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General Discussion
History books vs the bible

The main question: A religious man once asked me why do I believe what my history books tell me, but I dismiss anything from the (Christian) bible? Does the community have any insight how to answer this question?

My thoughts: I've thought about this some. I think it has to with the presence of an agenda. The agenda with the case of the bible is more clear to me than that of the history books.

I guess when it comes down to it, I am atheistic mainly due to a lack of proof that I can see. But I want to be able to answer questions like this, because without being able to do so, I can't in good consciousness accept atheistic beliefs 100%.

I don't think anyone who tries to understand history uses any single source. The evidence for a historical event is stronger when there are independent sources confirming the same thing.

The Bible is a collection, to be sure. Many people would claim the Gospels to be evidence of the resurrection. If you look closer, though, you find that three of them are derivatives of an earlier work (not independent) and they disagree on a variety of factual claims. See Dan Barker's Easter challenge (http://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/stone.php). So the Gospels are more like a chain letter, where an earlier story has been modified and embellished in different ways--hardly reliable history.

Historians, scholars and Christian apologists can only use what documents they have available to them. If they only have hearsay accounts without evidence then they haven't got history they have myth. Christian apologists interpolate, guess and use hearsay because there's no real evidence, but they use this (undetectable) information like it is encyclopedic reference work.

The problem for people who try to perpetrate a deception is the fact that archaeologists and scholars do want to know what is the truth.

Blind faith is surrender to ignorance, probably the safest and easiest route, because looking for the answers through the intellectual process is much more difficult. However, that's what we do when we want to know what is true and what is a fabrication, and unfortunately it is the truth that advances human understanding. Anyone willing to put out the effort can get the information, but the followers of religion don't want to find anything inconstant or false about what they already believe.

Contemporary historians or (historians living in that time period) have written the facts and dates about significant things that happened in the past, and studying these writings can prove what did or didn't happen, and what is or isn't forgeries by the church Fathers, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, and the Apostolic Canons and Constitutions, are all forgeries of the early Church Fathers.

There are numerous forged works attributed to many of the Fathers of the early church, listed under the word Pseudo, or false. The Apostles Creed forged by the Fathers several centuries after the Apostles. The Creed is the work of twelve separate writers. This is how you know if something is actual history or a myth. There are historians that never wrote one word about Jesus that lived in the same place and time

Most Bibles when introducing the Gospels, as well as other writings that are contained in the canon, inform that the authors are anonymous and unknown. David Ulansey book on Mithraism, "The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries", in which he convincingly shows that Mithraism originated in the city of Tarsus in Cilicia. That is where Paul of Tarsus came from. This is pretty good evidence Paul's beliefs came from Mithraism, which had many practices exactly like Christianity. Paul never cites the Gospels because the Gospels come much later. You can prove that by reading the Bible and you will find that Paul never refers to them.

In the Old Testament there are books mentioned that can not be found in the Bible, like the book of Jashar, mentioned in Joshua 10:13. That's not the only one, there are many. That fact certainly does indicate that there are missing Gospels, and this means the Gospels are not very likely genuine or authentic. "The Christ: A Critical Review and Analysis of the Evidence of His Existence" backs up no historian from his era wrote a single word about the Jesus. Also there is an abundance of scholarly work on this subject.

Look at the Gospel of Mark: he knows nothing of the virgin birth, or the Sermon on the Mount, of the Lord's prayer, or of other important facts of the supposed life of Christ. Matthew and Luke copied Mark and then later on someone added this stuff. The names associated with the gospels are only titles nobody knows who wrote them.

Matthew 5:1, 6:9-13 and 7:28 - Jesus delivered the Lord's Prayer during the Sermon on the Mount before the multitudes. Luke 11:1-4 he delivered it before the disciples alone, and not as part of the Sermon on the Mount. But the Dead Sea Scrolls prove that the Sermon on the Mount and The Lords Prayer existed hundreds of years before the supposed life of Jesus.

Erasmus, four hundred years ago, said the Gospels were originally written in Greek. The Gospel of John is largely composed of the speculations of Greek philosophy.

