The “Historical Jesus” is a Sideshow

Does anyone have a count on how many books and other media materials purport to describe the “real” Jesus? There are so many theories describing a human Jesus that the most important fact about Jesus is lost: the gospel stories about him are mostly myth, if not completely myth.

It was the myth of Jesus that gave him importance. If the stories were based on some real human named Jesus, he was a very insignificant historical person. But, his followers created a mythical Jesus with the gospel stories. It was the myth of Jesus that was the foundation of Christianity. Myths are not true…they are lies. Christianity was built on lies. Today, even many Christians understand that the Jesus story is not true; but, fail to understand that an untruth is a lie.

The search for the historical Jesus is an exercise in grasping at straws to save Christianity. It is a sideshow because the big tent began to collapse with the Age of Reason. The descriptions of a historical Jesus are rationalizations, distracting from the hard truth that Jesus Christ never existed.

Non-believers should avoid being dragged into the delusion of the “Historical Jesus” and concentrate on exposing the lie at the heart of Christianity.

"The only qualification to be a member of Nexus is to be a nontheist. Other than that we are a community. Civil debate is welcome in the forum, but should not be tolerated in individual groups (unless this is the purpose of the group), and on member pages." - Brother Richard.

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Comment by Diana Agorio on September 20, 2010 at 12:39pm
As I close the discussion on this topic, I will leave you with my final thoughts:
I don't spend my time trying to prove or disprove the existence of a human Jesus as the inspiration behind Christianity. It is very unlikely that any new material will turn up, proving or disproving his existence. The available material is very well studied and remains inconclusive. The only thing achieved by trying to prove the existence of a real Jesus is to rationalize an otherwise irrational story. As an anti-theist atheist, I find highlighting the irrational basis of the Jesus story more useful in debunking Christianity, rather than arguing with theists on their terms.
Comment by Matt VDB on September 20, 2010 at 3:07am
"Are they from China or Siberia, or are they from the general area where Christianity was starting to blossom? If the latter, then they're local."

That's the strangest definition of local I've ever seen. So "local" is now a word we can use for practically all of Europe, Northern Africa and swathes of Asia? Amazing.

"Show me where I'm saying they are unable to check facts. I'm questioning what their sources were. If their sources were scriptures or Christian/popular opinion, then what I'm questioning their sources. And until we unearth the 1st century equivalent of an AHR citation, we don't know what their sources were."

For a minute there I thought you were being rational, but then you had to ruin it by asking for the equivalent of a citation. Newsflash Jo: ancient historians hardly if ever cite their sources. They don't use footnotes, they don't use asterisks, and they don't give URL's for the interested reader. To expect to find anything like that is completely unrealistic.

However, you have yourself the inkling of a hypothesis there: maybe - say - Tacitus, relied on Christian hear-say for what he wrote about the founder of Christianity. Let's see how that matches up with what we know about Tacitus: (i) he explicitly says many times that he rejects hearsay and wants to find solid evidence for what he writes (ii) he had access to the senatorial records (including dispatches from prefects like Pilate) for many decades (iii) he despised Christianity, calling it a "vile superstition" and would never have taken them on their word (iv) his reference to Jesus in the Annales looks exactly like what he'd get from a dispatch but nothing like what we'd expect from a Christian source.

How does the idea that he relied on Christian hearsay look now?
Comment by Jo Jerome on September 19, 2010 at 5:10pm
So now two of the best historians of the time are mere "local historians" who aren't able to check their facts?

Are they from China or Siberia, or are they from the general area where Christianity was starting to blossom? If the latter, then they're local.

Show me where I'm saying they are unable to check facts. I'm questioning what their sources were. If their sources were scriptures or Christian/popular opinion, then what I'm questioning their sources. And until we unearth the 1st century equivalent of an AHR citation, we don't know what their sources were.
Comment by Matt VDB on September 19, 2010 at 4:59am
"If my body of evidence for Hansel and Gretel or Beowulf consisted of scriptures written decades after their supposed deaths, worshiping them as children of god, followed more decades later by vague references, at least one a probable forgery, from 2 local historians once the scriptures and cult surrounding these characters have blossomed enough to have plausibly been the source for these 2 historians"

So now two of the best historians of the time are mere "local historians" who aren't able to check their facts? That dodge won't fly, Jerome: Josephus was on the scene barely two decades after the supposed facts and cites James (a man who is attested by both Paul and various gospels as the brother of Jesus) as... the brother of Jesus. He does this in talking about an event who knew very well and which would have impacted him and his aristocratic class: the deposition of the High Priest Ananus.
And in the case of Tacitus we're talking about a man who worked for decades with the senatorial records and who very likely had access to reports from Pilate himself, which would have very likely contained a reference to Jesus: exactly the kind of thing Tacitus later penned down in the Annales.

