instance, the pull of gnosticism (extremely popular today, for instance), many secondary scriptures will have gnostic tendencies and will repeat the bits of "sayings" that uphold that view. It doesn't make it any more likely as the "true" teaching that the historian is divining behind the scripture; it does tell us what is more appealing, but Christ's rather explicit message is repeatedly to say that his genuine teaching will not be appealing to those looking for a quick answer, and will be a narrow way constantly misunderstood.

Additionally, this really depends upon what you consider "early" Christians. If we're talking those who followed Jesus in daily life, the "contradictory" bits blend in with what we would imagine them to believe in, Jewish tradition, i.e. the independent historical context of an Apocalyptic Jews savior aligns nicely with the bits that deeply frame Jesus as an apocalyptic savior. The argument between Peter and Paul is incredibly important in relation to what we'd like to say about the early church and the conflicts found within it. If we're talking about a later group of "early" Christians things get much messier. What if "contradictory" teachings match a particular gnostic sect better than Orthodoxy? That remains evidence of nothing, as Orthodoxy's victory over Gnostics has no traceable connection what the "truth" of Jesus was either way.
But this last statement is what I hastily alluded to before about history. You're entirely wrong to say that the truth of Jesus's teaching can have no connection with the history of the early church and its eventual consensus. Jesus taught that God was acting in history through him in a way that would reach the corners of the earth, and would be some kind of final statement of God ("it is finished") -- so it's directed at how his disciple's history would record him (his message carried on would prevail against "the gates of hell" forever--meaning that it would never be snuffed out, and his teaching would inhabit a real, physical, worldwide community that returns to the eucharist he showed, as his ongoing body is between believers at the table). And he also suggested repeatedly in every gospel that this wouldn't be evident immediately: Peter doesn't get it at first; many of his messages are shown to be misunderstood by the listeners; all will be revealed later; the disciples are still moaning over the crucifixion when Christ appears in disguise and explains to them the connections all scripture, which they still didn't understand fully until later; etc.

This is to say: any coherent follower of Christ would have to believe that God acted through history, and that includes the history of the church. It's sketched out intentionally in Acts... look at how it depicts the gradual realization of new truths as the disciples begin to follow where it all leads them, eg. the circumcision debate with Peter which finally resolves against Jewish practice of the time, all pictured as the ongoing outworking of God through the disputes of the disciples as they learned.

This is very explicit--the core teaching of the NT includes the sense that Jesus arrived like a bit of new leaven in old dough, that would reform and reshape the meaning of everything slowly, as it makes its way through and founds a strong new community. It's simply absurd to suggest that the NT ever presents his teaching as something which will be evident immediately. This is why, eg. the use of Greek philosophy (in John, some in Paul) is a crucial part of the faith: Jesus arrived in a deliberate time and place in history, setting in motion something that would gradually reshape all the categories of human knowledge and faith. You can read eg. popes talking about how beautiful it is that Jesus arrived in such a way as to incorporate the deeper, spiritual truth of the Greek philosophy of that time, meaning that the faith believes the outworking of the early church is part of the core story. That's explicitly what is there in the text, again.

The fact you label Q as Ehrman-nonsense, rather than a theory with widely held acceptance by a large majority of Biblical scholars (including both Catholics and Protestants and of course secularists) tells me a lot about your own biases in play here.
The existence of some kind of common source behind the synoptic parallels is widespread, but the consensus stops there. No one has a clear sense if it is another scripture (flies in the face of evidence in many ways; early catalogues of writings are rather complete and have no mention) or an oral tradition of sayings (much more likely). The problem with Q isn't the bare assertion of a common source, it's the way someone like Ehrman reads into it: for him, the common source can be thought of as some kind of primary truth (again, ignoring the historical nature of Christian faith's self understanding) that is more "pure" or unaltered than the actual Gospel texts. That's absurd; the sayings of Jesus would have been preserved closely in some kind of oral or other form in the early followers, but the final canonical embodiment of those alongside the other stories of Jesus in the four Gospels is not somehow secondary or a distortion; again, it accords perfectly with the way the Gospels are understood to be four ways in which Christ's message works itself out for the benefit of us all. The whole "Q is the real story" bit is the pure nonsense--and Bart falls into it because he values that kind of story-behind-the-story instinctively, unable to grasp how a story might come to its truth and fullness in its final rather than earliest draft form.

I never really pursued "beating" Christians as an atheist. I used to play that game as a Christian in my teens as I knew the verses well and would like to catch them in what I thought of as mistakes of doctrine. When I become atheist I didn't dwell much on Christianity beyond the broader arguments of unmitigated suffering and exclusionary salvation, both of which I've come to find utterly repellent. If a (Christian) god does exist, I find him so ethically bankrupt as a deity that I have no interest in following him to begin with. And an extra nugget: the only way any of Jesus own followers, who saw Jesus resurrect dead men, could believe Jesus actually rose from the dead himself was to see him in person or through a magic vision. Yet we, who have experience no miracles, who have seen no body, who receive no visions striking us nearly blind, are expected to burn in hell if we don't believe it happened. If Jesus' own disciples (and Paul) were subject to the same "lack-of-magical-visions" reality that everyone else in the world has to deal with, they would've undoubtedly ended up in hell. The foundation of "salvation through faith" is proven absurd through the very story itself.
My doctrine of hell, if you're curious, is closest to that put beautifully in Spe Salvi:

Benedict XVI said:
For the great majority of people—we may suppose—there remains in the depths of their being an ultimate interior openness to truth, to love, to God. In the concrete choices of life, however, it is covered over by ever new compromises with evil—much filth covers purity, but the thirst for purity remains and it still constantly re-emerges from all that is base and remains present in the soul. What happens to such individuals when they appear before the Judge? Will all the impurity they have amassed through life suddenly cease to matter? What else might occur?

Saint Paul, in his First Letter to the Corinthians, gives us an idea of the differing impact of God's judgement according to each person's particular circumstances. He does this using images which in some way try to express the invisible, without it being possible for us to conceptualize these images—simply because we can neither see into the world beyond death nor do we have any experience of it. Paul begins by saying that Christian life is built upon a common foundation: Jesus Christ. This foundation endures. If we have stood firm on this foundation and built our life upon it, we know that it cannot be taken away from us even in death. Then Paul continues: “Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:12-15). In this text, it is in any case evident that our salvation can take different forms, that some of what is built may be burned down, that in order to be saved we personally have to pass through “fire” so as to become fully open to receiving God and able to take our place at the table of the eternal marriage-feast.

Some recent theologians are of the opinion that the fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour. The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away. This encounter with him, as it burns us, transforms and frees us, allowing us to become truly ourselves. All that we build during our lives can prove to be mere straw, pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain of this encounter, when the impurity and sickness of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation. His gaze, the touch of his heart heals us through an undeniably painful transformation “as through fire”. But it is a blessed pain, in which the holy power of his love sears through us like a flame, enabling us to become totally ourselves and thus totally of God. In this way the inter-relation between justice and grace also becomes clear: the way we live our lives is not immaterial, but our defilement does not stain us for ever if we have at least continued to reach out towards Christ, towards truth and towards love. Indeed, it has already been burned away through Christ's Passion. At the moment of judgement we experience and we absorb the overwhelming power of his love over all the evil in the world and in ourselves. The pain of love becomes our salvation and our joy. It is clear that we cannot calculate the “duration” of this transforming burning in terms of the chronological measurements of this world. The transforming “moment” of this encounter eludes earthly time-reckoning—it is the heart's time, it is the time of “passage” to communion with God in the Body of Christ. The judgement of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace. If it were merely grace, making all earthly things cease to matter, God would still owe us an answer to the question about justice—the crucial question that we ask of history and of God. If it were merely justice, in the end it could bring only fear to us all. The incarnation of God in Christ has so closely linked the two together—judgement and grace—that justice is firmly established: we all work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). Nevertheless grace allows us all to hope, and to go trustfully to meet the Judge whom we know as our “advocate”, or parakletos (cf. 1 Jn 2:1).
http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20071130_spe-salvi.html (Pgs. 46 - 47)
 
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#Phonepunk#

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just got done reading The Golden Legend myself. outside of the Bible it was the most printed book of medieval times.

the book details stories of the early saints. this are pretty much all victims of state violence and oppression, people who were abused and made martyrs by the system. they "received the crown of martyrdom" by usually being tortured for a confession and then, failing to extract one, were beheaded. keeping faith in this most dire of circumstances, when you are literally being hunted down, was of utmost importance.

