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Jesus In The Nt


thormas
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One can certainly be a good man or woman, even one of the exceptional human beings that we at times witness in history - if they have never heard of Christianity, Christ or Jesus. This seems obvious.

 

However, being a member of any religion seems to suggest an introduction into or a decision to 'join,' agreement with its major tenets and participation in it.

Edited by thormas
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Every sect has its creedal statement.

 

Even Progressive Christianity has its creed. Early on, I even had an offical PC inquisitor on this board question my beliefs to determine if I was a PC heretic.

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One can certainly be a good man or woman, even one of the exceptional human beings that we at times witness in history - if they have never heard of Christianity, Christ or Jesus. This seems obvious.

 

However, being a member of any religion seems to suggest an introduction into or a decision to 'join,' agreement with its major tenets and participation in it.

 

So one can't be a good Samaritan without being an inhabitant of Samaria ... fair enough.

 

edit

So being a Christian is a little like being in a club and adhering to a dogma of sorts?

Edited by romansh
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So one can't be a good Samaritan without being an inhabitant of Samaria ... fair enough.

 

edit

So being a Christian is a little like being in a club and adhering to a dogma of sorts?

 

I covered that already in the earlier post about being a good man or woman: good Samaritan has come to mean just that. Whereas in the NT it was a reference to an actual Samaritan (and the background is the animosity between Samaritans and Jews), so indeed that's what it meant..........then.

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Every sect has its creedal statement.

 

Even Progressive Christianity has its creed. Early on, I even had an offical PC inquisitor on this board question my beliefs to determine if I was a PC heretic.

Burl,

 

You bring up a great point, what is the PC creed? Same or more than the Points?

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Burl,

 

You bring up a great point, what is the PC creed? Same or more than the Points?

The Points are a creedal statement.

So one can't be a good Samaritan without being an inhabitant of Samaria ... fair enough.

Sorta kinda. The Babylonians only took the most valuable Hebrews into slavery. Samaritans were descendants of the Hebrews who were left behind. They stayed, worshipped Yahweh and incorporated Canaanite culture. When the Babylonian Hebrews returned (under royal decree) they rejected the Samaritans and pushed them out.

 

The Samaritans still had the Pentateuch, but rejected the Babylonian Hebrews and their new books which were written in Babylon. The Samaritans moved their holy mountain to Mt. Horeb and carried on in their own way.

 

Both groups could claim to be heirs in the covenant of Abraham. It's easy to see why there was so much enmity between the two groups.

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Can someone be called [or even is a] Christian even if that person has never heard of the concept, Christ or even Jesus?

 

So being Christian is it a set of beliefs or a set of visible actions? Some combination?

 

Rom,

I think Point 1 of PC might answer some of your question.

Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;

or the older point 1 ....

By calling ourselves progressive, we mean that we are Christians who....

Have found an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus.
Whether the character that the followers followed is fictional or actual would seem to me to make no difference. It is the life and teachings of the character that weigh in to me. The story says the followers of his teachings were first called Christians at Antioch. Which specific teachings, i do not presume to know. All i know is from my experience in following a couple of basic teachings reported by this Jesus, i have experienced a Oneness and unity of all life. I do not see the teachings of this reported man named Jesus as exclusive to experiencing this Oneness. While i choose to use the label of PC, i am not attached to it nor opposed to another that chooses to attach to it or some other label. I am of the persuasion that no group of consonants and vowels are able to adequately define an individual in my mind.
To me, the word Christ in Christian means to be (anointed) as in being smeared together with the Allness of creation or God.
Joseph
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I acknowledge that one can 'lift' a christian philosophy or a christian ethic out of the NT, have it resonate for them and live by its principles. Just like one can do the same with Jewish mysticism (doesn't Madonna do that with the Kabbalah?), Buddhism (some on this site), Taoism, etc.

 

I also agree that proving the existence of Jesus is not an impediment for Christianity - because it is not even an issue for the vast majority of Christians; it is neither a question or a concern. So too, his existence is accepted in Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and other philosophies and one must assume by many/most agnostics or atheists for 'he' is often associated with the larger question of whom they don't know or doubt exists: God. Now some might doubt he exists but I have not found critical scholars or historians who seriously doubt the existence of the man - although some doubt and debate his significance or the theological statements/beliefs about him.

 

Christianity hinges on the teachings attributed to Jesus in that the expectation is that one will 'hear and accept the good news' and act on it: be Christ (like) in their world. And those teaching, in turn, are accepted as rooted in an actual man: Jesus of Nazareth.

