Was Jesus just myth? Stumped by Richard Carrier

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YoungApolegist
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Was Jesus just myth? Stumped by Richard Carrier

#1

Post by YoungApolegist » Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:53 am

http://apologetics.biz/william-lane-cra ... d-carrier/ I am very ashamed to say that my doubts have resurged again, and they are stronger than ever. I am too young to understand Dr. Craig's rebuttals during his debate with Richard Carrier. While the link does gravitate towards the Craig side of the arguements, Mr. Carrier seems a little bit more convincing. What stumped me was the description of the names of the people described in the story of Barabbas and Mary. Is there something here that I am missing. Even if the disciples truly believed in the resurrection, what makes the resurrection more probable than hallucinations? I need some help here.
" I think it is not only out of God's wisdom but also out of his love that he leaves in mystery what he leaves in mystery. If I had more knowledge I could be heartbroken. Thus we live in hope.
And then, maybe, when standing at the Heaven's gate, I will throw myself into his arms and weep everything out. With him, we can handle that." - 1over137

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Re: Was Jesus just myth? Stumped by Richard Carrier

#2

Post by Silvertusk » Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:47 am

YoungApolegist wrote:http://apologetics.biz/william-lane-cra ... d-carrier/ I am very ashamed to say that my doubts have resurged again, and they are stronger than ever. I am too young to understand Dr. Craig's rebuttals during his debate with Richard Carrier. While the link does gravitate towards the Craig side of the arguements, Mr. Carrier seems a little bit more convincing. What stumped me was the description of the names of the people described in the story of Barabbas and Mary. Is there something here that I am missing. Even if the disciples truly believed in the resurrection, what makes the resurrection more probable than hallucinations? I need some help here.

For starters - Hallucinations carry with it an element of expectation. There was not expectation of a risen messiah before the final days. So seeing Jesus was not what they expected. Plus over 500 hundred people witnessed Jesus after the resurrection - are you telling me that all of them hallucinated? That is a huge claim to make. Plus they all would to have had a joint combined hallucination - all seeing the same thing. It takes more faith to believe that I think.

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Re: Was Jesus just myth? Stumped by Richard Carrier

#3

Post by PaulSacramento » Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:36 am

Even Bart Ehrman believes that Jesus actually existed:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bart-d-eh ... 49544.html

In a society in which people still claim the Holocaust did not happen, and in which there are resounding claims that the American president is, in fact, a Muslim born on foreign soil, is it any surprise to learn that the greatest figure in the history of Western civilization, the man on whom the most powerful and influential social, political, economic, cultural and religious institution in the world -- the Christian church -- was built, the man worshipped, literally, by billions of people today -- is it any surprise to hear that Jesus never even existed?

That is the claim made by a small but growing cadre of (published ) writers, bloggers and Internet junkies who call themselves mythicists. This unusually vociferous group of nay-sayers maintains that Jesus is a myth invented for nefarious (or altruistic) purposes by the early Christians who modeled their savior along the lines of pagan divine men who, it is alleged, were also born of a virgin on Dec. 25, who also did miracles, who also died as an atonement for sin and were then raised from the dead.

Few of these mythicists are actually scholars trained in ancient history, religion, biblical studies or any cognate field, let alone in the ancient languages generally thought to matter for those who want to say something with any degree of authority about a Jewish teacher who (allegedly) lived in first-century Palestine. There are a couple of exceptions: of the hundreds -- thousands? -- of mythicists, two (to my knowledge) actually have Ph.D. credentials in relevant fields of study. But even taking these into account, there is not a single mythicist who teaches New Testament or Early Christianity or even Classics at any accredited institution of higher learning in the Western world. And it is no wonder why. These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.

Why then is the mythicist movement growing, with advocates so confident of their views and vocal -- even articulate -- in their denunciation of the radical idea that Jesus actually existed? It is, in no small part, because these deniers of Jesus are at the same time denouncers of religion -- a breed of human now very much in vogue. And what better way to malign the religious views of the vast majority of religious persons in the western world, which remains, despite everything, overwhelmingly Christian, than to claim that the historical founder of their religion was in fact the figment of his followers' imagination?

