153 Fish – The Definitive Explanation

Today in my class on the Gospel of John we reached the final chapter. One detail in John 21 that has long puzzled commentators is the reference to 153 fish having been caught. Why so specific? Is there some symbolic significance to the number? If so, what is it? Some of the attempt to treat the detail as significant and meaningful have been rather bizarre.

Today, a student in my class, Jordan Burt, provided what I consider to be the definitive explanation of the detail. It is based on his own experience as someone who fishes.

Here is his explanation, precisely as he offered it in class, in his exact words to make sure that his insight is conveyed accurately:

Fishermen count their fish.

So there you have it. Scholars have been puzzling over the matter, when we should have just asked someone who fishes.

I trust that future commentaries will reflect this insight, and that Jordan will be given credit for it!

  • Tim

    Brilliant!!!! Studied that same passage and had the same question–that is a fantastic observation.

  • Ian

    Offer to co-write a paper with him?

  • Brant Clements

    My personal favorite explanation is that 153 is the sum of the numbers 1through 17, inclusive. What possible significance this explanation carries is beyond me.

    Preaching this text recently I stated simply that 153 is a lot of fish.

    Jordan Burt has probably struck on the truest depth of meaning to be mined from this odd Johannine detail.

    • Nick

      “…I started simply that 153 is a lot of fish.” Ah! So you were preaching from the Gospel According to Matthew Broderick, I see!

  • susanburns

    We are not told about the 30 years before Jesus began his ministry, we are not told what became of Joseph, we are not told if Jesus was married or not, we are not told many things but we know how many fish he caught! Typical fisherman.

  • deltaexmachina

    The Culture Industry – The Ideology of Death

    ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-961596

    …,..,,.

  • Jim Spalding

    Since 153 has many interesting properties ..(see below) it would not surprise me if this was copied from another ancient figure. On checking, I see a little smoke but maybe not so much fire.

    -There are multiple notes on the web that Pythagoras appeared to fishermen, caught 153 fish etc.

    - On checking I find that Pythagoras is mentioned in connection with fishermen, but no exact # or 153 .

    James, have any papers been written to address if this is a borrowed /modified story relating to Pythagoras ?
    Did Pythagoras (who hated fish) ever catch or supervise the catching of 153 ? Did P write about the interesting properties of 153 especially ?

    Thanks

    17th triangular number ( the sum of all integers from 1 to 17), 153 = 13 + 53 + 33,153 = 1! + 2! + 3! + 4! + 5!,1 + 5 + 3 = 9 = 32

    • Ian

      153 is the 17th triangular number. It appears in a passage which points forwards in time, which is usually indicated by subtracting one from a significant number. 17 therefore should be read as 18 (6+6+6). When God wants to confirm something, he says it twice, and if you take two lots of 18, to get 36. Not only does 36 indicate three sixes, but as direct confirmation we see the 36th triangular number is… 666.

    • ngotts

      All positive integers have at least one interesting property!
      Proof by contradiction:
      1) Suppose some positive integers have no interesting properties.
      2) Then there must be a smallest positive integer with no interesting properties.
      3) Being the smallest integer with no interesting properties is an interesting property.
      4) Therefore the smallest integer with no interesting properties has an interesting property.
      5) This is a contradiction.
      6) Therefore (1) must be false.
      7) Hence, all positive integers have at least one interesting property.
      QED.

      (I suspect you could go on to show that all positive integers have an infinite number of interesting properties.)

  • susanburns

    Does anyone actually think this story is merely a retelling of an historic event? No? Then 153 is profoundly meaningful. But then, so is the time of day it occurred (day break) and the fact that the catch occurred on the second cast.

  • Brenda Kronemeijer Heyink

    I found the explanation so wonderfully simple that I passed it on (brendasbiblioblog.wordpress.com), making sure, of course, to reference Jordan Burt.

  • John Harding

    “153 fish = number of fish species cataloged by Pliny the Elder in his “Natural History” = totality of humanity symbolized.” — Christian guide Tony, from notes in my journal after a visit to the Sea of Galilee.

    I haven’t verified this from the Natural History, but your post reminded me of this explanation for the number of fish caught.

    • Vincent

      Sorry John,
      Pliny reports 74 different varieties of fish in existence – not 153.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

    I thought that it was a Pythagorean thing. 153 = 1^3 + 5^3 + 3^3. This might have some spooky significance to them?

  • Christina

    This same explanation is given in a most hilarious fashion in the book The River Why by David James Duncan.

  • Rich Goulette

    I’ve always loved the preterist implications of Chapter 21, which obviously can be as enigmatic as the # of fish (vv. 21-23: When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers[a] that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”)

  • Robert

    Overlap the circumference of a circle at the diameter of another circle and you get the christian fish symbol. The ratio of this shape is 153:265, a powerful measure as it is the nearest whole number of the square root of three and the controlling ratio of the equilateral triangle. The Four Gospels are an allegory for the planetary movements that give us the cycle of life. Jesus is the SUN in the story.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      LOL

      • Robert

        Why are you laughing Jim? What I stated is fact, what you believe is fiction. Sorry James, your man Jesus did not exist.
        The holy bible or in greek Helios Biblios, means Sun Book. There is no contemporary historical evidence outside the bible that jesus existed. History at that well documented time is silent on the subject.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Helios Biblios? Please tell me you are kidding. This would be hilarious as a joke, and incredibly sad if you are serious.

          • Robert

            The definition of the word Halo from the dictionary: A circular band of colored light around a light source, as around the sun or moon, caused by the refraction and reflection of light by ice particles suspended in the intervening atmosphere.A Halo is also used in religious texts and Jesus is depicted with a Sun or Halo at his head. The Greek word Helios is rooted in the same word Holy and Halo, and the word Biblios means Book.The Bible is a story about the SUN (Jesus) as it makes its way round the circuit (Galilee Greek for circuit) and goes through twelve constellations (12 Disciples) to complete the cycle of life. For example John the Baptist is Aquarius who baptises the land with water, the time for rain in that month. Pisces is the sign of the Fish and Meets Peter/Simon, remember the haul of 153, the number of geometric significance. The best time of year to fish. try world wide web. solar mythology.com and educate yourself James.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              So basically the etymologicaly fallacy, with a bit of pseudoetymology based on similarity of sound thrown in for good measure?

              I seriously thought this was a parody. I guess Poe’s Law doesn’t just apply to creationism.

              I would recommend trying to read some of the earliest texts in the New Testament as they would have been read before they were part of a collection called the Bible, much less the Holy Bible or Halo Bible.

              But if you can’t manage that, then at least find a connection with the video game Halo, to complete the circle.

              • robert

                No James just a bit of facts and reason, something a brain dead indoctrinated bible basher lacks. You are incapable of entering a reasonable discussion on this subject, instead you sneer and make jokes to hide your ignorance.
                The Age of Aquarius is almost here, and it spells the end for literal religion. By-the-way, Pythagoras also had a tale where he threw out his net and caught – yes, James, 153 fish. Must be a coincidence, I dont think so, given that Pythagoras was a brilliant mathematician.
                Is it also a coincidence that krishna was born of a virgin Devaki on the 25th December, as was Budha born of a virgin Maya, Horus born of a virgin Isis Mery, and you can count at least 16 saviours that have the same story as the Jesus story, Why James? They are all stories about the SUN and the cycle of life.
                Yes Jesus the SUN saves us, without the sun we would all die. Yes Jesus the SUN saves us from SIN, as the word SIN means to be without. So when it is dark we are without heat and light. So Jesus THE SUN comes into the world to save us from being without heat and light (SIN).

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  I’m not sure which part of your comment is more amusing – the suggestion that I am a Bible basher, the view that Jesus was born on December 25th, or the suggestion that words which sound alike must be related. The last one reminds me of when Phoebe on Friends talked about how she used to think that everything that rhymed was true, and thus if she sold stocks then she’d have to live in a box, eat lox…

                  • robert

                    So it is amusing that Jesus was born on the 25th. There is a church here that says leave Christmas to the Christians. So tell me when you think Jesus was born?
                    Please give me a sensible answer this time and not a supercilious remark.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I have no idea when Jesus was born. How would I? Our earliest sources give no indication of a specific day.

                    • robert

                      Exactly, that is because there was no historical jesus. The 25h of December is a pagan festival spanning thousands of years, to celebrate the return of the SUN.
                      Thanks for that James.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Umm, what? If we don’t know when Jesus was born, it is because he was not a historical figure, and if we know when he was born, it is because he was not a historical figure?

                      Please, please tell me you are pulling my leg. I really do not want to believe that someone can actually buy into this nonsense and not see that it has nothing to do with historical evidence.

                    • robert

                      Another senseless answer. There is no historical evidence James, does that not bother you? The Romans documented everything at that time, so why did nobody write about Jesus the man? Philo of Alexander, lived at exactly the same time as Jesus, yet did not mention him in any of his thousands of manuscripts detailing history, philosophy etc at that time. Given that Jesus according to scripture was known throughout the land, was tried against Pontius Pilate, dragged through the streets then crucified, seems odd that nobody there documented this. Are you not a bit bothered about that James?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Philo’s thousands of manuscripts about the history? The Romans documented everything? Why would you go around parading your own ignorance like this? I still think this is a prank.

                    • robert

                      Your a deeply sad individual. You have lost the argument as you can’t give me a reasonable answer.
                      What saddens me more is you are indoctrinating and brainwashing innocent children. This is why society is divided, and division causes friction, then leads to conflict. Christianity is the bloodiest religion in history. You should be ashamed of yourself.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Someone who seems never to have fact-checked or required evidence for the nonsense he circulates around the internet complains that those who actually know something about the subject are brainwashing people. You keep providing more and more entertainment.

