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  #121  
Old 14th February 2018, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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Darwinsbulldog said View Post
A lot of North Koreans seem to think that Kim Jong-un is the real deal too. Yeah, he exists, but is he a god? The bible has no significance in or of itself, but rather what believers think about its "truth". The NT is just hearsay.
Absolutely it's just hearsay. I can't understand how many people are convinced about the stories in the NT on such weak evidence. Re JC we have fictitious and symbolic Bible stories that are copies of copies of copies, nil contemporaneous evidence, no eye-witnesses, only 1 fiddled-with mention in the entire 1st century and the rest of the mentions from the 2nd century onward are all hearsay.

What's left? Contended grammatical phrases, "brother of the Lord", "according to the flesh" and bullshit "descended from David" prophesies.

I understand that it is normally best to leave questions that you have no educational qualifications in to the consensus of opinion of the experts. That normally works. They have studied the texts and have skills way beyond the layman to make considered judgments. But what if the experts have a strong cognitive bias based on emotional pressures such as career stability to conform with the rest?
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  #122  
Old 14th February 2018, 10:08 PM
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

@ Toejam, GM, or anyone else here that believes that the historical Jesus of the Bible existed.

These are my strongest points that he probably never existed:

1. There was no occupied Nazareth in the time of the historical Jesus, so there was no "Jesus of Nazareth". There are tombs buried just metres from Mary's bedroom and on the hill sides where Nazareth was supposed to have been built. After over 100 years of digging in that location, no evidence of any human occupation at the time of Jesus had been found. Just over 18 months after Renee Salm published his book, The Myth Of Nazareth: The Invented Town Of Jesus, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of a house from the time of Christ, on a property next to the Church of the Annunciation.

2. The title "Jesus of Nazareth" was not based on any evidence of location, it was invented to circumvent polemics on the Nazarene cult.
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  #123  
Old 14th February 2018, 10:38 PM
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

^Those are pretty weak reasons. The historical Jesus's existence does not depend on him having come from Nazareth.
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  #124  
Old 14th February 2018, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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@ Toejam, GM, or anyone else here that believes that the historical Jesus of the Bible existed.
"[H]istorical Jesus of the Bible" is a loaded phrase, as is the term "believes". These are reasons why I don't see any point in the discussion, and why I gave it away. I don't "believe" any such thing, I'm just not convinced by Mythicist arguments and am repulsed by the intellectual dishonesty that seems manifest in them, specifically the attribution of patently inaccurate positions such as this to anyone who doesn't swallow the ludicrous fantasy wholesale.

For the sake of, "Fuck it, I'll say it again, Sam," I don't fucking care. The question of whether there was a bloke who formed the irritation around whom the cult of Christianity accreted or not matters not one whit to me, and it baffles me why it matters to anyone. It doesn't matter to me, because Christianity is fucking cockwaffle from first principles, but that doesn't stop Christians existing, which means it doesn't matter to Christians either.

It only seems to matter to people who desperately want Jesus to have never existed, for some reason. I'm quite comfortable operating on the assumption that he was probably a fucking nutjob whose cult gained traction when Paul (another nutjob) siezed control of it. It's not like they were short of nutjobs. And it's not like we're short of cults. I've had friends who've started cults. Most of them not successful, but then I've had friends who've started businesses, mostly unsuccessful.

But again, I don't really care. I don't understand why anyone would give the first shit about my validation of their poorly-educated opinion regarding the existence or non- of a mendicant Judean preacher from two millennia past whose existence or otherwise categorically changes nothing. No one cares one way or the other. Religion is still just fucking stupid for five hundred reasons. Jesus is a footnote.
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  #125  
Old 14th February 2018, 11:16 PM
toejam toejam is offline
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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What's left? Contended grammatical phrases, "brother of the Lord", "according to the flesh" and bullshit "descended from David" prophesies.
Contrary to what you might read from Carrier, there really isn't much contention over Paul's description of his meeting with Jesus' brother James. Similarly, there really isn't much contention over phrases like "according to the flesh". You don't have to believe that Jesus really was "descended from David", but it's clear that such language reflects Paul's belief in Jesus' former humanity.

