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FORBIDDEN HISTORY OF THE BIBLE > QUESTIONING THE HISTORICAL AUTHENTICITY OF JESUS: Were there earlier (pre-Christian) historical versions of the Jesus Christ story? And how to assess the evidence, or lack of, for the 'Historical Jesus'?

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message 1: by James, Group Founder (last edited Mar 08, 2015 05:18PM) (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments Numerous biblical scholars and historians have pointed out that Jesus' life story seems to be remarkably similar to earlier Pagan spiritual figures. According to my research, it appears there most likely was a man called Jesus Christ who lived when the Bible said he did but that we probably would not recognize him or his life story if we could time travel back to that time. Reason being is it appears that once again the numerous biblical revisions, especially by the Romans in 4th Century, mixed fact with fiction - the editors of the Bible seemed to have overlaid earlier accounts of Pagan spiritual figures with Jesus' life.

One of many examples of earlier historical figures with parallels to Christ's life is the the religious (Zoroastrian) character of Mithra who lived in Persia in about the 5th Century BC. He was born a virgin birth also on December 25th and had 12 disciples, performed very similar miracles to the ones Jesus was said to have done. Some historians and religious scholars also believe Mithra and his followers used the sign of the cross/crucifix.


message 2: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments This essay titled Mithra: The Pagan Christ is worth a read: http://www.truthbeknown.com/mithra.htm

Here are some excerpts:

Both Mithras and Christ were described variously as 'the Way,' 'the Truth,' 'the Light,' 'the Life,' 'the Word,' 'the Son of God,' 'the Good Shepherd.' The Christian litany to Jesus could easily be an allegorical litany to the sun-god. Mithras is often represented as carrying a lamb on his shoulders, just as Jesus is. Midnight services were found in both religions. The virgin mother...was easily merged with the virgin mother Mary. Petra, the sacred rock of Mithraism, became Peter, the foundation of the Christian Church."

Gerald Berry, Religions of the World

"Mithra or Mitra is...worshipped as Itu (Mitra-Mitu-Itu) in every house of the Hindus in India. Itu (derivative of Mitu or Mitra) is considered as the Vegetation-deity. This Mithra or Mitra (Sun-God) is believed to be a Mediator between God and man, between the Sky and the Earth. It is said that Mithra or [the] Sun took birth in the Cave on December 25th. It is also the belief of the Christian world that Mithra or the Sun-God was born of [a] Virgin. He travelled far and wide. He has twelve satellites, which are taken as the Sun's disciples.... [The Sun's] great festivals are observed in the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox—Christmas and Easter. His symbol is the Lamb...."

Swami Prajnanananda, Christ the Saviour and Christ Myth


Mithra and Christ

Over the centuries—in fact, from the earliest Christian times—Mithraism has been compared to Christianity, revealing numerous similarities between the two faiths' doctrines and traditions, including as concerns stories of their respective godmen. In developing this analysis, it should be kept in mind that elements from Roman, Armenian and Persian Mithraism are utilized, not as a whole ideology but as separate items that may have affected the creation of Christianity, whether directly through the mechanism of Mithraism or through another Pagan source within the Roman Empire and beyond. The evidence points to these motifs and elements being adopted into Christianity not as a whole from one source but singularly from many sources, including Mithraism.

"The evidence points to these motifs and elements being adopted into Christianity..."

Thus, the following list represents not a solidified mythos or narrative of one particular Mithra or form of the god as developed in one particular culture and era but, rather, a combination of them all for ease of reference as to any possible influences upon Christianity under the name of Mitra/Mithra/Mithras.

Mithra has the following in common with the Jesus character:

Mithra was born on December 25th of the virgin Anahita.
The babe was wrapped in swaddling clothes, placed in a manger and attended by shepherds.
He was considered a great traveling teacher and master.
He had 12 companions or "disciples."
He performed miracles.
As the "great bull of the Sun," Mithra sacrificed himself for world peace.
He ascended to heaven.
Mithra was viewed as the Good Shepherd, the "Way, the Truth and the Light," the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah.
Mithra is omniscient, as he "hears all, sees all, knows all: none can deceive him."
He was identified with both the Lion and the Lamb.
His sacred day was Sunday, "the Lord's Day," hundreds of years before the appearance of Christ.
His religion had a eucharist or "Lord's Supper."
Mithra "sets his marks on the foreheads of his soldiers."
Mithraism emphasized baptism.

