The Birth of the Messiah Posted on December 25, 2014 by Mung The Birth of the Messiah Of course, a “true skeptic” denies that Jesus ever existed. If not, why not? Merry Christmas!
“I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.”
Why does Elizabeth appeal to a non-existent Messiah?
Same reason you think CSI/FSCO/I can be calculated.
Or maybe Jesus was just “the son of man” (as he himself declared) and a liberal hippie preacher of his era.
Mung, why do you find your question interesting?
Of course, a “true skeptic” denies that Jesus ever existed. If not, why not?
To which version of Jesus do you refer? Historical Jesus or interpreted Jesus?
Why is it not surprising that the IDist gets the burden of evidence backward?
The proper question is, why would anyone make such a claim?
Not exactly, a “true skeptic” would argue that the evidence for the existence of an historical Jesus is insufficient to support the interpretation of orthodox Christian theology.
Personally, I have no problem with the possibility that there was an itinerant preacher of that name who, with a small band of followers, was active in Galilee around that time. I can even accept that they are the original source of modern Christianity without in any way being supernatural. You only have to look at how the fantasies of a second-rate science-fiction writer have been parlayed into a wealthy and powerful multinational faith called Scientology in less than a hundred years to see what can be done.
None of that prevents me from wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.
It doesn’t require skepticism to note that two gospels of four do not mention the Christmas story, and the other two are not consistent with each other, and are not set in winter. Aside from that, and the lack of support from Jewish and Roman historians, there’s no cause for skepticism.
Mung: “Of course, a “true skeptic” denies that Jesus ever existed.”
Why? I consider myself to be an atheistic Christian. I don’t believe in a god, or that Jesus was anything but human, or that he performed any miracles. But it is hard to argue with much of his philosophy of life. Even if he is nothing but a fiction, being non-judgmental is still a good way to live.
The birth of Tinkerbell
Of course, a “true skeptic” denies that Tinkerbell ever existed. If not, why not?
Merry Fairy Tales!
acartia_bogart, are you saying that the jesus character in the bible is “non-judgmental”, and is not described/portrayed as ‘God’ and ‘Lord’ (a ‘theistic’ thing)?
The bible is loaded with judgmental commands/demands. It would be accurate to say that christianity is ALL ABOUT being “judgmental”.
Here are just a few of MANY examples:
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. – Jesus in Matthew 10:34
But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. – Jesus in Luke 19:27
John 12:48: The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.
1 Corinthians 5: It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Thessalonians: …when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might…
Mark 16: And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Leviticus 20:13: If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.
Jude 1:7: Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. – Jesus in John 3
Deuteronomy 4:2: You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.
Matthew 28: And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
1 Peter: For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
Romans 3: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
I and my Father are one. – Jesus in John 10:30
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. John 8:58
…[Jesus] is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. 1 Timothy 6:15
Disappointed to find this thread isn’t about Isaac Newton.
Creodont2, but as an atheist, I am free to pick and choose the teachings that i want and toss the others in the trash heap, without any pangs of guilt or rationalizations. Which is exactly what every Christian does, except that they can’t do it without contortionist levels of rationalization.
Try this one: Was he or wasn’t he, and does it matter?
Dumbledore and Grindelwald.
“Creodont2, but as an atheist, I am free to pick and choose the teachings that i want and toss the others in the trash heap, without any pangs of guilt or rationalizations.”
But, as an atheist, why pick and choose anything from christianity, or more accurately, why give positive credit to anything in christianity that can be easily thought of and done without christianity or any other religious beliefs?
“Which is exactly what every Christian does, except that they can’t do it without contortionist levels of rationalization.”
Yes, christians pick and choose (as do all other religious people) but what I don’t understand is why you or any other atheist would pick and choose and/or say that you have picked and chosen your “non-judgmental” (or any other allegedly ‘good’) thoughts, morals, behavior, philosophy, or however you want to describe it, from christianity or any other religion, especially since all religions are fundamentally judgmental and coercive, if not downright threatening.
