Did Jesus bullshit?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Saint, Dec 5, 2020.

  1. candy Valued Senior Member

    I have suspected that he was a mystic who attained the siddhi powers.
    It could explain what his followers thought they saw.
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  3. Sherlock Holmes Registered Member

    The New Testament is unique, leaving God and religion aside for now, the material itself stands out in several ways from anything else written that we have from antiquity.

    It is the most prevalent of ancient documents (or the various books are, they were not compiled into a collection until much later) there are more copies of this than any other ancient document.

    Furthermore all of the copies that have been found are in remarkable agreement, the changes from one copy to another are often very very small.

    So the fact that it exists at all is not what one would expect, papyrus is fragile yet we have copies that are known to be 1,600 or so years old and these copies are very very close to much later copies.

    Now the documents claim to be true accounts of a remarkable episode of human history, the events were so remarkable that a huge effort must have been made to preserve the record.

    If you had lived 2,000 years ago, had witnessed and experienced some of the events described, what would you have done? it seems reasonable to me to expect that some would have been utterly astonished and would go to great lengths to preserve the stories, there would be nothing else one could do but write these down and take steps to have them preserved and copied, there was no other way back then to preserve information.

    So that's the first thing to try and understand I think, the remarkable uniqueness of the material, it is simply not to be expected, there was no organized church 1,900 years ago, no Sunday worship, no hymn singing, no rituals like Christmas or Easter, no Catholics vs Protestants, no cathedrals or bell ringing, no priests, nuns, popes, no Bible, no tithing, none of this, none of the familiar things we think of when we think if Christianity, these things came later, they did not exist when these records were first written down.

    So at the time these documents were first penned the world was a very different place, the people who met and spent time with Jesus were also confused, they often could not fathom what he was speaking about.
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Hello Sherlock,

    Welcome to sciforums.
    All texts of any reasonable length are unique.
    Fortunately for the early Christians, they managed to spread their influence, such that their religion was eventually adopted by the largest and most powerful empire in the world at the time. Later European colonisation and military domination later led to widespread dissemination of Christianity. As the foundational set of texts, the priesthood and scholars considered its preservation and dissemination to be of the utmost importance.
    That is truer of later copies than of earlier ones. Of course, the texts of the New Testament were selected from many available texts; some were chosen for inclusion according to the ideology of the time and others were rejected.
    The preservation of these texts was considered to be vitally important by Christians, who considered them to be their Holy Book.
    Yes. That is the claim.
    Strange, then, that none of the 4 major gospels of Christ was written until 30 or 40 years after his death, don't you think? And that they are not independent of one another (i.e. Mark is the obvious source for some of the content in Matthew and Luke, at least).
    That's not quite true, if you believe your bible. Paul and his followers were travelling around proselytising like mad. Paul's own accounts suggest that there was an organised church. Certainly there was worship, and I'd be surprised if there was no commemoration of the Lord's birth or death. There was also certainly a church heirarchy of sorts, with acknowledged leaders.
    We have no way of knowing how much of what is attributed to Jesus in the New Testament was actually said or done by him. Coming back to Paul once again, it seems that Paul had his own ideas of how the nascent Church should operate, which were dutifully added to the Christian canon when the choice was made of texts to include in the New Testament.
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  7. Sherlock Holmes Registered Member

    Thanks for the responses, mine are in red below:

    Consider this, IF the events described in the Gospels did occur then what would we expect to find two thousand years later? IF these events did take place then what would you have done had you seen these with your own eyes? what could you have done back at that time?

    Would you do absolutely nothing? or would you accept the magnitude of what you witnessed and be determined to tell others?
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2021
  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    I'd suggest that you do not include your responses within a quote. You can use multiple [quote][/quote] tags to separate things out. Long quotes get compacted when they are are viewed, so you risk having stuff missed by the person you're addressing your response to.

    Regarding your query about when the gospels were written, most reputable Christian scholars agree that all of them were written 30-40 years after Jesus's death. You can look it up if you doubt me.
    At that time, chances are good that I would have been illiterate. I guess I would have told my friends and family about what I saw with my own eyes. I mean, if the miracles and stuff are real - if the resurrection is real - then it's an important message to try to spread.

    On the other hand, think about it. If you're Almighty God, sending your son to save all of humanity from sin, couldn't you choose a more reliable method for propagating the Good News than leaving it up to word of mouth and anecdote? If you're the omnipotent ruler of the universe and you have a vitally important message for your Creation, why can't you make it clear and unambiguously obvious to all?
  9. Sherlock Holmes Registered Member

    Very well.

