Print Story Jesus banned from Christmas (music) in the UK
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By imrdkl (Wed Dec 24, 2003 at 10:14:48 AM EST) (all tags)
Administrators at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh recently banned the distribution of a CD with Christmas Music, because at least one of the songs mentioned the baby Jesus.


The CD, recorded and donated by Jane Butters, was intended to cheer up children who were being treated at the hospital during the Christmas season, and to raise money for charity. But a hospital spokeswoman said, "We could not just hand this CD out to everyone." and 'It could cause offense to those who are not Christian.'

Last month, the Scottish Parliament banned traditional Christmas cards for similar reasons.

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Jesus banned from Christmas (music) in the UK | 50 comments (50 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Sounds good. by notafurry (5.00 / 1) #1 Wed Dec 24, 2003 at 10:20:00 AM EST
Normally, I'd say let 'em distribute what they like and just don't make a fuss when non-Christian kids throw the CD away.

As it is, though, considering the fuss Christians make whenever something non-Christian appears, I've decided to be more intolerant. Heck, so many bigots can't be wrong - intolerance CAN be fun!

Thats interesting by imrdkl (3.00 / 0) #2 Wed Dec 24, 2003 at 10:42:44 AM EST
Something non-christian appeared?

[ Parent ]
Sure. by notafurry (3.00 / 0) #3 Wed Dec 24, 2003 at 11:10:36 AM EST
Lessee... there was the pagan-sponsored Yule display; that one confused the usual Christian shock troops because they didn't realize it wasn't celebrating Christ at first. They figured it out eventually, though. (Maybe it was the lack of a creche.)

Let's see, traditional pagan displays of the holiday...

Honored Figures -- Santa and Father Time
Sacred Flames -- candles lit and new fires kindled to represent new Solar year.
Greens -- Holly given with gifts, homes decorated with wreaths and garlands.
Gift Giving -- dolls to children, candles to friends; fruit symbols representing increase.
Feasting -- sharing food with family and friends; on-going eating and drinking.
Exhuberant Play -- masquerades, gaming, gambling, mocking, jokes, partying, letting loose.
Paper Hats -- soft hats (pilei) worn at Saturnalia banquets to signify informality.
Dancing in the New Solar Year -- music and dancing

Religious displays on public property? Well, now, I don't really agree with any of the sides on that one. Atheists want no displays at all - well, I can see their point, but it's not a practical one in any community of humans. Christians want to plaster their religious art and symbols everywhere they can on amazingly rediculous pretexts, going so far as to argue in court that the birth of Christ is a "historical event" and the reason for the holiday, after all.

BTW, this claim makes non-Christians, and Christians who know history, tend to laugh. A lot. Don't try to do so if you want to be taken seriously.

And, of course, militant non-Christians insist that if the Christians get a display, they should get one at least as large. Which does have some logic behind it, I suppose, although it's usually blown up into unrealistic demands. (Why should there be a display if no one will build it or maintain it?)

[ Parent ]
It's not a historic event? by gzt (6.00 / 1) #5 Wed Dec 24, 2003 at 12:36:29 PM EST
Granted, it certainly didn't happen on Dec. 25, but Christ certainly was born, making the birth of Christ an event in history, making it a historic event. Now who's the one laughing? Hint: it's not the one who's wrong [you].

[ Parent ]
OH YEAH???? WELL,.,,..,.,., by MohammedNiyalSayeed (6.00 / 1) #6 Wed Dec 24, 2003 at 02:24:13 PM EST

${insertSnideRemark(UsedToBeAChristianButStillCan'tDealWithTheClosestThingToOppressionI'veSeenBeforeAndTendToGetAllUptightAboutNonpertinentDetailsConcerningReligionInQuestionThatShowMeToBeAReactionaryTwitWithSomeIssuesToDealWith)}

Not to disparage people's beliefs in paganism or what not, of course, because I'd not want to make broad sweeping inaccurate statements that would offend people's religious beliefs.

