WWJD? The Question with a Thousand Answers

What Would Jesus Do?

The WWJD acronym became popular in the nineties as a way to imagine Jesus approaching a moral problem. Would Jesus smoke that joint? Would he skip his homework? Would he stop to help that person? Many young Christians wore a WWJD bracelet to keep the question in mind.

The problem is that this question delivers contradictory answers. Ask Fred Phelps what Jesus would do, and he would’ve said with confidence that Jesus would be preaching, “God hates fags.” Ask Harold Camping, and he would’ve said that Jesus would be warning people about the coming end. Pro-lifers think that Jesus would be picketing abortion clinics. Televangelists say that Jesus would want you to give them lots of money.

Many conservative Christians think that Jesus would reduce taxes, demand Creationism in public schools and prayers in city council meetings, make same-sex marriage illegal, and deny climate change. Many liberal Christians think that he’d welcome gays to church, celebrate the scientific consensus, encourage sex education to minimize unwanted pregnancies, and help the neediest people.

Pick any contentious social issue—abortion, same-sex marriage, gun rights, euthanasia, our obligations to the needy, and so on—and you’ll have millions of thoughtful Christians taking each of the many contradictory positions.

What good is it?

WWJD is a useless slogan because it’s ambiguous. It’s a synonym for “In your most moral frame of mind, what would you do?” The Jesus of the Bible is a sock puppet who says whatever you want him to say.

BOB: Say Jesus, I was thinking of putting a little extra in the offering plate on Sunday for the food bank collection.

JESUS sock puppet (in squeaky voice): Good for you, Bob! After all, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

BOB: And speaking of church, I thought that Frank from across the street was a decent guy until I found out that he’s gay. I think I should give him the silent treatment from now on.

JESUS: You’re right there, Bob! Remember that “I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother.”

The problem is pretending that Jesus really is feeding you lines. Dropping this pretense may feel like tightrope walking without a net, but “Jesus” in this case is just a synonym for “conscience.” Yes, you should pause to ask if your action is something you can be proud of, but don’t delude yourself that the source of your morals was ever anyone but you.

Two hands working
can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.

— Unknown

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 6/2/14.)

 

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  • Religion for most is simply a Rorschach test they can read anything into they wish.

  • RichardSRussell

    “No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says. He is always convinced that it says what he means.”

    —George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Irish writer, 1895

    • Marsh_Owl

      Jesus would tell the Old Testament “Christians” (whose brutal eye-for-an-eye concept of morality pre-existed him!) to quit fearing and emulating their old-time, jealous, vengeful, war-loving, blood-thirsty volcano God and follow the New Testament God (LOVE) to which his teachings attested, instead.

      • RichardSRussell

        Yeah, yeah, the TBs get all misty-eyed about the “new covenant” that God made with* his Chosen People, and how the New Testament of Jesus was so much sweeter and nicer than the Old Testament of the vengeful Yahweh. Bullshit! It’s actually the other way around.

        Oh, sure, Yahweh was a Grade A asshole. He’d smite you for (as Mark Twain noted) pissing against the wall. Not just you but your family, friends, and half the nabors for 2 counties in every direction. But that was it! Done, over, kaput, fini! You were dead, and that was the end of it. And he’d only nail you for something you actually did (or maybe didn’t do, but looking only at your actions in any case).

        It took his “loving” son to get really evil: Not just striking you down quickly, once and for all, but frying you for eternity. And not just for what you did, but for what you were thinking!

        If I thot for a second that any of the Bible were true, I’d be begging in a heartbeat to take my chances under the EULA laid out in the Old Testament.

        Oh, and that “eye for an eye” bit that you think was so “brutal”? It’s from the Code of Hammurabi (that is, about 1750 years before Jesus) and was considered to be an improvement on prior practice in that the “justice” it recommended (tho still relying on vigilante action) was limited to taking only the one eye (as opposed to taking both of the other guy’s or offing him entirely) in retaliation for losing an eye of your own.

        ––––––
        *well, unilaterally imposed upon, but never mind that

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Wow, RichardSRussell…for someone who doesn’t believe that the Bible is true, you’re sure getting mighty worked up about it! What’s up with that??

        • RichardSRussell

          I wouldn’t be getting any more worked up about the depredations of Yahweh and his sadistic spawn than I would about those of Lord Voldemort, Sauron, or Dracula if it weren’t for the fact that his fans take him so seriously that they try to live their lives according to his heinous philosophy.

        • Jim Jones

          Actually, they try to live their lives according to their made up versions of ‘his’ heinous philosophy.

          They’ll murder you for helping with abortions, ignoring the detailed instructions for doing it in Numbers 5:11-31

        • Jim Jones

          <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/11615457/Australias-worst-paedophile-priest-molested-every-boy-at-school-in-Victoria.html”>Australia’s worst paedophile priest ‘molested every boy’ at school in Victoria

          Australia’s royal commission into child sex abuse told that senior Church leaders were aware of the crimes of Father Gerald Ridsdale and an “evil” paedophile ring that he operated for decades

          The commission heard that, in 1971, each of the male teachers and the chaplain at the St Alipius primary school was molesting children.

          Philip Nagle, who was abused at the school, held up a photograph of his fourth grade class and said that twelve of the 33 boys had since committed suicide.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Oh, sure, Yahweh was a Grade A asshole. He’d smite you… and half the nabors for 2 counties in every direction.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6bcee33374ebb9b01e445dd09e99773cb4d82bd35e9a65b66c85c779e4f2b794.jpg

  • epicurus

    Back in the early 2000’s I read an article that used WWJD to refer to people who never left the pavement but drove gas guzzling SUVs when they and the environment would be better served by uncool minivans. In that case it was What Would Jesus Drive.

  • Kevin K

    I said it the other day — “god” is that little voice in your head that agrees with your every opinion.

    • Herald Newman

      The evidence would seem to support that opinion.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      Oh…so your’re your own “god”, Kevin K? Interesting…

      • Kevin K

        Of course. Aren’t we all?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          In a word, no… (unless you’re suffering from some kind of mental illnesses.)—

        • My response to your question is that the buck stops here, with me. I don’t need to/have to/get to run it by God to see what he thinks.

        • Kevin K

          Oh please. Everyone is their own best friend, which is pretty much the same thing as being your own god (if you count your penis as part of that picture). You’d be mentally ill if you weren’t. Or an abuse victim.

      • Michael Neville
      • Lark62

        As are you

        The Jesus you claim to “know” was created by you in your own image.

      • Otto

        Difference between you and Kevin is he is self aware

      • Jim Jones

        Everyone is. Everyone always has been.

  • ButILikeCaves

    More to point, What Would Odin Do?
    He’d ban Frost Giants, just like he said he would.
    #OdinDelivers

  • Doubting Thomas

    The good thing about Jesus is that he was basically a hippie. It’s tougher to go on slaughtering rampages in an attempt to emulate Jesus than it would be for someone like Mohammad.

    • eric

      What??? Crusades. Inquisition. Martin Luther’s “On the Jews and their lies.” Southern Baptist Convention forming because they like slave owners. The list goes on.

      I very likely agree with you on the ‘correct’ interpretation of Jesus’ main message. Golden rule, turn the other cheek, forgive, etc. But I very much disagree with your assertion that it is difficult for believers to justify a different message. It’s been so easy that it’s been going on regularly for probably the entire 2,000 years of church history.

      • epicurus

        There is plenty of stuff in the OT to cherrypick from when one wants justification for wars, crusades etc.

      • Doubting Thomas

        I never said it was difficult for believers to justify a bad message, I said it was tougher to justify evil acts than it would be for someone trying to follow Mohammad. We have a billion people who think emulating a child raping warlord is the pinnacle of morality. I’m glad more people ask themselves WWJD than WWMD.

  • Lark62

    Who would jesus deport?

    • Tommy

      Money changers. 😉

  • Otto

    Otto: “Jesus should I have another beer?”
    Jesus: “Absofuckinglutely!!!”
    Otto: “Oh…my phone is ringing…it’s my wife”
    Jesus: “Don’t answer that…”

  • GalapagosPete

    I always ask, “WWCD (What Would Caine Do)?” as in Kwai Chang Caine from the 70’s Kung Fu and 90’s Kung Fu: The Legend Continues TV series. After all, we know a lot more about that character than the Jesus character, and Caine was far more moral than Jesus.

    • Otto

      Couldn’t it be “WWGD”?

      • GalapagosPete

        Destroy Tokyo, presumably. Again. But without Raymond Burr’s narration.

        • Otto

          I was thinking “What Would Grasshopper Do”

          but I like yours too

        • GalapagosPete

          Ah. Obviously I went in a totally different direction!

        • Ctharrot

          Best. Team-up. Ever.

  • Rudy R

    RudyR: “Jesus, i’m being bullied at school. Is it OK to fight back”
    Jesus: “No, my son. If the bully hits you on right cheek, turn to him the other also. But, if you have a sword…”

  • ThaneOfDrones

    HWFSMT?

    (How would FSM taste?)

    • I sense that you have partaken in a ritual meal of the body and blood of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

      My answer: pretty tasty.

      • Damien Priestly

        At my old RCC, St. Rose of Lima…all of the altar boys (I was one) would joke about putting some BBQ sauce on the communion hosts….make the Body of Christ a bit tastier.

      • Max Doubt

        “I sense that you have partaken in a ritual meal of the body and blood of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

        I have a six quart pot on the stove as I type this. I have some chopped green pepper, onion, and mushrooms, and some finely chopped garlic in prep-bowls on the kitchen counter. I have a pound of ground beef and a half pound of pork sausage waiting in the fridge. And I have a few assorted cans of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste set aside. Salt, pepper, and Italian herbs at the ready. These things will all go into that pot in a somewhat particular order. And no, I haven’t forgotten the noodles. That will come later. You can’t take preparation for the sacrament frivolously.

      • epeeist

        On my long break I learnt how to make home made pasta properly. Those who buy ready-made from the shop are obviously cultural Pastafarians.

        • TheNuszAbides

          many makers of strozzapreti especially require correction – their product is rarely as long as a finger, let alone enough to get around a priest’s neck!

  • Barbara Baldwin

    I’m atheist, but I like to use that phrase. There’s nothing wrong using it. The character in that loooong winded book has a lot of good and common sense

    • Nick G

      Do you go round splitting up families, and telling recently bereaved people to leave the deceased to make the funeral arrangements? Do you take no thought for the morrow, and so not bother with insurance, or trying to look after your health?

      • Barbara Baldwin

        Um….huh?

        • I believe Nick is simply pointing out that Jesus had some pretty bad advice as well.

        • Barbara Baldwin

          I know what Nick was implying. I was implying the other side of the issue. I choose to treat others with compassion and respect. That’s what I meant. Actually, what I stated has a name attached to it—–> conscience <—- some call it god or Jesus, but that what it really is..

        • If WWJD? is a trick that helps you improve your interactions with other people, great. We could probably all do with a little more deliberate approach to our interactions with others. But by labeling it conscience (which is what I would do), you’ve neatly cut out the middle man. The buck stops with you.

        • Barbara Baldwin

          Nothing wrong with that. Putting credit where credit is due. A top pet peeve of mine is, for instance, when someone says thank god after some catastrophe that human rescuers saved her/him from with no help from you-knowwho

        • Kodie

          I say thank god sometimes, but not literally. I don’t thank god after a catastrophe or praise Jesus or anything, it’s just “oh thank god”, something to say, like “Jesus Fucking Christ” or “holy shit”.

        • MR

          Someone pointed out that I say “Sweet Jesus” all the time, something I started a while back when I was being sarcastic, but apparently I use it more than I realize.

        • Barbara Baldwin

          No no no Kodie, you’re saying it wrong. It’s SWEET BABY CHEESES!!! Punctuation marks for emphasis only..

        • Otto

          My wife taught me ‘Jesus Christ on a cracker’ …. I really like that one

        • Kodie

          Then you’ll really like Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick.

        • Otto

          Oooo….I do

        • Kodie

          Why do you have to ask what Jesus would do? Can’t you just ask yourself, what is the right thing to do? What would a good person do? When you ask what a fictional character would do in a real-life situation, the answer can be anything. It seems to depend on what you think Jesus was like, or which accounts of Jesus you personally prefer, so you already know what a person like you would do. Asking what he would do, according to you, is taking a trip around the mulberry bush, because you decide on the Jesus you think is correct.

        • Lark62

          WWHPD?
          WWFD?
          WWGD?
          WWSD?
          WWJCD?
          WWNWD?
          WWMJMD?

          (Harry Potter, Frodo, Gandalf, Strider, Juan Cabrillo, Nero Wolfe and Miss Jane Marple. Any one of those would provide better moral guidance.)( And reveal my taste in fine literature.)

      • Laurence Charles Ringo

        Hmm…your blatantly superficial assessment of Jesus’ teachings is so obvious, I’m curious as to why you even bothered to comment, Nick G…?

        • BlackMamba44

          Luke 14:26 (NIV)

          26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

          Matthew 10:34-38 (NIV)

          34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

          “‘a man against his father,
          a daughter against her mother,
          a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
          36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[a]
          37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Your’re quoting various passages without content or meaningful exegesis is intended to convey what,exactly, BlackMamba44?

        • BlackMamba44

          Right on cue.

        • Rudy R

          In what context would hating father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and your own life, be a good thing?

        • Kodie

          After having seen several of your comments, I’m wondering why you bothered to comment. What effect do you think adding smilies has?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Really, Kodie? You have an issue with emojies?? WOW…!!

        • Kodie

          I think you might be addicted to them.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          No, he’s addicted to pissing people off, not to the smileys themselves.

        • MR

          Adding smilies is a clear signal to say, “I’m not here to be serious, I’m here to just jack y’all around.” I’m blocking this one just because I’m tired of smilies filling my feed. I’d rather talk to adults.

        • Lark62

          Have you actually read the gospels? The Jesus(es) described therein were mostly jerks. (Each gospel writer had a different agenda, thus gave the protagonist different qualities.)

        • Otto

          Let’s see…Jesus says anyone that doesn’t follow him deserves to go to to hell. I am not sure Nick is off base…I think Christians that think Jesus is “all Loving” are more off base, he most obviously wasn’t.

    • Ctharrot

      Fair enough. In my personal, anecdotal experience, the WWJD types (mostly family, so I’ll cop to bias) have tended to be thoroughly decent human beings. They practice a version of Christian ethics, based on their progressive interpretations of the Bible (especially the NT), that is essentially pro-social and humane.

      WWJD is not a phrase I’d ever use myself, but if it helps some people stay mindful of moral thinking, no skin off my nose.

