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kaktrot

Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« on: May 25, 2007, 06:03:16 PM »
I have challenged my friend Merlin to provide me with historical evidence for Christ.  This was in reply to him saying that the entire Bible can be historically proved.  I think that this is setting a needlessly high burden of proof, especially given that we don't have much historical evidence for anything in OT times.

My current historical knowlege of the Bible is fairly shallow, and deals with roughtly 15 BC to 300 AD.  It comes from listening to 20-30ish hours of Bart D. Ehrman, and reading The Jesus Puzzle by Earl Doherty.

In The Jesus Puzzle, Doherty supports the claim that Jesus did not in fact exist in a physical sense.  He claims that there were many mythological people who were worshipped around those times were not considered to exist on the mortal plane, but in a higher place.  Just as real, but beyond what we could see.  Very broadly speaking, he draws his arguments from the fact that Paul says very few specific things about what Jesus said and did outside of the Last Supper, and says that you can interpret them all in a mythological sense, which is how Paul meant it under Doherty's interpretation.

I do not agree with this point of view.  I thought that it was tightly reasoned, and very well-researched (the book was very tough going for a layman-level work.  Only 350ish pages, I think it took me a week).  Ultimately it doesn't seem to "click" as well with the evidence as well as Ehrman's view.  The book was very instructional to me, though, because it showed just how much interpretive work is being done when doing scholarly work on so little actual liturature.

I tend to agree with Ehrman, that we can be pretty sure that Jesus existed, and many generalities about his life.  I also agree with him that miracles are practically impossible to establish historically, as miracles today are devilishly hard to pin down without a couple thousand years to obscure them.

Believing that Jesus was crucified is reasonable, but believing that he was supernatural (born of a virgin, cast out demons, etc) is a necessary leap of faith.  Do you, as a Christian community, feel that this is accurate?  If not, why?

As a separate issue, it has not escaped my notice that Doherty's book was pubished by an overtly secularist organization.  This does not make it wrong, of course.  I have no current reason to doubt that the bazillions of sources that he sites do not actually say what he says that they do, or that his translations are incorrect, but there is still a bias present.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a book, however biased, on the historical life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus?  I have had The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus by Lee Strobel on my "to buy" list for a long time.  It seems to be the most widely liked on Amazon among books like it.  Does anyone have an opinion on this book?  Should I get it, or some other book?  My funds are limited, but my reading time is vast.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2007, 06:14:56 PM by kaktrot »
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

--Thomas Jefferson

|CoR| Hawkens

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2007, 09:29:29 PM »
Does anyone have a recommendation for a book, however biased, on the historical life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus? 

Um......The Holy Bible?

HiL

kaktrot

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2007, 10:00:28 PM »
Um......The Holy Bible?


Zing!  Well done, sir.

Okay, how about a book about the historical accuracy of the NT?  I have read it, but it does not appear to be literally true.  I do not believe the stories of Romulus and Remus to be literal fact because someone wrote them down.  There is a man right now who is believed by millions of people to have been born of a virgin, turn water into...gasoline, and create food from nothing.  One or more of his followers may decide to write a book about this 20 years after he is dead, but I doubt you or I will find it compelling.  At the same time, the book will probably contain a great many things that are true.
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

--Thomas Jefferson

|CoR| beepbeepiamajeep

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2007, 12:40:19 AM »
I am not the most knowledged on this subject but..

what about the dead sea scrolls?

Also they have found testomonies other than the bible that tell about Jesus (that i cannot name their names, becasue i do not remember)

there were many other people in Jesus's time claiming to be prophets/ messiahs, they had diciples also. after their leader died they disbanded.
if you remember so did Jesus's Disciples, until they saw Jesus again after he had risen. 
If i remmber correctly every single Disciple died in Jesus's name, they were persacuted and they died for Jesus
one of the disciples got his skinned ripped off, i think that was Bartholamu (sp), but anyway all died in horrible deaths but they NEVER said "Jesus was a fake" or "Jesus wasnt the Messiah" 
Now if some dude proclaimed to be the Messiah, and  lets say i believed him, if after he died all the stuff that he promised did not come true i would not die for this man.  i would not let someone crucify me and me tell them that i do not deserve to die like my lord ( i believe that was Peter, not sure) UNLESS i had seen him rise for myself. All the disicples had to do was tell the soldiers/guards that Jesus was fake and they would be let go. ..they didnt.


