Mod+ 275. MARK VERNON, IS CHRISTIANITY WORTH SAVING?

#22
From the transcript:
" I sent you a couple of links that we won’t get into but Joseph Atwill has I think done an outstanding job of pointing out the obvious and glaring problems. I think Acharya S. (D.M. Murdock) is another person I’ve had on."

Alex, can you post the links here?

. Although I can't say I have heard the arguments by those mentioned by Alex, I will take the time to analyse them.
Also look at how those who disagree with Atwill and Murdock reply to their work. You can find responses to their work using google. Sometimes arguments that sound convincing are easily refuted.
 
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#23
If you were following Jesus the Christ, then, what would you call yourself?
That's a non-question. My point was that Jesus wasn't following himself. However, that's my view. Others way see things as they see fit. This isn't a case of trying to propose that there is only one right way of looking at things. Exactly the opposite one might say.
 
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#24
That's a non-question. My point was that Jesus wasn't following himself. However, that's my view. Others way see things as they see fit. This isn't a case of trying to propose that there is only one right way of looking at things. Exactly the opposite one might say.
You argue "Jesus was not a Christian, and for me that's sufficient reason to not want to be part of it."
And that the first part means "My point was that Jesus wasn't following himself"

Therefore, since it is logically impossible for anyone to follow themselves, you have therefore sufficient reason for any conclusion you want!!
 
#25
Here are some articles from William Lane Craig's web site advocating the historical accuracy of the Gospels and articles that criticize the arguments that the Gospels were invented myths.

False Claims in the Popular Press
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/false-claims-in-the-popular-press

Jesus and Pagan Mythology
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/jesus-and-pagan-mythology

Articles on Jesus of Nazareth as a historical figure, focusing on the historicity of his resurrection from the dead.
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/scholarly-articles/historical-jesus

The Evidence for Jesus
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-evidence-for-jesus
 
#26
If you were following Jesus the Christ, then, what would you call yourself?
I dunno: we'd need a name that distinguished it from the organised religion: maybe Yeshuite? Jesus or Yeshua just lived his life, and if we are to accept the NT story, did things in response to real-life situations. Christians came to institutionalise some of these: e.g. communion institutionalised the last supper, baptism institutionalised what John the Baptist did to him, and so on. Moreover, the church institutionalised a moral system and justified that by linking it to its interpretation of various events in the OT and NT.

It's a largely constructed relationship--of what Yeshua is reported to have said and done--to the institution of the Church. If there's a real Christianity, it consists in modelling one's life and views on those of Yeshua, insofar as one could ever know and understand those.

The church became a mighty edifice in its own right and took on a life of its own, divorced in varying degrees from the nature of the man who was purportedly its founder. I mean, look high and low in the NT and you won't find a church remotely resembling what men eventually constructed (thereby sucking the life out of the story of Yeshua and making a parody of it).

If one thinks about Yeshua independently of any church structure; tries to determine how he lived his life; asks oneself why he behaved as he did; how one too can attempt to live that way, then that is the essence of Christianity: an imitatio Christi of sorts transposed to present-day society. In other words, it's an attempt to live in harmony with his world view were he alive today.

This would be very far from most institutionalised churches, with all their pomp and circumstance. Yeshua probably wouldn't recognise or condone them. He'd be off doing his business despite and not because of them. This is how I took Typoz's statement that "Jesus was not a Christian"; the term is what we apply to a body dispensing a dense and massive overgrowth of doctrine and dogma fashioned, largely, to keep people's behaviour in check and ensure the dominance of a select class of administrators/clerics.

Fact is, that without the institution, Yeshua reportedly said what he said and did what he did. It's very interesting: why did he behave that way? If one can get at that, internalise it, and apply it to all one's actions, then IMO one is nearer the true spirit of Christianity.
 
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#27
Are there any qualified scholars who agree with Atwill and Murdock? Even for global warming, parapsychology, psychical research, cold fusion, you can find qualified people among those holding non-mainstream views.
 
#29
Can someone help me get up to speed on this subject ...

What was the supposed motivation for the Romans to create a new religion?

Did they just fake the gospels or the entire new testament?

Were the books supposedly created by one versatile author capable of different styles or by different authors?

Was Jesus in on the conspiracy or is he a completely fictitious character?

Did they just put the books out in book stores or did they have con men pretending to be evangelists and start fake churches throughout the known world with con men pretending to be teachers?

Is the line of conspirators still in control in Rome, in the Vatican?

I'm not trying to be sarcastic just trying to figure out what the practical implications of theory are.

Thanks
 
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#31
With all due respect for Alex, this is simply a dumb avenue to travel down. Christianity is not going away. Beyond that "should it be saved?" is like asking " is chocolate the best flavor ice-cream?" Why not ask "is vanilla the best?" Or in this case "Should Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Wicca, Materialism or whatever be saved?"
I don't think the podcast discussed this as a project - just as an abstract what-if sort of question.

