Scholarly interview on the existence of Jesus

by careful 18 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • smiddy3


    All great religious figures such as Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed …were sent by God to restore the remembrance of God which would help people to be good citizens of their respective countries.

    However you left out Jehovah who had a lot to say more so than Jesus ,Buddha ,or Mohammed .

    And I don`t think any of them really had that much in common if anything at all .

    That is if any of them ever existed and lived preached and practiced the life we are led to believe they did .

  • venus

    Hi smiddy3

    Whether those religious leaders said fully what God wanted them to do or not, or whether they had everything in common matters not because each of them was also offspring of the time in which they lived. The principle on which they based themselves was like knowledge of medical science as a whole; yet what each of them taught was like prescription Doctors write for their specific patients (which would often vary from case to case). What matters is whether patient is cured or not. Similarly, what matters is whether those religious leaders helped people to become spiritual or better humans or not which we know they did. In essence, they were all highlighting the need for humans to be humane which can be accomplished either with the help of the concept of God (for some) or without the concept of God (for others). That is why Jesus said: ‘Love God and your neighbor,’ and Mohammed said ‘love God and desire for others what you desire for yourself’, and Buddha taught the four noble truths and the eight-fold path that can be practiced without reference to the concept of God whose existence or non existence was irrelevant to him.

    Problem arises because of later additions by commercially minded people. But this is not a problem for me. When I read scriptures I do with alertness like a musician who can easily know notes in the wrong places in the songs sung by others. Take the example of Genesis account. It is said that God created mankind as two group—male and female (Gen 1:26) and told them to eat of all the trees. Then when it says God created a couple and prohibited them eating from a particular tree, I take this as something symbolic—something that humanity as a whole did is depicted through a couple for simplicity sake. It shows through one couple how mankind experienced a fall from expanded view of being a world-wide family into contraction of thinking in terms of ‘me and mine’—a concept that is highlighted through the reference of ‘a tree of good and bad’ because in egoistic disposition we tend view things as good and bad depending upon our convenience. Rain is neither good nor bad; yet we sometimes say rain is good and other time we say it is bad. So Adam and Eve story highlights how mankind fell into a new awareness, of egoism. The way God dealt with them show that there is no forgiveness in the dictionary of God because every action must be responded to which is the Law of Nature; and so must be ego. Ego creates hell for the one who adopts it. (Habakkuk 2:5) Egolessness creates heaven for the one who adopts it (Luke 17:21). Hence anything I read in the scriptures that hints at the idea that sin can be atoned or forgiven I rate it as imagination of later writers—not of religious leaders.

  • jws

    Venus wrote:

    I agree with his fourth point that discrepancies in the gospels do not argue Jesus never existed. Such discrepancies could be said about “most decent historical sources … such as contemporary biographies of modern figures” which would not prove they never existed.

    True. We wouldn't expect ALL of the accounts to agree 100% word for word about anybody - biblical or modern. But then again, we're not talking about just any book about any person. This book is about either the son of god or god himself depending on who you believe. And people say it is the inerrant word of god.

    If you're going to be an inerrant book, it better completely agree. I agree that not agreeing 100% doesn't prove/disprove a historical Jesus. But it does prove the Bible is NOT of divine origin. And if it's just the word of men with faulty memories, we shouldn't take it very seriously. For all we know, Jesus was misquoted on everything. Did he really say "he is the way and the truth and the life. no one comes to the father except through me."? Or is this a perception of the author who *thought* that's what Jesus meant and wrote it that way decades later? Maybe he said something like "If you follow my teachings, the father will be pleased". Kinda similar. But one has the connotation of HIM (the person) being the one you have to go through. The other his teachings. Big difference. And if we don't know exactly what was said, how do we know which is which?

    Religions divide and fracture based on the interpretation of bible verses. If the authors aren't expressing it correctly, how can we follow it? And if it were god's testimony to the world, and he is all that people think he is, wouldn't he have the power to make sure everybody got every story correct? So that there would be no reason to doubt the message?

    This article is from somebody biased towards Christianity even though he calls himself a Christian Agnostic??? He's presenting no real facts, just opinions. Not a very worthwhile article if you're looking for facts about the subject matter.

  • Vidiot

    I definitely wouldn't mind if director Paul Verhoeven was eventually able to adapt his book to film:

  • EverApostate
    • Jesus never wrote anything about himself
    • There is no Empirical Evidence for any of Jesus Miracles. Its all "Somebody wrote something about a Miracle sometime ago and someone witnessed it"
    • All of Jesus Predictions have already proven false.
    • All of Jesus Promises have been proved false.

