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Passions in Poetry

Did Christ have brothers

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Huan Yi
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0 posted 08-19-2008 08:05 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


and/or sisters?
Did his own family not
believe him
to be the son of God?

Where I grew up,
the answer to both
questions was NO.


.
oceanvu2
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1 posted 08-19-2008 08:25 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi John.  Is this simply meant to be provoke response?  What difference might it make, one way or the other?

Jesus, and I don't think there is much quibble about his historical existence, is either dead or arisen, depending on what one choke down either way.  His thoughts linger.  Most of them were pretty decent.

Did the Buddha have a brother?  Did his family regard him as a savant?  What difference could it possibly make?

As usual, I have a hard time understanding your questions.  My problem, not yours.

Terminally perplexed, Jimbeaux.
Poet deVine
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2 posted 08-20-2008 12:25 AM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

Yes he did...and they did believe in Him.
Huan Yi
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3 posted 08-20-2008 12:06 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

“The New Testament is explicit that Mary was a virgin at the time she conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Christian tradition--later infallibly affirmed by the Church--acknowledges that she remained a virgin afterwards. The great majority of Christians acknowledges this. Only the Protestant community dissents.”

“But we know that James can't be a full brother because Joseph was not Jesus' biological father.”

http://www.catholic.com/library/Bad_Aramaic_Made_Easy.asp

--------------

"Jesus’ family did not honor him and said  “he is crazy”
“{Referring to himself} Jesus said ... ‘Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.’ ” (Mark 6:4 NIV) “When his family heard about this, they went to take charge {custody}of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.’ ” (Mark 3:21 NIV)"


http://www.prudentialpublishing.info/jesus_image_before_death.htm


.

[This message has been edited by Huan Yi (08-20-2008 12:57 PM).]

Bob K
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4 posted 08-20-2008 02:13 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Huan Yi,

                     We also know that Mary was not stoned to death by the locals, which certainly suggests that everybody on the ground at the time disagreed with the position of the church strongly enough to allow Mary to live and the baby to be born—Joshua, I mean, not James.  Whatever pieces of doctrinal necessity the church arranged later would have had no effect on the customs of that particular time.  And however the church prefers thinking of the situation, nobody apparently gave any thought to James being anything else than Joshua's brother.

     One possibility I haven't seen mentioned, perhaps from lack of scholarship of plain knowledge on my part is that mary might previously been married to Joseph's brother (if in fact he had one), become pregnant by him, and been unfortunate enough to be widowed at that time.  Jewish law would then have obligated Joseph to have married Mary and nobody would have thought twice about it but, of course, the church.  I have no idea if the actual historical data would back this up.  James might even have been an older brother, were this the case, creating doctrinal problems within the church, but certainly explaining some of the general mysteriousness in general about James.  Who really knows about the Historical Jesus?

     Notions attaching to The Christ, however, would need to be looked at differently, and once could see how hard it might be to keep the two notions simultaneously in proportion and in mind.  I don't know that I could do it if I were in a position where I was in fact obligated to do so as a matter of faith rather than, as now, hold the two ideas in mind as speculations.

     Perhaps you have thoughts on these matters?
Stephanos
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5 posted 08-20-2008 07:26 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Bob,

Of course they didn't think it was going to be a virgin birth.  Who would except Mary herself and to whom it had been revealed?  Even Joseph fell into suspicion on that one, planning to quietly "put her away".

Who really knows about the historical Jesus?
http://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Christian-Origins-Question-Vol/dp/0800626796/  ref=pd_sim_b_1

There's plenty to suggest that historical "ambiguity" about Jesus is overstated.  And there's certainly no reason (other than a priori philosophy) to reject the gospels themselves as a true picture.  More on that later ...

John,

The answer to your questions are

1) Yes (half brothers)

2) No and Yes.


And, the perpetual virginity is fantastical beyond the original miracle, historically revisionist (if at all, it is more based upon sheer declaration and the idea of papal infallibility), and based more upon a predating pagan ideal of perpetual virginity than anything else.  In short, it was superimposed on the Gospel narrative.  And it's not a good fit.