      • Jim Jones

        Matthew 25:35-40

    • Joe

      Where?

  • RichardSRussell

    If Jesus had a lick of sense, he’d do exactly what I would do!

  • WayneMan

    Part of the problem is the Bible itself is so full of ambiguities and contradictions, that it can be used to support about any belief you bring to it, evident in thousands of different denominations. So naturally when you ask 1000 Christians “What would Jesus do.”, you’ll get 1000 interpretations that fit their personal agendas. And of course many feel that only they personally have the correct interpretation.

  • Matt Cavanaugh

    Depeche Mode got it right when they sang of “your own personal Jesus”.

  • Ctharrot

    What would Cthulhu fhtagn?

  • Catherine Spencer-Mills

    Jesus would drive a white Ford F-150 with a shiny toolbox in the back – just like all the other carpenters do.

    • sandy

      and probably missing a finger or two

  • Sinonymous

    Matthew 26:52 (live by the sword…) should give a gun toting christian reason to pause.

  • sandy

    sandy: Do you build homes Jesus?
    carpenter Jesus: No, I wreck homes!
    Mary Mags: Oh stop it Jesus (laughs)

  • pasapdub@gmail.com

    Hard to do anything when you’re a myth! Sorry, Jesus.

    • Laurence Charles Ringo

      A myth according to whom, pasapdub@gmail.com.? YOU? As has been said, no credible historians consider Jesus to be a myth,so what is the source of your information, other than your own imagination?

      • pasapdub@gmail.com

        You’ll probably not want to believe this but give it a try….there is NO CREDIBLE HISTORIAN (other than religious doctrinaires) who has any valid data of a historical Jesus. Your bible was written long after he (allegedly) died, by contradictory sources and by people determined to fit him into the old “messiah” prophesy. He’s fake. So’s your bible. It’s no more valid than the Egyptian book of the dead or the Viking eddas, etc. Do yourself a favor and read Joseph Campbell’s discussions on mythology over human history. He actually knew something about it.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hmm…You disappointed me, pasapdub@gmail.com…I expected more than the uninformed opinion” He (Jesus)is fake” ; that reveals a sort of intellectual laziness on your part. You’re certainly free to believe that, of course, but the comment is meaningless in dialogue of this nature, so…? By the way, the best book that I’ve ever read about the Christian Faith was penned by a secular historian whose name escapes me at the moment; although he was an unbeliever, he was honest in his assessment of the relevant texts and extra-biblical sources that attested to the reality of Jesus the Christ’ existence. ( I have never read Campbell’s book; I have studied the claims of various atheists, and frankly, I am unimpressed, but hey,that’s me,so…

        • Michael Neville

          I have studied the claims of various atheists, and frankly, I am unimpressed

          Then you should understand how unimpressed various atheists are concerning your claims about the historicity of Jesus and the myth of the resurrection.

        • pasapdub@gmail.com

          You’re obviously a “dead in the head..my mind’s made up, don’t bother me with lack of any credible evidence” theist and, sorry to say, I’m NOT disappointed because it’s precisely what I’d expect from someone who believes in talking snakes, babbling burning bushes and superstitious nonsense. So…unless you can provide specific proof….let’s just lump Jesus into the ”myth” category–along with Mithra, Zeus, Hera, Diana and Achilles. Bye. I won’t be back.

        • Jim Jones

          When Osiris is said to bring his believers eternal life in Egyptian Heaven, contemplating the unutterable, indescribable glory of God, we understand that as a myth.
          When the sacred rites of Demeter at Eleusis are described as bringing believers happiness in their eternal life, we understand that as a myth.
          In fact, when ancient writers tell us that in general ancient people believed in eternal life, with the good going to the Elysian Fields and the not so good going to Hades, we understand that as a myth.
          When Vespatian’s spittle healed a blind man, we understand that as a myth.
          When Apollonius of Tyana raised a girl from death, we understand that as a myth.
          When the Pythia, the priestess at the Oracle at Delphi, in Greece, prophesied; and over and over again for a thousand years, the prophecies came true, we understand that as a myth.
          When Dionysus turned water into wine, we understand that as a myth.
          When Dionysus believers are filled with atay, the Spirit of God, we understand that as a myth.
          When Romulus is described as the Son of God, born of a virgin, we understand that as a myth.
          When Alexander the Great is described as the Son of God, born of a mortal woman, we understand that as a myth.
          When Augustus is described as the Son of God, born of a mortal , we understand that as a myth.
          When Dionysus is described as the Son of God, born of a mortal woman, we understand that as a myth.
          When Scipio Africanus (Scipio Africanus, for Christ’s sake) is described as the Son of God, born of a mortal woman, we understand that as a myth.

          So how come when Jesus is described as the Son of God, born of a mortal woman, according to prophecy, turning water into wine, raising girls from the dead, and healing blind men with his spittle, and setting it up so His believers got eternal life in Heaven contemplating the unutterable, indescribable glory of God, and off to Hades—er, I mean Hell—for the bad folks… how come that’s not a myth?

          And how come, in a culture with all those Sons of God, where miracles were science, where Heaven and Hell and God and eternal life and salvation were in the temples, in the philosophies, in the books, were dancing and howling in street festivals, how come we imagine Jesus and the stories about him developed all on their own, all by themselves, without picking up any of their stuff from the culture they sprang from, the culture full of the same sort of stuff?

          http://pocm.info/getting_started_pocm.html

      • No, there are credible historians who reject the historicity of Jesus. Robert M. Price and Richard Carrier both have relevant doctorates, for example. There are others.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Yeah…I try to avoid what I call the” dueling scholars” merry-go-round; it’s a fruitless exercise in Sisyphean futility,so…again, we’ll all have to agree to disagree. You have your non-existent Jesus, I’ll keep the Jesus the Christ known and loved by untold billions of Christians for millennia. By the way,here’s a question for you and your atheist cohorts, Mr.Seidensticker: Explain the origin of the Christian Church without the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ. I await your reply( I imagine it will quite interesting!)—

        • Michael Neville

          So, do you have any evidence to support this “resurrection”, not to mention the existence of the Son o’Gawd™? Remember who you’re dealing with. We are not people who automatically take everything Biblical as the gospel truth (sorry, couldn’t resist). Since the Bible is the only source of the story of the resurrection of Jesus, and it’s full of myths, fables and lies, we tend to be skeptical about the Bible. For that matter, the Bible isn’t even internally consistent. The resurrection is not something that close examination supports. Richard Carrier writes: [LINK]

          It is certainly reasonable to doubt the resurrection of Jesus in the flesh, an event placed some time between 26 and 36 A.D. For this we have only a few written sources near the event, all of it sacred writing, and entirely pro-Christian. Pliny the Younger was the first non-Christian to even mention the religion, in 110 A.D., but he doesn’t mention the resurrection. No non-Christian mentions the resurrection until many decades later–Lucian, a critic of superstition, was the first, writing in the mid-2nd century, and likely getting his information from Christian sources. So the evidence is not what any historian would consider good. [emphasis in original]

        • Doubting Thomas

          Bob wasn’t getting into a “dueling scholar” merry-go-round. He was demonstrating that something you said was factually incorrect. That’s the part you seem to be avoiding.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          That’s the point of my premise, “Doubting Thomas”: factually incorrect according to WHO? And I should believe that it’s incorrect based on which scholars’ interpretation? What if I decide that my conclusions ARE correct inre my own meticulous research; then what? There you have it. Based on my own 42-year interaction with the Christian Faith and the Risen Christ of that Faith, I’ve yet to run across ANY arguments that can successfully overturn it, and I strive to give atheistic arguing a fair shake, but again…Well, there it is.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Your statement “no credible historians consider Jesus to be a myth” is factually incorrect according to the facts. Bob presented those facts. Now you’re trying to change the topic. Just stop and admit that that one thing you said was incorrect instead of doubling down. You’ll look less dishonest that way.

        • MNb

          No, BobS lied. See above.

        • JP415

          Lennon was the smart Beatle. Ringo, not so much.

        • Jim Jones

          Lennon is dead. Ringo, not so much.

        • Michael Neville

          So any facts which don’t agree with your preconceived beliefs are automatically incorrect. Does the term “conceptual bias” mean anything to you?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Perhaps I’m not grasping the concept of “preconceived beliefs” Can you explain what YOUR preconceived beliefs are, Mr.Neville? I await your reply.

        • Michael Neville

          I suspect that you know exactly what I mean by “preconceived beliefs”. Your feeble attempt at being disingenuous is quite transparent. My preconceived beliefs are that gods do not exist. Note that’s all gods, not just your favorite pet deity. I’ll change those beliefs when evidence for gods’ existence is provided. Got any evidence? I didn’t think so.

        • Kevin K

          Argument from Personal Experience … logical fallacy. You cannot demonstrate your beliefs are true, only that they’re yours.

          The dragon in my garage thinks you’re barking up the wrong tree coming here.

        • Lark62

          The unicorn in my basement thinks your dragon is smart.

        • Jim Jones

          > I’ve yet to run across ANY arguments that can successfully overturn it,

          Except for Eric the Magic Penguin which has defeated you every time.

        • MNb

          He wasn’t even that, because the examples he brought up were no credible historians. One is a theologian (for which BobS otherwise has no use – his own words) and the other abuses math – something he’s not qualified for.

          https://www.scribd.com/document/271358647/Richard-Carrier-Proving-History-Review

          Now I’ve told him this several times before, so the only remaining conclusion possible is that as soon as this is the topic BobS becomes a liar.

        • Doubting Thomas

          While you are right that Robert Price isn’t a historian, Carrier certainly is. Your assessment of his math is irrelevant to his historical credentials.

        • Otto

          A small Jewish sect leader was killed by the Roman’s for being a douche, then his followers spread lies and other gullible people bought it and themselves spread lies.

          Is this supposed to be hard?

        • Doubting Thomas

          I prefer “Someone made some shit up and some other people believed it.” It’s an explanation that encompasses not only Christianity, but pretty much all religions. I’m guessing it’s our boy Ringo’s preferred explanation for every religion that he doesn’t subscribe to.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          On the contrary, Doubting Thomas; I rarely see the need to ” explain” religion.As for myself, I don’t subscribe to any religion; I’ve embraced,and been embraced by, a Person, The Risen Christ, who never invites anyone to a religion; He invites us TO HIMSELF.Read the Gospels.

        • al kimeea

          don’t beat your slaves too badly or baby Jebus will cry

        • Nick G

          I don’t subscribe to any religion

          Liar.

        • Ctharrot

          Well, a transparent sophist, at least.

          Of course, we never see believers asserting these Christianity-isn’t-a-religion-type arguments in the context of tax laws, Free Exercise Clause litigation, etc., where Christianity being a “religion” brings clear benefits, monetary and otherwise.

        • Nick G

          Well Ringo himself refers to “the Christian Church”, and “the Christian Faith”, to which he declares himself “an adherent”. I’d say that to then claim not to subscribe to any religion is a lie, pure and simple. And a particularly stupid one, since we can all see that, according to his own previous statements, the claim is false.

        • Doubting Thomas

          By the way,here’s a question for you and your atheist cohorts,
          Mr.Seidensticker: Explain the origin of the Christian Church without the
          Resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

          On the contrary, Doubting Thomas; I rarely see the need to ” explain” religion.

          If you don’t feel the need to explain religion, then don’t ask us to do it. It makes it look like you’re sending us on a pointless task for no reason other than to distract from the discussion.

        • No, not pointless. Your response lets hims say, “Wrong!!! 🙂 🙂

        • Doubting Thomas

          “Oh, pish-posh. You and your atheist crankery. That’s been dubunked years ago.” 🙂 🙂

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I’ve no idea what you’re talking about, Otto, and I’m not sure you do either.”A douche”? Really? Do you have a credible explanation for your hatred of someone you don’t even know? I await your reply…

        • Otto

          C’mon Ringo. Obviously to the Jewish establishment at the time and the Roman authorities thought he was an ass if they pushed to have him killed. He obviously would have upset people. Now you think Jesus was justified in whatever actions he took but they didn’t.

        • RichardSRussell

          Do you have an explanation for your obsequious fawning over someone you don’t even know? I await your reply ….

        • Joe

          Jesus the Christ known and loved by untold billions of Christians for millennia

          Billions of people knew Jesus? That’s news to me, and probably to your “credible historians”. Was any one among the billions literate?

          Explain the origin of the Christian Church without the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

          Some people preached about a resurrected Christ based on interpretations from Hebrew scripture (and possibly hallucination in the case of Paul). People believed them. The church was formed.

          Simple.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Since you obviously DON’T know the Risen Christ, I have no doubt that it’s news to you, Joe. Your second paragraph isn’t saying anything, so…try again(or not.)—

        • RichardSRussell

          Oh, and you DO know the Risen Christ, is that what we’re supposed to believe? What color are his eyes? Any crooked teeth? Does he sing alto, tenor, or baritone? How tall is he? What’s his e-mail address? What does he like on his pizza? Can’t say, can you? Or can’t give us a story that everybody else who also claims to “know” the Risen Christ would also agree with.

          Man, what a complete crock of shit! You claim to “know” the guy and you can’t tell us the first thing about him. Since you’re so obviously willing to blatantly lie about something as eminently demonstrable as this, why should we believe anything else you have to say on the subject?

        • Pofarmer

          Think about it. You know “The Risen Christ” exactly as those early followers around the Roman Empire did. Completely through stories.

        • Joe

          Only a handful of people supposedly saw the “risen Christ”, so where did you get “billions” from?

        • JP415

          “Explain the origin of the Christian Church without the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ.”

          * Explain the origin of the Buddhist sangha without the enlightenment of the Buddha.
          * Explain the Islamic conquest of the middle east without the divine origin of the Quran.
          * Explain the rise of Mormonism without the Golden Plates.

        • JP415

          “I try to avoid . . . scholars . . .” Fixed that for you!

        • I’m simply pointing out that your “no credible historians” comment was wrong. You have the consensus–that’s probably the better way of saying it.

          Explain the origin of the Christian Church without the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

          You first. Explain some of the other invented religions–Mormonism, Sikhism, Shintoism. We probably agree that they’re all manmade. Or, take Sathya Sai Baba, an Indian guru who could do pretty much all the tricks Jesus did–raise the dead, be in 2 places at once, materialize things out of thin air, and so on. He died in 2011 (if memory serves) with millions of followers.

          When you’re done explaining those, I think you’ll have your answer.