Listening to the podcast, I tended to side with Alex - who is obviously frustrated with Christianity - though Mark's views didn't seem so very different. The problem with Christianity and Islam particularly is that they are rather like a badly constructed nuclear reactor. Useful (maybe) when working well, but liable occasionally to explode in the most disastrous ways. It is worth bearing in mind that Jesus Christ is also a major prophet in Islam - think about that when you read about the latest atrocities of ISIS.

Proponents of Christianity almost always start in effect by defining Christianity so as to exclude all the parts they don't like. Rupert Sheldrake is a Christian, but I'll bet thee are many churches that he would refuse to worship in - the one that used to be run by Rev. Fred Phelps, for example!

David
 
#32
have you guys listened to the podcast... not a requirement... it just is a different conversation for those who have.

Mark's dialogs with Rupert might also be relevant to the conversation.
I now listened to podcast and admit I got an different impression about the content of this interview, it isn't an out right attack on Christianity but a mixture of a defence of its spiritual worth and an attack on its approach to certain ways it could do better moving forward.

It was a mind expanding and open and honest interview. There were many interesting points made.



My response to atheists bringing something positive to the table, would be summed up like this,


He that wrestles with us, strengthens our nerves and sharpens our wits, our antagonist is our helper

- Edmund Burke




Overall this was an enjoyable interview.
 
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#33
If there's a real Christianity, it consists in modelling one's life and views on those of Yeshua, insofar as one could ever know and understand those.
If I might expand on this. I don't think this involves studying ancient texts in microscopic detail in order to uncover the answers. To do that would be backward-looking. Instead I propose that we may find current answers, today from various sources, not least of which is direct inner knowledge. One of the most painful and disruptive experiences of my life took place when I tried to use logic, and advice from other well-meaning and trusted people to find a way forward. All along my own intuition including dreams was giving more accurate and useful direction. This said with the benefit of years of hindsight. But I know nowadays that when in doubt, to trust my own intuition.
 
#34
If I might expand on this. I don't think this involves studying ancient texts in microscopic detail in order to uncover the answers. To do that would be backward-looking. Instead I propose that we may find current answers, today from various sources, not least of which is direct inner knowledge. One of the most painful and disruptive experiences of my life took place when I tried to use logic, and advice from other well-meaning and trusted people to find a way forward. All along my own intuition including dreams was giving more accurate and useful direction. This said with the benefit of years of hindsight. But I know nowadays that when in doubt, to trust my own intuition.
Jesus represents a certain kind of spiritual awareness, whether or not he personally did or said everything reported in the NT: an awareness that manifests itself in love and compassion, something most of us find very hard outside our immediate circle of family and friends. It's a picture of someone of great knowledge--and the courage arising from that--in the face of ignorance.

It's useful to meditate on that, and to try to emulate it. In the beginning, it's an effort, but with practice, we can begin to experience a little of how and where it originates. We can have little victories where we manage to refrain from making the usual thoughtless response, thereby noticing that most of the way we behave is automatic. Practice like this makes us realise that we are beings of free will who can control our reactions, which in time, can come to arise from a different centre, where we can see others as they have the potential to be.

IMO, the story of Jesus is one of overcoming the ego; he's portrayed as being permanently centred in this place of freedom. For some, being subjected to compassion in the face of their automatism effected change; for others, they weren't ready, and, so the story goes, they crucified him.

Literally true or not, the story is instructive: every day, we indulge in little crucifixions of others, and they, of us. But if we can accept their crucifixions and resist the temptation to reply in like kind, as well as avoiding the temptation to congratulate ourselves for our forbearance (just another ego-based response), we can nurture increased freedom of action.

This is a living teaching: it isn't about "studying ancient texts in microscopic detail". You and I can apply it right now, in this very moment. Maybe your intuition has led you to this discovery independently of Christianity: but somehow I doubt that. I think it likely that the story, which you're aware of, has had some part to play in shaping your responses to others.
 
#35
Maybe your intuition has led you to this discovery independently of Christianity: but somehow I doubt that. I think it likely that the story, which you're aware of, has had some part to play in shaping your responses to others.
Of course, I was not claiming any unique personal discovery. Only that we need to look to today, not yesterday.
 
#36
I don't think the podcast discussed this as a project - just as an abstract what-if sort of question.

Listening to the podcast, I tended to side with Alex - who is obviously frustrated with Christianity - though Mark's views didn't seem so very different.

[]
Perhaps. But the rest of your post reinforces my point. If one doesn't resonate with Christianity - don't be a Christian. As I mentioned before, everything said in the interview and now all the comments you made can be applied to any religion or viewpoint. It's a subtle "I don't like that so no one should do it" approach. And given the fact that there are so many different versions of Christianity it becomes an exercise in the ridiculous.
 
#37
http://www.skeptiko.com/241-joseph-atwill-repsonds-to-caesars-messiah-critics/
So first of all, the question I want to ask is if that is accurate? Does your theory hinge on there being no historical evidence for Christianity prior to 73 A.D.?