Jesus's story, a victim of state torture and abuse, and his inglorious end of being crucified alongside thieves, was quite a common thing back in the day. people were living in incredible violent, revolutionary times, and unfortunately, people nowadays are keen on forgetting that context entirely.
 
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93xfan

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2. Giving up material possessions is a demonstration of the impossibility of man-made salvation.

The audience’s response to the rich man entering heaven (Mt 19:25) is the same as the exhortations on sexual purity (Mt 19:10), even among the twelve themselves - it is beyond what mortal human beings are capable of achieving on their own. He similarly said John the Baptist was the greatest of any man ever born but that he is beneath the worst person in heaven. (Mt 11:11). The conclusion is clear: no one is capable of obtaining salvation without the help of God (Mt 19:26).

Surely you must admit that you are conflating salvation with apocalypse to explain why the early Church established a proto-Marxist community (Acts 4:35). They did not give up their possessions because they didn't need them, they were putting those resources to work for the poor. Christians of every age have strained their means to give and improve society, building cathedrals, shelters, schools, and clinics. The biography of every Saint is filled with dedication to education and medicine for the less fortunate. The modern University and the Hospital as we understand them is solely a product of the Roman Catholic church. Unless you also think that we’re doing these things because we, too, think the world will soon end, you have to admit that your reasoning is undeniably illogical.
To add to the thing about Jesus telling a rich man to sell all his possessions and follow him;

The rich man asks calls Jesus a “good teacher” (so at this point he doesn’t know and have faith in who Jesus really is. He proceeds to ask Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus tells him about following the commandments and the man responds saying he has kept all of these commandments.

No one perfectly keeps these commandments.

Jesus then brings him back to the first commandment of not having any other gods before God. But this man’s gods were possessions. And he put them above Jesus, as he chose them over Jesus.

It’s okay to have possessions, but wrong to make them that important in your heart and mind.


Anyway, many who don’t know much about Christianity and the Bible do not really understand that wisdom isn’t just given to anyone who reads a portion of scripture. It is given to the Believers by the Spirit. Do not let others color your perspective on the Bible and search and seek for yourself.
 

Bolivar687

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Arkage, I wanted to say thanks to responding to my post because it's super long and it's clear you've done your homework and put a lot of thought into this, not only in your paper and original post but in your replies so far. I want to apologize for any of the harshness of my post, particular when I said "you straight up lie." Our differences are of construction, context, and oversights. I don't think you're intentionally misleading anyone.

It also seems the conversation is moving from historical criticism to exegesis, which I welcome because I think it's much more interesting and much more grounded in logic.

Mark 4:33 talks about Jesus speaking in parables right after it tells a story about Jesus telling a parable. You don't get to then shift the parable claim onto unrelated prophecies in later chapters. Matthew 13 also explicit says the stories he's telling are parables. Matthew 13 says nothing about Jesus being a "long time coming" - this is a lie. Quote an exact verse. As for Luke 12, Jesus is talked directly to his disciples about how they need to be prepared for his return. He's not talking to you, nor Christians generally. Christians such as yourself love doing this: you essentially place yourself in the disciples shoes and ask "What is Jesus telling me?" in an egocentric way rather than the obvious reading of "What is Jesus telling the people he's actually talk to?" It is true Luke 12 says Jesus claims his time will be a "long time coming," but regardless his audience was his disciples. They were the ones who needed to wait for the thief in the night, and they were the ones that waited for nothing, as nothing actually happened and the apocalyptic Son of Man never arrived to destroy the wicked.

Counter to this, Mark 13:30 "in this generation." Jesus was always preaching the coming of the Son of Man, and the destruction of the wicked, to his captive audience.
When Jesus is preaching to crowds, I do not believe the message is limited to the immediate vicinity. At Luke 12:41, Peter asks if the parable is meant for them or for everyone, and the subsequent verses do indeed seem to imply the latter. As I posted originally, there is clearly an intermediate time of the gentiles, when the gospel must first be preached to all the nations (Mt 24:14, Mk 13:10).

I absolutely do believe that Jesus parables have multiple layers of meaning, beyond the facial text: a proscription of optimal conduct for mundane, everyday life; a theological exhortation for your relationship with God; and an ecclesiastical revelation for the Church. The gospel would not be this enduring if this was not the case. Ehrman is correct that there were many contemporary teachers of the apocalyptic genre. But they've all been forgotten, while Jesus' prophecy has remained true: "my words will not pass away." (Mt 24:35, Mk 13:31, Lk 21:33).

Giving up your material wealth to follow Jesus is not "beyond human achievement." The disciples themselves literally claim that this is what they've done:

Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” Mark 10:28

Mt 19:10 is not just addressing sexual purity, it's addressing the commandments, as Jesus says in that section you need to stick with Jewish law. The man then responds with "All these I have kept." Jesus doesn't scoff at him but rather accepts the fact that it's certainly possible for a Jew to keep Jewish law, and make atonements for wrongdoing for forgiveness just as had been happening for thousands of years prior.

Right after your Mt 19:26 quote about needing God's help, the disciples directly say, again, that they've given up everything to follow Jesus (Matt 19:27), which is demonstrating exactly how humans are meeting the expectations set by his demands: giving up wealth, keep the law according to Jewish tradition. They really aren't that impossible to do, believe it or not. I already said this giving up of wealth played a dual role: one was the humanitarian effort to help the poor Jewish population he was preaching and serving, the second was to prove one's own faith to his apocalyptic message (though that was more in reference to family). Not sure why you're bringing up stuff I already addressed and conflating it with other specifics like abandoning your children (Mk 10:29).
That's the point: they were able to create this proto-Marxist community, by following the way of the Lord. That's not to say no other voluntary ascetics exist, but it's always in the context of some kind of spiritual or transcendental devotion.

Here we're probably just going to have to disagree, but I feel strongly that forfeiture of material possessions is not evidence of "the world is ending, I don't need this!" The apostles were living a life of self-denial in service to others. Paul likewise went throughout the Hellenistic world fundraising for the poor in Jerusalem.

Yes, Jews did not expect the Messiah to sacrifice himself because that goes against all OT scripture about Messiahs. And the disciples believed he was bringing about an earthly kingdom because that is what Jesus actually promises to them (Matt 19:28). The fact that later scribes/early church fathers attempted to do damage control within the texts is of no surprise, and is the very premise of my argument.

Claiming Jesus somehow restores a real "divine kingship" is truly bizarre ChirstTheory. The point of the statecraft was to curb disobedience to the Lord. Jesus did nothing to curb disobedience, he just offered a supposedly more streamlined way of cleaning your slate after said disobedience happens. Your conflation of these various concepts is peak Christian talk transplanting Jewish concepts into your own messed up framework. The fact you think that Jesus wasn't talking about a political kingdom means you no nothing about the historical context of Apocalyptic Jews and nothing about the OT scripture on what the Messiah would do. The fact that so many Christians still think, after 2,000 years, there has to be an inevitable 2nd coming of Jesus for him to "really" have completed all his work should be enough of a hint that shit didn't go down right.
I just can't meet you here - the Gospels are an explicit refutation of the idea of a material kingdom. They're unanimous that Pilate finds no political implications to Jesus' preaching - the Roman state washes its hands of the matter. Jesus always encouraged his followers to think of higher, spiritual things, and not of their material interests.

Matthew 19:28 speaks of the second creation at the end of physical time, and the dominion of the son of man referring to Daniel 7 is clearly a heavenly and divine kingdom, beyond those of the temporary, ephemeral monarchs.

When I say Jesus didn't discuss resurrection, I'm talking about his own, not miracles he supposedly performed on others. I thought that would've been obvious, as I contextualize within what "the point" of Jesus was. The "resurrection" argument he had with the Sadducees fits an apocalyptic framework as the concept clearly has Jewish origins, see here. I also wouldn't call a ~10 verse Gospel story a "focal point" compared to the lengthy chapters of end-times talk in each Synoptic. This is clearly disingenuous framing.