        • MNb

          You were simply pointing out that you accept theologians and discredited mathematicians as credible historians when it suits you.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          There’s nothing to explain here, Bob. I don’t have any particular reason to comment about inre various religions, religious figures from other traditions, et.al. Since the Christian Faith and the Christ of that Faith sustains the most concentrated attacks on this site, and having been/still am, an adherent of that Faith for 42 years, it’s what I know the most about, and Jesus the Christ is the Person that I measure ALL other some religion figures against, so to speak.So whoever Sathya Sai Baba was, and whatever you refer to as “tricks” he supposedly performed, is utterly irrelevant to me. Any honest person, even an honest atheist, simply CANNOT refute the enormous, history-changing, culture-transforming impact Jesus the Christ has made, and continues to make upon mankind.The ripples made by various man-centered religious systems and institutions will NEVER match the influence of that one life, and again, all honest enquirers will willingly concede that,regardless of what one believes about that. Frankly, you throwing up the red herrings of these various other religions and localized gurus is very telling and did NOT answer my original question,so…feel free to try again.

        • Nick G

          The influence of Mohammad was comparable, and much more direct – Paul of Tarsus was at least as necessary to the origin of Christianity as Jesus. As for the alleged resurrection, belief in that is far more ridiculous than Jesus mythicism – extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, which is completely lacking. The response of cult followers to a disappointment is often to adjust and double down on their beliefs (see for example the “Great Disappointment”), and the period around and after Jesus’s death was full of new religious movements, consequent on decay in belief in the Greco-Roman pantheon. Why Christianity came out on top is an interesting historical question, but certainly not one that requires miraculous explanation. Part of the explanation is certainly that Paul made it open to everyone (unlike, say, Mithraism), and it probably spread initially mostly among slaves and women, to whom it offered a degree of status they were denied by Greco-Roman culture. Women were of course in an excellent posiiton to spread the faith to their children. Paul and others also established a coherent institutional form for the religion – notably the early institution of bishops in charge of specific provinces – something most religions at the time, including the official Roman cults, lacked. It may also have been important that Christians were early adopters of new information technologies: parchment and the codex (“codex” is the technical term for what we generally just call a “book”). Prior to that time, practically all extended texts were written on papyrus scrolls, which were bulky and easily damaged; the parchment codex made it practical to carry around and distribute large numbers of Christian texts, and encouraged the gradual emergence of a canon of sacred wriitings, brought together as “the Bible” in the third and fourth centuries.

          The “empty tomb” story may well have been a later invention – Paul does not mention it, the gospels disagree about important details (who went to the tomb, what they saw, who they told) and gMark, the earliest of the gospels according to the consensus of scholars, has the odd detail that the women who went to the tomb “told no-one”. That looks very like an attempt to anticipate sceptical questioners asking why they had not heard of this before.

          Even if the empty tomb story has some real basis, there are at least two alternatives far more credible than miraculous reanimation of the corpse: that the women went to the wrong place, and that Jesus was buried in haste before the start of the Sabbath (by Jewish law, corpses were not supposed to lie unburied), and subsequently moved. This article, by Byron McCabe, a Christian, goes into some of the questions around gospel accounts of Jesus’s burial. In brief, if any of Jesus’s followers saw the burial, it was likely from a distance and in a highly emotional state; and “Joseph of Arimathea”, if a real person (he appears nowhere else, and “Arimathea” translates as “best disciple town”) was probably a member of the Jewish establishment who wanted Jesus buried in accordance with Jewish law. The gospels written after gMark show all the signs of increasing mythification. Given McCabe’s points, it is quite possible (this is me now, not McCabe) that the women went to the wrong tomb (recall that they were visitors to Jerusalem – hicks from the sticks), or that Jesus had been moved by the same Jewish establishment that buried him.

          The gospels also disagree about where and to whom Jesus subsequently appeared – and hallucinations of the recently dead are a common phenomenon. It’s notable that Jesus’s postmortem appearances also show clear signs of
          mythification from earlier to later gospels. Most scholars think the last verses of gMark are a later addition, and it initially ended at 16:8, without any such appearances at all. The appearances in the subsequent verses are in any case very briefly described, without details. gMatthew and gLuke give successively more detail (although in gLuke, it’s noticeable that the disciples on the road to Emmaus fail to recognise Jesus and only “realise” it was him as he vanishes), while the story of Thomas poking about in Jesus’s wounds only appears in the latest gospel, gJohn. It’s as if more and more concrete and “convincing” details were added as the tradition developed.

          Incidentally, do you believe in the 3 hours of darkness over the land immediately before Jesus’s death (which somehow, no ancient writer outside the gospels noticed), the rending of the temple veil (ditto), and the zombie invasion of Jerusalem (noticed only by the author of gMatthew)?

        • Pofarmer

          Paul of Tarsus was at least as necessary to the origin of Christianity as Jesus.

          Paul is pretty much THE originator of Christianity as we know it today. He and a host of other related “Apostles”

          The “empty tomb” story may well have been a later invention – Paul does not mention it,

          It’s not that Paul doesn’t mention it, it’s that he doesn’t seem to know anything about it. Paul goes to Jerusalem to meet the “Pillars” of the Jerusalem Church, Cephas and James. And what does he do? Does he go to the tomb? Mention it? Does he got to the spot of the crucfixion? Mention it? Does he go see the Virgin mother? Mention her? No, he goes to the Temple. Paul seems to know nothing about any earthly Jesus.

        • Jim Jones

          There are, IMO, 3 stages to the invention of this religion.

          1) Whatever came before Paul (possibly called “The Way”).

          2) What Paul invented and borrowed – which is only documented in a few letters: Corinthians 1 & 2, Romans and Philemon, and possibly a couple more. All the others are known forgeries which makes all these documents suspect.

          3) The reinvented religion which was voted on at meetings (the Council of Nicea etc.), very like a MLM system where the area reps changed the system to suit themselves. This became the core of Christianity as we know it.

          And the reinvention continued from the Trinity to the Pope’s infallibility.

          “Christianity: 2,000 years of everyone making it up as they go.”

        • Kevin K

          The Dark Ages, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the 30 Years War, the Salem Witch trials, the unimaginable genocide in the Americas … yep … transforming impact all right.

        • Lark62

          My invisible purple unicorn burps rainbows.

          Zero people have been tied to a stake and burned alive for believing the wrong things about my invisible purple unicorn.

          My invisible purple unicorn never told anyone to sell their daughter to a rapist.

          Let’s see your deity top that.

        • What happened to your request for the explanation for Christianity and my response? No comment?

          So whoever Sathya Sai Baba was, and whatever you refer to as “tricks” he supposedly performed, is utterly irrelevant to me.

          So you have Jesus as your answer and don’t much care to consider any other evidence—is that it?

          Any honest person, even an honest atheist, simply CANNOT refute the enormous, hi story-changing, culture-transforming impact Jesus the Christ has made

          No, not Jesus but the story of Jesus. And yes, it’s a big deal. Ditto Confucius, Mohammed, Buddha, and others.

          you throwing up the red herrings of these various other religions and localized gurus is very telling and did NOT answer my original question,so…feel free to try again.

          To set you up again to tell me why I’ve failed? Sounds like fun, but no thanks. Instead, respond to my question.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…O.K.,Bob…I’ll ask my question again in it’s original iteration. Here goes: I invite you,or any other person, atheist or otherwise, to make this case: Explain the ORIGIN of The Church WITHOUT the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ. That’s my challenge, simply put. By the way,there’s no “story of Jesus” without Jesus, so I’m not sure what your point is; the power of that one Life and its effects on human history in general and West Civilization in particular simply CANNOT be refuted nor denied by any honest person,so…Whatever you want to believe or not believe, there it is.I await your reply.At least you are civil and reasonable in your responses; your fellow atheists could take some cues from you, sir. Thank you.

        • Kodie

          When someone explained a myth around a person, you were confused, and the person explained, and you went off in some bored, ignorant direction. Maybe if you want to be part of a discussion, pay attention to what you say, responses to what you say, and follow up without acting like a bored child.

        • And I explained it.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          You may think you explained it, and to your own satisfaction perhaps you did, but from my perspective, sorry, it didn’t come close to being a credible explanation for the origin of the Christian Church. Along those lines, I’m not sure what’s behind the efforts to posit this strange dichotomy of separating Jesus from the “story ” of Jesus (?)…what is that??(I’m not accusing you, Bob, of this fruitless exercise, but I keep running across it…)—The Story of Christianity IS Jesus; there’s no legitimate separation of Him from authentic Christian Faith and all that flows from that,so…At any rate, how about this Bob: Why do you and I agree to disagree, and leave things at that? As I’ve say before, and I say again in standard “Christianese”(My phraseology

        • You may think you explained it, and to your own satisfaction perhaps you did, but from my perspective, sorry, it didn’t come close to being a credible explanation for the origin of the Christian Church.

          Then when I get it wrong, clarify your question and/or point out specifically what you found inadequate.

          I offered a very simple suggestion–exploring how other religions formed–that you refused to follow. I wonder why that was.

          Along those lines, I’m not sure what’s behind the efforts to posit this strange dichotomy of separating Jesus from the “story ” of Jesus (?)…what is that??

          It’s a very simple and obvious point. There’s the person, and there’s the words in a book. Did Jesus resurrect from the dead? We certainly have a story that he did. But did he? That’s a very different question. Conflating the two (“Well, of course Jesus rose from the dead! Read about it right here!”) is a problem.

          Why do you and I agree to disagree, and leave things at that?

          If you’ve got nothing more to offer, then I guess that’s our option.

          that will NEVER, EVER change, even if I woke up to the sun rising in the West!

          OK. But you can then appreciate the problem when we atheists do everything based on evidence but evidence is irrelevant to you.

          I guess atheists and Christian theists are doomed to talking past each other, and I’m genuinely saddened at that prospect.

          You’re the one with your head in the sand, I’m afraid. You acknowledge the value of evidence in every other walk of life, but in the area that you say is the most important, whether God exists, you have no use for it.

        • Oh, I get it. Fun game! You ask your question, I answer it, you declare that answer sadly inadequate and demand that I try again.

          Get back to me if you ever want to have an adult conversation.

        • Michael Neville

          We all agree that the STORY of Jesus had a major impact on history. The STORY of the resurrection was an impetus for Christianity to spread. The STORY of Jesus would work perfectly well without an actual Jesus. The STORY of Jesus was written over the centuries by various people and then revised, edited, interpreted and otherwise mucked about with by other people, all with different agendas. At one time the Alexandrian Monophysite doctrine (that Jesus only had a divine nature) almost became standard Christian dogma until the Patriarch of Constantinople, who was involved in a political struggle with the Monophysite Patriarch of Alexandria, convinced the Council of Chalcedon in 451 to declare Monophyitism heretical and anathema. Incidentally, the Oriental Christian churches (the Coptic Church being the best known) are Monophysites.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          “The story of Jesus would work perfectly well without an actual Jesus”…Wow. The fact that you actually believe that is simply mind-boggling.I’m at a lost for words.

        • Kodie

          Do you know how the story of Santa Claus works without an actual Santa Claus? I’m finding it hard to understand just how brainwashed you are that you can’t understand simple concepts. You’re crediting Jesus with actual influence. Belief in a story is the influence, the people are influenced, the people exist. You are operating on the power of suggestion that something exists, but I find it almost disturbing how difficult it is for you to conceive of how a story can be impactful without an actual person/god Jesus.

          I mean, disturbing. That’s some real fundamental brainwashing you got.

        • Bob Jase

          Hell with Santa Claus, there may have at least been a historical Saint Nicholas.

          What I want to know is how he explains the Easter Bunny.

        • The fact that you either don’t understand the problem or have no response reveals something about you, I’m afraid.

        • Michael Neville

          Instead of being at “a lost [sic] for words”, how about trying to rebut what I said? I’m getting fed up with people making reasonable comments to you and only getting sarcastic, non-responsive bullshit back.

          Now try to explain how the story of Jesus needs an actual Jesus. Not a mythical Jesus, not a fictitious Jesus, but a real live Son o’Gawd™ Jesus. I bet you’re too fucking stupid to actually give a plausible reply to what I wrote.

        • I’m getting fed up with people making reasonable comments to you and only getting sarcastic, non-responsive bullshit back.

          Ah, yes, but note how free of naughty words LCR’s comments are!

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…I’ve had enough of your vile,profane tongue, Mr.Neville.I’ve tried to engage with you in a fairly civil manner, but it’s all too clear that that is literally beyond your capabilities for whatever reason.Believe it or not, I can sympathize with you because at one point in my life I myself had a terrifically filthy and profane mouth, dropping “F-bombs” and various other expletives as a matter of course.So,here’s what I’ll do: I will let you work out in your own mind how YOU have reached the conclusion that the story of Jesus does’nt require an actual, flesh-and-blood Person named Jesus, and you can do what you wiil with your findings. As for myself,as I said, I have had enough of your crude vulgarity, and if this is what I can expect in the way of normal atheistic communication, then all I can say is: THANK GOD I’M A CHRISTIAN THEIST!!!—Au revoir sir; I won’t be replying to you again. God bless.

        • Michael Neville

          You are a liar. You have not attempted to engage me in a “fairly civil manner”. I wrote a comment about the story of Jesus without using profanity and you dismissed it with an airy “lost [sic] for words”. That is not civil in the least. In the comment I’m responding to you again refuse to try to rebut me. That tells me that you’re unable to rebut my comment but instead you whine about “F-bombs” and otherwise make it my fault that you can’t reply. You are rude despite your civil language but you’re too stupid and arrogant to understand there’s more to civility than polite words.

          I’m a retired Navy Chief. I likely know profane words and expressions that you don’t. I could dazzle you with vulgar words and phrases but, quite frankly, you’re not worth the effort. Have a mediocre rest of your life.

        • Kodie

          You’re agreeing to disagree wrong.

        • MNb

          “Explain the origin of the Christian Church without the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ.”
          One possible explanation: the body was stolen, his fans were in awe,and the thief(s) remained silent. Some more:

          http://www.religioustolerance.org/resurrec9.htm

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sorry, MNb…I’ve read all of those tiresome, re-treaded alternative theories, and they’re more boring everytime they pop up; the one you posited doesn’t fare any better. Try again. (Or not.

        • Jim Jones

          The wishful thinking is strong in this one.

          The logical reasoning? Not so much.

        • Lark62

          Or, Paul made the whole thing up for fun and profit, basing much of it on themes borrowed from other popular mystery religions of the time.

        • Jim Jones

          Pretty much, although the whole thing was rebooted after him by the various gospels, canonical and not.

        • Pofarmer

          Explain the origin of the Christian Church without the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

          Explain Mithraism without a real, walking around Mithras. Explain the Norse God’s if there wasn’t a real Odin!

        • Jim Jones

          Explain Glycon. There were Roman coins picturing Glycon (Google has images) and also contemporary records IIRC.