You're the one left making the contentions over grammar when the normal readings are satisfactory in and of themselves. You're left drifting into conspiracy theory, claiming that the Israeli government were involved in faking the discovery of a 1st century Nazareth house and that Paul never even existed. You're left claiming that scholars who think there was a historical Jesus are only doing so due to cognitive biases and job security. You have to do better than that.
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  #126  
Old 15th February 2018, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

[QUOTE=Goldenmane;609381]"[H]istorical Jesus of the Bible" is a loaded phrase, as is the term "believes". These are reasons why I don't see any point in the discussion, and why I gave it away.

But you don't "give it away". You add your two cents worth and then are silent when I question you on the key points of your arguments. If there is no point in the discussion why do you continually interject? Let me remind you of this just in this thread:

You stated;
Quote:
Goldenmane said
Cults get started around actual people all the goddamned time. That's what's got me fucked: why anyone finds it difficult to believe that Christianity could have started the same way.
I responded;
Quote:
The problem in saying that is that there are cults that get started with no leaders and they don't seem to be necessary to gain traction and be followed. A classic example are the Cargo Cults and the fictional Ned Ludd. There are even UFO cults according to Richard Carrier. According to him in the ground breaking book, On The History of Jesus, historicizing mythical founders is actually anthropologically normal, and is driven by its polemical advantages (pp. 352-53).
You later stated;
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So how is it "more parsimonious" for the founder of a cult to have been wholly invented at a later date, rather than a bloke who garnered a small following of fanatics that persisted after he died long enough for some other fucking fruitloop to take over and market it more successfully?
I responded;
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Also GM, consider that Christianity, Islam and Mormonism were technically started by the fictional characters Gabriel and Moroni.

You responded;
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Oh, we're doing that are we?

I have no time for that sort of disingenuous fuckery. You know full well that the religions in question are considered to be founded by Yeshua, Mohammed, and Smith, and at least the first two revere those founders as central messianic figures and godlike.

Fuck me gently with a chainsaw, we'll be opening a fucking theology school next.
I returned with;
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Chainsaws aren't necessary to fuck you, who started all three if it wasn't the claimed angels?

1. Gabriel the alleged messenger from God started it all when he/she announced to Mary the magical birth of Jesus

2. The same messenger AKA "Jibrail" supposedly appeared to Mohammed in a cave and demanded that he become the scribe, even though he was supposed to be illiterate

3. The angel Moroni initially (allegedly) appeared in front of Joseph Smith and also demanded that he become the scribe.

I submit that all three religions started off with fictional characters. Am I right?
I reckon that I was correct in saying the above but you were silent. Later we get this interjection from you;

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The reality is that Carrier's book has made little to no impact in the academic field of Christian Origins. Because its a weak thesis. But of course for Carrier, this is everyone else's problem.
I gave this rebuttal;

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Incorrect! OTHOJ and "Proving History" are ground breaking books in the academic field of Christian Origins. There have been no rebuttals of either anywhere that I know.
You came back with;
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One might usefully observe that "No rebuttal" easily equates to "No one in the relevant academic circles thinks it's worth bothering with" at least as readily as "No-one can rebut it, it's fucking canon now."

My admittedly limited experience in the Academe inclines me to the view that ground-breaking works tend to attract some attention, rather than being fucking ignored. Generally speaking, they also get published in the relevant journals before books.
To which I said;

Quote:
Oh they aren't being ignored, there have been a few cursory reviews, such as this one: http://members.optusnet.com.au/gakus...HJ_Review.html

but there are no thorough rebuttals that I am aware of. Carrier is a professor and is therefore well credentialed, so people in the field don't just ignore him.

Have you read any of his books? If you have you would know that he cites extensively and argues with convincing logic.
You were again silent on this, so I could only surmise that you hadn't read his books and strong arguments.

Later you wrote;

Quote:
Goldenmane said
I wouldn't have expected Paul to say diddly-squat about Jesus' life, given that it was well known to the early Church that Paul was very much a Johnny-come-lately who never met the bloke.
To which I increduously responded by saying;

Quote:
How do you know that?
IOW, how do you know "that it was well known to the early Church that Paul was very much a Johnny-come-lately who never met the bloke."

You were again silent on this united assertion, even though I pressed you for it again. You seem to jump on me if I come out with something that needs confirmation with a citation or reference, but you are hypocritically silent when it is reversed upon you. I will ask you for a third time, how do you know "that it was well known to the early Church that Paul was very much a Johnny-come-lately who never met the bloke."