Sarcasm aside, I find that sort of reaction (not yours, by the way, in case my point was mudded up by my lack of control of the language) to be similar to seeing a Habitat for Humanity sticker on the same car with those stupid Darwin-Fish decals. People should pick one, or the other. You can't be down with Darwinism if you're building shelters for the weakest members of the species. Then again, logical consistancy is really beside the point; we have to read between the lines, and what I read out of those statements is "I had a bad childhood, and I can't deal." Then again, maybe that's me.


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You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Yes, you can by damiam (3.00 / 0) #7 Wed Dec 24, 2003 at 03:01:28 PM EST
You can't be down with Darwinism if you're building shelters for the weakest members of the species

Ignoring the fact that those who are served by Habitat for Humanity are not necessarily the weakest of the species, just the poorest, a Darwin-fish means only that you believe that macroevolution in general is an accurate theory, and that humans evolved from lower life. It has nothing to do with whether you believe that, morally, the fittest should be the only survivors, just that, historically, they have been.

[ Parent ]
I see what you're saying. by MohammedNiyalSayeed (3.00 / 0) #8 Wed Dec 24, 2003 at 03:57:47 PM EST

However, I tend to believe that the people who can't manage to provide for their basic needs are the weakest members of our species. I don't think it takes much of a logical jump to come to that conclusion. Sure, poor is an adjective which can be used to describe why they haven't the ability to provide their own shelter, but there's a reason they're poor. I'm not saying they're lazy, necessarily, but for some reason, in our environment, they can't seem to keep up like everyone else is. That, to me, smacks of weakness. Maybe that makes me a cold hearted capitalist bastard, or maybe, just maybe, I'm right.

Also, I don't honestly believe those Darwin-fish stickers are a sign of a heartfelt belief in a scientific theory; the fact that they are derivative of the similar Christianity-oriented fish stickers seems a very deliberate troll of people who hold said religious beliefs. For instance, I'm a firm believer that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, but you don't see me with a Primary Tenets of Physics sticker on my car. Then again, I don't own a car, nor do I care to drive, and even if I did, I have reservations about people putting bumper-sticker versions of their philosophy to inform their fellow motorists what they believe. Not much of what I believe can fit on a 4 x 10 sticker, and I question the depth of those whose beliefs can fit in that space. 9 times out of 10, those Darwin-fish stickers indicate not so much a showing of support for Charles Darwin's theory as they do a reactionary dislike of Christianity, possibly due to their own unfavorable run-ins with what they consider to be their opposition. Everyone wants an enemy they can make fun of, and I'd venture a guess that only a fraction of those folk have even read origin of species.


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You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Not anymore by notafurry (3.00 / 0) #11 Wed Dec 24, 2003 at 05:31:44 PM EST
I could see your point about "poor" equaling "weakest" in the past, but not anymore; at this point, if you don't start out ahead, you're fucked unless you're exceptional. Even if you're exceptional, you're still at a strong disadvantage.

If you're, say, middle-class or above, you have an advantage. You go to a better school as a kid, number one. No matter how smart or dumb you are, it will do you no good without the basics of an education. You have a much better chance of starting out as an adult with "starting capital", either in cash, an education, or chattels (such as inheriting a family business.) Last but not least, you probably had decent medical care your entire life, and therefore are less likely to be suffering from some environmental or inherent physical or mental problem.

As to the Darwin-fish - you're absolutely right about the motivations of many of the people with those stickers. (Incidently, I have read Origin of the Species. I've got a copy on my bookshelf right now, as a matter of fact. Boring as hell, except for the ideas in it; even there, Darwin started things off, he didn't explain the whole deal. Anyone reading the book as a way to learn about evolution is going to end up sadly disappointed.)

However. You're smart enough to know that the supporters of a position are not always an indication of their accuracy. So the idea that many people use the Darwin symbols as a means to bait Christians does not mean that Darwin is wrong, or that Christians are right.