Joseph Atwill: Well no, in fact there was Christianity prior to 73. It of course depends on how you’re using the term. I would say that the messianic movement that rebelled against Rome was a kind of Christianity. Christ simply means ‘anointed’ in Greek and it is just referring to the relationship between a Jewish leader and God.
How does Atwill reconcile this with the fact that Paul's letters referring to Jesus were written before 66 AD the year Paul died. Many of these letters are considered genuine by most scholars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_epistles#Authenticity)

http://www.biblestudytools.com/nkjv/romans/
Romans 1 NKJV
1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in
the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was
born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the
Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.​
 
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#38
http://www.skeptiko.com/241-joseph-atwill-repsonds-to-caesars-messiah-critics/
So the character Jesus Christ has this odd prophecy about somebody calls the Son of Man, which is a Messianic title, and he states he is going to come during the Roman war. He says that when this guy comes you are going to have a Jerusalem encircled, the temple complex will be raised, the abomination of desolation will occur. And these events will occur before the generation that Jesus is talking to passes away. Now this is 40 years, that is the length of time of a generation in Hebraic literature. So basically he is saying that before Passover 73 the Son of Man will come and he will do these things. And these are all events from the Roman Jewish war and in 40 years in fact someone comes and does all these things. That is the individual Titus Flavius,
The prophesy also warns people about false Christs and says that the real one will descend from heaven accompanied by angles.


https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/24?lang=eng
1 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples
came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to
them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down." 3
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" 4 And Jesus answered and said
to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My
name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear
of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise
against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the
beginning of sorrows. 9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill
you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. 10 And then
many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
12 And
because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But
he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the
kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. 15 "Therefore when you see the 'abomination
of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 then let those who are in
Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go
down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field
not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and
to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight
may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great
tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no
flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. 23 Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not
believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great
signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have
told you beforehand. 26 Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the
desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it.
27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so
also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is,
there the eagles will be gathered together. 29 "Immediately after the
tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven,
and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And
He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32 "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch
has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near--at
the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass
away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away,
but My words will by no means pass away. 36 "But of that day and hour no
one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as
the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38
For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did
not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will
be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one
will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know
what hour your Lord is coming.
43 But know this, that if the master of the
house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be
ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 45 "Who
then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant
whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. 47 Assuredly, I say to
you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. 48 But if that evil
servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' 49 and begins
to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, 50 the
master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, 51 and will cut him in two and
appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

There are a couple of points I don't understand. According to Atwill this was written as a vanity for Titus, but later used by Constantine to manipulate the masses. According to Atwill the Christians before Titus were not followers of Jesus they were just various messianic cults.

1) How did the Gospels written as a vanity for Titus become adopted by Christians? Did any Christians ever recognize Titus as the Christ? If so, how did that recognition get lost from the religion? Wouldn't it have been important to Constantine? If no Christians ever recognized Titus as the Christ, why did they accept Jesus from the "fake" Gospels but not Titus?

2) Why did this vanity for Titus warn people to look out for false Christs and to recognize the real one because he will descend from heaven accompanied by angles, and at that time there will be what seems to be the rapture when some will be taken and others not? Who would recognize Titus as the Christ? How did Titus descend from the heavens with angles?
 
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#39
This is such a complicated loaded question to answer, I don't even know where to begin, so I guess I'll speak from experience: I've spent most of my life a part of the church. It has benefited myself and others, but after leaving it behind a couple of years ago, I felt like a huge weight was lifted. Attempting to be positive, I haven't stopped to really contemplate the ways it was damaged myself or others. I see it as an imperfect system that was better than nothing and rafted me across the river. My current paradigm feels so right and good and better than the fundamentalist Christian paradigm. But I don't know how I would have gotten here without going through that. It is a question I think about a lot considering what will happen if I raise children. By teaching them what I know now (or think I know) am I truly giving them a pain-saving shortcut or would I be denying them a critical part of their developmental journey? I could never be a part of a fundamentalist church again without stirring up all kinds of problems, but I have considered looking for a non-fundamentalist church to occasionally attend, which is strange because when I was a fundamentalist I had a lot of disdain for the wishy-washy insincere Christians who didn't go by exactly what the Bible said. They weren't really serious about Truth and just wanted a social club, I thought. Since I am more familiar with Christianity than any other religion and know the Bible inside and out, it makes sense for me to try and reform it from the inside rather than leave it behind altogether. Just not sure I'm ready to jump back into it yet!
 
#40
Can someone help me get up to speed on this subject ...

What was the supposed motivation for the Romans to create a new religion?

Did they just fake the gospels or the entire new testament?

Were the books supposedly created by one versatile author capable of different styles or by different authors?

Was Jesus in on the conspiracy or is he a completely fictitious character?

Did they just put the books out in book stores or did they have con men pretending to be evangelists and start fake churches throughout the known world with con men pretending to be teachers?

Is the line of conspirators still in control in Rome, in the Vatican?

I'm not trying to be sarcastic just trying to figure out what the practical implications of theory are.

Thanks
I think we hammered away at a lot of these questions in the original thread. to recap... I may not be totally on board with all of the Atwill's theories, but the literary parallels he shows between the gospels and Josephus' War of the Jews are stunning. This alone is a total game changer for Bible believers. If you want to continue the discussion in the original thread I will try to follow along.
 
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