Lion of the Blogosphere

Romulus and Remus vs. Jesus

A commenter mentioned Romulus and Remus. Modern historians “have long since dismissed the story as a charming legend” (to quote from a NY Times article) even though a few renegades make a hobby of trying to prove otherwise. Nevertheless, in ancient Rome, everyone believed that they were real people (and apparently, even today, there are people in Rome who believe they were real). Just as Christians believe that Jesus was a real person.

Romulus and Remus were the sons of a god (Mars) and born to a human mother (Rhea Silvia). Jesus was the son of the Jewish god, born to a human mother (Mary). The king of Alba Longa wanted the twins dead because he didn’t want anyone to have a claim to his throne, so he ordered them abandoned to die in the Tiber river, but they survived because of a series of miraculous interventions. The king of the Jews, Herod, wanted Jesus dead because he didn’t want anyone to have a claim to his throne, so he ordered the execution of all male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem, but Jesus survived because of miraculous intervention by an angel of the Lord. As Romulus and Remus grew older, they acquired a great number of followers. As Jesus grew older, he acquired a great number of followers. “A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went” (John 6:2). Romulus and Remus founded a new city. Jesus founded a new religion.

It’s hard to take Jesus seriously as a real person when his story is so much like a rewrite of various myths floating around the ancient world, myths that the people of the time believed to be true. I suspect that the early Christians invented Jesus because they wanted to have a founding myth that matched the majesty of other founding myths that the people of the time were familiar with. Possibly, the origins of Christianity lie with the Essene sect of the Teacher of Righteousness, but the later followers decided that they needed to Romanify the story of the Teacher in order attract more followers.

The fact is, that if Christianity had died off like all of the other mystery religions of the ancient Roman empire, historians today would believe that Jesus was a myth just like all of the other gods that the other mystery religions worshiped.

* * *

jjbees writes in a comment:

Religious belief is genetic, Lion, so you aren’t going to convince anyone except those already convinced.

I tried being religious once for the ancillary benefits (meeting chicks) and even bought a bible, but after five minutes of reading it I said to myself “This is a fairytale for adults, and not even as good as Grimms” and I never opened it again and haven’t been to a church.

Propensity to believe in religious nonsense is genetic, although it takes many forms. I suspect that belief in climate change is fulfilling the same need among SWPLs as Christianity does for blue-collar whites.

However, I suppose the essence of what you said is correct, it’s a futile endeavor to try to educate people. I guess that means also accepting climate change.

When I tried reading the New Testament, on the second page it gets into the Massacre of the Innocents which was so ridiculous* to believe that happened I gave up. (Perhaps this is why the Catholic Church didn’t want people to read the Bible for themselves.) Maybe if the New Testament instead started with the more believable Epistles of Saint Paul, I would have stuck with it longer.

*My reaction was “whoa, this is nonsense!” And then I left the New Testament for Google where I tried to find out the truth, and of course all historians agree that there was never any such real event.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 13, 2015 at EST am

Posted in Religion

152 Responses

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  1. Stick to Trump Lion. You’re way out of your league on this one.

    Andrew E.

    December 13, 2015 at EST am

    • Because you spent your whole life believing that Jesus was real, and I’m creating cognitive dissonance? With an attitude like that, how are we supposed to reach children who are being raised to believe that Global Warming is real?

      You don’t find the parallel between Jesus and various other myths to be the least bit interesting?

      As much as I may think that Christianity is good for the masses because it encourages behavior beneficial to an orderly society, I personally can’t believe in this stuff.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 13, 2015 at EST am

      • I didn’t believe it my whole life. Only about 4 years now. I was convinced by the evidence. But the evidence is not meant to compel belief. It’s meant to be a real choice. And to believe is defensible and rational.

        Andrew E.

        December 13, 2015 at EST am

      • Your faith is your choice to believe in spite of the inconclusive evidence. There is no way to confirm whether Jesus existed or not. Assuming he did, the person that existed in the past is different from the deified version shrouded in mythical lore that people worship today.

        I’m trying to be objective here between what could be perceived as Lion’s dislike of Christianity and your defense of Christianity as a believer. Personal bias aside, Lion’s point is that his logic gets in the way of conviction even if he wanted to believe.

        Anon

        December 13, 2015 at EST am

  2. That Jesus existed is so obvious the only way somebody could deny it is if they had a huge blind spot. Mohammed obviously existed too. Revisionist history is gay.

    Back to Trump: latest national poll has Cruz in 2nd with 22%. As idiot Carson (now down to 11%) continues to fade we can expect Cruz to go higher still, as by all accounts Carson’s stupid Christian supporters will mostly go to Cruz, creating a situation where Cruz and Trump are battling it out for the top spot. The establishment continues to consolidate at around 32% but it looks like they will not unite around a candidate until SC at the earliest.

    As for Iowa, forget it, right it off. Even the less biased Fox poll has Cruz up by 2 with room to grow as the stupid Christian continue to flee idiot Carson. Cruz has the endorsements and a great organization in state. He also has done a better job schmoozing the voters. What Trump needs to do is finish in a strong 2nd and then get a victory against the split field in NH.

    Cruz is not just a flavor of the month like Carson. Cruz has money, organization and profile. He is the smartest person in the field by far and, and everybody is ignoring this, he has co-opted Trump’s anti immigration message. The source of Trump’s strength has been that nobody else has been able or willing to do so, but Cruz isn’t an idiot like the other clowns running and is actually a much better advocate for immigration restriction than Trump himself. It was Cruz, not Trump, who made the anti immigrant argument at the last debate and kind of pull Trump’s chestnuts out of the fire.

    I’m with Trump and will support him until the end, but I like Cruz and can live with him. What would you guys think about a Cruz and Ivanka Trump ticket?

    Otis the Sweaty

    December 13, 2015 at EST am

    • Cruz is an establishment faggot.

      Anon

      December 13, 2015 at EST am

    • How about a Cruz Trump or Trump Cruz ticket? I don’t know anything about Ivanka Trump but I’d worry they might be making the same mistake as they did with Palin.

      Rosenmops

      December 13, 2015 at EST am

  3. guys, why didn’t Islam attract more followers in Europe?

    what Islam offers:
    -easy religion to follow
    -right to oppress and exploit those outside the club
    -power over women
    -very appealing afterlife
    -allows and even commands conquering and violence

    what Christianity offers:
    -hard to follow, requires a tremendous amount of self deprivation
    -requires kindness and compassion to all, even non believers
    -no power over women
    -vague/unappealing afterlife
    -anti violence

    And yet, Islam spread mostly through violence whereas Christianity was generally spread peacefully. I don’t get it.

    Otis the Sweaty

    December 13, 2015 at EST am

    • “-hard to follow, requires a tremendous amount of self deprivation”

      You’re confusing Christianity with Orthodox Judaism. Christianity is the Abrahamic religion that asks the least of you. All you have to do is believe in Jesus.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 13, 2015 at EST am

      • That’s not true. Even Evangelicals will say that you need to not have extramarital sex and try to live free of sin, and in Christianity pretty much everything is a sin. Christianity says you can go to Hell for all eternity for french kissing.

        Islam not only allows such things, it practically encourages them.

        Otis the Sweaty

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • “Even Evangelicals will say that you need to not have extramarital sex”

        There’s so much extamarital sex happening among the kind of people who attend evangelical churches. It’s condoned as along as you don’t abort the baby.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Yes because most of the people who go to Evangelical churches are idiots. But amongst the high IQ elite (and there are a lot of them), they say you must live your life as free of sin as possible.

        Otis the Sweaty

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • There’s so much extamarital sex happening among the kind of people who attend evangelical churches. It’s condoned as along as you don’t abort the baby.

