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Old 01-01-2005, 06:25 PM   #46
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"I believe in God, I am just unsure of how to reach Him...if that makes any sense."


I see what you are saying.

This is what I believe:


I believe you reach God in that rebel from Nazareth.

The visible image of the invisible God.
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Old 01-01-2005, 07:06 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally posted by datatyme


I don't think Jesus thought he was God. The New Testament was written by people who never met Jesus, many years after his death. Unless of course you believe the Apostle Paul who says Jesus left heaven for a minute to temporarily blind him so that he might believe. So it's impossible to know where some of these divinity claims about Jesus came from, although Jesus' divinity was voted on about 400 years after he died, and the church tried to destroy any texts which showed Jesus as a common, hardworking man with great ideas, although some of those texts survived.

Jesus was born out of wedlock, had problems with some of the dogmatic teachings of the Jewish faith, and spoke out against them. He also spoke out against the corrupt government of the time. They killed him for that, and that was wrong. It's ironic that 40-100 years after his death, dogmatic teachings were created in his name. Where did these authors get their wild ideas then, quite possibly from Mithraism. It was fairly popular but died out when Christianity became more popular. Vatican City is even built on top of Mithraic temples.

If you look at the son of god, Mithra (which predates Christianity by hundreds of years), there are too many similarities to be coincidental i.e. virgin birth on December 25, magi bearing gifts in a manger, miracles, celibacy, 12 disciples, resurrection on the third day, went to heaven to be with his heavenly father, bread and wine in rememberance of his body and blood, Sunday was his holy day (unlike Judaism where Saturday is the Sabbath). Mithra was called "the light of the world", "the way, the truth, and the light", "messiah", "savior", "son of man". Mithra is supposed to come back again someday and it will be the end of the world and God will resurrect all people for a final judgment day where you go to heaven or hell.

Are Christians really modern-day Mithra worshippers, and don't even know it?
datatyme, I'm just wondering where exactly you get your data from? Because it certainly doesn't have much of a basis in widely accepted historical or archaelogical fact.

The Mithra myth is a one of those often quoted pieces of misinformation gleaned from some fringe psuedo-academics. In actual fact Mirthra was a secondary created god in the persian pantheon and also later held an intermediate position in the Zoroastrian pantheon. Many of the so called "similarities" you have suggested are either recent fabrications or spin, or just plain irrelevent. For instance, christians don't claim december 25 as Jesus' birthday anyway, that was a later development as a choice to celebrate christmas- something that the bible doesn't even suggest. I won't even bother with this except to suggest that you read a bit more widely.

But this is particularly erroneous
Quote:
Originally posted by datatyme


I don't think Jesus thought he was God. The New Testament was written by people who never met Jesus, many years after his death. Unless of course you believe the Apostle Paul who says Jesus left heaven for a minute to temporarily blind him so that he might believe. So it's impossible to know where some of these divinity claims about Jesus came from, although Jesus' divinity was voted on about 400 years after he died, and the church tried to destroy any texts which showed Jesus as a common, hardworking man with great ideas, although some of those texts survived.

Jesus was born out of wedlock, had problems with some of the dogmatic teachings of the Jewish faith, and spoke out against them. He also spoke out against the corrupt government of the time. They killed him for that, and that was wrong. It's ironic that 40-100 years after his death, dogmatic teachings were created in his name.
[
"The NT was written by people who never met Jesus" Um...all I can say is have you ever researched this? There is not a credible scholar alive who would maintain such a glaring inacuracy. Amazingly we have in existance today one of the oldest fragments of the NT ever found dated around 50 AD, just 17 years after Jesus' death. Two of the gospel writers lived and travelled with Jesus for over 3 years. Have a read of this post that I made in the atheist thread:

Quote:

We'll the whole of Christian spirituality stands or falls on one particular historical event. Or more specifically on one particular person - Jesus. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that our evidence for Jesus is contained for the most part within the bible. Although not just within the bible, there are many extra-biblical accounts of the life, teaching and actions of this remarkable man. But there are a number of objections people tend to make about the bible, many of them before even having read it, let alone studied it's reliability.