December 25th Birthday
The similarities between Mithraism and Christianity have included their chapels, the term "father" for priest, celibacy and, it is notoriously claimed, the December 25th birthdate. Over the centuries, apologists contending that Mithraism copied Christianity nevertheless have asserted that the December 25th birthdate was taken from Mithraism. As Sir Arthur Weigall says:

December 25th was really the date, not of the birth of Jesus, but of the sun-god Mithra. Horus, son of Isis, however, was in very early times identified with Ra, the Egyptian sun-god, and hence with Mithra...

Mithra's birthday on December 25th has been so widely claimed that the Catholic Encyclopedia ("Mithraism") remarks: "The 25 December was observed as his birthday, the natalis invicti, the rebirth of the winter-sun, unconquered by the rigours of the season."

Yet this contention of Mithra's birthday on December 25th or the winter solstice is disputed because there is no hard archaeological or literary evidence of the Roman Mithras specifically being named as having been born at that time. Says Dr. Alvar:

There is no evidence of any kind, not even a hint, from within the cult that this, or any other winter day, was important in the Mithraic calendar. (Alvar, 410)

In analyzing the evidence, we must keep in mind all the destruction that has taken place over the past 2,000 years—including that of many Mithraic remains and texts—as well as the fact that several of these germane parallels constituted mysteries that may or may not have been recorded in the first place or the meanings of which have been obscured.

The claim about the Roman Mithras's birth on "Christmas" is evidently based on the Calendar of Filocalus or Philocalian Calendar (c. 354 AD/CE), which mentions that December 25th represents the "Birthday of the Unconquered," understood to refer to the sun and taken to indicate Mithras as Sol Invictus. Whether it represents Mithras's birthday specifically or "merely" that of Emperor Aurelian's Sol Invictus, with whom Mithras has been identified, the Calendar also lists the day—the winter solstice birth of the sun—as that of natus Christus in Betleem Iudeae: "Birth of Christ in Bethlehem Judea."

Moreover, it would seem that there is more to this story, as Aurelian was the first to institute officially the winter solstice as the birthday of Sol Invictus (Dies Natalis Solis Invicti) in 274 AD/CE. (Halsberghe, 158) It is contended that Aurelian's move was in response to Mithras's popularity. (Restaud, 4) One would thus wonder why the emperor would be so motivated if Mithras had nothing whatsoever to do with the sun god's traditional birthday—a disconnect that would be unusual for any solar deity.

Regardless of whether or not the artifacts of the Roman Mithras's votaries reflect the attribution of the sun god's birthday to him specifically, many in the empire did identify the mysteries icon and Sol Invictus as one, evidenced by the inscriptions of "Sol Invictus Mithras" and the many images of Mithras and the sun together, representing two sides of the same coin or each other's alter ego. Hence, the placement of Mithras's birth on this feast day of the sun is understandable and, despite the lack of concrete evidence at this date, quite plausibly was recognized in this manner in antiquity in the Roman Empire.


message 3: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments Besides Mithra, there are older Gods especially Egyptian Gods who Biblical writers appear to have taken from. For example, there were tales of Egyptian Gods who were killed in a similar manner to Jesus and were also resurrected.

So the Jesus story gets very complex the more you study history...


message 4: by Laureen (last edited Mar 09, 2015 01:57AM) (new)

Laureen (laureenandersonswfcomau) | 478 comments James wrote: "This essay titled Mithra: The Pagan Christ is worth a read: http://www.truthbeknown.com/mithra.htm

Here are some excerpts:

Both Mithras and rChrist were described variously as 'the Way,' 'the Trut..."

James, you are a veritable font of information and continue to surprise me. I have some knowledge of Mithras but very little it seems compared to you. You must spend a lot of time reading and finding these subjects which are important to inform us of how little we do know. Leaves a lot for me to ponder on, and God forgive, find the time.

How on Earth do we expect to find "the truth" of things that happened many lifetimes ago when we can't even be sure of the motivations & consequences of present day theories. Imagine 500 or 1000yrs from now the custodians of our Earth trying to figure out what we are all about? Of course there are those who would say the Earth won't exist for that long but those that experienced the Great Flood would have said the same and yet, here we are!


message 5: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments Laureen wrote: "James, you are a veritable font of information and continue to surprise me. I have some knowledge of Mithras but very little it seems compared to you. You must spend a lot of time reading and finding these subjects which are important to inform us of how little we do know. Leaves a lot for me to ponder on, and God forgive, find the time.
..."


