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« "He didn't just snap. This takes a lot of planning." (UPDATED) | Main | Judge Bork has died »

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

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Zoe

Wow, never had a blog directed at me specifically. :)

The only thing I can comment on now is that I was not implying absolutes in my statement. I do not deal with absolutes in these matters because I know there is an open ended interpretation for a great many things, or something someone may have missed. I am just as flawed as any human, I can admit that readily.

But even so, as my former professor at the U of N Carolina, at Chapel Hill (Bart D Erhman) has written extensively in his books, the texts and reports are claimed to be accurate reporting, by folks who are going on second hand accounts of a person they have not personally met.

A myth can be built around a real flesh and blood person, such as Santa Claus (St Nicholas) but that does not stop it from being a myth in the end, wouldn't you say?

Patheos is a very interesting blog site and I enjoy reading their atheist and humanist blogs as well. But it will take my literary scholarly findings from a more neutral stance as opposed to a Christian apologetic blog to fully come to terms with the validity of the evidence that is presented.

No offense meant there, just think that is the best possible venue of study for me on the subject, don't you agree?

Rick

Well.. no, I don't... And I start with this notion that there is neutrality on this (these) issues... I don't believe that neutrality exists...

And your comments make me wonder...

Are you skeptical then of most historical figures?

Zoe

I didn't expect that you would.

I do, however, try to find the most unbiased sources of history that I am able to. It is not an easy thing to do by any means, but difficult does not mean impossible to me.

That is how I reseach most historical figures and have found a lot more by taking that route.

Dynan

One problem that occurs if Jesus did not exist is that now the devil doesn't exist.
Ask Zoe to read "the Screwtape Letters", then ask her if she believes the devil exists.

Zoe

Again, I did not suggest that he did not exist at all.

There is a lot of evidence for or against his existence, but the most unbiased sources I have found recently suggest he very well may have.

The rest of my comment was alluding to the fact that his divinity is what I particularly find very suspect and not credible at all.

I have read that book as well, and entertaining as it is, I find idea of a devil is about as fantastical as the idea of god.

BroKen

Wait, Zoe. What is the "lot of evidence against his (Jesus of Nazareth) existence"? What could that possibly be? A lack of evidence is not evidence against, is it? Certainly a movement developed around that name in the first century. That is evidence for. What is against?

Zoe

I wrote:

Again, I did not suggest that he did not exist at all.

There is a lot of evidence for or against his existence, but the most unbiased sources I have found recently suggest he very well may have.

Meaning a lot of the naysayers of his existance claim irrefutable evidence that he did not exist which I find suspect. The evidence for his existence is better, but still too much of a mixture of theology with the actual historical findings.

A lack of evidence can be evidence against.
The burden of proof must rely on the positive claim, not on its negation.

Unless of course you believe in leprechauns..

Rick

Zoe... you didn't answer my initial question... are you skeptical of most historical figures?

And what about Christ did you find to be skeptical?

If you're not doubting his existence, then what do you think of him?

You'd have to conclude that he was a loon if you doubt he is who he told his disciples he is... or you doubt his disciples but if you do that, on what particular and necessary basis?

I've always wondered why those who walked on this earth with him would go to their deaths standing up for what he stood for if they were in fact perpetrating some sort of hoax. Or were they all delusional? Or... do you doubt the veracity of their deaths?

This is all intriguing to me.

Dare I say, it takes more faith to not believe the gospel accounts than it does to believe them.

Are there gaps you can't account for in reaching the conclusion that the veracity for what Jesus said about himself is unknowable?

And if there is... what else in history do you also doubt?

Or do you?

Zoe

Rick,

With all due respect, I did not return to this post to debate anyone on their beliefs or my lack of superstitious beliefs. It was not initially my aim to do that in the post Ken wrote, only to answer some of his (at the time) generalized assertions about atheists.

I think I already wrote enough for you to ascertain what it is that I think about the claims of Christ's divinity, from what few things I have read both in the past and the present.

Granted they are both few, but in the future it will be much more as I am personally intrigued by the notion that as you said, people will die for something they have no empirical evidence to support, and how a cultures very real religious convictions of yesteryear are presented today as 'myths'.