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|CoR| Cool_Hand_Luke

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2007, 01:44:55 PM »
Title:   Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
Author:   Edersheim, Alfred (1825-1889)

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/edersheim/lifetimes.html
Grace & Peace,

Pastor Dade Ronan
|CoR| Pres-Cool_Hand_Luke
Acts 2:38
http://daderonan.com





kaktrot

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2007, 11:43:40 PM »
what about the dead sea scrolls?

Well, they are the oldest known copies of some books of the OT, as well as some other stuff of scholarly interest.  I remember learning about them, but I've forgotten most of it now, since it had little to do with Jesus.

Quote
Also they have found testomonies other than the bible that tell about Jesus (that i cannot name their names, becasue i do not remember)

Josephus mentions him (37 CE ~ 100ish CE).  I don't recall that he wrote more than a couple of paragraphs, but I'll have to read it.

Quote
...soldiers/guards that Jesus was fake and they would be let go. ..they didnt.

This isn't very strong evidence that it actually happened.  Our good friend Sathya Sai Baba might have some followers that would die rather than claim that he isn't an avatar of God, but that doesn't prove that he is.  The fact that we don't know who wrote down the accounts that Jesus was seen after he rose from the dead, and that they were written at least 30 years after he died certainly casts some doubt on the whole thing, especially considering how common those kinds of beliefs were.
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

--Thomas Jefferson

datank

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2007, 08:24:46 PM »
Josephus has the most in terms of 1st century usage...

if you want "Jesus seminar" type stuff...

look at "Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography" by: Crossan

"Jesus the Jew" by Vermes

"The meaning of Jesus" by Borg and Wright

"Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" by Fredrickson

Those are books I had for "Historical Jesus"

In terms of historcity Josephus, and the church fathers rock...
"There is no real reason for half of the threads created on this forum." - me

|CoR| Teb:
Quote
I'm locking this.  There is no real reason for this thread.

kaktrot

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2007, 12:28:40 AM »
Josephus has the most in terms of 1st century usage...

if you want "Jesus seminar" type stuff...

look at "Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography" by: Crossan

"Jesus the Jew" by Vermes

"The meaning of Jesus" by Borg and Wright

"Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" by Fredrickson

Those are books I had for "Historical Jesus"

In terms of historcity Josephus, and the church fathers rock...


Thanks, I'll look these up.  I'm still very skeptical, of course.  I'm pretty sure that Josephus only wrote two paragraphs or so about Jesus some decades after he died.  Paul is still the earliest at a mere 20ish years after Jesus' death, which means that the first detailed account of his life can only be traced back to unknown authors in 60 CE at the earliest.  That's like the first details of JFK's life being released in '93.

I'm off to read these, and Life and Times as Luke suggested.  Au revoir.
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

--Thomas Jefferson

Reverend

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2007, 08:55:59 AM »
Josephus has the most in terms of 1st century usage...

if you want "Jesus seminar" type stuff...

look at "Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography" by: Crossan

"Jesus the Jew" by Vermes

"The meaning of Jesus" by Borg and Wright

"Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" by Fredrickson

Those are books I had for "Historical Jesus"

In terms of historcity Josephus, and the church fathers rock...


Thanks, I'll look these up.  I'm still very skeptical, of course.  I'm pretty sure that Josephus only wrote two paragraphs or so about Jesus some decades after he died.  Paul is still the earliest at a mere 20ish years after Jesus' death, which means that the first detailed account of his life can only be traced back to unknown authors in 60 CE at the earliest.  That's like the first details of JFK's life being released in '93.

I'm off to read these, and Life and Times as Luke suggested.  Au revoir.