Matthew 2:1 says Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great, but Luke 2:2 says Jesus was born during the first census in Israel, while Quirinius was governor of Syria. Herod died in March of 4 BC and the census took place in 6 and 7 AD, about 10 years after Herod's death. Luke says this was the first census that took place under Quirinius after Herod's kingdom had been divided between his three sons in 4 B.C. (but the census was in 7AD, about 10 yrs after Herods death) The Jewish historian Josephus recorded that Herod the Great died in 4 BC. Josephus (Jewish Historian) says that Varus was governor of Syria at Herod's death and Varus was governor in 4 B.C. Historians that lived at the time didn't record Herod killing all babies up to two years old in Bethlehem either.

All documents about Jesus came well after the life of the alleged Jesus from either: unknown authors, people who had never met an earthly Jesus, or from fraudulent, mythical or allegorical writings.

"Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic" by Frank Cross (Cambridge Harvard University Press) the book has the history of religion of Israel compared to Ugaritic texts. Much of the Old Testaments and the religion was purloined from the Canaanite's religion.

The Nag Hammadi texts contained fifty-two books that were not approved as gospel called "heretical" books written in Coptic script which include gospels of Philip, James, Thomas, John and others. Archeologists have dated them at around 350-400 C.E. They are only copies from previous copies. None of the original texts exist. Scholars date these books as no later than 120-150 C.E. Others have put it closer to 140 C.E. The Judas gospel, a copy written in Coptic, dates to around the third to the fourth century. The original Greek version probably dates to between 130 and 170 C.E., around the same time as the Nag Hammadi texts. Gnostic texts could only have its unknown authors writing well after the alleged life of Jesus, they cannot serve as historical evidence of Jesus anymore than the canonical versions. The Nag Hammadi texts are hearsay.

Simply determining the dates of the documents and the birth dates of the authors is one way of knowing if it is an eyewitness account. It doesn't matter what these people wrote about Jesus; an author who writes after the alleged happening and gives no detectable sources for his material can only give example of hearsay. All of these ancient writings about Jesus came from the circulation of myths and superstition, and that does not require facts or evidence. There is no evidence for Jesus or the gospel writers existence; belief in Jesus is belief in what ancient primitive people fantasized (stories) that were told about something that happened long after the event.

Christianity is a Gentile mission concocted by the Romans to assimilate the Jews and all other religions. It was the synchronization of pagan and Jewish religions.

There is no evidence that James and Paul had any relationship because they did not agree on the Jewish religion (not Christianity) Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire after the Temple at Jerusalem was destroyed and James (the head of the Jewish Temple at Jerusalem) was dead. Then Paul exalted a fictional Jesus above James once James was dead. Paul (with assistance of the Rome Empire) started spreading this Jewish/ Pagan gospel.

Josephus's writings provide a detailed list of the cities of Galilee but Nazareth is not mentioned in all his volumes of writing. None of the New Testament epistle writers ever mentions Nazareth or a Jesus of Nazareth even though most of the epistles appeared before the gospels. No one mentions Nazareth until 40 years after Jesus is dead because it didn't exist before St. Helena the mother of Constantine, went looking for the city of Nazareth, and she discovered there was no Nazareth to find. So, they named an existing city Nazareth to cover that fact up. But some apologists claim Nazareth wasn't mentioned before since it was just a tiny little village but (if nobody wrote about Nazareth) because it was too tiny, how do apologists know it was tiny? No one recorded it. The Gospels refer to Nazareth as a city and the historians of that period would have known about a city of Nazareth if that city existed.

There are no arguments about the authenticity among the experts or scholars. It is really a matter of finding the facts. I have only given you a fraction of the facts that I could give that discredits the genuine or authenticity of Christianity or any other religion. They all have the same flaws. That is why people who want to know what is real should read things by unbiased scholars. Read a historical account of the Council of Nicaea, convened by the Emperor Constantine or the history of the Roman Empire, but there are people who have read historical accounts or documents that dispute what they already believe is true, but the discrepancies just whiz over their heads like a helium filled balloon.

Great piece! Until recently I had always assumed that Jesus probably did exist but wasn't the son of god. I'm trying to arm myself for the next visit of the local parish evangelicals and would like to know more about the main religions and their collective claim to be the "children of Abraham" do you know any links or books I can source. Many thanks.

