Author Topic: The Jesus Myth  (Read 813 times)

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Offline Graybeard

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The Jesus Myth
« on: June 08, 2013, 02:45:56 PM »
Have you a month or two to consider the arguments and evidence for the non-existence of Jesus? Or do you simply want a choice of sources? Here's a website with more links about the mythical Jesus than you can wave a stick at:

http://jesusbirthermovement.tumblr.com/post/52017210455/research-articles-evidence-and-videos-that-prove-a
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline Nick

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2013, 03:21:57 PM »
Wow, that's a lot.  I do not believe in a historical Jesus.  Some do but do not believe in the god part....  I think it is/was all part of repackaging the god/man myths that had kicked around that region of the world for 1000s of years.  Jesus was just the last in the line.  The dark Ages killed off enlightenment thinking that use to go with religions back then.

When I get time I want to look at some of that.  Thanks for posting it.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2013, 03:57:46 PM by Nick »
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Offline Traveler

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2013, 03:27:19 PM »
I agree, Nick. There were probably lots of wandering preachers, but the Jesus stories look like retreads of common mythical persons. Nothing really new, despite what Christians would like us to believe.
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Offline anthony_retford

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2013, 04:16:50 PM »
I have no doubt is was all made up. For any one person to have all of those godly attributes is beyond belief and that, I feel, is why there is no reports of this Jesus from birth to age 30. The imaginers just could not come up with a child, then young adult, who was perfect in word and deed. Also, wasn't the age expectancy about 30 or less then? I agree it was just an amalgam of previous stories.

What amazes me is the wholesale admittance by Christians that this made-up figure rules their lives. Never have so many been so wrong.
People are 'erroneously confident' in their knowledge and underestimate the odds that their information or beliefs will be proved wrong. They tend to seek additional information in ways that confirm what they already believe.
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Offline viocjit

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2013, 05:00:27 AM »
I accept the possibility that a mythical Jesus is maybe true.
But I prefer to say that I'm Agnostic about Jesus (Historical or just a myth).
Yes we have no evidences about his existence but absence of proofs is not a proof.

Offline The Gawd

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2013, 06:58:08 AM »
I accept the possibility that a mythical Jesus is maybe true.
But I prefer to say that I'm Agnostic about Jesus (Historical or just a myth).
Yes we have no evidences about his existence but absence of proofs is not a proof.
absence of evidence where you would expect to find evidence IS evidence of absence.
If I told you that an entire army was drowned in the Red Sea, hundreds of chariots and all, and I go looking for evidence, and I never find a chariot wheel. I'd consider that evidence that it never happened. If I read a story in the bible that says corpses came from their tombs and walked to the local large city, where there were actual historians, and no historian jots down this little zombie pilgrimage, that is evidence against it happening.


Offline anthony_retford

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2013, 09:13:47 AM »
And which is much more likely - that this Jesus existed but there is no evidence whatsoever, or he did not exist because there is no evidence whatsoever?
People are 'erroneously confident' in their knowledge and underestimate the odds that their information or beliefs will be proved wrong. They tend to seek additional information in ways that confirm what they already believe.
Max Bazenman, Harvard University

Offline Tero

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2013, 09:39:25 AM »
If you take the Jesus Seminar approach you can maybe uncover a normal preacher who performed no miracles. So that person existed or did not, all pretty irrelevant.

Some myths do have a real person behind. Icelandic sagas tell of Leif Eriksson and we place those events at maybe 1000 years ago. The earlier sagas are pure myth.

Offline Quesi

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2013, 12:44:29 PM »
You know, myths don't pop out of nowhere.  They have sources or inspirations.  The Jesus myth was first written down, what, 2, 3, 4 generations after his supposed life and death?  That is a lot of time to tell and re-tell stories by campfires, and a lot of time for those stories to grow and evolve and blend with different myths and stories that are told around those same night fires.

When I look at stories from the childhood of my father and his sister,[1] even the "epic" tales are told so differently by each of them.  Something happened with either fire crackers or a makeshift rocket, and either the roof of my grandparents' garage, or perhaps the whole garage.  Did my father attempt to build a rocket to the moon, and burn down the family's garage?  Or was there an incident with firecrackers that put a hole in the garage ceiling?  Or something completely different?  Something happened.  The story is told differently by different people. 