    Then why the Heck Believe in him

  • TD

    I skimmed the article and unless I've missed something, it strikes me as a little misleading.

    The historicity (Or lack thereof) of a 1st century Hebrew prophet / miracle worker named Jesus and Jesus of the Bible aren't exactly the same thing.

  • venus

    Hi jws, I would divide your questions into three:

    1) “And people say it is the inerrant word of god.”

    You are true “People say it is inerrant word of God” whereas Bible writers themselves do not believe so. For example, most of the OT prophets are unaware about parallel account of creation involving Adam and Eve and its attendant teaching of original sin which means we sin by simply being alive. Habakkuk even flatly rejected such concepts. (Habkkuk 2:4) Jeremiah rejected considerable portions of the Bible (Jeremiah 7:22; 8:8)

    2)We know, Jesus was misquoted on everything. Did he really say "he is the way and the truth and the life. no one comes to the father except through me."?

    Prima facie, Jesus did not say this verse because it is like saying “unmarried husbands” which makes no sense. Jesus taught we are all children of God whom he called “our heavenly Father” which inherently means it is inconceivable for Father to elevate one son over others and to imply that others have access to Him only through one son. Most of John’s gospel is fiction. For example, if Jesus really performed miracles, at least Mathew should remember what his first miracle (changing the water into wine) and last miracle (resurrection of Lazarus) were; yet we find it is John who reports it—that too in his senility, signs of which are seen from the beginning of his gospel. For example, he says Jesus ascended into heaven in the beginning of his ministry by making him say: “no one has ascended into heaven except him” while talking to Nicodemus. (John 3:13) Most famous incomprehensible verse is John 1:1 (Was there no other better way to convey what he wanted to convey? If one’s very first verse gives rise to over 2000 years of debate which has not yet reached a conclusion, it defeats the very purpose of communication. John also forgot Jesus had already declared that prophet Elijah has now appeared John the Baptist. (Mathew 11:14 contrast John 1:21)

    3) And if it were god's testimony to the world, and he is all that people think he is, wouldn't he have the power to make sure everybody got every story correct? So that there would be no reason to doubt the message?

    The very fact that God did not prevent the interpolations shows that scriptures do not belong to Him. Yet this does not mean some of the characters in the Bible are not historical. Some may be historical, and others may be symbolic figure representing the whole humanity like Adam (a word used for both mankind and an individual). Whether somebody is historical or not is not important because what they teach is that every action (good or bad) is responded to sooner or later which is the very basis of science, all the stories, all our experiences …

    Like pure water available in the deep wild forest, Bible also contains certain truths here and there. For example, if you remember one verse of the Bible it is more than enough: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) We see that everyone’s thinking creates his reality which means we are all free to choose to do whatever we like to do which means God respects our individuality. We all love mercy shown by others which gives us reason to love mercy. God Himself shows humility by not doing any favor to theists and by not punishing atheists which means He is least bothered of honor or dishonor people shower on Him.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Venus, I agree with some of your reasoning but not the premises on which they stand.

    Jesus was never misquoted; all sayings attributed to him were written by later writers. No one ever took down and wrote verbatim and no one had the ability to memorise his words fifty years or more later and then write them down.

    It was more like writing a contrived documentary about a hero who never lived but fabricating the the stories (borrowed from earlier god-man heroes such as Mithra, Dionysus, Orpheus etc.) to create an enticing religious narrative for the temple cults in the first and second centuries.

    It is tiresome and unpopular to say it but here is a case where the world really has been well and truly duped in the fictional person of Jesus. The reason for his durability is to be found in Roman politics.

    The god-man saviour was a mythical archetype known to all the ancients. By Imperial decree under Constantine the "Catholic" Jesus myth was sold to Greeks, Jews and all comers, the new fusion religion shored up support for the Roman empire by making a catholic i.e. an all embracing or universal church culled from the disparate cults in the third and early fourth centuries. This was part of the standard method of Roman power practice to conquer and control peoples by absorption of their cultures plus the prized gift of high status privilege of Roman citizenship.

    Jesus was a cut and paste version of a traditional superman.

  • HB

    There was a phone-in discussion a few days ago on 'The Atheist Experience' on the topic of proving the historicity of Jesus.

    The video is available on YouTube:

    The caller is no match for the co-host David Fitzgerald who has written a book on the topic, but it's an interesting discussion.

    It's quite long (about 26 minutes), but it held my attention throughout and I learnt a lot.

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