Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Any reason not to believe appears to be a good one, hence. Nonetheless, alleged scientific minds should not fall for the childishly irreverent (or obvious) and be so unimaginative that they cannot come to any other "stinging conclusion" than this one:
"if you hear anyone who claims to have evidence for a witness of a historical Jesus, simply ask for the author's birth date. Anyone who's birth occurred after an event cannot serve as an eyewitness, nor can their words alone serve as evidence for that event."
To begin with, not to be pedantic but, shouldn't a scientific mind, an intellectual, a scholar KNOW that it should be "... anyone whose birth occurred after an event" - hmm?
Next obvious bone of contention for me is: are there any witnesses to the contrary out there? That none of these events took place? If so, let them come forth now!
This is simply too easy and, quite frankly, beneath even an unbelieving mind! Atheists refuse to believe... Agnostics don't know squat and don't care to know, either way.
Fine. But that doesn't mean that they have the right to act like spoiled brats in the midst of the "scientific argument" that THEY demanded!
Who are any of them? NOBODIES. Will there be any evidence of their passage on Earth, if the mud globe spins around for another century or so? Actually, it is possible now, yes. Anyone can leave a trace nowadays, with the magic of the internet. Still, in the context of someone who lived 2000 years ago - NONE of these bozos who refute the mere existence of the MAN whom his disciples called Christ and recognized as THE MESSIAH, NONE OF THE REFUTING ONES would be even remembered within a short century or so! Composite names such as "David Noel", "Marshall J" and "Stephen Jay" are a dime a dozen. That goes a hundred-fold for every Jim, Tim, Bob and Earl there ever was! They who overanalyze and overemphasize the "need" for there being "historical evidence" of the passage of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem forget the obvious in doing so - that JESUS WAS NOT LOVED IN JERUSALEM! It is nothing short of a miracle (indeed it is one too) that the Gospels survived - since in those olden days, when someone was not liked, ALL RECORDS OF THEIR PASSAGE AND OF THEIR EXISTENCE EVEN, WERE ERADICATED!
Don't you agnostic self-centered ones and atheistic egotistical ones tear up the pictures of the formerly loved now "ex" one - hmm?
Being so self-centered and egotistical, you should have seen it coming though... You cannot love another since you don't love yourselves enough to give yourselves a chance at eternity! Hence... but, aye, that is another story!
The unbeliever will attempt to debunk all faith in Christ with two sentences that reek of bias and of his own smuginess: "all evidence of Christ's passage derives from other sources. It is hearsay."
"Hearsay means information derived from other people rather than on a witness' own knowledge." (Many witnesses are unreliable nowadays, none the same...! But it is another story too...)
"Courts of law do not generally allow hearsay as testimony, and nor does honest modern scholarship. Hearsay provides no proof or good evidence, and therefore, we should dismiss it." (We might as well dismiss flawed court officials who never truly dispensed "justice" in their lives... Yeah, I know; yet another story...)
Our courts of law NEVER COMMIT ATROCIOUS MISCARRIAGES OF JUSTICE - right? The eyewitness accounts are always 100% true there. The accounts of those who knew Christ were not. What - were you THERE too, to know so certainly that they lied or "made up stuff" at any point in their testimonies?
These execrable eggheads actually have more discredit to lay upon the original witnesses though... According to them, the apostles and disciples who did write the accounts we "go on" (the Gospels) were not the ones that knew Christ. And the first pope was not Peter either? Again - were you there?
Use your BRAINS - Peter headed a faith that was ON THE RUN - he NEVER had it as easy as John-Paul or the "transitional pope" that we currently have... Thus, Peter was "the pope" of a very different church - and one in name only.
As for the writers of the gospels (and we won't include the "recently discovered lost gospel" of Judas either) - it was rare to live to be 70 or older in the first century. And, ONLY ACCORDING TO ESTIMATES, the Gospels were reputedly written some 40 years after the fact (the fact being the Crucifixion) at least - making all four evangelists (Mark, Matthew, Luke and John - not Billy Graham!) well past the 70 mark. Hmm... all things are possible to God! Don't you know? However, I would first say that all manners of mistakes in DATING THINGS are possible to MAN!
I do not accept the so-called evidence as "set and final". The dating is arbitrary - and very much flawed itself! (Especially if it involves carbon dating methods!)
Any estimates of the age of any document can be tainted and TOTALLY ERRONEOUS!
Then again, the disciples were not cultured men for the most part - maybe writing an account of what had happened intimidated them and they put it down for later until they truly could not wait any longer!
As for the apparent lack of records of Jesus' passing through Jerusalem and the "court of law" of one Pontius Pilate, it is good to quote from one of the links provided today... For, "as every student of ancient history is aware, it is an elementary error to suppose that the unmentioned did not exist or was not accepted."
