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Old 9th December 2017, 10:49 AM
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Default The City of Nazareth of Nowhere

I think that many atheists would agree that the extra-biblical evidence of Jesus of Nazareth is very sketchy and minimal.

Could it be that the Jesus of the Bible, and indeed Nazareth never existed in the first century? Respected atheist blogger Neil Godfrey of Vridar recently said this about Jesus;
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I simply don't see any reason to believe in the historicity of Jesus a priori. For a historian to accept the actuality of some person or event there needs to be some clear evidence. Evidence is only credible if it is supported independently. -- and usually from a primary source.

Jesus doesn't even get off the starting block. So I am no longer interested in any of the many arguments against his existence. We can fight and argue over many such points, but to me they all miss the fundamental fact that there is no a priori reason for thinking Jesus existed.

That does not mean that there was no historical Jesus. It only means we can know nothing about him if there was.

All we can do is examine the data we have and pose questions to it that it is capable of answering. That generally means finding the best explanation for the origin of that data, or for Christian origins. If all of that sort of study leads to the inevitable conclusion that there had to be a historical Jesus at the start of it all, then so be it. I don't think that is likely, though.
Neil has also confided to me that he also doubts whether even Nazareth existed at the supposed time of Jesus, because of the lack of supporting evidence and contradictions/anomalies in the Bible.

Thoughts anyone?
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Old 9th December 2017, 12:03 PM
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Default Re: The City of Nazareth of Nowhere

Biographies of famous folks might have a few gaps....but with Jesus, there is the baby, then a "fast-forward" to a dude in his thirties.

Which means he did nothing and was so unremarkable, people couldn't think of anything to say about him for three decades? OK, he was a supposed rebel. Maybe he was "born again". The missing decades were spent in an immoral life, and then he reforms? Like big-game hunters who end up being conservationists???

He never married, or had children? Again this is weird, although he was present and involved in a marriage, but parts were redacted.

Mary Magdalene is an obvious likely spouse. Perhaps the jealousy of the disciples at being Jesus's favourite confidant and a touch of misogyny made them paint her as a whore?

Jesus the Carpenter? Perhaps. In ancient Rome, many commoners and races who were loyal to Rome, and had valuable talents, were often promoted to become generals, senators etc.

But you had to have rank really, to influence events, whether that rank was inherited or earned.

Jews were not especially favoured by Rome, and often seen as a problem. Neither the Roman authorities or indeed the bulk of Jews themselves, thought much of Jesus and were hostile or ambivalent about him.

Clever rebels know what rules to follow and what rules to break. They have an agenda they want to push, and tend to conform to rules that don't really matter, and rebel against rules that do. An unmarried Jesus at 30 is just not plausible, IMHO. He would have been shunned by almost everyone, including his own tribe and family. Dynasties and blood relations were important in those days.
He, like Madeleine and most leaders would have come from the elite, otherwise his influence was inexplicable. Perhaps this was a deliberate ploy by the mythmakers to make him more mysterious and magical?

Most common people were illiterate, which again point to Jesus and at least some of his apostles [including Mary M] being highborn.

In short, nothing adds up.

I am not saying there was no historical Jesus, but the story has been so warped as to be no better than myth.
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Old 9th December 2017, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: The City of Nazareth of Nowhere

That's a pretty good summary, Darwinsbulldog.

There was another mention of him going missing as a 12 year old for 3 days. His parents searched for him everywhere, but who would have guessed? They found him at the temple! The only other mention of his youth was in the ridiculous Infancy Gospel of Thomas 19:1-5 where according to Wiki:

Quote:
The structure of the story is essentially:

Bringing life to a dried fish (this is only present in later texts)
(First group)
3 Miracles - Breathes life into birds fashioned from clay, curses a boy, who then becomes a corpse, curses a boy who falls dead and his parents become blind
Attempt to teach Jesus which fails, with Jesus doing the teaching
3 Miracles - Reverses his earlier acts, resurrects a friend who fell from a roof, heals a man who chopped his foot with an axe.[2]
(Second group)
3 Miracles - Carries water on cloth, produces a feast from a single grain, stretches a beam of wood to help his father finish constructing a bed
Attempts to teach Jesus, which fails, with Jesus doing the teaching
3 Miracles - Heals James from snake poison, resurrects a child who died of illness, resurrects a man who died in a construction accident
I've previously asked atheists here and on other forums which parts of his life do you consider the most credible historically, which only drew blanks.

The Nativity stories, his youth stories as above, the Chuck Norris episode of him overturning the tables and chasing out the money changers, the arrest, trial, crucifixion, resurrection and empty tomb are all laden with contradictions and literary devices that all reek of myth-making.

Regarding Nazareth, it is referred to in Luke as a city;

Quote:
Luke 2:39 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Family Returns to Nazareth
39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.
and later he preaches at a synagogue in that city and gets thrown off a cliff according to;
Luke 4:14-30King James Version (KJV)

Except that a whole frigging synagogue has never been found in Nazareth and the nearest hill (not a cliff) is over 2 miles from the city!

I have read two books written by Rene Salm, and they are very convincing that the evidence is lacking of a thriving city or even a town at the supposed time of Jesus. Neil Godfrey has a discussion of them here: http://vridar.org/2009/05/31/reviewi...h-of-nazareth/

The arguments FOR him being being an actual person set in history is that it is the consensus of opinion of the experts, and it is more parsimonious to believe that he existed because there are too many twists and turns in the Jesus Myth Theory (JMT).

I believe that the consensus is awfully biased and it is more parsimonious to think that it is all baloney. Richard Carrier said that he found over 40 Gospels and only four of them were accepted into the canon. That means that 90% were too full of bullshit to be accepted, and that bullshit was the norm in those days.

