"The God Who Wasn't There" is a feature-length documentary that Newsweek says "irreverently lays out the case that Jesus Christ never existed." Learn more at http://www.thegodmovie.com/

Comment by Gaytor on April 26, 2010 at 10:52pm
I haven't seen it in years. I should re-watch it and see how I view it today versus say 5 years ago.
Comment by Daniel Yang on April 26, 2010 at 11:18pm
Love the production quality. ;)
Comment by Mario Rodgers on April 26, 2010 at 11:37pm
I wonder how long society will keep waiting before people will go "You know what? It looks like Jesus is a no show." Until the year 3000? The year 4000?
Comment by Daniel Yang on April 26, 2010 at 11:55pm
Hey Mario. I'm a Christian on the blog just trying to learn. Most of the time I just read stuff, but sometimes I comment when appropriate.

The hope of Jesus' return is an essential part of Christianity. But until he actually returns, the functional purpose of this hope for a Christian is that 1) life is not forever cyclical and progress is not a myth, 2) issues of social justice matter tremendously to God and so therefore they should matter to us, and 3) there is a physical reality to our spiritual longing.

So the idea of Christians "waiting" for his return like those waiting for the Hale-Bop comet is very much a straw-man/caricature, even though it was probably introduced by some stream of Christianity. I would say that if all they do is "sit and wait", then they are misunderstanding why they're waiting.
Comment by Mario Rodgers on April 27, 2010 at 12:10am
It's not a strawman argument because waiting for Jesus' return and undoing the societal systems of humankind keeping them in conflict is one of the core beings for Christianity. However, if you found out your core beliefs was in a fictional character, no amount of waiting is going to make something appear. Even if you live out the Christian tenants, you're essentially practicing within an empty shell. I could live out the core beliefs and attitudes of Lancelot and call it Lancelotism. But it would look exactly like the basic code of chivalry that was found in real life except for the part about me waiting for the return of my hero.
Comment by Daniel Yang on April 27, 2010 at 1:24am
Mario, thanks for the reply. I understand the deductive reasoning behind your argument. But really what you're saying relies on the scholar's ability to determine the accuracy of historical records. You may choose to accept one scholar's opinion over the other or even altogether deny the reliability of anyone's work. But either way, it's still a matter of acceptance or doubt.

I can respect the fact that you doubt the historical narrative of Jesus. But I also realize that doubting one thing means embracing another. You can never not believe something. Rationality and reason is defined by the act of belief. And if we've learned anything from reason and the Enlightenment it's this, we have every right to doubt our doubts.

I may have believed X for a long time. But because of various reasons, I now choose to doubt X and now believe Z. But later (or maybe even immediately) I begin to doubt Z and re-investigate X because now that I look at my reasons for doubting X, I see them in a different light.

It's not possible for everyone, but it's happen for some. Some fear doubt, but I don't.
Comment by Gaytor on April 27, 2010 at 10:53am
I started a discussion for this return and waiting question if you would like to discuss it further. It's a central dogmatic point in my estimation that I don't know that we've really taken on here. I happen the be reading a book called Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium so you may be able to guess where I stand.
Comment by Gaytor on April 27, 2010 at 10:53am
You may need this. Sorry
Comment by Mario Rodgers on April 27, 2010 at 12:50pm
I think it's important to notice the converging point of history and legend. Christianity is set up around the "embodiment" of Jesus Christ. It's this embodiment that may very well be a fictional character for all the rest of the world cares. However a person that provided the catalyst for the legend and fitting the description of Jesus may have very well been a real person, just like King Arthur or Robin Hood may have been a real person. However, modern Christianity isn't set up around this version of Jesus because, well, it's not spectacular.
Comment by Christopher McGuire on April 27, 2010 at 4:38pm
Isn't that cute, Mario and Daniel are having a 'debate...'

"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence."
— Christopher Hitchens

I believe I'm with Pat Condell on this issue, Religion isn't even worth debating. Hopefully you discover rationality someday, Daniel. Trust me, it'll open you up to a whole new world.

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