I can't help but think that a man named Jesus lived and preached and collected a bunch of followers.  The lack of any contemporary evidence of his existence seems to indicate that he was much less important in his lifetime than the current myths suggest.  Lots of wandering preachers addressed the concerns of an oppressed and occupied populace.  Lots of people were crucified. We certainly don't have records of most of them.  The gospels are pretty unclear on dates.  That is not inconsistent with an oral history.  Was my dad 8 during the firecracker incident or 13 during the rocket incident?  Even people who lived through and witnessed the events can't agree.  So a few generations after the life of this preacher, folks carrying on an oral tradition would certainly be expected to have differing accounts. 

I also suspect that a man named Noah saved himself and his family and a bunch of farm animals, against all odds, in a devastating flood.  The story was told over and over, and little kids asked "why" and an angry god was given as an explanation for a flood that covered the entire world, and when those little kids grew up, they told their kids about the angry god, and when their kids asked about how all of the animals in the world survived, the storyteller explains that Noah took two of every animal in the whole world, (because god told him to) and instead of a raft, the vehicle morphs into an ark, and the next generation adds some new details and leaves out other details, but the story grows and grows.

I don't think that the Jesus myth came from nowhere.  It might be a composite of various different charismatic preachers, who made a huge impact on a small set of contemporaries,  but little impact on the larger society. And if those followers told the story over and over, and a generation later, travels arrived, having heard similar stories, and they combined the best aspects of both sets of stories, until everyone was convinced that the stories had been identical to begin with.   The stories were embellished with parts of old myths that were told around different sets of camp fires, and miracles started to occur, and famous historical characters were incorporated, and the stories took on a life of their own, long before anyone decided to start writing them down. 

Take a peek at the wiki article on mythology.  Scroll down to the "Origins of Myths" section, and tell me which option seems the most likely explanation for the origin of the Jesus myth. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mythology 
 1. which is really quite recent history

Offline pamindfw

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2013, 02:04:55 PM »
I agree Quesi.  There probably was a jewish man named jesus around that time.  He may have been a poor apocolyptic preacher and had a little following.  It's conceivable he may have caused some ruckus at the temple.  It's also conceivable that he was crucified by the romans possible due to that ruckus.  There's no record at the temple, and no record of this death at the hands of the romans.

The other stuff is mythology. 
Born of a virgin?  No.  Doesn't happen in real life.
Water into wine?  No.  Doesn't happen.
Bread and fish for the multitudes?  No. 
Raising Lazarus from the dead?  No. 
God incarnate?  No. 
Ascended after his death into heaven?  No. 
Reappeared after his death to some of his followers?  No. 
Came to the americas after he haunted around with his followers?  No. 

And the words that are attributed to him?  No way to tell if he said any of these.

I read Bart Ehrman's book, Did Jesus Exist?  I respect his knowledge of the times and how the church developed.  He uses the fact that Paul knew Jesus' brother James as a main reason for believing in the actual existence of a historical jesus.  Good book, worth the read, along with the others on the OP's list.

Everyone is godless.

Offline The Gawd

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2013, 02:09:10 PM »
@Quesi

At what point are we not even talking about the same person though? Even the Bible has more than one Jesus "Son of the Father" that was crucified. The middle east could have been crawling with these Jesus' for all we know. And Jesus isnt even the Jewish name Yeshua. So if there was a rabbi Yeshua that accumulated a following, is that really Jesus? If so, which Jesus? If neither of these Jesus fellows did anything remotely close to what the bible says then how could we identify this fellow as THE guy? Asking if there is a historical Jesus is like asking if there was a historical Dan.

Offline Nick

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2013, 03:15:38 PM »
We probably have just as many Jesus' roaming around today as they did back then.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline pamindfw

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2013, 04:27:36 PM »
@The Gawd
You mention that even the bible has more than one Jesus "Son of the Father" that was crucified.  Can you give me references?  I can't find them.  Not arguing, just interested and looking. 

While I was trying to look I came across this page: http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/surfeit.htm which references more than one jesus in the writings of Josephus.  Don't know anything about the author of this page or how credible this info is.

Anyway, this is a great thread.  I've realized for years that what the bible says lacks credibility for many reasons, but I still think of there being one jesus to whom all these supernatural myths are attributed, incorrectly.  Never considered that there might have been a mish mash of characters bundled into one.
Everyone is godless.

Offline The Gawd

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2013, 04:37:42 PM »
@The Gawd
You mention that even the bible has more than one Jesus "Son of the Father" that was crucified.  Can you give me references?  I can't find them.  Not arguing, just interested and looking. 

While I was trying to look I came across this page: http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/surfeit.htm which references more than one jesus in the writings of Josephus.  Don't know anything about the author of this page or how credible this info is.