The view, however, founders on its own premises. The reality -- sad or salutary -- is that Jesus was real. And that is the subject of my new book, "Did Jesus Exist?"

It is true that Jesus is not mentioned in any Roman sources of his day. That should hardly count against his existence, however, since these same sources mention scarcely anyone from his time and place. Not even the famous Jewish historian, Josephus, or even more notably, the most powerful and important figure of his day, Pontius Pilate.

It is also true that our best sources about Jesus, the early Gospels, are riddled with problems. These were written decades after Jesus' life by biased authors who are at odds with one another on details up and down the line. But historians can never dismiss sources simply because they are biased. You may not trust Rush Limbaugh's views of Sandra Fluke, but he certainly provides evidence that she exists.

The question is not whether sources are biased but whether biased sources can be used to yield historically reliable information, once their biased chaff is separated from the historical kernel. And historians have devised ways of doing just that.

With respect to Jesus, we have numerous, independent accounts of his life in the sources lying behind the Gospels (and the writings of Paul) -- sources that originated in Jesus' native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life (before the religion moved to convert pagans in droves). Historical sources like that are is pretty astounding for an ancient figure of any kind. Moreover, we have relatively extensive writings from one first-century author, Paul, who acquired his information within a couple of years of Jesus' life and who actually knew, first hand, Jesus' closest disciple Peter and his own brother James. If Jesus did not exist, you would think his brother would know it.

Moreover, the claim that Jesus was simply made up falters on every ground. The alleged parallels between Jesus and the "pagan" savior-gods in most instances reside in the modern imagination: We do not have accounts of others who were born to virgin mothers and who died as an atonement for sin and then were raised from the dead (despite what the sensationalists claim ad nauseum in their propagandized versions).

Moreover, aspects of the Jesus story simply would not have been invented by anyone wanting to make up a new Savior. The earliest followers of Jesus declared that he was a crucified messiah. But prior to Christianity, there were no Jews at all, of any kind whatsoever, who thought that there would be a future crucified messiah. The messiah was to be a figure of grandeur and power who overthrew the enemy. Anyone who wanted to make up a messiah would make him like that. Why did the Christians not do so? Because they believed specifically that Jesus was the Messiah. And they knew full well that he was crucified. The Christians did not invent Jesus. They invented the idea that the messiah had to be crucified.

One may well choose to resonate with the concerns of our modern and post-modern cultural despisers of established religion (or not). But surely the best way to promote any such agenda is not to deny what virtually every sane historian on the planet -- Christian, Jewish, Muslim, pagan, agnostic, atheist, what have you -- has come to conclude based on a range of compelling historical evidence.

Whether we like it or not, Jesus certainly existed.

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Re: Was Jesus just myth? Stumped by Richard Carrier

#4

Post by WannaLearn » Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:24 pm

Silvertusk wrote:
YoungApolegist wrote:http://apologetics.biz/william-lane-cra ... d-carrier/ I am very ashamed to say that my doubts have resurged again, and they are stronger than ever. I am too young to understand Dr. Craig's rebuttals during his debate with Richard Carrier. While the link does gravitate towards the Craig side of the arguements, Mr. Carrier seems a little bit more convincing. What stumped me was the description of the names of the people described in the story of Barabbas and Mary. Is there something here that I am missing. Even if the disciples truly believed in the resurrection, what makes the resurrection more probable than hallucinations? I need some help here.

For starters - Hallucinations carry with it an element of expectation. There was not expectation of a risen messiah before the final days. So seeing Jesus was not what they expected. Plus over 500 hundred people witnessed Jesus after the resurrection - are you telling me that all of them hallucinated? That is a huge claim to make. Plus they all would to have had a joint combined hallucination - all seeing the same thing. It takes more faith to believe that I think.
but how do we know for sure those 500 people even existed.

