Hello Fellow Atheists: So here's a question. It's been bothering me for some time now and I just want to get your perspectives. When I first became a believer I was handed the book "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. I read it and at the time it made sense to me. I didn't question it much at the time. Now that I am an Atheist I'm curious what others think about it. There are only three options given in this book. Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic, or the true son of God. Of course I know some of you believe that he never existed at all, (I do not). So I want to explore this further.
Which is it?
Is it none of the above?
Why? (back yourself up with evidence)...
I hope this discussion can be educational in nature for those of us who are still learning. Thanks!
Sure, and perhaps the 'mystic' value of 12 was just an extra validation for cutting the thirteenth apostle out of the picture.
While I agree that many of the elements of the Horus story may well have been regurgitated and applied to Yeshua, some of the Horus elements depicted in the comparison above, have in turn been modified from the original, to fit the Yeshua story.
Actually, Mithra comes closer to paralleling the Yeshua story than Horus.
How about only a few guys getting together and concocting a story? Doesn't it seem a bit of a coincidence that Jacob/Israel had 12 sons, who became the 12 tribes of Israel, that there are 12 signs to the Zodiac, and 12 apostles of Yeshua? Twelve was a religious, mystical number. 72 scholars were chosen to translate the Torah into the Greek Septuagint, 72 is a multiple of 12 - 12 was a very important number then, and it has survived, present in a dozen eggs, a dozen donuts - why not 11? 13?
It's hard to say anything was "documented," unless the person doing the documenting was actually there, and it's hard to find someone who was.
Which guys? What was their purpose if they weren't planning on starting a religion? Why didn't they write their 'gospel' from the start to help them keep their stories straight? Did these guys claim to be some of the twelve apostles, or did they come earlier and manage to indoctrinate 12 apostles, getting them to go around claiming they met Jesus when they never did?
If/when I hear a convincing explanation for the genesis of Christianity from pure fabrication I'll hop right on board. To date, however, all I've heard are either extremely contrived or rather laughable conjectures.
How about 12 was a great mystic number, just the number of apostles that a mystic of the time would have chosen?
Assuming Jesus existed and he believed he was going to be resurrected to continue his teaching, one has a very simple explanation as to why nothing was ever written down during his life, or even shortly thereafter. His apostles, being rather shocked by the horror of his execution and failure to Hulk out and defy death, began fabricating the resurrection story we now know, just to buy time as they figured out how they were supposed to proceed. The rest was simply filled in by later generations because of the lack of contemporary documentation.
Heather, I'm not saying he didn't exist, but Belle has asked if he was a liar or a basket-case, and I'm saying that either conclusion proceeds on the assumption that he did.
I prefer not to base conclusions on assumptions - isn't it better to investigate and amass evidence that he did, before proceeding to such a conclusion? Isn't that the scientific method? I'm simply asking Belle to produce eye-witness testimony - accepting the fact that the witnesses are dead - and examine whether or not we have a case for his existence. I see nothing inappropriate about that.
I wouldn't call it a stalemate exactly, I just don't see how we can decide if a man was a liar or a lunatic without first demonstrating that he even existed. We may as well ask the same questions of Superman or Wonder Woman, or possibly Mickey Mouse - I've always had my suspicions about him, what with those beady eyes and running around with ducks with no pants, it's shocking!
Ok, I get it. I was just a little surprised by what seemed to be your position. In terms of better defining the issue it makes perfect sense.
Normally, my position is prone.
Did Paul Bunyan exist, along with Babe, his big blue ox? If not, where did the story come from? The fact that he once walked along, dragging his giant axe behind him, and in the process, carved out the Grand Canyon is a perfect explanation - you can't make that kind of stuff up, can you?
And there's the railroad worker, John Henry, with his hammer, and Pecos Bill, who roped and rode a tornado - tide comes in, tide goes out, you can't explain that --
Then there's Davy Crockett, who rode lightening bolts and killed bears just with his terrifying glare (amongst other things). Oh, I forgot, he actually existed.
Are you kidding? I'm feeling guilty because I appear to be picking on YOU!
I'm really not, I'm simply advising you to learn more.