I'll be back to explain.  (no time yet)


Stephen
Huan Yi
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6 posted 08-20-2008 08:57 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

I think there is a difficulty
on the part of some to appreciate
how important for many
the distance between
the Son of God and just some guy
whose own family thought
was a nut case is.

.
Stephanos
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7 posted 08-20-2008 10:01 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I'm not sure I understand how, in light of the kind of extraordinary life described in the Gospels, you can take a seasonal disapproval or temporary alienation from family to be evidence to the contrary of greatness.  In view of all the conspiracy theories about how the Church doctored the original writings to its own political advantage ... how would they have missed glossing this one over?  

So Jesus' half brothers thought he was losing his mind.  Guess it's true then.  After all God's Son would never have any enigmatic qualities about him, capable of stirring controversy or misunderstanding. Probably would've just been another mild mannered John Q. Citizen type.

Not to mention, they invited him back to the family reunions later.  That has to count for something.

Stephen
Huan Yi
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8 posted 08-24-2008 03:27 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


"So Jesus' half brothers thought he was losing his mind. "


They must not have believed or bought
into the virgin birth, wise men
or anything else of the sort
in all the years before.


.
Grinch
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9 posted 08-24-2008 05:16 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


I’m still trying to work out if Jesus existed let alone any siblings.

Stephanos
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10 posted 08-24-2008 06:12 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch,

If you don't think Jesus existed, then you put yourself against the belief of virtually all scholarship, Christian or otherwise.  Though not historically tenable, you would still be in better company to think that all the "divine" stuff was made up, and that he was a delusional young wanna-be-prophet who tragically ended up prey to the religious and governmental powers of his day.  

John:
quote:
They must not have believed or bought
into the virgin birth, wise men
or anything else of the sort
in all the years before.

Perhaps they didn't ... until some later softening of heart.  And we don't know to what degree or how Mary and Joseph emphasized these strange facts in the context of day-to-day family life.  I can imagine they were (at the very least) downplayed for pragmatic reasons.  At the very least these extraordinary things would indicate that Jesus was destined to be great in Israel, perhaps even the Messiah.  Every pious set of parents dreamed of their son being the Messiah.  But how would such a distinction sit in the lap of siblings?  It's not hard to imagine how such might be met with some degree of skepticism and resentment.  These more-or-less dormant feelings might also be further stirred-up when Jesus, in young adulthood, began to practice a pitch of public ministry that caused his own family responsibilities (perceived or otherwise) to recede into the background.   Human nature eh?      


Stephen
Grinch
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11 posted 08-24-2008 08:07 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
If you don't think Jesus existed, then you put yourself against the belief of virtually all scholarship


I prefer to wait for some credible evidence one way or the other before making up my mind, if virtually all the scholars want to accept his existence without any evidence then I suppose that’s up to them but that doesn’t sound very scholarly if you ask me.

The more I think about it though the stranger your claim sounds, what are the percentages of scholars that believe he existed as opposed to the scholars who believe he didn’t? Could it be that some scholars simply haven’t thought to examine the evidence one way or the other? Is it that they’re simply not interested?

Bob K
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12 posted 08-25-2008 03:19 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Grinch,

           Nobody says you need to believe evidence for the historical Jesus.  Or at least I don't.  Considering the number of other folks who have pretty clear historicity and for who such claims are made, it seems  understandable but not particularly reasonable to say that this is the one you don't believe the historical evidence.  Evidence is better that he did exist than that he didn't, same as many of the other messiahs then and since.  Simon Bar Kochba was one of the figures widely considered as "the messiah" shortly after the time of the historical Jesus.  The Bar Kochba revolt was one of the reasons for the destruction of the second temple in 76 CE.  The most recent Messiah of which, I'm aware is the Lubavicher Rebbe, Schneerson, who died maybe 15 years ago.