Why is it that you start from that position?

datank

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2007, 08:55:12 PM »
Also instead of the Holy Bible as my answer for religious texts... I like Luke/Acts as a start for any discussion of the history of Jesus to be specific...
"There is no real reason for half of the threads created on this forum." - me

|CoR| Teb:
Quote
I'm locking this.  There is no real reason for this thread.

kaktrot

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2007, 12:17:46 AM »
Why is it that you start from that position?


To be fair, I didn't start from this position.  I spent my first 10 years of education at private, fundamentalist schools.  "Bible" was a line on my report card, and I generally did okay.

I think that it is only reasonable to believe things to the extent that I have evidence for them.  I make considerations for how likely things are with respect to what I know about the world.  If someone came back to life, after three days at room temperature post-crucifixion, it would be a miracle (of course).

The problem with miracles is that many, many people believe them without any good evidence.  This is why I keep linking Sathya Sai Baba, he's a good illustration, but not the only one by any means.  It's very easy to see how some people 2000 years ago could come to believe these miraculous things about Jesus, even if he didn't do them.  People believe the same things now.

Historical proof that this happened is a tall order.  What proof would you require that the original Buddha sat under a tree, without moving, for 49 days, or became enlightened?  It's only reasonable to want a whole lot.
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

--Thomas Jefferson

|CoR| Vette

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2007, 12:29:21 AM »
For some things, proof is the wrong place to look.  The world says "seeing is believing" but God says "believe it, and then you'll see it."
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!




|CoR| Legolas

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2007, 12:39:48 AM »
Kaktrot,

I know this isn't historical evidence...but here are some testimonies of things that Jesus has done recently...

Pretty fun stuff.

http://www.ibethel.org/features//testimonies/index.php?f=testimonies.php

I promise you, that if you ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you...He will...

|CoR| Legolas*GI*     
*STAR* and *PiG* Official Member.

**Eleet computer builder club - 7 Fan Wonder**

Parents need to cowboy up.

Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.

kaktrot

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2007, 01:23:58 AM »
For some things, proof is the wrong place to look.  The world says "seeing is believing" but God says "believe it, and then you'll see it."


In order to believe it, I need to see it first.  I think it is very foolish to believe something, especially something as deeply life-affecting as a religious belief, on insufficient evidence.  For the record, I did believe it, but I believed it because I believed in the so-called scientific evidence for a young earth.

I think that believing something without evidence is not just a bad idea, it's dangerous.  I wish that people who believed in the healing powers of crystals would seek out proof, along with faith healers, suicide bombers, breatharians, cyanide-chuggers of all persuasions, followers of Silvia Browne, and people who take astrology seriously.  These people believe things that are demonstrably wrong, and which cause direct, obvious harm to their lives to various degrees.  Looking for reasonable evidence is the best way to collect knowledge about the world.

Wasn't proving that he was the son of God part of the reason that Jesus performed miracles?  If so, how would I differentiate between Jesus' miracles and Sathya Sai Baba's?
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

--Thomas Jefferson

|CoR| Legolas

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2007, 02:44:07 AM »
Jesus was the Son of God, but he performed the miracles as a man. He laid aside all of his divinity. He is what every Christian should be.

Personally, I'm sick and tired of modern day Christianity, that's why I'm doing something about it. I'm following Jesus and doing what He told me to do...Greater things than he ever did. Personally, God has given me a gift of healing and have healed, through the Holy Spirit, several people of various different ailments including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and side effects of a stroke.

How would you differentiate between Jesus' miracles and Sai Baba's? The Bible tells us all sorts of stuff about certain topics, but leaving that aside, I honestly don't think you'd be able to tell the difference. I've never heard of Sai Baba's followers performing miracles, while Jesus' followers have continuously performed miracles, healings, signs and wonders for almost 2000 years.
|CoR| Legolas*GI*     
*STAR* and *PiG* Official Member.

**Eleet computer builder club - 7 Fan Wonder**

Parents need to cowboy up.

Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.

datank

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2007, 09:40:22 AM »
for some reason I feel like I'm talking to myself of about 5 or 6 years ago, when I first found this group...

I wanted visual proof that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, was the Messiah, was the Lord and Saviour.

