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What is up atheist?

 
 
Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 09:05 am
Of course, an atheist do not believe in God, but do atheists believe that Jesus is a real man who existed at some point in the human history?
 
View best answer, chosen by Val Killmore
Joe Nation
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 09:16 am
@Val Killmore,
This one doesn't.

Joe(history buff)Nation
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 09:22 am
@Joe Nation,
Interesting, Joe. Even though I do not believe in the entire Jesus myth (virgin birth, resurrection, etc.) I always assumed that he was a historical figure.

I would be interested in learning why you don't believe that Jesus ever existed.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 09:34 am
Maybe . . . there's no evidence for him. I can't accept the "no smoke without fire" argument as historiographically sound. It proves nothing. Nor is it evidence that there was no such person. I think it's about 50-50. Could have been real, could have been a character in an extended parable by the Essenes. If you think about it, if you were in Jerusalem on a high holy day, on the roof of any two story building, and threw a bucket of peas at the crowd below, you'd likely hit dozens of guys named Joshuah, any ten or twelve of whom might fancy himself a rabbi.
0 Replies
 
Val Killmore
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 09:38 am
@Joe Nation,
Many atheists that I’ve met find the question of Jesus' existence to be uninteresting.

What is interesting is making any definite factual claims on the subject without the available evidence, or the lack of evidence, depending on one's perspective.

The physical existence of Jesus is not definitively proven in the same way that famous individuals of his generation such as Caesar or his precursor such as Socrates. However, it seems that the historical aspects of the Gospels line up and the existence of his followers can be confirmed almost all the way back to the speculated time of his death.

So can the historical existence of Jesus really be ruled out?
Setanta
 
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Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 09:40 am
@Val Killmore,
The gospels are so full of historical bullshit, one hardly knows where to start.
Joe Nation
 
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Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 09:46 am
@Phoenix32890,
The only people who ever referred to him contemporaneously were his own followers and even they couldn't get the facts right. Consider the differences in the Gospels regarding how and when Christ was supposedly born.

Was there a guy who preached, got himself arrested and executed around the time of Herod, sure, probably more than one. What happened next was the combining of his story with the legends of all the other 'born of a virgin, under a star, dead for three days and rose again'' guys. The Persians had one, the Egyptians had a couple more.

What made this particular rendition of the tale catch on was Paul and his particular knack for organization. (Too bad for women though, before Paul got involved women had been church leaders, after he wrote a few letters about how they should be silent, that was it for them. Back of the church, baby.)

It must have been kind of funny for Paul though; he gets to Thessalonia and begins telling the tale about how three kings visited the babe born to a virgin and those Greeks tell him "Pphhttft, the Persians already told us that one."

Joe(yeah, but this one's different... .)Nation
Val Killmore
 
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Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 09:59 am
@Setanta,
Maybe, I don't know, I am not an archaeologist nor a historian. But a lot of archaeologists and historians who are atheist treat Jesus as a definite as far as existing goes, while many archaeologists and historians, who are atheist, say Jesus is from more than one character as Joe explained.

So as you said 50/50 based on the given data to work with.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 10:02 am
@Val Killmore,
Val Killmore wrote:
Of course, an atheist do not believe in God, but do atheists believe that Jesus is a real man who existed at some point in the human history?

Atheists as a group have no position on this topic. Unless you count devotional literature as evidence, there is no evidence that a Jesus of Nazareth lived around the years AD 1--30. Indeed, there is no evidence that the city of Nazareth existed before the year AD 200.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
  Selected Answer
 
  4  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 10:10 am
@Val Killmore,
Quote:
do atheists believe that Jesus is a real man


gotta start with the prospect of atheists agreeing on anything

unlikely

so the answer is: some atheists believe Jesus was a real man, some atheists believe Jesus was not a real man, and others have never really considered the question
Val Killmore
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 10:11 am
@Joe Nation,
What about Flavius Josephus and Tacitus who were two of the most influential historians of the time, and did attest to the existence of Jesus.

Also the Babylonian Talmud's also attested of such man's existence.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 10:20 am
@Val Killmore,
I'd be interested to know who you claim those atheist archaeologists and historians are.

The older versions of the gospels describe Pontius Pilate as a procutrator--modern versions have corrected that egregious error, pretending it had never been made. Prior to a ruling by Claudius, sometime after 40 CE, procurators were not more than imperial accountants--they did not govern administrative units.

The Pilate stone shows that he was a prefect. As such, he would not have commanded no Roman soldiers. At the time the gospels were written, they weren't yet doing that "Jews as Christ killers" bullshit yet, because so many of the cult were Jews. They were trying to make the Romans the villians of the piece. But a prefect would only have had two thousand or so auxilliaries, not Roman soldiers--you know, local boys. His brieff was to protect the land trade routes which lead to the sea. He had no reason to keep any of his troops in Jerusalem. In fact, Jerusalem was not the capital of anything at that time. The "ca;ital" of the Prefecture of Iudaea was Caesarea Maritima, well to the north of present day Tel Aviv. There was no reason for Pilate to have been in Jerusalem. Certainly not for a religious observation of a subject people. In fact, according to Flavius Josephus, Pilate was contemptuous of local customs and religion. He was recalled to Rome for attacking a Samaritan religious procession.