So, do you have something similar for Beowulf, yes or no? What about Hans and Gretsel?
Comment by Jo Jerome on September 18, 2010 at 2:52pm
On historicity of protagonists in myth... Matt VDB asks:

Do you have written documents of people who claim to have met family members of Hans and Gretsel (and who are independently confirmed by historians of the time) just a few years before their writing. No? What about Beowulf?

If my body of evidence for Hansel and Gretel or Beowulf consisted of scriptures written decades after their supposed deaths, worshiping them as children of god, followed more decades later by vague references, at least one a probable forgery, from 2 local historians once the scriptures and cult surrounding these characters have blossomed enough to have plausibly been the source for these 2 historians, then yes; I would stand by my assessment that we don't even have solid evidence for the existence of Hansel, Gretel or Beowulf. And if they did exist, we certainly can not trust the scriptures to have kept their biographies and sayings intact, so who they are have been lost to time.

If someone tried to say "But look! Here are two different copies of the Hansel and Gretel story and both carry the same quote from them, so the quote has to be real!" I'd ask, "Which of those stories came first and how do we know the second had no knowledge of the first? How do we know it's not just a catchy phrase that gets attached to any fairy tale/epic poem's protagonist? E.g.; how many Xians today swear that 'Spare the rod, spoil the child' is from the bible when it isn't? The evidence is intriguing but in no way conclusive."
Comment by Jo Jerome on September 18, 2010 at 2:12pm
Personally, I wouldn't have deleted the trollish comments. I'd have kept them here for all the world, the troll's adoring fans, and the moderators to see.

On the topic at hand... So far, I've seen Diana qualify her hypotheses as such and even as a minority view that the bible is not inerrant. (Which is the entire body of evidence for the subject at hand save for vague references from 2 persons who are vulnerable to using scriptures or popular opinion as their source). I find it rather fascinating that so many Atheists object to other Atheists objecting to the bible being hailed as inerrant.

On hawking our wares on A/N... There are other authors here who 'hawk' their books. I have rarely seen Stephen Goldin post outside the SciFi/Fantasy group, but I certainly don't think he's only here to hawk his books. He has a specific interest. As does Diana.

But if specific interest is a sin, then what is Matt hawking? Because I have rarely seen him post other than to defend the honor of Jesus and the bible. And when someone dares to say, "Gee, I'm a little skeptical of taking the word of a bunch of religious texts written by religious fanatics," we get beaten and berated and insulted.

Which again, really surprises me on an Atheist website that we aren't allowed to question the inerrancy of the bible or that later historians might have been influenced by it.
Comment by Roy The Infidel on September 18, 2010 at 11:29am
I'd be interested to follow this topic under the Official A|N Debates which is in the works per BR.
Comment by Фелч Гроган on September 18, 2010 at 10:35am
Additionally, it is not "your page", it is a page that this community has been kind enough to offer you, gratis, without asking anything in return for their generosity. When's the last time you threw any coins into the pot to help pay for running this site BTW? Don't tell me you thought it was all free and ran itself? The least you could do is show a bit of respect for your environment.
Comment by Фелч Гроган on September 18, 2010 at 10:21am
Diana, if you cannot answer legitimate skepticism, or refuse to (it doesn't really matter which), and instead resort to returning fire with personal attacks, it makes one wonder exactly who is guilty of abuse here. Additionally, continuing accusations of crimes that may or may not have been committed against you without providing any kind of evidence means that what you are just expecting everyone to eat up hearsay and simply believe it unquestioningly. That is not good enough. You are making serious accusations against another member here, ones that border on villification, and you refuse to back any of it up - and further muddy everything by deleting whole chunks of the discussion on whatever whim takes you. This is simply not acceptable. I also question what the point of you being here is.
Comment by Diana Agorio on September 18, 2010 at 9:40am
I don't care what he calls himself, either Al-kadim or Dannyisme, I don't want him on my page. His insults went way beyond criticising what I wrote, to attacking me personally with profanity.
A few people are turning AN from a community of non-theists into a tiny club of the miserable. There is really no point in being here.

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