Firstly people assume the message has been lost in the translation. The fact is that most bibles available today are taken directly from the original languages- Hebrew, Aramaic and Ancient Greek. Our knowledge of these languages is getting more and more precise which means that translations are actually getting more acurate.

The next objection some people raise is that it's been changed. In this arguement people claim that the scribes who copied and passed on the ancient bible documents decided to change the stories to suit themselves. But again this is just hopelessly ignorant. We have in our possesion hundreds of ancient copies of the gospel of mark (for example) found in many different places all over the ancient world. If it had been deliberately embelished there would be an abundance of ways to demonstrate this- I mean it's not like the Athenian scribe could fax his chnages through to his mates in Jerusalem, Rome and Corinth and get them to make the changes too. Of course there is also the issue of motive- scribes believed they were dealing with God's word- something sacred.

Others argue it contains accidental mistakes. The fact is mistakes were made, here's an example:
"They (Jesus and his disciples) went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes." (Mark 5:1) So what? The problem is, the various ancient copies (remember we've found heaps) differ on the spelling of this region. Some have it "Gardarenes" others "Gergesenes". Obviously some scribe somewhere stuffed up. As a result scholars now have to sift through the many ancient copies and work out which is the most likely spelling. Of course this is not the only 'mistake' in the ancient copies of the Bible but the others are only about as life-changing as this one.

I'm sorry if I am going over stuff you are already aware of but the reason for this brief biblical examination is so we can get to the crux of the issue. Sure you may say, the bible is a reliable account, but it's an account of some religious wackos who were trying to pass off a bunch of crap about a guy they decided to make a messiah. Maybe the bible is just a well preserved lie.

The first thing to remember is that the gospels are based on eye-witness accounts, two of them were written by men who personally knew or interviewed eye witnesses, the other two were men who travelled and worked with Jesus for over 3 years. The second thing to remember is many of the eye witnesses were either imprisoned or executed for proclaiming what they'd seen.

What caused these people to really believe they'd seen Jesus teach, heal, die and then rise again? There were hundreds who saw Jesus after the resurrection, many had been with him for over three years. Could it have been that they were all just seeing a very extended optical illusion? If they had simply made the whole thing up, why did they bother dying for a lie? It certainly wasn't for power, prestige or wealth- they were often despised and destitute. Even those who wern't killed for their claims, still had to endure family ridicule, loss of jobs and much persecution.

The authorities had every reason to want to discredit this zealous jewish sect (as they would have viewed it)- it posed a threat to their authority because Jesus had made claims about his deity and authority and this movement of early christians was making it's presence felt. Jesus' resurrection was falsifiable in that all the critics had to do was produce the body, but they did not.*
Please datatyme, if you are going to make these kinds of claims, can you at least back it with some evidence.
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Old 01-01-2005, 07:23 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally posted by starsgoblue
What really makes me wonder is about Paul and his literature....I mean did he ever meet Jesus while he was alive? Besides the vision I mean....and yet Pauline literature makes a huge bulk to the NT and Paul institutes much dramatic change in theology, ie. the Gentile/non Gentile issues of food and worship.....
Interesting question. What we know of Paul (or Saul as he was then) is that he was one of those Jews who was zealous in his efforts to exterminate Christian belief from his world. He saw it as a blight on humanity and particularly distasteful from a Jewish perspective. It would have also been a worry for these 1st century jews who were living under roman occupation as it would have been viewed as a jewish sect and a challenge to the authority of the state and could have attracted a crushing response.

To me nothing else adequately explains his complete turn around after his damascus road experience.

