Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

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Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby proycon » 2008-09-25, 21:01

(I figured I'd better open a new thread in reaction to Formiko, as it introduces a whole new subject)

Formiko wrote:Jesus is not just a "good teacher". He didn't give us room for that. Either he lied, which means he's the worst demon who has ever lived (which can't make him a good teacher), or he was insane, sort of like someone who thinks they're a poached egg, or he is our Lord and Savior..he can be nothing else.


I don't intend to discredit or disrespect your or anyone's belief, because you seem to fare well by it and for that I'm happy for you, but in the spirit of an open discussion I must say that to me that is a rather black and white distinction and I'd like to present my view to it.

You'd first of all be assuming that the image you and other people have of Jesus is historically accurate, even after 2000+ years. You'd assume that the things you find in writing are indeed the things he said, and that your interpretation thereof is the same as the way in which he intended it.

I do believe Jesus existed, there seems to be sufficient account for that, and various key events described in ancient texts (including the few texts that made it into the bible) actually indeed happened (such as his crucifixion). However, I believe that Jesus is also a mythical figure. He was a person in the right place at the right time, a leader, inspiring to many people, threatening to others (which is why he was crucified). Humans need and create myths, especially surrounding people that were important in their time, and especially surrounding religious and spiritual figures. I don't use 'myths' in a derogatory way, the word myth seems to have a bad connotation nowadays, but I simply mean spiritual and religious tales. They often come with a moral message, explain the inexplicable through wonders and a metaphysics of their own. Mythology is utterly human and seen in all cultures, and is a part of almost every religion. I'm currently reading a scientific book arguing even for the neurological usefulness of religious experience, and the function of mythology, so not just as a cultural phenomenon, but which actual evolutionary usefulness.

I personally imagine that if we could magically transport the historical Jesus to our current day, he would be utterly surprised to see the religion that formed around his person, recognizing little to none of it. Our current account relates so much to the mythical figure, what people want him to be, rather than the actual historical figure.

For me Jesus was just an influential man in history. Perhaps a very inspirational man with good ideals, like Gandhi, I can't judge that well, nor am I so interested in it. The message of for example compassion and non-violence, found in christianity as well, greatly appeals to me, though in practise christianity hasn't been a rolemodel in implementing it. And I personally don't really care much whether such a message is attributed to Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, God herself, or whoever, and whether such a person actually existed. Religion can bring great ideals, but I don't think we should cling to the mythucal messengers as historical facts rather than hear the message contained in the myths. Listen to the music, not the song....
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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby Formiko » 2008-09-25, 22:02

proycon wrote:(I figured I'd better open a new thread in reaction to Formiko, as it introduces a whole new subject)

Formiko wrote:Jesus is not just a "good teacher". He didn't give us room for that. Either he lied, which means he's the worst demon who has ever lived (which can't make him a good teacher), or he was insane, sort of like someone who thinks they're a poached egg, or he is our Lord and Savior..he can be nothing else.


I don't intend to discredit or disrespect your or anyone's belief, because you seem to fare well by it and for that I'm happy for you, but in the spirit of an open discussion I must say that to me that is a rather black and white distinction and I'd like to present my view to it.



I have to write up a formal reply to this to prove the evidence for the authenticity of the biblical documents. I'll reply later.
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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby loqu » 2008-09-26, 6:19

Formiko wrote:
proycon wrote:(I figured I'd better open a new thread in reaction to Formiko, as it introduces a whole new subject)

Formiko wrote:Jesus is not just a "good teacher". He didn't give us room for that. Either he lied, which means he's the worst demon who has ever lived (which can't make him a good teacher), or he was insane, sort of like someone who thinks they're a poached egg, or he is our Lord and Savior..he can be nothing else.


I don't intend to discredit or disrespect your or anyone's belief, because you seem to fare well by it and for that I'm happy for you, but in the spirit of an open discussion I must say that to me that is a rather black and white distinction and I'd like to present my view to it.


I have to write up a formal reply to this to prove the evidence for the authenticity of the biblical documents. I'll reply later.


Prove or support? :P It's just a little strange that you can 'prove' the authenticity of the Bible.
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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby yabba » 2008-09-26, 7:00

Ce n'est pas une mauvaise chose de changer de langue. Parce que c'est à ce moment-là que la vraie interrogation littéraire et poétique surgit.