Cough up or shut up.

The latest example of why you didn't give it away after you maintained that "I gave it away" was after I said this;

Quote:
@ Toejam, GM, or anyone else here that believes that the historical Jesus of the Bible existed.
You pop up and say this;
Quote:
"[H]istorical Jesus of the Bible" is a loaded phrase, as is the term "believes". These are reasons why I don't see any point in the discussion, and why I gave it away. I don't "believe" any such thing, I'm just not convinced by Mythicist arguments and am repulsed by the intellectual dishonesty that seems manifest in them, specifically the attribution of patently inaccurate positions such as this to anyone who doesn't swallow the ludicrous fantasy wholesale.

For the sake of, "Fuck it, I'll say it again, Sam," I don't fucking care. The question of whether there was a bloke who formed the irritation around whom the cult of Christianity accreted or not matters not one whit to me, and it baffles me why it matters to anyone. It doesn't matter to me, because Christianity is fucking cockwaffle from first principles, but that doesn't stop Christians existing, which means it doesn't matter to Christians either.

It only seems to matter to people who desperately want Jesus to have never existed, for some reason. I'm quite comfortable operating on the assumption that he was probably a fucking nutjob whose cult gained traction when Paul (another nutjob) siezed control of it. It's not like they were short of nutjobs. And it's not like we're short of cults. I've had friends who've started cults. Most of them not successful, but then I've had friends who've started businesses, mostly unsuccessful.

But again, I don't really care. I don't understand why anyone would give the first shit about my validation of their poorly-educated opinion regarding the existence or non- of a mendicant Judean preacher from two millennia past whose existence or otherwise categorically changes nothing. No one cares one way or the other. Religion is still just fucking stupid for five hundred reasons. Jesus is a footnote.
Let's see if you reply to any of the above, starting with the immediate above.

"[H]istorical Jesus of the Bible" is a loaded phrase, as is the term "believes".

1. Why is "[H]istorical Jesus of the Bible" a loaded phrase, as is the term "believes"?

2. Why aren't you convinced by Mythicist arguments?

3. What is the intellectual dishonesty that seems manifest in them all about?

4. What are the attribution of patently inaccurate positions such as this to anyone who doesn't swallow the ludicrous fantasy wholesale?

Quote:
For the sake of, "Fuck it, I'll say it again, Sam," I don't fucking care.
You obviously do care, as you are responding to it with emotion.

Quote:
The question of whether there was a bloke who formed the irritation around whom the cult of Christianity accreted or not matters not one whit to me
Again, if it doesn't matter one whit to you, why are you responding?

The next statement you make is kind of silly.

Quote:
It only seems to matter to people who desperately want Jesus to have never existed, for some reason.
I don't desperately want Jesus to have never existed, I am only seeking the truth, just like you. Why would I want Jesus to have never existed? I don't believe that there is sufficient proof that he existed, that's all I am saying.

How would you feel if I said regarding your non-belief in God, "It only seems to matter to people who desperately want God to have never existed, for some reason?"

When you say,

"I'm quite comfortable operating on the assumption that he was probably a fucking nutjob whose cult gained traction when Paul (another nutjob) siezed control of it."

Why not say instead, "I'm quite comfortable operating on the assumption that he was probably a non-existent fucking nutjob whose cult gained traction when Paul (another non-existent nutjob) was invented to gain control."


"It's not like they were short of nutjobs".

Correct. They had mystery cults in those locations, all with similar attributes. Religions in those areas were syncetised and evolved. In places like China where they weren't exposed to the same ideas and traditions, it didn't happen like that.

"But again, I don't really care."

But again, you really do!

Quote:
I don't understand why anyone would give the first shit about my validation of their poorly-educated opinion regarding the existence or non- of a mendicant Judean preacher from two millennia past
If the mendicant Judean preacher you are talking about is Paul, how the fuck did he walk up to alien churches as an unknown begger and convince the whole flock to convert? You don't even get 100% agreement of doctrine in today's individual church denominations, how is that even possible?

Quote:
whose existence or otherwise categorically changes nothing. No one cares one way or the other. Religion is still just fucking stupid for five hundred reasons. Jesus is a footnote.
Bullshit. Jesus is vitally important to every Christian. His existence, resurrection and vicarious salvation is of vital importance to all Christians.