As I went through my college years I doubted hard.  Ask any of the guys here, they've been here for all the airing of my dirty laundry with God.

One thing I've come to realize, we'll probably never find the tomb of Jesus, and if we do, by some miracle, we'll never be able to prove that this is Jesus of Nazareth, the one who was King of the Jews.  For a few reasons, a) we can't DNA test them, b) we do not have accurate enough forms of radioactive dating, c) even if we did we'd have to know without a doubt when Jesus died, and d) Jesus rose.

That being said, I believe that faith without questions is dead.  On the same tolken I say that doubting without questions is stupid.  If you aren't questioning your beliefs (or lack there of) then how can you be growing in them?

Going into the contemporary field of Biblical studies, I believe that the academic study of the Biblical texts is not the same as devotional study.  I recognize that as a Seminerdian, and as a believer.  As such I have to suggest something with the reading list that I suggested.  That is, I suggest that you read the books read it with a Bible open so you can see whether the conclusions drawn by the authors actually fit the texts of Jesus that we have (exegesis) or if they are the authors throwing their own viewpoint onto the story of Jesus (eisegesis).

Those are my thoughts, now it's off to school to finish my last make-up assignment for "Job" (yes I have a class just on the book of Job)
"There is no real reason for half of the threads created on this forum." - me

|CoR| Teb:
Quote
I'm locking this.  There is no real reason for this thread.

kaktrot

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2007, 01:13:04 PM »
...I'm following Jesus and doing what He told me to do...Greater things than he ever did.


C'mon man, curing cancer is pretty impressive, but Jesus still has Lazarus.   ;)

Quote
Personally, God has given me a gift of healing and have healed, through the Holy Spirit, several people of various different ailments including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and side effects of a stroke.


Again, I am skeptical.  First off, I sincerely hope that these people did not forego standard medical treatment for faith healing.  Were they being treated?  Also, do you have any medical evidence that this happened?  Wikipedia tells me that rheumatoid arthritis causes permanent damage at every stage of its development.  You should be able to have ultrasound scans of the joints before and after the healing.  If you are just referring to the symptoms, I should point out that people report a great reduction in pain from all kinds of implausible things: magnets, acupuncture, crystals, etc.  The power of a person's belief in something can have powerful therapeutic effects.

These things can all have remissions.  People of all walks of life have beaten cancer, athritis and "side effects."  Christian, Scientologist (it's all in your head!), and humanist alike have experienced this.  Some things, however, do not have remissions.  There are remarkably few people cured of their amputations through faith, though one would expect that it would be no harder for God to heal a lost hand than oust your cancer.  Why are things that are incurable never cured through faith healing?  Curious...

Quote
How would you differentiate between Jesus' miracles and Sai Baba's? The Bible tells us all sorts of stuff about certain topics, but leaving that aside, I honestly don't think you'd be able to tell the difference.


I don't think I can either, except to say that Sathya's are more compelling, because he is doing them right now in front of throngs of followers who have access to the Internet, TV, science textbooks, and stage magicians, and I still find myself unconvinced.  He obviously cannot do the things that he claims he is doing, but millions follow him anyway because they don't think critically about him.

Why should I believe that Jesus could do what he is claimed to have done?

Quote
I've never heard of Sai Baba's followers performing miracles, while Jesus' followers have continuously performed miracles, healings, signs and wonders for almost 2000 years.


I have seen many claims of this, but no good evidence.  Much like the UFO abduction phenomenon, but on a much grander scale.

Those stories you sent me, though I am far from having read all of them, tend to be very short on details:

Quote
Eric Johnson prayed for a woman in Oregon whose sciatic nerve was so damaged from a car accident of 18 months ago that touching that area would cause her leg to buckle and make her fall.
...
A lady reported to Bonnie Johnson after her Tuesday night class...
...
Eric Johnson prayed for a woman in Oregon whose sciatic nerve was so damaged from a car accident of 18 months ago that touching that area would cause her leg to buckle and make her fall.