Bible literacy, and being unfaithful in the face of miracles, is a garbage concept to begin with. Hint: I don't believe in miracles. Their doubt of a Resurrection after him already having performed a resurrection himself, despite his prophecy of the entire timeline, despite the extreme short time frame to wait (3 days), and being skeptical even after confirmation, is all blatantly absurd and something only a religious adherent who already has their chips invested could justify.

1) Yes, an empty tomb is completely within the realm of reality. I do not doubt that.
2) Mark does not have Jesus appear to Mary because the last 12 versus were added by scribes because they didn't like the ending. See here.
3) See 1.
4) No Mark doesn't, see 2. Also, Matt has nobody touching wounds, and some of the disciples doubt it's him upon seeing him. Oh and don't forget that Jesus does some secret disguises and teleportation house tricks in Luke because he's a shenanigans-kind-of-guy by then. :messenger_tears_of_joy:
5) It's true, Jesus post-resurrection suddenly changes his mind and accepts Gentiles with an open heart! Which are just coincidentally the only people in early Christianity who would accept some weird God-man failed Messiah figure, as the Jews were clearly no longer interested. Jesus certainly has marketing skills! (To be clear, I consider post-Resurrection speeches historically unreliable and thus don't include them, lol)
6) See 2
I can only reiterate that you're trivializing resurrection and eternal life in the Gospels, and the implications of a confrontation with the sadduccees.

Maybe you should ask a practicing Jew how much blood sacrifice they've done the past ~2,000 years. See Hosea 14:2, Psalm 32:5, Jonah 3:6-10, 2 Chron 6:36-40, 1 Kings 8:28-30 for forgiving all manner of Jewish sins through Jewish prayer by the Jewish God, especially after the destruction of the first temple 500+ years before Jesus enters the scene. The Pharisees were also pro-prayer and against sacrifice throughout Jesus' time. Sacrifices were also used much more for celebration or petition rather than sin forgiveness. Some "sacrifices" involved paying back a person for stolen goods/property/damage, etc. In other words, the atonement system for Jews isn't a neat, tidy package of "Jews required blood sacrifice for everything and Jesus got rid of that" that the Christian narrative demands. Christianity essentially had to stereotype Judaism into some weird caricature of itself in order to shoehorn Jesus into it. Also, the passover lamb wasn't to escape Egypt. It was to prevent a death angel from killing their first born son (but not anyone else in the house, weird rules). This also makes no sense as an analogy to Jesus.
I realize this is going to sound harsh: the rabbinic Judiasm the last 2,000 years was in many respects sculpted for political considerations with notable departures from its foundational scripture. The destruction of the Temple severed its link to pre-Christian Judaism.

Christians do not believe sacrifice is required for everything, we also believe in expiation of venial sins through prayer, fasting, and corporal works of mercy. But we know that for mortal sins that leave is in a state of death, disconnection from God, requires greater reconciliation, which you really cannot deny is demanded by the Torah.

The passover lamb was indeed and irrefutably a sacrifice to begin the exodus - it was killed the night before, and they were instructed to eat it ready to leave (Ex 12:11).

You can't get around that Isaiah's suffering servants clearly embeds within Jewish tradition the idea of a savior who suffers for the forgiveness of many.

The Vineyard has nothing to do with Jew vs Gentile. It has to do with Jews who are in power and Jesus' distrust of them since his audience (the poor Jewish population) was suffering under them. It literally says Jesus was threatening the "chief priests" with this parable. Matt 22 also has nothing to do with Jew vs Gentile. In fact in the Lk version he's clearly just pissed at the Jews who are too busy to pay him any attention, so he praises his audience (primariliy poor/crippled Jews) as the ones who are invited to the table. The Matt version takes a it a step further, in that the poor/crippled audience still needs to follow tradition (wedding garb aka Jewish law) to be accepted into the new kingdom of God. Prodigal Son, also literally nothing to do with Jew vs Gentile. I mean, do you even care that Jesus was literally talking to a Jewish audience 100% of the time during these stories? He wasn't talking to you, and he wasn't talking to converted Christians. It truly is a bizarre insistence in removing all context. Prodigal Son is about how those who always do right should have an open heart and not be bitter when those who do wrong then receive praise for doing right. Hint: not all "parables" are deep mysteries, in fact most of them are pretty basic, but fairly poetic. Like Aesop's fables.
It applies to the Sanhedrin to the extent they were the caretakers of the vineyard at that given time - the sending of different servants in different waves before the ultimate sending of the Son denotes the longer history of Israel, and the rejection and rebellion prophets like Moses and Samuel continually faced as well as explicitly the persecution of Elijah. You say the prodigal son has "literally nothing" to do with gentiles, but, again, the reference to swine says otherwise.

The synoptics are unanimous about the need to preach the gospel to all nations, so I just can't buy into the idea that speaking to a Jewish audience must necessarily mean the message is intended only for them. That's a fallacy.

Everyone had different opinions on who Jesus was, many of them political like yours, which the gospel narrative clearly and intentionally contrasts against. Jesus himself only uses the title "Son of Man." Here is the Jewish understanding of this figure:

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13-14).

The idea that Mark came first is held by the large majority of Biblical scholars whether religious or secular, for a myriad of reasons.. I cannot find a single legit source for further info on your link's claims. The same article is copy-pasted into multiple janky Christian "news" websites when I try to search for it. The evidence chain seems to be article->professor guy-> book by Jewish guy -> 2 specific Talmud story by Gamaliel. Gamaliel died in 52 AD yet the article says this "tale" is dated to be as old as 72 AD. Dated how? As in when it was written (which I think is the implication with the use of the word "tale" rather than "parchment") or when they can carbon date the paper to? Who knows? Why did they date it 72 if it's indeed a textual determination? Who did the dating? How was authorship determined if the man passed away 20 years prior?
Consensus is not truth and the arguments for Marcan priority are just not persuasive to me.

Paul says all you need is faith and works have nothing to do with it, and that those who say you need works are foolish and ignorant (Romans 4:1-5, Ephesians 2:8-9). James says works are required or else faith is dead, that works are indeed what justify your salvation (James 2:14-26). Peter said you need to hold Jewish tradition/law, also under the umbrella term "works" (Gal 2:11-16). Should we be surprised that James, the brother of Jesus, and Peter, a beloved disciple, were both repeating what Jesus said is required for salvation in the Synoptics? Works are precisely how Jesus said you needed to saved. Matt 5:17-20 says follow Jewish law, Matt 7:15-23 says those who bear good fruit (works) will be saved as opposed to those just thinking of themselves as a good tree prophesying about Jesus (faith).
Although this is not responding to me, we need to address this here. The argument you are referring to is the largest of all Protestant misconceptions:


Good works in general are not "Works of the Law." Paul himself agrees that God will repay each according to his deeds (Rm 2:6-7). He wouldn't have bothered exhorting his followers against sinful lifestyles if this wasn't the case. Paul was instead dealing with the limited question of whether Gentiles must adhere to the dietary and hygienic proscriptions of the Mosaic Law, namely circumcision, which looms large throughout his epistles. Jesus' ministry in the Gospels likewise and continually preaches against this legalistic adherence to works of the law, through the numerous healing he performed on the sabbath, the basis of all his contention with the Pharisees . Almost all of those confrontations evoke this same point Paul is making. Jesus even specifically rejects that the dietary concerns are what damns a person (Mt 5:17-18).

Faithful Christians do not believe the old law was obviated - we still follow the ten commandments, we offer a communal sacrifice, use incense, and we abide by the necessity of confessing our sins (Nm 5:6-7).

Jesus denies that he's come to obviate the law, but he does not claim to reinforce the status quo, either. Instead, that it shall be fulfilled. His correction on divorce clearly displaces the Mosaic code, saying "it was not this way from the beginning" (Mt 8-9).
 