Thanks Laureen.
Best,
J


message 6: by Harry (last edited Mar 09, 2015 05:36AM) (new)

Harry Whitewolf | 1745 comments And in between Mithras and Christ, we also had Dionysus; traditionally he is a demi-god, the son of the god Zeus and the mortal woman Semele. He was also born from a virgin mother on December 25th. He performed miracles, such as changing water into wine; and he was known as "The only Begotten Son" and "Saviour". After dying, he was resurrected after three days and then ascended into heaven.

And Dionysus (in Greek tradition) himself had many names: the infamous god of wine Bacchus in Italy, Osiris in ancient Egypt, Adonis in Syria...oh, and Mithras (to the Romans, or Mitra in India, Mithra and Zarathustra in Iran in Persia).

The oldest depictions of Mithras are of him having a lion's head. Interesting when we consider that the Sphinx is the oldest 'manmade' structure on earth (and especially as it seems almost certain that the current face of the sphinx was a recarving on top of an original face... and what more likely candidate than a lion head?) Although there was an intended and systematic destruction by the Christians of all the old lion headed statues and pictures and related texts etc. of Mithras, the first god.

Just as is sadly happening today in the East, by ISIS and others, somewhat in Egypt, but mostly in Iraq, where ancient cultural and religious statues and the like are being destroyed to leave no trace of such belief systems in the future.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middl...

But back to Mithras. His followers had a sacrament of drinking wine as a symbol for sacrificial blood. Bread in wafers or loaves with crosses on were used to symbolise the flesh. The priests would have: a staff, a hat and a hooked sword...

Mithras Mysteries and Initiation Rediscovered by D. Jason Cooper

The Jesus Mysteries Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God? by Timothy Freke


message 7: by Harry (new)

Harry Whitewolf | 1745 comments Or was it DINOysus?


message 8: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments Harry wrote: "Or was it DINOysus?"

More like WINOnysus


message 9: by Harry (new)

Harry Whitewolf | 1745 comments Dionysus the wino dino. :)


message 10: by Harry (new)

Harry Whitewolf | 1745 comments And what did Christ do in those numerous unaccounted for years of most of his life? Gap years to Egypt?


message 11: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments Harry wrote: "And what did Christ do in those numerous unaccounted for years of most of his life? Gap years to Egypt?"

Backpacking in India, some say.
There is a potential link with India in all this as some say Krishna was another ancient Godman who the Roman revisionists of the Bible used as inspiration.
Some scholars say there are certain passages in the Bible that can be traced to the Hindu texts.
The names Christ and Krishna sound similar also


message 12: by Harry (new)

Harry Whitewolf | 1745 comments From http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Religio...
a good, and more detailed account of Mithras:

"In Indian writings such as the Veda Mithra again appears as the attendant of the Lord of Heaven, Varuna. He is closely connected with the power of light and the sun, which is itself called 'the eye of Mitra and Varuna'. The connection between Mitra and the bull-which later became the focal point of the Mithras cult is perhaps even clearer in the Veda than in the Avesta.


In 1907 a large number of clay tablets was found in the palace archives of Boghazkoy, the capital of the ancient Hittites in the north of the Anatolian plateau. These tablets contain the first recorded mention of the name 'Mithra', who, together with the Lord of Heaven, is invoked as the protector of a treaty between the Hatti (the Hittites) and their neighbours, the Mitanni. The date of the treaty is somewhere in the fourteenth century B.C., and since the latest known reference to the Western Mithras occurs in the fifth century A.D. these tablets show that the god was revered for nearly two thousand years.

Mithras is of course worshipped no longer, but archaeologists, historians of religion, theologians and linguists alike have pondered his nature and tried to unravel the secrets of his cult for the light which these studies have to throw on the origins of Christianity."