Any and every ‘good’ thought, morals, behavior, or “philosophy” came about long before christianity or any other religion, so I don’t see why any religions should get credit for being the source of anything or everything ‘good’.
By the way, to me there’s virtually no such thing as a non-judgmental human, and yes, that includes me. I don’t see being judgmental as something that is always bad, but I do see being judgmental as really, really bad when it’s done to scare, abuse, brainwash/indoctrinate, threaten, kill, control, oppress, dominate other humans, animals, and the rest of the world, due to religious beliefs or any other selfish, greedy, destructive agenda.
Packaging. It doesn’t have to be strictly religion, but any institution that packages memes of good behavior in an understandable way, especially one which is already familiar to the local educated culture, will provide a convenient and often logically valid set of examples to reference and adopt. Nothing wrong with that. You can pick those that serve, and reject those that don’t. You can do the same from Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, or Locke, or Popper, or Plato, if you like.
Even atheists have to admit that religion has a pretty large warehouse of packaged ethical concepts.
I try not to order my packages from the Bible. Ethically suspect and they don’t pay their taxes.
While that’s certainly true there is this ‘problem’:
This is never more obvious then when some atheist get’s death-threats from ‘good’ Christians.
I certainly don’t know what a “true skeptic” is, and skepticism is not part of how I describe my own views.
That said, I have no reason to deny that Jesus was a real person. I say that because that’s the considered judgment of experts in religion studies. (James McGrath, a professor of religion studies at Butler University, thinks that denying that Jesus ever existed — a position he calls “mythicism” — is an epistemological error comparable to young-earth creationism.) I have neither more nor less reason for affirming the existence of Jesus than I do for affirming the existence of, say, Socrates.
In just the same way, it is the considered judgment of climatologists that human activities are a leading driver of climate change and it is the considered judgment of biologists that selection and drift operating on hereditable variation explains speciation.
In all three cases, we non-experts must make an informed judgment about who counts as an expert (e.g. are they a university professor? what are their credentials?), the conditions under which experts are reliable (who pays them? do they receive funding from corporations or politically biased think thanks?), and so on. Those criteria are not themselves completely reliable, but given the complexity of expertise, they’re the best we have.
“There are others who know about this miracle birth
The humblest of people catch a glimpse of their worth
For it isn’t to the palace that the Christ child comes
But to shepherds and street people, hookers and bums …”
– Bruce Cockburn
From a very christian Christmas song. My kind of christian.
I suspect there was perhaps a man called Jesus. There was almost certainly no census nor killing of babies by Herod.
Same here. It’s not important whether the myths of christianity are based on actual events and a real person, or if they were just invented out of thin air. The official narrative(s) contain enough fabrication to make any claims of truth suspect, and there is no reason at all to accept any resulting teachings as “authoritative”.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
That a man who called himself Jesus existed around 2 millenia ago isn’t an extraordinary claim, I’m happy to believe that.
That he was a divine being and performed miracles is an extraordinary claim which a mere collection of contradictory fables, copied with errors, rewritten and in several cases outright fabricated, cannot in any way suffice to substantiate.
Especially given how we know that other patently silly and known fabrications (scientology, mormonism, islam) also manage to become highly successful religions.
It is not that we have to deny that divine Jesus ever existed, we have merely to note that the available evidence does not suffice to rationally justify belief.
Worldly success of religions has been used as a demonstration of god’s approval. God loves beetles, Beatles, and iPhones.
Creodont2: “But, as an atheist, why pick and choose anything from christianity, or more accurately, why give positive credit to anything in christianity that can be easily thought of and done without christianity or any other religious beliefs?”
Does it really matter where the ideas come from? Should we ignore all of Newton’s ideas because he was a paranoid, vindictive little prick?
It seems to me that “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” are sound words, regardless of who first spoke them.
Anything that gives me first dibs is great in my book.
The defining characteristic of science is the ability to replicate findings by hostile witnesses.
Just to start 2015 off positively, I want you to know that I totally agree with you about Salvador Cordova and I greatly enjoyed the way you told him off on UD last summer.
Happy New Year,