[emphesis mine - Kaktrot]


No names, no specific places.  I am sure that they aren't all like that, it is just suggestive.  For juxtaposition, consider a regular health-related news article.  It has the pertinent names, dates, and places.  If I had need to, I could track down these people and their medical records, though I'm sure it would be time-consuming.

"Miracles" have this frustrating habit of never happening under controlled circumstances when knowledgeable, skeptical people are keeping close tabs.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2007, 01:21:28 PM by kaktrot »
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

--Thomas Jefferson

|CoR| Vette

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2007, 01:47:01 PM »
That's not always true - I personally know a man who was diagnosed with cancer in his chest when he was 16.  However, now he has no evidence whatsoever of ever having had cancer - no damage to his system from the cancer or the subsequent treatments.  All of this is medically verifiable.  He'll be 30 years old next year. 

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!




kaktrot

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2007, 01:49:23 PM »
for some reason I feel like I'm talking to myself of about 5 or 6 years ago, when I first found this group...

I wanted visual proof that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, was the Messiah, was the Lord and Saviour.

It is reasonable to want proof.  If you throw out evidence as a prerequisite, how to you choose between Christianity (Catholic and non), Hinduism, Islam and Scientology?  The vast majority of people tend to pick the ones that they were born into.

Quote
As I went through my college years I doubted hard.  Ask any of the guys here, they've been here for all the airing of my dirty laundry with God.

But then, what?  You arbritrarily decided that all this doubting buisiness just wasn't worth the effort?  What evidence turned you back toward your faith?

Quote
One thing I've come to realize, we'll probably never find the tomb of Jesus, and if we do, by some miracle, we'll never be able to prove that this is Jesus of Nazareth, the one who was King of the Jews.  For a few reasons, a) we can't DNA test them, b) we do not have accurate enough forms of radioactive dating, c) even if we did we'd have to know without a doubt when Jesus died, and d) Jesus rose.

Too true, too true.

Quote
That being said, I believe that faith without questions is dead.  On the same tolken I say that doubting without questions is stupid.  If you aren't questioning your beliefs (or lack there of) then how can you be growing in them?

I question my beliefs before I adopt them, then generally let them be unless I have a reason to question them (which I am more than willing to do).  I can, at this moment, hop in my car and drive anywhere I want to go on the continental US, provided I can afford the gas.  I know this to a very high degree of certainty, but not 100%.  I don't need to "grow" in this belief, I just have no reason to doubt it, though I have had cars in the -recent- past that would indeed give me reason to doubt.

Growing in a belief, from over here, sounds a bit like increasing your level of faith without a corresponding increase in evidence.

Quote
Going into the contemporary field of Biblical studies, I believe that the academic study of the Biblical texts is not the same as devotional study.  I recognize that as a Seminerdian, and as a believer.

Seminerdian?  Brilliant!  I'm gonna use that.   ;D

By this sentence, to you mean that studying the Bible with a presupposition that it is true is different than examining it as any other historical text?  If so, then I agree.

Quote
...read it with a Bible open so you can see whether the conclusions drawn by the authors actually fit the texts of Jesus that we have (exegesis) or if they are the authors throwing their own viewpoint onto the story of Jesus (eisegesis).

This is good sense, especially when theory-building is such an intrinsic part of it all.

At the end of the day, though, do the surviving documents amount to solid evidence that Jesus rose from the dead?  I don't think so, and I am skeptical that books written hundreds of years after the fact are going to change that.  There is a necessary, and very large leap of faith, and I tend to think that all leaps of faith are a bad idea.
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

--Thomas Jefferson

kaktrot

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2007, 02:17:29 PM »
That's not always true - I personally know a man who was diagnosed with cancer in his chest when he was 16.  However, now he has no evidence whatsoever of ever having had cancer - no damage to his system from the cancer or the subsequent treatments.  All of this is medically verifiable.  He'll be 30 years old next year. 


Sometimes cancer goes away, and I'm happy for this man.  Sometimes people just win, and it's not just Christians.  Cancer going away after a treatment isn't a miracle, it's lucky.  That's what the treatment was for, after all, though I believe sometimes cancer goes away without treatment on very rare occasion.