 

Can one doubt the existence of Jesus and call themselves a Christian? Of course, one can call themselves anything. But Christianity, as a religion, that has called/invited others to accept the Good News (since the 'experience of the resurrection'), accepts that the one who it is based on was crucified and died under Pilate, Perfect of Judea within the Roman Empire in the early 30s CE: in other words, he existed!

 

I agree that it may not matter to some whether Jesus existed or not but it is a 'fact' of Christianity (and of history) that he did.

 

Possibly the reason the existence of Jesus is not a question or concern for many Christians is simply because they choose to not make it so. My experiences with Christianity tend to be that for most people it is all too much trouble to actual read and research and look into the facts vs the fiction. Also, there is a tendency not to want to upset the apple cart. To actually look into scripture questioningly for many is considered a heresy, a failing to stay true to God's word, where doubt is a bad thing and not a good thing.

 

I also think the certainty of his existence which you say is accepted in Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and other philosophies, may be a bit like whether Plato or Socrates really did make such quotes - that is, does it really matter? Therefore, who really cares if the person actually existed or not.

 

To me, the fact that so many have believed for so long does not make it a given for me. It's a bit like how everyone for a long, long time believed the earth was flat (and apparently some still do amazingly). To question the logic of this certainty was almost heresy (well, it was heresy for some and they paid the ultimate price - sacrificing their lives for the greater good of mankind). Yet over time, more and more evidence came to light until eventually, the vast majority changed their mind (over a period of time).

 

To say Jesus existed for me raises more questions than answers. What sort of Jesus existed? Do the scriptures today remotely represent the man, or have they developed and been added to over generations and generations so in fact very little of the genuine Jesus can be seen in today's writings? I think many people have their own interpretation of what the Jesus of the NT was like and not all of them can be correct. So who can say for sure what this Jesus figure actually was and/or represented.

 

Enter the balance of probabilities. That's the territory where this issue lies and if people want to believe that on the balance of probabilities Jesus was this or that, then all the best to them.

Edited by PaulS
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Paul,

 

It is not even a choice because they don't have a question. For the most Christians it is accepted history.

Questioning his existence is also probably a modern era quest. For many there is no issue and they are busy with other things in their lives. For me, it is an area of interest and I find it a bit of good luck to be able to have the time to do this.

 

As for the apple cart, I leave that to the critical scholars and have not found a (many/any?) serious scholars who questions the existence of Jesus. We could get into the evidence but seems a bit pointless and the information is 'out there.' Now, what he represented is a totally different question and that's where the biblical scholars differ - not on his existence.

 

As for the other religions, they refer to the man, you'll have to study them for greater detail, not my field.

 

"To say Jesus existed for me raises more questions than answers." I agree but I like the the questions and the quest.

 

"Enter the balance of probabilities." In terms of who he was, what he represented - exactly. Historians have to try not to impose their views on the material, realize where the evidence is thin and if they attempt a reconstruction based on the research, try to be honest, careful, scholarly and continually realize it is not about their beliefs: let the evidence speak,weight it, consider the probabilities and present for other to consider - and the beat goes on. I just read Paul Fredriksen's Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews and was impressed with how well she did just this. But again, such reading is not interesting for all.

Edited by thormas
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To me, the word Christ in Christian means to be (anointed) as in being smeared together with the Allness of creation or God.

Joseph

 

 

We are all smeared together with the universe whether we want it, realise it or not. Starting something with an upper case eg Allness, God, Being, One etc. is just sexing it up ... at least for me.

 

So am I anointed or not? I understand you will try and pass the buck, so in this sense (in your eyes) am I Christian?

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We are all smeared together with the universe whether we want it, realise it or not. Starting something with an upper case eg Allness, God, Being, One etc. is just sexing it up ... at least for me.

 

So am I anointed or not? I understand you will try and pass the buck, so in this sense (in your eyes) am I Christian?

 

Rom,

 

(anointed?) Probably some of the time. Other times not so much.... perhaps i would say not when you get lost in your mind. :)

 

In my eyes, you can be a Christian or whatever label you wish to attach to yourself BUT IF i were you, i might avoid the Christian label as it doesn't sync well with what i perceive is your choice of words. And then again i could be wrong. :unsure:

 

Joseph

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We are all smeared together with the universe whether we want it, realise it or not. Starting something with an upper case eg Allness, God, Being, One etc. is just sexing it up ... at least for me.

 

 

Hey Rom, surely you mean "It"?