                      How about this for the next stage: provide evidence for one of your claims. Real primary source evidence. For the Romans documenting everything – do they mention all the other rabbis and Jewish teachers from the first century? For Philo having written thousands of works. For any of the others. Or are you aware that your views have no connection with historical evidence?

                    • robert

                      Where’s your evidence? Your the one claiming jesus exists without any evidence. It is you that needs to come up with evidence, not me. Talk about getting entertained. What a laugh. Your jesus was not an ordinary teacher, he was a miracle worker, the so called Son of God, the man who walked on water amassed huge numbers of people. This should have been a huge historical moment with book upon book written about him, but instead there is NOTHING James, a big fat ZERO.

                      Here is a list of books on the subject of the jesus Myth, just some of them James.

                      Bruno Bauer, 1841, Criticism of the Gospel History of the Synoptics

                      David Friedrich Strauss, 1860, The Life of Jesus Critically Examined

                      Thomas Whittaker, 1904, The Origins of Christianity

                      William Benjamin Smith, 1906, Der vorchristliche Jesus

                      Albert Kalthoff, 1907, The Rise of Christianity

                      John M. Robertson, 1917, The Jesus Problem

                      Georg Brandes, 1926, Jesus – A Myth

                      L.Gordon Rylands, 1935, Did Jesus Ever Live?

                      Edouard Dujardin, 1938, Ancient History of the God Jesus

                      P.L. Couchoud, 1939, The Creation of Christ

                      Alvin Boyd Kuhn, 1944, Who is this King of Glory?

                      Karl Kautsky, 1953, The Foundations of Christianity

                      Guy Fau, 1967, Le Fable de Jesus Christ

                      Also see the extensive list at http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/scholars.html

                      Jesus Myth – The Case Against Historical Christ by R.G. Price (2007)

                      Did Jesus Christ Really Live? by Marshall Gauvin [1881-1978]

                      The Christ: A Critical Review and Analysis of the Evidence of His Existence by John E. Remsberg (1909)

                      Non-biblical Evidence for Jesus’ historical existence

                      Who Was the Real Jesus? by David Pratt (2001)

                      Jesus: History or Myth? (circa 1992)

                      The Foundations of Christianity by Quentin David Jones

                      Is Jesus A Historical Figure? by Francesco Carotta

                      There are more James if you want.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      So you have not been reading my blog for very long, I take it? I’ve been addressing mythicist claims for years.

                      But what I asked you for is not a bibliography of the history of mythicism, but for primary source material that demonstrates the accuracy of your claims about ancient history. But given that you seem to have no concern for accuracy or history, I can understand why you would not be able to provide that.

                    • robert

                      It is you that has no concern for accuracy or history, for if you did, you would dismiss the outrageous claims of an historical Jesus. Ancient history is is silent on an historical Jesus, that is the point. The books on the Jesus myth, explain in detail the real meaning contained in the bible. They are not my views just plain facts James. Can you give me evidence of a historical Jesus? Here is a list of some of the historians who gave an accurate account at the time of Jesus, but non of them give him a mention.

                      Apollonius Persius Appian Petronius
                      Arrian Phaedrus Aulus Gellius Philo-Judaeus
                      Columella Phlegon Damis Pliny the Elder
                      Dio Chrysostom Pliny the Younger Dion Pruseus Plutarch
                      Epictetus Pompon Mela Favorinus Ptolemy
                      Florus Lucius Quintilian Hermogones Quintius Curtius
                      Josephus Seneca Justus of Tiberius Silius Italicus
                      Juvenal Statius Lucanus Suetonius
                      Lucian Tacitus Lysias Theon of Smyran
                      Martial Valerius Flaccus Paterculus Valerius Maximus
                      Pausanias

                      For centuries the Roman church persecuted the Gnostic Christians, today we don’t fear an inquisition of burning, torture and death, that is why Rome and all its other fraudulent denominations have had their day and the truth is now coming out.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      But they mention Hillel and Shammai, and the Teacher of Righteousness, and John the Baptist, and other Jewish figures comparable to Jesus? Unless someone is interested in religious figures in Galilee and Judaea, why would you expect them to mention this one?

                    • robert

                      Hillel and Shammai were two leading rabbis of the early 1st century CE who founded opposing schools of Jewish thought, known as the House of Hillel and House of Shammai. The debate between these schools on matters of ritual practice, ethics, and theology was critical for the shaping of the Oral Law and Judaism as it is today. They did not claim to be the Son of God.

                      I would expect the list of Historians you requested to mention Jesus as he was the Son of God who did a raft of miraculous events. You have highlighted again why jesus did not exist. The historians did not mention any Jesus because he was not there. Again, I find it incredible that you can say on one hand jesus the sun of God who was known throughout the land, but then say why would anybody want to mention him unless they were interested. Whether they were interested or not, a historian of the time ‘worth his salt’ would have mentioned the unbelievable claims made in the bible. It would have been well documented.The fact not one historian writes on Jesus is proof that he did not exist. You are deluded.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I think now we have identified the problem. You don’t know what it meant to speak about someone as “son of God” in ancient Judaism, and treat texts in a manner you presumably learned from fundamentalism, as either entirely factual in every detail, or else pure fabrication. Those rhetorical flourishes of fundamentalist preachers do not dictate the way historians approach their craft, which is with nuance, and attention to every detail, which is to be assessed on its merits.

                      But I am starting to hope that you will continue to spout your own delusions while calling me deluded. It really is very entertaining.

                    • robert

                      James you are the entertainer and deluded fool. Another fine spin for an answer, but you fail to get the point James. I’ll say it again so that the problem can be rectified.
                      Bible apologists claim that Jesus was the son of God, who performed miracles, attracted huge crowds, was tried against the Romans, and the Jewish Sanhedrin. Was dragged along the streets and then crucified. This was a BIG event James, many big events in fact. so it would have been recorded – BIG TIME. It was not. Jesus sadly for James, was another allegory for the Sun, in the age of Pisces.
                      Now I’m going to give you another lesson in astrotheology James. Jesus cursed the fig tree, because the SUN is in Scorpio, and Autumn starts decay of vegetation. Judas represents Scorpio as he kisses Jesus, just as the scorpion stings the SUN and is betrayed to shorter days and longer nights.
                      What other reason would a grown man want to curse a fig tree? Give me a straight answer James, don’t bullshite me again, please.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      You are still showing that you read like a fundamentalist, not a historian. You seem to think that if an ancient author thought someone was important, then everyone must have considered them important, and if someone’s followers were persuaded that he performed incomparable miracles, that must be what really happened. But the historical study of religion shows that such claims on the part of religious adherents are not uncommon, and cannot be treated as accurate accounts of historical reality. And you are interested in what religious apologists have to say! I am interested in what historians have to say, not deluded apologists or their equally deluded counterparts from across the aisle.

                      I will let your fig tree comment speak for itself. Do you really need me to actually write “LOL” after every one of your inane astrological interpretations?

                    • robert

                      Your answer is nonsense. I didn’t say that if an ancient author thought someone was important then everyone must have considered them important. I said that no ancient authors mentioned Jesus, as jesus according to the scriptures you base your faith on, are accounts of this very important ‘so called’ historical figure. The fact thatJesus was not mentioned by any historian, means the scriptures are allegories and not historical facts. Had they been historical facts they would have been documented at the time. Not written decades later by unknown authors.
                      You cannot answer me straight, but instead try and put words into my mouth.
                      As a fundamentalist bible basher, what is the meaning of Jesus cursing a fig tree? Answer my question? Or is it too difficult.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I am not a fundamentalist Bible basher. Have you mistaken me for someone else?

                      That Jesus was not mentioned by any historian before Josephus and Tacitus indicates that he was not of as much interest to them as he seems to be to you. Tacitus not mentioning Shammai does not make him an allegory.

                      Please, stop joking around and take this subject seriously!

            • christopher

              Holy does not come from the same root as Halo or Helios, it comes from the Old English word Halig, meaning “whole” or “healthy.” Also, there is no nearest rational number (“whole number ratio”) to any irrational number, as many other commenters have pointed out.

              More broadly, you seem to be confused about the difference between symbolism and meaning. Solar symbolism show up in all sorts of places, because the Sun is a powerful symbol, but that doesn’t mean that everything it shows up in is about the Sun.

              Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote a marvelous elegiac sonnet about a lover’s impending death that includes the lines

              “And be no more, what now you seem to be,
              The sun, from which all excellencies start
              In a round nimbus, nor a broken dart
              Of moonlight, even, splintered on the sea;”

              Is that poem about the death or disappearance of the Sun, perhaps in connection with Winter Solstice? No, of course not. It’s not about the Sun at all, but it uses solar symbolism to make a point about how the poet feels about her lover.

              You’ll probably accuse me of being a brainwashed Christian, but I’m actually not – I am, in fact, a Sun-worshipper, and as such, I do think that there is a tiny grain of truth in your position, insofar as most forms of monotheism strike me as being in part a misdirected expression of instinctive religious urges that are largely (though not entirely) about the role of the Sun in the creation and sustaining all of life on Earth. But there’s a big difference between feeling A and writing about B, when the real source of A is C, and writing about C under the guise of writing about B. Your position is a bit like claiming that the myth of Loki’s binding is “really about” plate tectonics, because it purports to explain earthquakes that are actually caused by the interaction of tectonic plate.

              There’s also a crucial difference between realizing that a story contains myth, and concluding that the entire thing is a myth. As a non-Christian, I certainly think that much of the Gospel narrative is myth-making, but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a real man Jesus (or Yehoshua, more likely) who preached, performed a few deeds that his followers believed to be miracles, and was ultimately executed as a troublemaker of one sort or another. Charlemagne had all sorts of myths associated with him by the time the middle ages were through, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a real man.

              • robert

                Sorry Christopher, the word Halig according to the dictionary means Holy.