Perhaps the references to the lion headed Mithras who was the bull slayer- a central part of the religion- was to do with entering the age of Leo, which would fit in with some accounts of the timing of the ancient forgotten civilisation prior to the Great Flood, and perhaps Taurus was the last 'great age' that Leo- Mithras- was now replacing? (And thinking about the climate change thread, it's worth remembering we've just entered the age of Aquarius- the water bearer- having just left the Pisces Fish of Christianity age.)


message 13: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 43 comments awesome info harry. #cookie
i thought i did my research then you dropped a bomb like this lolz. i seriously need to update my notes....


message 14: by Harry (new)

Harry Whitewolf | 1745 comments Cheers K.P.
I'm constantly updating my 'notes'!

The book I posted above is a good one about Mithras:
Mithras: Mysteries and Initiation Rediscovered


message 15: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 43 comments cool beans. i will so def check out.


message 16: by Harry (last edited Mar 09, 2015 10:27AM) (new)

Harry Whitewolf | 1745 comments Also of interest I think, is Christian C.S Lewis's choice of animal for Aslan in his Narnia books.


message 17: by Mikhayla (new)

Mikhayla Gracey | 270 comments I love this stuff. It seems to me that if more people were interested in understanding even a portion of the truth involved in religious history, we could do away with war, at least religious wars, and what other type of war is there?


message 18: by Lance, Group Founder (new)

Lance Morcan | 2652 comments Mikhayla wrote: "I love this stuff. It seems to me that if more people were interested in understanding even a portion of the truth involved in religious history, we could do away with war, at least religious wars,..."

Oil wars, drug wars, race wars etc...and soon water wars.


message 19: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments All these wars seem to have a religious link however - so I see where Mikhayla coming from


message 20: by Laureen (last edited Mar 10, 2015 03:22AM) (new)

Laureen (laureenandersonswfcomau) | 478 comments It's incomprehensible to me that Religion is mostly the reason for war when all Religions purport to beat their drum for peace, forgiveness, compassion etc etc. In this new age, we are finding that Religion is being used along side political power and vested interests.


message 21: by Lance, Group Founder (new)

Lance Morcan | 2652 comments Laureen wrote: "It's incomprehensible to me that Religion is mostly the reason for war when all Religions purport to beat their drum for peace, forgiveness, compassion etc etc. In this new age, we are finding th..."

Religion is usually just the excuse given as we saw in Ireland, Kosovo etc. and now in the Mid East. Kinda sick huh?


message 22: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments Lance Morcan wrote: "Religion is usually just the excuse given as we saw in Ireland, Kosovo etc. and now in the Mid East. Kinda sick huh? ..."

Sometimes it's the excuse, but religion has definitely been behind many a war at the same time.
Arguably, and I'm fairly sure I'm right about this, nothing has caused more bloodshed or loss of life throughout history than religion - especially if you include such things as the Holocaust being religious (against those of Jewish faith) and recent Christian vs Islamic wars...Not to mention the obvious ones like the Crusades of the Middle Ages...


message 23: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments It seems like when people feel certain they have God on their side, they are only too happy to pick up their sword to kill.


message 24: by Mikhayla (new)

Mikhayla Gracey | 270 comments Lance Morcan wrote: "Mikhayla wrote: "I love this stuff. It seems to me that if more people were interested in understanding even a portion of the truth involved in religious history, we could do away with war, at leas..."

Yes, organized crime would have to be addressed quickly once it is recognized that oil wars, drug wars, race wars... are really the motives, and stand alone battle cry. No longer can we shout about a God given right to kill. We want your oil is our battle cry. We want this drug turf is our battle cry. We think our skin is superior to your skin is our battle cry. The petty ugly begins to surface much more quickly. Truth makes war as ugly as it is. Hold up the mirror and shield God from this ugly demand to disguising our shame.

In the case of Jesus they have added the responsibility of being the scape goat and excusing their sins once they feel the depth of their mistake.


message 25: by Laureen (new)

Laureen (laureenandersonswfcomau) | 478 comments Mikhayla wrote: "Lance Morcan wrote: "Mikhayla wrote: "I love this stuff. It seems to me that if more people were interested in understanding even a portion of the truth involved in religious history, we could do a..."

Mikhayla, if you believe in a God, then you believe that God resides in all human beings, all animal life, in all vegetation, in all things. How can you just pass off human flaws as if those humans who have flaws are less than anybody else, including you. I firmly believe that goodness resides in everything.

Yes, there are people on Earth who it is hard to believe that they have goodness within them yet they are the product of your God. Even Hitler. Now what triggered the evil within him when God is love? Personally, I don't believe in the Devil so something caused Hitler to have such a hatred of the Jewish people. Was it his cronies that fed this hatred to Hitler? Or was it his childhood experiences which led to this unreasonable hatred - yes, Germany was going through tough financial times and many Jews were rich.

