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Author Topic:   Did Jesus Exist? by Bart Ehrman
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4042
Joined: 07-01-2005
Member Rating: 7.7


Message 15 of 563 (658500)
04-05-2012 1:52 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Phat
04-05-2012 12:53 PM


Re: Intellectual Pursuit Leads Only To Vapid Uncertainty
People laugh and say that I am willfully ignorant at remaining a believer. My only response is that I dont want my pursuit of truth to lead only to more questions and more uncertainty. And I would be as much of a fool to declare there to be no Historical Jesus ....thus negating the possibility that a universal Creator is real and tried to relate to humanity through a human medium.
Then of course I suppose I can't deny what the facts say.
Can anyone deny anything that they don't want to deny to begin with, however?
You've almost certainly cast aside beliefs you previously held at some point in your life, Phat. They might not have seemed as significant as your religious beliefs, but it's happened nonetheless.
I'm sure you intellectually agree that thing are not true merely because we wish them to be. Any given position is true or false regardless of how we feel about it...which is why we're not all incredibly wealthy model-attractive immortal geniuses, or something along those lines.
False beliefs should be denied. In this case...if Jesus actually existed, then I want to believe that Jesus actually existed. If Jesus did not actually exist, then I want to not believe that Jesus actually existed. Shouldn't we want to hold beliefs that accurately reflect reality more than we want to hold to a belief that we just happen to like?
Emotionally that's hard. It was extremely difficult for me when I denied Christianity and became an Atheist, to use an extreme example...but even small changes in firm beliefs, even when those beliefs aren't particularly "important," can carry emotional trepidation. But what we want shouldn't be to hold a specific belief. What we want should be to hold the belief that most accurately reflects reality...even if that belief isn't pleasant. To do otherwise is simply to lie to oneself, intentionally.
I didn't want to give up Christianity. But eventually, I got to the point where I realized that what I really wanted was to be intellectually honest with myself, and to hold the most accurate beliefs possible given the evidence available to me. That decision, the requirement that my beliefs be backed by evidence, is what forced me to give up Christianity, whether I liked it or not.
I want to believe what has actual bases in fact. I want not to believe what does not have actual basis in fact. What is true is true, whether I believe it or not; acknowledging which belief is true can't make anything worse.

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.
- Francis Bacon
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Phat, posted 04-05-2012 12:53 PM Phat has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by AdminModulous, posted 04-05-2012 3:20 PM Rahvin has not replied
 Message 24 by Phat, posted 04-05-2012 9:56 PM Rahvin has not replied
 Message 454 by ChemEngineer, posted 03-12-2024 9:21 PM Rahvin has not replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4042
Joined: 07-01-2005
Member Rating: 7.7


(2)
Message 18 of 563 (658504)
04-05-2012 2:07 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Phat
04-05-2012 1:22 PM


Re: Intellectual Pursuit Leads Only To Vapid Uncertainty
I suppose. My Dad gave me everything I ever wanted...except certainty. He died when I was 17. Looking back, I wanted him...not his money. I wanted him to never leave me.
Then there is jar. Jar used to talk to me in chat. Now, he wants nothing to do with chat or with talking. Frankly it makes me mad! He says he never would accept lotto money...yet the man works every day and has no time for talking? what kind of a worthwhile life is that?
My idea of God is of one who always has time. Who would never leave me alone. I dont need money from God. I need God.
I dont need riches from life. I need certainty. To me, science is vapid and hollow. Yes, they will cure cancer. But what good is 20 more years added to a lifespan that has nothing promised, no certainty, and a certain death with an uncertain conclusion...aside from ceasing to exist?? These people seek to find truth. Yet they only find uncertainty apart from the false god of human reason.
You don't have certainty though, Phat. You have the illusion of certainty, granted through the false confidence of faith. Just because someone promises you something, even if you truly believe them, doesn't mean it's actually going to happen.
We are all plagued with uncertainty. Nobody knows, though many think and many more believe. The ones who say they're certain are fools, insane, or liars - certainty is a logical impossibility.
Remember, what's true is already true. If God exists, then he exists; if he doesn't exist, then he doesn't exist. Your belief is irrelevant; you're either right or wrong, simply believing doesn't make it so, and acknowledging the truth doesn't make anything disappear.
Why is clinging to false certainty more important than finding out if your belief is actually likely to be true at all? If it's true, then you don't have to give up the belief, and if it's false, then all you've given up is a lie, because what the lie promised wasn't going to happen anyway.

