Wednesday, March 29, 2006
On the existence of Jesus
Of what aspects of the life of Jesus may we be certain? Stephen Spignesi's "The Odd Index" lists sixteen crucified saviors other than Jesus Christ. Examples of Christ legends appear to predate Christianity. Note that:
- There are many mythological heroes and gods -- such as Hercules, Osiris, Bacchus, Mithra, Hermes, Prometheus, Perseus, and Horus -- that have much in common with Jesus. All were said to have gods for fathers and virgins for mothers and births announced by stars. All were born on the 25th of December (solstice), had tyrants trying to kill them when they were infants, met with horrifying deaths, and rose from the dead.
- Statements exist in the New Testament that allude to several New Testament Jews, such as Theudas and Judas, who, just prior to Jesus, claimed to have received revelations and miraculous powers from God and who were killed and their followers scattered. (Acts 5: 36-37) Similarly, the false Jewish prophet Bar-Jesus of Paphos is mentioned in Acts 13: 6. Paul, while filled with the Holy Spirit, strikes Bar-Jesus blind.
If Jesus was who he said he was, and his birth, death & resurrection was planned since the beginning of time, and the point of Jesus death & resurrection divided time in half with so much of the Old Testament pointing to Jesus, it would also be possible that other events could mirror that larger event.
Think of time as a lake, and Jesus a drop in the lake, with ripples flowing through time. Backwards & Forwards.
Then think about resonance with frequencies, the fact that when a guitar string is plucked, other strings next to it will resonate with that frequency.
I see all the other myths & crucifixions more evidence to the truth that something increadible happened. I see all the other religions as evidence that something increadible happened.
If you haven't figured this out yet... any person can convice themselves of anything. Christianity, some other religion, or belief in nothing. If any person can convince themselves to believe or disbelieve in anything... how do you know what is really true out there? How do you know there is truth? One way or the other, it always comes back down to belief.
Some wikipedia links about the resurection of Jesus and the theories around it:
Some great points from the page:
The historicity of the resurrection
For Christians, the historicity of the resurrection is seen as crucial, as most tend to assume that if Jesus has power over life and death, then he is the Son of God. The resurrection, then, becomes the point of falsifiability for Christianity, and is often the focus of religious debates.
As with all study of ancient history, it is important to use proper historical methodology. In this process, the records of the accounts of the witnesses are analysed for their reliability and plausibility.
Arguments for the resurrection's historicity
Defending the resurrection's historicity is a field of study known as Christian apologetics. Apologists will claim some or all of the following:
Multiple eyewitness accounts claiming to see and interact with the resurrected Christ, from differing times and situations.
The conversion to Christianity of Skeptics, including James the eldest half-brother of Jesus and Saul of Tarsus, a pharisee who persecuted Christians.
The early recording of events (by Christians) suggests that myth-making is unlikely .
Occam's Razor: If a resurrection is indeed possible, claiming that Jesus really did rise and appear to his disciples is clearly the most logical explanation for the complex events that came later.
That hundreds of millions of Christians worldwide claim to have met Jesus personally and/or experienced the coming of the Holy Spirit.
All resurrection witnesses repeatedly risked their lives to preach Christianity, and many were martyred, which limits the range of potentially false motives for their testimonies.
The martyrdom of many of the early church leaders for their faith; some claimed to have met or been disciples of the Apostles. Including: Polycarp, Ignatius, Papias, Irenaeus, and Justin Martyr.
The first witnesses to the empty tomb and the resurrected Jesus were women, whose testimony was not regarded as credible in the patriarchal Judaism of that period. This is usually seen as a precedent for the gospels being explanations of fact over socially convenient fabrications.
Most resurrection stories of antiquity emphasize the immortality of their hero's soul; the New Testament descriptions of the resurrection are (arguably) unique in being thoroughly bodily and physical.
A general acceptance by a majority of biblical scholars and historians that Jesus' disciples at least thought they met Jesus after he died.
A historical check is served by the presence of hostile witnesses during the time of early Christianity.
An early Christian Creed proclaims Jesus's resurrection - repeated in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 
Jesus is reported to have flesh and bones - Luke 24:39
Jesus showed himself to the Apostles with many "infallible proofs" - Acts 1:3
Christ's "flesh did not see corruption" - Acts 2:31
The Jewish Scriptures contain statements which some apologists have interpreted as saying that God would take a body, die for sins and rise again.
The resurrection stories speak poorly of the faith of Jesus' Apostles when he met with them after rising, which some say portrays the gospel writers as honest.
Roman guards could be punished by death if ever they allow a crucified man to live. The Roman guards even pierced Jesus on the side with a spear; his body bled and released water, a sign of death.
Roman guards could be punished by death if they allowed a condemned man's remains be stolen.
The Toledoth Yeshu, (a compilation of early Jewish writings), alludes to stolen body hypothesis. , as does the record of a second century debate between a Christian and a Jew. Apologists see this an acknowledgement that the tomb was empty, with an attempt to explain it away. 
Appeals to silence
The are no records of protests against the empty tomb.
There is no record of the Jewish and Roman authorities disproving the belief by publicly presenting the real corpse of Jesus.
The Biblical claim that over 500 people were witnesses of the resurrected Jesus, many still alive at the time. (It is notable, though, that this open declaration was to Athenian non-Christians who could respond.)