Also regarding pauline theology, I find nothing inconsistent there , just a growing understanding of God's purposes. In fact the gentile issue you refer to seems in keeping with God's overall plan found way back in Genesis 12:3 -> "and all peoples on the earth will be blessed through you". The church at Jerusalem certainly came to that conclusion (Acts 15)
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Old 01-01-2005, 08:10 PM   #49
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NOtAnEasyThing...you aren't telling me anything that I already don't know. I know of the whole background of the Primevil (sp)Prolouge and OT narrative and all that is presented about Saul (Paul).....that's not the question I was asking though.
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Old 01-01-2005, 11:03 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally posted by starsgoblue
NOtAnEasyThing...you aren't telling me anything that I already don't know. I know of the whole background of the Primevil (sp)Prolouge and OT narrative and all that is presented about Saul (Paul).....that's not the question I was asking though.
Actually starsgoblue, I wasn't asuming you no nothing about the OT or Saul. If I thought that I wouldn't have made such short handed mentions of things like Paul's background or the gentile reference in the OT. I was responding to these comments you made:
Quote:

What really makes me wonder is about Paul and his literature....and yet Pauline literature makes a huge bulk to the NT and Paul institutes much dramatic change in theology, ie. the Gentile/non Gentile issues of food and worship.....
How is that not the question you are asking? You were asking about the part of the NT that includes Paul's writings- so the inference was there must be some doubt about it's place in scripture. Isn't that your question?

So I was demonstrating that there is no inconsistancy in regard to the gentile issue that you mentioned. And you say "that's not the question I'm asking"

If you just mean did Paul know Jesus... then I don't know if this is really an issue either. My opinion is he most certainly knew about him, and it would have been pretty hard for anyone in that region and time not to at least be aware of Jesus and his followers. Paul we are told spent many years being mentored by the apostles before he ever wrote any of the NT epistles. Galatians was probably the first in about AD 48/49. That is some 13 years after his conversion. His letters are obviously reflective of a very deep understanding of Jesus' message and life.
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Old 01-02-2005, 05:13 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally posted by NotAnEasyThing


datatyme, I'm just wondering where exactly you get your data from? Because it certainly doesn't have much of a basis in widely accepted historical or archaelogical fact.
The Bible also has little basis in accepted historical or archaelogical fact. For example, the Jews were never slaves to the Egyptians or the Babylonians. Just because the Bible mentions cities which were known to exist doesn't make the stories true.

Quote:
[B}The Mithra myth is a one of those often quoted pieces of misinformation gleaned from some fringe psuedo-academics. In actual fact Mirthra was a secondary created god in the persian pantheon and also later held an intermediate position in the Zoroastrian pantheon. Many of the so called "similarities" you have suggested are either recent fabrications or spin, or just plain irrelevent. For instance, christians don't claim december 25 as Jesus' birthday anyway, that was a later development as a choice to celebrate christmas- something that the bible doesn't even suggest. I won't even bother with this except to suggest that you read a bit more widely.[/B]
Mithra or Mithras goes way deeper than a Persian or Zoroastrian mythology. Mithras belief evolved over the centuries in multiple cultures, and died out with Christianity's rising popularity, coincidence? Or perhaps you believe the devil created a Jesus-like figure in mythology before Jesus' existence to throw people off?

Quote:
[B}But this is particularly erroneous


"The NT was written by people who never met Jesus" Um...all I can say is have you ever researched this? There is not a credible scholar alive who would maintain such a glaring inacuracy. Amazingly we have in existance today one of the oldest fragments of the NT ever found dated around 50 AD, just 17 years after Jesus' death. Two of the gospel writers lived and travelled with Jesus for over 3 years. Have a read of this post that I made in the atheist thread:

Please datatyme, if you are going to make these kinds of claims, can you at least back it with some evidence. [/B]
Jesus was born between 4-5 BC, and died around 28-29 AD, so if fragments of the New Testament from 50 AD were found, that would make them 21-22 years after Jesus died. The earliest fragments of a few verses from the New Testament I've seen date to about 68 AD, which would be 39-40 years after Jesus was murdered, which is what I was going off of.

