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Jeff Harris

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The Christ Myth Fallacy
« on: May 06, 2009, 12:06:43 am »
I thought these videos may be of interest. I believe Dr. William Lane Craig debated at least two atheists who hold to the incredible view that Jesus never existed. The following are interviews with JP Holding (tektonics.org):

Shattering the Christ Myth


And:

The Christ Myth Thesis

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brent arnesen

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The Christ Myth Fallacy
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2010, 04:25:14 pm »
Is "Fanofrdcraig" actually WLC? hahah

Or, is he the character from Running Man?

God is not maximally powerful if he lacks the ability to provide the proper evidence of His existence to me.  If I, a mere mortal, can overcome His desire to know me, then He is not God. God the Father? He's not apparent to me!

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John Quin

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The Christ Myth Fallacy
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2010, 02:31:44 pm »
Thanks.
It's always nice to hear from someone who's brain is bigger than their mouth.

--
What abiogenesis needs is a form of life so simple that even Stanley Miller could create it.

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Justin

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The Christ Myth Fallacy
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2010, 10:51:25 pm »
Thanks for posting. This is interesting stuff.

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brent arnesen

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The Christ Myth Fallacy
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2010, 02:26:47 pm »
When I listened to the WLC-Price debate, WLC snidely said something like "and that destroys the Christ myth hypothesis."

Who knows what he is talking about?  As i saw it, Price ate Craig for lunch that day, and Craig simply wasn't prepared to talk in-depth about the Bible.

God is not maximally powerful if he lacks the ability to provide the proper evidence of His existence to me.  If I, a mere mortal, can overcome His desire to know me, then He is not God. God the Father? He's not apparent to me!

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Matthew Kissel

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The Christ Myth Fallacy
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2011, 04:11:42 pm »
You don't have to be an inerrantist (or even a believer) to follow the evidence and conclude that Christ was a real person.  Just do good history.  I understand that it is tempting for atheists to see the Christ myth as one more point for their team but it really does go against mainstream scholarship that is done regardless of religious faith.  Have you heard the interview The Infidel Guy did with Bart Ehrman?  It really illustrates this.  He sees mythicism as a point for his team and gets flustered when he sees that Dr. Ehrman is strongly convinced that Jesus was a real person.

http://bedejournal.blogspot.com/2011/01/proper-historian-vs-nu-atheism.html


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brent arnesen

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The Christ Myth Fallacy
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2011, 05:36:41 pm »
I don't think it's proven that Jesus was a real person.  To me it seems clear that the truth is lost to history.  we will never know and can't know.

That doesn't lead me to conclude that Jesus existed.

Of course, i have no dog in the fight and I don't need to take a position based on any theological view.

Sure, there are some arguments (some better than others), but there are also arguments against (some better than others).  Plus, WHICH Jesus?  The one the Catholic Church believes in?  The Mormon Jesus?  A close approximation of what is in the Bible?  A vague similarity to the Biblical Jesus?  Was he named Jesus?  Did he do ALL the things in the Bible?

All of these are unanswered.


BTW, as for the IG with Erhman.  I have listened to it, and most of the IG and Ehrman content on the internet.  It's a clear case where there was a misunderstanding in what Reggie's point was in bringing up the idea.  It's a clear case of a misunderstanding which went in a direction that neither person wanted to go.  It actually makes Bart look hot headed, but we knew that about his "brash" style.


The point is, Christanity is a highly fractured religion that covers the ground between two extremes:  
1.  the words in the Bible are translated precisely into what one exclusive or particular branch of theology asserts.
2. The words in the Bible are highly imprecise, the history is muddy, there is a wide variety of debate on not only the words but if an accurate translation what does it mean to theology or the actual truth - but the idea of Christ is the important part of the mythology.

Just because "most" scholars, theologians, or mythists fall somewhere in between, doesn't mean they are right - exactly because there is such wide and vigorous debate.  Yet, no one faction has been declared victorious (except the one that accepts them all as an expected outcome based on what we know about Nature and the Mind/Brain connection...;-)  ).

The fact that there is so much debate is enough to not take the Bible as a reliable document and the evidence outside of the Bible is paltry, and in one case a known forgery.

Personally, I see a history of pious fraud from beginning to end.

Sure, "Christ" existed... in the minds of people who believed in him.  But after that, we can say very little about the historical Jesus.
God is not maximally powerful if he lacks the ability to provide the proper evidence of His existence to me.  If I, a mere mortal, can overcome His desire to know me, then He is not God. God the Father? He's not apparent to me!

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Matthew Kissel

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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2011, 07:27:02 pm »
I'd be interested to hear what you think that misunderstanding is.  What I got out of it was that Dr. Ehrman believed that the historical evidence pointed to a real person called Jesus and that the thousands of scholars he knew agreed with him while IG was saying that there is controversy over whether or not Jesus existed and was disappointed that Dr. Ehrman disagreed on that point.