I do agree that there were probably a few wannabe messiahs wandering around in that area named Jesus at that time, but the Jesus written about in the Bible? Not a chance. Even his name should send off alarms - Jesus (savior) Christ (messiah).

Last edited by SEG; 9th December 2017 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 9th December 2017, 01:27 PM
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Default Re: The City of Nazareth of Nowhere

Surely this is more about religion than it is about atheism?

I put Jeebus down and walked away when I left the religion. Whatever he might have been, from 100% fiction to a tattered historical record, he isn't a god.

Why would it matter?
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Old 9th December 2017, 01:52 PM
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Default Re: The City of Nazareth of Nowhere

I reiterate what I've said on the matter previously: I've no reason to think there's any value beyond idle academic curiosity to be garnered from arguing the toss on these questions.

Christianity's a load of bollocks from the very foundational premises, so whether Yeshua is based on an actual person is utterly irrelevant; and Christians aren't going to be convinced by the sort of academic and frankly arcane arguments involved in claims that he didn't exist.

Let's face it: almost no-one outside of a vanishingly small number of people within a rarified academic selection even possesses the knowledge to assess most of the arguments either way. I certainly don't. I couldn't tell you shit from clay about whether Nazareth existed circa 1CE, and if I tried, I'd merely be parroting claims made by someone else without having the slightest clue as to their veracity.

The same goes for almost everyone. I don't, for example, possess the academic background to examine the minutiae of Richard Carrier's claims regarding the historicity of Jesus, and neither does, well, almost anyone else. But once you reach the point of "Whatever Jesus was, it wasn't a god," then it is rendered utterly irrelevant anyway.

Christians don't believe because they have rich academic backgrounds in history and a deep understanding of 1st Century Palestine and PhD's in legitimate history. That's not how religion works. Hell, it's not how people work.
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Old 9th December 2017, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: The City of Nazareth of Nowhere

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The Irreverent Mr Black said View Post
Surely this is more about religion than it is about atheism?

I put Jeebus down and walked away when I left the religion. Whatever he might have been, from 100% fiction to a tattered historical record, he isn't a god.

Why would it matter?
It doesn't much to me or a lot of other atheists whether he existed or not.

If they found verifiable evidence that he did exist and he did all the things that he was recorded as doing in the Bible without the miraculous stuff, no biggy to me.

To Christians it matters a great deal. No Jesus stories, no Nazareth and especially no crucifixion means no forgiveness of sins, no gospel, no credibility and no salvation.

Without the cross and the corny stories, they would have to accept that Jesus is not the Messiah, all sinners go to hell and the word of God is wrong.

We can't have that now can we?

I'm happy to concede that no-one can be sure either way whether he existed or not. It just irritates me when people are so damned sure that he walked on the Earth on such lousy evidence and call it incontrovertible evidence. I also think that it should be discussed rather than just dismissed as kooky, when there is a mountain of doubt. The worst side of discussing it is that the arguments can go on forever and resolve nothing.
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Old 9th December 2017, 02:34 PM
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Default Re: The City of Nazareth of Nowhere

Lot of work for not much expected gain, SEG.
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Old 9th December 2017, 02:54 PM
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Default Re: The City of Nazareth of Nowhere

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Goldenmane said View Post
I reiterate what I've said on the matter previously: I've no reason to think there's any value beyond idle academic curiosity to be garnered from arguing the toss on these questions.

Christianity's a load of bollocks from the very foundational premises, so whether Yeshua is based on an actual person is utterly irrelevant; and Christians aren't going to be convinced by the sort of academic and frankly arcane arguments involved in claims that he didn't exist.

Let's face it: almost no-one outside of a vanishingly small number of people within a rarified academic selection even possesses the knowledge to assess most of the arguments either way. I certainly don't. I couldn't tell you shit from clay about whether Nazareth existed circa 1CE, and if I tried, I'd merely be parroting claims made by someone else without having the slightest clue as to their veracity.

The same goes for almost everyone. I don't, for example, possess the academic background to examine the minutiae of Richard Carrier's claims regarding the historicity of Jesus, and neither does, well, almost anyone else. But once you reach the point of "Whatever Jesus was, it wasn't a god," then it is rendered utterly irrelevant anyway.

Christians don't believe because they have rich academic backgrounds in history and a deep understanding of 1st Century Palestine and PhD's in legitimate history. That's not how religion works. Hell, it's not how people work.
I actually agree with you on most of this GM, except the bit about "almost no-one outside of a vanishingly small number of people..." The numbers may be small, but they are growing. There's more academics within the guild turning over and doubting the veracity of his existence. The trouble is, there is a load of bad Mythicist theories circulating on the internet, just like there are bad Christian arguments. Richard Carrier's "On The History of Jesus" was a slam dunk for me. It did cop a bit of flack over his use of Bayes Theorum, but it provided very logical arguments and was extensively cited.

David Fitzgerald said that it's better to be agnostic about Jesus existing. He said, "If someone gives you a quote about what Jesus supposedly said or did, you should come back and say, "I don't know whether he existed or not and neither do you!"
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Old 9th December 2017, 02:59 PM
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Lot of work for not much expected gain, SEG.
Yeah I know, Mr Black, thanks. It just seems interesting to me sorting the wheat from the chaff. It annoys me that the whole Christian tourist industry is based on guff. I'll get over it one day
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Old 9th December 2017, 03:01 PM
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Default Re: The City of Nazareth of Nowhere

Sometimes it's good to do things simply for the sake of enjoyment.
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