Arguments in themselves are not Evidence

Christian apologetics meme of the week

For Dylan tonight

  • Non Christian: “what evidence do you have that the Jesus of the New Testament was/is the Jesus of history, given there was one?”
  • Christian apologist: “what do you call evidence?”
  • Non Christian: (gives a run down on what would reasonably constitute historical, archaeological, literary evidence.)
  • Christian apologist: (knowing damn well he has none of the requisite evidence) “you’re obviously biased and wouldn’t accept anything I give anyway… so I refuse to provide any at all.”

Round and round we go…

If they truly had any, they would gladly provide it. But they don’t. Don’t play the apologetics games. Just say… “whatcha got?” Until the either “Put Up” or get tired of you asking for what is their responsibility to provide that they don’t want to admit they don’t have.

-kia

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The Christian belief is Faith in Jesus

“Christian belief is 1) an act of Faith 2) in the Historical Jesus 3) as the Manifestation of God.” –John Dominic Crossan, Jesus a Revolutionary Biography.

The gospel story, according to this widely respected, accepted and prominent biblical scholar, is

“Prophecy historicized rather than History memorized”

Christianity is Faith, Evidence not Required

I just finished this thinner, more popularly accessible version of Crossan’s larger work on the Historical Jesus, what we can and cannot know about Him from the evidence and what History actually says and does not tell us about the Carpenter from Nazareth, His ‘band of merry men’ and the Gospel Narrative that we have come to accept and have been taught as Historical and true to the events that happened 2000yrs ago.

According to the author there is almost universal acceptance among scholars, historians and archaeologists, excluding a small number of “Jesus Mythicists”, that ‘some’ Jesus, who Crossan referred to a Jewish Palestinian Cynic, lived and walked and died under Roman rule, and even at the command of Pontius Pilate. But that He, the “Jesus of the New Testament”, is a kind of ‘retrofitting’ of Old Testament prophecies and messianic expectations imposed onto the identity of the Real Jesus.

In short: there may have been a real, Historical Jesus behind the story, but the Jesus of the New Testament is a Myth.

Crossan says the evidence of history tells us that the Historical Jesus was most probably a religious reformer for the peasant masses who, when he visited Jerusalem and the Temple, probably for his first and only time during the Feast of Passover, was arrested and executed for either causing or the fear of prompting an outbreak of violence and insurrection.

The Historical Jesus, if he had friends or followers powerful enough to secure his body from the final humiliating penalty of the dogs and birds devouring it after he was hung on a Roman Cross for all to witness and as a warning to others not to rebel, he most certainly would have had friends or followers powerful and influential enough to keep the crucifixion from being carried out in the first place.

  • There was no Nicodemas.
  • There was no Joseph of Aramathea.

These were literary tools designed to explain away inconsistencies in the previous ‘incarnations’ of the story of how a poverty preaching peasant, Palestinian Cynic rabble rouser could possibly escape the overwhelmingly common and historically unalterable fate of all victims of Roman crucifixion in the 1st century:

Crucifixion in the First Century

You were tried, found guilty, hung on a cross or post of wood until dead… in full view of the rest of the populace as an example to others.

Then… left there for the final indignity of denying you a proper and honorable burial until the flesh rotted and fell from your bones or was eaten by the birds above or the dogs who waited below.

Afterwards, your remains were tossed into a common grave with others who suffered the same fate as you before or a shallow pit covered over with not nearly enough dirt to save your body from being ravaged again by those same dogs.

Not allowed an Honorable Burial, Sabbath or Not

No. The Historical Jesus, if he was turned over to be tortured and executed by Roman authorities, would not have had the honor, priveledge or dignity afforded him to have been buried in any tomb, let alone a “New Tomb where no one had ever been laid” owned by a rich and well connected ‘member of the council’ whether he ‘agreed with the verdict’ of his contemporaries or not… (depending on which Gospel you read, they differ on this point)

While there is plenty of historical “evidence” of the literary kind for the death of the Historical Jesus in secular or non Christian sources, there is Zero in the way of such unbiased and ‘unaltered’ writings for his miraculous and scientifically impossible subsequent Reconstitution, Resuscitation and Resurrection. Zero.

Dead Men don’t Rise from Crucifixion

No again. The Historical Jesus, if he died, whether on a Roman Torture Stake or Cross, would not have been afforded “intact” and safe burial in a rich man’s family tomb, and he would not have risen from death three days later. Surely there would be some Evidence in non biased, non christian historical sources if something as extraordinary like that had actually occurred.

