You do make good points. After all, there are plenty of Hindus, Buddhists, etc., and they are still around and likely believe in their gods just as strongly as Christians believe in God/Yahweh/Jehovah. If I apply that logic to my previous statement, I could also say that Lord Krishna exists and the music of the flute is a gift from him because the Hindu religion has survived until the present day. That was flawed logic on my part—just because a belief endures into the present from the distant past doesn't mean it's right. I'm sure the same justification could have been used for slavery less than a century ago.
Your bible and religion were used to justify slavery, and the claim was based on the claim that the bible was true and accurate: how could anyone doubt any part of it? The bible advocates slavery constantly and insists that the best slaves stay with their masters no matter what, never daring to seek freedom. If it is no more than a series of exaggerations and myths, there is no more reason to believe that slavery is right than there is reason to believe in a magical flood or that there was a man/god.
I think there's a possibility that James was the biological brother of Christ, seeing as Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55-56 do mention that Jesus had brothers and sisters, so in this case I think it means siblings, not just followers. I can't say that I'm okay with the thought of any religious group being mentioned from the past is evidence that their respective gods exist, seeing as if you look into the history of followers of other religions, and they have just as strongly devout believers and a presence in history as your own, how can we be sure which religions, if any, are more valid than others? As for Josephus giving details that contradict those in the Bible, I feel that out of the two it would be better to believe the Bible, because not only was it more widespread, I recall reading somewhere that Josephus, assuming him mentioning Jesus wasn't a forgery, only gave about a paragraph in his work talking about Jesus (137 words if memory serves me correctly). Given the monumental importance Jesus is meant to have, one would think that Jesus would be much more of a focus to Josephus than one paragraph...
CD, you often claim that you think that there is a “possibility” that something is true. Why do you think there is a possibility this is true since there is no evidence to support the claim at all? One can claim that there is a possibility that the tooth fairy exists. The problem with this claim is that nothing supports the claim at all and there is plenty of evidence to show that it is false. The possibility is vanishingly small. Just because you can imagine something to exist, doesn’t mean it must (the major fault of the ontological argument). AS for the verse from Mark, I would assume you do get the idea that a claim in one book doesn’t have to be true to be reused and is just one more example of a writer documenting what others believed, not that the belief was true.
I know you aren’t okay with considering that the same arguments can be used for other religions than yours and yours isn’t the one “true” religion and is not any more valid than any others. I also know that you want to believe your bible over everything else and there is nothing to supports its claims. It’s not surprisingly that you offer an excuse to ignore Josephus when his claims show your bible to be nonsense. Christians make claims on how wonderful these supposed extra-biblical sources are but when they show the bible to be wrong, suddenly they lose their shine. Yep, if JC was real and the events in the bible really happened one would think that they would get more play. They didn’t and this is more evidence that the claims are false. CD, it seems you are taking refuge in the usual shell game that is played by Christians, first making one claim is “true” and then when shown to be wrong, claiming that the lack of evidence is “really” evidence that your religion is true.
To address both questions, I don't think the mention of believers is truly sufficient evidence to support the existence of various gods being claimed, and we shouldn't take stories as fact just because the story's are recorded—going by that logic you could arguably make a similar case for Homer's Odyssey, or saying that those who discovered the Mayans destroyed their altars and cultural relics to defeat their gods.
So, if mentions of believers and the recording of religious stories aren’t sufficient evidence to support the claims of other religions, then it is not sufficient to support your religion. That’s all we have for your religion, and we also have no evidence the claims in the bible/Christianity are true and we have evidence that shows something entirely different happened.
It's theorized that the crucifixion happened somewhere between 30-33AD, though I'm not sure if there were any recorded eclipses that occurred in the spring months of those respective years. So it could either ben an exaggeration or the Bible could be wrong, since of the Passover really does require a full moon a solar eclipse can't happen on the same day.
To be pedantic, it is not theorized at all, it is hypothesized(at best, just a story at worst) and that hypothesis is based on a book that has nothing to support its claims. There are other claims by Christians when JC was supposedly born and cruxified, 30-33 AD isn’t the only range you have to be concerned with. Since humans have discovered the pattern of eclipses, the pattern can be rewound there are NO eclipses that can fit the time period. Again, you have to have one date that an eclipse happened, a major earthquake *and* the dead walking around Jerusalem hanging out with the living. One exaggeration or one mistake in a book doesn’t make entirely wrong. The problem is when every essential claim in the book can be shown to be wrong, then the story become a house of cards that fails.
It may not be the same story at all, seeing as the details are different and no crucifixion is mentioned. At that point he may have been referring to a preacher or a miracle-worker similar to Jesus, but wasn't Jesus of the Bible. I remember reading that Jesuss actual name was either Joshua or Yeshua, but t was translated as Jesus to be more acceptable to other cultures or something, or Jesus was the Roman translation of Joshua. Joshua does seem like a name that could be common for that era, and I wonder why he isn't referred to as Joshua. Were there other Joshuas around Israel at that time and calling him by that name would just have Jesus appear to be one of many Joshuas?
Jesus is the Greek form of Yeshua/Joshua. It’s a matter of translation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament
Just because a religion has believers that strongly accept its teachings doesn't mean it's true—that doesn't mean something might not be true, but it's good to be wary of believing something just because someone told you to believe it.
Exactly. This is what religious sects depend on, no one questioning. Some Christians depend on no one actually looking at the original texts that they claim are evidence for their god and its actions. What we have so far are claims of something happening, humans looking for evidence, humans not finding any evidence, humans making false claims that they have found evidence, and other humans looking at the claims and seeing that they are untrue.
I admit that the claims could be exaggerations, especially seeing as the primarily records we have of them (the Gospels) were written several decades after the fact (and by unknown authors from what I've heard)—especially with the whole "the dead rising from their graves" thing at the crucifixion, I actually didn't learn that was present in the Bible until rather recently.
As for your point about the eclipse, I actually didn't know at all that Passover requires a full moon (wonder why), if I had known that I would likely have been more skeptical about the eclipse thing, seeing as a full moon would only allow a lunar eclipse to happen—the moon can't cover the sun's light if part of the light of the sun is reflecting off of it, after all. Thanks for the clarification there. (Side note, jist found out that there's finally going to be a solar explise over the US next year, that's going to be cool. )
If one can ignore the claim that the dead rose from their graves in the gospel, why should one believe that one more guy rose from the grave? It’s just an exaggeration. The flood is an exaggeration, the exodus is just a nationalistic lie. No creation and no original sin and no need for a messiah to “save” us all.
The Planetary Society has a tour one can take to see that solar eclipse and some of the national parks (of course they don’t have that one up yet: http://www.planetary.org/get-involved/travel/