Western legal standards argue for the historicity of the resurrection of Christ , attested to by former Chief Justices of England.
A former Watergate conspirator argues that because conspiracies are hard to maintain in the face of persecution, the Apostles were telling the truth regarding the resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus and his apostles are regarded as highly moral people, as opposed to some religions and cults where the leader or the leader's disciples are untrustworthy.
Jesus fulfilled many Jewish prophecies; nearly impossible to fulfill by chance. 
The poor educational level of the disciples would have made devising an elaborate cover-up difficult.
The early church spread rapidly, though highly persecuted.
Jewish culture was unfamiliar with mythical stories of Gods and rebirths. 
The gospel of John portrays medical knowledge not available at the time; eg. the flow of "blood and water" after a soldier is recorded to have pieced Jesus' side. 
Anglican scholar N.T. Wright in his 2003 volume The Resurrection of the Son of God, examines extensively eschatological views and vocabulary of ancient pagans and post-biblical Judaism and analyses the Biblical accounts of the resurrection against this background.
Arguments against the resurrection's historicity
The Gospel accounts of the resurrection differ, and there appears to be evidence of a progressive supernaturalization involving the appearance of angels at the Empty tomb.
Most people outside Christianity were not aware of the claims of its early proponents (such as those of an empty tomb), so unable to refute them. As Christianity became better known, no evidence remained to refute.
Occam's Razor: An actual resurrection is not necessary to explain all subsequent history (for alternative hypotheses, see above)
Stories of the bodily disappearance of divine heroes are common: Gesar, the Savior of Tibet, The Gurus of Sikhism, the ascension of Muhammad (even though he has a tomb), the vanishing of Elijah into the sky, God buries Moses in secret.
A few modern scholars (e.g., Robert Graves and Evan Powell) speculate that Jesus may have undergone a near-death experience. This is functionally similar to the swoon hypothesis.
No Roman Historian quotes any darkness of three hours at the time of Jesus' death - Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Had a resurrection occurred, the corpse would be missing, and the executioner-soldiers would have been themselves killed for permitting it to be stolen. We have no record of their executions, nor do we have a record from Roman authorities exonerating the soldiers of corpse-theft on the grounds that the deceased had resumed living.
Jesus' apostles and closest friends doubted that they were in the presence of a resurrected Jesus.
A few skeptics claim that some of the 500 who witnessed the resurrected Jesus lost their faith. However, the bible passage in question uses the term "fell asleep", which is much more likely a euphemism for death.
The Pauline Epistles mention resurrection appearances to Iakobos, presumably James, Jesus' eldest half-brother and later to 500 brethren. Neither is mentioned in the canonical Gospel accounts, and the women at the empty tomb are not mentioned by Paul.
Some skeptics claim that Western legal standards would not argue for historicity of the resurrection.
The supposed martyrdom of witnesses to the resurrection is not historically verified.
He was the only one that changed the calendar. The other 16 didn't. While on the cross he uttered the words "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me". Some say he was having a weak moment. I believe he was teaching until the end. His reference was back to the prophecy of Psalms 22. The prophecy was written 900 years prior and before there was a Rome and before crucifixion was the method of capital punishment. The prophecy also included the casting of lots for his garments.
And then we have anonymous # 2 who asserts that Jesus changed the calender. Wikipedia says "The Julian calendar was introduced in 46 BC by Julius Caesar and took force in 45 BC (709 ab urbe condita). It was chosen after consultation with the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria and was probably designed to approximate the tropical year, known at least since Hipparchus. It has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months, and a leap day is added to February every four years. Hence the Julian year is on average 365.25 days long." (Also note that the days of the week were named for planets and pagan g-ds, Sun day Moon day Wodens Day Thors Day Saturns Day etc; so obviously the work of Jesus!) So, nothing to do with Jesus until the late 16th Century introduction of the Gregorian Calender, (still in use). Again from Wikipedia:"A modification of the Julian calendar, it was first proposed by the Calabrian doctor Aloysius Lilius, and was decreed by Pope Gregory XIII, for whom it was named, on 24 February 1582" The reason was to bring the date of Easter in line with the decision of the 4th Century Catholic Council of Nicea. The rest of Anonymous #2's "proofs" are based on the Bible, which often lacks historocity, in fact the Gospels, on this count, often contradict themselves (each Gospel describes a different number of first witnesses at the tomb). The best contemporary historian Josephus, mentions Jesus but most scholars view this notation on Jesus as a later forged interpolation on the text.
I can see why you'd want to hide behind anonymity.
I'm most familiar with the King James version of the Bible & have found the more I learn, the confusder I get.
So I "accept" certain generalized things. For instance that Jesus lived & was at least an enlightened prophet with a new message.
But I do not believe the message was passed on exactly as He delivered it, nor in it's entirety.
There is no "evidence" of His existence except for the stories which were allowed into the Bible.
Not only the Bible, but through Islam, which more than just mentions Jesus.
Events, even very profound events with archeological backing, cannot be said to have happened with absolute certainty, much less as described.
In my confusion, existence with certainty is out of the question, & that applies to anyone's writings. The most I can ever hope to do is gain some kind of knowledge or enlightenment from what I think they are trying to teach.
there is no proof apart from the bible that is rose from the dead or of any of his mirclea
only the fact tht i believe !