Pilate was not going to be taking any **** from Ciaphas. The Prefect appointed the High Priest from a short list provided by the priests of the Temple, so that Roman authority could be sure the job was held by someone they approved of. He sure as hell wasn't going to listen to the crowd about what to do with a prisoner--no Roman official ever listened to the mob, not if he wanted to keep his job. As a prefect, he had no authority to condemn or execute anyone. If he had wanted to do that, he'd have been obliged to send the accused off to the governor of Syria.

I'm just getting warmed up, but you can have more later, it you want it.
Thomas
 
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Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 10:25 am
@Val Killmore,
Val Killmore wrote:
Many atheists that I’ve met find the question of Jesus' existence to be uninteresting.

I'm one of them. And although there is better evidence for the historical Euclid, the historical Archimedes, and the historical Pythagoras, I wouldn't care if these gentlemen hadn't existed, either. What counts is the ideas that bear their respective names, not the human individuals that conceived the ideas. And that's the way I think about Jesus as well.
Setanta
 
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Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 10:28 am
@Val Killmore,
The passages in Flavius Josephus and Tacitus are considered to be interpolations by modern scholars. A prominent Hellenistic scholar who specializes in Josephus did a survey of the modern scholarship on the Josephus passage, and reports that more than 80% of the moern scholars consider the passage to be in part or entirely an interpolation. The Tacitus passage, among several problems, was unknown before the early16th century, and Vatican scholars, who have the text, consider it an interpolation. The Tacitus passage refers to "Christians." In 65 CE, even Christians didn't call themselves Christians. Eusebius, one of the great liars of Christian history, makes no mention of persecutions of Christians by Nero. Seutonius, who was born just after the great fire (one of many--they were common in Rome), who had very little good to say about Nero, specifically says that Nero never had anyone executed in public.

Very poor choices there, Boss.
Setanta
 
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Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 10:31 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
What counts is the ideas that bear their respective names, not the human individuals that conceived the ideas. And that's the way I think about Jesus as well.


Yup . . . that's the crux of the biscuit. It doesn't matter if there was a Jesus, what matters is that so many people believe that there was.
0 Replies
 
Val Killmore
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 10:31 am
@Setanta,
May you show the proof as to where you got such information regarding Pontius Pilate from. Because you mix Wikipedia info with your own opinion for the sake of beating me. Let me assure you that this is not a competition, but just curiosity looking for answers.

For example you say Pilate could not have been in Jerusalem, well in the wikipedia article, it also says: "After that time and until 66, the Jewish client kings exercised this privilege. Normally, Pilate resided in Caesarea but traveled throughout the province, especially to Jerusalem, in the course of performing his duties."

And regarding my previous statement, here are two examples:
"Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels" by Atheist historian Michael Grant

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/lifestyle/53847627-80/jesus-ehrman-atheists-christians.html.csp
"Ehrman points out that only about 3 percent of Jews in Jesus’ time were literate, and Romans never kept detailed records. (Decades after Jesus’ crucifixion, three Roman writers mention Jesus in passing, as does the Jewish historian Josephus.) Though the Gospel accounts are biased, they cannot be discounted as nonhistorical. As for Jesus being a Jewish version of the pagan dying and rising god, Ehrman shows that there is no evidence the Jews of Jesus’ day worshipped pagan gods. If anything, Jesus was deeply rooted in Jewish, rather than Roman, traditions."
Val Killmore
 
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Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 10:34 am
@Setanta,
What about the Talmuds then?
0 Replies
 
Val Killmore
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 10:36 am
@ehBeth,
Good point, well based on the given data, let's just end at that good note, thank you everyone for your input.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 10:42 am
@Val Killmore,
Your own source describes Erhman as an agnostic, not an atheist. Micheal Grant was a survey historian, and his pronouncements on a wide range of classical history are controversial. Nevertheless, i have no reason (and i've read many of his books) to believe that he was an atheist. Have you a quote of Mr. Grant to substantiate your claim, which i consider dubious?
Val Killmore
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 May, 2012 10:47 am
@Setanta,
Michael Grant completely rejected the idea that Jesus never existed.

"This sceptical way of thinking reached its culmination in the argument that Jesus as a human being never existed at all and is a myth.... But above all, if we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned. Certainly, there are all those discrepancies between one Gospel and another. But we do not deny that an event ever took place just because some pagan historians such as, for example, Livy and Polybius, happen to have described it in differing terms.... To sum up, modern critical methods fail to support the Christ myth theory. It has 'again and again been answered and annihilated by first rank scholars.' In recent years, 'no serous scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary."


Agnostic or Atheistic, on the matter of the history, what difference does it make?
 

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