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!
@Arch: Remember that the Bible was translated and preserved by men who did it for a living and took their job very seriously. Bible scholars would argue that any gaps between actual events of the Gospels, (all four of them) and the only surviving copies was minimal compared to all other ancient texts. They use this as a point of validating their claims, not considering any possibility of acute forgery and or changes that would alter the original story enough to disprove the events that took place. And the entire OT is their back up.
But the original question IMO is still hanging out there. Especially if you are now possibly willing to admit that Jesus existed a little more than before. So...what's your vote?
RE: "Remember that the Bible was translated and preserved by men who did it for a living and took their job very seriously." - in the absence of printing presses, it was also copied by scribes who not only inadvertently made errors, but who often changed the words of the original writers deliberately, to suit their own agendas. Do you know which is which, many scholars are still debating the subject, so if you have an inside track, maybe you should share that with us.
Read about the Gnostics and about the Adoptionists, and yet other groups who decided early on that Yeshua was god in the flesh - which group did which scribe belong to? Can you say? Which versions finally survived the transcription wars?
For example, try I Corinthians, 10, where Paul tries to claim that Yeshua overthrew the disobedient among Moses' flock in the Sinai wilderness, and since there were two stories of Moses being commanded to strike a rock to obtain water for his people - easily explained by the J and E Sources accepted now by nearly all reputable biblical scholars, including the Catholic Church - Paul, not having learned enough Hebrew history to understand the reason for the two stories, maintains in I Cor., 10:4, that the rock in question was actually Yeshua disguised as a rock, and who followed the Israelites (can't you just see that rock, slinking along the ground, hiding behind sand dunes?), so as to be available for a second striking.
Learn more, then we may have something to discuss.
The point I'm making, Belle, is that it's totally irrelevant whether or not an penniless preacher actually wandered around the area of Galilee, accepting handouts and free lodging from those who wanted to live forever, and sleeping on the ground, eating free fruit from trees he passed or grain from farmer's fields, when he couldn't find anyone to take him in, and eventually getting himself executed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the Yeshua of the New Testament, the Christ, is totally a construct, a fabrication of legends built atop legends and have little relationship with reality, and the farther one goes from the time he was alleged to have died, the greater the legends grow.
Actually it's the point Ehrman tries to make when he dicusses the criterion of dissimilarity, whiich is where I got it from, and I think I pointed it out to you a couple of weeks ago. Now it turns out there's a Hitchens video making the same point? Cool!
Question is did he even exist?
I am not sure I can say he did based on historical data
I think none of the above, I read that he was a radical Jewish rabbi, that was involved in the rebel cause against Roman rule.
When I was a senior in High School I used the "Lord, Liar or Lunatic" argument as a "speech to convince" assignment in speech class at Chambersburg Senior High School, in Chambersburg, PA. The teacher gave me an A- and she said the only reason for such a low grade was because I didn't give an alter call at the end, and my speech was so convincing that she was certain I would have receive a great response.
Today I understand that there are plenty of lunatics which make statements that would threaten their own lives. And now I regard Jesus the supposed Christ as one of them. There's plenty of documentation of this. Google "David Koresh" if you need to see a modern-day example.
Modern day evidence, evidence I've seen with my own eyes even today, indicates that the supposed "followers of Jesus" only use their religion as an excuse to hate their neighbors, which is obviously self-negating considering the Golden-Rule as stated by Jesus himself.
What more evidence would one need?
Where is everybody? It's lonelier than the last living cell in a dead body!