If you would care to read a book on the subject: Mark S Smith, 'The origins of biblical monotheism: Israel's polytheistic background and the Ugaritic texts', New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

It is important to read the work of scientists and scholars who are interested in following the evidence where ever it leads, and "letting the chips fall where they may." People who start out to prove something is true probably won't do that.

When people do honest research they are not trying to prove something they already believe, they are looking for what is true. They let the evidence tell them what is true, they don't ignore it in favor of a religious bias. Archaeologists are very competitive and they want to discover important finds. They can't be concerned about whether or not the public will like what they have found.

Archaeological sweeps of the Sinai have failed to find any evidence of Moses et al wandering there.

This is the way to do research. What facts back it up? Look for material on this subject in the library books, chronicles, archives and records. If someone wants to research a claim that archaeological finds attest to the fact that the religious beliefs of Egypt, Canaan, and Mesopotamia were transformed into the Bible's worshiping the Golden Calf story on Mount Sinai - look at the real evidence.

When you find that the only god specifically called a Golden Calf by the ancient Egyptians in their writings is Pharaoh in the Old Kingdom Pyramid Texts. That information was found in letters from Canaanite princes addressed to Pharaoh Akhenaten. If this was transformed into the Bible's worshiping the Golden Calf story on Mount Sinai who was Moses? Akhenaten was able to abolish the complex pantheon of the ancient Egyptian religion and replace it with a single God. The same story is told about Moses. Akhenaten and his followers had to exodus Egypt into the Sinai, isn't that a coincidence, so was Moses. A number of archaeologists and scholars have found through research that there were never any Hebrew slaves in Egypt, no exodus or wandering the desert.

The OT story claims Moses was given the law on Mt. Sinai and was ordered by God to bring the law down to his people. That is not true, because it can be demonstrated to be false. It is also a fact that the Ten Commandments were not given to Moses on Mt. Sinai they came from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. This can easily be found to be true with a little research.

In the bible story Aaron is portrayed as casting a molten calf of gold from jewelry, earrings being given by the recently freed from Egypt Hebrew slaves (Ex 32:2-3). In the bible story they declare that the Golden Calf led them up out of Egypt to the Holy Mount. Understand? The two stories are morphed together. There was no Moses who wrote the first five books of the bible. Archeologists and Scholars know that many different people wrote them over many centuries.

Cuneiform texts of Ras Shamara - Ugarit attests that much of the Old Testament and the ancient Hebrew god were borrowed from the Canaanites. The Jewish people evolved from polytheism to monotheism with the promotion of a god who had been known by a variety of names, into one supreme God, Yahweh who had a consort, Asherah. This female entity was later merged by Greek and Roman traditions into Aphrodite and Venus, and known earlier to the Egyptians as Isis.

We now know that Moses didn't write the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah. Scholars know that a single individual did not write the first five books of the Bible. The first five books are a compilation of conflicting diverse writing composed over many centuries. Moses (One person) was not the author of the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah (the law) or the Pentateuch. In which, by the way, Moses recounts his own funeral.

The etymology of the name Israel - Is (either Isis or tomb) Ra (Head of the Egyptian Pantheon) El (Lord - Baal). Moses at Mt. Sinai is a biblical yarn. It's not true.

Tel Aviv University's archaeological investigation at Megiddo and examination of the six-sided gate there dates it to the 9th Century BCE, not the 10th Century BCE claimed by earlier investigators who attributed it to Solomon. Solomon and David are entirely absent in the archaeological record.

Some books that are total fiction do use settings (places) and actual characters from history that actually (do or did) exist. Paul Bunyan is a fictional lumberjack; the tall tales about this incredible character are obviously not true, but the places and some of the historical figures like Theodore Roosevelt are. Researchers even doubt that these stories originated with the loggers; but were just stories invented by several authors.

Sherlock Holmes was never a real person or detective but the setting or places in the stories are real. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle invented Sherlock Holmes, but he has been written about by other authors. Mark Twain wrote about Sherlock Holmes the same way he wrote about actual characters from history, and a number of Sherlock Holmes biographies and family histories have been written.

The city of Troy was discovered by using Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. There is much historical evidence in those Greek myths, however, there is no reason to believe the extraordinary parts without extraordinary evidence. Spiderman lives in New York; we have multiple evidences for the city & not enough for the hero.

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