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93xfan

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The NT is often contradictory in this message. Paul says all you need is faith and works have nothing to do with it, and that those who say you need works are foolish and ignorant (Romans 4:1-5, Ephesians 2:8-9). James says works are required or else faith is dead, that works are indeed what justify your salvation (James 2:14-26). Peter said you need to hold Jewish tradition/law, also under the umbrella term "works" (Gal 2:11-16). Should we be surprised that James, the brother of Jesus, and Peter, a beloved disciple, were both repeating what Jesus said is required for salvation in the Synoptics? Works are precisely how Jesus said you needed to saved. Matt 5:17-20 says follow Jewish law, Matt 7:15-23 says those who bear good fruit (works) will be saved as opposed to those just thinking of themselves as a good tree prophesying about Jesus (faith).

Paul, a person who never met Jesus and only came up with his doctrines through some magical visions, is in direct contrast to actual followers of Jesus and Jesus himself. But since he was so prolific in building the early Church his voice ended up smothering out the others. Early Christians eventually settled on some weird, farcical combination of these contrasting beliefs because nobody liked the uncomfortable truth that Paul was shitting on Jesus and his own disciples' salvation message.
I’ve become convinced that true faith is what is needed. You have faith that changes your life and that produces good works and fruit. If you find you aren’t bearing fruit or showing good works, then you need to examine your faith, repent (which is turning from sin and changing your mind about sin) and turn back to God. God always welcomes me back when I fail, and I’ve failed pretty hard in my Christian walk at times.

Sin is serious, and it causes a lot of guilt and makes us feel distant from God. It is definitely not without consequence. And if left unrepented of will ultimately lead to judgement and hell.

The good news is that Jesus is always calling us back, so we can start or restart our walk with him. No one is too far gone to cry out to Jesus at any point, repent and ask for a changed life that he is Lord of.
 
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AmaiMask

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OP, do you identify as a Leftist or Left leaning in any capacity? I've got to be completely honest, I can't take people that criticize Christianity in today's climate seriously or as being sincere in the slightest. The white cis male is currently the number one enemy to Leftists and those that lean left. Christianity is seen as the white cis male religion & is thus under constant scrutiny from Leftists, even though Islam is far more problematic to Leftist views. I don't think you're arguing in good faith OP.
 

lock2k

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OP, do you identify as a Leftist or Left leaning in any capacity? I've got to be completely honest, I can't take people that criticize Christianity in today's climate seriously or as being sincere in the slightest. The white cis male is currently the number one enemy to Leftists and those that lean left. Christianity is seen as the white cis male religion & is thus under constant scrutiny from Leftists, even though Islam is far more problematic to Leftist views. I don't think you're arguing in good faith OP.
Not everything is set in stone regarding religion and political leaning. I lean right and conservative and I have no religion, in fact, I'm would say I'm almost an atheist (in regards to the biblical god).. This combo exists as well.

That said, I don't have a problem with religion, it's just not for me. I was raised catholic and I enjoy the traditions but I personally could never follow it. I'm in the closet to my family (not the immediate family, we are proud pagans) but the extended family would be mad with me if they knew my real views. I think religion is important for humanity because it's like an instruction manual for good manners and I think it legitimaly does good things for people, but there is the dark side of it as well.

To me the concept of God is more like Spinoza's concept. More like a force of nature.
 

Arkage

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So I got into a debate with someone on Christianity and sent them my google doc on it. But then I remembered I had to change something in it but forgot what, so I came back into this thread to remember. Then I saw there were two long replies from ResurrectedContrarian ResurrectedContrarian and Bolivar687 Bolivar687 that I never responded to. So, here you go!

This statement flies in the face of even the Jewish practice of reading scripture during the time of Jesus; scripture was understood to refer to a real past, yes, but by means of repetitions, cycles, promises / failures to point to deeper meanings behind physical events, and other ways in which the words reveal the meaning of the past in a prophetic way, rather than reporting it as flat facts in the way a history book would in our era.
Some Jews believe in mystical interpretations, some do not. You seem to have stereotyped Judaism into a particular set of mystic norms. This is a particular stretch when you apply this framework to Genesis in order to salvage it, rather than admitting that some of the earliest books ever written about how the Earth was created are likely to be wrong, and indeed are. Do modern practicing Jews take Genesis symbolically? Yes, because it's literally the only way to salvage it. Prior to any scientific knowledge or critical thinking about the real world people could well take Genesis literally, so there's no reason to assume they didn't.

You're stuck, like Ehrman, in a bizarrely simplistic polarity between "literal" and "symbolic" as if either of these on its own is even a serious or coherent position. Flatly "historical" texts are not even the core of the Old Testament; prophecy looms large everywhere, alongside wisdom literature, prayer, etc -- and if you understand how prophetic language operates (which Jesus constantly uses as well), you will be much better able to grasp how something like Genesis is neither a flat history nor a purely symbolic allegory. It refers to a reality (God's creation of us), yet even the NT authors themselves ("for God, one day is like a thousand years") read it as a kind of prophetic revelation of the shape of God's actions relative to man, not as an account of how it would look if you were "standing there" watching the earth form in front of you. Prophecy interprets the historical events of the present--which may have perfectly natural causes seen on their own--as part of God's actions relative to us, and, likewise, the histories in scripture keep a record of the meaning of the past, a history of revelation that recounts the inner truth of events as part of a long story between God and man working itself out. And this working out is largely behind the backs of the people there at the time; just as a prophet will interpret the meaning and reality of the present moment in a new light that disregards the conscious intentions of everyone.
You are again applying your own framework of interpretation upon ancient Jews, as if you are both within the same context of understanding the world and how it works. A 3000+ year old culture really isn't going to have the philosophical sophistication you're attempting to push onto it in order to justify the lens you're using. Literal and Symbolic are functionally very different, and to not draw lines between the two is to enable yourself to interpret scripture by any particular whim you feel is needs in order to justify its rationality. Beyond that, there are plenty of places in the OT where there is no Prophecy, and plenty of places where there is. There are also plenty of prophecies that never get fulfilled. It's another version of Nostradamus; say enough things and some of them are bound to be right. The books with lots of sketchy sayings get discarded from the canon. And the ones that turned out right should be looked at individually to see whether they were added by scribes after the fact or just lucky guesses. In other words, you need to have a counterfactual. Can I imagine a world in which the Bible was a product of God? Yes: in fact I lived that and hoped for it, and it didn't last the course of my studies. Can you imagine a world in which the Bible was a product of a bunch of men that had no spiritual guidance, in which the book is filled with plenty of errors and mistakes? The plain truth is that I would love to be convinced that the Bible is an unerring prophetic wonder by God, guiding me to heaven. Death is scary shit. But the Bible is totally writable in a world without a God, and that's a huge problem.

"The earlier the better" etc is not any improvement over "cutting against the grain." The timelines of texts are extremely tendentious, constantly disputed or revised, and hypothetical--it's absurd to hang an interpretive theory on that basis. I've seen this in other areas as well, like the attempts to separate several stages of Plato's works as developments based on equally fuzzy timelines, and all it does it to render the reader incapable to seeing the harmony of the work, because they're constantly placing each statement into their timeline as a new intervention, revision, etc.

"The more sources, the better" is also flimsy. Given, for instance, the pull of gnosticism (extremely popular today, for instance), many secondary scriptures will have gnostic tendencies and will repeat the bits of "sayings" that uphold that view. It doesn't make it any more likely as the "true" teaching that the historian is divining behind the scripture; it does tell us what is more appealing, but Christ's rather explicit message is repeatedly to say that his genuine teaching will not be appealing to those looking for a quick answer, and will be a narrow way constantly misunderstood.
Your dismissal of the contextual norms that historians use when assessing documents tells me you really just don't know anything about the field. The timelines of texts are not constantly disputed or revised. They have changed over the past years due to the discovery of new caches of manuscripts, but not by radical degrees, as those changes were largely dependent upon physical discoveries. There has been very little movement for a long while now. It seems you also have no understanding behind why certain texts are dated to certain times to begin with; maybe that should be a subject you research for yourself before you dismiss it out of hand because it doesn't align with your dogmatic Christian framework.