          Jesus? Not so much.

        • Jim Jones

          > Explain the origin of the Christian Church without the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

          Explain NXIVM. Or Scientology. Or Mormonism. Explain the Great Disappointment.

          NXIVM – Wikipedia

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NXIVM

          NXIVM is a multi-level marketing organization that offers personal and professional development seminars. Based in Albany County, New York, NXIVM was founded in 1998 by Keith Raniere. News reports and former members have referred to NXIVM as a cult.

        • JP415

          I think Thomas L. Thompson of the University of Copenhagen would also qualify. See The Messiah Myth: The Near Eastern Roots of Jesus and David.
          https://www.amazon.com/Messiah-Myth-Eastern-Roots-Jesus/dp/022406200X

        • Thanks for that addition. I’ve seen longer lists of 6 – 10 scholars. LCR’s point should’ve been that the scholarly consensus is that Jesus was a historical figure.

        • axiallytilted

          We can add Thomas L Brodie to the list of a mythical Jesus leaning scholars as well.

        • MNb

          Another unbeliever who is in love with theology – TLB is a Doctor of Sacred Theology.
          Make your best effort, guys. No doubt your list will be as impressive as the list of Darwin Dissenters at the Disctotute.

        • MNb

          BobS has no use for theology unless the conclusion of theology pleases him.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_L._Thompson

          “He was professor of theology”

          http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/

          “Robert M. Price presents theology with a twist but without the spin”

        • Your keen eye has picked up bias that I’ve missed. Not sure what has you so annoyed, however.

        • Pofarmer
        • MNb

          TLT is also a theologian.
          Weird how people who don’t have any theology suddenly are in love with it.

        • MNb

          Bob Price is a theologian. He says it himself on his own website. He is also a white supremacist btw.
          Richard Carrier has no relevant doctorate for the math he abuses.
          You are as unwilling to learn as the average creationist.

        • Joe

          I thought we were talking about history, not maths?

        • Doubting Thomas

          Bob Price is a theologian. He says it himself on his own website. He is also a white supremacist btw.

          Do you have any evidence you can point me to about Robert Price being a white supremacist? That sounds far fetched to me.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I’m still waiting for evidence that RMP is a white supremacist.

        • MNb
        • Doubting Thomas

          That’s what I thought. A contorted witch hunt from the far left for wrongthink.

        • MNb

          Oh, I didn’t expect a cult member like you to accept any negative evidence regarding his sect leaders.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Exactly. Thanks for the link.

        • MNb

          You’re welcome.
          Good to read that your faith is so strong. Don’t let some Leftist Lucifer take it away from you.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Will do.

        • MNb

          No, not “will do”, but “won’t do” or you’ll be lost for the Good Cause. In case of Doubt (given your name it will happen) donate 10% of your salary to the Supreme White Bobby. His Price will restrengthen your faith.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Funny enough, but I did give Dr Price a few bucks a while ago. I really enjoy his “The Bible Geek” series and thought I’d like to help out. It turns out that, as a white male, I was actually helping TWO of my favorite things: Biblical criticism AND white supremacy. Good to know.

        • That’s a common problem in the atheist community, it seems. There might be a Christian with whom we disagree on much, but with whom we can find common cause on some issue (evolution in public schools, separation of church/state, women’s rights, whatever). Atheists seem to enjoy fragmenting within atheism as well. I like Price’s books and podcast, but his politics are nutty–so what do you do?

        • Doubting Thomas

          I like Price’s books and podcast, but his politics are nutty–so what do you do?

          Have you tried denouncing him as a white supremacist?

          As the number of atheists grow, it’s inevitable that the viewpoints within the atheist community will grow as well. I don’t see it as a bad thing.

        • abeggar

          From Carrier’s blog (https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/11435) about the Ehrman – Price debate, Carrier doesn’t think much of Price’s arguments, and feels pretty unloved by the rest of the field as well: “Second, why is Ehrman ignoring the peer reviewed literature in his own field? Why will he not address that, the case for mythicism actually vetted by Ehrman’s own peers, and instead debates Robert Price, whose arguments for mythicism have never passed peer review, many of which are even outright strange?”

          Ehrman’s response (https://ehrmanblog.org/fuller-reply-to-richard-carrier/) to Carrier’s scathing review of Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist? provides clues why scholars in early Chriustian history are mostly ignoring Carrier.

        • I’m agnostic on the Jesus myth theory.

      • Otto

        Even if Jesus was based on a real person the story is obviously myth

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Define how that works, Otto…a mythical real person??

        • epeeist

          Otto…a mythical real person??

          Robin Hood, King Arthur?

        • Ctharrot

          And as you know, dead Roman emperors were literally deified as a general matter (with a few notorious exceptions). Real, documented humans transformed into gods in the afterlife.

          History is rife with examples of myths attaching to actual people–living, recently dead, long dead, whatever–in the minds of other actual people.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s what people miss. It was really, really common to cite miraculous things and to make kings into Gods, etc, etc. Their were miraculous tales of Alexander the Great contemporary with his military conquests. It’s just how things were done.

        • Bob Jase

          My favorite – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imhotep
          Someone must have designed the pyramids, everything else is legend & myth (he was promoted to godship afterall). And, thanks to movies, new myths about him are still being created.

        • Ctharrot

          On more than one occasion, I’ve encountered the rather simplistic apologetic argument that if we don’t believe the Resurrection narrative(s) in the Gospels, we must disregard all of ancient history.

          Which gets the practice of historiography exactly backwards. If one accepts the stories of miracles, signs, and wonders in the Bible as true, then an impartial, consistent epistemology would require analogous belief in the stories of miracles, signs, and wonders littered throughout our various records of antiquity. Good luck reconciling all those competiting and contradictory claims of divinity, spirits, prophecies, etc. There’s simply no way to adjudicate them, and of course no rigorous historian even tries.

        • Pofarmer

          Surely you aren’t saying there may be a bit of special pleading going on here?

        • Jim Jones

          Ned Ludd, John Frum … and even Cassie Bernall (who was real but not a martyr).

        • epeeist

          Yeah, I rather get the feeling that someone possesses a one book library…

        • al kimeea

          a real person around whom a myth was manufactured and a ridiculous one at that

        • Nick G

          a real person around whom a myth was manufactured

          That is indeed the scholarly consensus, except among biblical literalists, although reputable schlars differ on just how much is mythical and how much not. It’s widely agreed that Jesus grew up in Galilee, preached there, was baptised by John, came to Jerusalem, came to the hostile attention of the Roman authorities, and was crucified.

        • Kevin K

          No. It’s not “widely agreed” on any of those points. Why? Because there is no, as in zero, contemporaneous eyewitness accounts of those events outside of those contained within books that also talk about talking snakes and magic wine.

          Point me to a contemporaneous eyewitness account of any of those events you just mentioned…most especially the business at the end…and then we can begin to have a conversation. Until then, it’s absolutely and 100% consistent with Jesus being a mytho-legendary figure, just as the Labors of Hercules is. Or the Epic of Gilgamesh. Or the Gitas.

        • Nick G

          You’re simply wrong: it is widely agreed, among those with the relevant expertise, including atheists, agnostics and religious Jews as well as Christians. Just as are many other facts about figures from the ancient world for which there is no contemporaneous eyewitness evidence. Mythicism is simply fuckwitted denialist nonsense, on a par with anthropogenic climate change denial, and gives completely unnnecessary rhetorical advantage to Christians.

        • Kevin K

          Note that I said “mytho-legendary”. I am undecided as to whether the figure of Jesus is 1) based on a single Messianic lunatic-revolutionary 2) a concatenation of a plethora of Messianic lunatics-revolutionaries, or 3) wholly mythical. Frankly, from what I’ve seen, the first option is the least likely. For exactly the reason I stated — there is zero, no, nada, zip, bupkis contemporaneous eyewitness accounts of any of the events related to “Jesus” birth, mission, and death.

          And frankly, this is a problem for you … because there should be. Forget about the “miracles” — I want to see an account of a preacher who had thousands and thousands of followers. This would not have gone un-noted. Frankly, the contemporary accounts mention dozens and dozens of preachers, none of whom come even close to matching the “Jesus” figure.

          I want to see an account of someone who rode into Jerusalem ahead of the Passover declaring himself to be a new king to near-universal acclaim. If we put that into today’s parlance, it would be like Hillary Clinton walking into the White House and declaring that she is the legitimate President. It would cause a “stir”. I want to see an account of someone organizing and executing a terrorist attack on the Temple. Again, in today’s world, it would be akin to a bombing at The Vatican — not something that would be completely and utterly unremarked on. And yet — there is no mention of it anywhere in the dozens of accounts of that time and place.

          Put your money where your mouth is. Show me the evidence.

        • Pofarmer

          Now, Now that’s just unfair. Wanting evidence and all. The very nerve. The Emperors clothes are outstanding!

        • Kevin K

          And you hear that sound of crickets chirping? He was quick to respond to my first post — now … nothing.

          Frankly, the lack of evidence of the secular non-miracle events contained in the “gospels” is as much a problem for the second option as the first. Because if The Magician or other Messianic preacher had done one of those things, and a different preacher had done the other … well … again, there should be a record of someone commenting on the events, if not the person associated with that event. Instead, we get the Homeric allegory that is gMark, which is then copied by “Matthew” and “Luke”, with “John” coming along later and writing fan fiction.

          The early church fathers knew this was a problem. That’s why we know the Testamonium Flavium in Josephus is a fraud. Because the early church leaders were searching for evidence of Jesus’ corporeal existence in the historical records and coming up empty. It was only in the 200s (!) that suddenly this account appears in Josephus — oddly enough in a copy of his work possessed by a church leader. That doesn’t pass the smell test at all.

          And frankly, the ending of “John” smells even worse. Forget the miracles, forget the overt anti-Semitism, forget everything else about “John”. Look at the last verse — he declares that Jesus did so many “wonderful things” that they would outmatch all of the books in all of the libraries of the world. That’s a pretty tall order — and yet, what do we have? Not. One. Thing. You would think that the writer of the history of the one-and-only appearance of “God” on Earth would be a little more forthcoming than that. One wonders if he thought he was going to get a 3-book deal out of his “gospel” and the deal fell through. He should have put vampires in it. Vampires sell.

        • Pofarmer

          It was only in the 200s (!) that suddenly this account appears in Josephus —

          It’s later than that. I don’t think it’s referenced until sometime towards the end of the 4th Century.

        • Kevin K

          You may be right. I was getting it out of my fingers quickly and didn’t really want to look it up. If so, that would make it more like finding an “original”/early copy of the Magna Carta with a paragraph about Zippy the Wonder Pig inserted.

        • Bob Jase

          Oh he’s right. The first reference is by Eusebius in the 4th century, the earlier church witers quote Josephus but are unaware of any mention of Jesus.

          Hell, its not fair to call Christianity Paulism, it should be called Eusebianism as he created much of its ‘history’ as well as dogma.

        • Kevin K

          Thanks! I knew someone would be along with the details. I really should collate and organize all that — but that would be too much like a paying gig, and no one is paying me to do this stuff.

        • Jim Jones

          Remsburg did it all before 1920.

          http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/46986

        • Kevin K

          Ha! I guess that book proposal would be a “no”, then.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, and Eusebius got his copy from Origens, library, who quoted Josephus extensively but never mentioned that part. It’s late, and it’s pretty obvious who did it.

        • Bob Jase

          Eusebius – the butler of Christ.

        • Jim Jones

          He certainly earned his name, “Eusebius the Forger”.

        • Jim Jones

          I put all of the gospels after 135 CE and Revelation far after that.

        • Pofarmer

          I tend to agree. I think the method of dating by attribution is much more accurate than the methods that essentially apologists have applied in the late 20th century. Up until that time, my understanding is that around 125 was seen as the earliest possible date for Mark. I actually think that Revelation could be somewhat earlier than that. Why? Because as author Bruce Molina has pointed out, it has an awful lot of astrology in it, and it looks less crazy when you read it as an astrological tale. https://vridar.org/?s=astrology+revelation

          I think what’s being told there may be some of the actual early stories in Christianity, although the book itself may have been written later.

        • Pofarmer

          The first time I read and thought about the ending to John I was like “Yeah, Whatever.”

        • Kevin K

          I just wonder how credulous you need to be in order to buy that. I know that I’ve had my moments of naivety — but never like that.

        • Pofarmer

          By the time you get to the Gospel of John, if you haven’t allready figured out it’s bullshit, your bullshit meter is hopelessly broken anyway.

        • Kevin K

          Ha! And then you move on to Revelation! Hoo boy.

        • Pofarmer

          I kinda dig Revelation. You have to wonder what the authors were sniffing.

        • Kevin K

          From what I’ve been told “John of Patmos” was exiled to a cave — which was full of magic mushrooms.

          He was tripping balls.

        • Nick G

          Oh, you’ve been showing just how naive you are throughout this discussion.

        • Kevin K

          You can fuck right off…unless you have some evidence to support the contention that there was a corporeal Jesus, and not just an extended Argumentum ab Populum logical fallacy.

          Seriously. Give it up. No one cares what Christians think about the historical reliability of their sacred texts.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s interesting that he compares Jesus mythiciists to AGW deniers and probably creationists. Why? Because AGW denialism is mainly fueled by those in the fossil fuel indistry who have something to gain. Evolution denialism is mainly fueled by a preexisting theological beleif. Both of these things apply to the Jesus mythology debate, but not in the direction he’d like them to.

        • Kevin K

          If a consensus is based on historical documentation, archaeological evidence, or other “hard” data, then no one has a problem with it. We know Caesar lived because we have hard data. We’re not sure whether Socrates lived because we have no hard data. We’re not sure whether Hercules lived because we have no hard data.

          I’m only asking that the same standards of evidence be used, regardless of what figure we’re talking about. When you’re talking about Jesus, the standard should be verification of the non-miracle events that are described in the various “gospels”. We have no hard data, so the “consensus” of scholars is basically worthless — it’s a popularity contest. The fact that the earliest church apologists had to work pretty hard to convince pagan skeptics that there was a “real” Jesus is not a tick on their side of the ledger.

          Heck, the fact that preachers have to work hard each and every Sunday to convince their flock of the “reality” of Jesus can be seen as evidence against the proposition. If he were a real entity, pure human or otherwise, there would be no need. We don’t have weekly meetings describing the wonderful things George Washington did, after all.