It is a fact that the only author of the New Testament that is 100% certain is Paul, and he never met Jesus personally unless you count the time where Paul says Jesus left heaven for a moment to blind him so that he might have faith. No one knows for sure who wrote Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, although Luke may have been written by Paul's physician friend and travelling companion, Luke. As I'm sure you know if you've studied the early greek manuscripts half of the earliest of them leave out Jesus' divinity altogether, while others say he was a son of God not the son of God. Many leave out his virgin birth as evidenced by the geneology listed in the gospels tracing Jesus' father to Joseph not to God. Some early texts of Mark end with Jesus' tomb being empty, but with no explaination as to why it was empty. The earliest known nearly complete New Testament is from 200 AD, although it's certain that it was created before that time because some earlier known letters quoting these texts predate that time.

The question isn't whether a partial scroll with 5 verses from the New Testament was found to be from 50 AD, the question is, what do the other verses not available say. There was a lot of tampering in those days since there were literally dozens of gospels floating around, and there was much debate in the early church about whether Jesus was divine (as some texts said) or whether Jesus was a good moral teacher (as other texts said).

The fact is, Jesus said that the end of the world was going to happen before his generation passed away. That's probably why believers didn't write down these texts until a whole generation after his death. He said he was coming back in their lifetime, and they believed him. Preachers still say this today, and people still believe them.
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Old 01-02-2005, 03:47 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally posted by datatyme


The Bible also has little basis in accepted historical or archaelogical fact. For example, the Jews were never slaves to the Egyptians or the Babylonians. Just because the Bible mentions cities which were known to exist doesn't make the stories true.
datatyme, are you just saying this for the sake of an arguement? Surely you don't really believe this crap? The Bible is one of the best tested and most used sources of ancient history we have. Time and again archaelogical discoveries have authenticated it's references to historic events.

Here are some examples of biblical events where evidence has been confirmed in archaeology;

*Finds in Egypt are consistent with the time, place, and other details of biblical accounts of the Israelites in Egypt. These include housing and tombs that could have been of the Israelites, as well as a villa and tomb that could have been Joseph's.

*Confounding earlier skeptics, but confirming the Bible, an important discovery was made in Egypt in 1896. A tablet—the Merneptah Stela—was found that mentions Israel. (Merneptah was the pharaoh that ruled Egypt in 1212-1202 B.C.) The context of the stela indicates that Israel was a significant entity in the late 13th century B.C.

*Campaign into Israel by Pharaoh Shishak (1 Kings 14:25-26), recorded on the walls of the Temple of Amun in Thebes, Egypt.

*Revolt of Moab against Israel (2 Kings 1:1; 3:4-27), recorded on the Mesha Inscription.

*Fall of Samaria (2 Kings 17:3-6, 24; 18:9-11) to Sargon II, king of Assyria, as recorded on his palace walls.

*Defeat of Ashdod by Sargon II (Isaiah 20:1), as recorded on his palace walls.

*Campaign of the Assyrian king Sennacherib against Judah (2 Kings 18:13-16), as recorded on the Taylor Prism.

*Siege of Lachish by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:14, 17), as recorded on the Lachish reliefs.

*Assassination of Sennacherib by his own sons (2 Kings 19:37), as recorded in the annals of his son Esarhaddon.

*Fall of Nineveh as predicted by the prophets Nahum and Zephaniah (2:13-15), recorded on the Tablet of Nabopolasar.

*Fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (2 Kings 24:10-14), as recorded in the Babylonian Chronicles.

*Captivity of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, in Babylon (2 Kings 24:15-16), as recorded on the Babylonian Ration Records.

*Fall of Babylon to the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5:30-31), as recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder.

*Freeing of captives in Babylon by Cyrus the Great (Ezra 1:1-4; 6:3-4), as recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder.

*The existence of Jesus Christ as recorded by Josephus, Suetonius, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, the Talmud, and Lucian.

*Forcing Jews to leave Rome during the reign of Claudius (A.D. 41-54) (Acts 18:2), as recorded by Suetonius.

When compared to other 'holy' books, the Bible is unique in that it is the oldest, as testified by the places, people, titles, and events mentioned in the Bible; and the language and literary formats used to compose the Bible.