While Jesus said his message wouldn't be appealing, the fact is that it was, to multitudes of poor, downtrodden apocalyptic Jews who were his primary audience. Modern day 'prophets' will claim the same exact thing; my very church did as well. This is a psychological game being played. Claiming that you, the listener, are part of a select group of wise individuals that knows the "real" truth, is on its face just a more sophisticated form of in-group tribalism. It lets any given prophet dismiss the non-believers as unwise; how convenient. And when your message is radical and extreme for lots of people, this only feeds the inner narrative further. These are techniques extremist leaders use all the time: our rejection by the 'regular' folk is evidence of our truth. They don't want to know the deeper truth, and truth that takes time to absorb, blah blah blah.

But this last statement is what I hastily alluded to before about history. You're entirely wrong to say that the truth of Jesus's teaching can have no connection with the history of the early church and its eventual consensus. Jesus taught that God was acting in history through him in a way that would reach the corners of the earth, and would be some kind of final statement of God ("it is finished") -- so it's directed at how his disciple's history would record him (his message carried on would prevail against "the gates of hell" forever--meaning that it would never be snuffed out, and his teaching would inhabit a real, physical, worldwide community that returns to the eucharist he showed, as his ongoing body is between believers at the table). And he also suggested repeatedly in every gospel that this wouldn't be evident immediately: Peter doesn't get it at first; many of his messages are shown to be misunderstood by the listeners; all will be revealed later; the disciples are still moaning over the crucifixion when Christ appears in disguise and explains to them the connections all scripture, which they still didn't understand fully until later; etc.

This is to say: any coherent follower of Christ would have to believe that God acted through history, and that includes the history of the church. It's sketched out intentionally in Acts... look at how it depicts the gradual realization of new truths as the disciples begin to follow where it all leads them, eg. the circumcision debate with Peter which finally resolves against Jewish practice of the time, all pictured as the ongoing outworking of God through the disputes of the disciples as they learned.

This is very explicit--the core teaching of the NT includes the sense that Jesus arrived like a bit of new leaven in old dough, that would reform and reshape the meaning of everything slowly, as it makes its way through and founds a strong new community. It's simply absurd to suggest that the NT ever presents his teaching as something which will be evident immediately. This is why, eg. the use of Greek philosophy (in John, some in Paul) is a crucial part of the faith: Jesus arrived in a deliberate time and place in history, setting in motion something that would gradually reshape all the categories of human knowledge and faith. You can read eg. popes talking about how beautiful it is that Jesus arrived in such a way as to incorporate the deeper, spiritual truth of the Greek philosophy of that time, meaning that the faith believes the outworking of the early church is part of the core story. That's explicitly what is there in the text, again.
I mean, you're starting from the premise of "God controls history, so therefore the Orthodoxy has to be the right version of Jesus." Is that rational? Sure, if you're already Religious. You should realize you need to a find a different way to convince me here since I'm certainly not going to adopt this a priori.

The existence of some kind of common source behind the synoptic parallels is widespread, but the consensus stops there. No one has a clear sense if it is another scripture (flies in the face of evidence in many ways; early catalogues of writings are rather complete and have no mention) or an oral tradition of sayings (much more likely). The problem with Q isn't the bare assertion of a common source, it's the way someone like Ehrman reads into it: for him, the common source can be thought of as some kind of primary truth (again, ignoring the historical nature of Christian faith's self understanding) that is more "pure" or unaltered than the actual Gospel texts. That's absurd; the sayings of Jesus would have been preserved closely in some kind of oral or other form in the early followers, but the final canonical embodiment of those alongside the other stories of Jesus in the four Gospels is not somehow secondary or a distortion; again, it accords perfectly with the way the Gospels are understood to be four ways in which Christ's message works itself out for the benefit of us all. The whole "Q is the real story" bit is the pure nonsense--and Bart falls into it because he values that kind of story-behind-the-story instinctively, unable to grasp how a story might come to its truth and fullness in its final rather than earliest draft form.
If an early catalog was "rather complete", it would've mentioned Q. You seem to be using a bit of circular logic here: "It doesn't include Q, and it is complete, therefore Q wasn't a document." But then you go on to admit it was a common source, and I would assume admit it was a document due the many word-for-word regurgitations. Truly confusing what you believe here. This is also essentially ignoring the timeline differences and geographical distances involved. When and were did the catalogues come from? How does that relate to the timeline and rough geographical locations of Q?

Additionally, Ehrman doesn't read Q as a "primary truth." Really not sure how you got that when his whole premise is building up a theory of Jesus from four sources, of which Q is just one. His assumption that an early oral tradition will probabilisticly be more accurate than a later written version, largely due to the many decades in between them, is rationally well founded.
 

Arkage

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When Jesus is preaching to crowds, I do not believe the message is limited to the immediate vicinity. At Luke 12:41, Peter asks if the parable is meant for them or for everyone, and the subsequent verses do indeed seem to imply the latter. As I posted originally, there is clearly an intermediate time of the gentiles, when the gospel must first be preached to all the nations (Mt 24:14, Mk 13:10).

I absolutely do believe that Jesus parables have multiple layers of meaning, beyond the facial text: a proscription of optimal conduct for mundane, everyday life; a theological exhortation for your relationship with God; and an ecclesiastical revelation for the Church. The gospel would not be this enduring if this was not the case. Ehrman is correct that there were many contemporary teachers of the apocalyptic genre. But they've all been forgotten, while Jesus' prophecy has remained true: "my words will not pass away." (Mt 24:35, Mk 13:31, Lk 21:33).
I don't agree Luke 12 implies "everyone" means "gentiles." The use of "servants" in his response could clearly be Jesus' already existent followers (Jews), and that those servants who abandon the faith in waiting for him (Jews who quit his ministry) will be punished. I'm also fairly certain Ehrman would conclude that 12:41-47 is an addition later to the scripture by someone clearly worried about the early churches falling apart because Jesus wasn't returning like they thought. The references to the complainers saying "My master is taking a long time in coming" can be directly tied into the followers of the early churches losing faith that Jesus would ever return in their lifetime and thus abandon the faith.

Mt 24:14Mk 13:31 would also arguably be framed as additions by later scribes. It's an oddly specifically and accurate description of the kind of punishment the early church would experience: "You will be handed over to local councils and flogged, stand before governors and kings to testify... whenever you are arrested and brought to trial do not worry about what to say..." etc. A scribe would find it well worth his time to add in verses he think his congregation would find comforting if they were being persecuted.

So we come to fundamental divide in our approach. You approach this from: "Is Jesus making an accurate prophecy? Yes. Is he broadening his message to everyone? Yes." I come at it from "Does this contradict other things Jesus said in the Gospels? Yes. Is this something an early church scribe would feel deeply compelled to add for the sake of salvaging and strengthening his congregation? Yes." I don't think there's a way either of us can convince the other, since they're both premised upon how we each fundamentally view the construction of the Gospels.

The Gospels could well be enduring without parables having multiple layers. In fact this is my very argument. A human can turn literally any text they want into a thing of multiple layers if they try hard enough. My church did it with all assortments of scripture in ways that you would find truly bizarre. I.E. did you know Satan had offspring with Eve, that they became the Canaanite tribe, and that they then secretly integrated with Jews in order to manipulate and take over their religion, thus that's why Jews are bad? But not the real Jews, they're still good, normal, non-satanic offspring. Fascinating, right? Also, total horseshit. But these are the "layers" and "depth" of symbolic understanding one can find in scripture if one squints hard enough with just the right glasses and mindset. Granted, most supposed layers implied by Christians aren't this insidious (anymore), but they are ultimately founded in personal interpretation in a much deeper way than a face reading could be. This is why I limit the amount of "symbolism" permitted: symbolism allows way too much personal freedom of interpretation to have any sense of objective truth.

That's the point: they were able to create this proto-Marxist community, by following the way of the Lord. That's not to say no other voluntary ascetics exist, but it's always in the context of some kind of spiritual or transcendental devotion.

Here we're probably just going to have to disagree, but I feel strongly that forfeiture of material possessions is not evidence of "the world is ending, I don't need this!" The apostles were living a life of self-denial in service to others. Paul likewise went throughout the Hellenistic world fundraising for the poor in Jerusalem.
So does this mean you're cool with Marxism? :messenger_sunglasses: (I find it funny since currently, thanks to Peterson, Marxism is nearly viewed as a Satanic form of government that can only bring ruin).