        • Pofarmer

          MnB who frequents this site used to like to use Diogenes of Sinope as a corrallary to Jesus. Then I started looking up information on him. We have archaelogical evidence in the form of coins that corroborate at least parts of his story. He’s written about in multiple sources including being said to be visited by Alexander the Great. There is a very early tradition of certain kinds of lamps in the city(at least that’s what I remember) commemorating him and also a very early recognition of a gravesite. We don’t have anything even remotely like that for Jesus. And, in fact, it’s the complete absence of these things that is telling. Jesus looks like a wholly literary creation. Not unlike Rhett Butler, or Harry Potter. A hero for the times, as it were. Would they accept this evidence for anyone else? I rather doubt it.

        • That’s the crazy thing about the “But if you discard Jesus as nonhistorical, you must discard all of ancient history to be consistent!” argument. For the great leaders of history, you have coins and statues. In the case of Alexander, you have a couple of dozen cities named after him.

          And Jesus, the son of God? Just legends. Whoops.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, then you get the he was so obscure he didn’t leave any evidence. Well then why the f*** do I care?

        • Which is rather like the claim that objective morality exists … though it’s not particularly well accessed by humans.

          If it’s inaccessible, why do I care?

        • Pofarmer

          Well honestly, the only reason to care is because other people assert it.

        • Joe

          “But if you discard Jesus as nonhistorical, you must discard all of ancient history to be consistent!”

          Which is a blatant lie. What should be done is what real historians actually do: Provide a disclaimer in their work stating that “what we know is assumed or provisional at best, but here it is anyway because it’s all we have.”

          A historian that doesn’t point out the strength (or lack thereof) of their evidence has something to hide.

        • Lark62

          Bear in mind that the early church controlled what got kept. They sought out and kept anything and everything that might prove Jesus existed.

          And what does the best of the best look like? A couple obvious forgeries and Lucien saying christians are so gullible they will believe anything.

          That is the best evidence of a real, physical Jesus that could be found.

          And 1600 years later “Lucian of Samosata” still appears on christians’ lists of “evidence” that Jesus existed. That alone proves they have nothing.

          Edit to add

          Proof that Jesus existed, from Lucian of Samosata in the Passing of Peregrinus.. Enjoy

          These deluded creatures, you see, have persuaded themselves that they are immortal and will live forever, which explains the contempt of death and willing self-sacrifice so common among them. It was impressed on them too by their lawgiver that from the moment they are converted, deny the gods of Greece, worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws, they are all brothers. They take his instructions completely on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods and hold them in common ownership. So any adroit, unscrupulous fellow, who knows the world, has only to get among these simple souls and his fortune is quickly made; he plays with them.

        • Kevin K

          Yeah, that’s kinda my main problem with all of it. They destroyed libraries of documents because they didn’t fit in with their theological narrative…which meant that they were fully aware of all of the extant writings of that time-and-place.

          And yet, as you say, this is the best they can do…an outright forgery being the “evidence” that counts as the “earliest” account of the existence of this guy.

        • Kevin K

          So any adroit, unscrupulous fellow, who knows the world, has only to get among these simple souls and his fortune is quickly made; he plays with them.

          As true now as when it was written…

        • Nick G

          1600 years after Lucian of Samosata takes us to the late 1700s. Do any mainstream scholars now use him as evidence of Jesus’s existence?

          We actually know quite a bit about what anti-Christian writers said about Jesus, sometimes from theri surviving writings, as with Lucian, more often from the writings of Christian apologists. As far as we know, none of those anti-Christian writers claimed he didn’t exist. Lucian certainly didn’t – he refers to “that crucified sophist”.

        • Pofarmer

          As far as we know, none of those anti-Christian writers claimed he didn’t exist

          These writers had exactly as much evidence of his existence as the Church at Corinth. IE, none.

        • We actually know quite a bit about what anti-Christian writers said about Jesus

          Anti-Christian or other Christians? There were people writing against what became today’s orthodox Christianity, but they would’ve called themselves Christian as well–the Gnostics, the Marcionites, or others who would’ve been declared heretical.

        • Lark62

          Lucian reported what christians believed. That is evidence that christians existed. It is not evidence of the accuracy of their beliefs.

          Lucian was writing in Greece 100 years after the supposed death of Jesus. He is not a valid source on whether Jesus existed. He has no information to add on that point.

        • Lark62

          1600 years since christians created lists of “proofs”, and included the dude who thought they were just gullible.

          And almost every time a christian puts out a list of “extrabiblical proofs of Jesus,” Lucian of Samosata circa 160 AD is on the list. This is especially true when it just a list of names without explanation. They know christians will not look at the source data.

          From crossexamined.org – Lucian’s description of what christians believe is presented as evidence of Jesus and the resurrection:

          Jesus’ death by Roman crucifixion is multiply attested in 7 independent documents. 4 of those sources are secular, 3 of them are from The New Testament.

          Secular Sources — Josephus, Tacitus, Mara-Bar Sarapian, Lucian Of Samosata.
          NT Sources — The Synoptic Gospels, The Gospel Of John, Paul’s Epistles.

          Jesus’ crucifixion is attested to by sources hostile to Christianity (i.e Tacitus and Lucian).

          These sources would have nothing to gain by saying Jesus’ crucifixion really happened if it didn’t. In fact, they are ridiculing Christianity in the very same context of their passages referring to the crucifixion of Jesus.

          http://crossexamined.org/quick-case-jesus-resurrection/

        • Michael Neville

          He should have put vampires in it. Vampires sell.

          Matthew put zombies in his gospel.

        • Kevin K

          I know! And look how popular that one is!

        • Nick G

          Actually, the majority opinion among relevant scholars is that the bit about Jesus in Josephus has been doctored by Christians, but part of it is genuine – not that this is of any particular significance, since Josephus’s source for whatever was genuinely his in the fragment about Jesus would almost certainly have been a Christian. As for “the Homeric allegory that is gMark”, even if Dennis MacDonald’s analysis is accepted (which it isn’t, by most scholars), that would in no way establish that the “Homeric allegory” did not concern a real person.

          gMark, which is then copied by “Matthew” and “Luke”, with “John” coming along later and writing fan fiction.

          In going from gMark to gMatthew and gLuke and then to gJohn (for which fan fiction is quite an apt description), the process of increasing mythification is obvious – Jesus becomes more “special”, his superhuman status more emphasised. But why would such a process be necessary if gMark was simply myth itself or if, as Carrier claims, he was originally regarded as a divine being who was later humanised?

        • Pofarmer

          Actually, the majority opinion among relevant apologist scholars

          The most recent scholarship indicates that it is, indeed, most probably a complete forgery.

          the process of increasing mythification is obvious………But why would such a process be necessary if gMark was simply myth itself

          Not a comic book fan, are you? See, that’s the thing. There is absolutely nothing grounded in history that points to “Hey, this is the guy.” The Jesus seminar figured about 16% of the things attributed to Jesus, might, might be historical, but they couldn’t lock on any one thing that just had to be. And that’s the thing about the “evidence” presented. None of it, none of it at all, hinges on there having been a walking around, talking teaching Jesus. And the Scholarly field basically agrees with this, as Robert M. Prices as shown. There’s nothing at all about Jesus that is regarded as 100% authentic, even though the “consensus” is that this dude surely existed. It’s question begging nonesense. I asked James McGrath once how he determined that the Gospels weren’t simply fiction. You know what his reply was? “Well, isn’t that rather putting the cart before the horse? Hell NO!? It’s pretty important to know the nature of what you’re dealing with before you analyze it. Otherwise, you wind up treating Gone with the Wind as a Historical document. (Did you know there’s a lot of historical stuff in there?) So, no, we don’t need some esoteric answer to why the myths would have increased over time. It would be quite a natural thing to have happen.

        • that would in no way establish that the “Homeric allegory” did not concern a real person.

          How is something both a Homeric allegory and a historical account of a real person? Are you saying that two stories are interleaved?

        • Pofarmer

          among those with the relevant expertise, including atheists, agnostics and religious Jews as well as Christians.

          I wonder if NickG realizes how circular this is. In order to be ordained with the ‘relevant expertise’ you had to not disagree with the consensus of the field. Raphael Lataster is talking about this.

        • Nick G

          No ,as I’ve already said, you have to have relevant credentials in the field. Lataster is a marginal figure at best: his publication record is risible. To his credit, he doesn’t even claim to be a historian. Carrier does, but no historian I’m aware of takes his ridiculous abuse of Bayesian statistics seriously – and certainly experts in Bayesian methods don’t. Really, these guys have less credibility than climate change denialists, at least some of whom have at some time done good work in the field, and far less than Peter Duesberg, who did brilliant work in virology before becoming an HIV-AIDS denialist. Mythicist claims of an impenetrable, self-interested and/or ideologically driven coterie of orthodoxy exactly parallel those made by anthropogenic climate change and HIV-AIDS denialists – and for that matter, creationists. Similarly, just as in those cases, there is no coherent alternative to the consensus position – that is, one supporting a real research program pursued by a significant number of scholars. All mythicism has achieved is to make the regrettably large number of atheists taking it seriously look foolish.

        • Pofarmer

          All mythicism has achieved is to make the regrettably large number of atheists taking it seriously look foolish.

          Because a consensus of guys working at institutions who sign affidavits saying that they believe God impregnated a virgin to make himself a sacrifice to himself isnt’t ridiculous at all. Good Grief.

          Lataster is a marginal figure at best: his publication record is risible.

          Last I knew, Lataster was a PhD candidate. I wouldn’t expect him to have a large publication history.

          Mythicist claims of an impenetrable, self-interested and/or ideologically driven coterie of orthodoxy exactly parallel those made by anthropogenic climate change and HIV-AIDS denialists – and for that matter, creationists.

          Except, nearly all relevant scholars in the field are Christians. They already believe in the supernatural Jesus, so they aren’t going to be non-partial on the physical one. I’d really like to see a survey of scholars from other faiths or atheists, or even have scholars from other fields look at the evidence and see what they say. I know that several experts with relevant theological experience have concluded that Jesus was a myth. I know that experts with relevant literary experience have concluded that Jesus was a myth.

        • Nick G

          That’s simply dishonest. As I’ve noted, the consensus of scholars accepting that there was a historical Jesus includes atheists, agnostics and religious Jews.

        • Pofarmer

          Sure it does. But even Bart Erhman acknowledges those “scholars” are probably 95-97 % believing Christian and something around 60% of those work for organizations with faith statements, if memory serves.

        • Joe

          It’s dishonest to associate belief in Jesus with Christians?

        • Kodie

          A living man Jesus is the minimum prerequisite for a magical god Jesus, but anyone can believe a real person might have existed who wasn’t magical. I don’t know anyone gets worked up on either side of it.

        • Pofarmer

          You’ve never met Tim Oneill.

        • Kodie

          Which Tim Oneill? I have personally met A Tim O’Neill.

        • Pofarmer

          I know, right?

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t see how anyone who’s a Christian could claim to be even remotely impartial. They simply have too much invested. What’s really interesting is the handful of theologians who have realized Jesus was a mythical construct. Historicists are happy to include theologians who agree but immediately discard them if they don’t.

        • Pofarmer

          Just as are many other facts about figures from the ancient world for which there is no contemporaneous eyewitness evidence.

          Yeah, but for about any example you can name, the later historians will at least reference the earlier works and name the people who were there that they are working from. We know, reasonably, that eyewitness accounts existed. We have nothing even close to this for Jesus..

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Says who, Pofarmer? YOU? Present proof of your contentions, otherwise, it’s just YOUR opinion…

        • Pofarmer

          Dude. Eat a dick. Seriously. You’re ignorant.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Thanks, Pofarmer…I can ALWAYS depend on one of my atheist friends to devolve into using profanity and insults at some point, and you didn’t disappoint! Wow! If I was a gambler, I would clean up in Vegas!!

        • Pofarmer

          I can’t help that you’re ignorant and people react poorly to you. . Maybe, just maybe, it’s you, ya know?

        • Kodie

          All you’ve done since you got here was be an asshole, so maybe you should expect to be called an asshole when you do that.

        • BlackMamba44

          LCR needs to go back to the kiddie’s table if he can’t handle grown up words.

        • Michael Neville

          We can depend on Christians like you to be sanctimonious, patronizing and smug. You haven’t disappointed yet.

          Oh yeah, you can knock off the smiley faces. This isn’t the 1990s any more.

        • Pofarmer

          Do you think it would matter if I covered him up with links and scholarly citations? Cause I don’t.

        • Michael Neville

          I don’t either.

        • Joe

          If I was a gambler, I would clean up in Vegas!!

          From my experience, theists don’t usually have a grasp on how probability works.

        • Kodie

          Like how it’s not someone’s character flaw for getting mad when you poop in their living room.

        • Nick G

          That’s simply not the case. Suetonius, for example, the sole source for many individuals who lived before his time, does not name his sources. The same is true of many ancient historians. Conversely, although he didn’t write about the life of Jesus, Paul of Tarsus mentions meetings in Jerusalem with named contemporaries of Jesus.

        • Pofarmer

          Suetonius, for example, the sole source for many individuals who lived before his time, does not name his sources

          Would you mind giving some examples?

          The same is true of many ancient historians.

          Who? Certainly not the best.

          Conversely, although he didn’t write about the life of Jesus, Paul of
          Tarsus mentions meetings in Jerusalem with named contemporaries of
          Jesus.

          Actually, he doesn’t. The sole source of this claim is a passage equating James to “The brother of the Lord” which is problematic in various ways. And, in fact, Paul explicitly says that he got his knowledge of Jesus the same way that they did, “From the Scriptures.” He never gives them any respect as “contemporaries” nor any authority. What Paul talks about is meeting “the pillars” in Jerusalem. So, the Leaders of the Jesus cult there, is just as reasonable an explanation, especially given the evidence that the writings available don’t indicate they were “disciples.”

        • Nick G

          Suetonius mentions: Suetonius Laetus (his own father); Mallonia, a woman abused by Tiberius; Rufio, a favourite of Julius Caesar who left him in charge of three legions at Alexandria.

          According to the Wikipedia article on his main work, “Thucydides almost never names his informants and alludes to competing versions of events only a handful of times.”

          Actually, he doesn’t.

          Actually he does.

          Galatians 1:18-19 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

          19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.

          and:

          Galatians 2:9-14 And when James, Cephas,
          and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given
          unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship;
          that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

          10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.

          11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

          12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but
          when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them
          which were of the circumcision.

          13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

          14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the
          gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest
          after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest
          thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

          Of course you can claim, with Carrier, that the people mentioned weren’t contemporaries of Jesus because there was no Jesus, and “the Lord’s brother” didn’t mean “the Lord’s brother”, and when Paul refers to Jesus being born of a woman, he meant he wasn’t, but the point is that there is not the slightest hint in the text to support any of these speculations, which no-one outside the Mythicist bunker takes seriously.