Archaeologists and historians rely on it heavily for their understanding of ancient history, and for good reason. As compared to your wild claims that the Jews were never slaves to the Egyptians or the Babylonians - for which you provide NO evidence.

Quote:
Originally posted by datatyme


Mithra or Mithras goes way deeper than a Persian or Zoroastrian mythology. Mithras belief evolved over the centuries in multiple cultures, and died out with Christianity's rising popularity, coincidence? Or perhaps you believe the devil created a Jesus-like figure in mythology before Jesus' existence to throw people off?
No I don't suggest anything of the sort- as I said before your misinformation about Mithra is just that- and Mithra is not Jesus-like.

Quote:
Originally posted by datatyme


Jesus was born between 4-5 BC, and died around 28-29 AD, so if fragments of the New Testament from 50 AD were found, that would make them 21-22 years after Jesus died. The earliest fragments of a few verses from the New Testament I've seen date to about 68 AD, which would be 39-40 years after Jesus was murdered, which is what I was going off of.

It is a fact that the only author of the New Testament that is 100% certain is Paul, and he never met Jesus personally unless you count the time where Paul says Jesus left heaven for a moment to blind him so that he might have faith. No one knows for sure who wrote Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, although Luke may have been written by Paul's physician friend and travelling companion, Luke. As I'm sure you know if you've studied the early greek manuscripts half of the earliest of them leave out Jesus' divinity altogether, while others say he was a son of God not the son of God. Many leave out his virgin birth as evidenced by the geneology listed in the gospels tracing Jesus' father to Joseph not to God. Some early texts of Mark end with Jesus' tomb being empty, but with no explaination as to why it was empty. The earliest known nearly complete New Testament is from 200 AD, although it's certain that it was created before that time because some earlier known letters quoting these texts predate that time.

The question isn't whether a partial scroll with 5 verses from the New Testament was found to be from 50 AD, the question is, what do the other verses not available say. There was a lot of tampering in those days since there were literally dozens of gospels floating around, and there was much debate in the early church about whether Jesus was divine (as some texts said) or whether Jesus was a good moral teacher (as other texts said).

The fact is, Jesus said that the end of the world was going to happen before his generation passed away. That's probably why believers didn't write down these texts until a whole generation after his death. He said he was coming back in their lifetime, and they believed him. Preachers still say this today, and people still believe them.
Jesus' birth and death are placed within a range of about 7 years at each end. However even by your standard of 20 or up to 40 years gap between Jesus' death and the Gospels being written doesn't change for a moment one of the strongest arguements for the resurrection of Jesus. Anyone trying to 'doctor' the account of Jesus life would have instantly run into the huge problem of those who had known Jesus, and anyone who wanted to check the credibility of the claims just had to check with eyewitnesses to his death and resurrection. Of course his resurrection was being proclaimed within days and thousands were joining the early believers daily.

What evidence do you even have that an early manuscripts of the gospels described Jesus only as a good moral teacher? And please don't just suggest the so-called gospel of Thomas which had been well and truely discredited.

If the early church (1st century) was having a debate about if Jesus was even God, how the hell do you explain all those willing to die for that belief- if it was all so wishy washy as you suggest. I certainly wouldn't die for a wishy washy half baked idea.

Frankly there is overwhelming evidence for the message of the gospels being exactly the same today to what the early church believed. Of the four Gospels, there are 19,368 citations by the church fathers from the late first century on. Even if we had no manuscripts, virtually the entire New Testament could be reconstructed from these quotations. This argues powerfully that the Gospels were in existence before the end of the first century, while some eyewitnesses (including John) were still alive.