Things that are so unlikely that we should never expect to see them anywhere in the world don't happen under scrutiny.  Withered hands are not repaired in a moment, Sathya Sai Baba refuses to create food in a controlled environment, Peter Popoff cannot know your ailments without the help of a radio, people are not brought back from death, and amputees do not get their limbs back.  Ever.

If God is miraculously healing people then he seems to have some rules.

1) Often does not choose to heal on request.
2) Has a strong preference for healing things that sometimes go away on their own.
3) If he heals something that is never self-limiting, he does it when nobody is looking.

Could God behave in such a way?  Of course!  He can behave any way that he wants to.  It just seems ineffective to use miracles as evidence.
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

--Thomas Jefferson

datank

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2007, 07:24:32 PM »
Well what turned me back in part was an experience around a campfire while I was listening...

I have never felt anything like this or anything since.  It was my night to speak at a campfire at a Methodist camp in Northern IL... I built the fire and sat waiting for the kids to come down.  Just listening, trying to hear what I needed to say for not only myself but also my fellow counselors who had heard my topic 6 times previous...

As I was sitting there listening, I heard racoons and squirrels across the fire ring from me, but nothing behind me.  Suddenly as I am sitting there, I felt a hand on my shoulder.  Along with this hand I heard my mother's healthy voice (which was huge for me since my Mom had been dead for 11 years, and sick for the last 4 years) say, "I'm proud of you."

As I spoke that night, I had a very wierd out of body experience.  I was walking about a foot behind myself, just listening to the words coming out of my mouth.  Though they weren't my own.  I looked at the kids and counselors and saw them transfixed upon what the person was saying.  I remember thinking, "I wonder who is preaching this well and what are they saying?"  At which point I suddenly came back into my body, and stumbled over the last 30 seconds.

To answer your questions...

The power of the Holy Spirit... (it's amazing to watch someone come into faith and knowledge of Jesus)  My girlfriends mom was atheist leaning agnostic growing up... was told she was going to burn in hell for having questions about faith (said by a Lutheran pastor)... but now she's a Christian.  It does happen, is it often, I don't know...

As for growing in belief, and questioning... I believe that you have to keep questioning and going deeper into the Bible to keep answering your questions... If you want all your questions answered on Earth, it won't happen, and nor will it for me...

I believe that taking the Bible as the literal word of God written in Modern English, or in King James English, or in Greek, is dangerous.  I believe that we have to recognize that the book as it exists today has been translated by man.  I believe that the academic study alone will not lead you to living a life of faith, or of a Christian person.  However a devotional reading will not lead you to rectify issues like the two creation stories in Genesis, the Synoptic problem, the lack of authorship of Hebrews, etc. but it will allow you to live as a Christian person.  However reading as both will allow you to rectify those issues and live a life of faith.

I do not believe that the surviving documents provide enough proof to support the claim that Jesus did not rise from the dead.
"There is no real reason for half of the threads created on this forum." - me

|CoR| Teb:
Quote
I'm locking this.  There is no real reason for this thread.

|CoR| Vette

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2007, 08:30:58 PM »
That's not always true - I personally know a man who was diagnosed with cancer in his chest when he was 16.  However, now he has no evidence whatsoever of ever having had cancer - no damage to his system from the cancer or the subsequent treatments.  All of this is medically verifiable.  He'll be 30 years old next year. 

Sometimes cancer goes away, and I'm happy for this man.  Sometimes people just win, and it's not just Christians.  Cancer going away after a treatment isn't a miracle, it's lucky.  That's what the treatment was for, after all, though I believe sometimes cancer goes away without treatment on very rare occasion.

Yes, but how often does it go away with no aftereffects?  Or no trace of the effects of treatment?
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!




Merlin

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2007, 07:43:55 PM »
I think kaktrot isnt around anymore? Kaktrot u still there?  Guess hes never heard of the bones of St. Peter brining back people from the dead...

Newman

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2007, 09:51:07 PM »
"Miracles" have this frustrating habit of never happening under controlled circumstances when knowledgeable, skeptical people are keeping close tabs.