We make our own Hell and that is what Hitler did. Maybe it was a massive envy crime. Who are we, flawed humans, to judge others. Only through love can we overcome and remember that the same life force runs through us all.
Oh, there I go again being preachy. My sincere apologies. It's your fault Mikhayla, you brought it on. Only joking!

Having said all that, I am so interested in the reasons behind the Holocaust. I still find it incredibly hard to understand how Hitler could have such an influence on the German people. The power of the word is obviously great. More reason in my opinion to be suspicious of all we hear but be pure of heart.


message 26: by Elisabet (new)

Elisabet Norris | 486 comments A topic that's on my list of things I want to study :) ...it is interesting to see how strong characters throughout history have used supernatural figures to put fear into people and make life changing promises in order to play puppet masters. It has worked since the beginning of time. Perhaps for some, it isn't religiously motivated, but still religion is used to justify their actions. It pleases me that many of these godlike characters have so much in common...stories traveled the world long before even chain letters.


message 27: by Mikhayla (new)

Mikhayla Gracey | 270 comments Laureen wrote: "Mikhayla wrote: "Lance Morcan wrote: "Mikhayla wrote: "I love this stuff. It seems to me that if more people were interested in understanding even a portion of the truth involved in religious histo..."

Laureen,

Love is a beautiful thing. Evil is ugly and very real. I believe in the whole God is all that is, in all of us sort of philosophy. I believe that every child is born with the potential to be a positive addition to the world. I believe in Love, Compassion, and all the other feel good words. I also know all to well that evil is.

Evil brutally violates and tortures the minds and bodies of children in order to create mind controlled slaves. I know because this degree of evil has violated my own home, and children I love. The details would put a quick end to your world of pretty. I can only hope that the children I love who are being tortured beyond your imagination will find the peace and compassion they need to heal and learn to see flowers and smile at their beauty without being triggered to remember some horrific ritual that utilized said flower.

In daisy programming the daisy game is played. Petals are pulled, "She loves me. She loves me not." If it falls on, "She loves me not," (and mathematically this can be arranged), a child of the same age and appearance, if not the child's twin, will be brutally murdered and the "programmed" child is made to feel responsible for it. Sure, Laureen, I believe that God is in all of us. Nevertheless, monsters must be stopped.


message 28: by Mikhayla (new)

Mikhayla Gracey | 270 comments BTW, Laureen, the daisy game was inspired by Dr. Mengele, a Nazi Doctor who worked his evil in the Nazi Concentration Camps. Today is meet the Nazi's day. They don't shake hands. They raise them in a perverted, obedient to evil, salute. I wouldn't return their greeting if I were you.


message 29: by Mikhayla (new)

Mikhayla Gracey | 270 comments My apologies Laureen. I find that hearing from the young and sheltered, while a good thing, places me in a position in which I feel the need to bring someone up to speed, but I feel strained for time.

Continue to see the beauty in flowers, but don't assume the worst can be converted.


message 30: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Shellim (shhhhstudios) | 153 comments In the First Century the primal spoken and written language of the Jews in Judea was Hebrew, not Aramaic.[7] Jesus of Nazareth prayed with the Ebionite and Nazarene Jews in Hebrew, observed the Hebrew laws, adorned hair locks and tassels on his waist, used the services of money changers and performed sacrificial rituals in the Temple throughout his adult life. Jesus spoke only to Jews, prayed and spoke to his people in Hebrew, the banner on Jesus' Cross was in Hebrew - (Acts 26:14).


message 31: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments Joseph wrote: "In the First Century the primal spoken and written language of the Jews in Judea was Hebrew, not Aramaic.[7] Jesus of Nazareth prayed with the Ebionite and Nazarene Jews in Hebrew, observed the Heb..."