     Specifying one whose historicity you might deny seems a touch optimistic.  The religion is full of them.  To say one in particular isn't real serves little purpose save as a bulwork against the more difficult proposition, the notion of this particular messiah might actually be the Christian Christ.  Can't help you there, Grinch. That's where I think you'd actually have a better argument.  Joshua was probably a real guy; whether he was the christian savior has been something people have been fighting wars about for a long time.

     I am respectful of the notion and of the many fine people it inspires.  Myself, I think truth comes in a variety of authentic flavors.


Grinch
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13 posted 08-25-2008 06:05 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
The Bar Kochba revolt was one of the reasons for the destruction of the second temple in 76 CE.


I thought the Bar Kochba revolt was the third Jewish-Roman war in 132-135 CE, but history was never my strong subject.

quote:
Evidence is better that he did exist than that he didn't


If you’re talking about Simon Bar Kochba I have to agree. There is clear physical evidence of his existence, coins for instance with his likeness minted during the revolt, letters and orders from him to Jewish troops and numerous references to him by both Roman and Jewish contemporaries. Evidence for the existence of the Hasdic Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson is even stronger, there are photographs and eye witness accounts from people who actually knew him. The existence of Jesus has none of these - there is as much evidence that King Arthur existed as there is that Jesus existed.

Stephanos
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14 posted 08-25-2008 10:15 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
I prefer to wait for some credible evidence one way or the other before making up my mind, if virtually all the scholars want to accept his existence without any evidence then I suppose that’s up to them


Grinch, I don't think you're using the word "evidence" in the way a historian would use the word.  I think you must be using it more like "proof" of which historians know nothing.  There's more evidence of the kind pertaining to history for Jesus than for many more-or-less ancient persons you probably believe existed without a blink.  I think the difference with Jesus, is that the question is burdened with controversy.  He was not only a historical figure but (if the record can be even partially trusted) one which strangely made claims upon every individual including those quite beyond his own generation.  There's much at risk for those who would mythologize him, in my opinion.

How can you explain (against the historical insights of those like N.T. Wright and others of religious and non-religious persuasion) the explosive phenomenon of early Christianity in light of a Monolithic Jewish community and Roman occupation that didn't like disturbance or rising 'Messiahs'.  It would have ended like a bad joke right from the start, if it really was one.

Oh yeah, I forgot, conspiracy.  The centuries later established Church made it all up.  Only we are then left with no tenable explanation how they were ever established to begin with ... in view of such opposing (or perhaps patronizing if genuinely unperturbed) forces that knew the truth.
      

Stephen
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15 posted 08-25-2008 11:24 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


That’s what Bacon would call an idol of the marketplace.

If someone was trying to sell you the idea that some bloke called Bill was the son of god Stephen I’m fairly sure you’d be asking for some sort of proof that he actually existed, in the form of substantial and credible evidence for instance.

Historians collect evidence to build such a body of proof, they cross-reference the collected evidence in an attempt to validate it’s credibility, if one piece of evidence contradicts another both are suspect unless corroborating evidence is found.

So far I haven’t seen any evidence confirming the existence of Jesus that holds up under scrutiny, apparently you have - care to share it with those less historically minded?



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16 posted 08-25-2008 12:16 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Grinch,

           If you say later on Bar Kochba, later it will be.  I have memories of religious school but that was a long time ago.  Nevertheless there were many other messiahs during that time, and it still seems unlikely that the evidence for this one being there would be wrong.  Evidence for him being the Christ is a different story.    Jewish history is rich in messiahs.

     Stephanos—what's this business about monolithic Judaism of the time of Jesus?  You do know that this is not the Jewish memory of that time, don't you?

BobK
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17 posted 08-25-2008 04:20 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch:
quote:
Historians collect evidence to build such a body of proof, they cross-reference the collected evidence in an attempt to validate it’s credibility, if one piece of evidence contradicts another both are suspect unless corroborating evidence is found.

So far I haven’t seen any evidence confirming the existence of Jesus that holds up under scrutiny, apparently you have - care to share it with those less historically minded?

