Different definitions of the word "mythicist":
Defining one's usage would help avoid confusion.
For one thing, I have no "motivation" for doubting that Jesus was an historical figure. For the most part, I don't care and it doesn't impact me on a day-to-day basis. Also, what other people believe is irrelevant to me. I changed my belief in Jesus as an historical figure not based on their belief but on learning new facts that I didn't know before.
In this case, not only was I taught that Jesus was an historical figure but that there WERE contemporary documents that supported his existence. But now I find out that isn't true and that the first mention of him in historical documents is in histories written about 90-100 years later.
So first of all, I was lied to as a child. I find that interesting. Did the nuns who taught us that there were mentions of Mary and Joseph in the census and that there were records of Jesus' crucifixion kept by the court at the time know that was a lie or where they just repeating what they were taught without investigating for themselves?
The next thing that interests me is the reaction you get when you bring up the fact that there are no contemporary records. Some people counter with reasonable-sounding arguments. But many, many people have the intellectual equivalent of a hissy fit. Or they fall back into faith-based pronouncements. You don't often get that reaction when you question other facts that people believe. It doesn't seem to stab at their core like questioning this particular belief does. Again... interesting to me.
As for doubting and my motivating for doubting, I tend to approach things as "prove it to me and until you do, I will doubt" rather than "I'll accept conventional wisdom until given proof to the contrary". So I'm starting from a position of doubt on many, many issues most of which have nothing to do with either religion or my childhood or what other people believe. I didn't always approach life this way but I've been burned enough over time by repeating stuff I learned without questioning and then finding out I was spreading misinformation that now I am more cautious about just believing stuff because that's what they teach you in school or you read it in the news or an expert told me.
Delete. Wrong Thread.
I don't know if Jesus had a wife but I do know for a fact that Jesus took the wheel.
"Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher
You all know the joke about the farmer in the flood:
And someone up-thread pointed out that the dictionary definition of faith includes faith that your own conclusions and beliefs are correct.A farmer is in Iowa during a flood. The river is overflowing, with water surrounding the farmer's home up to his front porch. As he is standing there, a boat comes up, The man in the boat says "Jump in, I'll take you to safety."
The farmer crosses his arms and says stubbornly, "Nope, I put my trust in God."
The boat goes away. The water rises to the second floor. Another boat comes up, the man says to the farmer who is now in the second story window, "Jump in, I'll save you."
The farmer again says, "Nope, I put my trust in God."
The boat goes away. Now the water is up to the roof. As The farmer stands on the roof, a helicopter comes over, and drops a ladder. The pilot yells down to the farmer "I'll save you, climb the ladder."
The farmer says "Nope, I put my trust in God."
The helicopter goes away. The water comtinues to rise and sweeps the farmer off the roof. He drowns.
The farmer goes to heaven. God sees him and says "What are you doing here?"
The farmer says "I put my trust in you and you let me down."
God says, "What do you mean, let you down? I sent you two boats and a helicopter!!!"
DH - and that's just my opinion
MacMadame, I'm curious about your answers to agal's questions about Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar? I'm also curious about why you're choosing not to answer.
Last edited by Angelskates; 09-22-2012 at 01:54 AM.
Senate minutes were more likely to be recorded, but they had restricted access. And there was no real cataloguing system. Over time, things recorded on papyrii degraded quickly, and inscriptions were repurposed for contemporary use. So there is no archive that some to think exists. Rather, we have references to archival materials cited in texts written by and for various interested parties. Scholars of antiquity are very good at reading past those agendas to reconstruct historical narratives. So what we know today about the ancient world comes almost exclusively from these sorts of texts.
That's why it's silly to say "I won't believe anything unless it comes from a neutral source." Everything we know today came from non-neutral sources, but people only have issues when it concerns one particular historical figure. That's not rational.
If, like me, you're looking for the historical reasons, the narrative/myth/storytelling reasons and so on, it's a fascinating set of questions. Of course, if you believe Jesus was the Son of God, then his prominence over the last two millenia is obvious!
"Youth and vigor is no match for age and deceit." -- Prancer
"Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."
from Speedy Death
I suspect the work of Jesus may be like what some people say about Shakespeare. Other people helped to embellish it. That is obvious in some respects as he had twelve apostles and Paul, but even some of the ideas were IMO likely developed by others and stemmed in part from earlier myths. Christmas and virgin births, for example. But also the philosophy. Not to dissimilar to the US bill of rights and the founding fathers.
The particular genius of Jesus or the Jesus story, IMO, is tearing down the concept of other. I know people say all religions have a do unto others clause but I think the gospels take it to a whole new level really not seen in other major religions. The best things from Christians stem from this seed of thought and the worst things come from when they blatantly ignore it.
Oh, and if I were going to write somebody out of the script, it would be Paul. But unfortunately, nobody ever says he didn't exist.
Last edited by snoopy; 09-22-2012 at 12:46 PM.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
How about Socrates? Was he a real person, or a character in works written by Plato?
Last edited by skipaway; 09-22-2012 at 08:28 PM.
A new article on this today in the NY Times:
‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ Fragment Is a Fake, Vatican Says
Geese fight back.
And we all know that the Vatican has no vested interest in this