        Studies show slightly less than half of those who are active participants in their religion have had premarital sex compared to 80% for those with no religious affiliation.
        http://brewright.blogspot.com/2007/05/christians-and-rates-of-premarital-sex.html

        Studies also show that 2% of active evangelicals have had pre-marital sex in the past year compared to 1% of active mainline protestants, 2% of catholics and 8% of jews.
        http://brewright.blogspot.com/2007/05/christians-and-promiscious-ual-behavior.html

        destructure

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Are you kidding me? Asceticism is an integral part of Christianity. It isn’t at all in Islam. Christianity is also pathological altruism and that’s also not true of Islam. Islam is a much better religion.

        CamelCaseRob

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Even Evangelicals will say that you need to not have extramarital sex and try to live free of sin, and in Christianity pretty much everything is a sin. Christianity says you can go to Hell for all eternity for french kissing.
        Islam not only allows such things, it practically encourages them.

        Well damn, this is true..at least to some extent. But Islam only encourages rape and other sex if you follow certain rules. If ok to rape infidel women because mohammed did it. Technically they are your “wives” because you stole them from the infidel so they are slaves, or something. You can rape Muslim women too but her family will kill her if they find out about it. You’re good unless there 4 male witnesses will swear to the rape. And you can marry 4 women officially and do whatever you like to them. If you are gay they’ve got those baccah bazi boys you can rape. I don’t think they consider you to be actually gay if you are a “top”. But there is the whole thing about throwing you off a tall building if you are a “bottom”…

        And if you die killing infidels you get 72 virgins to do what you like with in paradise. Islam seems to be practically obsessed with sex, also with bathroom habits. They have a lot of rules about that.

        Christianity hasn’t got anything like this. But I don’t think any Christians condemn you to hell for French kissing. A lot of modern Christians don’t even believe in hell . And even if they do you can always confess your sins and get forgiveness. No virgins in heaven though as far as anyone knows. Heaven is pretty vague.

        Rosenmops

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • CCB – Sufism would be Islam’s version of asceticism. The only difference is that Sufis aren’t nearly as masochistic as Christians, when it comes to denying oneself of pleasures. Sufis do believe in pleasure and are willing to forego less of it. The concept of asceticism in Christianity would be living a life at the monastery and shutting oneself completely from the world at large.

        JS

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Correction: Second study should read 3 or more partners in the past year.

        destructure

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • destructure, if I believed the results of that study I would start looking for a wife again. I gave up at age 45, having NEVER met a virgin over age 21. That includes churches in 7 states, and dating north of 200 women.

        Copperhead Joe

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • People tend to attract the kind of person they deserve.

        destructure

        December 14, 2015 at EST am

    • Otis: Muslims cut to the chase and get to the point, where do good hypocritical Christians beat around the bush of hedonism.

      In the Medieval times, Muslim clerics in Spain criticized Catholic Priests for being philanderers in the name of celibacy. They wrote tracts saying that Christian Priests ought to get marry in order not get into bouts of incelness, where they then randomly fornicate different women out of desperation.

      JS

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Whatever.

        Christianity is a disciplined, HIgh-IQ religion, which is why much of the modern world was conquered and built by Christians. Charles Murray points out that something like 97% of modern achievement over the last 1000 years comes out of the Christian West.

        The rest of the world is simply the “House of that which is acted upon” including Islam.

        Now that the West is emulating the barbarism of the rest of the world, it is steadily declining.

        map

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • map: wanting for literally billions of extra black and brown babies to be born in an already horribly overpopulated world is hardly high IQ.

        Christianity carries within it the seeds of it’s own destruction. Islam does not.

        Otis the Sweaty

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Had Medieval Islam not existed as a religion and a burgeoning empire, Europe could have been a different place today. Meriprolestan would simply be another native american frontier like New Spain. Christopher Columbus had Muslim navigators using Islamic astrolabes to set sail for Latin America. The same type of instrument used to determine the direction of Mecca, when building a mosque. This is a great example of science aiding the spread of religion.

        http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/91.1.535a-h

        Islamophobes unreasonably harp on the idea that Islam is evil, without much substance, other than its Jihad concept.

        JS

        December 14, 2015 at EST pm

      • And from which civilization did the Muslims steal this astrolabe?

        map

        December 14, 2015 at EST pm

      • Steal? Europeans in the Medieval Times traveled to Spain to learn things from the Muslims that were “stolen” from the Greeks.

        JS

        December 15, 2015 at EST am

      • Otis the Sweaty,

        Modern Christianity is not the ancient Christianity that built the West.

        map

        December 14, 2015 at EST pm

      • Huh? What separates Islam and Christianity in terms of scientific achievement and rational thinking, was the latter being receptive of non-religious learning, such as Aristotelian Scholasticism. Islam eventually clamped down on people who studied philosophy, because they were seen as heretics. And much of this was a political move. The Islamic Caliphate was sympathetic towards intellectual scholars and persecuted the Qur’anic literalists and the very religious scholars (a tidbit of information that Islamophobes and anyone who dislikes Islam leave out completely when it comes to historical facts). This led to a blacklash or a form of vendetta against those who were intellectuals, and eventually, scientific inquiry and philosophical learning in Islam died out.

        Last time I checked, Galileo, Giordano Bruno, and other scientists during the Italian Renaissance, were deemed heretics by the Catholic Church, and in the case of Bruno, burned at the stake. Part of the reason for the Protestant Reformation, was to lessened the orthodoxy of Christianity, where free and rational thinking was not seen as heretical.

        JS

        December 15, 2015 at EST am

      • Islamophobes will tell that Muslims stole the knowledge of the Greeks, when in fact, it was the Caliphate, who sent out scouts and diplomats to the Byzantine court and retrieve manuscripts in Aristotle..etc, to be translated into Arabic, and where they commented on the works and made breakthroughs.

        JS

        December 15, 2015 at EST am

    • Probably path dependence mostly. Medieval religion was tightly integrated with the state. People in the ruling class couldn’t just up and switch.

      I’d guess that most rulers, if they were somehow magically free to make an all-else-equal choice, would pick Islam as more congenial to their interests. If non-elites were given the same magical choice, I have no idea which most medieval peasants would prefer, so it’s possible that they would like Christianity better, and thus their rulers would face pressure from the rabble to stick with Christianity. It’s a very difficult thought experiment because medieval religion was never an all-else-equal type of thing.

      Greg Pandatshang

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • “Easy religion to follow”

      Not for Europeans: no wine, no beer, no sausages or bacon. Also, if Europeans were Muslim, whom would they rape and behead and take as slaves? That’s why Allah (PBUH) made Europeans — to be niggers for Muslims.

      As told in WHITE GOLD: THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF THOMAS PELLOW AND NORTH AFRICA’S ONE MILLION EUROPEAN SLAVES, one of the jobs of the European captives was to catch the piss of Arab horses before the stream could hit the ground.

      Mark Caplan

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • The Spanish-Roman Libertarian communes under the Galician Lemos, Gil, and Ron clans got united by Ferrando and Pelayo and huddled around the Liberal town of Monfort de Lemos marched out and stopped them. As I read it, they’ve been expanding their view of the world and democratic cities since.

      I can’t think of an Empire that wasn’t wiped out without a Gil-Lemos in the background. Lepanto, Mayan, British, Communist…

      Robert

      December 14, 2015 at EST am

  4. You don’t need to accept the nativity (which I’m skeptical of) to accept that Jesus existed. Nor to believe that Jesus is the Messiah.
    I can accept that accounts of His life were made up, but that the bulk of the account is accurate.

    Half canadian

    December 13, 2015 at EST am

  5. A better comparison would be Alexander the Great vs Jesus. The historical evidence (i.e., the writings of others) that Jesus existed is about the same as that for Alexander. The difference is that Jesus founded a religion whose followers then layered on supernatural-sounding stuff after the fact whereas Alexander conquered the known world with an army. The supernatural stuff is believable only to the adherents of the religion, the other no one questions because it sounds legit, but neither is a reason to doubt the historical existence of the man.