                Halig is of Old English origin. The meaning of the name is ‘a holy man’. A variation of Halig is Halyg.

                I think you got your answer from a bible bashing web site, which makes me think you are dishonest when you say you are a sun worshiper. Many dishonest people say they are the opposing thing to give their argument more credability. You don’t fool me Christopher.

                • christopher

                  You say “according to the dictionary,” but then quote a baby name page!? Here is the meaning given on wiktionary, which is not as good as a proper Old English – Modern English dictionary (which I don’t have on hand), but a hell of a lot better than what you’re apparently using: holy, sacred; pious; sound, healthy. And here is the etymology: From Proto-Germanic *hailagaz (“holy, bringing health”), from Proto-Germanic *hailaz (“healthy”) (whence Old English hāl > English whole). Cognate with Old Frisian hēlich, (West Frisian hillich), Old Saxon hēlag (Low German hillig), Dutch heilig, Old High German heilag (German heilig), Old Norse heilagr (Danish hellig, Swedish helig), Gothic

              • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

                Very cool comment, thanks.

                you seem to be confused about the difference between symbolism and meaning

                I think you got your answer from a bible bashing web site,

                I suspect Robert’s difficulties are more fundamental than that. With general comprehension, and basic social function. But hey, as a literal indoctrinated bible basher, what would I know? And as a fifth columnist for Jesus, apparently, you wouldn’t recognise the truth in any case.

                I am, in fact, a Sun-worshipper

                But onto more interesting things…

                In what form does that take? Do you affiliate with a religious community of sun worshippers, do you engage in rituals to that end, or is the sun a disorganized locus of general religious feeling for you?

                I’ve not interacted with anyone online who’s identified as a Sun-worshipper in plain terms, so I hope you don’t mind the grilling.

    • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

      James is having plenty of fun with your religious claims, but your mathematical prowess isn’t much better.

      Overlap the circumference of a circle at the diameter of another circle

      Which other circle. Why should it be the diameter of another circle? You can’t reflect things in a line-segment. That’s just an obfuscated way of saying a line of reflection. Sounds fancy, but all you’re saying is a fish symbol can be made up of two circular arcs.

      The ratio of this shape

      Which shape? And what ratio on that? You haven’t defined one yet. I think you’re trying to define the vesica piscis, but you’re butchering it. It doesn’t form the christian fish symbol. Has been only incidentally used in Christian symbology, and it doesn’t even have a ‘ratio’ of 153:265. Its ratio of width to height is 2:1, as can be seen trivially by inspection. It does have a ratio of width to the length of the line segment between the two crossing points of root-3. But, then it has all kinds of other ratios if you want them too. Name a ratio, I’ll give you a construction on the Vesica Piscis with that value. Its a silly game.

      a powerful measure as it is the nearest whole number of the square root of three

      Rubbish. Root 3 is irrational, which means there is no ‘nearest whole number’ ratio. 153:265 is a closer fit than any ratio with a smaller integer, but is a much worst fit than, say, 209:362, or 362:627. As such it is one of fourteen ratios with numerators less than 500 with the same property. Thus it is hardly signifiant in any measure. Much more interesting are the ratios given above which both involve 362, one of only six such numbers below the ratio 18817:32592 (which, incidentally is about five orders of magnitude closer to root-3 than your attempt). We can play make-up-nonsense about numbers all day. Did you know, for example, that in the sequence of successive approximations to root-3 with integer arguments, 666 is *not a valid denominator*. Seriously, it just jumps right from 665 to 667 (384: and 385: respectively, if you want to check). How amazing is that?

      the controlling ratio of the equilateral triangle

      What on earth is a ‘controlling ratio’. The ratio of an equilateral triangle is nowhere near 153:265, if you want 153, it would be 153:177 or 133:153. Here you’re presumably butchering the idea that the ratio of an equilateral triangle has an irrational factor of root-3. And is thus somehow ‘controlled’ by it. How silly. It only has a root-3 as a factor because 4 – 1 = 3, via pythagoras’s theorem.

      • robert

        You are obviously a literal indoctrinated bible basher. You are talking rubbish like your friend James. ‘WHich other circle’ Read again what I said and think for once. The fish symbol is made up of two circles where one overlaps the diameter of the other, the number 153 is a geometric number used in mathematics. That is why it is in scripture and also in the tale by Pythagoras. The bible is about the story in the sky, and how it relates to us on earth, As above as below. Our mathematics comes from that source originally.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          LOL

          • robert

            Where’s my answer James? Your explanation regarding the fig tree? YOu don’t have one do you. I feel sad that you are teaching kids. . All you can reply with is LOL. How pathetic.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              How else should one respond to silliness? You have not done anything other than read astrological nonsense into texts. The history of Christianity is full of people reading things into these texts, and so your ability to do so isn’t even interesting, much less evidence of something about the character of those texts themselves. At what point are you going to stop making mere assertions and provide evidence for your claims as I asked you to? Anyone can offer their own impressions about what a text means to them. If you want to make claims about the composition of these texts and their meaning in their ancient context, then you need to offer evidence.

              • robert

                James, I’m wondering if you can read properly. Can you please give me the literal bible interpretation of why a fully grown man would curse a fig tree? I await, yet again, your answer.
                Again it is you that needs to prove jesus exists, the onus is on you, as you are the one who is making claims that the only way to God and heaven is through a man called Jesus who is the son of God, that walked the earth, even though nobody documented it. I don’t make any claims, other than a logical, reasonable explanation for the bible texts, which are allegories regarding our relationship with nature on this planet. I’m not a religion preaching to vulnerable adults and children, taking money from them.

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  Again, I think you must be mistaking me for someone else. And I still find it impossible to believe that you can really, honestly, genuinely mean it when you write things like “I don’t make any claims other than a logical, reasonable explanation of the bible texts.” Apart from your repeated refusal to provide evidence, you see, completely unaware that these texts have a history prior to their inclusion in a collection known as the Bible.

                  • robert

                    You are correct James, the texts do have a history prior to the bible being compiled before the Council of Nicea in the fourth century. The four gospels that were included by the Romans were written by the Essenes, many of their gospels, like Thomas and Philip etc were not included in the cannon. Texts similar to the gospels can be found in other cultures and time frames. The Jesus story is similar to the Egyptian story of Horus and Osiris, and the Egyptian Ank is another symbol of the sun coming over he horizon, with its reflection cast downwards to the sea. That is why Jesus walks on water. It is the sun reflected off the sea.
                    Still waiting for your answer James about the fig tree.

                    • http://mythicpizza.blogspot.co.uk/ Paul Regnier

                      “The four gospels that were included by the Romans were written by the Essenes”

                      Really? And your evidence for this is? Or that the story of the Buddha is a solar myth?

                      A quick whizz around the internet also suggests that your claim about the origin of the ankh symbol is rather debatable.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Can the sane participants in this thread please let me know if the insane rantings and insults spouted by Robert cease to be entertaining? It isn’t the sort of behavior I would normally allow, but you all seem to be having so much fun, I don’t want to spoil it!

                    • christopher

                      I think it’s still worth trying to get through to him – it’s not likely, but I try to have faith. And although his rantings themselves are fairly repetitive and uninteresting, they do seem to be sparking some fun and entertaining replies.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I decided to ban him. He really does seem to be mentally unstable, and while I am happy to allow room for the entertainment a deluded troll provides, I have little tolerance for people who have nothing to offer but insults, and I think that laughing at someone who actually needs psychological help is inappropriate. I wouldn’t want my own groups I am affiliated associated with an adherent who is mentally unhinged, and so even though mythicism is on the kooky fringe by any standard, using Robert to make them look bad by allowing him to rant and rave here seemed as though it would be inappropriate, too.

                      I am sure that, if anyone here wants to interact with him further, a special blog could be set up, with one single post about Paine and euhemerism, and he could be allowed a free rein in the comments section. :-)

                • christopher

                  Can you explain why, if the blighting of the fig tree is a parable for the autumn decay of vegetation, Jesus is reported to have said that any of his disciples who have faith could do likewise?

                  • robert

                    Yes, because he was then talking in general terms about what you believe can happen, will happen, if you wish it enough. I.e. thoughts become things if you wish it enough. This is true in life. If you think big your goals will be met at that level. If you wish it you can achieve it. Think small and that’s what you will achieve. Matthew 18;21.

                    • christopher

                      Ah, so any passage that you can twist into appearing to having some sort of solar symbolism is an allegory about the Sun, but any passage that you cannot is an allegory about something else entirely, even when the text clearly links the two! By this same “logic,” I suppose you can make any text you like “about” the Sun, or any other subject with a broad symbolic application. I could make Moby Dick into a parable about motherhood if I tried hard enough, using just the same method that you are – any passage that can be interpreted as containing maternal symbolism is an allegory about motherhood; any passage that can’t is an allegory about something else, and never mind that these passages no longer link up into a coherent whole!

                      Seriously, you are exhibiting signs of clinical delusions here. That’s not an insult; it’s a statement of concern.

                      Also, no, you cannot make anything you like happen, just by wishing it enough. Some things are doable, and some are not, and having faith and drive can make some things doable that would not otherwise be . . . but not all of them.

                    • robert

                      i didn’t say it was only about solar symbolism. It is you that is twisting my words, and the words in the passage. You have already lied to me Christopher, which according to a bible basher like you is a sin. Now apologise to me for saying you are a sun worshipper when you are just another sad bible basher.
                      Literal christians are dangerous people, as history has shown. What is your interpretation of jesus cursing a fig tree? Since James can’t give one. Maybe you should pray to Jesus and ask him.
                      Only literal christians like you are deluded.

