Author Topic: Did Jesus Exist?  (Read 3160 times)

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Mississippi Heretic

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Did Jesus Exist?
« on: January 04, 2008, 07:45:22 PM »
Lately, after a long break from anything spiritual...I feel a yearning again to explore my faith and try reconcile my emotions and instincts with what may or may not be the "Truth." If I am to be a follower of Christ, I would definitely be a CU. But first, I really need to know if Jesus even existed. Maybe it doesn't matter...I don't know if I would believe in his supposed death and ressurection if there was proof of a real Jesus.  Because I would probably want proof of that too.

I will say this, however, I believe in Grace. On some Cosmic level, I know that all men, women, and children are "saved" by Grace. We all have moments of brokeness in our lives that need restoring, and we all need Grace to have the strength to self examine and practice right living so that we may be agents of this Cosmic Christ to help to bring restoration to the rest of Creation. I just hope to one day be able to put into words what I believe in my heart.

I just really need to know right now though if Jesus was real, or he was made up, or he is really a combination of different men 2000 years ago that started a movement and decided that their message would be more powerful if the world thought that a real Son of God came to Earth.

I will take any resources, opinions, anything. But before I can move on, I really need to do some more research and exploring on this.

Peace and Blessings,
Bart

SLN

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2008, 08:19:36 PM »
http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/jesusexisthub.html

http://www.ucgstp.org/lit/gn/gn044/proof.html

There's a lot of pages on the web which can tell you why Jesus not having existed is a plain impossiblity. But think of this: Something that has had such in impact on history as christianity has, can hardly be a myth. Had he not even existed, he'd be hard pressed to get any followers, specifically because the early christians lived in the same period he did. If it was a myth, it would've been extremely easy to debunk. Be it by the roman authorities, or by the jews themselves. Reports of his existance and early christianity are found in secular history as well.

Mississippi Heretic

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2008, 08:46:35 PM »
Thank you for the reply and the links...however, in regards to the ossuary box, it seems to have been proven a fake.

http://www.sbcbaptistpress.org/bpnews.asp?ID=16370

http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/science/06/18/jesus.box/

SLN

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2008, 08:52:51 PM »
I see. It's just the first webpage I found when I googled for it, probably should've checked it's authenticity first!   :winkgrin:

In any case, it'd be extremely hard to prove Jesus did not excist.  :grin:
« Last Edit: January 04, 2008, 08:58:43 PM by SLN »

Offline Cardinal

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2008, 09:08:22 PM »
 :cloud9: Name one other person in the world's history, whose death was the impetus for changing the calculation of time. It is 2008 AD, is it not? My mother was a great person and she died in 1994. Can we all get together right here and now and agree that it is really 14 AD? Aw, come on.....you guys are no fun..... :laughing7: just joshing with you  :winkgrin:.....Blessings to you.....
"I would rather train twenty men to pray, than a thousand to preach; A minister's highest mission ought to be to teach his people to pray." -H. MacGregor

SLN

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2008, 09:13:29 PM »
Good point, Cardinal!  :laughing7:

Mississippi Heretic

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2008, 09:22:30 PM »
please excuse me for not really feeling humorous at this point.  :sigh:

however, i do appreciate you trying :thumbsup:

I'm serious...what texts, sources etc. do a good job in backing up the claim that Jesus was an historical figure and not just a synthesis of previous mythic,spiritual men(or women) or not a real person at all. 

at the moment i'm reading this:  http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm

does anyone care to read it and give me their thoughts? 

I just want people to know that I am sincere in my quest.  I have not come here to debate or argue, mainly because I do not know enough to do either.  I merely want to be able to explain in words what I know in my heart.  And that is the Grace of Jesus Christ redeems ALL.  I believe this on a cosmic/intuitive level, but I really would like to wrap my head around the historical/linear aspects of it as well.
Peace and Blessings,
Bart

SLN

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2008, 10:36:54 PM »

I'm sorry if it seems we're not taking you serious; I assure you that was not my intention.  :boyheart:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annals_(Tacitus) (the book I'm quoting from, clearly not a religious work, but in fact written by a roman historian)

Book 15, chapter 44 of the Annals:

"Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired."
« Last Edit: January 04, 2008, 10:39:04 PM by SLN »

SLN

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2008, 10:57:24 PM »
As for their claim about Paul never speaking about Jesus life on earth in detail, that really isn't too weird. He offered spiritual help to the christian communities, by the very fact he was addressing people who were christians already, he didn't need to tell them of Jesus. Because by being christians, it's to be expected they  already knew all about christianity and Jesus in the first place.

Also, Peter (which you can not deny was a very close person to Jesus) acknowledges Paul's epistles.

2Peter 3:15

and the long-suffering of our Lord count ye salvation, according as also our beloved brother Paul -- according to the wisdom given to him -- did write to you
« Last Edit: January 04, 2008, 11:05:25 PM by SLN »

Mississippi Heretic

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2008, 11:12:10 PM »
Perhaps that is why Paul doesn't give any more insight, however, it is interesting that Paul was probably written before the Gospels...so, in reality, his epistle would be closer in time to a truer understanding of an historical Jesus that the actual Gospels....

Offline Cardinal

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2008, 11:55:43 PM »
 :cloud9: Sorry, wasn't trying to make light of you at all........so seriously......if you accept the writings of Paul, then Who do you think it was he met on the Damascus road? And who do you think he was referring to as, Lord, in other places? Blessings to you......
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 12:03:28 AM by Cardinal »
"I would rather train twenty men to pray, than a thousand to preach; A minister's highest mission ought to be to teach his people to pray." -H. MacGregor

SLN

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2008, 11:58:30 PM »
:cloud9: Sorry, wasn't trying to make light of you at all........so seriously......if accept the writings of Paul, then Who do you think it was he met on the Damascus road? And who do you think he was referring to as, Lord, in other places? Blessings to you......