Also, I fail to understand why differing opinions about what Jesus did and who exactly he is casts doubt on his existence at all.  Why is that a good reason to be skeptical of his existence?  The historians who study Jesus make claims about him that they get from doing history, not asserting theology (unless you think Ehrman, Crossan, Crossley are closet Evangelicals).  If the historical Jesus is not the Son of God or the greatest prophet until Mohammad he still was a real person.  I don't know why you feel the need to argue that Jesus didn't exist just because you don't think the Jesus that did exist was the Son of God (if that is your position).  Just because scientists disagree sometimes over how many dimensions string theory implies does not mean there are no such things as strings.  Just because historians can't decide what teachings of Socrates are his and not Pluto's does not mean there was no Socrates.

Even accepting that much of the Bible is pious forgery we can still use historical methods to sift through the information and find history or form good conclusions on what is historical.  Okay, it is unreliable to simply trust what the Bible says but historical investigation doesn't stop there and scholars can still draw historical conclusions from the texts.  The practice of history does not rely on an all-or-nothing approach to the text.

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brent arnesen

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The Christ Myth Fallacy
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2011, 02:58:38 pm »
admiralmattbar wrote: Also, I fail to understand why differing opinions about what Jesus did and who exactly he is casts doubt on his existence at all.  Why is that a good reason to be skeptical of his existence?  The historians who study Jesus make claims about him that they get from doing history, not asserting theology (unless you think Ehrman, Crossan, Crossley are closet Evangelicals).  If the historical Jesus is not the Son of God or the greatest prophet until Mohammad he still was a real person.  I don't know why you feel the need to argue that Jesus didn't exist just because you don't think the Jesus that did exist was the Son of God (if that is your position).  Just because scientists disagree sometimes over how many dimensions string theory implies does not mean there are no such things as strings.  Just because historians can't decide what teachings of Socrates are his and not Pluto's does not mean there was no Socrates.

Even accepting that much of the Bible is pious forgery we can still use historical methods to sift through the information and find history or form good conclusions on what is historical.  Okay, it is unreliable to simply trust what the Bible says but historical investigation doesn't stop there and scholars can still draw historical conclusions from the texts.  The practice of history does not rely on an all-or-nothing approach to the text.

What's funny is that you are suggesting that I have an "all-or-nothing" approach, but it seems it is you.  You are taking the "all" position: that the data points to a historical Jesus.  Then you suggest I take the nothing approach, that the data points to no Jesus.  I am saying two things:
1. I don't know.
2. There is vigorous scholarly debate on the issue.

The fact that you can only offer that historical methods suggest that Jesus existed is clear to me that you don't have proof, or an argument better than the historical method (which also implies that you hold the historical method to a higher degree of reliability than the theological claims, e.g., the Bible.)

See, when i read the Bible, I recognize it as a VERY religious document filled with mythological elements.  Just because people believe Jesus existed doesn't mean he did.  Just because people died for Jesus doesn't mean people who died as a martyr for other religions were right. (In fact, I haven't seen one bit of proof that ANY Christian died a true martyr: that is, refusing to recant their story on the pain of death.)
God is not maximally powerful if he lacks the ability to provide the proper evidence of His existence to me.  If I, a mere mortal, can overcome His desire to know me, then He is not God. God the Father? He's not apparent to me!

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Matthew Kissel

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The Christ Myth Fallacy
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2011, 03:45:59 pm »
What's funny is that you are suggesting that I have an "all-or-nothing" approach, but it seems it is you

By "all or nothing" approach I meant that you don't have to believe the Bible is the innerant word of God or Jesus never existed.  You'll have to show me where I made one of those claims.  My only claim is that given the historical method the ordinary claim that there was a popular teacher who started a religious movement is more in line with the evidence than mythicism.  There may be extraordinary claims in the Bible that we don't have extraordinary evidence for.  We may even see ordinary claims that there is evidence against.  But the actual existence of Jesus is not extraordinary so we should treat that claim like we would any other about, say, Socrates or Hannibal.

2. There is vigorous scholarly debate on the issue.
I believe in the interview Dr. Ehrman said that he could not think of one scholar of the thousands that he knew who questioned the existence of Jesus except for Robert Price.  Maybe those who debate for mythicism debate vigorously but it hardly seems like a controversy among scholars.  Maybe Richard Carrier's book is going to come out and show how Bayes Theorem overturns current scholarly consensus but until them I see no reason to doubt or be agnostic about a historical Jesus.

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keith eure

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The Christ Myth Fallacy
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2011, 10:24:52 pm »
Ooberman,  there is absolutely no debate in scholarly circles on the existence of Jesus of nazareth, absolutely zero.  As a matter of fact I can only think of two guys who hold to this view.   Robert price, who by the way as Bart erhman stated in the interview with Reggie, isn't even s professor at any major university.  Price's works are deemed laughable by non believing new testament scholars like erhman and Crossan.  The other is Richard carrier who is by no means considered a top notch scholar.   So you have 2 on the side of non existence as opposed to 20000 on the side of existence, doesn't sound like much of a debate to me.  When atheists say this is actual a debate, they are decieving themselves to believe they have rational view with respect to the matter.  