[ Parent ]
IAWTP by MohammedNiyalSayeed (3.00 / 0) #19 Thu Dec 25, 2003 at 01:58:31 PM EST

And rather than spend a lot of time writing what I just wrote in response to Metatone's message, I'll direct you to that as my response. I'm sure if I tried to write it again, I'd fuck it up more than I already did, so the once will have to suffice. Basically, though, just wanted to say I agree with what you said. So, "I agree with what you said."


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You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Or maybe... by Metatone (3.00 / 0) #13 Wed Dec 24, 2003 at 09:25:08 PM EST
You're wrong.

I have so much respect for you as a person, I'm going to say I presume that you know how much the socio-biological viewpoint is a gross over-simplification and ask you to clarify your basic assumptions.

[ Parent ]
About the poor = weak thing by MohammedNiyalSayeed (3.00 / 0) #18 Thu Dec 25, 2003 at 01:54:42 PM EST

I am most likely wrong. I could take the route of defending the position based on the assumption that, given the dominant socio-economic system we live in, those who do not manage to survive aren't "cutting it" in their own environment, but the truth of the matter is, for the most part, Darwinian selection doesn't really apply to us as a species any more. It is indeed a lot more complicated than it is for other animals, as we have institutionalized means of prolonging our lives, as a whole (eg: medicine), and more importantly, to say that "poor equals weak" is also to say "rich equals strong", and there's no way in hell I'm defending that position.

The very real fact of the matter is that those who acquire wealth and power may not be any smarter or stronger or more able to adapt to change than those who do not acquire such things, but they do have a tendancy to use what they've acquired to insure they do not lose any of it. They send their children to better schools, and can get them into those schools not based on merit, but based on their own ability to sign checks to those schools, with the result being a very mediocre crop of folk sitting atop the rest of us. So, yeah. I can't, and won't, honestly defend what I said there; basically, I painted with a broad brush, quite sloppily, to make a point that was only tangential from my initial point, which is simply that those who protest the loudest about the inanity of Christianity or Christians in general, also tend to be not one iota better, smarter, or stronger than that which they complain about, and are just as hypocritical, blind, and elitist. The traits they see as offensive are *human* traits, and every single one of us has them. *That* statement, I'll stand by 100%.


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You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Agreed, but.. by Metatone (3.00 / 0) #25 Thu Dec 25, 2003 at 08:29:38 PM EST
I hope you agree (since it happens to be one of my side projects) that there is a place for criticising the institution that is Christianity (and other religions) rather than the people.  :)

[ Parent ]
Just so you know by MohammedNiyalSayeed (3.00 / 0) #27 Fri Dec 26, 2003 at 02:42:58 AM EST

I'm an athiest, so I'm not personally bothered by anyone criticising anyone else's religion, and, in fact, I fully support such discourse. It's better to have detached third parties auditing what those immersed in systems of belief hold to be true might not be able to see, as far as I'm concerned. What I feel the need to respond to (and you haven't done this, mind you, though others have) is the use of rhetoric and propaganda to assail rhetoric and propaganada. I think we can all agree that organized religion shoulders the burden of guilt for a whole slew of atrocities in human history, but as of late, it seems all too popular to attack one or two of those religions, while if you attack the third spin-off, you're met with immediate claims of intolerance.

Personally, the importance of whether or not a statue of the Ten Commandments is displayed in a courthouse seems a little trivialized by mass removal of women's clitorises, overt subjugation of women, and wholesale slaughter of civilians in an effort to establish a worldwide Caliphate to which all would then answer. Christians may well be trying to gain political power in the Western world, but for the most part, they're not shooting people waiting for buses to scare everyone else into bowing before them. With the obvious exception of the mutants who hang outside abortion clinics waiting to shoot doctors.