Giving up your material wealth to a spiritual or transcendental devotion is nothing unique to Christianity. Asian religions had Jesus long beat on that kind of conceptual framework. The apostles only began serving others after Jesus' death, and Paul had little to do with the lived life of Jesus. In other words, if you think the world is going to end because of your prophet, but he dies, and it doesn't happen, you need to radically alter your interpretation to continue on the path you set for yourself. This is what the disciples did, and what Paul understood to be the only way forward.

I just can't meet you here - the Gospels are an explicit refutation of the idea of a material kingdom. They're unanimous that Pilate finds no political implications to Jesus' preaching - the Roman state washes its hands of the matter. Jesus always encouraged his followers to think of higher, spiritual things, and not of their material interests.

Matthew 19:28 speaks of the second creation at the end of physical time, and the dominion of the son of man referring to Daniel 7 is clearly a heavenly and divine kingdom, beyond those of the temporary, ephemeral monarchs.
You seem to be dismissing apocalyptic Judaism out of hand here. They certainly believed in an early return of the Kingdom of God to restore the righteous and destroy the wicked. Jesus picks this up and repeatedly says people will see the Son of Man descending from the clouds to judge the Earth (Mk 13, Matt 24). His subsequent followers thought he would return to Earth from the clouds (Rev 1:7) since the clouds are where he went (Act 1:9).

I don't see anything in Matt 19:28 implying the end of physical time. And scientifically speaking this is a fundamentally absurd concept, i.e. a very hard sell to someone like me. And I would argue Daniel 7 is clearly not in spiritual realm as it's described as a kingdom over nations and peoples of every language. You really can't get more physically grounded to Earth than that.

Jesus also explicitly references material rewards in the Kingdom. Matt 19:29, Mark 10:29, Luke 18:28 all imply the material wealth you give up now will be rewarded back to you in the Kingdom of God a hundred fold (kind of Job-like). I'm sure you'll frame this as symbolic: I would disagree. He's talking to poor powerless Jews, and making his message more enticing. As it should be clear by now, I view Jesus in the framework of "What could a person who thinks he's a prophet do to increase his follower count?" If a cynical interpretation fits well enough, it's typically the one I'm most convinced of when it comes to individuals who think they alone have the one true answer to the world's problems.

I realize this is going to sound harsh: the synagogue/rabbi framework of practicing Jews in the last 2,000 years is a fake religion, in that it has no real connection to its foundational scripture. The destruction of the Temple is the destruction of Judaism.

Christians do not believe sacrifice is required for everything, we also believe in expiation of venial sins through prayer and good works. But we know that for mortal sins that leave is in a state of death, disconnection from God, requires greater reconciliation, which you really cannot deny is demanded by the Torah.

The passover lamb was indeed and irrefutably a sacrifice to begin the exodus - it was killed the night before, and they were instructed to eat it ready to leave (Ex 12:11).

You can't get around that Isaiah's suffering servants clearly embeds within Jewish tradition the idea of a savior who suffers for the forgiveness of many.
I mean, Christianity demands that Jews be wrong, so it's not surprising you believe this. Christianity also demands that Judaism be fundamentally tied to physical sacrifice, else what is the point of Jesus? To put it bluntly, I trust the Jew's interpretation of their own scripture over a Christian interpretation attempting to bend it into a failed Messiah context.

As for the passover lamb, it was originally irrefutably a sacrifice to paint blood on your door so an invisible ghost doesn't kill your first born, because otherwise God wouldn't know who to kill and who not to. Whitewashing that ridiculous context into a "actually it's just about leaving Egypt" is purposefully misleading, but necessary, for a Christian to adopt. Especially so when a lamb in particular was sacrificed in this ritual in order to insult Egyptian gods. Where in the Jesus narrative do they smear his blood on doors? Where in the narrative is Jesus representing a false God in order to insult pagans? Jesus as Passover Lamb is a nonsensical connection, which is why Jews rejected it.

Finally, the OT "suffering servant" verses are always in context of Israel. There is no indication whatsoever that a Messianic figure would suffer, and was a later necessary convolution by Christians to explain what happened to Jesus.

It applies to the Sanhedrin to the extent they were the caretakers of the vineyard at that given time - the sending of different servants in different waves before the ultimate sending of the Son denotes the longer history of Israel, and the rejection and rebellion prophets like Moses and Samuel continually faced as well as explicitly the persecution of Elijah. You say the prodigal son has "literally nothing" to do with gentiles, but, again, the reference to swine says otherwise.

The synoptics are unanimous about the need to preach the gospel to all nations, so I just can't buy into the idea that speaking to a Jewish audience must necessarily mean the message is intended only for them. That's a fallacy.

Everyone had different opinions on who Jesus was, many of them political like yours, which the gospel narrative clearly and intentionally contrasts against. Jesus himself only uses the title "Son of Man." Here is the Jewish understanding of this figure:

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13-14).


This whole "waves of sending out the Gospel" rhetoric is too deep into Christian Woo for me to address in any rational way, other than to simply say I disagree. Again, I know that such a framework is necessary to salvage the contradictions of the NT message, but in the end you should know I consider these things simple as complicated, woo-like apologetics for what is in reality sloppy writing and messaging, which is to be expect for theology written by many different hands. The reference to swine in the prodigal son has nothing to do with gentiles,. It has to do with a foolish boy who gets so desperate that he wants to eat pig food. It's to contrast the depths of his despair to the love of his father. I simply have no appetite nor tolerance for the supposed "deeper meanings" of scripture Christians latch on to.

Evidence of Jesus being literally racist against Gentiles is explicitly stated in Matt 15:21-28. "I am sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." Only after the woman admits she is of an inferior race, and accepts her humiliation, and accepts that she deserves only crumbs like a dog, does he expunge a demon from her daughter (lol).

If you think you should remove the context of one's audience as highly influential upon the intention of one's words, I can only say I disagree entirely. A fallacy? What fallacy is that, exactly? It's a basic principle of sociology: the people you're talking to are the people you're trying to communicate meaning to. Add this to the fact that Jesus is seen following Jewish law throughout scripture, and explicitly states that others should follow it, creates the conclusion that his message is for Jews.

Some translations of Daniel 7:13 says all will "worship" the Son of Man at his coming. Other translations use the word "serve" instead. Regardless, even Christians don't think everyone will suddenly worship Jesus for his 2nd coming. The wicked will be destroyed by the Son of Man one way or another, OT or NT style. An argument for global outreach cannot be made with this verse.

Good works in general are not "Works of the Law." Paul himself agrees that God will repay each according to his deeds (Rm 2:6-7). He wouldn't have bothered exhorting his followers against sinful lifestyles if this wasn't the case. Paul was instead dealing with the limited question of whether Gentiles must adhere to the dietary and hygienic proscriptions of the Mosaic Law, namely circumcision, which looms large throughout his epistles. Jesus' ministry in the Gospels likewise and continually preaches against this legalistic adherence to works of the law, through the numerous healing he performed on the sabbath, the basis of all his contention with the Pharisees . Almost all of those confrontations evoke this same point Paul is making. Jesus even specifically rejects that the dietary concerns are what damns a person (Mt 5:17-18).

Faithful Christians do not believe the old law was obviated - we still follow the ten commandments, we offer a communal sacrifice, use incense, and we abide by the necessity of confessing our sins (Nm 5:6-7).