    There's evidence they were written no later than around 70AD but you have no idea if there were written records created within days of the crucifixion, we have no idea. These are now lost but we do not know if there were very early written accounts that are long since lost.

    I agree.

    But unless you know the goal you cannot judge the methods. Jesus himself said of his parables that it was intended to hide the truth not reveal it, it was revealed selectively and likely this is still the case.
  10. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    There's also evidence, and a weight of scholarly opinion, that they were written between 68-110 AD.
    But hey, we also do not know for sure that the Gospels weren't written by aliens from a distant galaxy, or from Alpha Centauri. Or if there were countless different stories written within days of a crucifixion that told contradictory information, and only those fitting a subsequent agenda were adopted.
    There is so much we don't know that to speculate, or to even raise the notion of what isn't known is a pointless exercise in irrelevancy.

    So let's stick to what we do know, shall we?
    Isn't that a rather hypocritical position for you to take? You're effectively discounting another person's view because they don't know the goal, while pushing your own view while not knowing the goal? Or are you suggesting you do know the goal??
  11. Sherlock Holmes Registered Member

    Yes but we can't say that there were no earlier texts, that the texts we do have did not have their roots in some earlier text.

    Yes because such a thing isn't really plausible.

    My point is that we cannot assume that the earliest texts we've found were the earliest texts that existed, there's nothing unreasonable about pointing this out.

    Sure, and if you do know there were no earlier texts then say so.

    What view have I "pushed"?
  12. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Whether in some earlier text or even just oral tradition is rather irrelevant. All we have are the gospels themselves, not those other possible sources.
    Nothing unreasonable. Just irrelevant. Do you have them? Are you claiming that the gospels are an accurate rewrite of those earlier texts? Are you claiming that the gospels should be taken as more accurate than we might otherwise think because they might have been based on earlier texts, texts which noone has seen, and which noone knows the content of, or even if they exist?
    I don't know that there were or weren't, and nor do you. You are assuming that there were, however. We don't know what the purpose, or intent of the authors were for sure...
    "...but today there is a large consensus that the author of Mark was not intending to write history.[72] Mark preserves memories of real people (including the disciples), places and circumstances, but it is based on previously existing traditions which have been selected and arranged by the author to express his understanding of the significance of Jesus." - from Wiki
    Mark plus another document (the "Q-document") were then the main sources for Matthew and Luke, and John was written last, based on the previous three.
    That the Gospels are to be taken as accurate records of events.
  13. Sherlock Holmes Registered Member


    No, I've made no such claim.

    Yes, I am claiming that to cast doubt on their veracity because they may have been penned around 70 AD some 40 years after the crucifixion assumes there were no intermediate records.

    No I too have no idea, but the significance attached to the gospels being penned 40 or 50 years after the events is only a significance if there were no prior texts.

    Well right there it refers to "previously existing traditions" which could very well have been written.

    Why should they not be? We have more information about Jesus than we do about Spartacus.
  14. Sherlock Holmes Registered Member

    Also consider (emphasis mine)
    mentioned in this article.

    Luke begins (emphasis mine)
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
  15. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    No it doesn't. It assumes that they were penned between 70-110 AD, based on earlier writings, oral history, or based on nothing at all. That's all. You, however, are trying to claim that we should treat them as accurate because they were based on earlier writings/traditions/oral histories... the content of which you know nothing about beyond what may have been used in the gospels.
    Not at all, it also speaks to possible agenda of why they were written, and the story they wanted to tell. In other words, whether based on previous writings or not, it speaks to a period of time that was formative in the early church, when the "message" was still being established and argued over. The length of time between the actual events and the writing introduces a period when such agendas and interpretations inform the writing, beyond being a straight copying of the original text.
    Of course. That doesn't mean that the gospels are therefore accurate, though, or any more accurate than we can establish through other means. Being based on other writings doesn't itself make something accurate; it makes something second-hand, and in the absence of that previous writing, it's accuracy can only be established by what else exists and is known about.
    Sure, and noone claims to know the truth about Spartacus' life and teachings. As to why they should not be... noone is saying that they are not accurate, only that being based on earlier writings does not in and of itself make them accurate, and does not mean that something written 40 years after the event should be taken as being written earlier than that (and thus implied to be more accurate). If we had those earlier writings then we could compare the Gospels to those writings, and also look at the accuracy and reliability of those earlier writings. But we don't.
    The accuracy and reliability of the Gospels should only be considered based on what is contained in those Gospels, not on what we don't know about writings or oral histories that we otherwise have no record of. That doesn't mean we can therefore dismiss them as inaccurate for being written 40 years after the event.
    Treat them as accurate or reliable based on comparison to what else we know about the characters, the places, etc.

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