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Re: Was Jesus just myth? Stumped by Richard Carrier

#5

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:17 pm

YA,

We could take a long time and look at the details of these claims, but frankly, a lot of this has to do with how we know ANYTHING in history. You should read this:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/18087

It is a short booklet that you should be able to read in one good sitting, perhaps two if you are busy. Read ALL of it. I've read it several times, and it gets better each time I do. Once you get through it, you'll be much better equipped to see the idiocy that is Carrier's position. There is no harm in not seeing it now. There is harm in not educating yourself so that you can see it. :)

edit:

The booklet, btw, uses the same "historical" techniques that fools like Carrier uses and applies them to the existence of Napoleon. In doing so, he is able to conclude tat Napoleon doesn't exist. That, of course, is a ridiculous conclusion, but it's the conclusion of such methods. So the conclusion we must draw are that those methods that Carrier and his ilk use are just plain stupid. As an argument, we call this a reductio ad absurdum (reduction to absurdity). Put another way, we could say that Carrier's argument proves to much, because it it shows that Jesus never existed, it also shows that we don't know ANYTHING about history, including such obvious facts as Napoleon's existence. As such, Carrier isn't worth refuting. He's worth ridiculing and not much more. But, again, in order to come to that place, you need to see the foolishness of the methods, and the booklet linked to there is a great example of how you can see it.

And for the record, the author knows what he is doing. He doesn't believe Napoleon didn't exist. He is showing the stupidity of the types of arguments we are dealing with here.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Was Jesus just myth? Stumped by Richard Carrier

#6

Post by Silvertusk » Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:35 am

YoungApolegist wrote:http://apologetics.biz/william-lane-cra ... d-carrier/ I am very ashamed to say that my doubts have resurged again, and they are stronger than ever. I am too young to understand Dr. Craig's rebuttals during his debate with Richard Carrier. While the link does gravitate towards the Craig side of the arguements, Mr. Carrier seems a little bit more convincing. What stumped me was the description of the names of the people described in the story of Barabbas and Mary. Is there something here that I am missing. Even if the disciples truly believed in the resurrection, what makes the resurrection more probable than hallucinations? I need some help here.

YA - check this out.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/debate-w ... rd-carrier

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Re: Was Jesus just myth? Stumped by Richard Carrier

#7

Post by Silvertusk » Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:39 am

WannaLearn wrote:
Silvertusk wrote:
YoungApolegist wrote:http://apologetics.biz/william-lane-cra ... d-carrier/ I am very ashamed to say that my doubts have resurged again, and they are stronger than ever. I am too young to understand Dr. Craig's rebuttals during his debate with Richard Carrier. While the link does gravitate towards the Craig side of the arguements, Mr. Carrier seems a little bit more convincing. What stumped me was the description of the names of the people described in the story of Barabbas and Mary. Is there something here that I am missing. Even if the disciples truly believed in the resurrection, what makes the resurrection more probable than hallucinations? I need some help here.

For starters - Hallucinations carry with it an element of expectation. There was not expectation of a risen messiah before the final days. So seeing Jesus was not what they expected. Plus over 500 hundred people witnessed Jesus after the resurrection - are you telling me that all of them hallucinated? That is a huge claim to make. Plus they all would to have had a joint combined hallucination - all seeing the same thing. It takes more faith to believe that I think.
but how do we know for sure those 500 people even existed.
Because Paul dared us to go and check his story out - He said most of them were still alive at the time. "go on ask them if you don't believe me."

1 Corinthians 15:3-8
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

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Re: Was Jesus just myth? Stumped by Richard Carrier

#8

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:11 am

The reality is that the only plausible explanation for what happened at Easter and what happened AFTER is that Christ lived, died and was resurrected.
The only way to deny that is on the grounds that resurrection don't happen because we have never seen any.

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