And incidently, Jesus did not say the end of the world was going to happen before his generation passed away- that was an interpretation of what he said. (see John 21:21-23)
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Old 01-03-2005, 09:39 AM   #53
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Hey starsgoblue, I just wanted to get back to you. I know you still feel unsure about the authors of the Gospels writing them in a way that allowed Christ to fulfill the prophecies, and that's a valid concern to have. If they did write them in that way, than the whole faith is a sham. Maybe the best argument is to look at some of the prophecies again. Take the two about the crucifixion itself — his hands and feet will be pierced and his side pierced. Again, these were written hundreds of years before crucifixion was invented. (I know you know that already.) The thing to remember is that there are texts outside of the Bible that confirm the crucifixion. No historian would deny it happened. And they often pierced their sides to ensure that they were dead before the sabbath. So there we have two that we know he fulfilled, and we know that based on accounts outside of the Bible. So there we have two — two important ones*— that we know he fulfilled! Some of the other prophecies aren't maybe as "important," such as the one about people shaking their heads. Even if they really did shake their heads, so what? They might've shaken their heads at every crucifixion, you know? That alone doesn't prove he's the Christ. The important ones, the ones about the crucifixion, are the very reason he came to Earth anyway — he came to die for our sins. And we know for a fact that he died by crucifixion, which fulfills the prophecy. That's the most important thing for me, and I know it's something the authors of the Gospels couldn't just write in there, you know?

And datatyme, you couldn't be more wrong about the Bible having little in historical or archeological fact! Archeologists actually use it as a guide to find stuff. Archeology has never proven it wrong!
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Old 01-03-2005, 12:54 PM   #54
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Originally posted by NotAnEasyThing


And incidently, Jesus did not say the end of the world was going to happen before his generation passed away- that was an interpretation of what he said. (see John 21:21-23)
I haven't posted on this thread at all, don't know why actually. But yes this comment struck me...

That is so true your remark.

Jesus was speaking of Israel and how "this generation will not pass away etc." That was to do with Israel itself becoming a nation and that generation will not pass away before He returns. Israel became a nation in 1948 and a genereation in Hebrew terms is something like 70 years.

I probably could have worded this better but I don't have time to think it through at the moment. I have laundry to fold and dinner to make. If someone (You NotAnEasyThing if possible lol!) can elaborate on this for me that would be great (that is if you know what I am on about) if not, when I have the time, I will go into further.

Take care,

Carrie
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Old 01-03-2005, 01:19 PM   #55
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Thanks for the vote of confidence Carrie. I do understand the interpretation you are refering to, but it is also not one I personally subscribe to. I think there is a more obvious "face value" understanding of Jesus words.

The word translated "generation" (in Matt 24:34, Mark 13:30 & Luke 21:32) can also be translated "race". So as he was talking about signs of the end of the age, it seems to me this is either a reference to the generation that experiences the signs refered to, or that the Jews as a race would remain until this time.

I gave the reference from John 21:21-23 as an example of the way Jesus' words can be twisted to suit a certain interpretation. I'm sure you'd agree that it helps when trying to understand the Bible to do our best to look at it in it's overall context.
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Old 01-03-2005, 04:56 PM   #56
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Originally posted by NotAnEasyThing
datatyme, are you just saying this for the sake of an arguement? Surely you don't really believe this crap? The Bible is one of the best tested and most used sources of ancient history we have. Time and again archaelogical discoveries have authenticated it's references to historic events.
I am not trying to be hurtful, but I understand if you were taken back a bit because these ideas go against what you believe. I also would like to thank you for replying, and I hope you don’t feel this is futile because I think any questions brought on your faith should only make it stronger, so in that regard I hope I am helpful to you and others. And I really mean that.

And no I do not believe in Mithras in any of his various forms, and I do believe that the Bible is a great piece of ancient literature and I enjoy reading it. As per your list, there are many towns listed which are true, and archaeologists have found the remains of many towns from ancient times. Some from the Bible and some from other ancient texts. As I said before, just because one or two things are fact doesn’t necessarily mean the other 100 things the Bible says about a place or an event is factual, in my opinion. I have no interest in going thru piece by piece every Bible verse, archeological dig, ancient text, etc. as to its validity although I saw no evidence of Egypt having all of Israel slaves for example. It’s too time consuming, and it probably won’t change either of our minds.