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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby proycon » 2008-09-26, 7:13

Interesting trilemma, it's indeed the same as Formiko's reasoning, but I thus take a critical stance to it as also mentioned on that page:

wikipedia wrote:"The problem with this argument is that it assumes what is regularly denied, namely, that the gospels give entirely accurate accounts of the actions and claims of Jesus".[22] A. N. Wilson, who wrote a popular biography of Lewis, claimed that Lewis had read almost no works of biblical scholarship and the previous hundred years of Form criticism and Redaction criticism of the New Testament appeared to have passed him by.[23] In a criticism of Lewis's approach in his bestselling 1963 book, Honest to God, John A. T. Robinson, then Bishop of Woolwich, questioned the idea that Jesus intended to claim divinity: "It is, indeed, an open question whether Jesus claimed to be Son of God, let alone God."[24]. John Hick, writing in 1993, quoted Anglicans Michael Ramsey (1980), C. F. D. Moule (1977), James Dunn (1980), Brian Hebblethwaite (1985) and David Brown (1985) in support of a claim that New Testament scholars do not today support the view that Jesus claimed to be God.[25]
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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby yabba » 2008-09-26, 7:18

proycon wrote:Interesting trilemma, it's indeed the same as Formiko's reasoning, but I thus take a critical stance to it

i can understand that, (tho because of different reasons than those quoted by you.) i just wanted to show you the originator of this idea.
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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby Lazar Taxon » 2008-09-26, 14:18

I agree with what Proycon has written. :)
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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby Formiko » 2008-09-27, 10:42

I'm still going through my records as to why we can believe the New Testament was 100% true. But briefly, the earliest "autograph" (original manuscript) was 30 years AFTER the death of Christ, and this was the book of Mark. And it's identical to the version we have in the Septuagint. Actually, there is also a copy of 2 Peter a year or 2 before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD (which was prophesied)
100% identical. We don't even have original copies of Homer! The oldest manuscript was 800 years AFTER it was supposedly written. And despite the 236 prophecies in the Old testament and the prophecies of NOW. Everything is happening exactly as Jesus predicted. I'll add to my argument later.)
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Muhammad: Mythology and History

Postby senatortombstone » 2008-09-27, 21:40

The history of Muhammad is a subject of interest to me. The earliest surviving biography or sira of him was complied about 150 years after his death. The two most authoritative and "authentic" hadith collections by Bukhari and Muslim were compiled about 250 years after his death. It is impossible to understand the context of much of the koran unless it is referenced with the hadith and sira. Some historians speculate that the koran was not revealed to Muhammad or anyone and that the traditional Muhammad was a composite designed to give islam an Arab mythos.

Given the gap between Muhammad's alleged death in 632AD and the officiating of his life-story by islamic historians, there was considerable opportunity for fiction to be introduced into his narrative.

To me, it does not matter which hadith is true and which is false, it matters that muslims believe them as true and examples to follow in their own lives.

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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby Sarabi » 2008-09-27, 21:48

Absolutely agree, senator. Siddhartha Gautama Buddha didn't want to be remembered historically as an important person. He wanted to be remembered through his teachings. In other words, he wanted people to remember his way of life, the Middle Way, not his name or the events of his life. To be reborn or to be subject to death at all is samsara (the enslaving cycle of life and death that the Buddha sought to transcend), and simply having his story retold without his Way would be samsara. And there's lots of myth surrounding his story as well, which wasn't recorded until even later than Jesus' story.
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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby KingHarvest » 2008-10-02, 21:56

But briefly, the earliest "autograph" (original manuscript) was 30 years AFTER the death of Christ, and this was the book of Mark. And it's identical to the version we have in the Septuagint.


The earliest complete manuscripts we have are from around 350 AD. Anything before that is just a couple words or sentences, which leaves plenty of time for corruptions to seep in. What do you even mean that Mark is identical in the Septuaginta? That doesn't make any sense.

EDIT: And note that when I said complete, I only meant of a couple of the books, not the entire New Testament. Most of the rest of them are much later copies.

We don't even have original copies of Homer!


We don't have the autograph of any work written in the ancient world. Not that it's particularly meaningful to have an autograph of an oral composition that was changed every time it was performed anyway.
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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby Formiko » 2008-10-04, 6:58

KingHarvest wrote:
But briefly, the earliest "autograph" (original manuscript) was 30 years AFTER the death of Christ, and this was the book of Mark. And it's identical to the version we have in the Septuagint.