                    • christopher

                      I didn’t say you did. Let me lay it out for you, using the symbols X, Y, and Z to denote levels of analysis: A passage (X) contains symbolism (Y) and has a meaning (Z). For any passage X in the Bible, you look to see if you can find solar symbolism (Y), and if you can, you assert that it is an allegory about the Sun (Z). If not, you assert it’s an allegory about something else (Z). There are at least three problems here: (1) You don’t care if, when taking the textual links (X) into account, the group of meanings you have come up with (Z) actually forms of coherent whole. (2) A lot of the time, there isn’t actually solar symbolism there (Y), but you twist the passage to make it seem like there is (Y). (3) Most importantly, you make a huge logical error when jumping from “there is solar symbolism” (Y) to “it’s about the Sun” (Z), as illustrated by the sonnet that I cited above.

                      I have not lied to you, and I am not a Bible basher, or any other sort of Christian. Your inability to accept this is suggestive of clinical paranoia, and you probably should see a psychiatrist.

                      I will not apologize for something I am not guilty of.

                      My interpretation is that it’s most likely either a made-up story meant to symbolize the fate of those who do “bear fruit” for the Kingdom of God, or a real instance of a hot and hungry man losing his temper when disappointed in his belief that he was going to get some food to eat. Since I’m not a Christian, the answer isn’t terribly important to me.

                      Why would I pray to Jesus, when I don’t believe that Jesus is a god?

                    • robert

                      Your a lier and a christian bigot. You said you are a sun worshipper when clearly you are not. I gave you an answer and you can’t accept that fact. I twisted nothing. only you twisted my answer to try and prove me wrong. The fig tree is an allegory for Autumn and the bible texts have many allegories for above in the sky and below on earth. As above as below.

                    • christopher

                      I suppose I am a liar in a literal sense, as I have told lies to various people at various times, as I am sure you have as well. But I have not lied to you, and I am not a Christian. I am not sure what your rationale is for calling me a bigot – the word is imprecise enough that just about anyone qualifies by someone’s standards, so I suppose you could be “right,” but I think it’s more likely that this is just another product of your delusions.

                      I am a Sun-worshipper, and I find your repeated attacks on my religious beliefs offensive, as well as profoundly irrational. Tell me, in what way am I “clearly not” a Sun-worshipper? Is it just because I disagree with you about the Gospels being about the Sun and believe that there was probably a historical man that formed the basis for parts of their description of Jesus? Put another way, is there anything that someone could say expressing that view that wouldn’t make you regard them as “clearly” a Christian?

                      You gave me an answer, but it’s basically incoherent, amounting to “The Gospels are about the Sun, because I can find some passages that I can interpret as being an allegory about the Sun,” ignoring that I could use the same “logic” to “prove” that Moby Dick is about motherhood.

        • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

          Love it. Yes, I’m obviously a literal indoctrinated bible basher.

          The fish symbol is made up of two circles where one overlaps the diameter of the other

          Copy and pasting the same thing again doesn’t make it true. As a rule.

          the number 153 is a geometric number used in mathematics

          What’s a geometric number? And why didn’t you say that 153 was significant because it is used in mathematics. That logic is indisputable.

          the tale by Pythagoras

          May be my favourite inanity. I think I’ll start referring to things that way. The myth of gravity, quantum stories, atomic tales, the legend of evolution… oh… wait… hmmm.

          • robert

            You’re a pedantic supercillious twit, maybe not quite as bad as James McGrath, but close.

          • robert

            Mark 1-17; “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

            1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12+13+14+15+16+17 = 153.
            The Great Pyramid is 360 feet which is the 153rd course. Christianity came from the Horus myth.

            • christopher

              Except that the division of the Bible into verses only dates to the 16th century. And what on Earth do you mean by “360 feet which is the 153rd course?”

              • robert

                If your a sun worshipper you should be on my side, you lying twit. 153rd layer or level. For someone who isn’t bothered you seem to be very bothered.
                Apologise for 1700 years of bloodshed and misery, you christian bigot.

                • christopher

                  By that logic, a Baptist should be “on the side of” a Catholic arguing to a Jew in defense of the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist, since that doctrine implies a belief in the godhood of Jesus. But he’s not, because Baptists believe in Jesus’s godhood but not in transubstantiation or apostolic succession, both of which are essential parts of the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist.

                  Similarly, I believe in the godhood of the Sun, but not in astrology or a solar “secret meaning” to the Gospels, and so I oppose you. And I find your implicit claim that one must believe in those things to be a Sun-worshipper to be offensive, in the same way that a Baptist would find a Catholic’s claim that one must believe in transubstantiation to be a Christian upsetting.

                  I will gladly apologize for my own sins, but not for those of others, and most certainly not for the religious-motivated sins of men who aren’t even of my religion.

                  • robert

                    LOL the goodhood of the Sun. Lier. Your a fundamentalist christian dope head.

                    • christopher

                      So you’ve abandoned trying to make actual arguments entirely, and are just name calling now?

                      Let me ask you again, as I did above (and you did not answer):

                      Is there anything at all that someone could say in disagreement with you on these issues that would not result in you deciding that they are “clearly” a Christian?

                      If so, then tell me what your reason is for insisting that I am a Christian, despite my repeatedly denying that Jesus was divine or worked actual miracles. If not, then you should know that the belief that everyone who disagrees with you has hidden motives for doing so is a classic sign of clinical paranoia.

                • christopher

                  Also, the sources I have found say it has 203 steps. Where do you get 153 from?

                  • robert

                    YOur sources are wrong just like your sources for the meaning of the word Halo.
                    Maybe you want to try and explain why a literal jesus would curse a fig tree. James the other fundamentalist christian bigot can’t.

                    • christopher

                      I at least have cited my sources for the etymology of the word “holy” (not the meaning of the word “halo”, about which I have said nothing); you have not. Similarly, here is one of many sources that has nothing to do with religion at all that lists 203 courses: http://www.ronaldbirdsall.com/gizeh/errata/levels.html Can you find any source at all that isn’t pushing your religious agenda and claims 153?

                      I already gave two explanations for the story of the fig tree above. One is that it never actually happened, but was a parable for the fate of those who seemed Christian but failed to “bear fruit” for the Kingdom of God. The other is that Jesus was a human being with human failings, was hot and hungry, and lost his temper when the food he was hoping to eat turned out not to exist, and that the bit about the tree actually being blighted was made up later to reinforce the claim that he divine.

                      Also, you still haven’t defined “bigot.”

                    • robert

                      People like you are responsible for division in the world, as you claim your religious affiliation is the correct one and that all others are wrong, that you are destined for heaven and all others are destined for damnation, that is the deal with literal religions. You will probably deny that claim as most literal christians do, but that is the bottom line.
                      Christians say that the only way to God and salvation is through Jesus, thus everybody else is damned, that is bigotry, intolerance. It even goes beyond the faith into the denomination, i.e. if a jehovah’s witness comes to your door and offers a catholic their version of the christian faith, they are damned if they don’t convert, otherwise why else would they come to your door if you were going to heaven anyway.
                      Literal religion is divisive, and intolerant therefore bigoted. You are a literal christian as you have defended against me the literal existence of Jesus.
                      What I believe in is a true Univeral understanding, that God is for everyone and excludes nobody. That all the faiths are not to be taken literally but have a gnostic or esoteric meaning that relates to our relationship with nature on the planet. That relationship with nature is mathematically connected by the study of the night sky, which is where the bible and many other stories are told.
                      You and your friends Ian and James, have shown an ignorance towards my argument, and lied, twisted what I have said. This is typical of dogmatic literal christians.
                      What I have said has been said by many wise and clever people in the past and is logical, reasonable, inclusive, and plausable. I have already given a list of reading material on astrotheology and the Jesus myth to James.
                      The time has come to attack literal christian and other literal faith beliefs, before anymore damage is done. That is why I’m on here. James has talked about allowing me to say my point of view, so far that is good if he has the authority to allow my argument, as I have had many of my arguments deleted by yahoo, you tube, google etc. As the religionists who I have argued with have shown their true colours and deleted what I have said.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Christianity is not about the literal existence of Jesus as a historical non-supernatural figure. That’s the view of mainstream historians. When you insist that someone who does not follow Jesus or view him as Christians do is nevertheless a Christian, simply because they agree with atheist historians against you, you undermine your own credibility, such as it is.

                    • robert

                      James there are three viewpoints regarding Jesus in the bible.

                      Deity: Jesus was the son of God who came to earth in human form.

                      Evemerism: Jesus was a man who was later deified.

                      Myth: Jesus never existed. The whole story is a myth.

                      I take the third view point. Which view point do you and your friends take? lets clear this up.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I have a lot of friends, and they do not all have the same viewpoint. While I would choose option “2″, I need to express my hope that you will not take that as a faith claim that Jesus was in fact deified. It is a historical statement, that the human being Jesus of Nazareth was later regarded as divine by Christians, which he clearly was not in the earliest Gospels.

                    • robert

                      At last a straight answer, that is a relief James, you are almost there. i used to be a Evemerist or Euhemerist as Christopher explained. I had read into this for several years, but in the last 4 years i came away from that viewpoint and took the third point as it makes the most sense.
                      The Progressive Christian Movement or Emerging Church sound like another attempt by the Vatican at Ecumenicalism. Good luck with your viewpoint. I see you are doing nicely with your Doctor Who books etc. Religion is a great way to make money and you seem to have a nice little niche there.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      You have been given straight answers all along, and have responded to them by insisting that those you are talking to believe things they do not – in the last instance for some reason throwing the Vatican and the Emerging Church into the mix, just to illustrate further that you have no idea what you are talking about or whom you are talking to.

                      Only fundamentalists look for inerrant sources. Historians know that human writings are not inerrant, and do their work just fine in that situation.