And I do find it interesting that the Bible documents mankind going from polytheism to monotheism (albeit different individual gods for different cultures), but there’s a lot of “my God is better than your god” attitudes in the Old Testament. But having fewer gods was quite a dramatic step in the right direction. I just don’t believe absolutely everything said in the Bible. Some things I don’t believe because I don’t think it actually happened, some things seem impossible and have no explanation, some things don’t make sense or are unreasonable, and little or no tangible modern evidence exists – I just can’t believe it’s true. But I do think it’s fun to talk about hypothetically in polite company.

Quote:
Archaeologists and historians rely on it heavily for their understanding of ancient history, and for good reason. As compared to your wild claims that the Jews were never slaves to the Egyptians or the Babylonians - for which you provide NO evidence.
How am I supposed to supply evidence for something if it didn’t happen, and there is no evidence to supply?

Quote:
Jesus' birth and death are placed within a range of about 7 years at each end. However even by your standard of 20 or up to 40 years gap between Jesus' death and the Gospels being written doesn't change for a moment one of the strongest arguements for the resurrection of Jesus. Anyone trying to 'doctor' the account of Jesus life would have instantly run into the huge problem of those who had known Jesus, and anyone who wanted to check the credibility of the claims just had to check with eyewitnesses to his death and resurrection. Of course his resurrection was being proclaimed within days and thousands were joining the early believers daily.
Quote:
What evidence do you even have that an early manuscripts of the gospels described Jesus only as a good moral teacher? And please don't just suggest the so-called gospel of Thomas which had been well and truely discredited.
There are multiple Gospels of Thomas, some weird stuff in some of them i.e. Jesus killing instantly a boy he didn’t like, turning mud into birds, etc. Good thing they didn't include that or no one would believe in Jesus. There were dozens of various so-called Gospels from early Church history supposedly telling details of Jesus' life, I'm glad they left most of it out.

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If the early church (1st century) was having a debate about if Jesus was even God, how the hell do you explain all those willing to die for that belief- if it was all so wishy-washy as you suggest. I certainly wouldn't die for a wishy-washy half-baked idea.
I can’t explain that to you fully, although the New Testament does mention these people, they were called Gnostics. Simon was among the Gnostics and wanted to be the first pope instead of Peter. I also cannot explain why 19 Islamic hijackers would cause their own deaths on September 11th, 2001. Or why Shinto’s would do kamikaze raids. Or why Christians massacured Arabs hundreds of years ago, or why we do now even. It makes no sense to me, but I do see one common denominator – religion.

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Frankly there is overwhelming evidence for the message of the gospels being exactly the same today to what the early church believed. Of the four Gospels, there are 19,368 citations by the church fathers from the late first century on. Even if we had no manuscripts, virtually the entire New Testament could be reconstructed from these quotations. This argues powerfully that the Gospels were in existence before the end of the first century, while some eyewitnesses (including John) were still alive.
The question here is which John? Many feel that John was written by an unknown person, some by the disciple John (although they have little evidence of that). Some say that there were three John’s in the New Testament, one who wrote the Gospel of John, another who wrote 1, 2 & 3 John, and another John who wrote Revelation. And a couple other variations even.

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And incidently, Jesus did not say the end of the world was going to happen before his generation passed away- that was an interpretation of what he said. (see John 21:21-23)
In Luke 21:32 (NIV) it says, Verily I say unto you, “This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.”

In that very paragraph Jesus is talking about the end times, and his second coming through the clouds, and that is not a vague interpretation.