 

"One has many kinds, two have no duality". Now THAT is "sexy"!

 

Anyway, re Thormas, for me it can be what ANYTHING "represents". Then again, possibly pre-occupation with one particular thing ( or person ) and what it ( or he ) represents can be as enlightening.

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Rom,

 

(anointed?) Probably some of the time. Other times not so much.... perhaps i would say not when you get lost in your mind. :)

 

In my eyes, you can be a Christian or whatever label you wish to attach to yourself BUT IF i were you, i might avoid the Christian label as it doesn't sync well with what i perceive is your choice of words. And then again i could be wrong. :unsure:

 

Joseph

 

I think that is about right Joseph. But I am sharply aware that my mind (even when I get lost in it) is a reflection of the universe.

If I become aware of the room I am in am I less lost?

I look out the window ... less lost?

I could go on. :-)

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Rom is clearly a Rom-eranian. A religion of one-ness. It even has only one adherent.

 

He would be less contentious and much happier if he believed as I do and became Burl-esque.

 

I caught a snippet on CNN on the History of Humour (without the u probably). It highlighted the difference between burlesque and vaudeville. I have to admit I am more aligned with burlesque without the hyphen. Looking forward to Burl's burlesque it will make a change from the vaudeville.

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"One has many kinds, two have no duality". Now THAT is "sexy"!.

 

Not sure Tarik, the parts that make up the universe see this duality.

 

I like Sagan's quote ... we are a way for the cosmos to know itself. Not just the astronomical bits, I suspect.

Edited by romansh
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2

 

 

I did say serious (critical) scholars and that I didn't know of 'a' - but did add many or any - that reject the existence of Jesus. Seems Price is the 'a' scholar and the only one. I'll quote Ehrman (an agnostic/atheist): "Of the many thousands of scholars in the world that have a PhD in New Testament or Early Christian studies he is the one, so far as I know, who takes this position."

 

Years ago I read the 'works' of Freke and Gandy on the mystical Jesus (referred to not as scholars but as popularizers) and again Ehrman: "This is an old argument, even though it shows up every 10 years or so. This current craze that Christianity was a mystery religion like these other mystery religions-the people who are saying this are almost always people who know nothing about the mystery religions; they've read a few popular books, but they're not scholars of mystery religions. The reality is, we know very little about mystery religions-the whole point of mystery religions is that they're secret! So I think it's crazy to build on ignorance in order to make a claim like this."

 

I did say, "(scholars) let the evidence speak, weight it, consider the probabilities and present it for other to consider." Price's views have been dismissed by all serious, critical scholars and historians.

 

Again Ehrman:

 

"Robert Price is a mythicist, one of those small minority of human beings who does not think Jesus actually existed (he adds that 99.9% believe that Jesus existed). In their opinion it is not simply that there are lots of myths and legends told about Jesus that are not historical; it is instead that the man himself never lived. This is a tiny but remarkably vocal group of people, and the vast majority of them are not scholars. Bob is an exception."

 

"Price argued, as you know, that there never was a historical man Jesus, but that the earliest “Christians” believed in a cosmic Christ, a mythical figure who lived above in the heavenly realm who was crucified by demons in outer space. This is the Christ attested, for example, he claimed, in Paul. But later Christians invented a historical figure Jesus out of this Christ, and the Gospels portray this fictitious figure that was simply made up. Jesus of Nazareth never existed."

 

"I reject it because I think it is very bad history. And I believe in doing good history. I think Jesus certainly existed, and instead of mounting massive and massively improbable arguments that he did not, Mythicists would be better off turning their time and energies to doing something more productive."

 

A cosmic christ crucified by demons in outer space? Time to go watch a Star Trek episode.........:-}

Edited by thormas
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I caught a snippet on CNN on the History of Humour (without the u probably). It highlighted the difference between burlesque and vaudeville. I have to admit I am more aligned with burlesque without the hyphen. Looking forward to Burl's burlesque it will make a change from the vaudeville.

Excellent, Rom. Burlesque needs you! We don't want the Orthodox Jews to be the only group with tassels on their vestments.

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I caught a snippet on CNN on the History of Humour (without the u probably). It highlighted the difference between burlesque and vaudeville. I have to admit I am more aligned with burlesque without the hyphen. Looking forward to Burl's burlesque it will make a change from the vaudeville.

Burlesque is a sort of mystery school. There is much hidden which begs to be revealed.

 

We are even a tax exempt organization. IRS 501(c )(thru).