The earliest complete manuscripts we have are from around 350 AD. Anything before that is just a couple words or sentences, which leaves plenty of time for corruptions to seep in. What do you even mean that Mark is identical in the Septuaginta? That doesn't make any sense.


That's partially incorrect. You can piece together the entire NT from extra-biblical books (including non-Christian books). The oldest copy of any biblical book was 30 years AFTER the death of Christ (c. 6o AD) and it's identical to the Textus Receptus copy (I didn't mean the Septuagint. The Septuagint was the OT in Koine Greek). While I don't remember the dates of every book anymore (you choose what you remember), if you take every manuscript and piece them together, the NEWEST copy of ANY Biblical book is around 187 AD. give or take a decade. (I believe the book is Jude, which is why many debated it's authenticity.) But if they were all destroyed, we would still have a complete copy of the NT in the Peshitta which is in Aramaic c. 195/205 ad) and we have a Coptic version I believe circa 250 AD), and besides some spelling errors or numbers (especially in Revelations), they are pretty darn identical. In Seminary I had a chance to take Manuscript Comparative Science (or whatever it's called) and I didn't because I thought it was way too boring, but I knew some guys who could spout off Greek like Cicero, and they told me some stuff (1 guy interned under Dr. Greg Herrick for the NET translation) and they said there is more proof of authenticity of the NT than practically any other ancient text. Why I used Homer as an example, is that it's considered to be the most authentic of any ancient text, besides the NT. If you want a reference, I can give it to you. If you want a list of all 229 prophecies of the OT that came true in the NT, I can list those too.
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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby nicofr » 2008-10-04, 11:40

I'm currently reading the NT. So far I've found something about 6 hard inconsistencies (intra-evangil, not inter-evangil). The most obvious is Jessus in the first pages where he act as a prophet says - way before beeing crucified - that his folower must take their cross and follow him.

A problem I had with the authanticity is : a certain number of time (5,6,..more?) jessus accomplish the prophecies, not by magical super power, but he do trivial things (as entering in jerusalem riding a donkey) just so as to act in the way he know he would have to act so as to accomplish the prophecies (in this case he stoped his troop and send someone in search of a donkey before entering).

Another problem I had with authancity is that the text is surprinsigly very kind toward romans, centurions or governors. And Pilate clears himself off of the blood of jesus in a too political.

But clearly what made me LOL and convinced me to read the rest, is in the first lines of mathews, after the not believable genealogy of jessus (~30 personns betwen him and abraham, ~10 person betwen him and adam : this means that about man has been created only 1500 before him) is that they state explicitly that Mary was pregnant of jessus before marying joseph...

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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby nicofr » 2008-10-04, 12:42

Two other "hard" inconsistancies that I've noticed :

- Jessus says in one of the first pages that the lord knows before you waht you need and in consequence you just have to make one prier "O lord..." not like the pagans that think that by just praying a lot about what they want they will obtain it. While later, he says "all you wil ask in a prayer with faith, you will obtain it"

- When Jessus says he he came not to bring peace, he also says that he have come to separate the son from the father and the daughter from the mother. While later he reproach to pharisians to have forgotten one of the commands which states that one have to honor his fathers.

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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby Nero » 2008-10-04, 16:02

nicofr wrote:I'm currently reading the NT. So far I've found something about 6 hard inconsistencies (intra-evangil, not inter-evangil). The most obvious is Jessus in the first pages where he act as a prophet says - way before beeing crucified - that his folower must take their cross and follow him.


Yes, that's the problem about being omniscient - you know your death before it happens. But since crucifixion was an incredibly common punishment in Roman territories, his words ("take up your cross") would have been meaningful to his disciples even if they didn't know about Jesus's coming death.

A problem I had with the authanticity is : a certain number of time (5,6,..more?) jessus accomplish the prophecies, not by magical super power, but he do trivial things (as entering in jerusalem riding a donkey) just so as to act in the way he know he would have to act so as to accomplish the prophecies (in this case he stoped his troop and send someone in search of a donkey before entering).


He also did many miraculous things which no ordinary human could do;
-Water into wine
-Breaking of bread and fish
-Opening the eyes of the blind
-raising Lazarus from the dead
-Walking on water
-curing the lepers
and these are only a few. Not everything had to be fulfilled through a miracle (especially the prophecy which says "The king will come riding on a donkey" - how did you want him to do that in a miraculous way? It's pretty straight-forward, unless you had a flying donkey in mind :mrgreen: )

Another problem I had with authancity is that the text is surprinsigly very kind toward romans, centurions or governors. And Pilate clears himself off of the blood of jesus in a too political.