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You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Again, agreed, but... by Metatone (3.00 / 0) #28 Fri Dec 26, 2003 at 03:45:14 AM EST
and I typed out a few buts..

BUT :)

it is clear this is a conversation made for IRC, not this medium. Maybe one of these days we can discuss it, if you like. Otherwise it's just too slow, given how far we both seem inclined to range. :)

[ Parent ]
Sounds good to me by MohammedNiyalSayeed (3.00 / 0) #29 Fri Dec 26, 2003 at 04:04:02 AM EST

I'll look forward to lengthy discussion via Internet Relay Chat on the subject! :)


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You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Wow by Cloaked User (3.00 / 0) #26 Thu Dec 25, 2003 at 11:49:31 PM EST
Now, I'm all for descriptive method, class and variable names, but that is going a little too far even for me...


--
This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.
[ Parent ]
Do Not Feed The Trolls by notafurry (3.00 / 0) #9 Wed Dec 24, 2003 at 05:04:05 PM EST
But then, I never was one to follow the rules.

A. Provide proof of this claim that has not been manipulated or interpreted by Christians. (Hint - I would comfortably bet that I've studied the Christian religion more thoroughly than most Christians. I know better.)

B. Even assuming there was undeniable proof of someone named Jesus of Nazareth, and undeniable proof that this person was the claimed "son of God" and "King of the Jews" - so what? We celebrate, in a purely historical context, the birth of a number of people. We do not celebrate those events with large Jeffersonmas displays, for example, nor do we have groups of Jefferson-worshipers insisting that they be allowed to put up shrines to Jefferson while blocking any shrines to Washington. In other words, the argument that it's a historical event is a rather crude ploy, not a real "we think this is the right way of doing things" point.


[ Parent ]
Funny you should mention Jefferson by lm (3.00 / 0) #10 Wed Dec 24, 2003 at 05:29:51 PM EST
Thomas Jefferson put out a slim little volume regarding what he thought was the historical Jesus. Aside from that your request is patently silly. We might as well what we know of Roman emperors that wasn't manipulated or otherwise influenced by Romans.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
That would, in fact, be my point. by notafurry (3.00 / 0) #12 Wed Dec 24, 2003 at 05:34:34 PM EST
Read history. Jefferson put out a lot of volumes. Many of them supported Christianity. Many others attacked it. Jefferson was, after all, a writer (among other things) and not everything he wrote is an indication of his true position. Thank you, however, for illustrating yet another annoying trait of Christians - the loud declaration that "Freedom of Religion" means "Freedom to be Christian like the Founding Fathers".

As to the rest of your comment - that would, in fact, be my point.

[ Parent ]
Your point is that ... by lm (3.00 / 0) #15 Thu Dec 25, 2003 at 12:32:01 AM EST
... that we don't know if any Roman emperors actually existed?

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Don't be stupid. by notafurry (3.00 / 0) #20 Thu Dec 25, 2003 at 02:31:15 PM EST
My point is that all we know about the Roman Emperors - or Jesus Christ - is what the Roman establishment - or the Catholic Church - wanted us to know about them.

The analogy is not quite perfect; there are surviving texts of Roman times that were not written or approved by the Emperors or their followers. The difference there is that the Romans were by and large a literate people; they also had literate enemies. So not everything that was written was under their control.

The "evidence" for Jesus consists of a body of written texts that were edited by high church officials. Anything that contradicts this "proof" (and there is evidence of this type) is thrown out as invalid.

None of which changes or affects my second point.

[ Parent ]
I won't be stupid if you won't by lm (3.00 / 0) #39 Sat Dec 27, 2003 at 03:58:18 PM EST
The "evidence" for Jesus consists of a body of written texts that were edited by high church officials.

That is a vast oversimplification that not only ignores the large number of extra-canonical works such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Protoevangelium of James. etc., but also ignores the fact that the enemies of the early Christians were also literate and prone to write their own version of events (such as the Rabbinic literature that details the escapades of the gardener that hid Jesus' body).


