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Historicity of Jesus

I am an atheist and was websearching to look at the historicity of Jesus. It seemed that most websites and associated pages, as well as books in our local library were all demonstrating that the sources for Jesus and the evidence for him are overwhelming.

I have seen numerous times on this online interaction that the gospels were hearsay/mythical accounts and that most historians attest to this, but most historians i have come across if not all only validate the claims of jesus existing.

can someone explain this?

The only historical account at the time of Jesus came from Josephus and there is a debate that the account is flawed.

Josephus was born after Jesus's supposed death. It's the most often cited extra-Biblical account. It is at best a third-hand account by someone who was not alive during Jesus's supposed lifespan. Anything he wrote could have been myth and rumor as easily as it could be historically accurate. The Bible itself is claimed as a historical documentation of Jesus. The problem is, it's both biased by those who put it together, and all of the stories are thought to have been written at least a generation after Jesus's supposed death, and by anonymous authors. Except for Paul. To make a long story short, he was an early church leader and had much to gain from lying. A final note on the Bible, keep in mind who did the editing. Any other accounts are much removed temporally from the supposed lifetime of Jesus, and thus can't be considered reliable.

From: Anthony (Posted Apr 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm) "The only historical account at the time of Jesus came from Josephus and there is a debate that the account is flawed."

Not a single writer before the 4th century, makes a single reference to Josephus' Testimonium Flavianum or the forgery about Jesus. There are no Biblical Scholars worth a grain of salt that do not admit the Testimonium Flavianum is a forgery. When Origen is arguing in defense of Christianity he quoted from Josephus extensively, but he makes no reference to the Testimonium Flavianum from Josephus, Origen actually said that Josephus was "not believing in Jesus as the Christ." Origen did not quote the one paragraph about Jesus because that paragraph had not yet been written. It was a forgery that was added on later by the church fathers after Josephus' death. We know this because it is absent from early copies of the works of Josephus. It was not in Origen's third century version (referenced in Contra Celsum) of Josephus.

It is a known fact that the Gospels did not exist before 58 A.D. because neither Paul nor any other epistle writer mentions or quotes them. Paul was not an early church leader James was the head of the Church of Jerusalem and they all rejected Paul. Paul had to take his message to the Gentiles.

Paul did not lie he never claimed to have known Jesus when he was alive. Paul admittedly never knew Him. In all of Paul's long letters there is nothing about the life of Jesus. He only claims to have had a vision. Paul never mentions the gospel stories because they did not exist during Paul's lifetime. Paul shows virtually no knowledge whatever of Jesus, the man. "Christ" or "messiah" was a common term that was around long before the Jesus myth. Paul speaks only of a "Christ" and only in terms of salvation. Paul makes no mention of anything Jesus did or said while alive. He does not mention the Virgin Birth or any of the miracles. Paul does not quote Jesus except for claiming that the words said at the Last Supper came from Jesus when we know that it came from a ritual of Mirtha. Mirtha was also born of a virgin, and was the most prevalent religion before Christianity. All this has more to do with Paul's mythological "Christ" than with a historical Jesus.

Paul was dead before the first Gospel was ever composed so he could not have had access to the stories. The fact that he does not have any knowledge of some of the most crucial aspects of the Jesus stories in the gospels indicates that much of the Jesus myth had not been created at the time of Paul's ministry.

After the temple of Jerusalem was destroyed Christianity was instated as the official state religion in Rome. They simply preserved texts in its favor and destroyed opposing documents.

If the Catholic church Kept the writings that they wanted and threw out the rest, why then do they hold to many traditions that are clearly anti Biblical ? You folks peddle the easy answers ,not true Christians. Love the way you are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Paul HAD to take the message to the gentiles? ! If you guys are the Real guardians of truth, then why all the obvious lies and ignorant speculations ? Before He came to Christ, Paul was part of a roving hit squad targeting Christians for death. Yet,in one day, He became a Christian. You think it was because he was sick of Matzoh ? wanted a pork chop supper on his way to Tarsus ?! Gee , I guess the laugh was on him when they murdered him for Christs sake. Why dont you folks admit that you DO have a religon ? The holy order of Narcissists ! Read Foxe's book of Martyrs, and then ask yourself if you would die in that manner for your convictions. Burn, fry,tortured to death, etc. I would dare say that you "honest intellectuals" would turn from your self righteous beliefs in an instant to save your hides, because thats what true atheists are; spiritual cowards.

What are you talking about when you say, If the Catholic church Kept the writings that they wanted and threw out the rest, why then do they hold to many traditions that are clearly anti Biblical ?" The cannon already existed so it would be pointless for them to throw out certain scriptures. Are you refering to the Council of Trent?

