Born Twice - Die Once .... Born Once - Die Twice

by Perry 35 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • cofty
    How can we be certain what Jesus really (supposedly) said and what was added later or exaggerated along the way?

    How can we be sure Jesus even existed?

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    Rather than reveal what Jesus actually said (he could not write), each Gospel reveals the theology of its writer(s).

    Probably the closest to the actual teachings of Jesus comes from the document attributed to James, his brother. Although the NT is a compilation of documents by followers of Paul, they included James because of his direct relationship with Jesus and because James was the Jerusalem leader, having taken over from Peter at a very early stage. James was followed by another of Jesus' relatives, Symeon. Paul, of course was completely at loggerheads with the Jerusalem leadership.

    This mystical idea of divine illumination (Christ in you, etc), was picked up by the Gnostics. The Paulines did not include any of the Gnostic writings, thereby providing an unbalanced picture of the primitive church. Acts (of the Apostles) is a religious invention created for political purposes. Several other Acts were written, some have survived.


  • ctrwtf

    I think Batman and Superman are way better than the Silver Surfer

  • Village Idiot
    Village Idiot
    cofty: How can we be sure Jesus even existed?

    Question: How can we be sure Jesus even existed?

    Answer: How can we know Mohammed existed?

    Non-rhetorical answer: Religious groups like this are always founded by a charismatic leader who's adept at drawing a crowd of followers. I doubt that a dozen men of lesser imagination could get together and say to each other, "Let's invent a Messiah!" and actually pull it through.

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    Hi Cofty,

    You ask whether there was a person named "Jesus" (actually "Joshua"/Yeshua).

    Perhaps we should ask whether the significance of Jesus is the outcome of the creative imaginings of one person - Apostle Paul. His followers decided which writings were scripture and it is no surprise that his writings dominate, including those gospels which show their allegiance to Paul. Many say that Paul invented Christianity, but I feel that this might be a stretch too far, inasmuch as Paul was persecuting Jews in Damascus who were aligned to the Jewish sect of "Jesus" (Yeshua).

    Nevertheless, inasmuch as Paul's writings are the earliest, his inventive ideas on matters such as baptism and the eucharist are fundamental to subsequent Christianity,

    The person who provides the significant interpretation of Paul is a Benedictine Monk of the 11th century named Anselm. Now, I could be quite wrong here (not the first or last time), but my understanding is that for Augustine, salvation related to the group. In other words, God was saving Israel as a nation. My understanding is that Anselm turned that idea on its head and said that salvation relates to the individual. Hence his ideas align with subsequent Protestantism. I say this with the caution that my current understanding needs some intense research and thinking.


  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    Village Idiot,

    I see Apostle Paul as that "charismatic leader".

    His determination, his arrogance, and his drive created a world-wide movement. Jesus never stepped outside Galilee, except to visit Jerusalem. Jesus was of the country; Paul was a city man.


  • cofty

    Hi Doug. I agree that if Jesus did exist he would have disappeared from history if it was not for Paul.

    John Dominic Crossan is an authority on the early church - he is much maligned by evangelicals which makes him worth reading. Richard Carrier has also written a book recently examining the evidence on the historicity of Jesus.

  • Coded Logic
  • Perry

    Did/Does Jesus exist?

    Seven Billion People today count time by this mans birth. He and his miraculous works are noted in works such as Josephus, The Koran, Tacitus and many more historical sources. Other evidence exists to establish his existence and resurrection as well.

    But, just STOP and consider:

    •More books have been written about Jesus than about any other person in history.

    •Nations have used his words as the bedrock of their governments. According to Durant, "The triumph of Christ was the beginning of democracy."

    •His Sermon on the Mount established a new paradigm in ethics and morals.

    •Schools, hospitals, and humanitarian works have been founded in his name. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Oxford are but a few universities that have Christians to thank for their beginning.

    •The elevated role of women in Western culture traces its roots back to Jesus. (Women in Jesus' day were considered inferior and virtual nonpersons until his teaching was followed.)

    •Slavery was abolished in Britain and America due to Jesus' teaching that each human life is valuable.

    •Former drug and alcohol dependents, prostitutes, and others seeking purpose in life claim him as the explanation for their changed lives.

    •Two billion people call themselves Christians. While some are Christian in name only, others continue to impact our culture by teaching Jesus' principles that all life is valuable and we are to love one another.

    Remarkably, Jesus made all of this impact as a result of just a three-year period of public ministry. If Jesus didn't exist, one must wonder how a myth could so alter history.

    When world historian H. G. Wells was asked who has left the greatest legacy on history, he replied, "By this test Jesus stands first."

    As for the question of whether or not his teachings were faithfully passed down to us: Fortunately, the early disciples of the Apostles were prolific writers and denounced many heresies. In the process, they inadvertently identified who, where and when those heresies were introduced.

    The heretics of the first few centuries served another valuable purpose; because in the process of refuting their errors, all but a few sentences of the entire New Testament can be reconstructed from their writings. This allows us to easily determine not only what is sound doctrine, but also the canonicity of scripture.

    An excellent collection of these writings can be found here.

    While, I appreciate these alternate views being brought up, this thread is really about the Watchtower, and more specifically Fred Franz altering scripture to fit their particular heresies concerning being born again and judgment after death.

    It is widely recognized the Fred Franz was the primary (if not sole) translator of the NWT, even though he was a college drop-out with only 2 college hours of Koine Greek and no Hebrew training at all.

    Here are a few more related scripture comparisons:

    Is. 26: 19

    Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust:

    for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.- KJV

    Your dead will live. My corpses will rise up. Awake and shout joyfully, You residents in the dust!

    For your dew is as the dew of the morning, And the earth will let those powerless in death come to life. - NWT

    The addition of the adjective "powerless" limits who will be resurrected, when Jesus taught that all will have a bodily resurrection, even though not all will be a pleasant one.

    Mt. 25: 46

    And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.- KJV

    These will depart into everlasting cutting-off, but the righteous ones into everlasting life.- NWT

    This phrase: "cutting-off" gives the impression that there are no future judicial proceedings as Jesus taught (and previously cited in the OP)

    1 John 5: 12

    He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. - KJV

    The one who has the Son has this life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this life.- NWT

    Again, the addition of the word "this" limits the eternal life that absolutely anyone can have by simply believing Jesus is their Savior.

  • Sanchy

    One of the things that made me more open to analyzing "apostate" views was realizing how many verses in the NWT were twisted to fit our doctrine, so thx again Perry.

    If there is a hell, I'm pretty sure we'll find F. Franz in there.

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