A Jesus of nowhere disintegrates into nothingness. When you make him important and believable to Christians as an historical person, you are unwittingly supporting their faith.
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  #127  
Old 15th February 2018, 07:56 AM
toejam toejam is offline
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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A Jesus of nowhere disintegrates into nothingness. When you make him important and believable to Christians as an historical person, you are unwittingly supporting their faith.
I find this telling. Here's what I think is going on. You are coming to the question with an agenda that is clouding your historical judgement. Your agenda is not to simply figure out what happened as best we can. Your agenda is to destroy the faith of Christians.

And so you seek to dismiss evidence when it comes to the historical Jesus. You don't want one to be there because that might be used by Christians to strengthen their faith. So you seek to lose the historical Jesus.

So when Paul says that he met Jesus's brother, you prefer to go with an obscure possibility that he means something else. When Paul says Jesus was killed by Judean Jews, you prefer to go with unattested interpolation theories. When Paul refers to Jesus' Israelite, Jessean and Davidic ancestry "according to the flesh", again you prefer that this is allegorical, etc. When archaeologists dig up a 1st century house in Nazareth, you prefer to think that this is a government conspiracy.

I share your frustration at Christianity. But it doesn't mean we should do history differently. I think a sober assessment points to the conclusion that there was a historical Jesus, and the he was probably some sort of deluded apocalyptic cult leader.

Last edited by toejam; 15th February 2018 at 07:58 AM.
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  #128  
Old 15th February 2018, 08:33 AM
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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... These are my strongest points that he probably never existed:

1. There was no occupied Nazareth in the time of the historical Jesus, so there was no "Jesus of Nazareth". There are tombs buried just metres from Mary's bedroom and on the hill sides where Nazareth was supposed to have been built. After over 100 years of digging in that location, no evidence of any human occupation at the time of Jesus had been found. Just over 18 months after Renee Salm published his book, The Myth Of Nazareth: The Invented Town Of Jesus ...
@SEG- IIRC, the Salam book has been thoroughly debunked. It’s a pity it keeps getting cited. I’ll try to find you the details later in the day.
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  #129  
Old 15th February 2018, 09:55 AM
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@SEG- IIRC, the Salam book has been thoroughly debunked. It’s a pity it keeps getting cited. I’ll try to find you the details later in the day.
Thanks, BL, that would be appreciated if you can find something. I have heard it pooh poohed a few times, but nothing giving any verifiable proof that Nazareth existed at the time of Jesus.

I think that the tombs buried UNDER the so called Mary's house and dated after 50 CE are telling. How could the Jews have built anything on top of known tombs? Their religion would never accept that. See http://www.nazarethmyth.info/scandalhome.html

Scandal 1
The (unacknowledged) tombs under the Church of the Annunciation
(By René Salm, author of The Myth of Nazareth: The Invented Town of Jesus)
Photo: Roman-era tombs in the venerated area of Nazareth

Above is a map of the venerated area of Nazareth with modern buildings and streets indicated. The Church of the Annunciation (CA, in the lower part of the map) is a major destination of pilgrims coming from throughout the world, and is the largest Christian structure in the Middle East. Under the church is the traditional maiden home of the Blessed Virgin Mary (“M”), where she received the annunciation from the Archangel Gabriel:

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. [Lk 1:26-28 KJV]
Not mentioned in any guidebook, however, are three Roman-era tombs less than ten meters from that holy site, now called the “Chapel of the Angel.” These tombs are marked by a “K” which stands for “kokhim,” a well-known type of tomb prevalent during Roman times in Palestine. Two other tombs also may have existed under the present church (in parentheses on the map), but the evidence for them was destroyed during construction of the edifice. Nevertheless, early twentieth-century witnesses mention them in obscure scholarly reports.

In Judaism, corpses are a source of ritual impurity. The Pentateuch mandates that “everyone who is unclean through contact with a corpse” must be put outside the camp for seven days (Num 5:3). The Talmud mandates that tombs be a minimum distance (“fifty ells,” or about twenty-five meters) from the nearest habitation. Of course, the implications of this are explosive where the Christian claims at Nazareth are concerned. Mary’s family was certainly Jewish, and the tombs under the Church of the Annunciation are tombs under her very house!