    Chris

    December 13, 2015 at EST am

    • Wrong, Aristotle is known to exist, there are writings about him written at the time he was alive. Unlike Jesus who, if he did live, had no impact on the world until a century after he was dead.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 13, 2015 at EST am

      • Now imagine someone had gathered together all the documents that referenced Aristotle and combined them into a book, which they called the Bible. And people were happy because now they had all the documents referencing Aristotle in one handy volume! Then after a millennium or so, unintelligent people started saying, “Hey it’s only documents in the Bible that reference Aristotle. Obviously, Aristotle never existed because no document outside the Bible references him!”

        That’s the reasoning you’re bringing to the Jesus debate. It’s idiotic. And it’s why 99% of all mainstream historians and classicists accept that a Jew named Jesus did exist and inspired some kind of religious movement. You’re not even in the minority here; you would not be allowed to complete a graduate degree in history making this argument.

        Also, even critical historians accept that some NT texts are mid-first century, including the Gospel of Mark, which seems to have been written before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

        Seth Long

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • I don’t get it. “The evidence for Alexander the Great is equally as bad as the evidence for Jesus. We know Alexander the Great existed. Therefore, the evidence for Jesus is good enough to assert that he existed.” See the question-begging there? How do we know that Alexander the Great existed? I have no idea what the evidence for Alexander the Great is, but if we’re stipulating that it is of equal value as the evidence for Jesus, then Alexander could very well be a myth, a fanciful world-conquering culture hero.

      People make the same argument with Augustus Caesar instead of Alexander, but it faces exactly the same problems. However, I have trouble buying into the premise that Augustus isn’t documented a little better than Jesus.

      Greg Pandatshang

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • How do we know Socrates existed? He never wrote anything. We just have a lot of stories by others, like Plato.

        Mrs Stitch

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Exactly. How do we know Jesus or Socrates or Alexander the Great existed? We don’t. We have to investigate the evidence and possible scenarios for each to try to make a guess.

        Greg Pandatshang

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  6. Lion, stay off this. It’s in Jews’ interests that America should remain Christian regardless of what had really happened.

    Yakov

    December 13, 2015 at EST am

    • This blog is written for the smart people, and not the people who need belief in religion to act in a socially useful manner. I agree that Christianity is a good religion for the masses to believe in.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 13, 2015 at EST am

      • You are making the assumption that it always benificial to believe only what is actually true. Sometimes it is benificial for society if people believe things that are not necessarily true. For example almost all parents think that their kids are more appealing , smarter, and prettier than anyone else’s kids. This is how the parents put up with the little ankle biters and don’t abandon them on a hillside. The human race would have died out if not for this irrational belief. As a grandparent I can tell you that this belief also extends to grandchildren. I have degrees in a hard science and like to think I am pretty rational. But this thing with kids is something you should just go with and not try to apply reason too.

        Rosenmops

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • “Sometimes it is benificial for society if people believe things that are not necessarily true.”

        I don’t necessarily disagree with this. But I don’t write my blog for society, I write if for a small number of people who ought to have elite intellectual ability and be able to handle the truth, wherever the truth may lead even to unpleasant places.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • I agree with Yakov. I’m not religious in a supernatural sense. Though I generally support religion and would never try to convince people otherwise. I similarly think religion is good for people and society, especially Judaism, Christianity, Mormonism, etc. Speaking of, don’t mistake my earlier comments on other posts about xenophobic, cult, etc as criticism. I think those qualities — in moderation — are actually beneficial and positive. What’s the alternative — some secular, self-hating leftist? Some twit broadcasting pics of her hoohoo on the net? No. I’ll take xenophobia and cults for $500, please, Alex.

      destructure

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • A real shame that so many Jews are into dieversity.

      Mobutu

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  7. Religious belief is genetic, Lion, so you aren’t going to convince anyone except those already convinced.

    I tried being religious once for the ancillary benefits (meeting chicks) and even bought a bible, but after five minutes of reading it I said to myself “This is a fairytale for adults, and not even as good as Grimms” and I never opened it again and haven’t been to a church.

    jjbees

    December 13, 2015 at EST am

    • “Religious belief is genetic, Lion, so you aren’t going to convince anyone except those already convinced”

      I’d always dismissed the possibility that Jesus didn’t exist as crazy until I read a link from this blog, probably a year or two ago. Even non-Christian Westerners find the idea that Jesus didn’t exist to be odd and unnatural, but I’d have to say now that it is at least a respectable and fair view to hold. I can quite believe that there were a number of preachers and holy men wandering round Palestine at that time. The Jewish people were probably in crisis and turmoil due to the Roman occupation and were looking for a Messiah. It’s not hard to imagine that the Jesus of the Bible is an amalgamation of various characters, with some convenient myth making and stories thrown in for political reasons. In fact biblical scholars can point to the political motivations for including various stories about Jesus, such as trying to make him seem like a fulfiilment of OT prophesy, or to make him appeal to gentiles. If you accept that there is this side to the stories about Jesus then the next logical step is to question his existence. I can imagine the Faith coming into being without him.

      But I don’t accept the same about Mohammad. I just can’t imagine the Arabs becoming a unified, conquering army without someone at the heart of it all. Trying to take Mohammad out of the equation for me is like September 11th or moon landing conspiracies–making the conspiracy work seems harder and more convoluted than the more obvious explanation that it’s true. Surely there had to be a Genghis Khan or Atila the Hun figure at the heart of it all?

      One thing I will say though: both Jesus and Mohammad are supposed to have ascended to Heaven. If there is ever a reason to question whether someone really existed then surely it is this? If someone ascends to Heaven then they leave behind no body. It is exactly the kind of convenient explanation that someone would need to create if the person in question had never existed. The first instinct of religious followers would in fact be to preserve and protect the body so that it can become a shrine or place of pilgrimage, as with the embalmed body of Lenin or all those Saintly relics around Europe.

      prolier than thou

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • The disciples probably stole the body and hid it somewhere in order to keep the gravy train rolling. Most of them were fishermen, etc. who didn’t have a whole lot going for them, but as disciples they were getting room and board for no work. Since Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, it wasn’t enough to honor his gravesite. Being killed proved he was a phony. They had to claim he wasn’t really dead, and would come back soon to fulfill the prophecies. Matthew 27:64 tells you what the skeptics were saying at the time it was written. Matthew tries to refute this with a story about the Jews placing a guard at the tomb, which is obviously fake because none of the other gospels mentions it.

        Richard

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  8. Why does it matter if Jesus was a real person? Somebody wrote the sermon on the mount. Somebody wrote ” let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. And there must have been somebody who was crucified , and some one inspired people to keep talking and writing about it. Christianity is the world’s largest religion whether Jesus existed or not.

    Although apparently Islam may be the world’s largest religion in a few years. Evidence suggests that Islam has a much worse effect of society than Christianity. After all the modern world arose in Christendom and no where else. Islamic counties are corrupt shit holes…all of them.

    Rosenmops

    December 13, 2015 at EST am

    • Yes, which is why a lot of this seems like “turtles all the way down”. Mainstream historians accept the historical existence of Jesus because believing otherwise violates the principle of parsimony. If Jesus did not more or less invent the basic ideas behind Christianity, then someone else did (Paul?) who is effectively the “real Jesus”. It’s easier to believe that there was a real visionary named Jesus whose ideas were later elaborated or modified by others. Without one man to start it, with enough charisma to attract intelligent, imaginative enthusiasts, there’s no reason for a group of guys to gather together in a movement to invent stories like the Massacre of Innocents (and the sermons, and crucifixion, and everything else).

      Richard

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Patently somebody (or somebodies) started Christianity at some point. I don’t think that implies “whatevs prolly Jesus”. The goal here is to understand more clearly how Christianity started. Wouldn’t it be interesting to learn that it was founded by Paul, that Paul turned out to be “the real Jesus”? I think most people would find that well worth knowing (if that were that case), not a trivial detail.

        Greg Pandatshang

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • The point is that claiming that somebody else was “the real Jesus” creates more complications than it resolves. Paul inventing Christianity out of nothing is more interesting only because it’s far less plausible. If you’re a historian, the second part of that sentence is more important than the first.