These are myths retrofitted onto the Historical Jesus by his followers, some who followed his words and works before his death and more who created and followed the mythologized Jesus afterwards in an effort to hold onto and further their own control of the “Greatest Story Ever Told”.

Christianity really comes down to Faith Alone in the Mythologized Jesus of the New Testament.

Faith, not facts or evidence:

… that the Historical Jesus was the Jesus that the New Testament says he was. An Act of Faith, in the Historical Jesus as the manifestation of God on earth.

The New Testament Jesus is a Mythologized version of the Historical Jesus who almost ceratainly lived, died and was buried. But historically and from the evidence, you cannot demonstrate that such a person as the New Testament Jesus ever lived, died, rose from death and ascended to heaven to return again soon. THAT Jesus, the Mythologized version of the Historical one, never actually existed in actual history and does not exist today other than in the pages of the New Testament and the Hearts and Minds of those who choose to believe by Faith what they could never demonstrate by Facts or Evidence.

I was once one of those. Even taught and proclaimed it. But no more. I’m in Recovery. How about you?

-kia

RKIA Wednesday Haiku Challenge: “Sharp”

A New Weekly Feature Post
Welcome to a new feature on the Recovering Know it All. The Wednesday Haiku Challenge. The rules are simple. Take a picture related to the theme or word of the week and post it on your blog or in the comments here with a haiku, three lines of poetry 5, 7, then 5 syllables in length. Why not join in? Here is mine for this week… “Sharp

Sharpened for Smoothness

On the razor’s edge

No telling what life may bring

Perfectly balanced

-kia

These are my straights. Only one I would use right now, that’s the vintage Dovo up top. It’s from the mid to late 30’s. And no… I don’t use it really often, but I had it restored as a antique store find and really enjoy having it. The other two are also older, the bottom one, Spike, is from between 1921-1951. That when they stopped making that style, although I think with the way it looks and the metal that seems to have been honed and sharpened off of it over the years it’s probably closer the the 20’s or 30’s.

These two I’m going to have dropped off for reconditioning this weekend at The Razor Emporium in Phoenix. The Dovo and the Spike will probably not be used that much at all… If ever… but I plan to make the middle one a weekly shaver, if I ever get the true hang of the Cut Throat blades.

Currently I use a double edged safety razor, Merkur 34c HD if you please. The kind you get old school single blades for and drop in between the top cap and the base plate. Think your grandfather’s razor and you might be close. Soap, a lathering bowl, badger hair brush… I know, not vegan… and a mirror. 30 minutes of Zen for a relaxing experience. But whether it’s the DE or the Straight, you gotta watch yourself. It’s easy to cut yourself if you aren’t paying attention or trying to go too fast. These babies are SHARP!! Thus, today’s Haiku Challenge word and image.

Why not give it a try? Do your own post and drop a link or just comment below. Let’s do this!!

-kia

On your job, Who do you serve?

The Puny Tick is pissed again. This time about teachers in the public schools in the UK being ‘forced’ to comply with requirements not to bring their own religious convictions on marriage into the classroom. Here’s my response that may never make it out of his moderation.

I think it comes down to the question of who you represent when teaching in a public or government school. You represent the government or public at large, not yourself or your particular Faith Tradition. Just like I represent not myself, but my company when I speak with people at my work. I do my job on behalf of my employer and as representing them and their interests. If I can’t do that, or if I feel that my interests or beliefs are more important to the point of conflicting with my responsibilities to them… I’m in the wrong and should probably look for a different position.
Teachers in a public/government school represent the governments and the public’s interests ‘at large’. They have a responsibility to remain neutral in regards to issues of faith and religion. If what you Believe, that marriage is only between a man and a woman, is primarily a Faith thing or based on your personal or religious convictions, and you attempt to represent that on your job or in your position as a public/government representative, you should have the responsibility to subjugate that desire to represent yourself and your convictions to the neutrality that your job requires or find a different position.
Not even as a teacher do you represent you. You represent the public’s interest and the religious neutrality that the government is responsible for as the servants of all the people, not just those who agree with you. -kia

The issue to me now is clear.

It wasn’t at one time as a conservative evangelical Christian. On my job, whether in the private or public sector, I represent the company or organization I work for. Unless I am self employed I have no right to represent myself or my own interests to the exclusion or detriment of my employer while I’m on the job. If I can’t see fit to abide by that responsibility then it is me who must either change to adapt or find other employment.