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Hey! You promised! by notafurry (3.00 / 0) #41 Mon Dec 29, 2003 at 03:53:59 AM EST
In short, there is no clear evidence one way or the other. Which would be what I said. Which would make it impossible to argue that Jesus is definitely a historical figure.

Oh, yes, and you flunked logic 101. How do you know that the Jewish account is incorrect and the Christian one correct? Because you have already decided that this is the case. Sorry, can't do that. (Note: this is a general comment referring to the entire body of evidence; I don't particularly care if that specific example can be conclusively shown to be false.)

I thought you said you weren't going to be stupid?

[ Parent ]
I flunked logic 101? by lm (3.00 / 0) #45 Tue Dec 30, 2003 at 10:10:05 AM EST
You are the one presenting a non-sequitor for a conclusion.  I said nothing about accepting one account over the other. I merely destroyed your argument that all the evidence we have concerning the historical evidence for the existence of Jesus comes from the Christian Church. The fact of the matter is that the Church did not destroy all documents that disagreed with it and some of these documents (like the three I referenced in the parent post) testify to the existence of a Jesus in history.

Somehow you start with these facts and arrive at the conclusion that I have already decided which (if any) is correct. That conclusion does not follow.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Not quite by notafurry (3.00 / 0) #46 Tue Dec 30, 2003 at 11:21:11 AM EST
First, if I did ever actually say "all evidence" came from the Catholic Church, I mispoke. I would, however, say that all the available evidence is biased, manipulated, and generally completely unverifiable.

That manipulation has been done under numerous circumstances by a great many people and organizations, including the Catholic Church.

Regardless, attacking this single point changes the conclusion not one iota.

[ Parent ]
Actually you did, or close enough by lm (3.00 / 0) #47 Tue Dec 30, 2003 at 11:45:45 AM EST
Right here, where you stated that the challenge was to provide non-Christian evidence for the historical existence of Jesus. In context, I think it fair to understand that as orthodox Christian evidence which most of my counter-proofs fall outside. (Especially the reference to Jewish literature.)

The fact of the matter is that the existence of Jesus as a historical person is almost entirely undisputed by serious Jesus scholars, regardless of their faith. With very few exceptions, the only people challenging the existence of Jesus as a historical figure are whacko nutjobs with an axe to grind. And these exceptions are generally notorious for begging very important questions.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
My, you're dumb. by notafurry (3.00 / 0) #48 Tue Dec 30, 2003 at 02:51:30 PM EST
QUOTE:
/ First, if I did ever actually say "all evidence" came from the Catholic Church, I mispoke. I would, however, say that all the available evidence is biased, manipulated, and generally completely unverifiable.

In other words, that's not what I intended to say.

As to the rest of your babble - and what part of "serious Jesus scholars" can you point to and say "unbiased"? That's right - none of it. And none of them can offer conclusive evidence, either. At best, you can argue "the consensus of these biased researchers is", which is not the same thing as saying "the facts indicate" or even "the preponderance of the evidence shows".

"Unbiased" means "no axe to grind". I would not count as unbiased. Neither would you. No one calling themselves a "Jesus Scholar" qualifies. The closest thing I can find to an unbiased discussion of the issue is either two balanced biased people willing to discuss the matter - which is nearly impossible - or an organization like Religious Tolerance.

Of course, since they cite many of the same people I did - though in far greater detail - you're just going to dismiss /them as crackpot flakes, too. Which is, I suppose, fair, since I would assign you to the same classification.

[ Parent ]
*Plonk* by lm (3.00 / 0) #49 Tue Dec 30, 2003 at 11:53:06 PM EST
Anyone who studies the historical issues concerning the figure of Jesus is academically referred to as a Jesus scholar because the field is known as Jesus studies. Start here and educate yourself.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Incorrect by notafurry (3.00 / 0) #50 Wed Dec 31, 2003 at 04:02:48 AM EST
Anyone who studies a specific topic in any given field is not automatically referred to by the name of that particular topic.

