What is a Plausible Naturalistic Explanation for the Origin of Christianity?

by leavingwt 33 Replies latest jw friends

  • SacrificialLoon

    Why should there be a "naturalistic" explaination for the origin of Christianity? Do we need one for the mormons? Some guy who made up a story about being able to read golden tablets with special glasses founded the Mormon religion. Is that naturalistic? The only difference between the origin of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and religions founded more recently is time.

    What if Maxentius insted of Constantine won the battle of milvan bridge?

  • leavingwt
    Some guy who made up a story about being able to read golden tablets with special glasses founded the Mormon religion. Is that naturalistic?

    SacLoon -- Yes, I think a "guy who made up a story" is most certainly naturalistic.

  • designs


    Joseph Campbell probably offers the most accessible answer to the naturalistic origin of Christianity.

    Quest Theory

    The Power of Myth

  • leavingwt

    This is related to some of our comments. . .

    Stephen Law discusses 'Playing the Mystery Card'.

    The Veil Analogy

    This kind of appeal to mystery is particularly effective if combined with a veil analogy. Suggest that observable, scientifically investigable world is not all there is – there is also some sort of further reality hidden from us, as if behind a veil. Maintain that some of us – those lucky enough to be equipped with the right sort of transcendent faculty or insight – may perhaps obtain glimpses of the mystical reality that lies beyond the veil (and of course it’s terribly important that we listen to these “experts” – psychics, say, or “spiritual” people). Perhaps, even if we are not fortunate enough to be equipped with such a transcendental sense ourselves, we may nevertheless find at least some suggestive clues as to what lies on the other side (at this point, you might wish to reach for a generous helping of supporting anecdotes to bolster your conviction that, say, angels or psychic powers, exist – see chapter XX). But science, as a discipline, with its overly rigid and restrictive conception of what counts as “evidence”, is pretty useless when it comes to establishing anything about what lies behind the veil. Yes, we should acknowledge that science is a remarkably powerful tool when it comes to establishing how things on this side of the veil. The natural, physical world is its proper domain. Insist that anyone who suggests that, by means of science and/or reason, they might be able fairly conclusively to establish certain claims about what, if anything, lies beyond the natural, physical realm is clearly a fool.

    So what does lie beyond the veil? Many would begin with their dead relatives. Spiritualists often use the veil analogy, describing the deceased as having “passed over to the other side”. While science may not be able to penetrate the cosmic partition dividing us from them, the spiritualist, luckily, has the ability to glimpse, if only dimly, through the veil. If the spiritualist’s abilities fail to show up when subjected to some rigorous scientific testing, well, you wouldn’t expect them to – such gifts are just not the kind of thing science is equipped to investigate.

    Of course, it’s not just our dead loved ones who are supposed to reside on the far side of the fence. So do angels, fairies, demonic beings, and trans-dimensional aliens. Supernatural powers or energies are also at work behind the veil, such as those that account for the miraculous abilities of psychics, spoon benders, and dowsers, for example. And of course God, the ultimate agent, also resides in large measure behind the veil. It seems that, as Hegel once put it: “God does not offer himself for observation.” GWF Hegel, Lectures on The Philosophy of Religion, 1: Introduction and Concept of Religion, ed. Peter C Hodgson (Berkeley, University of California Press, 194), p.258.

    Because such phenomena lie beyond the cosmic divide, it’s supposed, belief in such things cannot be discredited by rational or scientific means.

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