Teachers have no less responsibility than I do. They actually have more because they deal with impressionable and easily swayed children. These children come from all kinds of backgrounds, Faith traditions and family arrangements. As I said in my comment to the Puny Tick, teachers in public/government schools represent the public’s interest, ALL the public’s, not just Christians or those who agree with “traditional” marriage definitions (cover words for Defined by Christians for everyone else). They also represent the government’s responsibility to remain neutral and nonpartisan in matters of faith and religion. If a teacher’s desire to represent their own religious convictions interferes or conflicts with their responsibility to represent the public’s interests as a whole and/or the government responsibilities for religious neutrality, they are not doing the job they were hired for and should either adapt or find other employment.

Just my two cents.

-kia

Sunday Reading: Finished “Misquoting Jesus”

I’ve been reading these two books by Bart Ehrman recently about the changes, alterations, additions and deletions from the New Testament manuscript texts over the centuries and the apparent ‘freedom’ which which they have been made for theological, social and apologetics purposes and agendas by not only the scribes and copyists who have had the responsibility over the history of Christianity to preserve and transmit the “original”, or as near to the original as possible and practicable, texts of the New Testament.

Having just finished the first one, Misquoting Jesus, I was struck, as was my wife when she first read it, with the absolute boldness and apparent reliance on the ignorance of their readers and early church members when altering the texts. Sometimes just by honest error and miscopying, but a lot of times intentionally and for social, theological and reasons of apologetics advantage gained for themselves or denied to their opponents, the changes whether they affect the over all readings or Story of the New Testament or not, I came away with the conviction that the freedom with which these texts and manuscripts were changed is the real story.

NOTE having read Misquoting Jesus:

It’s my opinion that if the Story of the New Testament, what it’s gospels and letters are trying to covey to the world at large about the person, work, Life, death and resurrection of Jesus in 1st century Palestine, was truly True and Historical, the writers of the New Testament books and letters…

… the ones that actually made it into the collection, not to speak of the hundred or more that were themselves excluded or removed from consideration by the particular sect of Christians who eventually ‘won’ over all the other divergent and diverse sects of Jesus Followers and came to be known as the ‘Orthodox’ Christianity that we have today…

… again, if the writers who wrote those books and letters and the scribes who copied and transmitted them down the centuries to us had belived they were passing down and preserving for future generations True History and Actual Events and Words that Actually Happened and were Actually Said they would not have felt so free to alter, change, add and delete from the texts they were commanded and responsible for Preserving and Transmitting to later generations of Christians and the World.

Lunatics, Liars… or Literary Legends?

They either didn’t fully believe that The Story was True History, knew that it wasn’t, or they didn’t care. The manuscripts and texts of the gospels and other New Testament writings were freely altered for social, religious, theological and apologetics advantage… sometimes with utter disregard and contempt for the original readings. You don’t do this to a Story you know or even think is truly Historical. This is editing of Religious Fiction and Mythology. Either way, the Alterations to the manuscript texts and the Freedom with which they have made literally testify to the Fictional nature of the Story it represents.

-kia

We weren’t Idiots. We were just Manipulated

We can all be. Don’t give up.

The truth is, that once we deconverted from our individual Cultic groups or Faiths or Religions, we look back to wonder “How stupid and gullible we were”. We try to reach out to those who are still in those groups and sometimes say “How stupid and gullible they are”. They tell us “How stupid and gullible you are” for ever leaving. And those who helped us leave tell us “How stupid and gullible they are” to stay.

The truth is, that it’s less about intelligence and gullibility and more about our ability to be manipulated by others.

All of us can be manipulated and made ‘gullible’. I was. You probably were, if you aren’t still being. One of the keys to Recovery is to realize you weren’t and still aren’t just Stupid and Gullible for having been manipulated. Let yourself off the hook and move forward.

And one of the Keys to communicating with those who are still bound and tied up in the groups, faiths and religions you were have now ‘escaped’ from is to understand that they are not necessarily Stupid or Idiotic or Gullible either. They have just been manipulated like you were and can’t see it yet. Let them off the hook too and keep trying to present the truth of their bondage and captivity also “… with meekness and respect”, even if they continue to treat you like the “Heathen, Heretic, Apostate Dog”.