So it's a myth that Aramaic was the language that Jesus spoke?


message 32: by Joseph (last edited Mar 11, 2015 09:31PM) (new)

Joseph Shellim (shhhhstudios) | 153 comments Its not a myth as a generic language in Arabia, decreed by the Persian king Cyrus in 5th Century BCE. The Jews of Judea spoke Aramaic as a second language, used primarily with foreigners in trade & commerce. They also spoke Greek. However the Jews prayed and wrote in Hebrew till the end of the 2nd century when the Hebrew was banned by Hadrian, who also changed the name of Judea to Palestine. This also means that Judea was not called as Palestine in the first century, nor would Jesus be called as a Palestinian, a name that emerged 100 years later in 135 AD/CE. The Gospels would have understandably been impacted by Rome's decree to sideline the Hebrew.


message 33: by Lance, Group Founder (new)

Lance Morcan | 2652 comments A history enthusiast from outside this group has drawn my attention to what he describes as “a brilliant, insightful and well-researched” book titled On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt by American historian and philosopher Richard Carrier who specializes in the philosophy of naturalism and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome.

My contact advised “I was in the camp of historians that believed there was a historical human Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew, who was born around 4 BCE and was executed by the Romans for sedition circa 30 CE. Then I purchased the (above-named) book.”

The book’s description is pertinent to this discussion, so here ‘tis in full:

“The assumption that Jesus existed as a historical person has occasionally been questioned in the course of the last hundred years or so, but any doubts that have been raised have usually been put to rest in favor of imagining a blend of the historical, the mythical and the theological in the surviving records of Jesus.

“Carrier re-examines the whole question and finds compelling reasons to suspect the more daring assumption is correct. He lays out extensive research on the evidence for Jesus and the origins of Christianity and poses the key questions that must now be answered if the historicity of Jesus is to survive as a dominant paradigm.

“Carrier contrasts the most credible reconstruction of a historical Jesus with the most credible theory of Christian origins if a historical Jesus did not exist. Such a theory would posit that the Jesus figure was originally conceived of as a celestial being known only through private revelations and hidden messages in scripture; then stories placing this being in earth history were crafted to communicate the claims of the gospel allegorically; such stories eventually came to be believed or promoted in the struggle for control of the Christian churches that survived the tribulations of the first century.

“Carrier finds the latter theory more credible than has been previously imagined. He explains why it offers a better explanation for all the disparate evidence surviving from the first two centuries of the Christian era. He argues that we need a more careful and robust theory of cultural syncretism between Jewish theology and politics of the second-temple period and the most popular features of pagan religion and philosophy of the time.

“For anyone intent on defending a historical Jesus, this is the book to challenge.”


message 34: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Shellim (shhhhstudios) | 153 comments We have no evidence of anything or anyone in the Gospel prior to the 4th century; we have the same situation of the Hebrew Bible figures for twice as long - Abraham to Moses. Two reasons to consider for the dearth of the Gospels:

1. Rome systematically destroyed every writing negative of its emperors and killed off all who spoke against Rome; many Roman philosophers were killed. Factual Roman archives say so. The Dead Sea Scrolls were saved by extraordinary means.

2. The best indicative of Jesus as a historical figure is by one astute Rabbi Tovia Singer who made the premise: why would anyone make-up something about a fictional figure? Think about it - its like making up stories about a fictional figure named Elvis.


message 35: by Lance, Group Founder (new)

Lance Morcan | 2652 comments And this from yet another history enthusiast from another online forum that caught my eye and is worth sharing as it is also very relevant to the discussion. His comments follow:

"I have studied this subject somewhat for some years now and it is perfectly obvious the Holy Bible is full of flaws and contradictions, including the Gospels, so can't possibly be taken seriously.

"There are good reasons also to assume Jesus was not a real character. One reason is the very fact not one historian contemporary with Jesus wrote a single word about him and any "evidence" outside the Bible theists present is very weak at best.

"Josephus' "Testimonium Flavianum" is clearly a forgery and can be dismissed outright and the Jesus story itself was not new and had been copied many times before.

"I've seen many atheist/theist debates on youtube and the theists have absolutely nothing to offer in defence of their faith so I will continue to be an infidel until they come up with some rock solid evidence which is highly unlikely."


message 36: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Shellim (shhhhstudios) | 153 comments John. The Hebrew Bible has 1000's of validated stats, not from a theological view but an empirical one. I know of no other ancient writing that competes. To nominate a few:

1. That the universe is finite [There was a beginning]. This may not be acceptable, but equally it cannot be rejected. The point is, such a thought itself at such an early period must be regarded as profound.
2. That light is a primordial product.
3. That the earth is billions of years old.
4. The first listing of life form groups in their correct protocol [later called as species].
5. That Adam is the first recorded name of a speech endowed human at 5,775 years.
6. The first separation of medicine from occultism [the ID & treatment of incurable leprosy].
7. Almost all judiciary laws [including democracy] enshrined in all bonafide institutions.
8. The first scripture to mandate 40 animal rights laws.
9. The first scripture that mandated women rights laws.
10. The conversion of slaves to 'contracted workers with rights'.
11. Provisions for retirement and limitations of bankruptcy.
12. Separation of state & religion.
13. Historical & geographical landmarks [Mount Ararat; Mount Nebo].
14. Introducing a host of nations [Medianites, Moabites, Philistines].
15. The first alphabetical book-size scrolls.
16. Arguably the greatest literature.
17. Exceptional arithmetic - millions of numbers strewn across its verses without a single error.
18. Over a Million relics discovered that validate this writing.
19. The only definition of finite & infinite, as being that which is subject to 'change'.
20. The size of the universe - that the stars are unaccountable.
And Monotheism - still the most impacting thought of humanity.


message 37: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments Joseph wrote: "That the earth is billions of years old...."

Hey Joseph, do you have a quote from the Bible to support your theory that it specifically says the Earth and/or Universe is billions of years old?


message 38: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Shellim (shhhhstudios) | 153 comments Prior to life appearing, we have this non-superfluous verse:
Gen. 1/7 "And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so."

Count how long it takes for this water & land separation in empirical real time. The division raised up the underlying earth, an action, when stated without hours, accounts for many millions of years and vital for the vast diversity of life. Surprisingly, this is not catered to in ToE.

Of note also, the DAY & WEEK are introduced in the same chapter, while the hours are poignantly left out; this is because the earth's axis was yet not titled, an action which occurs in V 14 whereby the length of day and night was measured by the requirement for land based life forms.


message 39: by James, Group Founder (last edited Mar 13, 2015 03:03AM) (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments I am still on the fence as to whether Jesus Christ lived or not, but I must admit some historians I've read lately have certainly made me slightly more doubtful he did.

Here's some info from a site I found called http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/ :

Christianity was the ultimate product of religious syncretism in the ancient world. Its emergence owed nothing to a holy carpenter. There were many Jesuses but the fable was a cultural construct. The nativity yarn is a concatenation of nonsense. The genealogies of Jesus, both Matthew's version and Luke's, are pious fiction. Nazareth did not exist in the 1st century AD – the area was a burial ground of rock-cut tombs. With multiple authors behind the original gospel story it is no surprise that the figure of "Jesus" is a mess of contradictions. Yet the story is so thinly drawn that being a "good Christian" might mean almost anything. The 12 disciples are as fictitious as their master, invented to legitimise the claims of the early churches. The original Mary was not a virgin, that idea was borrowed from pagan goddesses. The pagan world knew all about virgins getting pregnant by randy gods: The Mythical "Virgin Mother". Scholars have known all this for more than 200 years but priestcraft is a highly profitable business and finances an industry of deceit to keep the show on the road. "Jesus better documented than any other ancient figure"? Don't believe a word of it. Unlike the mythical Jesus, a real historical figure like Julius Caesar has a mass of mutually supporting evidence.

The first believers in Jesus maintained he was an ethereal spirit, much like other sky/sun-gods. Only later did he acquire a human death, a human life and finally a human birth.

The Epistle Of Barnabas, written about 130 AD, says much about Enoch, Daniel, Moses, and what the Lord "hath revealed to us by all the prophets", but says next to nothing about Jesus.


message 40: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Shellim (shhhhstudios) | 153 comments The writings you refer to, James - is 4th century. Probably by Rome's actions there is no contemporaneous works. The belief is sincere and enough to merit respect. The evidences are missing. More important is whether the message and merit is good.


message 41: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments Joseph wrote: "More important is whether the message and merit is good..."

I totally agree!
Personally I'm more interested in the message rather than the messenger.
At the same time, I think by studying the history of the 1st Century AD, it might be possible to either find a smoking gun to indicate Jesus lived or else a smoking gun to show he was fabricated.
There is also (kind of) a third possibility which is a man called Jesus did live but that his own life was besides the point as the writers of the Bible superimposed Pagan myths over the top of whatever his life was.