        Richard

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • There is actual text supposedly written by Paul, so his existence as a real person is more plausible than Jesus.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Okay, I think I see what you mean now. If I accepted your assertion that claiming that somebody else was “the real Jesus” creates more complications than it resolves, then I agree it would be less plausible. That’s nearly a tautology.

        Greg Pandatshang

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • I don’t see the logic. If people could invent a miracle worker named Jesus they could also invent a letter writer named Paul. What’s so different about composing a Sermon on the Mount and assigning it to Jesus and writing an Epistle to the Romans and assigning it to Paul?

        Richard

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Paul wasn’t a god, just someone writing a long letter. But then in the Book of Acts, they added a bunch of unbelievable nonsense to the story making it more fiction than fact.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Except that observing that one scenario creates more problems than another doesn’t require your acceptance. You could be an irrational crank.

        Richard

        December 14, 2015 at EST am

      • Paul claimed to be a messenger from God, not just someone writing a letter.

        Richard

        December 14, 2015 at EST am

  9. You’re getting cranky now that we’re into the Christmas season. This happens every December, but we love you for it.

    ice hole

    December 13, 2015 at EST am

  10. As for gods bearing half-humans as offspring, it’s hard to see how that works given their entirely different biology. They weren’t all-powerful but were immortal, which would be a most unusual trait in the animal world. They didn’t have blood but rather ichor. And so on ad nauseam. But believers will believe.

    Anthony

    December 13, 2015 at EST am

  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus#cite_note-24


    In a 2011 review of the state of modern scholarship, Bart Ehrman wrote, “He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees”.[13] Richard A. Burridge states: “There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more”.[14] Robert M. Price does not believe that Jesus existed, but agrees that this perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars.[15] James D.G. Dunn calls the theories of Jesus’ non-existence “a thoroughly dead thesis”.[16] Michael Grant (a classicist) wrote in 1977, “In recent years, ‘no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus’ or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary”.[17] Robert E. Van Voorst states that biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted.[18]

    I believe it’s much more likely Jesus was a real person who later had the fictional elements attributed to him. That explains the similarity between his life and that of fictional characters. I believe similarly of Mohammed. However, I think it likely that many other biblical figures, especially from Genesis, were either purely fictitious or perhaps composites of various other historical figures. Most historians agree due to the lack of “compelling evidence that the patriarchs lived in the 2nd millennium” and that “certain biblical texts reflected first millennium conditions and concerns”. Without actual evidence one way or the other. it’s hard to say.

    destructure

    December 13, 2015 at EST am

  12. Some people still believe Karl Marx was a real person.

    Glengarry

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  13. Lion for someone who says he is erudite and holds a superior attitude and looks down on ordinary people as proles, you have a crass lack of style and sophistication. Even in real life events, people always prefer to believe the Legend than a mundane explication of the facts. An excellent demonstration of this is one of my favorite films, “The Man who shot Liberty Valance”. I’m sure most of your blogreaders are familiar with this John Wayne classic in which a bookish guy played by Jimmy Stewart faces off against a terrible villain played superbly by Lee Marvin. In the film, he steals Wayne’s fiance when she falls in love with him for his erudition and foolhardy attempts against men who could kill him easily. Jimmy Stewart was always playing foolhardy dolts who did ridiculous things that seemed crazy as a progressive hero fantasy, where weak pencil necks have the people follow them and face down impossible odds. In the film, its for certain this idiot is going to get gunned down, because he can’t even shoot straight, and Liberty Valance is a gunslinger, but then suddenly in the faceoff, little Jimmy closes his eyes and takes a blind shot and Liberty falls down dead. The townspeople are shocked but elated and this guy becomes the hero, but he’s wracked by guilt for killing this ruthless gunslinger “by stooping to his level”. That’s the typical lib hero right there.
    Finally, after returning from a long career as US Senator of the State he helped found he breaks down and tells the true story to reporters of how John Wayne’s character shot Liberty Valance to save his ex-fiancee from heartbreak. The reporters tear up their notes and tell him they like the Legend of how he killed him himself better. This is an illustration of why you are pissing in the wind and missing the point entirely.

    Joshua Sinistar

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • You’re the one missing the point. There is a huge amount of value in understanding how people create myths which then come to be believed as Truth. It helps to understand how the modern world is changing.

      If I was going to have a blog where I’d just agree with the consensus on everything, I’d be telling you about the the importance of doing something about Climate Change, and that Trump is evil, and that opposition to immigration it racist, etc.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Lion, I tell you, you can’t see what you’re saying clearly here. What is life without Myths and Legends? Without the Gods and Deities, Dungeons and Dragons is nothing but thieves raiding moldy dank dungeons. The dungeon crawls are really fun, but the Tome called Deities and Demigods is what makes that game so lasting and appealing. Those Gods and heroes is what the players want to be. They don’t want to be a lowly Hobbit all through the game, stealing gold from Rock Trolls and Goblins like Gollum. The treasure gives them experience points to jack their characters to Herculean levels. They become Heroes and Legends themselves. Without Legends and Myths, Literature is just tragic events with soap opera overtones, where puny mortals clash over meager resources for mere survival. It is the Myths and Legends that add spice to life. Without a vision, the people perish into despair over the Cold Cruel World. Without Gods on high, they are just lowly creatures scurrying about the landscape scraping a hard living by accruing enough assets to eat and drink, with no valor or honor and little wisdom. The thing I hate about Atheism is the built in Nihilism. Like Roy Batty played by Rutger Hauer who at the end of Blade Runner cannot face death because all the memories of his life will die with him and disappear like tears in the rain, that lack of spirituality and belief in higher powers or an afterlife, leads you to see life as futile. All your life seems futile and stupid if all the memories of it die with you.

        Joshua Sinistar

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • That, in a nutshell, is a paradigmatic example of what Leo Strauss considered a “Noble Lie” in his philosophical theory which formed the basis of the Neo-Conservative movement. Strauss was a real junkie of old westerns like “Gunsmoke”, where the hero always won, and felt that such national mythos needed to maintained at all costs against an immoral “dastardly truth” that was the true state of affairs in the world. The account of Christianity in these comments runs along similar lines with Straussian philosophy, in terms of providing a good scheme of social control and noble myth.

      Sanjuro

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Yes well before you cast aspersions, perhaps you will demonstrate how what you conceive of as morality could even exist without a God or higher power. Even Dick Dawkins the famous atheist with the Companion Romana from Dr. Who had to accede to the fact that what he called morality was derived directly from God and Christianity and was not the result of experimentation or consensus by mankind.

        Joshua Sinistar

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  14. Look, Christianity and Islam have been our mortal enemies for thousands of years. It would’ve been very convenient for us to just say that Jesus and Mohammed never existed, but we don’t say so because we know that they did. Jews saw them alive and on the cross, so we know.

    Also, without religion people are animals there can never be an atheist society that is moral and ethical. Christianity did take a lot of the spirit of our religion and brought it down to the barbarians and savages all over the world. It benefits humanity, so no need undermine it. Also, you shouldn’t forget that atheist or not at the end of the day you are a wandering Jew, and as such you shouldn’t attack the religion of the host country. When the challenged us to debates in the middle ages, we totally destroyed their arguments, but today they are our best friends here in America and we don’t need to shatter their spiritual world.

    Yakov

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • “there can never be an atheist society that is moral and ethical”

      There’s Sweden. http://www.thelocal.se/20150413/swedes-least-religious-in-western-world

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Won’t be “least religious” much longer.

        Mobutu

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Lion Sweden has historically been Christian. The very concept of charity and the welfare state would not even exist without Christianity. Even the Greek Philosophers realized that morality could not exist without Gods. The absence of higher powers precludes morality, in that without Gods your outlook would be strictly utilitarian in aspect and what you conceive of as moral would violate utilitarian aspects and principles.

        Joshua Sinistar

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Sweden isn’t a good example of a well functioning society. Their was a small window of time where they function well without Christianity but that window is rapidly closing. Muslims are predicted to be a majority there by 2050.