        • Pofarmer

          Yes, the first passage “James the Lords brother” is ambiguous, because, basically all believers were “Brothers of the Lord.” You’re basically dealing with a syntax issue. I’m happy with the idea that Cephas was the head honcho of the Jerusalem group and James was a “Brother” in the group. Makes sense and fits the evidence.

          You’re second quote, I have no idea what point you’re trying to make. No one, that I know of, disputes there was a Jerusalem church with leaders of it.

          Look, here’s the crux of it, as far as I’m concerned. You’re using obviously religious texts for you argument, for one. Secondly, we know, absolutely certainly, without a doubt, that these texts were altered, collated, interpolated, and crammed together from various copies. And the historicists BEST case, is here are these 3 ambiguous passages that, I mean, obviously show that Jesus was a real DUDE! It’s ridiculous. If the real dude Jesus was so important, when Paul was in Jerusalem why doesn’t he mention the site of the crucifixion, or the tomb? Or fo seeing the miraculous Virgin Mary? What does he do while he’s in Jerusalem? He goes to the Temple. Same ole, same ole. I’m sorry, can you do any better?

        • Pofarmer

          Suetonius mentions: Suetonius Laetus (his own father); Mallonia, a
          woman abused by Tiberius; Rufio, a favourite of Julius Caesar who left
          him in charge of three legions at Alexandria.

          According to the
          Wikipedia article on his main work, “Thucydides almost never names his
          informants and alludes to competing versions of events only a handful of
          times.”

          Why didn’t you quote the whole thing?

          The History is notoriously reticent about its sources

          So scholars know that lack of sources here is a problem.
          And

          This is in marked contrast to Herodotus, who frequently mentions multiple versions of his stories and allows the reader to decide which is true.

          Ding, ding. This is what the best historians did.

          Thucydides is looser than previously thought in inferring the thoughts, feelings, and motives of principal characters in his History from their actions, as well as his own sense of what would be appropriate or likely in such a situation.

          So they’ve concluded that Thuchydides is writing historical FICTION. primarily.

          In his Open Society and Its Enemies, Karl R. Popper
          writes that Thucydides was the “greatest historian, perhaps, who ever
          lived.” Thucydides’ work, however, Popper goes on to say, represents “an
          interpretation, a point of view;

          I dunno man, I just don’t know.

        • I came across one article (from infidels.org?) that gave a couple of examples from that time period where the historian explicitly noted his sources and gave his critique of their value. The point, as I recall, was to not laud Luke as a marvelous historian when there were historians of the time who were much more modern in their approach.

        • Jim Jones
        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          So what exactly is the supposed “myth” part, Nick G? The part YOU don’t believe?

        • Joe

          It’s widely agreed that Jesus grew up in Galilee, preached there, was baptised by John, came to Jerusalem, came to the hostile attention of the Roman authorities, and was crucified.

          Here we go again. How is that information “widely agreed.” Doesn’t all that come from the Gospels?

        • Jim Jones

          Where is the extra-biblical evidence for any of this?

        • Nick G

          There isn’t any from outside Christian traditions, barring a couple of references (Josephus, Tacitus) probably derived from Christians. So what? Most of the individuals from the period accepted as real by historians are known through a single source. The existence of a real person to whom the events I listed happened is accepted by the vast majority of relevant experts, including non-Christians, as by far the most probable explanation for the existence of the early Christian texts (which include the Didache and the Epistle of Barnabas as well as what is in current versions of the NT. I recommend Christian Beginnings: From Nazareth to Nicaea by Geza Vermes (a religious Jew, not a Christian) if you’re actually interested in learning something about the real research issues around the origins of Christianity, as distinct from both Christian and Mythicist pieties.

        • Jim Jones

          Rubbish. A real person is less likely than a myth. And ‘Christianity’ was rewritten so many times in the first 2 centuries that reality has no place in the process.

          Gods are impossible and Jesus never existed.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          That’s YOUR opinion, al kimeea…what’s your point?

        • Kodie

          You asked a question, and your opinion about the answer is just your opinion. You don’t seem to have a point. You’re some old Christian who has no point.

        • al kimeea

          you seem confused as to how a real person could have a mythology built around them

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The point is that only the mythical portions confirm your superstition, and we can disregard them for lack of evidence.

          That leaves nothing useful in your superstition.

        • Otto

          If you don’t understand how myth interacts with legendary characters, even if such a character is based on a real person, I am not sure I believe you when you say you have meticulously studied anything. Think King Arthur.

        • Pofarmer

          Alexander the Great is actually a pretty good example, too.

        • Lark62

          Easy.

          King Arthur.

          Evidence indicates that there was an actual powerful and respected warlord around 500 CE named something like Arthur.

          Yet the King Arthur mythology is still mythology. Excalibur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Mordred, Merlin, Knights of the Round Table and all of the tales told for hundreds of years – are all myth.

          Robin Hood.

          Robert, with the diminutive Robin, was a common name.
          Likewise the surname Hud or Hood.

          Many, many “Robin Hoods” existed in 13th and 14th century England. Yet the dude hanging out in Sherword Forrest with Friar Tuck is still just folklore.

          Myths and folklore sometimes have a real person at their core. But the myths are myths.

          Jesus of Nazareth.

          Nazareth was uninhabited during the supposed life of Jesus, but did exist a few decades later when the gospels were written. Awkward.

          There were lots of wandering preachers in palestine. Some were named a variation of Jesus. Maybe the myth was based on a specific Jesus or a composite of wandering preachers or simply the meme of generic wandering preacher.

          But virgin births, wise men led by stars, walking on water, healing random people, 12 disciples mirroring the 12 signs of the zodiac, “this is my body” religious ceremonies, and die for 3 days then go to heaven were all common themes in the mythological religions of the day. That “jesus” is pure myth and is mostly borrowed (stolen) from the other mystery religions then popular.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Ho hum…I have heard that boring, tiresome “myth about Jesus” argument ad nauseam, and it’s been answered effectively, so please, Lark62 , just…give it a rest. If you want to believe this intellectually lazy pablum, it’s certainly your right to do so, so…

        • sandy

          Willful ignorance is the greatest sin.

        • Lark62

          1. Ringo asks an ignorant question (“Define how that works, Otto…a mythical real person?? “)

          2. Then Ringo responds rudely to a polite response.

          3. Then Ringo sticks in a childish smiley face to pretend he isn’t ignorant and an asshole.

          Maybe someday Ringo will pass third grade and learn how to converse with adults. Or maybe not.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Seriously Lark62? Is ANYTHING I’ve said more rude than Pofarmer’s suggestion that I eat someone’s penis? Really, if you actually don’t think that that is BEYOND rude, there is something psychologically wrong with you and Pofarmer. You’ve got to be kidding me…

        • Lark62

          ….or maybe not.

          My reponse was polite. Rather than converse you lobbed insults.

          FYI. The secret to not being treated like a childish jerk is to not act like a childish jerk.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I don’t recall saying anything particularly insulting to you, Lark62; if you perceived my responses as insulting, perhaps you and I have a different understanding of what it means to insult someone. I freely admit that I am no diplomat, but I don’t apologize for defending my Faith against the vicious and hateful attacks of atheists. It’s always a possibility that some of you atheists are simply too thin-skinned, since some of what I post elicits pretty strong responses from some of you (i.e, Pofarmer’s vile invitation.) So, I suggest that you look at yourself while you’re pointing fingers, and consider this option; You can always NOT respond.Good Day to you.

        • Kodie

          You’re not defending your faith in the least. All you are doing is mocking people who challenge your beliefs. This response of yours is disingenuous and un-self-aware. Like a lot of Christians, you degrade into childishness. If you want to act like a grown-up, act like it. If you want to be cursed at so you can maintain your record of confirmation bias and prejudiced against atheists, keep on being a dick. The problem with you Christians is you think if you stay away from the potty words, you’re being perfectly polite and don’t deserve to be called out. You haven’t offered any argument, and last I heard, you were content to agree to disagree. We don’t do that here, we challenge you to come up with something that isn’t a fantasy or a fallacy. You have offered nothing, you get treated as you treated us.

        • Lark62

          Golly gee whiz, why would I think “If you want to believe this intellectually lazy pablum…” was impolite? Silly me.

          So, I say again and more clearly – Grow the fuck up.

          Dodging substantive comments and hurling smiley infested insults does not equate to “defending one’s faith.” All it does is remind those of us who were once christian how glad we are to have dropped that silly nonsense.

          If you want to converse, address substance, don’t tone troll and lose the babyish smileys.

          I’m not going to hold my breath.

        • Jim Jones

          > I don’t apologize for defending my Faith

          How on earth did you come to pick Christianity out off all the competing religions?

          Would you still be a Christian if you were born in a predominantly Muslim country to Muslim parents, and were brought up Muslim?

          If Christianity wasn’t true, what would be different about it?

          If the Latter Day Saints are wrong, what is the proof? Why are Joseph Smith’s visions and revelations false but the anonymous ones of the bible are not? And what about Scientology?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hmm…O.K., Jim, you’ve given me an opportunity here to perhaps inject some insanity into these disparage dialogues, so here goes: I don’t know the history of your faith,or lack thereof, but as one who has been/still am a child/servant of Almighty God through Christ Jesus for over 40 years, let me assure you: the Christian Faith really doesn’t work like that, and either a study of the Scriptures themselves, or a good standard theological volume would illustrate that.( By the way, I hope you are aware that people from all religious traditions, including Muslims, have left,and daily leave, the religions/traditions they were born in and embrace, and are embraced by, the Risen Christ EVERY SINGLE DAY.)—Our Savior said that…”No one can come to Him unless the Father,who sent Him,draw him/her”…So no, no one”picks” Jesus, the Father picks them. That’s the whole point of preaching the Gospel to people; the Holy Spirit opens their hearts and they respond in trust and faith that what they’re hearing is true. It’s certainly isn’t some kind of “religious contest” as you implied by your question; I’ve sure you spoke from misinformation. At any rate, there it is; I’ll be happy to answer any further enquiry you may have. Thanks for asking.and PEACE!!

        • Kodie

          Really doesn’t work like what? Like stories people believe even if you don’t believe them?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Read Jim Jones post again, Kodie; what I meant when I said that…”Christianity doesn’t work like that”…may actually come to you; authentic Christians know exactly what I mean. I don’t know what your other remark means…

        • Kodie

          Why do you even bother answering people? You’re offering nothing to the discussion. If it works some other way, would be a good idea to get the fuck up off your lazy goddamned ass and describe what you think the difference in the way “it works” is. Learn how to have a conversation or bail out, you choose.

        • The big international Pew study of religion from a few years ago showed that Christianity has a lot more churn than Islam, so I’m not sure that statistics are your friend. Islam is expected to have about the same % of believers as Christianity by 2070.

        • epeeist

          By the way, I hope you are aware that people from all religious traditions, including Muslims, have left,and daily leave, the religions/traditions they were born in and embrace, and are embraced by, the Risen Christ EVERY SINGLE DAY.

          Citation required, otherwise I am going to assume that you are making this up.

          Here in the UK some 44% of those brought up in the Church of England become non-religious, with Catholics it is 32%. Conversely, only 5% of those brought up with no religion adopt a religion of any kind (statistics from the British Social Attitudes Survey). I should also add that there are now more people with no religion in the UK than Christians.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          statistically, you’re dead wrong.

          MOST people take on the religion of the region in which they grew up.

          MOST people only convert to any religion, if they convert, in the grip of desperation or other strong and unpleasant emotion.

          ETA: 9000 / day are leaving religion, xtianity in particular, in the US every day. In Europe the figures are only lower because so many have abandoned religion already.

        • Michael Neville

          I freely admit that I am no diplomat an asshole.

          Fixed it for you, Ringo.

        • Pofarmer

          You were, and are, being a passive aggressive arrogant, ignorant jerk. So I treated you like one.

        • Lark62

          I trust this was intended for Ringo?

        • Pofarmer

          Uh, yep, did I reply to the wrong account?

        • Lark62

          Yep. It happens. I’m only an arrogant, ignorant jerk on alternate Mondays.

        • Michael Neville

          Contrary to your belief, rudeness includes more than naughty language. You asked a question and Lark62 gave you a reasonable answer. Instead of commenting on it, asking questions about it or attempting to rebut the answer, you replied “Ho hum…I have heard that boring, tiresome “myth about Jesus” argument ad nauseam….” That reply was both rude and stupid, But then several of us have already noticed that you’re both stupid and rude, so we’re not surprised at your non-responsive response.

        • You can’t take the moral high ground until you deserve it. You have your own special ways of being obnoxious, even if you aren’t profane.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          You think that exercising common courtesy requires the concept of “moral high ground”, Bob? Can I take that to mean being invited to eat someone’s penis is somehow O.K. with you? I thought better of you than that; apparently I was mistaken.Frankly, when all is said and done, I’ll take being obnoxious over vile suggestions like Pofarmer offered all day long; if that type of filthy, foul communication is what I should expect from the atheist mindset, I’m at a loss as to what exactly makes you better than me, because you certainly think that you are. To think that profane language somehow conveys your concerns in an effective manner frankly smacks of a form of intellectual paucity; I guess it works when you’re patting yourselves on the back and congratulating yourselves at scoring points over the brain-dead,knuckle-dragging fundamentalists you think you’re soo superior to,but seriously…GET OVER YOURSELVES.

        • I’ll take being obnoxious over vile suggestions like Pofarmer offered all day long

          I’m not talking about which offense is worse; I’m simply saying that there are problems (of which you’re guilty) besides profanity. You get an A for not using profanity, but you don’t score that well in thoughtful, open discourse.

          seriously…GET OVER YOURSELVES.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          If you’re going to act superior, it helps to actually BE superior.

          Otherwise you’re setting yourself up for merciless, deserved mocking.

        • Joe

          You missed out 4. Ringo never elaborates on his answers, or meets his burden of proof.

        • Jim Jones

          > it’s been answered effectively,

          Only with torture and murder, which themselves prove the falsity of all such claims.

        • Kodie

          Can you be specific about what you didn’t agree with? Or are you just amusing yourself with your so-called snappy answers that aren’t really anything?

        • Otto

          It is far more plausible than the supernatural explanations, so no it has not be answered effectively. In order to actually answer it effectively you would have to explain why the supernatural story is actually more plausible than natural explanation of how it came about. No, that has not been done except in the minds of people who really, really want the story to be true.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Well,Otto, if you don’t think that the various attempts to link the Christ of history to these various odd , human–invented myths, legends, and fairy tales haven’t been effectively and decisively refuted, may I humbly suggest that you broaden your horizons, and study these issues, and exercise some healthy scepticism here. And no matter the refusal to concede the point, Jesus the Christ’s influence upon human history in general, and Western Civilization in particular.simply cannot be refuted nor credibly denied, by ANY honest person.These other issues are simply meaningless red herrings going down incomprehensible rabbit holes to nonsensical drivel.So…there it is.Peace.