Edited by Burl
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I think that is about right Joseph. But I am sharply aware that my mind (even when I get lost in it) is a reflection of the universe.

If I become aware of the room I am in am I less lost?

I look out the window ... less lost?

I could go on. :-)

Yes, I think one could say .... In a sense when you are aware , you are less lost. Now is that really true at a deeper level? Probably not but language seems to me to be a real impediment when one is trying to make a point when we are on a different wavelength. ?
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Paul,

 

It is not even a choice because they don't have a question. For the most Christians it is accepted history.

Questioning his existence is also probably a modern era quest. For many there is no issue and they are busy with other things in their lives. For me, it is an area of interest and I find it a bit of good luck to be able to have the time to do this.

 

As for the apple cart, I leave that to the critical scholars and have not found a (many/any?) serious scholars who questions the existence of Jesus. We could get into the evidence but seems a bit pointless and the information is 'out there.' Now, what he represented is a totally different question and that's where the biblical scholars differ - not on his existence.

 

As for the other religions, they refer to the man, you'll have to study them for greater detail, not my field.

 

"To say Jesus existed for me raises more questions than answers." I agree but I like the the questions and the quest.

 

"Enter the balance of probabilities." In terms of who he was, what he represented - exactly. Historians have to try not to impose their views on the material, realize where the evidence is thin and if they attempt a reconstruction based on the research, try to be honest, careful, scholarly and continually realize it is not about their beliefs: let the evidence speak,weight it, consider the probabilities and present for other to consider - and the beat goes on. I just read Paul Fredriksen's Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews and was impressed with how well she did just this. But again, such reading is not interesting for all.

 

Thormas,

 

The best evidence that any of your A-Grade biblical scholars can provide for the existence of Jesus, is that he probably existed. That's the full weight of the evidence.

 

Now I don't have a problem with that because I think too that a man named Jesus who was later written about to some degree in the NT, probably did exist. But I am also not prepared to say that without a shadow of a doubt he did actually exist because clearly I could be wrong.

 

Accepted history is just that, blindly accepted without testing. Again, that's okay, but just because a lot of people believe something as historical (let's say a flat earth) does not necessarily make it true.

 

Like you, it's a subject matter I like dabbling in and have read a fairly wide range of views from a number of scholars, secular and religious. Like I said, for me there is no conclusive evidence that Jesus existed, however it is likely. Also, should the figure Jesus actually have existed, who and what he was is even more in doubt for me than many would argue. For me personally, I'm pretty comfortable with what I think Jesus wasn't, but I still enjoy reading and learning about possibly what he may have been - apocalyptic prophet? revolutionary? wise man? teacher? If he in fact existed at all :)

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Though not 'my' A grade biblical scholars, they are A Grade critical scholars and they all agree that Jesus existed. If you are more comfortable with saying probably existed, fine - then it must be added that these A graders put it at the highest probability - which means that it is highly improbable that he didn't exist. So, I'm fine with that.

 

"Accepted history is just that, blindly accepted without testing." Say what? Where did that come from? That is not what history is and it is not what historians engage in. Blindly accepted? Hardly. They not only bring their rigorous discipline to it, they are inter-disciplinary, using the insights and findings of other scholars. In the case of Jesus, 'a lot of people' happened to have it right and are in agreement with the A graders. In the case of the flat earth, 'a lot of people' (there might still be a few flat-ers) are also in agreement with other A graders and don't believe the earth is flat.

 

I appreciate anyone who reads widely on subjects of their interest, but I don't characterize it as dabbling: such reading/research is neither casual or superficial.

 

You see no conclusive proof while it is obvious that, it is concluded, for the A graders you refer to (and the vast majority of people) - it is not even a question, his existence is accepted. Even Ehrman (and I mention him because as an agnostic he has no axe to grind) basically considers it a waste of time to debate this issue - he would rather work on other issues. He debated Price because he must be paid about $5k and it all goes to his charities.

 

​I agree with Ehrman, time to move on to more important issues.

Edited by thormas
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I will repeat, here's my take ... Jesus likely existed. How much of what we find in the New Testament can actually be ascribed to Jesus (if anything) is a completely different matter.

 

When does it matter? If we were to take a literal or partially literal view of the scripture in question, then it matters.

If we treat it as metaphor it then becomes what did the later scribes mean by their stories or what they thought history actually meant.

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I agree with Rom's first sentence. And the second except for the 'if anything.'

 

And, as he said, it does matter for some/many because they do accept that some things are historical (literal, partially literal?) and, also, that there are other (non-literal) genres in the NT.

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