Anyway, this is a great thread.  I've realized for years that what the bible says lacks credibility for many reasons, but I still think of there being one jesus to whom all these supernatural myths are attributed, incorrectly.  Never considered that there might have been a mish mash of characters bundled into one.
Some bible translations changed his name to Barabbas. But it was Jesus Barabbas, translated to Jesus "Son of the Father." Likely changed in order to not raise this very question among the sheep.

Matthew 27:16
At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas.

Matthew 27:17
So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

Mark 15:7
A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising.

However, both Jesus' were captured. I believe they let Jesus Barabbas go at the request of the "Jews" when given a choice of either Jesus'.

Offline Quesi

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2013, 04:54:36 PM »
@pamindfw - Well I think most of us here agree it is pretty clear that most of that stuff was just made up. 

@Quesi

At what point are we not even talking about the same person though? Even the Bible has more than one Jesus "Son of the Father" that was crucified. The middle east could have been crawling with these Jesus' for all we know. And Jesus isnt even the Jewish name Yeshua. So if there was a rabbi Yeshua that accumulated a following, is that really Jesus? If so, which Jesus? If neither of these Jesus fellows did anything remotely close to what the bible says then how could we identify this fellow as THE guy? Asking if there is a historical Jesus is like asking if there was a historical Dan.

Well, any historical figure is likely to take on non-existent characteristics as the story of that person is told over and over.  George Washington and the cherry tree.  Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned.  Marie Antoinette saying "Let them eat cake."  But with Jesus, we have so little information, that the multiple myths certainly overshadow any semblance of reality. 

Whenever the topic of the historical Jesus comes up, I really like to compare him to Cleopatra.  I think it is a valid and interesting exercise.

Here are some things that Jesus and Cleopatra have in common:

*They lived at about the same time, in regions coveted and ultimately controlled by the Roman empire. 

*They both claimed to be deities. 

*They were both loved and hated by different factions of society.

But here is the difference.  We have LOTS of evidence of Cleopatra.  There were images of her sculpted and sketched in stone during her lifetime.  There is even a papayas document which appears to include her signature, granting tax exempt status to some friend of a friend.  Her contemporaries documented her existence during her lifetime. 

Jesus left nothing.  No buildings that he constructed.  No documents that he had written.  No archeological remains.  No Roman records of his execution.  And most oddly, no documents written about him during his lifetime.  Or during the lifetime of his followers. 

In fact, the only documents we have about Jesus of Nazareth were written decades or centuries after his death.  In a language that he did not speak. 

There is certainly a lot about each of them that resides in the realm of myth, rather than the realm of reality.  But the differences in evidence are striking.

Edited because I was stealing some stuff from a post on Cleopatra/Jesus that I had written earlier, and I pressed the wrong button and posted before I was finished. 
« Last Edit: June 09, 2013, 04:58:39 PM by Quesi »

Online LoriPinkAngel

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2013, 08:14:26 PM »
There was an interesting explanation for the "bread & fish for the multitudes" in the novel The Robe.  The main character figured that the little kid giving up his lunch to be passed around inspired other people who also had food on them to share what they had and that's how everybody got fed.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Traveler

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2013, 10:00:27 PM »
There was an interesting explanation for the "bread & fish for the multitudes" in the novel The Robe.  The main character figured that the little kid giving up his lunch to be passed around inspired other people who also had food on them to share what they had and that's how everybody got fed.

Reminds me of the story "Stone Soup." :)
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Offline nebula

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2013, 09:12:19 AM »
Have you a month or two to consider the arguments and evidence for the non-existence of Jesus? Or do you simply want a choice of sources? Here's a website with more links about the mythical Jesus than you can wave a stick at:

http://jesusbirthermovement.tumblr.com/post/52017210455/research-articles-evidence-and-videos-that-prove-a

" Jesus Myth - The Case Against Historical Christ - By the famous bible scholar: Robert Price

http://rationalrevolution.net/articles/jesus_myth_history.htm

Jesus Myth Part II - Follow-up, Commentary, and Expansion - By the famous bible scholar: Robert Price

http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/jesus_myth_followup.htm

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/robert_price/fiction.html

http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/ "

*Sigh* That is a good compilation of material but the person who put it together should pay attention to detail.   Rational Revolution is the website of R.G. Price, not Robert Price.   



 

Offline Mrjason

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Re: The Jesus Myth
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2013, 04:41:22 AM »
There was an interesting explanation for the "bread & fish for the multitudes" in the novel The Robe.  The main character figured that the little kid giving up his lunch to be passed around inspired other people who also had food on them to share what they had and that's how everybody got fed.

A dude gives a talk next to a fresh water lake. He is accompanied by some mates who are fishermen.
Where would he get fish from?