   

           I also am clueless to what this misunderstanding was in the erhman ig interview.   The misunderstanding was Erhman scoffed at this unintellectual irrational assertion that Jesus never existed.   Reggie was shocked because erhman was not a Christian, yet believed in the historical Jesus.   Reggie resorted to the dumbing argument from ignorance.  " we don't know if Paul wrote that,  or we don't know if so and so said that",  Erhman said". I have been researching this kind of stuff for over 30 years,  we hAve historical methods in place to reconstruct history accurately, I   Know thousands of new testament scholars, nor a single one holds to your idiotic baseless view" now that was some paraphrasing, but everyone is free to listen to it, that's the just of their exchange.

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keith eure

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The Christ Myth Fallacy
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2011, 12:42:04 am »
Ooberman,
               I dont mean to sound insulting, you are entitled to believe whatever you wish.  I just take issue with presenting your belief, as if it holds any kind of serious consideration among men who study these documents for there lives.  The Christ Myth is an Internet pop culture argument that has developed in recent years with the aid of academically disgraceful and fallacious movies like zeitgeist and other films of that ilk.  They cherry pick information from documents centuries after Jesus' life and pretend to draw parallels to ancient mythological beings.  The fact of the matter is the majority of these parallels do not exist and or are post Christian.  The sources these people commonly use are Gerald Massey and kersey graves.  These ideas have been thoroughly debunked over and over again.  

           I am fairly certain I understand the new obsession with pretending Jesus did not exist combined with fabricated attempts to draw parallels between his life and others.  It is actually quite simple.  In New testament scholarship over the last 50 years there has been a resurgence of belief that the Gospels do in fact portray an accurate depiction of the life of Jesus of Nazareth.  The skeptics are losing this debate.  This resurgence has been strongly influenced by the notion that we are to understand Jesus of Nazareth and his followers amidst a first century Palestinian Jewish background and not solely against a greco Roman Background.  This  change of views has been widely accepted amidst scholars and has lead to a stronger belief in the accuracy of the documents.  With the battle over the words of Jesus being decisively won by those whom believe the accuracy of the new testament documents, like a wounded animal near death in a battle the atheists are taking one last lunging swipe at theists.  This swipe being " perhaps Jesus never existed"  This assertion comes from a disbelief in God and subsequently a disbelief in miraculous events.  These two dis-beliefs are in strong opposition to this historical character Jesus of Nazareth's life according to the majority of New Testament scholars.  Thus we get the agenda driven, unfounded in evidence, belief " Jesus never existed" .  This is merely a way to avoid the theistic implications of the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth.  This is a way of fooling yourself and mutual brainwashing to diffuse the problem( Jesus' historicity) at the root, by positing He never existed.  This view academically is highly irrational, but considering the ability for people to resort to drastic measures to maintain their presuppositions, it does not surprise me, what so ever.

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Timothy Campen

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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2011, 01:22:08 am »

I put the odds that the man Jesus never existed just slightly higher than the odds he was actually resurrected. But I've always been a middle of the road kind of guy.  

I raise a pint to WLC and all of you, even if I often disagree.  For I am convinced thoughtful people can disagree without being disagreeable.

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keith eure

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The Christ Myth Fallacy
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2011, 01:48:44 am »
Tcampen,
              from reading your posts I suspect that means you believe the odds He never existed were quite low.  I guess my only gripe would be we have early documents recording the ressurection, we dont have any early Christ myth sources, just some modern atheistic cognitive dissonance on display with respect to His potential non existence.   But I can empathize with individuals who dont believe in a personal God, having a hard time believing the resurrection.  First we would have to mount a convincing case for a personal God( which I believe there is, but I understand opinnions differ on this matter) then we would have to examine the documents with an open mind with respect to miracles or divine interventions.

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Timothy Campen

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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2011, 02:48:04 am »
Kam86 wrote: Tcampen,
              from reading your posts I suspect that means you believe the odds He never existed were quite low.  I guess my only gripe would be we have early documents recording the ressurection, we dont have any early Christ myth sources
.

Well, if Christ was a myth created sometime after 33AD, it wouldn't make much sense for there to be writings from 33AD about how Christ was a myth would there?  And I wouldn't call the earliest writings about the man Jesus at least a generation after he was said to have lived particularly early. Still, I don't see any particular reason to think the man who in some way inspired the early christian movement did not exist. I'm no Muslim, but I find it hard to believe Mohammed did not exist. I'm no pagan, but the notion that Caesar crossed the Rubicon does not itself invoke any special prior theological commitments.

But I can empathize with individuals who dont believe in a personal God, having a hard time believing the resurrection.  First we would have to mount a convincing case for a personal God( which I believe there is, but I understand opinnions differ on this matter) then we would have to examine the documents with an open mind with respect to miracles or divine interventions.

I agree. But I find people overwhelmingly find the miracles of their own faith uniquely credible, while the miracles of others' faiths unable to withstand "reasonable" scrutiny.   Perhaps I'm just looking at this coincidence wrong, but I'm not so sure such an open minded approach to examining miracles is even possible, particularly when one's spiritual identity and reason for living depends on the truth of their own miracle claim (and the non-truth of the other guy's).
I raise a pint to WLC and all of you, even if I often disagree.  For I am convinced thoughtful people can disagree without being disagreeable.