The fact is, as pointed out by another scholar, that "Jesus never made an appreciable impact during his lifetime either on the Romans or the Jews. His band of followers must have been pretty insignificant for them to be missed by contemporary Jewish writers such as Philo, Justus and Josephus. His impact on the Romans must be even lesser still for both Tacitus and Suetonius had no independent historical source on Jesus and relied on popular opinion for information on the founder (of Christianism)." Thus, WHY REPROACH THAT TO CHRIST? Jesus Christ was simply NOT POPULAR! Still isn't, judging from some reactions to His Name... SURELY ALL THE ATHEISTIC NOBODIES OF THE WORLD CAN ACTUALLY SYMPATHIZE WITH THAT! FOR YOU ARE PRETTY INSIGNIFICANT IN YOUR OWN RIGHT! I take that back... you are not "pretty", just insignificant! :)
YOU CANNOT USE THE NOVELTY OF CHRISTIANITY AS "PROOF" THAT IT IS BUT MERE SPECULATIVE HEARSAY! YOUR HOGWASH THEORY IS WHAT APPEARS TO BE SPECULATION... of the worst kind too! Logically, something new begins slowly - gains in importance and then becomes widespread and recognized. Worry not, though - that will never happen to any of you atheists and unbelievers - not with your rhetoric it won't!
However, note that the scholar who tags early Christians as "pretty insignificant" (one Paul Tobin) is the same person who calls for rejecting Pascal's wager... This being the following: "If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having, neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to us. We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is... you must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked. Which will you choose then? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager then without hesitation that he is." HE IS!
This perfectly sound call for a "wager" is decried by Tobin as flawed for it does not factor in all religions - it opposes only two things; faith in God and atheism. So, indeed, NO RELIGIONS, NO DOGMAS... hence, Tobin's own stance is the one that is flawed and illogical for he calls for rejecting Pascal's wager solely based on his dislike of Catholic dogma! The fact remains that the seventeenth century French mathematician and theologian, Blaise Pascal (1623-1663) put forward a TIMELESS wager in his "Pensées" (Thoughts) - one that speaks not of his faith (Roman Catholicism, of course) but of GOD... It is really BELIEF IN A GOD-CREATOR VERSUS NON-BELIEF... and so his wager is FLAWLESS, TIMELESS AND ABOVE ANY DIFFERENCES OF RELIGIONS. And so, one should really wager that GOD DOES EXIST. As for Christ - Jesus is the Messiah that the Jews awaited. Islam and Judaism recognize Jesus as a prophet (at least!) so us Christians have Him as an echelon above that. Those who reject Jesus reject Him because they perceive Him as dead on the cross - period. Beyond that erroneous perception, isn't it THE MESSAGE that counts the most - and not the messenger? Rejecting Christ or Pascal's wager simply because Christ was crucified and was not a "warrior messiah" while Pascal was probably a Roman Catholic... that is not rectitude! That is TOTAL AND COMPLETE BIAS! Still, Tobin concludes that "on both intellectual and (even) moral grounds (!) the only course for a person to take is the rejection of Pascal's wager." As if GOD was responsible for the actions of any religious zealots, extremists (anyone who is not Christ-like) or plain sinners (defrocked priests) that do not live up to the standards set by better than themselves (but who try to represent their Faith - alas). As for intellectual concerns, do no evil and that is all that GOD will require of YOU! Some people "overcomplicate" things when they simply needn't be...! But what can one expect from an intellectual mind that labels Brazil as a "third world country" (I'm sure that it's news to them - they have poor among them, sure. But so do we all!)
The exact passage is: "poor third world countries with Catholic majorities, such as the Philippines and Brazil, continue to be burdened by overpopulation, poverty, hunger and disease." Sure, that is all to be blamed on Catholicism... rrrright. You know, the same religion that calls for ABSTINENCE...
Overthinking things until we utter nonsense, aren't we Paul T?
E-mail Paul Tobin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Makes me think of this quote: "The reserve of modern assertions is sometimes pushed to extremes, in which the fear of being contradicted leads the writer to strip himself of almost all sense and meaning." - Sir Winston Churchill
And what could be more modern than bashing "archaic" faith... eh?
In the coming days, right here on The Luminous Blog and on Luminous Praising of the Divine
I will gladly and joyously debunk each scholarly "erudite" quote to be found here.
Not all scholars are such arrogant braggarts, mind you: here is a quote from one Albert Schweitzer (all Alberts appear to be good guys - look at Einstein!)
"We, on our part, have reason to be grateful to the early Christians that, in consequence of this attitude they have handed down to us, not biographies of Jesus but only Gospels, and that therefore we possess the Idea and the Person with the minimum of historical and contemporary limitations." - Albert Schweitzer
No one seems to doubt that Pilate did condemn someone named Christ -
no one that matters that is! (Such as "in the Grand Scheme of Things" - get it?)
The Christian Think-Tank can also get moving on this topic - of course - and if pressed to do so, we can find proof of a historical Christ - even when most of it has been eradicated by Christian-haters!
I would be remiss if I did not mention a short list compiled on the latter link and detailing the EXTERNAL SOURCES that corroborate the historicity of Christ...
Letter from Pliny the Younger to Trajan (c. 110)
Tacitus (Annals, c.115-120) [The best current discussion on this passage is in my friend JP Holding's site]
A fragment of Tacitus, with implications for the existence of the "Nazarene"
Suetonius (Lives of the Caesars, c. 125)
***Lucian (mid-2nd century)
Galen (c.150; De pulsuum differentiis 2.4; 3.3)
Celsus (True Discourse, c.170).
Mara Bar Serapion (pre-200?)
Talmudic References( written after 300 CE, but some refs probably go back to eyewitnesses)
There are other references to "Christians" in this period, but I am not concerned with those--although some would offer supporting evidence for someone named 'Christ'. For example, Marcus Aurelius (Meditations 11.3) calls the believers 'Christians', but Epictetus (Discourses 4.7.6) calls them "Galileans".
Aww... Lucian just HAD TO BE THERE! :)