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  1. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    When you say mythicists do you mean scholars who specialize in the study of mythology? If so, is Joseph Campbell seen as a whackadoodle?

    IMO religion does have a mythic dimension. Do the scholars you refer to reject that idea?
    Joseph Campbell studies cultural myths, he is not a mythicist who embraces them. There is a difference. Mythology is an important element in cultural anthropology because a culture's mythology, is a reflection of their cultural history and are often rooted in real events which took place in antiquity and have evolved over time. Which describes all religious canon. To paraphrase Marshall Sahlins, mythical realities are a reflection of historical metaphors.
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  2. #142

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    Different definitions of the word "mythicist":

    general use:
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mythicist

    specialized use:
    http://www.stellarhousepublishing.co...l#.UFzNla5PsdQ

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_myth_theory

    Defining one's usage would help avoid confusion.

  3. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post
    So part of your motivation for doubting that Jesus is historical is because it runs counter to what some religious believers have said to you?
    Nope.

    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 But now I find out that isn't true and that the first mention of him in historical documents is in histories written about 90-100 years later.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.
    "Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker

  4. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    That's an abomination!

    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy View Post
    vagabond is relatively new and may not realize that agal is a religious studies professor or department chair of some sort.
    Yes, and while this may be Agal's field of expertise. And while I may agree with much of what she is saying in this thread. I do think we could do without the "ignorance" comments. We can debate things here without creating animosity.

  5. #145

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    I don't know if Jesus had a wife but I do know for a fact that Jesus took the wheel.
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  6. #146

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    Not really. If there was a God, then God could make his existence completely obvious. Until He/She/It does, it is logical to assume there is none and it takes faith to believe there is a God.

    Otherwise you are saying that it is a leap of faith to not believe that my next-door neighbor isn't secretly an alien from another planet or that the Abdominal Snowman doesn't exist.

    IOW believing something doesn't exist when there is no prove it exists is not a faith-based belief.
    Well, we can certainly agree to disagree. I don't agree with your logic. Who would decide when / how G-d would make his existence "completely obvious"? Facebook? Twitter? YouTube? And, how do you know that He doesn't every day in a gazillion ways that some (or many) don't notice or recognize.

    You all know the joke about the farmer in the flood:
    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!!!"
    And someone up-thread pointed out that the dictionary definition of faith includes faith that your own conclusions and beliefs are correct.
    DH - and that's just my opinion

  7. #147

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    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 12:54 AM.

  8. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    Maybe there's just a misunderstanding here. A neutral source, to me, would be a tax or census record, and those certainly existed in antiquity.
    No and yes. Contrary to claims here, Romans were very haphazard record-keepers. Sometimes things were recorded, sometimes not. We think of census records today as something very detailed, regular, and kept for generations. That concept of census just didn't exist in antiquity.

    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.

  9. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    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.
    Well, the existence or non-existence of Jesus has much more impact on people's beliefs and lives now than Julius or Alex. To me it's a non-argument, the interesting question is how this obscure carpenter, a dissident Jew, had this colossal edifice of belief and institutions constructed around him.

    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

  10. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    Well, the existence or non-existence of Jesus has much more impact on people's beliefs and lives now than Julius or Alex. To me it's a non-argument, the interesting question is how this obscure carpenter, a dissident Jew, had this colossal edifice of belief and institutions constructed around him.
    Not only that, but wouldn't he be surprised had he had an inkling of said edifice and the global and historical impact of it? IOW, I doubt he meant any of it to happen.
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  11. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Not only that, but wouldn't he be surprised had he had an inkling of said edifice and the global and historical impact of it? IOW, I doubt he meant any of it to happen.
    Well, yes, if you're a non-believer. If you're a believer, it was all supposed to happen -- although there are so many versions of Christianity it's hard to discern what "it" is.l
    "Youth and vigor is no match for age and deceit." -- Prancer

  12. #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    Well, yes, if you're a non-believer. If you're a believer, it was all supposed to happen -- although there are so many versions of Christianity it's hard to discern what "it" is.l
    I would venture to say that he would not have expected the hate that religion creates. In spite of his own crucifixion.

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    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 11:46 AM.
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  14. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by AxelAnnie View Post
    And, how do you know that He doesn't every day in a gazillion ways that some (or many) don't notice or recognize.
    By definition, if we don't notice or recognize, it's not completely obvious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angelskates View Post
    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.
    I don't know enough about those two figures to have an opinion.
    "Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker

  15. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy View Post
    I suspect the work of Jesus may be like what some people say about Shakespeare. Other people helped to embellish it.
    Except there aren't any written works that are attributed directly to Jesus. So he's not like Shakespeare because no one says that he wrote anything in the Bible.
    "Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker

  16. #156

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    How about Socrates? Was he a real person, or a character in works written by Plato?

  17. #157

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    Jon Stewart's take on the story:

    The God Wife
    Last edited by skipaway; 09-22-2012 at 07:28 PM.

  18. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    How about Socrates? Was he a real person, or a character in works written by Plato?
    Heck, what about Plato?
    "Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker

  19. #159
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    A new article on this today in the NY Times:

    ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ Fragment Is a Fake, Vatican Says
    Congratulations 2014 World Ice Dance Champions Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte!!!

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    And we all know that the Vatican has no vested interest in this

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