        • Otto

          Name a miracle Jesus is said to have done that no other god from a different myth didn’t do first…just one.
          Also, it wasn’t Jesus that was influential, it was the story. Jesus himself didn’t do anything, he didn’t write a book, he didn’t lead a revolt, he was completely ineffective. The people making stuff up about him did a much better job than Jesus did.

          Also don’t think it got by me that you completely ignored my challenge and went off on a snipe hunt using a red herring as bait.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You can natter on all you want.

          Until you can demonstrate the supernatural, you’re wrong by definition.

        • Nick G

          Nazareth was uninhabited during the supposed life of Jesus

          A dubious claim. There’s no absolute proof that it was, but no proof that it wasn’t. More broadly, the consensus among relevant experts is that the Jesus of the gospels is indeed based on a real individual, heavily mythologised. The comparisons with Robin Hood and Arthur are not particularly close, as in both cases, the earliest sources mentioning them come from considerably longer after their supposed lives than in Jesus’s case.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Chuck Norris is real. It is NOT the case that a rattlesnake bit Chuck Norris, then the snake died after horrible agony 5 days later.

          Do you see now?

      • Joe

        What’s the yardstick for a “credible historian”? Let me guess: they have to believe Jesus was a real person. So neat and circular.

        • Nick G

          No, they have to have sufficient credentials in their area of expertise. It is a consensus* among those historians with such credentials – including Christians, agnostics, atheists, and religious Jews – that the stories about Jesus in the NT have their origin in an oral tradition about a real person, who lived in the early part of the first century CE.

          *This does not mean absolutely everyone has to agree – just that the degree of agreement is sufficient that it’s not a live research issue – like whether anthropogenic climate change is real, whether HIV causes AIDS, and whether Hitler knew about the Holocaust.

        • Pofarmer

          that the stories about Jesus in the NT have their origin in an oral
          tradition about a real person, who lived in the early part of the first
          century CE.

          None of which has any, ya know, evidence.

          I propose that Jesus is just as historical as Rhett Butler.

          And the evidence, such as it is, is the same.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          You seem to have a limited understanding of what constitutes legitimate evidence, Pofarmer.Contrary to common views, credible,accepted evidence doesn’t always mean it’s something that one has to either put one’s hands or observe with one’s own eyes. Humanity has accepted the existence of many things most of us have never seen nor will see in our lifetimes, yet we don’t doubt their existence; we generally trust the testimony of those who have searched out credible evidence of the existence of these things. (That’s primarily what the physical sciences do,right?) So…there it is.

        • Bob Jase

          Do you believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis?

          Because some folks believe in all of these and bigfoot too.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Your point being,Bob Jase?

        • Kodie

          I guess you can’t figure it out? Are you brainwashed?

        • Pofarmer

          Is that question rhetorical?

        • Pofarmer

          So, give an example.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Gladly; in fact I’ll let you answer your own question: What give an invisible thing reality? It cannot be seen, but there is NO DOUBT that it exists—GO!

        • Pofarmer

          Fuck. Head.

        • Joe

          What give an invisible thing reality? It cannot be seen, but there is NO DOUBT that it exists—GO

          Non-optical evidence. You test for a thing’s (you haven’t specified an example) interactions with something that is detectable, like an electron beam.

          Are you seeing Jesus was invisible? Or nano-sized?

        • Kevin K

          God of the Gaps logical fallacy is among the worst theists use to squeeze their deity into the spaces that science hasn’t quite filled in.

          The all-natural Big Bang was the inception of the all-natural universe. All evidence points to an all-natural event. Not a magic genie poofing things into existence with magic words.

          Dispute that? Fine. Put your money where your mouth is and provide evidence that shows that the ONLY solution is a supernatural one. The existence of the universe itself doesn’t count. Because all of the current evidence points in the opposite direction, and none of it points in the direction of supernatural intervention.

          And if you can insert the phrase “universe-building aliens” where you would use the word “God”, then your argument fails as well. For all you know, our universe could be the 8th grade Science Fair project of Todd from Msmtlsthzth Middle School. Zhe got a B-. If your evidence doesn’t rule out “Todd” as the creator of the universe, it doesn’t rule in your god.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Air, gravity, sound, radio waves.

          Next?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          An example of…?

        • Pofarmer

          You’re the one who gave the hypothetical dumbass.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sigh…Is there ANYWAY that you can think of in you can reply to me WITHOUT name-calling, Profarmer, or is that simply beyond your capabilities? Do you think that the use of insults and profanity somehow enhances your intellectual prowess? Trust me, it doesn’t; you simply sound childish and immature…but to answer your question: What does gravity actually look like? If you step off a 10 story building, gravity will take you to the ground, whether you can see it or not; ergo though unseen,gravity has an effect on the bodies that exist within its sphere of influence. An invisible thing whose effects signify that it’s real.

        • Michael Neville

          Tone trolling will not win you any points on this blog. Rather the contrary. If you don’t like how adults talk to each other that’s your problem, not ours.

          Just because something is not visible does not mean it can’t be detected. Gravity can be measured quite precisely and, as a result, it’s not considered unreal. However supernatural anything (not just gods but anything supernatural) cannot be detected under any circumstances. As a result, we reject the supernatural because it ain’t fucking real.

          If you’ve got any evidence that the supernatural exists outside of peoples’ imaginations then bring it out. But stop pretending that since gravity cannot be seen means that your god isn’t just a product of your imagination.

        • Joe

          Just because something is not visible does not mean it can’t be detected

          Nobody is disputing this. You’re trying to set up a false equivalence that brings the historicity of Jesus to a par with, say, gravity. The reason for this is to attempt to make people who question said historicity seem foolish. “You don’t believe Jesus was real? That’s like saying gravity isn’t real and only an idiot would say that!”

          It’s a lazy, dishonest defense that I’ve seen plenty of times before.

        • Michael Neville

          Joe, I think you’re replying to the wrong person.

        • Joe

          I think so too.

        • Pofarmer

          Disqus is being a cunt lately. It did the same thing to me.

        • Pofarmer

          Disqus is being a cunt.

        • Max Doubt

          “Gravity can be measured quite precisely and, as a result, it’s not considered unreal.”

          Yep. Even minute localized variations in gravity can be measured here on earth. We use this technique to locate oil and gas deposits, and to identify ancient meteor craters.

        • Kodie

          Sigh…. If you don’t want to be called dumbass or other names, please try to interact with people like an adult. Was it actually so difficult to come up with a reasonable example of a thing you referred to three posts ago? Is that our job to do your homework, read your mind, guess what you’re going to say? You said it bothers you when people do that, so don’t be so fucking difficult.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Other than your obvious inability to exercise a modicum of civility and at least try to refrain from insults and profanity, Kodi, I have no idea what you’re talking about here…?

        • Michael Neville

          If you’re so concerned about civility then how about you being civil? You refuse to respond to comments except through passive-aggressive sneers, you express boredom when people respond to your questions, and you talk in a completely unwarranted superior manner. Start acting like an adult instead of a spoiled 12 year old, stop whining about being called rude names, and discuss comments instead of giving nonchalant responses. In short, stop being a fucking rude asshole.

        • Kodie

          I’m sorry you can’t remember your own participation in this thread. Of course you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re not paying attention to even yourself. Are you here to amuse yourself or what? Why shouldn’t I tell you to go fuck yourself if that’s what you came here to get told?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          We don’t care for tone trolls, either, FWIW.

        • Pofarmer

          This post actually deserved a response. I’m sorry I took so long to get to it.

          This was your initial statement that I responded to.

          Humanity has accepted the existence of many things most of us have
          never seen nor will see in our lifetimes, yet we don’t doubt their
          existence; we generally trust the testimony of those who have searched
          out credible evidence of the existence of these things. (That’s
          primarily what the physical sciences do,right?) So…there it is.

          Then I asked for a clarification from you and this is your response.

          What does gravity actually look like? If you step off a 10 story
          building, gravity will take you to the ground, whether you can see it or
          not; ergo though unseen,gravity has an effect on the bodies that exist
          within its sphere of influence. An invisible thing whose effects signify
          that it’s real.

          So here’s the problem. We don’t know exactly what gravity is, but we can measure it and see it’s effects. In fact, it’s effects have been subject to much rigorous testing and measuring. Anyone reasonably well equipped can replicate the results of those tests. And there’s the problem. If you want to be taken seriously in whatever your imaginary immaterial thingamabob is it needs to meet those same standards.

        • The law of gravity works reliably. Every single time. Praying to God works as well as if he didn’t exist at all.

          That’s an important difference.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          If God didn’t exist, the point of praying to the non-existent would be what, exactly, Mr.Siedensticker? Is this an atheistic trick question?

        • There’s no point in praying to a nonexistent god, unless there’s some placebo thing going on.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Kids believe in Santa Claus for a long time before they’re told he doesn’t exist.

          Does that make the kids’ entreaties to Santa any less fervent for being to a nonexistent entity?

        • Joe

          You seem to have a limited understanding of what constitutes legitimate evidence,

          No we don’t. We can list the criteria if you like?

          Contrary to common views, credible,accepted evidence doesn’t always mean it’s something that one has to either put one’s hands or observe with one’s own eyes.

          Somebody has to see the evidence though.

          Humanity has accepted the existence of many things most of us have never seen nor will see in our lifetimes, yet we don’t doubt their existence;

          Are those things we accept mundane, or are they supernatural in nature?

          yet we don’t doubt their existence; we generally trust the testimony of those who have searched out credible evidence of the existence of these things. (That’s primarily what the physical sciences do,right?)

          Except when it comes to evolution, right?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I don’t have an issue with evolution, Joe; in fact I love science. Astronomy was one of my favorite subjects when I attended school,so… (In fact, I primarily meant the Universe when I mentioned things most of us have never seen–few people question the astronomical reality of them as iterated by the astronomers, right? Even when we literally can’t see them, no one doubts their existence, so… [To be con’t ☺]

        • Joe

          few people question the astronomical reality of them as iterated by the astronomers, right?

          So, you’re talking about astronomical bodies that have a very good grounding i scientific theory and of which we have multiple consistent examples? You’re correct, few people question science when it discovers things fully within it’s boundaries.

          How is that comparable to man-gods of ancient history?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Astronomy can be demonstrated, predicted, and tested with math.

          Show me ANY religion that has a consistent mathematical underpinning that can predict future events with repeatable precision and accuracy.

        • Jim Jones

          If only there was some credible evidence … somewhere.

          Name one person who met Jesus, spoke to him, saw him or heard him who wrote about the event, has a name and is documented outside of the bible (or any other gospels).

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          What are you talking about here, Jim Jones? You need to clarify a bit…Thanks.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Hmm…With all due respect, Mr. Jones, it seems that for some reason you have a curious disdain for credible historical research. Since Jesus the Christ is a genuine historical figure, any and all people who knew and talked to Him obviously are long dead, so we would have to consult the historical records, just as we would with Napoleon, Julius Ceasar, or Abraham Lincoln. So…

        • Jim Jones

          > you have a curious disdain for credible historical research.

          Far from it. But there is no “credible historical research” that supports the existence of this mythical person. There are no “historical records” to consult.

          There are plenty of records for Napoleon and for Abraham Lincoln and if Julius Caesar didn’t exist, so what? It won’t change my life.

          Name one person who met Jesus, spoke to him, saw him or heard him who wrote about the event, has a name and is documented outside of the bible (or any other gospels).

        • Phil

          “credible,accepted evidence doesn’t always mean it’s something that one has to either put one’s hands or observe with one’s own eyes” Try telling that to creationists! It the root of their argument rejecting evolution.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Larry, we DO understand what constitutes credible evidence.

          We also understand double standards.

          When the day comes that you’ll offer ANY other religion’s sacred books the same easy-to-achieve demands of evidence you want for YOUR book, then maybe you’ll have some credibility.

        • Joe

          Well, we have the original copies and a named author for Gone With the Wind, but not for the Gospels.

        • Joe

          He never mentioned “consensus”?

          He said “No credible historian”.

        • Nick G

          i was answering you, not Ringo.

        • Joe

          I never mentioned consensus either.

      • Pofarmer

        Actually some do. And some in the past certainly have.

        Many simply don’t care.

        https://vridar.org/whos-who-among-mythicists-and-mythicist-agnostics/

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Larry, the burden of proof is on YOU.

        All we have to say is “I don’t believe you, provide evidence” and our disbelief is justified until you actually provide reliable evidence.

        So go get evidence, rather than casting aspersions.

    • Barbara Baldwin

      Can we spell M-E-T-A-P-H-O-R?

      • epeeist

        Can we spell M-E-T-A-P-H-O-R?

        Strange isn’t it, as soon as something in the bible is shown not to correspond to the facts (i.e. not true) it suddenly becomes a metaphor…

        • Without Malice

          Yep, what once was divine truth is now divine metaphor whose meaning the reader must try to guess.

        • pasapdub@gmail.com

          When logic and data and REASON disprove your ideas about Jesus as a ”real person,” claim METAPHOR! RIIIIIIIIGHT……that comes just before the old argument some Jehovah’s Witnesses tried on me once….”Well…you know…..the bible was written so that people OF THE TIME could understand it. It wasn’t meant to be taken LITERALLY.” These are the same people who will refuse a blood transfusion because of some odd reference to ”avoiding blood”….uh, huh.

      • Joe

        Can Christians agree with you that Jesus is only a metaphor?

  • Without Malice

    What would Jesus do? Which Jesus? He’s a different character in each gospel and nothing but a mythical heavenly being in the letters of Paul. I imagine that if he were around today he’d fit right in with the crazy right wing Christians, since he pretty much believed that all the nonsense in the bible – talking snakes and all – was absolutely true.

    • Bob Jase

      Well we do know that there are talking jackasses, Fox News is full of them.

    • Max Doubt

      “Which Jesus? He’s a different character in each gospel and nothing but a mythical heavenly being in the letters of Paul.”

      When you get right down to it, Jesus is a different character in every mind of every person who imagines him as real.

      • Jim Jones

        Because he’s fictional and everyone remakes him.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Same question, Jim Jones: Proof? (Here’s a question: Why is it no one claims that Muhammad or Buddha weren’t real? Anyone?)—I await your reply.

        • Jim Jones

          Many people claim Mohammad was fictional and they make a good case. There’s also a case that Islam is a version of Christianity.