        Rosenmops

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Much like we learned from the debacle of Iraq, nature abhors a vacuum. When Christianity is removed, something else will inevitably fill the void. Secularism is a poor substitute for Faith. Its materialism and base consumerism it represents leaves a void in the people and culture which other more virulent religious forms can enter and fill. When Feminists start wearing Burkhas, that secular fantasy is wearing thin. Christianity is far more friendly to secular views than others. I suggest that you do not find its imminent demise satisfying.

        Joshua Sinistar

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  15. Rene Girard says that both testaments are *anti*-myths, and that the New is the culmination of the Old. Ramblings of a mad Frenchman?

    jsw

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  16. Joshua Sinister-

    “The thing I hate about Atheism is the built in Nihilism. Like Roy Batty played by Rutger Hauer who at the end of Blade Runner cannot face death because all the memories of his life will die with him and disappear like tears in the rain, that lack of spirituality and belief in higher powers or an afterlife, leads you to see life as futile. All your life seems futile and stupid if all the memories of it die with you”

    But not all religious systems posit an afterlife where your Self continues. Many of the more primitive African and South American religions saw no need for an afterlife at all. I suppose because for them the tribe was everything, and they lacked/lack a strong sense of Self and so didn’t worry too much about their own Self continuing in another form, as long as their tribe continued. Which on the face of it seems a much healthier attitude. Perhaps our need for an afterlife is simply a result of the illusion of continuity of Self taken to its furthest extreme? Perhaps it is the result of the more complex societies of the last 10,000 years in which people have taken on more defined roles in families, communities and working environments that has sharpened the false sense that they are something unique and worth preserving for eternity?

    Hinduism, Buddhism and various pagan religions all believe that the person you were in this life is destroyed and wiped away and that you come back as something entirely different. So to all intents and purposes that is the ‘death’ of your Self.

    So in fact, whilst the need for religion does seem to be universal, yout contention that people ‘need’ an afterlife in which their memories and sense of self are preserved is not really true. Given what we know about the brain now, and the way that our sense of self is really an illusion generated by the brain as a post-facto justifification for decisions it has already taken at a sub-conscious level, the idea that this thing called ‘Self’ could ever have carried on after death was always a bit dubious anyway.

    prolier than thou

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • Jews don’t have an afterlife. (At least none that was ever taught to me at Hebrew school.)

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • There’s that big kosher deli in the sky. Matzoh ball soup is half off on Sundays.

        Mobutu

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Lion, you were taught a bastardised and perverted version of Judaism. Afterlife us discussed in numerous sources: Mishna, Talmud, Midrash, Maimonides has a whole treatise on the subject.

        Chanting incantations in Hebrew without understanding the text like a mantra isn’t Judaism and you know it. You’ve read the Guide.

        Yakov

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • “Chanting incantations in Hebrew without understanding the text like a mantra isn’t Judaism and you know it. ”

        That’s the Judaism taught to me by Orthodox rabbis. You are saying they were teaching me something besides Judaism?

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Would you be reading French without understanding the meaning of the words? Do prayers have magical powers to accomplish changes in the Spiritual realm by virtue of mere recitation? Can mere recitation of a text without understanding it be considered prayer or study? And even if you think it can because of its supernatural qualitoes, why not learn the meaning of it? What sense does it make not to?

        I think those rabbies were incapable of educating the young generation and are responsible for their students turning away from Judaism that they had never known.

        Now tell me, if you were being taught French the way you were taught Hebrew, would you ever learn anything? I’m not very smart, but I can figure it out, why can’t you?

        Also, what kind of reasoning is this: ‘I wasn’t taught about afterlife in Hebrew school, therefore Judaism doesn’t believe in afterlife.’ Don’t you understand that you are just like a NAM that has graduated with a high school diploma but is illiterate and inumerate?

        Yakov

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • You don’t have to convince me that Hebrew school sucked.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • Yakov: Maimonides version of the afterlife was stupid. It was like a Jewish version of the Hindu/Buddhist nirvana.

      I’m not a big Maimonides fan. Old style 2nd Temple Judaism for me.

      Otis the Sweaty

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • What is you version of afterlife? Let’s hear.

        And, actually, what do you think was Maimonides’?

        Yakov

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • I don’t have a version of the afterlife, but I sure hope it isn’t a Jewish version of nirvana.

        I take the traditional Jewish position of saying we can’t know what it’s like so let’s not focus on it. But Maimonides really wanted to make Judaism into the “thinking man’s” religion so he was always saying stuff like “the afterlife is purely spiritual”. He also liked to play down the importance of biological descent in Judaism, which is why he is so appealing to flakey 21st century Jews.

        Otis the Sweaty

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • Look I never said all religions had an afterlife. I said Atheism is void of anything that replaces spiritualism or the belief that life has value. Secularism is a decadent crapfest disaster. It tells people we are an accident of nature, you should be selfish and not have children, and that materialism and the collection of stuff is all there is to life. That’s Nihilism in a nutshell. Live for Today, Nothing really matters, If it feels good do it… Its a downward spiral of debt and loneliness where wimmen hoard cats, people talk on Fakebook, and the Government downloads porn and watches women in the shower instead of catching terrorists and enforcing the law.

      Joshua Sinistar

      December 14, 2015 at EST pm

  17. Did Romulus and Remus benefit from elite privilege, since their father was TOOS, thus clearing the way for them to go to elite schools and work in value transference careers?

    shiva1008

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • Founding the world’s greatest city is surely a pretty high level of self-actualization.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • The world’s greatest city is obviously Jerusalem and this is why the whole world is fighting over it. Who is fighting over Rome? Who wants it?

        Yakov

        December 14, 2015 at EST pm

      • Today the world’s greatest city is New York. But for a pretty damn long span of many centuries, Rome was the greatest city in the world. One can perhaps make the case it was the greatest city even after the fall of the Roman Empire, throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 14, 2015 at EST pm

      • Lion, you have to explain what makes Rome or NY the greatest cities.

        I’m saying that Jerusalem is the heart and soul of the world. The world is fighting over inheriting it both physically and spirutualy – now and for thousands of years. UN doesn’t stop talking about partitioning the city, everyone wants a piece of it or the whole. Who cares about NY or Rome?

        So why is NY more important then Jerusalem? I want a real reason.

        Yakov

        December 15, 2015 at EST am

      • Jerusalem is a nothing city except that it has a site of significance to Jews and Muslims (although I always suspect the significance to Muslims is “ha ha this is where we took over your Temple and build a huge Mosque, ha ha ha”)

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 15, 2015 at EST am

  18. *My reaction was “whoa, this is nonsense!” And then I left the New Testament for Google where I tried to find out the truth, and of course all historians agree that there was never any such real event.

    The same historians who think that Jesus existed? You can’t cite a group as an authority in order to conclude that they’re wrong about something that falls within that authority.

    Lloyd Llewellyn

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  19. Propensity to believe in religious nonsense is genetic, although it takes many forms. I suspect that belief in climate change is fulfilling the same need among SWPLs as Christianity does for blue-collar whites.

    Also LOL at this.

    Lloyd Llewellyn

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  20. Lion – the Messiah is real and the Gospel is that death isn’t the end. You should give in to the hope that something so wonderful could be true.

    George

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  21. Lion, this is a serious error that no one should be making.

    The people who are all denying that Christ was a real person or that Mohammad was a real person are the same people that will tell you that Confucius was a real person. And that the Buddha was a real person. And that Karl Marx was a real person. And that George Washington was a real person. What is declared as “non-existing” exists on the same level of knowledge as what is declared as existing, so this assignation is entirely random.

    In fact, how do I even know that George Washington ever existed? How do I know that George Washington is not an American creation myth like Romulus and Remus? After all, I am told that George chopped down cherry trees in Virginia. I’m told he could not tell a lie (Really? He never lied? Even under interrogation?) Oh, and my favorite: he refused to be crowned king of the United States/ Gee, where have I heard that before? Oh, yes…the Roman general Cincinnatus also refused to be crowned Emperor, choosing, instead, the quiet life of a farmer.

