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Old 01-05-2006, 10:31 AM   #1
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Cool Judge orders priest to prove Jesus existed.

Here

I would really like to see a smack-down trial about this happen in an American forum where both sides are given an orderly chance to disprove each other's arguments, without incessant bickering from the militants on either side. For now I'll have to settle for an Italian court.
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Old 01-05-2006, 10:39 AM   #2
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Old 01-05-2006, 10:46 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XThe NavigatorX
I would really like to see a smack-down trial about this happen in an American forum where both sides are given an orderly chance to disprove each other's arguments, without incessant bickering from the militants on either side. For now I'll have to settle for an Italian court.
Actually, it would have to happen in a Canadian courtroom where the media has no place.

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Old 01-05-2006, 10:47 AM   #4
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I doubt the atheist is going to get a fair shake from the judge, who obviously wants nothing to do with the case.

If anyone is interested in a fairly shallow, but easy to understand primer of the atheist argument might want to check out The God Who Wasn't There, a documentary by a raving atheist about historical evidence for Jesus. (Clips can be found on this page.) It's very interesting.
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Old 01-05-2006, 10:48 AM   #5
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Actually, it would have to happen in a Canadian courtroom where the media has no place.

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Old 01-05-2006, 10:58 AM   #6
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Seems what this really translates into is proving whether or not the Bible is a historical document (since it is the only "eye witness" account).
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Old 01-05-2006, 11:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pb10220
Seems what this really translates into is proving whether or not the Bible is a historical document (since it is the only "eye witness" account).
Aren't all historical documents, really?

Why doesn't the judge, while he's at it, also demand that someone prove that Socrates existed?
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Old 01-05-2006, 11:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Optimus
Aren't all historical documents, really?
No, not all historical documents are the only records of what they attest to. Some historical documents are confirmed by other historical documents. There are many eyewitness accounts of D-Day.

I wonder where the burden of proof will be. Can the plaintiff prove that Jesus didn't exist? I bet not.
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Old 01-05-2006, 11:34 AM   #9
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I misread Pat's statement. I thought it said that the Bible was "only an eye witness account," not "the only."

That's what I get for skimming.

However, according to the article, the Bible isn't the only historical record referencing Jesus. Doesn't make them eyewitness accounts, though.

But, like I said, it would be just as difficult to prove the Socrates existed. However, since he's not a religious figure, I doubt anyone will ever be so moved as to care.

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Old 01-05-2006, 02:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Optimus
But, like I said, it would be just as difficult to prove the Socrates existed. However, since he's not a religious figure, I doubt anyone will ever be so moved as to care.
You're right. In fact, most of the quotes attributed to Socrates are considered "thought to be his words" rather than "known to be his words".
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Old 01-05-2006, 06:17 PM   #11
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There are, in fact, many references to Socrates by his contemporaries. Plato is not a lone voice, by any stretch of the imagination. To argue that he did not exist would be very difficult, to say the least.

While I am not familiar with the arguments of why Jesus did not exist historically, the secondary evidence from Josephus would seem difficult to overcome.

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Old 01-05-2006, 07:07 PM   #12
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First, I think it a virtual certainty that there was a historical individual named Jesus, on whose life the various New Testament writings are founded.

Second, a whole raft of serious Biblical scholars have proved, through use of extant manuscripts and documents, that large portions of what have come down to us today as the New Testament books, were added, or altered, by various scribes hundreds of years after he lived.

So "eye witness" has to be taken in context, too.

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Old 01-05-2006, 08:20 PM   #13
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Old 01-05-2006, 08:34 PM   #14
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Seems to me the issue would not to be to prove a man named Jesus existed, but some combination that he was the son of God, born of a virgin, died and rose again, etc.