Jesus denies that he's come to obviate the law, but he does not claim to reinforce the status quo, either. Instead, that it shall be fulfilled. His correction on divorce clearly displaces the Mosaic code, saying "it was not this way from the beginning" (Mt 8-9).
The works vs faith debate is in the context of salvation, pure and simple. You seem to neglect to address this. Paul had works entirely removed from the notion of salvation itself, which is why he argued with an actual disciple of Jesus over it. Jesus' ministry only preached against laws he didn't like himself (how unsurprising), and I'd say he considered some of the supposed laws misinterpretations of scripture. Matt 5:17-20 makes it blatantly clear that Jesus embraced Jewish law; that you need to uphold Jewish law even better than the Pharisees and teachers of the law themselves. Jesus held the Jewish holidays in the Temple (John 2:13, John 7:2/10, John 10:22, John 5:1), wore Jewish clothes signifying faithfulness to Jewish law and tradition (Luke 8:43-44, Matt 14:36, Num 15:37-39). Jesus is awash in his Jewishness and his attentive Jewish audience. There is reason why Gentiles were nonexistant in his ministry, and only jumped on the bandwagon after his death: they were the only ones who could be convinced of Jewish-but-not-Jewish and not-successful-but-actually-successful savior story.

As for the parts where he disagrees with traditional Jewish law, is his own ego coming into play. It's his belief that he knows the true message of God, that his interpretation is the correct one. And he doesn't reinterpret the law to make it easier to follow in many cases. His condemnation on divorce is harsh: you'll now go to hell if you get divorced, and a divorced woman can literally never get remarried without living in sin. He says even lustfully looking a woman will send you to hell (Matt 5:27-30). This confirms his message that Salvation is an incredibly hard path to walk. Mark 10:17-25 stresses the incredible difficulty of entering Heaven; how in the world is simply declaring Jesus your savior difficult? He made following Jewish law more strict and condemning. Does him messing around with traditional Jewish law contradict his message in Matthew 5:17? No: he simply thinks Pharisees are misinterpreting the law.

You say Christians still uphold some of this law, like sacrifice. I assume you mean crackers and wine. This is clearly a specific belief of only some sects of Christianity. Your particular Christian interpretation of sacrifice is apparently not only more correct than Jewish interpretation, but also more correct than other competing versions of Christianity. In other words: a giant mess in my view. It's particularly bizarre that you apparently view Mat 5:17 as a condemnation of dietary concerns despite food not being mentioned at all in that chapter, and the context being "I am not abolishing any laws." It's a really strange compartmentalization of meaning that I can no longer indulge (my old church interpreted this stuff the same way you do so I'm very familiar with it).

Fundamentally, all of this comes down to our likely irreconcilable differences in how we view scripture and Jesus. You view all of it as a divinely inspired package. I see it as a cobbled together mess that could've easily been written in a world were no God exists. Just like the Koran. Just like any other religious document. Just like any other religious figure who thinks they know the real path to salvation, and that anyone who doesn't take to it is either lazy or dumb.
 

pennythots

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Think Ben Shapiro had the best take on Jesus.

Dude was a Jew with a following who got put down for his trouble.
 

oagboghi2

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Think Ben Shapiro had the best take on Jesus.

Dude was a Jew with a following who got put down for his trouble.
Pretty much.

Have you read the introductory text? Arkage Arkage is a former Christian. His focus on Christianity in his pursuit of gaining a better understanding of reality and the world is only natural. He is focussing on the inconsistency of the Christian part of the Abrahamitic religions, because he was a Christian himself. Discussing in depth the inconsistencies and development of one religion that played an important role in one's life and upbringing does not call for an equal treatment of all other religions. Similar to (almost) all other Christians, Arkage had rejected alterantive religions already but believed in Christianity so it is only logical that he discusses the one religious doctrine that he ever considered true. But, in fact, he touches on other religions as well.

Judging by what he has written here, numerous readings and comparisons of new testament texts, as well as their origin and a cross checking with historical and old testament texts is necessary for the text Arkage has written. To denounce it on the basis he has not invested the same amount of work for other religions he never considered to be true at all is petty and this kind of superficial answer to a very well argued text is disrespectful.

Arkage Arkage : Very interesting read, with many interesting details I wasn't fully aware of (e.g. the devlopment of the findings in Jesus' grave over time. I recognised the difference in humans / angels being there, but the temporal contextualisation was not apparent to me) and a coherent argument. I greatly appreciate the text and will read the long version when I have some more time.
Oh please, the internet is full of a million atheists who think they have it all figured, and want to lecture the world on how stupid Christianity...I mean "religion" is. It's the same old tired crap over and over. What makes this different?

Hell it would be interesting if he did target a different religion. At least it would be unique.

Of course this assumes that this is all being done in good faith, but knowing Arkage and his politics, it isn't.
 
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Yoshi

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Oh please, the internet is full of a million atheists who think they have it all figured, and want to lecture the world on how stupid Christianity...I mean "religion" is. It's the same old tired crap over and over. What makes this different?

Hell it would be interesting if he did target a different religion. At least it would be unique
Yeah, opposition to Islam would be mighty unique.
 
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Have you read the introductory text? Arkage Arkage is a former Christian. His focus on Christianity in his pursuit of gaining a better understanding of reality and the world is only natural.
Oh ok then his opinion is even more relevant now because he “used to be” something he’s now trying to disprove which is neither provable or disprovable based on historical records unless you put your faith in evidence one way or the other.

The irony almost mines itself.
 
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danielberg

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Shitting on Christianity is easy and takes no courage which is the reason why for example Christianity gets attacked daily and joked about as "omg catholic child abuse lololol" religion yet islam gets no mention no matter that islam has by far the largest issue of pedophilia and child marriages to the point its accepted in many places and carried out by imams.
But again some only go after religions that the liberal TV told them its ok to shit on... and honestly shitting on Christianity over the last decade while protecting by comparisons a worse ideology vs modern sensibilities... really hurt their believability and has become eye rolling and tired.
 
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pramod

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Reading this makes me feel like you missed the whole point of faith and what religion means.

Im not a real Christian, but I wouldnt need to have evidence all his miracles and everything that happened in the bible was real to be converted.
 
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womfalcs3

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Islam claims that the Bible has been changed over time (consistent with OP's, claim) and that Jesus is merely a prophet/messenger who had some spectacular miracles (e.g., born without a father, speaking as an infant, healing the sick, using God to raise the dead).
 
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Thurible

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Prior to any scientific knowledge or critical thinking about the real world people could well take Genesis literally, so there's no reason to assume they didn't.
I don't like this way of thinking as it incorrectly assumes that ancient peoples didn't have any understanding of physical reality or have any faculty of reason. While it is true that we know a lot more now than we did during the time of the biblical jews, this does not mean they were all simpletons who just took things at face value.

I think we as a culture like to believe that history and human development is a definite progression to a finer point as it goes forward and that our forefathers were uneducated and perhaps even dull compared to us currently. This is a whig view of history and it can be rather fallacious. Things don't necessarily get better with technology, culture, and ethics just because time goes forward. With the jews, we are talking about a very diverse group of people in a large area, I'm sure there were multiple traditions on biblical history and they had different understandings of the world and faith.
 

Bolivar687

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So we come to fundamental divide in our approach. You approach this from: "Is Jesus making an accurate prophecy? Yes. Is he broadening his message to everyone? Yes." I come at it from "Does this contradict other things Jesus said in the Gospels? Yes. Is this something an early church scribe would feel deeply compelled to add for the sake of salvaging and strengthening his congregation? Yes." I don't think there's a way either of us can convince the other, since they're both premised upon how we each fundamentally view the construction of the Gospels.
No. We both begin with the axioms that Jesus existed and the Gospels are accounts of his ministry, death, and resurrection. However, between the two of us, you're the only one who bears the burden of rebutting how they had always been interpreted for one thousand and five hundred years until the protestant apostasy. The burden of proof is an important point of logic and ignoring it is the reason why we have the incoherent errors we endure today.

You seem to be dismissing apocalyptic Judaism out of hand here.
I'm not convinced apocalyptic Judaism has anything to do with Christianity. The scarce references to the end of an age you amplify equate with the complete annihilation of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D., and the transfer of corporate worship away from the Temple and now to the body and blood of Jesus Christ, which was codified in Christian faith decades before antitheist scholars insist the Gospels were later written. This is the core argument in the Letter to the Hebrews, which I suspect may be the earliest New Testament document, and certainly you yourself must concede came prior to the Gospels.