I believe that depends on your perspective - I can easily view a baby's birth as a miracle, but you will never accept it as one.

If you don't want to believe in the miraculous, there is nothing that will *force* you to change your mind.  Our belief system is remarkable because of how it can reconcile reality to what we believe - often changing reality to fit what we expect.

A brief example - studies have been done on people who have had strokes in specific parts of the brain.  They have lost the ability to move their right arm, but the part of their brain relating to "insight" has also been affected.  When told to pick up an object with their right hand, they claim to have done so.  When it is pointed out that their hand has not moved and the object isn't being held by them, they are flabbergasted, and begin giving random explanations that the person must've "tricked" them.

My point?  Our brain is remarkably adept at reinforcing our current belief system - to the point of ignoring the reality in front of our own eyes.  I agree that it is important to truly search these things out, but don't delude yourself that there is some mythical amount of "evidence" out there that will give you a 100% bulletproof scientific rationale for God existing, Jesus being His son, etc.  There's plenty of proof out there, but if you close your mind - you'll never accept it.

If you haven't already, study on the manuscripts of the Bible, the amount of prophecies in the Bible that have been fulfilled, and the historical proof for Jesus.  Christianity is the most provable, open, independently verifiable religion *by far*.  There are a great many people who have believed otherwise, decided to prove Christianity wrong, and ended up converting after doing their research.

So research away, there are no hidden weaknesses with Christianity, no ridiculous secrets like the Mormons have to hide.
I'm looking at you, muwhahaha!!!

kaktrot

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #25 on: July 03, 2007, 03:01:58 AM »
I think kaktrot isnt around anymore? Kaktrot u still there?  Guess hes never heard of the bones of St. Peter brining back people from the dead...

I'm back.

No, I haven't heard of the bones of St. Peter, and their ability to bring back the dead.  Do you have a link?  If you can provide evidence that's better than the evidence for the miracles that Sathya Sai Baba has ever done, then I'll consider it.

This might seem flip, but since you don't accept anything that Baba does, then you shouldn't accept the bones unless there is better evidence for it.
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

--Thomas Jefferson

kaktrot

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2007, 03:31:15 AM »
...

As I was sitting there listening, I heard racoons and squirrels across the fire ring from me, but nothing behind me.  Suddenly as I am sitting there, I felt a hand on my shoulder.  Along with this hand I heard my mother's healthy voice (which was huge for me since my Mom had been dead for 11 years, and sick for the last 4 years) say, "I'm proud of you."

As I spoke that night, I had a very wierd out of body experience.  I was walking about a foot behind myself, just listening to the words coming out of my mouth.  Though they weren't my own.  I looked at the kids and counselors and saw them transfixed upon what the person was saying.  I remember thinking, "I wonder who is preaching this well and what are they saying?"  At which point I suddenly came back into my body, and stumbled over the last 30 seconds.

I have no doubt that you had a very powerful experience.  These kinds of things can give people new perspective on life, but it is unwise to take them as some sort of omen from God.  People of all religions have these experiences, and people of no religion also have them.  How do you explain people who have seen and spoken to Krishna or Buddha?  How about aliens?

I would say that people have a well-established ability to have deep changes to the character of their consciousness.  Through injury, drugs, long meditation, or sheer force of will, I could have a good long chat with Isaac Asimov, but I would be foolish to take it as truth beyond my own mind.

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As for growing in belief, and questioning... I believe that you have to keep questioning and going deeper into the Bible to keep answering your questions... If you want all your questions answered on Earth, it won't happen, and nor will it for me...

I don't expect to have the answers to all of my questions.  I'll be lucky to get sure answers to a handful of them in my lifetime.  I just try to believe things to the exact degree that I have evidence.  Observe my list of beliefs in decreasing order:

I'm positive that I still have my feet.
I'm pretty sure that I'm gonna get paid this week.
I'd bet $10 that there are black holes, though recent evidence suggest that they might not form easily from stars.
I don't know, at the moment, if Bin Laden is still alive.  I'm behind on the news.

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I do not believe that the surviving documents provide enough proof to support the claim that Jesus did not rise from the dead.