Sometimes, it’s ok to block someone if they just want to bully or personally attack you with no real intention of honest discussion. I’ve had to do so recently and I gave the person a very long rope until I finally felt it necessary. This person was not commenting for participation, but only disruption and personal ridicule. Remember, people like we were take their Faith very personally. It was my whole Identity at one time and I’m still trying to sort out who I am without it. They may not even want to think about Not being… Whatever anymore. Sometimes that means them being visciously cruel and mean just to push you away so they no longer have to deal with it. Use your own discretion.

But for the most part, I’ve found dialogue to be the best option. You can’t reach thru a closed door.

Sometimes these people can be stupid, idiotic, and downright agressive and mean when trying to defend what you used to believe and they still want to. And its ok to call them out on it or if necessary to block them from further attacking you, the one trying to free them by getting them to think things thru. But considering people stupid or idiots or just plain mentally deficient just for still being trapped in cycles of manipulation and Cultic Faiths and religions is not just unhelpful, but it’s also counter productive. It ‘allows’ them to feel like the victims, “Martyrs for the Cause”. And you unwittingly dig the hole deeper for them… instead of helping them out of it.

We can all be manipulated. It’s less about Intelligence than about Emotions and Identity.

I’m not always successful, but I try very hard to be respectful and not attack Persons, but rather Ideas. We were once there too. Someone took the time and effort to help us out of Plato’s Cave. Its worth it, really it is. We are living proof that it is possible. To paraphrase a famous religious leader’s words and flip them for my own use…

“They are now what we once were, and we are now what they will become.” Truly Free from the Manipulations of Faiths and False Religious Systems.

-kia

Taking Unfair Advantage of a Child’s Trust

The Responsibility of a Childlike Faith

My response to a POST by one who calls himself Color Storm on the Faith of Children and how Christianity encourages adults to “Just believe” like children do. My comment hasn’t yet made it out of Moderation from this morning. I wonder what could be the reason….

KIA says:

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

John, a lot of times Faith comes easier to children because they just don’t know better and haven’t had the opportunity to yet. They trust adults and their elders to tell them the truth for all kinds of things that turn out to be very wrong and even harmful… For examples: the pedophile priests who represent god and god’s ‘loving touch’, santa clause is ‘real’ until he ain’t, and such silliness as the earth is flat and only 6000yrs old.
A child’s faith is sacrosanct and a huge responsibility. Some of (the) things we tell them and they believe on the “faith of a child” amounts to plain old fashioned child abuse. It’s nothing to encourage adults to or hold up as anything to strive for.
Credulity and ignorance.

Why not tell me what you think of his post and my response. And as always… “Think on these things”

-kia

RKIA Wednesday Haiku Challenge: “Beard”

A New Weekly Feature Post
Welcome to a new feature on the Recovering Know it All. The Wednesday Haiku Challenge. The rules are simple. Take a picture related to the theme or word of the week and post it on your blog or in the comments here with a haiku, three lines of poetry 5, 7, then 5 syllables in length. Why not join in? Here is mine for this week… Beard

Affectation or Not

Identity mine

Some say it hides who I am

I say it reveals

-kia

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Why not give it a try? Do your own post and drop a link or just comment below. Let’s do this!!

-kia

Xtian Poem: Our Lot on Earth

Just coming back from my 4 day Birthday Weekend

Monday’s Toil

Back to work, our lot on earth
To toil away, forestalling Mirth
Till Monday’s efforts bring Friday’s worth
It’s back to work, our lot on earth.
-KIA

My Top Three Mantras for the Workplace

1. Every day is a Job Interview. Always display your best stuff.

2. Always work in such a way as to be the Most Valuable Player on your Team. Build your ‘Net Worth’ in the eyes of your Coworkers and Management.

3. Never stop Learning. Never stop Growing. And Never stop Working. Keep moving Forward.

-kia

Reading: A History of God ((Update))

Really, more like a history and origins of monotheism. Wish me luck as I try to make my way thru this book in the month of June.

***

I’m about 250 pages in at this point with another 150 to go. I’m really enjoying the historical retrospective and tons of information in this book about the various developments of the monotheistic religions and how they relate to each other and other world religions as well.

This book should be finished by the end of the week. It’s a tougher book than I previously thought and I’m having to slow down and take breathers once in awhile to process and digest. My usual practice is to read another book at the same time. As long as it is sufficiently different in subject or genre I can usually pull it off. However this book seems to demand more attention and I haven’t really been able to do that.

What are you reading these days?

-kia