Hercules, King Arthur, Robin Hood; these men existed. Whether they performed the feats attributed to them in the folklore of the ages, well....
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Old 01-05-2006, 09:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Optimus
Why doesn't the judge, while he's at it, also demand that someone prove that Socrates existed?
The priest did not denounce anyone for denying the existence of Socrates. This is why the judge did not demand this.
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Old 01-05-2006, 10:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robeiae
the secondary evidence from Josephus would seem difficult to overcome.
It's been a decade now since I used to actively participate in the massive Internet flame wars over all this, so I'm probably a bit rusty. I'm neither an atheist or a Christian, so I hope I can remain impartial when it comes to the evidence.

The atheist argument against Josephus is, imo, pretty solid. If I remember correctly it comes down to two things. Josephus wrote a whole lot of stuff, but he only dedicated two paragraphs of all his work to Jesus Christ. And this was written some 60 years after the crucification. Josephus' knowledge could only be second hand at best, since he was born after Jesus' ascension.

The second argument seems a little ridiculous at first, but the argument appears to be debatable. There are claims that the passage in question is a forgery, added a couple hundred years later by Christians. I'm not going to go into the evidence since people have written whole books both proving and disproving the whole thing back and forth. But I do think the fact he wrote all this in the year 90 or so makes all the bickering irrelevant.

Other than the gospels, there are no written records about Jesus from Jesus' time. That's insane. We have literal mountains of documents from the time. The Romans and Jews were writing down everything, from every decree set forth by the leaders, to the public executions, to the weather. There is nothing about JC.
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Old 01-06-2006, 03:53 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XThe NavigatorX
The atheist argument against Josephus is, imo, pretty solid. If I remember correctly it comes down to two things. Josephus wrote a whole lot of stuff, but he only dedicated two paragraphs of all his work to Jesus Christ. And this was written some 60 years after the crucification. Josephus' knowledge could only be second hand at best, since he was born after Jesus' ascension.
It's only solid if you think Romans were idiots. To maintain that within 60 years, a mythical figure in a real Roman province peopled by real Roman officials and real Roman soldiers could be created and maintained is silly, especially when that figure was executed by Romans. It's like me arguing that the Red Baron (Von Richthoffen) is a mythical figure because all my info on him is from second-hand sources. Very poor reasoning.

Quote:
The second argument seems a little ridiculous at first, but the argument appears to be debatable. There are claims that the passage in question is a forgery, added a couple hundred years later by Christians. I'm not going to go into the evidence since people have written whole books both proving and disproving the whole thing back and forth. But I do think the fact he wrote all this in the year 90 or so makes all the bickering irrelevant.
Okay, I read up on this argument. It does appear ridiculous, at first. Even though it's not, it is also far from convincing. Why? Because even if the passages (there are two) were changed, there is no way to determine their original state. The idea that both were wholly created and effectively inserted into every extant copy of Josephus in the third century is the mother of all conspiracy theories.

Quote:
Other than the gospels, there are no written records about Jesus from Jesus' time. That's insane. We have literal mountains of documents from the time. The Romans and Jews were writing down everything, from every decree set forth by the leaders, to the public executions, to the weather. There is nothing about JC.
There are, of course, Paul's letters, unless it is argued that he is a mythical figure, as well.

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Old 01-06-2006, 04:05 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robeiae
There are, in fact, many references to Socrates by his contemporaries. Plato is not a lone voice, by any stretch of the imagination. To argue that he did not exist would be very difficult, to say the least.
No no. I didn't mean that he didn't exist. I was referring to his words, or the quotes attributed to him.

"If Socrates ever wrote a single word, it has not survived. As such, the entirety of modern knowledge concerning Socrates must be drawn from a limited number of secondary sources"

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Old 01-06-2006, 06:34 AM   #19
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I am not personally convinced he didn't exist as a person, but I do lean that way. (edit: errr Jesus, not Socrates. All one has to do is watch Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure to know Socrates was real.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by robeiae
It's like me arguing that the Red Baron (Von Richthoffen) is a mythical figure because all my info on him is from second-hand sources. Very poor reasoning.
Perhaps it is poor reasoning, but there are hundreds of independent accounts of the Baron from both allies and enemies written by people who knew or heard of him. What we have from Jesus the man outside of the gospels is very, very little. A couple passages here and there written no less than 20 years after his death, and still nothing, zilch from the time of Jesus' life. Not a sentence anywhere, not even from second-hand sources.