Jesus also explicitly references material rewards in the Kingdom. Matt 19:29, Mark 10:29, Luke 18:28 all imply the material wealth you give up now will be rewarded back to you in the Kingdom of God a hundred fold (kind of Job-like). I'm sure you'll frame this as symbolic: I would disagree. He's talking to poor powerless Jews, and making his message more enticing. As it should be clear by now, I view Jesus in the framework of "What could a person who thinks he's a prophet do to increase his follower count?" If a cynical interpretation fits well enough, it's typically the one I'm most convinced of when it comes to individuals who think they alone have the one true answer to the world's problems.
The entirety of the Tanakh corpus reiterates this theme, as it reverberates with each and every historical turn in scripture.

There is no indication whatsoever that a Messianic figure would suffer
The original Messiah David suffered for the entirety of his adult life, from being hunted by Saul after coming of age, to being betrayed by his wives and sons up to the end of his life.

I realize now that your continued references to a "failed Messiah" denotes that you do not understand what the Messiah is. David did not rule a hegemonic empire like his son Solomon, and their successors only led a minority of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Messiah is the exclusive custodian of the liturgical charism. Their responsibility was to carry out and oversee G-d's instructions for corporate worship. Their temporal powers waxed and waned in proportion to how faithfully they executed this duty. Even incredibly successful kings, like Josiah, fell the moment they turned back to geopolitics.

The priesthood, hierarchy, and sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ continue to this day. There is no premise upon which you can conclude that he instead somehow failed.

Paul had works entirely removed from the notion of salvation itself
The faith and works dichotomy was completely made up by protestant apostates and you really need to just let this go:

Romans 2:5-11 - But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.

This is all I can give you. In my last post, I went out of my way to curb my abrasiveness and show as much respect and congeniality as I could for you. I see now that this was a mistake. Your posts have consistently overflowed with cognitive dissonance and ad hominems. You're not interested in exchanging ideas out of a disagreement with my beliefs. You're proactively seeking out avenues to disrespect them.

You started this thread promulgating arguments that Bart Ehrman no longer adheres to. His thesis was widely rejected the moment he first spouted it, and was continuously challenged until he ultimately abandoned it, not in light of new evidence or arguments, but because they were always refuted by the documents themselves. If you want to continue, I wish you and your sparring partners all the best.

I recently heard that atheism is for teenage boys who never grow up, and I can't say they're wrong.
 
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Rentahamster

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Reading this makes me feel like you missed the whole point of faith and what religion means
It sounds like he knows exactly what those are, which is why he chooses a different path.


Im not a real Christian, but I wouldnt need to have evidence all his miracles and everything that happened in the bible was real to be converted.
If it were some other topic, some might say that's just the definition of being gullible.
 
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HeresJohnny

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It sounds like he knows exactly what those are, which is why he chooses a different path.



If it were some other topic, some might say that's just the definition of being gullible.
Russian collusion was gullible. Unlike Russian collusion, there’s actually evidence Christ walked the earth. It’s impossible for any of us to say definitively that the stories about Lazarus , the feeding of the 5000, or healing the man blind from birth are true, but most of them would have required cases of mass delusion for them to be false. And there are dozens if not hundreds of them. That doesn’t mean they are true, but they are accounts from people who were there: this is what we saw happen.

Whether you believe in Jesus or not is such a profoundly personal thing that I don’t go around making posts about it, which is why I’d much rather talk about how wacky it is to think our president was a Russian asset with no proof than something that can be debated but not proven either way like the life of Jesus.
 

Rentahamster

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but most of them would have required cases of mass delusion for them to be false
Mass delusion is not that rare among large groups of humans. It's a part of our social and psychological nature. It's happened quite often throughout history and will happen now and in the future.
there’s actually evidence Christ walked the earth.
Walking the earth isn't what makes him special though.
 

HeresJohnny

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Mass delusion is not that rare among large groups of humans. It's a part of our social and psychological nature. It's happened quite often throughout history and will happen now and in the future.

Walking the earth isn't what makes him special though.
Mass delusion in separate cases and separate towns and locales relating to events surrounding one person would be quite rare. Especially in a time where communication was extremely limited and it would be hard for hype or legend to travel as it does today.

As I said, it’s a process of belief whether you choose to believe in the events surrounding Jesus’ life or whether you choose not to. My point is that no one is able to say definitively one way or the other. Those who claim to have it all figured out are usually the most confused I’ve found. The Roman Catholic Church refers to it as the “mystery of faith” for good reason, in that it implies that no one but God himself can disclose exactly how the Trinity all works.
 
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Hotspurr

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Jesus this thread...
Debating the authenticity of religion at this point (unless it's Mormonism) is basically like debating Gender Studies - if something is built on a foundation of BS, there is always new ways to revise said BS and come up with new BS. This is called "debating the interpretation". You cannot argue with religious people using logic, that is not how the religious mind is wired. When someone takes things as fact based on blind faith alone, you can't expect them to deduce things based on evidence. The only way a religious person breaks away from their conditioning is when they hit a certain level of intellect that fundamentally makes religion incapable of existing in their mind. There is a reason among the very top scientists, the proportion of non-religious is greatly larger than in the general population.

We've already established that human progress is mostly driven by science, where we build theories based on reproducible results that are generally consistent with all other fields of science - religion builds a system of beliefs based on a book thousands of years old that has been rewritten and revised god only knows how many times. And all these theologians and religious experts, imagine if they dedicated all their mental power to studying something real rather than succumb to their religious brainwashing as children.

People say "live and let live", I agree, they should keep their religious garbage from politics and stop brainwashing their kids.
 

Kenpachii

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mass delusion at that scale is not rare, information becomes corrupted all the time
Everybody is delusional, scientists, religion people, you and me.

U believe in a system that u got spoonfed since you are a child, i believe in a system that i got spoonfed when i was a child etc. For some it works for some it doesn't and they start to adopt other believe systems. Even political systems are made up believe systems entirely. Everybody believes in something, as its there nature to believe in something or else society could not exist.

This guy ranting about how jesus was a poor invention doesn't really realize what religion is about. Religion is a community that you can be part of and get support out of in hard times. Got no family? Got no reason to live? pick up christianity and try to be a good guy that helps people out that also are in a rough time even if you have limited resources to go by and create a community by yourself that can help eachother. It gives and brings morals / stability / friendship and future perspective, but most of all a goal in life.

That's why loads of poor people or people that honestly don't see a road to the end anymore become religieus because it gives them a goal and it gives them guidance / stability in there life. People that have goals themselves and family and lots of support will therefore also not be much into traditional religion anymore, they more likely push themselves into political religion systems as it more interests them.

Yet you have people like the OP that starts to read the bible, starts to dig through every little nook and cranny with the goal of debunking stuff. While he doesn't realize that bible is nothing but a addition towards the religion and not a main focus for 95% that are christians. Want more substance that book exists and church visits exists, want all the substance u better of not moving forwards with it, its not for you.

All i see is that Christianity created progress in the world and created country's that pushed stuff forwards, other religions? not so much.

So basically religion is a fundamental thing that's called a believe system that humans relay on that gets formed into a community.
 
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Hotspurr

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Never read the Bible before now. I'm 39 and listening to the New Testament on my commute, compliments to the Righteous Johnny Cash. OP's post looks interesting, but no time to read it now.

Talking about desperate men though, some Gaffers recommended me a book about Immanuel Kant. Now there was a desperate man. Scary what his religious views have led to over the hundreds of years.

Personally I'm all for threads like this. I'm a Buddhist and they say that Jesus was a Bodhisattva, but take that for what you will because I'm not going to fight over it.

The New Testament is interesting and I can see the value in it just from listening in the car. So far, Matthew has been the best part (A Perfect Circle quote it in one of their songs, it's awesome).
I actually read and listen to a lot of Buddhist things. Personally I don't see it as a conventional religion, as it basically tells you to make your own judgements if you want it believe or not. The coping strategies for suffering in Buddhism are wisdom unlike any I have ever come across. I of course don't believe in any of the supernatural stuff or reincarnation, but the wisdom there is unparalleled. By the way, check out Ajahn Brahm if you haven't already (YouTube).
 
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JohnnyFootball

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I used to be a Mormon because my parents were Mormon, but the second I moved out of my parents house at 18, I never went back to that church. In recent years I have researched the LDS church and feel sad for how badly people are duped.