That's pretty weak.  The Koran doesn't contain proof that Muhammed didn't ascend into heaven.

Cripes, man, every book in the library does "not contain enough proof to support the claim" that there isn't a Chevy sitting on the moon.  If I wanted to convince you that there actually was such a thing, I'd need a huge pile of very good evidence.  No one document of reasonable size could do it.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  I'm looking for some -historical!- evidence that Jesus was actually the son of God, that he died, and rose again three days later.  I don't need absolute proof, but I think it's quite reasonable to ask for the same amount of evidence that you would accept for a historical claim from the Mormons or Muslims.
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

--Thomas Jefferson

Guardian

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #27 on: July 03, 2007, 04:06:25 AM »
Actually in this case, the lack of evidence to suggest that he didn't rise from the dead IS significant.

Why?

Because him being dead was a big thing for the Jews.  If there had seriously been a rising religion of what the Jews considered blasphemy, based on a man being risen from the dead, they would have rolled his body out on a cart through the streets and said "Hey, dig this, dead body."

Historically speaking, there are a great multitude of witnesses to the risen Jesus Christ, hundreds even.  This is substantiated by the fact that those hundreds spread the gospel to all three major continents of that day (Europe, Africa, Asia), and founded the largest, and most globally dispersed religion on the planet today.  Further the fact that the vast majority of them lived rough lives, and died horrible deaths further substantiates their witness, their simultaneous and agreeing witness that Christ was indeed alive.  The very existence of Christianity, of which the resurrection of Christ is an absolute necessity (You take out the resurrection, there IS no true Christianity left), rested upon Christ being truly alive.  Even the apostles taught in the first century, that if there is no resurrection of the body, then our faith is vain!  So by their own admission "No body, no Christianity, no salvation through Jesus"

All it would have taken to have crushed the religion forever, was to present the body.  It would have been the easiest defeat to a religion, EVER, because Christianity rests on something so singular and something so concrete.  All the Jews or Romans had to do, to crush the religion that they outlawed, hated, and persecuted, was say "Here's Jesus, recognize this corpse?"  But they never could do that.  Maybe because after the third day, there wasn't a corpse for them to show?

Now I can tell you, that you won't find historical evidence that Jesus was the Son of God... other than people testifying that he was the Son of God.  I mean, what historical proof is there, that Alexander the Great was emperor of Greece and he conquored everybody?  Historical records testify to it.  Proof that he died... I don't think you need that do you?  I mean, son of God or not, the guy definitely died, everyone says that.  But there are secular and judaic records of his crucifixion.  So historically we do know he died on a cross... but that shouldn't be an area of concern for you really, because lots of people died on crosses back then. (Granted, they weren't flogged, scourged, and all that good stuff first.)  As for the evidence of the missing body... well, the complete lack of evidence that the body was there after three days, when so many people would have loved to have just crushed Christianity by saying, "Hey look, its Jesus' body!" (oh, and even many so called "Christians" would have loved that as well.  Such as the gnostics.  So if there was some big secret that Jesus didn't rise in body, they would have also wanted to spill the beans, because they believed the flesh was evil, and getting rid of the body and being resurrected in spirit, was what it was all about).

So there's some food for thought.  G'night!

Peace and God Bless!
~Brandon D. Watts
~Guardian
~General of *FR*, |CoR|
When men cease to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing anything. - G.K. Chesterton

FightingFat

"Social justice can never be attained through violence, violence only destroys what it intends to create" ~Pope John Paul II

Merlin

Re: Good book on the historical evidence for Jesus.
« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2007, 11:01:58 AM »
You point out Saith Sabayba or however his name is spelled alot, here is my thought if we killed saith and he was dead for 3 days and rose from the dead, then yes I would believe in him.  When Jesus died alot of people stopped believing in Jesus all together but when HE resurrected it proved that He was WHO He said He was, you talk about saith performing 'miracles' of his own, remember in the Old Testament Moses had to do things to prove he was sent from God, and the magician for the pharoah could also do his own illusions that would appear as miracles.