                    • robert

                      Yes but the bible is the word of God, and jesus is the son of god. So that is why the bible according to a christian is meant to be inerrant. As a Progressive Christian your approach to the Christian faith is influenced by post-liberalism and postmodernism and: proclaims Jesus of Nazareth as Christ, Savior, and Lord. That is the definition of a Progressive Christian, and explains why you defend Jesus. The Emerging church is another name for a Progressive Christian and has the same policy as the Vatican’s ecumenical movement, that is to bring other christian denominations together. You might not know that, but ecumenicalism comes in many disguises.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Your imagination runs rampant about other things beside the Bible, I see. Why do you seem incapable of accepting that the views you assume others hold they sometimes do not?

                    • christopher

                      Just an etiological note: Robert’s “definition of a Progressive Christian” is not entirely pulled out of his ass; rather, it is taken from a working definition (according to Wikipedia) given in a book entitled “Kissing Fish: Christianity for People Who Don’t Like Christianity.” Of course, this fits Robert’s general approach to scholarship nicely – he finds a definition (even if there are others) that contains a bit that supports his views, even if other parts do not (he’s notably ignoring the bit later in the same definition that says that Progressive Christianity “does not claim that Christianity is the only valid or viable way to connect to God (is non-exclusive),” and declares that that definition (or, rather, the bit he has excerpted from it) is the definition, and his point is proven.

                    • robert

                      Hello James. Here is a golden nugget from America’s third President and founding father – Thomas Jefferson;

                      “…the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”

                      Thomas Jefferson, The Adams-Jefferson Letters (594)

                      I’m in good company regarding the myth viewpoint.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      No, you are not. Viewing the virginal conception as a myth is, again, typical of mainstream historiography and liberal Christianity and Deism, whereas mythicism denies that there ever was such a person as Jesus of Nazareth.

                    • robert

                      Jefferson, Thomas Paine and many other famous deists denied the existence of a literal jesus. For a man that does not take the bible too seriously, you seriously protect it. You mocked my input about the fish, yet thought a young lad in your class was brilliant at stating fishermen count their fish, given that there is overwhelming evidence of the mathematical importance of the number 153, and the fact pythagoras mentioned a similar tale including the number 153 too.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      All the Deists I am familiar with denied that Jesus was literally as depicted in the New Testament. Modern historians say much the same thing, and do not mean that there was no historical Jesus. Do you have any actual evidence for these claims you have made, any more than any of the others that you have made? Do you realize that, when you start a conversation by misrepresenting those you are talking to, they are liable to demand that you provide evidence for every claim you make, because of your penchant for dishonesty? Do you not realize that, even just speaking practically, starting by at least being honest about those you are talking to might lead to your getting a different reception that it sounds like you normally do?

                    • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

                      that there is overwhelming evidence of the mathematical importance of the number 153

                      Let’s review, shall we.

                      You said 153 is the numerator in the closest integer approximation to root-3. This was not true, I gave you two other ratios closer, there are infinitely many more.

                      You said 153 has part of the ratio of the christian fish symbol. This was not true. You were trying to describe the wrong symbol, but even that does not involve a ratio using 153.

                      You said 153 was the number of courses in the great pyramid. This was not true, there are over 200, as can be verified by any photo of the site.

                      You said 153 is a ‘geometric number’. There is no such thing.

                      You said 153 is a triangular number. This is true. Though an infinite number of other numbers are also triangular.

                      Overwhelming, certainly, but not in the way you claim.

                    • robert

                      Here is an article by a mathematician Lonnie Woodruff:

                      Now the number 153 is an interesting number in several ways…. some of which deal with the number 3. Now remember in all of this that the number 3 is closely associate with the life of Christ and represent things of a spiritual nature. I don’t want you to think I figured all this out about the number 153, but when I was doing my research on numbers in Revelation I ran across some very interesting facts about the number 153. Now, mathematicians are interested in numbers and not scripture. I was interested in Scripture and how the mathematics fit in, so I put 2 and 2 together and hopefully came out with 4. :) … or something like that. We’ll begin with some of the simple things and work up to the more difficult.

                      Add the digits of 153: 1+5+3= 9 which is 3×3 or 3 sets of 3

                      Again, in olden times people dealt with numbers somewhat differently than we do today. 153 is what was called a “triangular” number. They formed shapes or patterns by arranging dots to represent the number. To be a triangular number, the pattern of dots would form a triangle with the same number of dots on each side of the triangle. The number 3 would be the first triangular number… 2 dots below 1 dot. Add another row of 3 dots below the 2 dots and you have the next triangular number .. 6. The number 153 is the sixteenth triangular number. It would have 17 dots on each side of the triangle. When you have about 3 hours of spare time, try drawing that and making it look good. :) So, the number 153 can be expressed as a triangle which, obviously, has 3 sides and is therefore closely associated with the number 3.

                      Next: If you sum the cube of the digits in 153, you always get 153. There are only about four known numbers in the entire numbering system in which the sum of the cube of the digits of that number will yield the original number. The number 153 is the only one divisible by 3. In order to do this you simply multiplying each digit by itself three times and then add the results. Notice, again, the use of the number 3. In order to make things simple, I’ll just represent the cube of a digit in this manner… (1x1x1). Ok, we take the sum of the cube of the digits of 153 … (1x1x1) + (5x5x5) + (3x3x3) = 153 or 1 + 125 + 27 = 153. Again the number 153 has extraordinary properties dealing with the number 3.

                      Now for the big finale:
                      The number 153 can be found in any “third” number in the entire numbering system. all right here is how this works… pay close attention. :) (by the way, I am a retired school teacher) Take any 3rd. number… 3,6,9,12,15,18….etc. (you get the idea) or any number divisible by 3, and do the same thing as we did above…. find the sum of the cube of the digits. You will have to repeat the calculation several times, but the final answer to these calculations will always be 153. I’ll do a simple one and you can get pencil, paper, and calculator out and try as many as you want… or you can trust me that the answer will always be 153.

                      (153 Fish, p.3)

                      Lets take the number 27:
                      (2x2x2) + (7x7x7) = 8 + 343 = 351 (now take that answer (351) and do the calculation again) 351 (3x3x3) + (5x5x5) + (1x1x1) = 27 + 125 + 1 = 153
                      (The final answer will always be 153)

                      Obviously, for some numbers this calculation might have to be repeated many, many times, but the final answer will always be 153.

                      Now lets put all of this together. The number 3 is symbolic of spiritual things. Many of the events in the life of Christ took place in series of 3′s. So, when Jesus went fishing, he caught the number of fish (153) which can be found in any third number in the entire numbering system. What an appropriate number of fish to catch. Was this an accident? I seriously doubt it. Am I sure this is why he caught 153 fish? No. But, the number was recorded for some reason and this explanation follows precisely what we know about scripture and use of numbers. I’ll let you decide what you think.

                    • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

                      You already cut and paste this before, and i responded to it.

                    • christopher

                      Jefferson created a book he called The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth (also known as the Jefferson Bible) by assembling passages from the Gospels which he believed to be accurate descriptions of what the (mortal, non-divine) man Jesus said and did. He absolutely did not deny the existence of a literal Jesus, although he certainly did deny that he was a god.

                      Thomas Paine likewise was a Euhemerist: in The Age of Reason, he wrote “It is, however, not difficult to account for the credit that was given to the story of Jesus Christ being the son of God. He was born when the heathen mythology had still some fashion and repute in the
                      world, and that mythology had prepared the people for the belief of such a story. Almost all the extraordinary men that lived under the heathen mythology were reputed to be the sons of some of their gods.”

                      You keep confidently asserting things that even a little cursory research shows to be wrong. Where are you getting your information?

                    • robert

                      “The fable of Christ and his twelve apostles…is a parody of the sun and the twelve signs of the Zodiac, copied from the ancient religions of the Eastern world…. Every thing told of Christ has reference to the sun. His reported resurrection is at sunrise, and that on the first day of the week; that is, on the day anciently dedicated to the sun, and from thence called Sunday…”

                      Thomas Paine, The Complete Religious and Theological Works of Thomas Paine (382)

                      It seems Christopher that you confidently assert things that even a little cursory research would show you to be wrong. Really, where are you getting your information?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      The letter as a whole seems quite clearly to envisage solar imagery being imposed on the person of Jesus to create the fabulous supernatural stories that Paine rejects. Would you care to explain why you do not interpret Paine’s letter in that more obvious way?

                    • robert

                      LOL, good one James. Because it isn’t very obvious James, good try.
                      i have a copy of Age of Reason, Paine calls literal Christians Mythologists in nearly every paragraph, such is his contempt for the nonsense in the bible.
                      For example James: In Chapter IV – Of The Bases of Christianity, Paine says;
                      ‘It is upon this plain narrative of facts, together with another case I am going to mention, that the Christian mythologists, calling themselves the Christian Church, have erected their fable, which for absurdity and extravagance is not exceeded by anything that is to be found in the mythology of the ancients’. I have the book in front of me James.
                      YOur spin and spin doctors are running thin on the ground James. I reckon within 100 years, people will fall about laughing at the notion Jesus actually was a real person. The message is that we are ALL Sons of God, as we all belong to the same father. Christ and the kingdom of heaven is within.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      There too he says exactly what I said he did in his letter. Why is this so hard? Are you assuming that when someone refers to mythologists, they mean people spinning myths from scratch or from other myths, as opposed to weaving myths around a historical person? Why make that assumption? Is it just because it makes you think that smart people in the past held the same view as you do, or is there something more to it than that?

                    • robert

                      James, when I see something that is black, it is black. When I see something that is white it is white. With you, things that are clearly black and white, you twist them to try and make them grey or even the opposite. Even when given clear evidence, you still try and weasel an argument.
                      It is clear even for a child in your class like Jordan, to read that when Paine is talking about mythologists he is clearly meaning that the christian church is only a myth. Regardless if the myth is from scratch or from ancient times.
                      A disturbing collection of men who bend things to make black white and white black are the Jesuits of the Roman Catholic Church. I’m wondering if you are actually a Jesuit. From which christian franchise did you originally come from? I was baptised as a child church of Scotland. I would like to be de-baptised, as I had no say in the branding of myself at the age of 6 months.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I think the problem became very clear when we spent the first few days of your visit to this blog trying to get you to acknowledge that there are more that possible viewpoints that people may hold. It seems that you are now once again trying to insist that everything fits into two categories. If you say everything is black or white, then you will fail to do justice not only to shades of grey but also to reds, and greens, and blues.