A chemist who studies complex hydrocarbons is a chemist, not a hydrocarbon scholar; a historian who studies the Napoleanic Wars is a historian, not a Napoleanic War scholar.

Likewise, it is not a requirement that a person dedicate their life and career to a single topic in order to make valid contributions to that topic. The only people who believe it is necessary are those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Therefore, anyone who refers to themselves as a Jesus Scholar, and scorns the contributions and insights of anyone unwilling to give themselves that label, is not unbiased.

As you say, educate yourself. Study the myriad contributions to science, philosophy, history, art, engineering, and every other field of human endeavor made by amateurs, dilletantes, and geniuses dabbling outside their field.

[ Parent ]
Hmm by imrdkl (3.00 / 0) #34 Fri Dec 26, 2003 at 09:46:44 AM EST
You really have bought into the big lie, lad. Your argumentation on this thread illustrates, at least for me, that you'd sooner believe in Santa Claus, than the historical facts surrounding the Savior.

The fact is that the great majority of the signers of the declaration were, in fact, born again, bible thumpin' believers. Deny it, spit and curse, or hide your head in the sand, but that ain't gonna change it.

Here's a quote from Patrick Henry you might partially recognize:

"There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, Give me liberty, or give me death." -- Patrick Henry
A year later, this great American patriot wrote:
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religious, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here."


[ Parent ]
Well by notafurry (3.00 / 0) #35 Fri Dec 26, 2003 at 03:00:30 PM EST
The Horned Man and the Lady are always accepting of a lost and blinded soul, corrupted by the Usurpers. The Burning Times are over; don't force yourself to live in their world of mistrust, guilt, and deception any longer.

Also, you're making too much soup from one potato. I did not say none of the Founding Fathers were Christian; I said not all of them were, and for that matter, some of the most devout Christians were the ones most determined to make sure the government would never make some of the mistakes that had already been made in Europe in the name of God.

[ Parent ]
I am not a troll. by gzt (3.00 / 0) #14 Wed Dec 24, 2003 at 11:22:55 PM EST
A. I will only note that every respectable historian nowadays does not deny his existence, and anybody claiming the contrary is laughed at. Hint: don't be an ass.

B. This has no relevance to anything I said.

[ Parent ]
Interesting point by notafurry (3.00 / 0) #21 Thu Dec 25, 2003 at 02:35:17 PM EST
How do you become a "respectable" historian? My professors in college were highly respected; go out to dinner after class with them, have a few drinks, you'd get an earful about their colleagues.

"Respected Historians" can't even agree about what happened 80 years ago, in events that were thoroughly documented, and about which you would think there could be no dispute. So, no, sir, the existence of Jesus is not "universally accepted". The only reason "respected historians" don't dispute it is because it tends to bring out shitheads who throw mud.

And point B doesn't relate to what you said, it relates to the issue. It works like that.

[ Parent ]
I don't care about the issue. by gzt (3.00 / 0) #23 Thu Dec 25, 2003 at 04:35:18 PM EST
I was pointing out your claim was bogus. The issue is, and remains, irrelevant to my pointing out your inaccuracy. Bring it up for the edification of others, if you like, but I won't care.

Point me to some contemporary historians who agree with you and I might not ignore you.

[ Parent ]
OK. by notafurry (3.00 / 0) #31 Fri Dec 26, 2003 at 07:19:52 AM EST
Micheal Martin, a professor of philosophy at Boston University who has spent much of his career examining the background of most Christian beliefs; his conclusion matches mine, that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that Jesus was a real person.

G.A. Wells, a professor at the University of London (my source doesn't list his field) wrote a series of five books promoting a theory that Paul and the other major disciples believed Jesus to have been a historical figure, living perhaps 200 or 300 years in their past; his source material is mainly the recorded letters of Paul. (This would cast doubt, therefore, on the existence of Jesus as a person, since there could be no evidence of his existence.)