Well Grinch, on that it's like Dinesh D'souza once said when debating Christopher Hitchens, "Much like the mosquito in the nudist colony ... I'm trying to decide where to begin."  And when it comes to the question of whether Jesus was a historical person (regardless of whether you believe the supernatural claims made of him in the Gospels), we are in a similar situation, since his history is connected to the vast history of what went on all around him, particularly the inception and development of the Church.  I suppose that before I were willing to get into particulars, I would like to hear you answer my initial question:

How can the dynamic origins of the Christian Church, amid powerful Jewish and Roman adversaries, be explained if Jesus wasn't a charismatic figure ... or (more poignantly) even a person?

Since the majority of believing and unbelieving scholars accept the historicity of his person (entire movements, careers, and 'historical quests' have issued under this basic acceptance -- quite in the face of your suggestion that maybe they've just been "not interested"), and that the denial of it is fringe in the world of scholarship, I would say the burden of proof is somewhat yours.  But either way, by beginning to answer my question you may launch us into some particulars, which might lead us to some real discussion.


Bob,

What I meant by "monolithic" was that Jewish Church and State were one and the same (though an occupied State).  Departure from the faith (and especially in a way that would influence others and make waves) was punished by at the very least ostracizing if not condemning to death.  If you believe any historicity of the New Testament, you accept the adversarial relationship between 1st Century Judaism and Christianity.  My proposition to Grinch is this:  If the Christians were touting someone who didn't exist in such an environment where everyone knew their specific historical claims were bogus, why did the movement propel with such dynamic force?  Or in the negative, why wasn't it simply revealed for what it really was(n't) in the time of its origins?  I don't think they could have done it with the real corpse of even a once-very-charismatic leader, much less on a fictive person.  

More later,

Stephen      
Grinch
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18 posted 08-25-2008 04:55 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
"Much like the mosquito in the nudist colony ... I'm trying to decide where to begin."


You can begin anywhere as long as you don’t resort to the weak argument from authority and start “In the beginning..”.

quote:
How can the dynamic origins of the Christian Church, amid powerful Jewish and Roman adversaries, be explained if Jesus wasn't a charismatic figure ... or (even more poignantly) even a person?


The Christian church certainly couldn’t have proliferated without a central and charismatic figure but he need only possess those attributes, he had to be central and charismatic - there’s no necessity for him to have existed. You could make the same argument for chivalry - how did medieval chivalry, which was based on the lives and deeds of King Arthur and the knights of the round table come about if Arthur didn’t exist?

Jesus and Arthur don’t need to have existed - all that mattered was that people believed they did, unfortunately people believing that they existed isn’t evidence that they actually did.

quote:
the burden of proof is somewhat yours


Twaddle.



I’m not the one selling the idea of a living breathing Christ Stephen, you are, which means you’re the one who needs to do the convincing, otherwise I ain’t buying it.

Stephanos
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19 posted 08-25-2008 05:42 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch:
quote:
The Christian church certainly couldn’t have proliferated without a central and charismatic figure but he need only possess those attributes, he had to be central and charismatic - there’s no necessity for him to have existed. You could make the same argument for chivalry - how did medieval chivalry, which was based on the lives and deeds of King Arthur and the knights of the round table come about if Arthur didn’t exist?

The irony here is that scholarship weighs in against the existence of Arthur much in the same ratio and force that it weighs in for the existence of Jesus.  

"Chivalry" was not at all dependent or connected to the historical specificity (or reality) of King Arthur.  It is a movement more based upon Knighthood and Feudalism in a general sense, (which was historical BTW).  In short, you're trying to compare apples and porcupines.