                      So why not interact with the views people actually express, in their precise nuance, rather than engaging in this exercise in force pigeonholing? Then you could actually talk about the beliefs and views and conclusions, instead of wasting people’s time as they have to point out to you again and again that what you claim they or others think it at odds with what they have said/written.

                    • robert

                      The problem with you james, is that you fail to answer a question diirectly. I gave you clear evidence that Paine said the Christian religion is a fable. Fable is another word for a kind of allegory; Definition of fable – A short allegorical narrative making a moral point.
                      Even with clear evidence, you waste my time, by failing to interact with me in a fair, concise manner. I’ll ask you again if you can be honest. What Christian Franchise were you born into?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Why do you struggle so hard with this? Instead of reading what Paine wrote, you latch onto a word he used, find a meaning, and see that that word can mean what you think, and therefore insist that Paine thought as you do. But one can view the entire Christian edifice as myth and fable, and not necessarily reject that the edifice was constructed around a human person.

                      You seem to struggle with basic reading comprehension.

                    • robert

                      I don’t struggle with anything james, it is you that is struggling with the clear cut message Paine has portrayed. The myth is the same for many saviour god men 16 at least. Either you view the Christ story as a myth or you don’t.
                      jesus is a common name, so you are right in that probably many people lived at that time who were called Jesus. Just as many people live today that are called Robert and James. The point is James, and I’ll say it again. The Jesus story in the bible has no historical evidence. The story is a carbon copy of many other godmen. This means that the story is allegorical, and as I have given you an extensive book list, the allegory fits into the zodiac, astronomy, astrology, mathematics, geometry, music and gives us the cycle of life. This is inclusive, truly universal, and practical. What you are spouting is airy fairy nonsense, with no substance.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      A wonderful example of projection.

                    • robert

                      A wonderful example of common sense more like.
                      Again you find it difficult to answer a straight question.
                      What is your Christian background?

                      I told you mine, so why can’t you be honest and tell me, what are you afraid off?

                      At birth were you baptised Roman Catholic – option A

                      At birth were you baptised as one of the Protesting denominations – B

                      is it A or B?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I don’t see the relevance in the question, since neither of the traditions that I was born into is one that I am currently affiliated. And I am happy to feed your paranoia by keeping things mysterious and watching the lunatic behavior that you manifest under such circumstances, since the only reason I have permitted you to keep posting is the entertainment that you provide, and the way your behavior makes mythicism look bad.

                      But I suppose the question you asked is indeed relevant: it shows that you set up binary categories, with no sense that someone might not fit into either of the two that you seem to think are the only things that people might be.

                    • robert

                      But James you are making mythicism look very good. Banning is a reaction to feeling threatened, so I must be doing a good job by the measure of your threats.
                      I remember the Vatican banned the bible as they were scared people would interpret it for themselves. They banned many books, and censored truth.
                      I believe you to be lier and not a true person. You are not in category 2 – Everemism, but in category 1, Literal indoctrinated brainwashed christian apologist.
                      Who is the lunatic here? You believe that a man who was literally born of a virgin, died on a cross to save everyone from original sin, but only if they believed in him, then rose from the dead and flew off into the sky or heaven.
                      That is the thinking of a raging lunatic. My thinking gives a reasoned plausable explanation for such amazing acts that contradict the laws of nature, God gave us in the first place.
                      YOu are a total joke James. You are incapable of holding an argument, instead you dodge, twist and spout verbal diarrhoea to make yourself sound as if you know what you are talking about, but sadly anybody with any intelligence will see through your mask.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      LOL. This is wonderful stuff. Keep it up!

                    • robert

                      Tell me about Religion in Science Fiction James? Is that when Jesus meets ET.

                      That sound like a great topic to keep people even further from the truth.

                      You are mentally ill James.

                    • robert

                      The study of theology, as it stands in the Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authority; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion.
                      - Thomas Paine

                      That is why you ridicule me James, because the slightest thought that the myth viewpoint might be right, would spell the end of your career.

                      Doctor of Philosophy: University of Durham (awarded July 1998). Title: “John’s Apologetic Christology: Legitimation and Development in Johannine Christology.” Supervisor: Prof. James D. G. Dunn.

                      Bachelor of Divinity: University of London (awarded July 1995). 2:1 honors and second prize.

                      Diploma in Religious studies: University of Cambridge (awarded August 1993). With Distinction.

                      Impressive CV for a bible basher and theologian. Your days are numbered James, start looking for another job.
                      You can always take the myth viewpoint and write books about the truth. Get in there quick James.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      LOL

                    • robert

                      Your putting a brave face on it James, but your bubble is bursting.

                    • christopher

                      And just what is “this plain narrative of facts,” Robert? Given that that’s the very first sentence of chapter 4, it would stand to reason that it’s chapter 3, entitled “Concerning the Character of Jesus Christ, and His History.” And how does that chapter conclude?

                      “That such a person as Jesus Christ existed, and that he was crucified, which was the mode of execution at that day, are historical relations strictly within the limits of probability. He preached most excellent morality, and the equality of man; but he preached also against the corruptions and avarice of the Jewish priests, and this brought upon him the hatred and vengeance of the whole order of priest-hood. The accusation which those priests brought against him was that of sedition and conspiracy against the Roman government, to which the Jews were then subject and tributary; and it is not improbable that the Roman government might have some secret apprehension of the effects of his doctrine as well as the Jewish priests; neither is it improbable that Jesus Christ had in contemplation the delivery of the Jewish nation from the bondage of the Romans. Between the two, however, this virtuous reformer and revolutionist lost his life.”

                      In other words, Paine holds that Jesus very likely existed (although he grants that it’s not certain), but that the vast majority of what is the New Testament and the various Christian churches claim about him is myth – which is the Euhemerist viewpoint exactly!

                    • robert

                      The study of theology, as it stands in the Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authority; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion.
                      - Thomas Paine
                      Outside the Bible which is an account of the cycle of life where jesus is an allegory for the Sun, there is no contemporary historical evidence of the jesus that did all the miraculous stuff mentioned in the Bible. Paine took the myth point.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      If you just copy and paste the same things in multiple places, that is spamming, which I have low tolerance for. You seem not to understand that Paine is talking about theology, not about history. You misrepresent Paine in the same way you’ve misrepresented people here, because you think that everyone is either an astrotheology kook like yourself, or a Bible-basher.

                    • robert

                      Your looking for an excuse to ban me James.

                      When Paine says theology is the study of nothing, he means that there is no history you half-wit. Unless your English interpretation is poor, Paine was an astrotheologist. He believed the whole story to be pure myth.

                      The Jesuits did a good job on you.

                      I’ve got low tolerance for complete idiots like you. I would have a better discussion with a chimp.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I just love the way you say that you have low tolerance for idiots like those who patiently try to communicate with you, and yet you keep spouting nonsense and seem unable to frain from misrepresenting others. You have been given clear evidence from Paine’s own writings as to what his views were. Thank you for illustrating that mythicism is bunk born out of inability to read, inability to represent accurately, and inability to avoid false dichotomies. Your comments here are accomplishing more than I ever could to demonstrate the bankruptcy of mythicism, and I really do appreciate it!

                    • robert

                      You don’t discuss with me, you bullshite, distort, and alter plain facts and plain English to suit your diseased brain.
                      It is you that has been given clear evidence from Paine’s writings as to his views which are from an astrotheological viewpoint. Paine and I are brothers. Paine if he were alive would eat you for breakfast on this blog.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      LOL

                    • robert

                      Believe me, I’m the one laughing at you James.

                    • robert

                      Was Jesus bor in the reign of Herod the Great, as Mathhew has it, or when Quirinius, the governor of Syria, ordered a census, as Luke asserts?
                      (Herod died 4BCE; Quirinius’s census occurred in 6 CE, some ten years later)
                      What was it James?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Here is something I shared online on the subject some time ago: http://blue.butler.edu/~jfmcgrat/jesus/quirinius.htm

                      I have also blogged about the contradictions in the infancy stories more than once. But apparently I am still a “Bible basher” in the bizarre distorted world of astrotheology.

                    • robert

                      Yes you are definately a bible basher as you yet again defend the existence of a literal Jesus. You direct me to a piece of outrageous manouvering of English language, absolutely incredible. This is from your link above:

                      One approach has been to argue that the sentence in Luke 2:2 should be translated in a different way:

                      �This census happened before Quirinius was in charge of Syria�

                      Yes James, your brainwashed friends really do clutch at straws as they attempt to re-write the inerrant word of God. It is sad, very sad, but hey, you’ve got a good job from all this bullshite.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Ah, your wonderful reading skills at work again! The view I am criticizing, you think I hold!

                    • robert

                      It is the view you hold. YOu are trying to make something that makes nonsense – sense, in order to keep alive the historical Jesus. Your a closet bible thumper.
                      A thick theologian.

                    • robert

                      You and your jesuit friends or ecumenicalists, are trying to make sense out of nonsense and contradictions in the bible, thus to keep the historical son of god alive and kicking. The bible has had thousands of tweeks since its beginnings, so why not just re-write it to suit yourself. If nobody agrees, just do what you did hundreds of years ago and kill people who are opposed.