Fully realizing the potentially fatal implications for traditional doctrine represented by the presence of these tombs, the principle modern archeologist at Nazareth, Father Bellarmino Bagatti, strove to ignore their existence—even though they were described, mapped, and drawn by his predecessors who were also priests. Only one of the tombs next to the Chapel of the Angel is mentioned in his standard two-volume work, Excavations in Nazareth. Bagatti lamely suggested that the tomb (with several graves) dated to Crusader times. It is a desperate explanation, however, for there is no record of such a macabre Christian custom of burying Crusader dead at the house of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
A Roman-era wine press has also been located ten meters north of the Chapel of the Angel. In sum, the archeological evidence clearly shows that this was a cemetery and agricultural area in later Roman times—not the location of dwellings.
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  #130  
Old 15th February 2018, 05:16 PM
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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I find this telling. Here's what I think is going on. You are coming to the question with an agenda that is clouding your historical judgement. Your agenda is not to simply figure out what happened as best we can. Your agenda is to destroy the faith of Christians.
Sorry but that is ludicrous on two counts. Firstly I have no dog in the race, I have no hidden agendas. I am seeking for the truth, but I am very skeptical of anything that is presented or asserted that doesn't have good evidence to back it up. ESPECIALLY Bible stories with lots of legendary stuff that has been fiddled with and used to manipulate gullible people.

Secondly no-one can destroy the faith of Christians, the indoctrinated usually stay that way. It may cause people that are seriously questioning their faith to scratch a little deeper.

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And so you seek to dismiss evidence when it comes to the historical Jesus. You don't want one to be there because that might be used by Christians to strengthen their faith. So you seek to lose the historical Jesus.
Yes I dismiss lousy evidence and so should you. The historical Jesus is already lost if there was one to start with. You may not realise that I have said previously that it is not my intention to disprove the Jesus as described in the Bible. No-one can do that without a time machine. I just don't find the scarce and weak evidence convincing enough. You haven't changed my mind on this at all, unless you can provide better evidence of your assertions. I am open to good arguments, there just haven't been any offered so far.

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toejam said View Post
So when Paul says that he met Jesus's brother, you prefer to go with an obscure possibility that he means something else.
You see, now you are making a misrepresentation, Paul never said that, he said "the brother of The Lord". "The brother of The Lord" can also mean a baptised Christian and he never makes a distinction. If Paul did say that he met Jesus's brother, or met Jesus's parents in Jerusalem at passover, that would be infinitely more credible. But it still wouldn't prove that either Jesus or Paul was historical. Apologetic Christians go to the same lengths to defend their Jesus and I don't think it makes their wild stories any more credible.


Quote:
When Paul says Jesus was killed by Judean Jews, you prefer to go with unattested interpolation theories. When Paul refers to Jesus' Israelite, Jessean and Davidic ancestry "according to the flesh", again you prefer that this is allegorical, etc
.

Can you blame me for doubting stuff like that? Seriously with all the fake works, interpolations, fiddling and scrubbing clean, how can you trust ANY of that?

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toejam said View Post
When archaeologists dig up a 1st century house in Nazareth, you prefer to think that this is a government conspiracy.
If the archaeologists weren't digging with Bibles in their backpacks and produced verifiable and indisputable evidence of Nazareth's occupation during the supposed time of Jesus, that would convince me. Sadly there are people with very big agendas filling the hotel rooms, shops and tourist heads with nonsense.

At the moment there is a multi-million dollar industry that is shouting from the rooftops that this is the place where the happy Jesus family lived, outside is the very well that they drew water from and this is the awesome bedroom that the Archagel Gabriel came to visit Mary. You don't want to spoil their dreams, do you?

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toejam said View Post
I share your frustration at Christianity. But it doesn't mean we should do history differently. I think a sober assessment points to the conclusion that there was a historical Jesus, and the he was probably some sort of deluded apocalyptic cult leader.
Thanks. I think we should evaluate what is more probable according to the quality of the evidence. Like I said previously, there probably were a few deluded apocalyptic cult leaders at that location named Jesus. I have no problem with that at all. The stories of Jesus of Nazareth that are presented in the Bible however, I find unbelievable.
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