    Now, I know that you would argue that a more contemporary account is more credible. Yet, why would this be the case? Unless the contemporary account was contemporaneous, someone that you have directly experienced, there is no reason to believe any account of George Washington’s existence is any more real than Christ’s. All you have are people who are regarded as authoritative by…other people…making claims that this or that is true. Why would the similarly authoritative claims of Christ’s existence be any less real than that of George Washington’s, given that Christ’s historical account is over 2,000 years old?

    Furthermore, Christianity was never a “mystery religion.” Christ was never a prophet or a founder of a city. Mystery religions were a dime a dozen. Prophets were a dime a dozen. City founders were a dime a dozen. Christ never claimed to be any of these. He claimed to be the Son of God. He preached the Word to the point of martyring himself in a slow and painful death. He was resurrected from his tomb. That is an entirely unique story, certainly more unique than a caravan-raiding pedophile.

    If Christ did not exist, than neither did George Washington.

    map

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • Buddha was not a real person. Don’t know about Confuciuos I haven’t researched it, would not be surprised if he were not real. Marx and Washington were real people, there are records.

      Dionysus, also son of a god and human woman, was killed by the Titans and then returned to life.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Yes. “Records.” And a record is merely a catalog of the real experiences of people who went through them. And what is the Bible? A catalog of the religious experiences of believers. in other words, a record.

        map

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  22. Better yet Lion…you need to look up Egyptian religion and Horus…
    The parallels are uncanny.

    George

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  23. Dear Lion, the Jesus story, like that of Romulus and Remus, conforms to the classical Indo-European Hero myth. The myth may actually have originated with the ancient Ice Age Eurasian hunter gatherers. See, Witzel, “The Origins of the World’s Mythologies,” Oxford, 2012.

    bob sykes

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  24. Lion still hasn’t presented any evidence of his thesis, so until there is a good, rational working theory on how Christianity was developed, formed, and spread without Jesus, and why the Apostles, who claimed to know Jesus personally, decided to be martyred rather than recant, “Jesus? Man, we just made that shizzle up!”

    Lion, you can believe that Jesus was a historical being without accepting that Christianity is real. The two are unconnected. From many of your comments in this thread you seem to put belief in a historical Jesus in the camp as weak people who need a sky god to make them feel better. Geez…or perhaps more appropriately, Jesus H Christ!

    Mike Street Station

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • I agree. Lion needs to stick to politics. I’m reminded of Larry Auster’s takedown of John Derbyshire’s narcissistic article announcing his apostasy, pointing out that, to paraphrase, while you can be a conservative and not be religious, you can’t be a conservative and be anti-religious. You can’t, or don’t want to, be a religious believer? Fine, don’t be–but keep it to yourself and don’t try spread irreligion. It’s hypocritical to say that one has no problem with others being religious, and that society in general needs religion, while using insults like “sky god” and “religious nonsense.”

      Hermes

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • “You can’t, or don’t want to, be a religious believer? Fine, don’t be–but keep it to yourself and don’t try spread irreligion.”

        One could make the same arguments for not writing about HBD>

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  25. “Atheism has built in nihilism.”

    I disagree with this, I think it’s just propaganda from religious people that atheists are all nuts and have no morals and are all hedonists and depressives.

    It’s simply not true, I’m not a religious type and I don’t go around hurting people or being a nihilist, etc.

    I have ancestors who were nuns/priests in the Catholic church, and my theory is that it used to be the only way for the intelligentsia to get an education if they weren’t nobility, so that is why they joined.

    The argument in defense of religion is not in any religious truth… Who cares if Jesus our Mohamed were real? It’s that religiosity leads to increased fertility and no athiest society has ever been able to sustain itself. Religion is good at building communities, atheism much less so.

    I know many less intelligent, less sociable, less attractive people than myself that I went to college with who are happily married to perfectly suitable partners, while myself the atheist am not married. I’m perfectly happy but I can see over time that their (likely more numerous) children will inherit the earth and religious people will continue to dominate.

    High intelligence and atheism and years of education and low fertility are all closely associated. The future portends the people of Walmart bickering over their interpretations of bible passages… Forever.

    Jjbees

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • Atheist morality is simply a parasitic copy of Christian morality, with a heavy dose of convenient exceptionalism.

      map

      December 14, 2015 at EST pm

      • I agree with you that modern-day morality adopted by both Jews and non-religious have been adopted from Christianity.

        But just because Christianity has some good stuff in it doesn’t mean that Jesus was a real historical person. Or just because I write about it on my blog doesn’t mean that I don’t disgree with the notion that belief in Christianity is good for the masses (vs. other worse alternatives).

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 14, 2015 at EST pm

      • But I think you are missing an epistemological point. The claims that Jesus existed are based on the same methods of knowledge that establish that George Washington existed. In both cases, the evidence is documentary and testimonial. You can certainly believe that Jesus never existed. You just can’t claim that to be true.

        map

        December 15, 2015 at EST am

      • There’s no eyewitness documentation of Jesus.

        There’s massive documentation of President Washington.

        Please get real.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 15, 2015 at EST am

      • No it’s not. You’re refusing to understand the argument.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 15, 2015 at EST pm

      • We, Jews, have a tradition that he existed we saw him live and die. This isn’t good enough?

        Yakov

        December 15, 2015 at EST pm

      • Yaakov, by historical standards the Jewish traditions about Christ are even less reliable than the Christian ones.

        anonit

        December 15, 2015 at EST pm

  26. But does an obviously made up origin story prove that the person himself never existed? There are countless examples of real historical people who had mythical origin stories ascribed to them. Also many cases of real historical figures making up mythical origin stories for themselves. The difference between Jesus being completely fabricated and Jesus being a real Jewish radical who had a mythic backstory created for him by his followers after his death doesn’t seem like that vast of a gulf to me and accepting that the backstory is indeed a myth doesn’t really clarify which possibility actually happened.

    PerezHBD

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  27. People have a need to understand why they exist and what the purpose of life is. Successful religions answer those questions for people.

    Kings and rulers need to convince their followers that they have a right to be the ruler. Most rulers claimed to be gods or selected by the god as a way to justify their position. Successful religions have moral standards that create an orderly society. The fact that moral standards come from “god” (or gods), adds more force to those standards than if they were just law.

    Religion has been an organizing principal of most successful nation states or empires. One of the exceptional things about the USA is it was founded without an official state religion.

    In most cases the elites know that religion is a crock made up to help control the masses. The elites, however, worship and pretend to believe in public, while in private they ignore the moral standards.

    mikeca

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • I don’t disagree with your comment.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • Edward Gibbon described this dynamic nicely in volume 1, chapter 2 of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:

      “The policy of the emperors and the senate, as far as it concerned religion, was happily seconded by the reflections of the enlightened, and by the habits of the superstitious, part of their subjects. 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. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord.”

      nebbish

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  28. Redundancy is the WEAKEST argument against the existence of Christ for the secular mind ONLY KNOWS redundant phenomena.

    thordaddy

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  29. And “jewish god”? How about everyone’s God?

    Mobutu

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  30. Yale professor Dale B. Martin explains the methods historians use in trying to identify what in the New Testament is historical and what is not.

    JA

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • Interesting how he wastes a bunch of time at the beginning of his talk describing how gospel stories that pretty much nobody thinks are true are not true. Then he highlights the querulous concerns of Christians (and anti-Christianist polemicists) who feel threatened or encouraged by these findings. But how these people feel about it is neither here nor there. “So scholars have to be very careful”. What a strange thing to say! Scholars should be careful regardless, but he sure makes it sound like scholars need to be extra careful to avoid offending the sensibilities of Christians too badly. I suspect that’s fundamentally what’s going on. The median bible scholar is not very religious personally, but they are part of a club that includes many Christians and even more so is an inheritance from many past generations of Christians. Bible scholars are entirely willing to contradict some traditional Christian beliefs, but they have a sense of “propriety” that discourages them from going “too far”; they observe the slaughter rule.