I keep learning (or attempting to) despite what I feel about not knowing if I will be alive tomorrow or not.

But regardless of who he (Yeshua Bar Yosef) was as a person, I would be inclined to think he may just have been a very philosophically enlightened human being with an enormous IQ. Going beyond that insofar as his divinity is what I find personally dubious, and your definition of 'loon' is a very vast one, I might add.

It takes you faith to believe in these claims as a believer, but it takes me confidence to say that I do not 'know' if any of that is true as I was not there, and I am confident that I do not 'believe' it to be true, despite Ken's suggestion that I open my mind to think that 'make believe' is better than 'reality'.

I also said that in regards to historical figures. When I was in high school I regarded FDR in a very positive light, almost to the point of worship. Until I read a lot of conflicting accounts on him from unbiased sources. Same with Gandhi, I had idealized him also to that point.

So loosely answer the question you asked me, yes, I do have a healthy amount of skepticism with historical figures and am careful to not idealize any person in this world nor to believe every story I hear about them or what they may have been quoted as saying.

I will say this to you as I did to Ken, if your aim is to understand atheists as opposed to wanting them to simply understand you, then go to Patheos and talk to them. At least the ones who are not self serving trolls.

I am not the only atheist in the world nor will I be the last, or even the most intelligent. What I try to be is honest.

Here's to hoping you and your loved ones are safe and happy on this coming Holiday..

Zoe

P.S.

I mean to say that your definition of 'loon' was a very narrow one..it has vast implications..sorry about that.

Rick

Thank you Zoe... though I, as a flawed being, may have come across as wanting to debate, it's more I wanted to understand.

And my definition of loon, in reference to Jesus Christ, is pretty narrow in this sense.

The only out in not believing the man to be a loon is to not believe those accounts chronicling his stating himself to be God and that chronicled those events that substantiated his divinity.

Or to believe he lied and was somehow able to fool his followers and the chroniclers.

Or to believe he was crazy and his followers easily led and quite gullible.

The problem with that thinking in my view is that loons don't change the world like Christ and his disciples did... and are doing.

Anyway, I seriously appreciate your appearances here Zoe... and wish you and yours the merriest of Christmases and the happiest of holidays.

Zoe

....I can't believe I am allowing myself to be drawn again to this thread, but will for this short time, as I have a busy day of enjoying my ephemeral existence that I have a chance to enjoy today upon awakening.

I may have been flawed in my own way to assume that was your intent without asking. But are we not delightfully interesting as flawed beings nonetheless?

In regards to your narrow definition of 'loon' you may have a point in regards to the man (or myth) that you particularly idealize. Understandable.

But I mentioned that at the end because a 'loon' has vast meanings in regards to people who are 'loony' and mentally unstable or sick, as opposed to those who influenced the world with their ideas being radically different or just too confusing initially for those incapable (or unwilling) to comprehend them. So they met opposition and were described as 'loony'

Kind of like that quote by Einstein in reference to 'great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds?'

And I to agree with your assertion in a loose sense, that a 'loon' can change the world that we live in. For the better or the worse, they do and can change it. And many still do.

Many folks could have been considered loons initially, such as Bertrand Russell, Edgar Casey, Einstein as I mentioned, Gallileo, Constantine, to name a few. Many people might still hold them to be loons, I don't know.

Many folks view those men who flew those planes into the twin towers as 'loons'. And they did change a lot of the things we think and do as a result. But the difference is that they did it in a negative way.

mathman

There really was a Star of Bethlehem. Go read up on Balaam. His prophecy was direct and unambiguous, and accounted for the Wise Men.
The Star was to appear in the sign of Judah, which was the Lion (Leo).
So it did. In Babylonia, on August 12, 3 BC, Venus and Jupiter appeared to merge at sunrise.
And again, in Israel, on June 17, 2 BC, Venus and Jupiter appeared to merge at sunset.
These data are from Jean Meeus, from the JP4 ephemeris. This was published years ago, in Sky and Telescope, by Roger Sinott.
Such mergers are extremely rare.

Zoe

I have read of Balaam as a child.

And those are interesting findings, but I remain unconvinced that they point to any answers regarding the question of divinity.

Do you have any links that have any newer data?

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