Stu says, "I would dare say that you "honest intellectuals" would turn from your self righteous beliefs in an instant to save your hides, because thats what true atheists are; spiritual cowards".

So if we are what you say atheists are "spiritual cowards", what does that make you? A coward of reality. A coward of believing that there might not be some heavenly father to clean you of your so called soul. A coward of the unknown. A coward of opposing what you have been indoctrinated into your whole life. So tell me what is it that you are afraid of??? Is it the idea of a Hell that makes you coward in your boots. Is it the fear that your religious peers will ostracize you if you show any doubts or that you might have reasonable questions. Or do you simply fear that if you really look, the truth of everything that you ever believed in will come crashing down. Because obviously Stu, you do have doubts and questions about your beliefs and the Christian religion that you seem to be defending. And from the looks of it, your indoctrination must have been engrained you very young. But still you come to an atheist forum, why?? so that you can strengthen your faith??? Why do you come to a free-thinking site spouting out non-sense about what you "think" atheist are like and how they think. Unless you yourself have doubts that what you have been taught doesn't make any sense. When you favor lies and manipulation and deception more than you can believe in facts and logical reasons that forms your conclusions about reality, then the brainwashing must have been very thorough with you Stu.

If your Christian belief is true, then the athiests will be burn, fried, and turtured for eternity. This seems to be a far worst suffering that Paul the Apostle ever had to endure because he believed that his sky daddy would bless him with riches and eternal bliss after death. If martyrdom is something that gives you a hard-on, than why don't you give praise to every nutcase sacarficing themselves for the sake of their beliefs. You must really love them guys that flew themselve into the Twin Towers I have never heard of an atheist torturing to death another human-being in order coerce them into being atheist or force skeptism and reason onto another human-being. Other than political organizations, you know what other ideologies has killed and tourtured under the belief that they are right and if you don't believe as they do, tourture and death is tool to convince them otherwise, Hmmm... I do think its religion and especially the Abrahamic religions have done horrific, grotesque things in our human history.

You say that atheism is a religion, so do you also think that people who don't believe in Santa Clause is religion. What would we call them "aclausist"? What about people who don't believe in bigfoot? Do you think there is a anti-bigfoot religion sprouting up in places that bigfoot sightings have been reported. How do you form a religion out of a lack of belief in something. "I believe that I don't believe, who's with me!" Just because Atheism has an "ism" at the end of it, doesn't make it a religion. We are like minded people looking to share and interact with other like minded people. And also fight for what we believe to be and encroachment on our rights as US citizens by the religious fanactics looking to oppose and force their ideologies on everyone else. Seems like a pretty good position to take even if you are religions, do you want someone dictating what you should believe or not believe? So get a clue Stu. You're the coward and I think a little intellectually dishonest if you ask me.

Stu said, "If the Catholic church Kept the writings that they wanted and threw out the rest, why then do they hold to many traditions that are clearly anti Biblical?"

The Roman Catholic Church is the world's largest Christian church and represents over half of all Christians and one-sixth of the world's population. With a two thousand-year history, the Catholic Church is the world's oldest and largest Christian institution. The first Christian Church was in Rome and is there today, and any half-ass history teacher could tell you that. Catholicism is a rigid belief, but their basic belief is in the same things that all Christians believe. That God created heaven and earth. There is one God that has three entities; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus, born of a virgin, was sacrificed for the forgiveness of our sins through his death on the cross and resurrection. So, we have eternal life through Jesus. Jesus is coming back again. The rest is all a matter of dogma and does not affect the Christian's salvation.

Stu said, "You folks peddle the easy answers ,not true Christians. Love the way you are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Paul HAD to take the message to the gentiles? !"

Paul the founder of Christianity's name was originally Saul. Paul came from Tarsus. Paul later claimed that he was a Jew of the Pharisee tribe of Benjamin. This is subject to doubt since the tribe of Benjamin had long ceased to exist, and Pharisee families were unknown in Tarsus. According to Paul's opponents he was a recent convert to Judaism. He was a tent maker or a leather-worker by trade not a scholar. James was the head of the temple of Jerusalem, and Paul or (Saul) opposed James. The temple of Jerusalem was a sect of Jews not "early Christians" and since they were all murdered they were never Christians.