Even the gospels as written by his followers were written long after his death.

Quote:
There are, of course, Paul's letters, unless it is argued that he is a mythical figure, as well.
Ahh, Paul. Paul used to be a favorite subject of mine. Now he give me a headache because I wasted so much time thinking, reading, and reasoning about him. In the end, I think he gives more grief to the Christians than the non-Christians. He's the true father of the religion Christianity, I believe. Though a lot of what he taught seems to directly contradict what Jesus taught. He never met Jesus in the flesh. He did have a vision, though. That's a whole other conversation.

I do think all of Paul's letters were written by the same person with the exception of Timothy 1 and 2. I have seen a couple suggestions he didn't really exist, but most Bible scholars seem to agree he was a real person though a few books may have been written in his name. Most of the contention comes from what he meant and the translations of his writings.
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Old 01-06-2006, 06:50 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XThe NavigatorX
What we have from Jesus the man outside of the gospels is very, very little. A couple passages here and there written no less than 20 years after his death, and still nothing, zilch from the time of Jesus' life. Not a sentence anywhere, not even from second-hand sources.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of historical figures about whom we know only a snippet of information. Does this mean we should doubt their existence? Remember, Jesus was not a big deal during his lifetime except in a very small, limited area. As you said, it was Paul afterward. Why should there be lots and lots of first-hand info on him? Remember also, his followers were largely rural elements of Jewish society. It would be understandable if most of his message was orally transmitted. Also, he was a rabble-rouser to Jew and Roman alike. Who would want to get caught with literature (if there even was any at the time) about/from such a person?

The argument that there is not enough first-hand info on him so he must not be real is, again, just bad. One more thing, then I'll shut up: the destruction of the Temple was cataclysmic for the people of Judea, as was Masada. We have no way of knowing what and who was lost in this period.

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Old 01-06-2006, 06:51 AM   #21
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If his purpose was to die for sin then what need would there be for excessive amounts of material written about him? All that needed to be written about was written about.

He was called teacher but his primary purpose was not to teach, it was to die. What need would there have been for many statements or quotes from him if his primary purpose was to be a sacrifice?
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Old 01-06-2006, 07:04 AM   #22
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Quote:
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I'd settle for that, as long as it's in a language I can speak.
Half of Canadians can't speak Canadian.

As for the "Jesus" debate... why would you make up a religion that would just get you either crucified or thrown to the lions? Early Christians were tortured and rounded up for mass slaughter.

That doesn't make sense to me.

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Old 01-06-2006, 07:07 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by robeiae
There are literally hundreds of thousands of historical figures about whom we know only a snippet of information.
Everything you say is true. However, the absence of literature about him is only one facet of the "there was no Jesus" argument (and there are lots of them). Some people find the no literature angle more compelling than others. I think it's very curious, to say the least, but I'm also very willing to accept your argument.
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Old 01-06-2006, 07:18 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Canada James
As for the "Jesus" debate... why would you make up a religion that would just get you either crucified or thrown to the lions? Early Christians were tortured and rounded up for mass slaughter.

That doesn't make sense to me.
Most early Christians most certainly believed it was real. Why did the very first person start it? I think it possibly started off as a hero story that was never meant to be taken as truth. I don't know. I would never argue or imply that true Christians don't believe their own faith.

There are many non-Christian religions whose followers are/were equally persecuted and tortured, many of which formed during a time in which it was a very bad idea to do so. Falun Gong is a recent example.
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Old 01-06-2006, 07:22 AM   #25
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ok that was weird.

I just picked up my Bible and randomly opened up to a page. The first thing I laid my eyes on was John 18:8

"Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:"



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