      Then he goes straight from “so scholars have to be very careful” to declaring that post-Baur mythicists are all crazy bloggers on the internet (the latter part being a slur that is not only irrelevant but inaccurate: crazy or no, mythicists are obviously capable of publishing books, not just writing some blog posts. Price can’t seem to stop writing book after book). This does not indict his conclusion, but it’s an extremely unpromising way to get started explaining it. He expects us to believe not only that the large majority of scholars have agreed on a conclusion, but that their conclusion is so solid that it is simply incontrovertible! I call shenanigans.

      Note that in the above comments, I at no point argue that Dale B. Martin is stupid, or that he is being disingenuous, or that he is any more biased than people normally are, or that he doesn’t know vastly more about the NT than I do. I listened to this entire lecture series and I thought it was excellent. I know just enough about the topic to be aware that he has gone out on a tenuous limb when he says that his conclusion about Jesus’ historicity is not controvertible.

      Greg Pandatshang

      December 14, 2015 at EST pm

      • He’s devoted his life to studying the Bible, he doesn’t want to believe that he wasted all his life studying fiction made up by some Gospel-writers who stole most of the stuff from other sources.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 14, 2015 at EST pm

      • Once when introducing professor Gershon Sholem to the audience, Rabbi Hartman said: ‘We all know that Kaballah is nonsense, but the study of nonsense is science.’

        Yakov

        December 14, 2015 at EST pm

  31. Do any jews believe in an afterlife?

    jef

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • jef – to answer this it helps to understand Hebrew words, which confirm what the English translations do not quite make clear – based on my Bible reading, with lots of examinations of the original Hebrew words, I feel confident that the writer of Job (Solomon) believed in an afterlife (I know my Redeemer liveth); the writer of the Tanakh believed in an afterlife for at least some people (it is clear that Abel and Melchizedek and Jacob and Moses saw the Lord, and once you see the Lord you are an immortal – shall I see the face of the Lord and live?); the writer of the historical books stated that Elijah ascended to heaven on a chariot (that is, at least the ancient equivalent of a Prius, and maybe a Harley or a Beemer – my Hebrew is not sufficiently up to speed); and Isaiah, Jeremiah, and several of the other prophets stated, in words that they ascribed to divine inspiration, that they had hope in the Lord: that is, that they *would* see the Lord. As they did not see the triumph of Israel on this earth, they were speaking of a life after this life. By the way, Jewish rabbis are not (unlike Christian preachers and priests) given the job of explaining the afterlife to people – their beautiful humility in addressing only things of this world is, in its way, pleasing to God, because this world, with all its faults, is, in fact, nothing less than a faulty reflection of the eternal world. But please don’t think that the rabbinical reluctance to talk about an afterlife is a factor one way or another in what you, as a child of God, should think: they have their job (which is to keep Jews from acting in non-Jewish ways while said Jews are on this earth) and you have your job (which is to honor the Lord and reflect on his eternal goodness). Anyway, I really think lots of people, not just Lion, are punking their readers when they claim not to believe in an afterlife. I have been around lots of self-described doubters in intense moments of their life (beer, whiskey, worries about family, fear about their health) and it is much more common for people who believe in eternal life to say that they do not believe in eternal life than vice versa. FWIW, my guess is that few people who have studied Roman language and civilization find the Massacre of the Innocents implausible. The fact that lots of people say it is implausible reflects on those people, not on the reality of the world as it was 60 generations ago, where that kind of evil nonsense surfaced again and again.

      howitzer daniel

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • All Jews believe in the afterlife.

      Yakov

      December 14, 2015 at EST am

  32. Even if Jesus had been a real person, there remains the fundamental question whether His sacrificial death washed away mankind’s Original Sin, thereby opening the gates of heaven and everlasting life to us imperfect, morally challenged mortals. For Christianity, that’s pretty much the whole ball of wax.

    Mark Caplan

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • That in a nutshell.

      Half Canadian

      December 14, 2015 at EST pm

  33. Lion, your problem is you are far too definite. Do you really believe there is no chance whatsoever that there was a real Jesus? Not even one in a million or a billion?

    Even if one grants your claim that there is no independent (non-Christian) evidence that Jesus existed the fact remains that an extensive Jesus myth developed. A substantial fraction of such myths are based on real people so how can you be so confident that this one wasn’t.

    Consider popular songs about outlaws. Some such outlaws are wholly invented others are based on real people. Good luck trying to tell the difference in 2000 years.

    You make the same mistake with global warming. Just because the alarmists exaggerate the evidence doesn’t mean there is nothing to worry about at all.

    James B. Shearer

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

  34. The religious mind:

    Feature or bug?

    If you weigh the evidence, it seems to be in favor.

    jjbees

    December 13, 2015 at EST pm

    • You’re ignoring all the weird and stupid stuff people believe in. Or Islam for that matter.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 13, 2015 at EST pm

      • Emotion leads, “belief” and “reason” follow.

        SQ

        December 14, 2015 at EST am

  35. Yakov

    December 14, 2015 at EST am

  36. Not only did Jesus and Mohammed existed, but there was a reason for their appearance. Here is what Maimonides writes:
    Can there be a greater stumbling block than this (Christianity)? That all the prophets spoke that the Messiah will redeem Israel and save them, and gather their dispersed and strengthen their Mitzvos, and this (one, i.e., Jesus) caused the Jews to be destroyed by the sword, and scattered their remnants and humbled them, and exchanged the Torah, and caused the majority of the world to err to serve a god other than the Lord. [11] Nevertheless, the thoughts of the Creator of the world are not within the power of man to reach them, ‘for our ways are not His ways, nor are our thoughts His thoughts.’ And all these matters of Jesus of Nazareth and that of the Ishmaelite who arose after him are only to straighten the way of the king Messiah and to fix the entire world, to serve God as one, as it is stated (Zephaniah 3:9), “For then I will turn to the peoples (into) clear speech, to all call in the name of G-d and serve Him unanimously. [12] How (will this come about)? The entire world has already become filled with the mention of the Messiah, with words of Torah and words of mitzvos and these matters have spread to the furthermost isles, to many nations of uncircumcised hearts, and they discuss these matters and the mitzvot of the Torah. Some say: “These mitzvoth are true, but were already nullified in the present age and are not applicable for all time.” Others say: “Hidden matters are in them (mitzvos) and they are not to be taken literally, and the messiah has already come and revealed their hidden (meanings). And when the true Messiah stands, and he is successful and is raised and exalted, immediately they all will retract and will know that fallacy they inherited from their fathers, and that their prophets and fathers caused them to err.”

    He says that although Christianity and Islam are not true, they have played a part in the Divine scheme for the redemption of the whole of humanity by spreading some sort of ethical monotheism involving an albeit incorrect idea of Messiah, Torah and Mitzvot. Although Islam and Christianity are part of the overall process leading to the redemption their imperfect ethical monotheism will be rectified in the future.

    Yakov

    December 14, 2015 at EST am

    • Wasn’t Maimonides a member of the court of Mehmet II?

      map

      December 15, 2015 at EST am

      • Why it matters?

        Yakov

        December 15, 2015 at EST pm

  37. Christian historians like to say pagan history is nothing but stories, and are generally quite wrong.

    It would have helped if they didn’t destroy the libraries of the Ancient World and burnt dissenters at the stake for 1,500 years.

    Robert

    December 14, 2015 at EST am

    • Not all of those pagans were literate, and not all of them were peaceful.

      Half Canadian

      December 14, 2015 at EST pm

  38. “Propensity to believe in religious nonsense. . .”

    Depends on how you define religious. I’m not observant, but I am extremely spiritual (not in the dating profile kind of way, I think).

    Meaning I have ability for abstract thinking and metaphysical thinking. It’s an ability to think beyond the corporeal and into the Platonic Forces of the Universe. Existentialism, then nature of man, the cycle of things, etc.

