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On 6/17/2020 at 10:46 AM, Raf said:

P.S. A couple of days ago Carrier and I became friends on Facebook. Not that he has time to answer my personal questions, but I can always ask.

 

That is so cool. Could come in handy.

To be clear, I haven't read the book and I was wondering if it is worthwhile. I'd really appreciate any guidance you can provide. So far I've just watched every presentation or debate I could of him on the topic. Really interesting stuff.

Wierwille always used to say that its either all God's word or none of it is. Yeah, I was still in that mindset 30 years after his death. So just two years ago I switched sides and concluded that it was more likely that none of it was. I didn't reach that decision lightly. Started calling myself an atheist.

In part, Carrier's work depends on realizing that only 7 books are real Pauline epistles, 9 at best. So I went back and read those 9 looking for any hint that Jesus was on Earth. Of course Gal 1:19 "James the Lord's brother" could be a problem. I'm not familiar with any of those 9 books referencing Jesus being born of a woman. Correct me if I'm wrong. The only other thing I noticed was I Thess 2:14,15 "For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:"

Obviously, the individuals that killed the prophets are not the same individuals that killed Jesus, but I fail to see how the Jews could kill a Jesus in the spiritual realm (or a "space battle" as Carrier calls it, sometimes). I Thessalonians is considered one of the real 7 Pauline epistles. But that doesn't mean every word in it was original Paul. Does Carrier address this passage? I know there are added passages all over the place. I haven't been able to find anyone disputing the authenticity of these verses.

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 He believes those verses were inserted by later, anti Semitic scribes. Paul himself was not an anti Semite.

I have not vetted this claim, as my beliefs about Jesus do not depend at all on whether he actually existed.

 

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14 hours ago, Raf said:

 He believes those verses were inserted by later, anti Semitic scribes. Paul himself was not an anti Semite.

That would make a lot of sense. I've seen a lot of scholars struggle with certain passages because of alterations by later anti Semitic scribes.

14 hours ago, Raf said:

I have not vetted this claim, as my beliefs about Jesus do not depend at all on whether he actually existed.

Agreed. As I see it (and I'm sure you are not unfamiliar with this line of thinking):

  • God (a self-aware being that acted with intent to create the universe we see) does not exist - but if he/she/it does...
  • God doesn't seem to interact with his/her/its creation - but if he/she/it does...
  • God doesn't do it exclusively through your specific brand of faith/religion.

Each level demands a higher threshold of proof.

And, I get that the historical character issue may not be that easy to untangle. For instance, St. Nicholas probably existed, but if you could time travel and ask him, "So you are the guy that brings presents to all the children of the world on December 25th?" he would respond, "I do what, now?" So with any likely historical Jesus person; Would he recognize anything Christians say about him?

However, this idea that Jesus was just one of the many personal-savior cults, part of a fad that was popular around the Mediterranean at the time, is just too intriguing. Like another nail in the coffin to religion, I guess.

Edited by rockman

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4 hours ago, rockman said:

That would make a lot of sense. I've seen a lot of scholars struggle with certain passages because of alterations by later anti Semitic scribes.

Agreed. As I see it (and I'm sure you are not unfamiliar with this line of thinking):

  • God (a self-aware being that acted with intent to create the universe we see) does not exist - but if he/she/it does...
  • God doesn't seem to interact with his/her/its creation - but if he/she/it does...
  • God doesn't do it exclusively through your specific brand of faith/religion.

Each level demands a higher threshold of proof.

And, I get that the historical character issue may not be that easy to untangle. For instance, St. Nicholas probably existed, but if you could time travel and ask him, "So you are the guy that brings presents to all the children of the world on December 25th?" he would respond, "I do what, now?" So with any likely historical Jesus person; Would he recognize anything Christians say about him?

However, this idea that Jesus was just one of the many personal-savior cults, part of a fad that was popular around the Mediterranean at the time, is just too intriguing. Like another nail in the coffin to religion, I guess.

But what does all that say about humanity in general and humans (people) in particular?

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16 hours ago, Rocky said:

But what does all that say about humanity in general and humans (people) in particular?

Hmm, not sure it says much...except that humans are REALLY bad at the telephone game even when they write it down. :biglaugh:

What do you think it says?

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5 hours ago, rockman said:

Hmm, not sure it says much...except that humans are REALLY bad at the telephone game even when they write it down. :biglaugh:

What do you think it says?

It highlights the human need for stories and to define meaning to their lives.

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1 hour ago, Rocky said:

It highlights the human need for stories and to define meaning to their lives.

Oh, humans absolutely need that. No disagreement from me.

I wonder if you agree with me on these related things:

1) Humans have many other needs too like food, shelter, medicine, and the benefits of science.

2) Passing off these stories as historical events when they are just parables is highly deceptive and irresponsible.

3) If the stories promote bad ideas like genocide, xenophobia, homophobia, or that you don't need a doctor because praying to an invisible being works just as well, maybe we need to rewrite those stories (leaving in the good lessons of course).

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3 hours ago, rockman said:

Oh, humans absolutely need that. No disagreement from me.

I wonder if you agree with me on these related things:

1) Humans have many other needs too like food, shelter, medicine, and the benefits of science.

2) Passing off these stories as historical events when they are just parables is highly deceptive and irresponsible.

3) If the stories promote bad ideas like genocide, xenophobia, homophobia, or that you don't need a doctor because praying to an invisible being works just as well, maybe we need to rewrite those stories (leaving in the good lessons of course).

To a degree. I'm not so aggressive about some of it. Re item 2, deceptive and irresponsible implies awareness of the fact. Not necessarily a lot of the people who do so are themselves being deceptive or irresponsible.

With roughly 7 billion humans alive right now and numerous cultures, I'd figure that there's plenty of rewriting going on already, some good, some not so good.

Do you really need me to weigh in on item number 1?

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I only have to look around at the suffering in the world, the inspired acts of depravity, the insatiable thirst for unspeakable acts, the 'inhumanity' of humanity WITHOUT even having to believe in the Bible to recognize there is indeed some type of evil, malignant force....and by default there must be a countering love, wisdom, pureness, innocence. When I read THE Word of God it lays it out for me.

Edited by Modgellan
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There's a difference between being allowed to surmise something and having that thing you surmise actually make sense or be logically defensible.

You can surmise there's a malevolent force at work, but you haven't demonstrated any such thing. You just decided that's the best explanation, and that's fine for you. I'm not going to argue with you at all until you try to get me to believe it or accept it. THEN your burden of proof increases accordingly. Can you demonstrate to me that this world would work differently if there were no malevolent spirit or benevolent opponent at work?

What would reality look like if the cosmos were utterly indifferent to human life? Not antagonistic. Just indifferent.

 

Edited by Modgellan
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