Keeping It Real?

I just read a post which referenced a bit from The Contemporary Christian by John Stott.

The post itself was of the ilk that presupposes the Christian bible (NT anyway) to be true, and then goes from there about all the evidence for the existence of Jesus. I’ll have to say that if you presuppose the Christian bible to be true then of course you’ll believe Jesus existed.

There are sources which portray him as an upstart rebellious bastard child. But even these non-biblical sources are dated well after his supposed death or merely report that there is a group of people who worship a man called Jesus. There isn’t any first hand eye-witness accounts. Some apologists like to cite such other stories as evidence without noting that they younger than their bible itself.

 “The biblical presentation of Jesus refuses to remain nicely confined to any of our containers. One picture after another of Jesus in this long line of nontraditional portraits fails before one question dear to the hearts of all faithful Christians: ‘What about the Cross?’… Why would anyone crucify the reasonable Jesus of the Enlightenment?  Why would anyone crucify the dreamy poet of Romanticism? Why would anyone crucify the Law-abiding, mild-mannered rabbi of revisionist Jewish scholarship? Why would anyone crucify the witty, enigmatic, and marginal figure of the Jesus Seminar?”

Well, it seems that death was the punishment for many crimes: Crimes such as false witness, adultery and counterfeiting were punished with the death penalty. Less serious crimes were punished in a policy of “an eye for an eye”. The death penalty was enforced by burying alive, throwing from a cliff or burning the guilty one. Executions were even ordered for possession of weapons with criminal intent or for possession of poison.

A Jewish scholar says, ‘Theologians produced the figure they could admire most at the least cost.’ But the Cross stands amidst each such easy path, each attempt to avoid the heart of the matter and the cost of discipleship. The Cross remains a stumbling block for all who encounter this Jesus. He is perhaps not the person we want, but he is surely the person we still – desperately – need” (Allen)

Need? That’s a matter of opinion. I think we need Superman, but that’s just me. Other times I think we need Spok. Need is a funny word. You should study up on what the texts actually say about crucifixion. It was not always that T shape that is often portrayed. Sometimes just a pole, or a tree. Blasphemy, adultery, and lying were among the ways for someone to get crucified. If you angered those in charge, the punishment was likely to be worse than it could have been.

“Jesus of Nazareth remains the most important individual who has ever lived. Nobody else has had comparable influence over so many nations for so long.

This is a bit of an exaggeration. If not yet, it won’t be long before Mohamed will be able to retain the same claim.

Nobody else has so affected art and literature, music and drama.

Oh, we can easily say this is an indefensible statement. While Mohamed may have repressed art, literature, music, and drama he did affect them. This is clearly not stated well.

Nobody else can remotely match his record in the liberation, the healing and the education of mankind.

Really? All the pain and death committed in the name of the trinity, that was liberation, healing, and education? I don’t think so. Slavery persisted not least because of the fact that this Jesus failed to say ‘hey guys, slavery is bad, don’t do that’ – No, I’m not buying this statement either.

Nobody else has attracted such a multitude not only of followers but of worshippers.

Again, it might be semantics but Islam has been creating quite a stir of late. It’s difficult to say which has more followers, but with it being as close as it is these statements are a bit over the top, and misleading.

Our claim, then, is not just that Jesus was one of the great spiritual leaders of the world. It would be hopelessly incongruous to refer to him as ‘Jesus the Great,’ comparable to Alexander the Great, Charles the Great, or Napoleon the Great. Jesus is not ‘the Great,’ he is the only. He has no peers, no rivals and no successors” (John Stott, The Contemporary Christian).

Confirmation bias is not a good thing. Here we have Christian apologists working to show that there is at least something that indicates their Jesus lived. It is not evidence that would stand up in court. It’s not eye witness accounts. It was all written well after the fact and many of these can be shown to be forgeries or nothing more than the argument: See, there were believers back then, so it must be true.

Today in China most children can be shown a picture of tank man and they won’t know what he is doing or why there are tanks in the square. When society wants to promote something, it’s possible in just one generation to entirely change the truth to what you want it to be.

Lets face it, Jewish and Christian biased sources had reason to promote the truth they wanted to hear. Without first hand eye-witness accounts it will be difficult to know if any of these writings are correct. Physical evidence would be helpful but there is none of that either. All we have are stories like we do for Mithra and Horus and the rest.

Believe it if you want, I guess, but you’ll have to do so with blind faith.

  1. I followed your link to “Please Convince Me”… Holy Crap! What a load of absolute drivel! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    • Yeah, it’s pretty special. But if we wish to educate the ‘confused’ that is what we are fighting against. Anti-education!

      • Anti-education…. remind me, we’re in 2012, not 1212 right? 🙂

        • It’s not so much the year we find ourselves in that should worry us, but in which direction we are headed. There are far too many people that would like to see us somewhere circa 75 c.e. – you know, so that persecution complex can really kick in

  2. The truth about Jesus takes some time to discern. It’s much harder than believing what your preacher says… chalk this myth up to intellectual impatience.

    • That’s probably a kind way of putting it LOL

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