                    • Christian Biggot

                      or even

                      This census happened the first time Quirinius was in charge of Syria

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      There isn’t absolutely clear evidence that Quirinius was in charge of Syria twice, although it is possible. But the governors of Syria prior to the death of Herod the Great are known, and Quirinius was not one of them. And given that we have no record of an alleged earlier census, and the one we do know about caused an uprising that developed into the Zealot movement, it seems difficult to salvage the historical accuracy of Luke in the way you suggest.

                    • christopher

                      Just a note (I am aware that you are banned, but I have a sneaking suspicion that you are still reading): This is one of the many issues with the story of the nativity that I referenced precisely as supporting Euhemerism as opposed to mythicism – the awkward disconnect of the nativity story from the actual history of the region makes no sense if it’s a product of pure myth-making, with no real people in it at all, but makes perfect sense if the man who concocted it was desperately struggling to come up with a reason for the radical preacher Jesus, who everyone knew to have been from Nazareth, to have been born in Bethlehem.

                    • trebor

                      James McGrath banned me (robert) as he is a weak, sad, intolerant individual. His faith can’t be strong, as it would have stood up to my comments. Thanks for that victory James McGrath.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      LOL. I explained why I banned you. You are obnoxious, rude, and refuse to accept evidence when it is presented to you. I will give you two choices: behave in a sane manner and treat others and the subject matter with the human decency and respect they deserve and I will gladly unban you, or keep ranting and insulting people and I will ban each of your maniacal personas when they show up. I have no issue with your clearly false ideas. It is how you treat other commenters on this blog that concerns me.

                      Let me know your choice, assuming you are mentally proficient to do so.

                    • trebor

                      What a hypocrite. You and your friends had a secret discussion about me on another blog. You called me mentally ill etc etc, which is insulting. All I did is call you back by the same measure. You banned a valid point on another blog about Herod killing the children. Maybe you should ban yourself.

                    • http://mythicpizza.blogspot.co.uk/ Paul Regnier

                      If it was on another blog, it wasn’t that secret then was it?

                    • trebor

                      Secret in the fact I did not contribute to the blog and they thought I would not see it.

                    • christopher

                      Several of the people closest to me are mentally ill, so that’s not a term I use as an insult. It’s actually something of a mitigating circumstance:

                      You have behaved quite badly here. You have insulted people, called them liars, and accused them of being corporately responsible for “1700 years of bloodshed and misery,” all because they disagreed with your religious beliefs. In doing so, you displayed incredible hypocrisy: You attack “literal religion[ists]” for allegedly being intolerant of those with other religious beliefs, yet you are by far the least religiously tolerant person in this conversation. You have also displayed an approach to scholarship that is about as honest as that used by the folks at Answers in Genesis.

                      If you are not mentally ill, if you have freely chosen to behave in this way, then my estimation of your character is very low indeed. But I do think that you are mentally ill, based chiefly on your clear paranoid delusions, and I really wish you would seek psychiatric help, because I think you’ll be a lot happier if you do. And while the fact that your behavior here is fundamentally sick does not entirely eliminate your responsibility for it (since you should seek treatment, and have not), it does greatly diminish that responsibility, leaving me with a much less negative assessment of your character than I would have if I believed that you were mentally healthy.

                    • robert

                      Only literal bible bashing christian apologists are mentally ill. Astrotheology is not a religion. It is not a faith. There is no astrotheology church that takes money from people.
                      My brain is intact, it is you that believes in outrageous supernatural events, that defy the laws of nature, that God gave us. You are a sham, and a disgrace, becasue you are complicit in the crimes of the Christian movement, since Emperor Constantine, decided to make it a State Religion.
                      Funny how the head of Christendom is in Rome, when Jesus was exactly 2307.8 kilometres away. What a joke you, Ian, and James are.
                      Go and see a shrink before its too late.

                    • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

                      Your choice, but if someone I banned started registering alternate ids so they could carry on ranting, then I’d be blocking IPs right off. I’d be careful with your ‘extra’ chances, if I were you. Sometimes it just fuels the fire. We’ve been through this with Mabus before, with everyone trying to be reasonable as the responses got wilder and wilder, until it was too late. It doesn’t take long to figure out that someone is unstable. Particularly now we’ve got paranoia on display too.

                    • trebor

                      Read – Jesus Christ Sun Of God, Ancient Cosmology and Early Christian Symbolism by David Fideler.

                      Seems that the numbers are very relevant Ian. But you are in the same camp as James, defending the historical claim of Jesus, when he was merely a myth.

                    • christopher

                      If that were his motivation, he would have banned you when you started your ranting. As it is, it’s pretty clear that he just got tired of your repetitiveness, your demanding answers while refusing to give them, and your habit of insulting everyone who disagrees with you.

                    • trebor

                      If you say you have never met James McGrath before, how did you know I was banned Christopher?

                    • http://mythicpizza.blogspot.co.uk/ Paul Regnier

                      I don’t know Christopher, but I should think James writing “I decided to ban him. He really does seem to be mentally unstable” gave him a pretty good idea.

                    • christopher

                      Paul got it in one. Especially since James wrote that in a reply to one of my comments, so I got an email notifying me of it.

                    • trebor

                      Your a lier as well as James, as you all know each other. Go and repent you sinful prick.

                    • christopher

                      And there’s the paranoid delusion again.

                    • christopher

                      Huh, that is an interesting quote.

                      It still doesn’t really contradict that Paine said in a variety of places that Jesus most likely (I’ll grant he did not assert that it was certain) lived and preached – Paine certainly thought that most of the details of the Jesus story were myth-making, and if he thought them to be based on astrological beliefs (note that he said a parody, not an allegory – Paine no more believed in astrology than he did in Christianity), that in no way contradicts that he suggested that there was probably an actual man to whose memory the myth-makers attached them.

                      Also, I’d say that finding the contents of a man’s most famous theological work (The Age of Reason) is quite a bit more cursory than finding the contents of a private letter he once wrote to another man, which is the source of your quote.

                    • robert

                      Dictionary meaning: parody – A literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule.

                      allegory – a story, poem, or picture which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one:

                      When using parody Paine was saying the story was to ridicule the real meaning. But tell me Chris when is a fable not a fable. Paine clearly says the fable of christ and the twelve apostles.

                      Dictionary meaning – Definition of fable – A short allegorical narrative making a moral point, traditionally by means of animal characters who speak and act like human beings.

                      So there you have it. allegorical narrative.

                    • christopher

                      From Merriam Webster

                      Definition of FABLE
                      : a fictitious narrative or statement: as
                      a : a legendary story of supernatural happenings
                      b : a narration intended to enforce a useful truth; especially : one in which animals speak and act like human beings
                      c : falsehood, lie

                    • robert

                      Well done Christopher term b will do nicely.

                    • christopher

                      Just because definition (b) exists, and you would like it to be the definition that Paine was using, doesn’t mean that it is. Definitions (a) and (c) also exist, after all. This seems to be your general approach to reasoning – find some evidence, however tenuous, that your position could be right, and declare it proof positive that your position isright. That is no way to go about reasoning, my friend.

                    • newenglandsun

                      Since you keep coming back to the argument that Christianity is borrowed entirely from Paganism and is therefore unoriginal, let me tell you about a story I’ve heard of once.

                      There was a greedy uncle and he wanted to rule the land of his brother who was the king. But he had to do something to get rid of the brother. So he killed the brother, married the brother’s widow, but the son came back and killed him reclaiming the kingdom.

                      This story is Hamlet by Shakespeare? No. It’s Disney’s The Lion King.

                    • newenglandsun

                      To an extent, even Catholicism does not insist an all-too literal reading of the Virgin Birth (we certainly don’t hold that Joseph knew her “after” the event and Jesus as firstborn certainly doesn’t indicate that he had other biological brothers and sisters) although Raymond Brown has put together a grand work treating the topic of the virgin birth.

                    • robert

                      That is great James. But what evidence is there that Jesus existed if you don’t take the bible as Inerrant? There is no evidence outside the bible that jesus existed. That is the main reason why I moved from Euhemerist to Myth viewpoint.

                    • newenglandsun

                      Um…try the Gnostic gospels?

                    • newenglandsun

                      “he human being Jesus of Nazareth was later regarded as divine by Christians, which he clearly was not in the earliest Gospels.”

                      Even this is debatable but I always forget that the liberal Bible scholarship is just the hugging friend of the fundamentalist position. P.S. Sorry for chiming in late again.

                    • christopher

                      Since I have never had in contact with Mr. McGrath prior to this discussion, I cannot speak for him, but my position on Jesus is unambiguously Euhemerist (the standard English spelling).

                    • robert

                      That is great Christopher. But what evidence is there that Jesus existed if you don’t take the bible as Inerrant? There is no evidence outside the bible that jesus existed. That is the main reason why I moved from Euhemerist to Myth viewpoint.

                    • christopher

                      Occam’s razor – it is more plausible that a man gathered religious followers, they attributed miracles to him, they explained away inconvenient facts, and finally they declared him to be a god (all processes that can be observed occurring in any number of cults/new religious movements today) than that a group wrote a detailed story about a man they claimed had been their leader but who had never existed, and introduced into it a whole bunch of unnecessary inconsistencies (a process that we see very very rarely). For example, why does the nativity story claim that Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem to be registered when (a) the date of the only known Roman census in that region during that time period conflicts with the dates implied by other details in the story and (b) the Romans invariably required people to register where they lived, since that was where they would pay taxes? It makes no sense unless it’s an attempt to reconcile prophecies that suggest that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem with the fact that Jesus was a man who was known to have grown up in Nazareth.

                    • christopher

                      The funny thing is that you condemn “literal religionists” for believing that their religions are right and all others are wrong, and yet here you are claiming that your religion (and make no mistake, astrotheological esotericism is clearly your religion) is right, and all others are wrong. You accuse us of sowing division, and yet James and I are talking to you (and each other!) in a perfectly reasonable fashion, while you accuse us of being corporately responsible for “1700 years of bloodshed and misery.” You say that “the time has come to attack” everyone who believes differently from you, on the basis that (you claim) they attack those who believe differently from them! Think about that, and really consider getting psychological help – not for my sake (given that James has banned you, I will never read anything you write again unless I deliberately seek you out), but for your own.