          As for Buddha, his ‘story’ is obvious fiction and I have no idea if he was based on a real person. But where are the claims that he was a god who could survive death?

          Feel free to provide any evidence that Jesus existed (although I note that you have never been able to do that so far).

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          O.K…I’m a little behind here, Mr.Jones; I’m not up on the research claiming that Muhammad didn’t exist; I’ll have to catch up. (Don’t make that claim if you plan on visiting any Muslim nation soon, LOL

        • Jim Jones

          > Buddhism is in fact an atheistic philosophy according to the Dalai Lama himself

          And yet in Myanmar the Buddhists are OK with ethnic cleansing. It hardly matters what the ‘philosophy’ is.

          Still waiting for evidence to prove that ‘Jesus’ isn’t a myth.

        • Michael Neville

          Ringo doesn’t have evidence that Jesus isn’t a myth. He’s got bluster, red herrings, begging the question and other tactics to keep from providing the evidence that several of us have asked him to provide.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          History itself provides the evidence,Mr.Neville; since the protagonists of these narratives are long dead, obviously the historical record would the definitive proof of the events recorded in said records.One is certainly free to challenge the historical assertions, but I would assume that one would have to have some sort of documented counter-history to prove THEIR point, e.g.that Jesus the Christ didn’t exist. In all my years of study I have never ran act any such documentation. Have you,sir? If so, present it. I await your reply.

        • Michael Neville

          I thought you were never going to talk to me ever again because I offended your prissy, priggish, prudish pseudo-intellect with my foul language. So you were lying about that as well as lying about being civil to me. Why am I not fucking surprised that you fucking lied, fucker?

          As for the “historical record”, other than the Bible it’s completely, absolutely, totally non-existent. Since the Bible can be disregarded as a collection of myths, fables and lies, that means there is no historical record for your Jesus. None whatsoever.

          As I told your dumb ass before, there’s a story about Jesus. Many people, including you, actually believe this story is true, even though there’s zip point shit evidence to support its truthfulness.

          Please don’t give me Josephus, the Testamonium Flavium is a 4th Century forgery by a Christian apologist named Eusebius. Pliny the Younger described what Christians told him of their beliefs. The best interpretation of Tacitus’ writing (note the singular, he only mentioned Christians once if at all) is that he was also describing Christian beliefs, but it’s more likely that one passage in his Annals is another forgery, from possibly as late as the 15th Century.* Besides, none of these three historians were contemporaries of Jesus. Josephus was the eldest, born in 37 CE while Tacitus was born in 54 CE and Pliny was born in 61 CE.

          *As an old sailor, I was disappointed to discover that Tacitus never said “A collision at sea can ruin your entire day.” Nor did the Greek historian Thucydides say it. It was a U.S. Navy officer, Captain W.H. Thayer, who posted a plaque with the saying on the bridge of his ship. When asked where it came from he said “Tacitus or Thucydides said it, I misremember which.” Thayer later admitted he made it up.

        • Joe

          Is there documented counter history to challenge the assertion that Zeus didn’t exist?

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          I don’t know, Joe; is there?

        • Joe

          The supposed existence/non-existence of Zeus is irrelevant in it’s impact upon the stage of world history; can you say the same inre Jesus the Christ? I

          I can absolutely say the same about Jesus or any other religious figure. Their existence, or not has no impact on the stage of world history.

          What you’re doing is begging the question. Again.

        • Michael Neville

          As I told you before, the STORY of Jesus has had a major impact on history. But the story doesn’t need a person named Jesus. One of the world’s most famous military strategists, Sun Tzu, almost certainly wasn’t a real person. The Art of War was cobbled together from generations of Chinese military lessons, theories, and strategies. Considering how people worldwide are still reading and learning from it, thousands of years after it first appeared, it’s clearly solid advice. It just didn’t come from the mind of one military genius.

        • Greg G.

          but I would assume that one would have to have some sort of documented counter-history to prove THEIR point, e.g.that Jesus the Christ didn’t exist.

          2 Peter 1:16 is a good documentation of counter-history of Jesus because it would be strange to deny they followed “cleverly-devised myths” if nobody hadn’t accused them of it. That the proof of not following cleverly-devised myths is to cite Matthew’s version of one of the most obviously devised myths in the gospels makes it funnier.

        • Pofarmer

          All we need for evidence is the knowledge that the Christian movement as documented grew much more rapidly outside of Palestine than within it. Check on a map where the churches mentioned in Pauls letters are located. These people had no knowledge of Jesus historicity, nor did they need it. And yet those people closest to events, who could have recorded and should have been affected by it, record nothing and continue on being Jewish. When Paul records going to Jerusalem does he mention the crucifixion or the tomb? Not at all. He goes to the Temple. I’m sorry, the “Evidence” you need is right there in plain site.

        • Pofarmer

          Don’t leave out arguments from ignorance and circular arguments.

      • Laurence Charles Ringo

        The PROOF that Jesus was/isn’t real Max Doubt is…?

        • Jim Jones

          The claim that he could survive death – briefly.

        • sandy

          Hey Ringo, I know “it don’t come easy” for you to grasp but why and what would be the coincidence that the one and only true and real god would follow and have many of the same characteristics of previous man made gods? Here’s just a few characteristics Jesus shares with previous fake gods.
          *the father deity impregnates a human woman resulting in a half man half god
          * human mother is a virgin
          *walks on water
          *turns water into wine
          *performs healing miracles
          *killed and is resurrected ascending to heaven 3 days later

          These are just a few from a long list. The answer is…because he is another man made god or God is too lazy or stupid to come up with something unique. Seems pretty obvious if you are being honest.

  • Jim Jones

    John 3:17-18

  • Scooter

    As a Christian I found the mantra of WWJD popular a few years ago rather troubling since drawing unwarranted inferences from what a biblical character did, thought, or even prayed is an exceedingly dangerous practice. Consider what eminent theologian and Bible teacher R. C. Sproul had to say on this:

    “Can we really construct a manual of required Christian behavior purely on the basis of an analysis of what Jesus did? So often when a Christian is faced with a problematic situation, he is told to ask himself, “What would Jesus do in this situation?” That is not always a wise question to ask. A better question would be, “What would Jesus have me do in this situation?”

    So what’s the problem with WWJD? Well, trying to model a life on Jesus’ example misses the key mission of Jesus’ life-namely to save men from their sins. Also, Jesus spoke as one who had authority, not like the other religious Jewish religious leaders of the day. Perhaps better to say WWPD -what would Paul do -since this apostle was entrusted with much teaching on Christian behavior.

    • Pofarmer

      What would Paul do is certainly problematic since everything Paul knew came from visions and the scriptures.

      • Scooter

        Perhaps it’s very important to consider not only what Paul knew but what he experienced which changed what he believed. As Luke writes of Paul in Acts 8:3, “But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.” He is breaking into the homes of people who claim to be Christians, and dragging them out of their own home! There certainly was a deep-seated hatred and anger toward the Christian movement that motivated Paul. So what was the reason for the radical change in Saul to even have his name changed to Paul to indicate a new person? This couldn’t simply have been a change of mind. Consider the idea for instance of trying to change the mind of a fundamentalist Jihadi zealot who hates Israel and America. Why in the world would a committed Jew chuck the religion of his entire life, to promote a resurrection claim, which he was persecuting a few days later, all for the glory of being beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and eventually killed? There is just no causal connection between this mans’ persecution of the church and his conversion.

        • Joe

          Why should we believe Luke when it came to Paul’s early life?

          Even if you accept this dubious claim at face value, nothing changes the facts that Pofarmer presented.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Saying that…”Acts is fiction”…isn’t” presenting facts” , it’s opining; there is absolutely NO PROOF WHATSOEVER Pofarmer has offered that the Book of Acts is fiction; simple unbelief DOES NOT count…what is WRONG with you guys?? WOW! It’s like talking to children!!!

        • Joe

          I didn’t say in my post that it is fiction, I just questioned what Luke, whoever he was, knew about Paul and why we should believe him?

          Pofarmer never said Acts was fiction either, he simply said that Paul learned of Jesus through visions and scripture. Paul’s own words.

          Children drift off topic and attack straw men.

          EDIT: I didn’t see Pofarmer’s second post when I wrote this. I was referring to his origian post:

          What would Paul do is certainly problematic since everything Paul knew came from visions and the scriptures.

        • Otto

          Pofarmer did say Acts was fiction…I know he can usually back up what he says though.

        • Joe

          Ah, I didn’t see his second post. I agree it’s fiction (in the nuanced way that we reasonable adults understand the term “fiction”), but that just complicates matters and gives apologists an easy escape; “PROVE it’s fiction!”

          You can Grant Acts as a historical document and still bring into question where and how the author knew these things.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Sure, you can question the author by whatever means you think will provide you with an answer, but I would certainly hope that…”It’s fiction”…won’t be your fall-back position if the answers won’t satisfy you. The Book of Acts has been shown to be as legitimately historical as any other piece of ancient historical record,so…there it is.Luke’s interaction with Paul doesn’t change that.

        • Joe

          The Book of Acts has been shown to be as legitimately historical as any other piece of ancient historical record

          That’s some claim right there.

          Luke’s interaction with Paul doesn’t change that.

          What interactions with Paul?

        • Greg G.

          Luke used some sources for Acts. Josephus was one of them but we can see that he picked details from different passages and combined them so Acts is less reliable than his sources.

        • Pofarmer

          Nah, I just pulled it out of my ass.

        • Otto

          Damn, I was hoping for some good, cheap information without doing any homework myself….Where is Greg when you need him?

        • Greg G.

          I am traveling in Asia and Australia. Disqus is blocked on my internet connection in Asia and I didn’t bring my computer to Australia. Wouldn’t have worked long as I haven’t found an adapter to plug it in anyway. The hotels have provided USB chargers for the phone.

          When I get back to Asia I can use the computer but can’t reply unless I haul it to Starbucks or something.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          Pofarmer answering Scooter: “Dude.Acts is fiction”…”There isn’t any evidence for any of it. It’s fiction”—You want to try again, Joe?

        • Joe

          See my edit.

          If you’re replying to my posts, please focus on the content of my posts, not other people’s.

        • Lark62

          Christians have been lying for jeebus with their testimonies for 2 millennia. Big deal. Paul’s persecution of christians either never happened or consisted of refusing to sell them a wedding tent.

        • Pofarmer

          Dude. Acts is fiction. Probably written in the second century to Theophilus of Antioch. The Author of Acts didn’t know Paul, but he did know Josephus.

          all for the glory of being beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and eventually killed?

          All of which has no evidence.

          There is just no causal connection between this mans’ persecution of the church and his conversion.

          There isn’t any evidence for any of it. It’s fiction. There were all kinds of Jewish sects. Why Saul was wondering around fucking with this one, and what they were doing, is anybodies guess. Paul doesn’t actually say much of anything about it. He saw Christ “In the scriptures” and changed his mind.

        • Greg G.

          The Author of Acts didn’t know Paul, but he did know Josephus.

          I think aActs must have known Paul’s writings. Galatians tells of Barnabas leaving Paul for the theological differences between Peter and Paul. Acts has him leaving Paul because he didn’t like John Mark. Luke softened the conflict. Paul mentions that he had shipwrecks so Luke invents one.

          I think Luke may have invented a plausible timeline of travels from the letters which have been studied by Christian scholars for centuries as if they were real to reinforce a narrative.

        • Pofarmer

          Yep. Don’t disagree. But if Luke knew Pauls writings, doesn’t that probably put him in Europe or Asia and aligned with some of the church’s there?

        • Greg G.

          I have seen speculation that Luke was from the Philippi region. IIRC, the idea comes from some geographical knowledge of the area. But I think Luke had other sources so that info could be from that writing.

          Randel Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?) suggests that Luke was a well-to-do widow who lost a child and was in the textile business. Another guy, whose name escapes me, also has an argument that Luke was a woman. Both give about a dozen reasons with only one overlap.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          “Why in the world would a committed Jew chuck the religion of his entire life, to promote a resurrection claim, which he was persecuting a few days later, all for the glory of being beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and eventually killed? ”

          People do all sorts of irrational things all the time. Why would people leave the religion of their families to follow a guy who said that Evile Overlord Xenu sent Thetans to earth?

      • sandy

        As well, evidence (prolific writer, religious feelings, seizures, hallucinations) suggests frontal lobe epilepsy. Agree, not sure Paul would be someone to emulate especially if I was a woman.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t think Paul should be diagnosed by the forgeries in his name or the lies in Acts.

        • sandy

          No, not the forgeries but what about his conversion in Acts and whoever wrote it. Are you thinking his visions and hence conversion on the road to Damascus is a lie, made up by the author?

        • Pofarmer

          Well, Paul certainly never mentions anything like that. And Luke is writing, most likely, long, long after Paul died.

        • sandy

          Right. I just came in from shovelling snow and thinking about it. Luke wrote Acts and yes that would be long after Paul died. Luke is a story embellished on Mark. It would only make sense Acts would just be another story and the Paul conversion thing makes for good reading and to support the christian cult at the time. Lies, propaganda, literature or whatever you want to call it but this whole christian story wreaks of it.

        • Laurence Charles Ringo

          The word is”reeks”, Sandy, and you’re opining; you’ve offered no proof, nor can you, that the Book of Acts is based on lies.If you can, do so.I await your reply.

        • Greg G.

          In Acts, when Gamaliel counsels against having the disciples put to death because false prophets tend to meet their demise anyway, he gives two examples, Judas the Galilean and Theudas. Judas would have been about four decades in the past and probably not well-known by then. But he would have been more well-known than Theudas who would have met his end asabout a decade in the future of this account.

          It is rather obvious that Luke was using Josephus and this example is one example. Josephus discussed the sons of Judas the Galilean in one passage and Theudas in the next. Luke many times will draw details from nearby passages in Jewish Antiquities to create stories, sometimes exaggerating Josephus’ probable exaggerations.

        • TheMountainHumanist

          Nor have I yet seen any evidence to show Acts should be considered historical.

        • Pofarmer

          Fwiw, pretty sure that it’s just assumed that the author of like wrote acts because of writing styles.

        • Greg G.

          I think that the visit to the third heaven might have been a vivid dream or drugs. We can see how Luke used Josephus to invent stories about Paul and apparently had some sources that are lost to us, so I think Acts is a fictional story with some verisimilitude added from historical sources.

  • mobathome

    Jesus was the son of God. In fact, Jesus was God. WWJD? He would miracle the f*ck out of whatever.

  • TheMountainHumanist

    WWJD in our modern day. I think he would literally go insane from culture shock.