The reason a mere fictive invention of Jesus (no matter how touted as 'charismatic') would not have given rise to the Christian Church, is that the Church was making specific historical claims in a detailed narrative which would have been seen for farce quite early and forcefully.  Another obvious point you're missing is that Romantic Chivalry is something quite harmonious with British patriotism, and never would be opposed for any reason (hearty promotion in spite of doubtful history would be more the tendency in such a setting).  The early Christians were saying that such and such happened surrounding a particular person and that God was choosing a new community which had little to do with descent from Abraham, but upon allegience to this person.  Blasphemy is too mild a word.  How they did it, and why they risked it, is a question you still haven't begun to answer.

quote:
You can begin anywhere as long as you don’t resort to the weak argument from authority and start “In the beginning.."

and ...

I’m not the one selling the idea of a living breathing Christ Stephen, you are, which means you’re the one who needs to do the convincing, otherwise I ain’t buying it.


Judging from the above quotes of yours, we have a disagreement about what we're even discussing.  In discussing whether Jesus was a historical person, why would I refer to an argument from authority such as found in the opening words of Genesis?  Also, we weren't presently discussing whether Jesus' claims of divinity were true, but whether he existed.  My statement was that if you deny his personal existence, then the burden of proof is yours in light of the consensus of scholarship (whether Christian or not).  Just want to make sure you're answering what I actually said.


Stephen      
Bob K
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20 posted 08-25-2008 07:47 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Grinch,

           You confound two distinct issues.  The question of the historicity of Jesus is the first.  Was there an actual Jewish dude name Joshua, who was the son of a carpenter, Joseph and his wife Mary.  Was he an itinerant Rebbe who met an ugly end for preaching the material that the New T. quotes him as preaching, though some material may have been gotten distorted for political or doctrinal purposes to some extent at later points.

     The other question is whether this guy was the Christ, with supernatural connections, the literal and somehow biological son of God with the whole apparatus that comes with that question.  I was afraid you had been making this mistake, and you confirmed it when you said

quote:

I’m not the one selling the idea of a living breathing Christ Stephen, you are, which means you’re the one who needs to do the convincing, otherwise I ain’t buying it.



     For Stephanos to promote an actual historical figure to the position of Christ requires an existential act of faith which he earnestly attempts to support with philosophical argument.  He believes it, and many others do as well and their reasons are sufficient to them.

     You do not, and there is no reason that you should if the existential leap into belief makes not sense to you.  On the face of it, that issue is an issue of faith not fact and you have no wish to follow them to a conclusion you feel unwarranted.

     The issue of the Historicity of Jesus is, I think, a different one.  There are loads of messiahs in the Jewish tradition, many of them following a course of martyrdom.  The course of the life of Jesus is not particularly different; it's the life of a messiah in the history of a particularly insistent group of religiously forged folks.  They'd been fighting about religion with people for a long time, and people with new takes on the religion had pushed the religion one way and another for quite a long time.  It was one of the ways these folks changed politically and religiously, and it was an important thing for a young and idealistic Jew to do to affect the situation of his people.

     To bring another and more modern situation into the discussion, yet one not particularly distant in terms of folkways for that part of the world, the locals—or many of them—thought he was a Freedom Fighter.  "Messiah" at that time certainly had that particular meaning tied to it, though Jesus was somewhat coy about it.  This was one of the reasons that The Kingdom of God could be thought of as coming soon to a theater near you, because it had this sub-text of armed rebellion.  The thought has been altered by politics, doctrine and history over the past 2000 years.  For many Christians it is still of vital but transformed meaning, and good for them.

     The Romans didn't think of the man as a Freedom Fighter but as a Terrorist.  They treated him that way.  One man's Terrorist can all too easily become another man's freedom fighter and, on rare occasions, messiah.

     Odd are though, he was actually there for events to crystalize around.  Or somebody else with the same name and background coming from the same place who met the same end, if it makes you happier.

     Whether he was The Christ or not—that's a different discussion.