Jesus didn't want the Jews to hate the Romans - nor did he want his followers to start some rebellion / war against them. To encourage a fight between them would be a contradiction of his teachigns.

But clearly what made me LOL and convinced me to read the rest, is in the first lines of mathews, after the not believable genealogy of jessus (~30 personns betwen him and abraham, ~10 person betwen him and adam : this means that about man has been created only 1500 before him) is that they state explicitly that Mary was pregnant of jessus before marying joseph...


It's more than 1500 years. The earliest people in the Bible lived waay more than just 80 or 90 years old, like Adam or his sons.
The reason why Mary had to be pregnant before marrying Joseph was to fulfill the prophecy that 'A virgin will bear a son'. Unlike today, an unmarried woman was expected to remain a virgin until her wedding night. If she had already married Joseph, well, that cancels out the "virgin' part. :)

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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby loqu » 2008-10-04, 16:07

Nero wrote:It's more than 1500 years. The earliest people in the Bible lived waay more than just 80 or 90 years old, like Adam or his sons.


Which is only possible if a year for them was a shorter period of time.
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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby Nero » 2008-10-04, 16:25

nicofr wrote:Two other "hard" inconsistancies that I've noticed :

- Jessus says in one of the first pages that the lord knows before you waht you need and in consequence you just have to make one prier "O lord..." not like the pagans that think that by just praying a lot about what they want they will obtain it. While later, he says "all you wil ask in a prayer with faith, you will obtain it"


I assume you are referring to this verse:
And when you are praying, do not use meaningless (other translations say "vain" repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. (Matthew 6:7)
I don't see a contradiction. Jesus is telling them that instead of using empty and meaningless words, just one prayer with faith will be enough. The Gentiles (probably the pagans you referred to) pray in vain - with no belief, and never obtain.


- When Jessus says he he came not to bring peace, he also says that he have come to separate the son from the father and the daughter from the mother. While later he reproach to pharisians to have forgotten one of the commands which states that one have to honor his fathers.


Remember the verse which comes directly after that, because it's very important to the complete thought:
He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:37)
Jesus says that if anyone gives up or denounces his teaching just to please their father or mother, then they are not worthy of following. I don't see an inconsistency - You can honor your father and your mother, but you don't have to agree with them always.

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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby Nero » 2008-10-04, 16:31

loqu wrote:
Nero wrote:It's more than 1500 years. The earliest people in the Bible lived waay more than just 80 or 90 years old, like Adam or his sons.


Which is only possible if a year for them was a shorter period of time.


Not necessarily.
According to Genesis, men could live much longer than they can today, but soon after the first dozen generations (It may be more or less than a dozen, I didn't count), God declared:
Genesis 6:3 "My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years"

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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby Sheidhaf » 2008-10-04, 16:59

I'm not sure of the meaning of Genesis 6:3, but the footnotes in my Bible explain that in ancient Hebrew traditions, famous, important, or holy people were listed in history books aside from the Bible as having exceptionally long lifespans and that this may be the reason for the huge numbers seen in the Bible. I'm not at all on expert on Theology or Hebrew tradition, but this particular Bible seems in other places to be a very good source.

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Re: Jesus, Muhammad and Buddhas, Mythology and History

Postby yabba » 2008-10-04, 17:07

Nero wrote:The reason why Mary had to be pregnant before marrying Joseph was to fulfill the prophecy that 'A virgin will bear a son'. Unlike today, an unmarried woman was expected to remain a virgin until her wedding night. If she had already married Joseph, well, that cancels out the "virgin' part. :)


You know Nero, I also don't get why all the people are constantly nagging about that one. To me it is clear that Jesus must have been more than a child of Joseph. And dont we all (Christians of all denominations) agree upon that he was God's son? Isn't that like THE essential of our faith? That is why I don't understand why we protestants don't uphold that virgin dogma :(
I have become very disappointed about things like that lately.
I have also because of all these things become very unhappy about the Christian schisms :(
I'm convinced Luther didn't want that at first and that it came to a break with the Catholic church was merely political, that is why I am against it nowadays. But, yeah, apart from that I think the Oecumene works really well in nowadays Germany at least. This "club-thinking" (Catholic, Evangelic, Orthodox..) is so stupid. There is only one Christian church :(
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