    It’s not a far skip from that to belief in a higher power beyond/behind the universe. Nor is it a far skip from there to to believe in a doctrinaire religion.

    There’s a saying (I can’t remember verbatim) that goes along the lines of a rational man spends his whole life climbing the mountaintop of wisdom to only find a bunch of wild-eyed mystics who’ve been all ready there a long time before.

    fakeemail

    December 14, 2015 at EST pm

  39. The real test of Christian belief isn’t believing that Jesus lived at all.

    It’s believing that he was resurrected LITERALLY and not merely metaphorically. That’s the real leap of faith and the crux of Christianity.

    fakeemail

    December 14, 2015 at EST pm

  40. A commenter mentioned Romulus and Remus. Modern historians “have long since dismissed the story as a charming legend” (to quote from a NY Times article) even though a few renegades make a hobby of trying to prove otherwise. Nevertheless, in ancient Rome, everyone believed that they were real people (and apparently, even today, there are people in Rome who believe they were real). Just as Christians believe that Jesus was a real person.

    The problem with your theory is that if it were true the apostles would have had to convince many Israelite converts that someone they never knew of and whom no one heard preach (exist the apostles) existed around the time Jesus supposedly taught. How do the apostles convince Israelites of 40-70 B.C. that a non-existent Jesus existed? Wouldn’t Israelites (and pagan Romans loyal to Nero) know nobody with that name was around at the time?

    The Undiscovered Jew

    December 14, 2015 at EST pm

    • People believed all kind of dumb stuff. Hey, even today, you have people believing the Angel Moroni was real and talked to Joseph Smith and gave him some gold tablets (which are conveniently lost or something like that).

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 14, 2015 at EST pm

    • People believed all kind of dumb stuff. Hey, even today, you have people believing the Angel Moroni was real and talked to Joseph Smith and gave him some gold tablets

      The apostles didn’t say Jesus was a ghost who appeared only to them.

      They said Jesus gave sermons before substantial crowds of followers, ignited political and religious controversy among Roman and Pharisee elites, visited the most important temple in Judaism, and toured the great cities of Israel. If he never existed those public appearances didn’t either and the apostles would have no answer to living witnesses who never heard of this person.

      How would the apostles have explained his lack of public appearances – which they said happened frequently – if Israelites and Romans couldn’t remember at least some them?

      The Undiscovered Jew

      December 14, 2015 at EST pm

      • “The apostles didn’t say Jesus was a ghost who appeared only to them.”

        The apostles didn’t say anything at all. They never wrote anything down that we know of. Part of the myth probably. Everything Jesus allegedly did or said was invented by Gospel writers a century after his alleged death.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 14, 2015 at EST pm

      • If by “the apostles” you mean the Twelve, then what Lion said.

        Paul was a self-described apostle who almost everyone agrees was the earliest Christian writer we know of. He has literally nothing to say about Jesus giving any sermons or appearing to anyone before his death.

        Greg Pandatshang

        December 15, 2015 at EST am

      • I’m amazed at the lack of google-fu displayed in the comments on this post and the previous one. Lion is following the advice to not attack Christianity by not spoon-feeding you arguments for mythicism that are available all over the web, but why doesn’t someone else (besides Greg) just google a bit before repeatedly begging the question with arguments based on the (alleged) myths themselves?

        anonit

        December 15, 2015 at EST am

      • The apostles didn’t say anything at all. They never wrote anything down that we know of. Part of the myth probably. Everything Jesus allegedly did or said was invented by Gospel writers a century after his alleged death.

        If by “the apostles” you mean the Twelve, then what Lion said.

        Wrong.

        The earliest Gospels are dated around 65-80 B.C. Whoever the authors were make clear Jesus attracted attention in Israel. There’s no way the earliest Christian evangelists would write about those public sermons in the middle of the first century if someone named Jesus didn’t really exist, if for no other reason than there would be too many contemporary Israelites and Roman government officials who would have been living in Israel at the time and know there was no one who met that description preaching from 20-35 B.C.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 15, 2015 at EST pm

      • People were even more gullible back than they are now. And there wasn’t anything like the internet where people could post about how the Christians made up a fake history. So even though a few people realized that the Gosples are a big whopper, they couldn’t get the word out to the masses.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 15, 2015 at EST pm

      • Undiscovered: regardless of the dating of the Gospels, it’s clear from the silence about them in other documents (for example, the Epistles) that they weren’t circulating widely in 80 CE. The people who might have said “no it didn’t happen that way” (or at all) hadn’t read them.

        anonit

        December 15, 2015 at EST pm

      • Undiscovered: regardless of the dating of the Gospels, it’s clear from the silence about them in other documents (for example, the Epistles) that they weren’t circulating widely in 80 CE.

        The early Christians were seeking converts and certainly using the basic points of what became the synoptic gospels in their arguments. One of those points, whether expressed orally or in written literature, was Jesus’ public sermons in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel. If Jesus didn’t exist then those sermons wouldn’t have happened and there would be too many living Israelites and Romans who could say nothing of the sort happened between 25 and 35 B.C.

        People were even more gullible back than they are now. And there wasn’t anything like the internet where people could post about how the Christians made up a fake history.

        A large percentage of the population of Israel would have been alive at the time Jesus’ sermons would have taken place. If Jesus didn’t exist there would be no sermons and his non-existence would have featured in persecution campaigns against the early Christians. But not even Nero’s regime claimed he wasn’t real.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 15, 2015 at EST pm

      • “The early Christians were seeking converts and certainly using the basic points of what became the synoptic gospels in their arguments.”

        By “certainly” you seem to mean “if I beg the question.” Certainly if the Gospel stories were true and the early Christians had heard them, we might conclude that they were seeking converts and talking about Christ’s earthly ministry as described in the Gospels while doing so. But there’s no evidence that this actually happened in the first century CE. Where, for example, does Paul use “the basic points of what became the synoptic gospels in [his] arguments”?

        anonit

        December 16, 2015 at EST am

      • Certainly if the Gospel stories were true and the early Christians had heard them, we might conclude that they were seeking converts and talking about Christ’s earthly ministry as described in the Gospels while doing so. But there’s no evidence that this actually happened in the first century CE.

        They were actively seeking converts since there were enough of them in Rome by the time of Nero for the Emperor to persecute them, and there’s no evidence they were giving a marketing pitch different from what would appear in the Gospels one to three decades later.

        Do you have any evidence the early leadership of Christianity ever said Jesus did not give public sermons and attract political controversy during his life?

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 16, 2015 at EST pm

      • No one recorded early Christian sermons.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 16, 2015 at EST pm

      • “Do you have any evidence the early leadership of Christianity ever said Jesus did not give public sermons and attract political controversy during his life?”

        No, but they also failed to say that he wasn’t a penguin, yet no one claims he must have been a penguin because no one ever said he wasn’t. The fact is that the Epistle writers and other early Christians never mention Jesus preaching or being political, nor do they attribute their faith in him to having heard his preaching (or accounts of his preaching). Instead they frequently attribute it to direct revelation. Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus is just the most egregious example.

        anonit

        December 17, 2015 at EST pm

      • Indeed, not a single firsthand account of anyone who heard Jesus say anything. You’d think if he were such an amazing preacher who inspired a religion, someone would have written about it firsthand and it would have been preserved as the base documents of the religion. But that never happened. The earliest known Christian writings are the Epistles which don’t talk about Christ as a person anyone ever saw.

        And only in Galatians does Paul mention seeing any of Christ’s apostles. Maybe he made it up because he was trying to spread a religion? You really can’t take anything Paul wrote as the absolute historic truth given his motives.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 17, 2015 at EST pm

      • No one recorded early Christian sermons.

        It’s not a matter of recording them word for word. If Jesus preached sometime around 25-35 BC there would be living witnesses around for the rest of the first century who could at least corroborate whether someone who met Jesus’ description was drawing crowds in Israel at that time.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        December 17, 2015 at EST am


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