Bob Kaven


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21 posted 08-25-2008 11:54 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Bob,

I would like to offer you a challenge by suggesting that the spiritual questions surrounding Jesus are not so neatly divorced from history.  N.T. Wright, Gary Habermas (among others) have pointed out the unlikelihood that some eulogistic sentiment among disciples (who themselves seemed to be expecting a political Messiah, and thus bewildered by the crucifixion) being the impetus of the early Christian movement.  Virtually all historians agree that Jesus was put to death under Roman authority.  Among Jewish and Roman powers (who didn't like anyone challenging their respective spheres of hegemony) it would have been a simple matter to produce his corpse publicly and thus end what they considered to be a troublesome and subversive movement, the followers of which boldly made historically falsifiable claims, not platonic notions of otherworldly recompense or just some new set of aphorisms.

There are many more historical considerations besides ...  But I grant you that there is a kind of faith involved one way or another, in the sense that one must decide to believe something in spite of difficulties.  It is a thorny story, as most good ones are.  But I still must disagree with the sentiment that Christian belief about Jesus involves an existential "leap" while others simply believe what is irreducibly obvious.  Just this guy named Josh (as you put it) who preached to a creative bunch who later embellished, as an explanation for what is historically known, invites a very perplexing set of problems.

While I don't think you yet appreciate the historical uniqueness of Jesus, as compared to other "messiahs", I appreciate your refusal to opt for non-existence.  Those who tend toward a hard-edged-atheism (perhaps the ilk of those who listen to Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, etc ...) seem more likely to adopt this stance than softer agnostics.  I also appreciate you helping Grinch to see two distinct questions (though I would perhaps differ in saying that they both share a common field of historical consideration, though the metaphysical questions certainly do carry one much further than that).


Thanks for your input,


Stephen      

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (08-26-2008 12:00 AM).]

Bob K
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22 posted 08-26-2008 02:14 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Stephanos,

           No disrespect intended here.  If I used "Josh," I should have said Joshua.  The step into belief to my mind always involves a leap; in this I find Soren Kierkegaard's essay on the knight of faith versus the knight of infinite resignation helpful and illuminating.  In these matters certainly we must look for guidance from within and without, and I find Keirkegaard very moving.

     From what I remember, it's in Fear and Trembling And The Sickness Unto Death.  It seems a different tradition than the one you follow, but a noble one.  He too believes in reason, but believes reason can take a man only so far, and in this I follow his thinking more closely than yours.  A fairly odd thing for an avowed agnostic to do, no doubt, but there you have it.

     If anybody had thought that exhuming Jesus would have made much difference, they may well have thought about it.  But my understanding is that it was widely put about that the tomb was empty as quickly as the third day, and it was only after that the rumors of sightings of the man, formerly apparently dead and now, apparently, not, were bruited about as evidence of his having risen.

     There are few things more foolish that trying to open a grave that you already know to be empty to exhume a body that isn't—for one reason or another—there.  The authorities at the time may have been rigid and they may have been wrong, but I doubt you can accuse them of being insensitive to the prospect of looking like idiots.  It doesn't mean authorities don't actively work at looking like idiots as often as not, but they're almost always touchy about being caught out at it.

     Historicity, highly likely.  Divinity?  Some audiences are far easier to convince than others.  I'm an extreme hard sell for myself,m though I'm grateful to see other people enjoy the benefits of such a belief as long as they're not fighting with other folks with a different set of beliefs.  Apparently there are a large number of people who feel they have a side-deal with God about this Love One Another business; other people are supposed to love them and their belief system.  God has told them privately that reciprocity doesn't apply in the other direction.

     Who knew?

Best to you and your lovely family, Bob Kaven
Stephanos
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23 posted 08-26-2008 09:40 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Bob:
quote:
From what I remember, it's in Fear and Trembling And The Sickness Unto Death.  It seems a different tradition than the one you follow, but a noble one.  He too believes in reason, but believes reason can take a man only so far, and in this I follow his thinking more closely than yours.