Paul was traveling to Damascus when he had his vision. Damascus was not under Roman rule at the time. Paul was a persecutor of the Jews. Paul founded Christianity based on his vision of Jesus or Christ, this is weird, since an alleged Jewish Jesus or his disciples would have no reason to have established a "new religion". It is only the need to make it appear that Christianity and Judaism had some kind of continuity that led to the eventual watered down version and that was Paul's essential role. There were hostilities between Paul and the Jerusalem Church. James was the leader of the Jerusalem Church. Paul diminished the importance of James through his "new religion" with the death of Christ to save mankind from their sins, by making Christ the messiah, and claiming that the Jews didn't recognize him. This view of Christ's' death seems to have come to Paul in his Damascus vision. Paul's visions do not have roots in Judaism, but in mystery-religion, which Paul was familiar with in Tarsus. The violent deaths of Osiris, Attis, Adonis, and Dionysus brought divination to their initiates. Paul, as founder of the new Christian mystery religion, initiated the Eucharist, echoing the communion meal of the mystery religions. The awkward insertion of eucharistic material based on I Corinthians 11:23-26 into the Last Supper accounts in the Gospels cannot disguise this, especially as the evidence is that the Jerusalem Church did not practice the Eucharist. The Jews considered all of this baloney.

Stu said, "If you guys are the Real guardians of truth, then why all the obvious lies and ignorant speculations ? Before He came to Christ, Paul was part of a roving hit squad targeting Christians for death. Yet,in one day, He became a Christian. You think it was because he was sick of Matzoh ? wanted a pork chop supper on his way to Tarsus ?! Gee , I guess the laugh was on him when they murdered him for Christs sake."

Saul was an active persecutor of the Jerusalem Church, entering its synagogues and arresting its members. Paul was collaborating with the high priest a Sadducee opponent of the Pharisees. It is very likely that Paul was employed by the Roman high priest to suppress movements that were regarded as a threat to the Roman occupation.

The Christianity of Constantine was a pagan Church that adhered to pagan doctrine while using the name of Christ to gain followers. The other would have been a Jewish sect that were annihilated as heretics and disappeared. There's much more to this story than most professing Christians realize. The rise of Pagan/Christianity to a position of dominance over the social and political aspects of the Roman Empire was a monumental change that eventually led to the creation of the Roman Catholic Church and her daughter churches. There were no "early Christians" they were Jews and if Jesus had been an actual figure he would have been a Jew.

We don't have outside corroborating sources to verify Paul's as a martyr. We don't even have original copies of the gospels.

Stu said, "Why dont you folks admit that you DO have a religon ? The holy order of Narcissists ! Read Foxe's book of Martyrs, and then ask yourself if you would die in that manner for your convictions. Burn, fry,tortured to death, etc."

"Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color." Don Hirschberg

John Foxe or Fox (1518-1587) a Protestant, who wrote 'Foxes Book of Martyrs', about Europe in the 16th Century. This book is from the Protestant point of view. The Acts and Monuments of the Christian Church, better known as 'Foxe's Book of Martyrs', was first published in English in 1563. 'Foxes Book of Martyrs' is an anti-Catholic pro-Protestant work. It has nothing to do with the authenticity of Christianity or the Bible. It is an example of religious hatred and how much worse a power struggle about religious opposing views made everything. Whether Protestant or Catholic both sides believed that there was only one true religion. They only differed over which religion was right and which one was Satanic. Foxe and other authors of the time insist that their opponents were the agents of Satan. The Catholics did persecute Protestants and Protestants did the same to Catholics; each side persecuted their "enemies" equally. In Eastern Europe, the Orthodox faith was both perpetrator and victim. In England, the official religion changed four times in less than thirty years, and each change was accompanied by persecution of those who would not change with it. The division of Europe into Catholic and Protestant powers, often at war with one another, meant that in some countries (especially England) preaching the wrong religion was regarded as supporting the enemy and punished as treason.

Stu said, "I would dare say that you "honest intellectuals" would turn from your self righteous beliefs in an instant to save your hides, because thats what true atheists are; spiritual cowards."

I don't think anyone should die for a "belief" or "blind faith" or their "loyalty" to a master. I think the world would be much better off without religious gangs that are willing to die, commit suicide or murder for turf.

Atheism and skepticism always existed, but much of our history was erased, and many of them were murdered. Often the only proof of our existence is found in the unfavorable writings of our persecutors. This information is recorded in the archives of the Vatican. Even other Christian sects, now called heretical, fell under the onslaught of anti-libertine Christians.

The first century BC Roman poet, Titus Lucretius Carus, in his magnum opus De Rerum Natura (I'm sure you have read it) wrote: "But 'tis that same religion oftener far hath bred the foul impieties of men:" A philosopher of the Epicurean school, Lucretius believed the world was composed solely of matter and void, and that all phenomena could be understood as resulting from purely natural causes. Lucretius, like Epicurus, felt that religion was born of fear and ignorance, and that understanding the natural world would free people of its shackles.

Writing in 1776 of the ancient Romans, Edward Gibbon said: "The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful."

But there is still no finer way to make a fortune than to get stupid people to tithe.

Linda, I couldn't say that better myself.

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