The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.
- Francis Bacon
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Phat, posted 04-05-2012 1:22 PM Phat has not replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4042
Joined: 07-01-2005
Member Rating: 7.7


Message 245 of 563 (915484)
02-14-2024 12:45 AM
Reply to: Message 243 by AZPaul3
02-14-2024 12:24 AM


If I tell you that I saw a squirrel run across the street this morning, but provide no evidence, do you assume there was no squirrel?
Perhaps more applicably, if I tell you that my neighbor saw a squirrel cross the street ten years ago, and I know this because I found an old Facebook post he wrote about it, would you assume there was no squirrel?
I think it takes almost no evidence to believe somethings, and a lot of evidence to believe others. The more incredible the story, the more incredible the evidence needed. I know squirrels exist. If someone told me such a story, I might not be certain enough to make life-changing decisions, but I'd accept as more-likely-than-not that there probably was a squirrel. It's just not unusual.
But a man living in that region during Roman occupation forming a messianic cult following that expressed ideals that overlap with ideals already known in the region, who perhaps became too much of a disruption and was executed by the Romans...that doesn't sound like it would take much evidence to be plausible. I couldn't positively assert that such a man existed with any specificity, but neither could I negatively assert that such a man never existed with specificity. It sounds like a collection of events and attributes that would not have been unusual for the historical time and place.
It seems possible to me that the mythical Jesus was based on one or more real people, with some (a lot of) mythologizing tacked on.
The only evidence I think required for that would be contemporary evidence of the Roman occupation, the existence of end-times religious leaders, evidence that the ideals expressed in this assertion were likely known at least to some at that time and place, and that the Romans executed people via crucifixion. And honestly, even with very little historical knowledge, my understanding is that all of those items are pretty decently established.

“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.” - Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” – Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." - Barash, David 1995...

"Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends." - Gandalf, J. R. R. Tolkien: The Lord Of the Rings

"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."
1 Corinthians 15:26King James Version (KJV)

Nihil supernum


This message is a reply to:
 Message 243 by AZPaul3, posted 02-14-2024 12:24 AM AZPaul3 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 246 by AZPaul3, posted 02-14-2024 1:59 AM Rahvin has replied
 Message 253 by Percy, posted 02-14-2024 7:15 AM Rahvin has not replied
 Message 258 by Theodoric, posted 02-14-2024 8:48 AM Rahvin has not replied
 Message 262 by Taq, posted 02-14-2024 12:16 PM Rahvin has not replied

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 4042
Joined: 07-01-2005
Member Rating: 7.7


(1)
Message 298 of 563 (915564)
02-14-2024 9:59 PM
Reply to: Message 246 by AZPaul3
02-14-2024 1:59 AM


No, of course not. Nothing to question. But if you told me it was god running across the street I'd question.
And that would be entirely reasonable.
The plausible and mundane claims can be believable while the supernatural and impossible or even improbable claims can require more evidence.
I'm not saying you're wrong, Rahvin. The scenarios are quite plausible. Just missing evidence, that IMHO shoulda/coulda/whoulda have been there if correct.
We believe mundane things with no evidence all the time....because they are so mundane that the threshold for belief is really that low.
We do have evidence that many of the non-supernatural claims about a historical basis for Jesus were pretty mundane and ordinary.
Didn't the Romans record their executions? Wouldn't the governor's monthly status report to Caesar mention something as glorious and self-serving as offing another meddlesome rebel? Maybe everywhere but here?
This assumes a lot though. The name of the person, which may not have been Jesus or Jeshua or Iesu or anything else recognizable. That the records would indicate circumstances we would recognize.
I simply think it's easily believable that the mythical character "Jesus" was likely based on one or more actual people. That doesnt mean that all of the attributes came from a single individual, or even from any of the individuals used as the bases. That's the nature of myth.
Imagine that a few thousand years from now, all of the American founding fathers and other revolutionary figures are combined into a mythic version of Washington. Maybe people forget the real name, and call him General Washing. General Washing signaled rebels that the British were coming. General Washing wrote the Declaration, but we dont have the original copy any more. Maybe more, entirely fictional events are added. Maybe people say his horse had wings. It would be easily plausible that the character was based on one or more real individuals and that some of the historically mundane events could have had basis in reality, even though the final product is almost unrecognizable.

“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.” - Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

“A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.” – Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." - Barash, David 1995...

"Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends." - Gandalf, J. R. R. Tolkien: The Lord Of the Rings

"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."
1 Corinthians 15:26King James Version (KJV)

Nihil supernum


This message is a reply to:
 Message 246 by AZPaul3, posted 02-14-2024 1:59 AM AZPaul3 has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 300 by Theodoric, posted 02-14-2024 10:20 PM Rahvin has not replied

  
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