I love Kirkegaard.  I haven't read nearly enough of him.  So far I've only got "Concluding Unscientific Postscript" on my shelf.  I am however familiar with his existential thinking (influenced much by Dostoevsky if my understanding is correct), and actually share a good deal of it.  I appreciate Kirkegaard's limitation on the "objective" and his insistence on the subjective element of faith.  If he means however that faith literally contradicts reality (rather than that we are currently ill equipped to decipher reality), I would have to disagree.  He was willing to follow God, I suspect, even if God were absurd.  Tis is a noble sentiment as far as that goes, but the intellectual price tag is too high.  My existentialism is more inclined to think it is our faulty estimations which are absurd.  The common ground in both of these views, is that commitment is always necessary to decision, not just a bland acceptance of "facts".

That's why I also know that reason is limited, and can only take a man "so far".  Another difference perhaps with Kirkegaard and myself on this (if there really is a significant difference here) is that I'm sure this applies also to conclusions contrary to faith as well.  Atheism is a good example.  It takes great "faith" to be one.  Of course I think the friendly extraction of Jesus' supernatural claims by the agnostic also requires something of this process.  No theory here is problem-free.  However, I do want to be kind here since I'm aware that there are many in this category who were taught to ascribe more genuine historical weight to the "Jesus Seminar" scholars than there is, perhaps unaware of the 19th Century philosophical underpinnings that guided their bewildering evisceration of the texts.  I am grateful for historians who have come along, much more aware of the presuppositional in relation to deciphering this history, and therefore much more willing to reconsider the case of orthodoxy.

And Bob, I appreciate (and agree with) your conviction that Christians should love others, not just those who share their faith.  In that much, you are a good exegete.  I too only wish this were put into practice more.


Stephen    
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24 posted 08-26-2008 01:04 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     With practice, everybody has trouble.

     I think Kierkegaard predates Dostoyevski.  I believe the concentration upon the absurd probably comes from Heidegger and Sartre and that direction.

     I believe that most Atheists would be chagrined to think that their faith requires a leap of faith actually to believe in it because they see themselves, mostly, a folks operating from pure reason.  It's one of the great weaknesses of Atheist thought, the denial of the great rage that often though certainly not always underlies the position, and how much it depends on God for it's bread and butter existence.

     I'm unclear how many supernatural claims Joshua did make as opposed to the number that were attributed to him.  Most I think were descriptions of man's relationship to God.  I never know exactly how to talk about the miracles with convinced believers without sounding offensive, but there are stories about miracles coming from Greek temples of healing as well, and miracles attributed to other gods.  It's part of the religious tradition of that time, and it would be more surprising if there weren't miracles recounted than that there are.  To my mind.

     I don't know that I require faith to believe in the supernatural, since I am not sure that the boundary of the natural has been as yet established.  I've done a lot of meditating over more than 30 years and have stumbled into some spots that I like to keep for private review.  Miracles may well be possible.  What rouses my skepticism is that the miracles be used as proof of divinity.  Siddhis, if that's how you spell the word, are powers that accrue from spiritual practice.  They are common enough in some traditions that there is set advice about them.  There is a temptation to indulge but they are a distraction from the process of enlightenment.  Avoid them.

     In fact you can see how they tend to affect the practice of faith in the world today.  Word comes of the miraculous this or that—this is without even a decent evaluation of the reality of the miracle in the first place—and masses of people descend and, if the miracle is impressive enough, it becomes a sideshow.  A shroud of Turin, for example, may be an enormous distraction from the actual practice of Catholicism by the everyday faithful, who end up following the specter sometimes, while abandoning the substance.  It's sad.

     Somebody saw an outline of the face of Jesus in the window of one of the hospital rooms in Malden Hospital while I was living a few towns over.  The parking lot filled with the devout and the media and others.  Ambulances couldn't get in as easily.  Visitors and patients had trouble gaining access.

     I tend to find it difficult to believe why one set of miracles should be more important than another in the same way that I have trouble privileging one religion over another, for the most part.  Wiccans, fine; Satan worshipers make me twitchy.  Call me tragically closed minded.  We need to find other ways to deal with the problem of evil.

     Anyway, thanks for your interesting post.  Always a pleasure.  Bob Kaven
 
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