There is also evidence that historical figures of the Catholic church, most notably Pope Leo X (1513-1521), did not believe in Jesus as a real, historical person. The most often cited example is a quote from him: "What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us!"

Of course, you can't just state that he didn't exist without providing some explanation, then, of where the Gospels and other Christian beliefs come from. The most common theory is that the story of Jesus' life and most of the rituals surrounding Christianity were taken from Mithraism, a competing religion common in the early Roman Empire. Mithra was a mythical figure, who's story pre-dates the supposed life of Jesus by about 300 years, with the following characteristics that closely match the supposed life of Jesus:

  • Mithra was a fictional character who was worshipped as a Good Shepherd, the Way, the Truth and the Light, the Redeemer, the Savior, and the Messiah
  • Mithra was believed to have been born of a virgin.
  • His birth was celebrated yearly on DEC-25.
  • Mithra was visited by shepherds and by Magi.
  • He traveled through the countryside, taught, and performed miracles with his 12 disciples.
  • He cast out devils, returned sight to the blind, healed the lame, etc.
  • Symbols associated with Mithra were a Lion and a Lamb.
  • He held a last supper, was killed, buried in a rock tomb.
  • He rose again after three days later, at the time of the spring equinox.
  • He later ascended into heaven.
  • Mithraism celebrated the anniversary of his resurrection, similar to the Christian Easter.
  • Mithraism held services on Sunday.
  • Rituals included a Eucharist and several other rituals similar to those of the early Catholic church.
Here's what it comes down to.

If you are a believer in a Christian faith, you likely believe that the Word of God is exactly that. Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, died, rose again, etc. In other words, if you have Christian faith, you believe in it.

If you don't, then you look at the story from a historical perspective. You search for contradictions, explanations, alternatives. And you find them. Are they conclusive? No, not really; too much time has passed, too many feet have trod the ground. Too many religiously motivated people have manipulated the record. The evidence is not and never can be clear.

Which means, historically speaking, the life of Christ must be considered a story, a fable or legend that may have its basis in reality but can not be considered a reliable part of the historical record. That does not mean you're wrong if you believe in Christianity. We (supposedly) have religious freedom in the US; you're free to believe anything you like.

However, you are not allowed to force others to support your faith. You are not allowed to force me to acknowledge your legend as historical fact. And you are not allowed to use your legend as a legal argument.

Are we done now?

[ Parent ]
Yes, we are done. by gzt (3.00 / 0) #32 Fri Dec 26, 2003 at 07:43:27 AM EST
Though, in the future, save the lectures and please catch my point. You seem to think I'm claiming the Gospel record of the life of Christ is generally taken to be historical fact, including the depictions of the Nativity. I never claimed such a thing and never will. I am quite aware of how history is done and of the problems involved in researching the historical Jesus, if such a man existed. Put simply, I know better.

Thank you for the names, though, I'll glance at them later.

[ Parent ]
And now that I look at the titles... by gzt (3.00 / 0) #33 Fri Dec 26, 2003 at 08:16:27 AM EST
...of Wells' books, I remembered that he's a cool cat.

[ Parent ]
Nice sources! by lm (3.00 / 0) #40 Sat Dec 27, 2003 at 05:53:17 PM EST
Michael Martin is hardly a historian of note. G.A. Wells is a notorious question beggar.

I'll grant that Jesus being entirely a mythic figure is a sustainable intellectual position, but the vast majority of serious historians don't take that proposition very seriously. Even the Jesus Seminar, which is (arguably) the most unreligiously biased group of scholars in the field of Jesus studies largely hold the existing of Jesus as a person who existed in history. Otherwise, their magnum opus (The Five Gospels) with words of Christ in red, pink or grey based on whether Jesus actually said them, may or may not have said them, or did not say them would have been entirely grey.