Anyone think there may have been people living around that time who had a "messiah complex" and wanted to fulfil the prophecies of a coming messiah? Is it also possible whoever we refer to as Jesus was that?


message 42: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Shellim (shhhhstudios) | 153 comments My take is it is extremely difficult to accept what is ascribed to Jesus, namely that he would have condoned the diminishing of Moses and the laws, or deemed himself as divine. We have no writings of Jesus and no evidence of disputes of Jews and Jesus. These issues began with Paul, who fell out with Jesus' followers, the Nazarites & Ebonites. For 2,000 years the Jews battled with a host of powers over the same issue: they would not accept divine man. The Jews waited for a Moses like Messiah and a Messianic age more so than a focus on the Messiah. It is a tragic affair how it culminated and I hope it will be rectified - these are the two most aligned belief groups.


message 43: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments Joseph wrote: "It is a tragic affair how it culminated and I hope it will be rectified - these are the two most aligned belief groups. ..."

So you are implying without Jesus, Judaism and Christianity are basically the same faith?

Also, re Islam - do you know if there is more or less evidence to support Muhammad being a real historical figure? My guess would be there's more evidence, especially as he Muhammad later in the 6th Century AD.


message 44: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Shellim (shhhhstudios) | 153 comments "So you are implying without Jesus, Judaism and Christianity are basically the same faith?"

James poses a most significant question. It appears that without a divinity factor of Jesus and the diminishing of the Mosaic laws, either these two belief systems become enjoined as one, or else one of them does not subsist. Therein is its mystery, how it is so targeted to conclude: the only thing the Jews could never accept becomes the only thing Christianity must have.

Re. Islam. I am not that well read on this. However, in the midst of research of the general history of this region, I found no connection of the pre-Islamic Arab peoples with Abraham or Ishmael till Islam emerged 2,600 years later. Namely, that there are no historical archives that validate it. Ishmael was Hebrew and also the name of the high priest of the Jerusalem Temple; Egypt was not Arab.


message 45: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Shellim (shhhhstudios) | 153 comments We have no writings from Jesus. I refer to what is ascribed to him by others, and here too, we are not told who is writings in the name of John, Mark, Luke, etc.

It is difficult to accept that a Jew would say things like 'Not a brick shall stand' - arguably the most anti-God, anti-love, verse in all scriptures. Especially so when the Jews did the right thing in rejecting Rome's decrees against the belief of Jesus and all other Jews. This smacks of Romanism - I cannot apply this to Jesus. It is fully variant from how Abraham and Moses reacted when told of the destruction of Sodom and of the Israelites. The ancient prophets passed their tests well.


message 46: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments Totally agree - there is clearly a lot of anti-Semitism in the New Testament


message 47: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments Here's a video of a university lecture by a US historian who details all the evidence that eventually made him come to the conclusion that Jesus never existed:
https://www.goodreads.com/videos/8121...

Again, no smoking gun in here but some very interesting points made.
The key points for me in this video were the following:

At around 21 minute mark he mentions that all the Pagan Gods that predate Christ and were resurrected and shared many other similarities to Christ's life, also have all the following in common:

-They were all savior Gods.
-They were all called the "son of God"
-They all undergo a "passion"
-They all obtain victory over death which they share with their followers
-They all have stories about them set in human history on Earth

But even more remarkable is that historian Philo of Alexandria wrote sometime around 20-40AD (i.e. before any of the Christian texts were written) that there was already a pre-Christian Jewish belief in a celestial being named "Jesus" who was:
-The firstborn son of God
-The Celestial "image of God"
-God's Agent of Creation
(which all match Christianity except this pre-Christian Jesus was not an incarnate God and never came to Earth.)


message 48: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Shellim (shhhhstudios) | 153 comments Rome's divine emperors disdained the belief in one supreme God even more so than they did the Jews who otherwise enjoyed high positions in the Roman and Greek institutions. Rome accumulated some 400 Gods to appease her conquered nations:

"What difference which one - Gods are Gods!?" - Roman Emperor Vespasian.


message 49: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Shellim (shhhhstudios) | 153 comments Small deviation. How is it a Roman Pope calls Muslims as Palestinians, and all theologians & historians are silent of it. Whatever happened to the truth setting one free?


message 50: by James, Group Founder (new)

James Morcan | 10884 comments Joseph wrote: ""What difference which one - Gods are Gods!?" - Roman Emperor Vespasian. ..."

That's an amazing quote!


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