I think in light of the fact over 100,000 people have died (up to 40% children) in the tsunami in SE Pacific Asia, and that God did nothing, this subject is closed for me. PM me if you want to continue this.
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Old 01-05-2005, 03:06 PM   #57
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Well i can't PM so:
I don't think that God did nothing in light in the tsunami. I can't claim to explain it fully, but i think God was present with or even in the people that were (or are) trying to help.
Also, unlike modern-day Shintos or Muslims doing suicide attacks, the difference between them and early Christians is that many of these early Christians actually met Jesus.
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Old 01-05-2005, 03:08 PM   #58
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NotAnEasyThing, can you tell me what you think about Mithras? Because mythological figures that seem to resemble Christ really confuse me.
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Old 01-05-2005, 05:23 PM   #59
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Paul always bored me. Turned me off. It seems so many churches focus on Paul--when the real interesting part was in the Gospels. I think a lot of ministers don't like focusing on the words of Jesus because they are enigmatic. He questioned the status quo; he questioned the rules and the interpretations. The words of Jesus open up a lot of difficult questions and don't provide easy answers. They push you to search yourself, question yourself. He was anti rules. He gave just simple guidelines--simple in their philosophy, but complex in practice. He gave few clear answers. He mostly asked questions. That makes people uncomfortable. Paul was all about rules and interpretations as far as I can see.

Christianity would be wonderful if they never organized the religion. Stopped going to church forever ago. I still am driven by the questions, though.

Sorry if I missed this in earlier posts. (I'm a baby here.) But there are a couple of fascinating books for Christians and agnostics alike.

"God, A Biography" and "Christ, A Crisis in the Life of God" by
Jack Miles and "Reaching for an Invisible God by Philip Yancey.

I like the way U2 approaches the topic. They are not afraid of the questions, in fact they thrive on them, it seems.
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Old 01-05-2005, 05:37 PM   #60
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Originally posted by coemgen
Hey starsgoblue, I just wanted to get back to you. I know you still feel unsure about the authors of the Gospels writing them in a way that allowed Christ to fulfill the prophecies, and that's a valid concern to have. If they did write them in that way, than the whole faith is a sham. Maybe the best argument is to look at some of the prophecies again. Take the two about the crucifixion itself — his hands and feet will be pierced and his side pierced. Again, these were written hundreds of years before crucifixion was invented. (I know you know that already.) The thing to remember is that there are texts outside of the Bible that confirm the crucifixion. No historian would deny it happened. And they often pierced their sides to ensure that they were dead before the sabbath. So there we have two that we know he fulfilled, and we know that based on accounts outside of the Bible. So there we have two — two important ones*— that we know he fulfilled! Some of the other prophecies aren't maybe as "important," such as the one about people shaking their heads. Even if they really did shake their heads, so what? They might've shaken their heads at every crucifixion, you know? That alone doesn't prove he's the Christ. The important ones, the ones about the crucifixion, are the very reason he came to Earth anyway — he came to die for our sins. And we know for a fact that he died by crucifixion, which fulfills the prophecy. That's the most important thing for me, and I know it's something the authors of the Gospels couldn't just write in there, you know?

And datatyme, you couldn't be more wrong about the Bible having little in historical or archeological fact! Archeologists actually use it as a guide to find stuff. Archeology has never proven it wrong!


Coe...thanks for replying. But here's another big beef with me....there are several things that the NT state that aren't documentated or aren't yet found to be fact...

1) The part in one of the Gospels that states that there was a great quake of the ground when Jesus gave up his life on the cross...a quake so big that the temple rocked and the Holy of Holies split in two and the dead walked the streets. All talk of the dead walking around aside, there isn't any record of this supposed large and powerful natural disaster anywhere else in antiquity, written or otherwise.

2) The whole problem of assuring that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (important because that would fullfill OT prophecy right?)
According to the Gospels Jesus was born in the city while Mary and Joeseph were traveling to take part in the Roman census which by Luke's reckoning, occured when Quirinius was governer of Syria and when Herod was King of Judea. Well the problem is that Herod's eign lasted from 37 BCE, and Quirinius was never the governo of Syria during this period. Aslso no acient historian has ever made a reference to to this census, the closest one ever mentioned (by Josephesus in his Antiquites) is a census that happened in Judea in 6 CE but it was an unpopular census and one that would not have required travel outside one's hometown. What is going on here with this story of Jesus' birth then? I
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