Also, it somewhat ironic that in order to dispute the historical elements of the Jesus story that you bring up only the mythic elements. All of what you say with regard to the cult of Mithras could very well be true and have absolutely no bearing on whether or not Jesus was a real person.

Also, the evidence of the sayings of late medievel era popes is irrelevent when evidence from most late antiquity era popes runs to the contrary.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Indeed by notafurry (3.00 / 0) #42 Mon Dec 29, 2003 at 03:56:29 AM EST
People who disagree with the Church are often considered questionable by the Church and its followers. That doesn't make their position incorrect.

See discussion of "The Skeptical Environmentalist", particularly noting the discussion by Michael Crichton of the meaning of the phrase "the scientific consensus is".

[ Parent ]
Good point, but irrelevent by lm (3.00 / 0) #44 Tue Dec 30, 2003 at 09:53:56 AM EST
I'm not certain how any sane person can read a post about the Jesus Seminar and counter with a post about what the criteria used by the Church of Rome used to determine whether or not a scholar is questionable.

And I've no interest in Scientific Consensus, per se, but having read read some of the works by the Jesus Seminar and its fellows, I have something of a clue as to what good scholarship is in the field. The one work of Wells that I read was full of flawed logic. This doesn't mean that his conclusions are not true, but it does mean that he didn't support them very well and, therefore, outside of other evidence pointing to the same conclusion, I have no reason to believe in Well's conclusions.

Here's a question for you, do you have any clue as to what the Jesus Seminar is?


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
There's no point by Rogerborg (3.00 / 0) #17 Thu Dec 25, 2003 at 11:24:16 AM EST
You'd just say we faked it.  Like Energy Fields.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Fuck off. by notafurry (1.00 / 2) #22 Thu Dec 25, 2003 at 02:35:56 PM EST
That is all.

[ Parent ]
Aieeee! by Rogerborg (3.00 / 0) #24 Thu Dec 25, 2003 at 08:17:05 PM EST
Stop pinching me!

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
<pinch> by notafurry (1.00 / 1) #30 Fri Dec 26, 2003 at 04:11:18 AM EST
Quit whining, you little shit. You don't want it, don't ask for it.

[ Parent ]
Wow, what happened to you? by Rogerborg (3.00 / 0) #36 Sat Dec 27, 2003 at 01:56:44 AM EST
Did someone sneak some bacon into your tofu?

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Nope. by notafurry (3.00 / 0) #37 Sat Dec 27, 2003 at 03:18:21 AM EST
But it would seem someone lowered your age by fifteen years. What's the matter, wife got tired of your "performance" and decided to take you back to an age when hormones still worked?

[ Parent ]
You're right, I'm being immature by Rogerborg (3.00 / 0) #38 Sat Dec 27, 2003 at 06:06:37 AM EST
Remind me; you're the guy who believes you have Dangerous Brain Powers, and that you'll get back three times what you send out, right?

Send me some love, filthy hippycrite.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.

[ Parent ]
Nope. by notafurry (3.00 / 0) #43 Mon Dec 29, 2003 at 03:58:36 AM EST
That's not quite how it works. Since you started with the ridicule, insults, and overall bullshit, I'm simply doing as the universe would require by returning it threefold.

Now, you stupid, intolerant, bigoted little shit, please fold a piece of rough sandpaper, fold it until it's all sharp corners, and stuff it up your ass.

[ Parent ]
Raising money for Marie Curie's charity? by Rogerborg (6.00 / 1) #4 Wed Dec 24, 2003 at 11:38:27 AM EST
The reknowned atheist, or some other Marie Curie?

'Tis the season to hijack other people's beliefs, I suppose.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.

Oh the irony by imrdkl (6.00 / 1) #16 Thu Dec 25, 2003 at 01:03:11 AM EST
You're incurieable.

[ Parent ]
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