                    • christian bigot

                      Hi Robert

                      Yes I’m a Christian Bigot
                      Jesus cursed the fig tree as a parable
                      I shall explain it for you, from a christian perspective
                      I don’t expect you to believe it, neither do I expect others to agree.

                      1) The promise of scripture is that God will pour out his Spirit on all people.
                      2) As a result we should exhibit behavior that is (at least a little) like God – referred to in scripture as “bearing good fruit in season”
                      3) Those who do not have made themselves accursed of God, and that isn’t good.

                      you know that God will help you understand the Bible if you ask, you don’t even have to have faith. Just keep on reading and asking and it’ll happen.

                • newenglandsun

                  “Apologise for 1700 years of bloodshed and misery, you christian bigot.”

                  Oh, dear…apparently this guy hasn’t done too much homework on the inquisitions, crusades, and witch-trials.

                  A) At *most* 2,000,000 people were killed total (that’s a rough estimate and it could even be 4,000,000)
                  B) there were strict judicial procedures during each trial before the victim was burned
                  C) the victims were hardly helpless, some even lied as well as played “dumb”
                  D) some trials were politically influenced (let’s charge this guy with heresy/witch-craft so we can burn him situations)
                  E) most of the crusades were done out of defense for the unity of Europe

                  Let’s see, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot combined in a span of less than century killed how many?

            • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

              So 153 is a triangular number. So are an infinite number of others. The verse numbers are modern inventions – are you claiming the authors of the bible were psychic too? And the great pyramid is 455 feet currently, was previously 481 feet, and has 203 courses, the latter can be checked by counting on any high resolution photo, google gave me several thousand of them. The definition of a foot is, again, a relatively modern measurement.

              You’re really an inexhaustible fount of nonsense. But please, share more. Hearing your insanity reminds the rest of us how sane we are.

              • robert

                This is information I found from a mathematician. maybe you can argue with him on the importance and significance of 153.

                Now the number 153 is an interesting number in several ways…. some of which deal with the number 3. Now remember in all of this that the number 3 is closely associate with the life of Christ and represent things of a spiritual nature. I don’t want you to think I figured all this out about the number 153, but when I was doing my research on numbers in Revelation I ran across some very interesting facts about the number 153. Now, mathematicians are interested in numbers and not scripture. I was interested in Scripture and how the mathematics fit in, so I put 2 and 2 together and hopefully came out with 4. :) … or something like that. We’ll begin with some of the simple things and work up to the more difficult.

                Add the digits of 153: 1+5+3= 9 which is 3×3 or 3 sets of 3

                Again, in olden times people dealt with numbers somewhat differently than we do today. 153 is what was called a “triangular” number. They formed shapes or patterns by arranging dots to represent the number. To be a triangular number, the pattern of dots would form a triangle with the same number of dots on each side of the triangle. The number 3 would be the first triangular number… 2 dots below 1 dot. Add another row of 3 dots below the 2 dots and you have the next triangular number .. 6. The number 153 is the sixteenth triangular number. It would have 17 dots on each side of the triangle. When you have about 3 hours of spare time, try drawing that and making it look good. :) So, the number 153 can be expressed as a triangle which, obviously, has 3 sides and is therefore closely associated with the number 3.

                Next: If you sum the cube of the digits in 153, you always get 153. There are only about four known numbers in the entire numbering system in which the sum of the cube of the digits of that number will yield the original number. The number 153 is the only one divisible by 3. In order to do this you simply multiplying each digit by itself three times and then add the results. Notice, again, the use of the number 3. In order to make things simple, I’ll just represent the cube of a digit in this manner… (1x1x1). Ok, we take the sum of the cube of the digits of 153 … (1x1x1) + (5x5x5) + (3x3x3) = 153 or 1 + 125 + 27 = 153. Again the number 153 has extraordinary properties dealing with the number 3.

                Now for the big finale:
                The number 153 can be found in any “third” number in the entire numbering system. all right here is how this works… pay close attention. :) (by the way, I am a retired school teacher) Take any 3rd. number… 3,6,9,12,15,18….etc. (you get the idea) or any number divisible by 3, and do the same thing as we did above…. find the sum of the cube of the digits. You will have to repeat the calculation several times, but the final answer to these calculations will always be 153. I’ll do a simple one and you can get pencil, paper, and calculator out and try as many as you want… or you can trust me that the answer will always be 153.

                So there Ian, 153 is the only number that if cubed comes to 153 that can be divided by 3.

                • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

                  If he was the person on here, then I would argue with him, telling me to go argue with someone not willing to come and make their own points is straight out of the playground: I’m right, and if you disagree, go and argue with my Dad, who says I’m right.

                  Also, he’s a retired school teacher, by the sound of it, not a mathematician. And being a mathematician is irrelevant anyway, since none of this is mathematics in the academic sense, it is numerology.

                  The problem with all such numerological fishing expeditions is that you can do them for any number. You get different properties, different gimmicks, different funky curiosities, but all numbers do this. This is the numerological trick. Its been done endlessly on 666, you can find tons of such gimmicks, because people look for it. For example after ten minutes with 154:

                  154 is the smallest non-trivial enneagonal (9-sided, remember 9 = 3^2) number that is spherical. Thus it is a crucial number in representing the sphere, or the solar disk.

                  It is the sum of the first six factorials (6 = 3×2). No other number is N sided and the sum of the first M factorials where N is an exponent and M a product of the same numbers.

                  154 is a simple planar divisor (which means you can portion things into 154 different groups using only 17 divisions, 17 is both the verse in the gospels you quoted before, is prime and the sum of the first four primes, including the first three odd primes (3 again), the only such number with those properties.

                  But the number 154 is more important beyond that. Every 154 days, the sun flares, making 154 the number of the Solar biorhythm, and the most important number for devotees of the Sun on earth.

                  Numerology is easy.

                  • robert

                    Your just being stupid now, just like James. I’m not a mathematician, which is why I posted it. But anybody reading this can see there is a profound connection with the number 153 and geometry, which is why it is in the bible, and why Pythagoras the mathematician quoted it.
                    Are you an Evemerist like Chris and James?
                    What was your Christian franchise at birth?

                    • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

                      My Christian franchise at birth is irrelevant. You pointed out before that I am “a literal indoctrinated bible basher”, if you were already sure of who I was, why do you need to ask now?

                      You are clearly not a mathematician.

                      There is a profound connection between any number, integer or not, and geometry.

                      Please provide a link to your evidence that Pythagoras quoted it in some significant way. Not some religious fanatic claiming it exists, an actual reference to the actual text. The only actual mention I can find in any actual works by Pythagoras is that 1351:780 > root-3 > 265:153. I.e. one number out of five in one equation out of hundreds. No story, no fish.

                      There is reference to a legend of Pythagoras predicting the size of a catch. But no indication before 1999 that his prediction was 153. In 1999, however, the outre mythicist book “The Jesus Mysteries: Was the Original Jesus a Pagan God” featured the exemplary scholarship: “the story does not record what this number was. It is likely that the number of fish was precisely 153.” So it appears your source for the claim was the speculation of someone who’s theories are about as credible as yours.

                      You’re quite the source of truth, aren’t you?

                    • robert

                      Your the same as James, a sad sorry lunatic bible bashing literal christian apaologist

                    • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

                      See, you didn’t even need to ask! With perception like that, it is no wonder you’re so full of insights.

                      I notice you chose to try and insult me rather than back up your claims though. Not a surprise.

                    • newenglandsun

                      “Your a sad sorry lunatic bible bashing literal christian apaologist”

                      A) I believe you meant “liberal”
                      B) you misspelled “apologist”
                      C) you also meant “you’re”
                      D) I think “bible-bashing” is hyphenated

                    • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

                      And “you’re”, and missed the period. And, mostly bizarrely of all, directed that comment at me.

                    • newenglandsun

                      ????

                      I directed it at Robert.

                    • http://irrco.wordpress.com/ Ian

                      Sorry – I meant Robert directed that comment at me. Which was bizarre. I think it is the only time I’ve been accused of being a fundamentalist Christian bible basher. Normally I get accused of being a anti-Christian intolerant atheist.

                    • newenglandsun

                      “I think it is the only time I’ve been accused of being a fundamentalist Christian bible basher.”

                      Still trying to figure out how that works.

                    • robert

                      Yes, more truthful than you and James will ever be. What I have given is factual. Your christian franchise at birth is very relevant.

                    • Believer

                      Perhaps you should re-read the text, and see if this debate should be about 153 or 154 fish, notice v 9 there is already ONE fish on the shore (diaglott) and added to that is the 153 great fish that they catch. = 154. now if you divide that by 7 (number of completeness) you get 22, significant? Yep that’s how many letters there are in the Hebrew alphabet (Psa 119), So outside of the Hebrew alphabet you cannot find the perfected word of God!

  • Jerry

    That was excellent

  • Vincent

    Pliny the Elder’s “Natural History” reports that there were 74 species of fish in existence – not 153.
    Oops!

  • carl

    Ray Comfort put forth this theory:
    2 Kings 1 gives a story of another 153. There are the first two groups of 50 soldiers and their captains (51+51) who are consumed by fire. The third group of 50 soldiers and their captain are spared due to the captain interceding on their behalf. This makes a total of 153 (51+51+51).

    This just may be the picture of the professing church: many profess faith but only 1/3 are true believers. The true believers will be spared God’s judgment due to the intercessory role of their captain Jesus Christ.

    Can it be that only 1/3 of the professing church will be saved?
    Very interesting for sure.


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