Yeah, I was gonna say that too. But the point the critics on the page were trying to make was that it doesn't occur in the epistles themselves. The only mention of it is made in Acts, which they don't consider valid proof because it was not written by Paul himself.

Unless he mentions it in his epistles, too. In which case I have forgotten it.  :mblush:

Mississippi Heretic

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2008, 12:06:18 AM »
:cloud9: Sorry, wasn't trying to make light of you at all........so seriously......if you accept the writings of Paul, then Who do you think it was he met on the Damascus road? And who do you think he was referring to as, Lord, in other places? Blessings to you......

well, in order to be intellectually honest, i think, i don't think you can use the bible as a reference to prove the bible or prove Jesus....I'm looking for non-religous historical evidence that was more than just hearsay.

I'm turning my brain off on this one until monday...

Peace and Blessings,
Bart

Offline Cardinal

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2008, 12:12:22 AM »
 :cloud9: Ok, well, I just had lined up Romans 1 for you, but I am not the one to help with the non-biblical proof on this forum, although I'm sure there are some on here that could fix you up in short order. I do think I remember reading that the works of a Jewish historian named Josephus made reference to him. Guys? Blessings to you......
"I would rather train twenty men to pray, than a thousand to preach; A minister's highest mission ought to be to teach his people to pray." -H. MacGregor

SLN

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2008, 12:18:10 AM »
I found this, Cardinal:


______________________________

Josephus - Biblical Accounts Outside the Bible
Josephus mentions New Testament events and people in some of his works. For many skeptics, this is viewed as significant evidence against the myth and legend theories that plague early Christianity. Here are some excerpts:

Josephus mentions Jesus in Antiquities, Book 18, chapter 3, paragraph 3 (this paragraph is so phenomenal, that scholars now debate the authenticity of some of the more "favorable" portions of this text):

"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

Josephus mentions John the Baptist and Herod in Antiquities, Book 18, chapter 5, paragraph 2:

"Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission] of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness."

Josephus mentions James, the brother of Jesus, in Antiquities, Book 20, chapter 9, paragraph 1:

"Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done."

Josephus mentions Ananias, the High Priest, who was mentioned in Acts 23:2:

"Now as soon as Albinus was come to the city of Jerusalem, he used all his endeavors and care that the country might be kept in peace, and this by destroying many of the Sicarii. But as for the high priest, Ananias he increased in glory every day, and this to a great degree, and had obtained the favor and esteem of the citizens in a signal manner; for he was a great hoarder up of money."

______________________________

I think the best thing you can do is just read the bible. Read the gospel of John to start, and see what you think. I think almost anyone here can testify the spirit of truth is more convincing than whatever any human's reasoning can tell you.  :cloud9:
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 12:48:23 AM by SLN »

Offline Cardinal

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2008, 01:01:19 AM »
 :cloud9: Thanks SLN.....I'm not good at finding things on here, LOL.....Blessings to you.....
"I would rather train twenty men to pray, than a thousand to preach; A minister's highest mission ought to be to teach his people to pray." -H. MacGregor

Offline Pierac

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2008, 01:24:13 AM »
Quote from: Mississippi Heretic
Perhaps that is why Paul doesn't give any more insight, however, it is interesting that Paul was probably written before the Gospels...so, in reality, his epistle would be closer in time to a truer understanding of an historical Jesus that the actual Gospels....

Why stop at Paul? What about Mark? His Gospel starts at the baptism of Jesus. Maybe the historical Jesus did not exist until he started walking down the road to His Baptist? NOT! Hey, maybe it takes a guy from Tennessee to teach a Mississippi Heretic.  :laughing7:   Sorry could not resist! I was born in Memphis!

Quote from: Mississippi Heretic
it is interesting that Paul was probably written before the Gospels
I don't know what you guys have in Mississippi, but I do not have the book of Paul?  :pointlaugh:

BTW, I am Paul    :Egyptdance2:   :pointlaugh:

Mississippi Heretic

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2008, 06:13:17 AM »
Quote from: Mississippi Heretic
Perhaps that is why Paul doesn't give any more insight, however, it is interesting that Paul was probably written before the Gospels...so, in reality, his epistle would be closer in time to a truer understanding of an historical Jesus that the actual Gospels....

Why stop at Paul? What about Mark? His Gospel starts at the baptism of Jesus. Maybe the historical Jesus did not exist until he started walking down the road to His Baptist? NOT! Hey, maybe it takes a guy from Tennessee to teach a Mississippi Heretic.  :laughing7:   Sorry could not resist! I was born in Memphis!

Quote from: Mississippi Heretic
it is interesting that Paul was probably written before the Gospels
I don't know what you guys have in Mississippi, but I do not have the book of Paul?  :pointlaugh:

BTW, I am Paul    :Egyptdance2:   :pointlaugh:

When I speak of Paul's epistles being written before Mark, I'm suggesting that scholars put Paul's writing BEFORE Mark's....I'm not talking about the chronology of the events in the books themselves. 

Sorry, I couldn't wait til Monday.
Peace and Blessings,
Bart

Offline reFORMer

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2008, 08:00:52 AM »
Any encounter with Jesus does not occur with you defining the terms of that experience.  "To the contrary he will show Himself perverse..."  You say, "Not like this" to Him and very possibly that is the only way for Him to come.  You say, "Not like this" to Him and He'll say, "Not like this" to you.  He is The ultimate Authority.  You are not.

"For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:  And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.  Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (1 Corinthians 5:14-19)

If you want to encounter God , if you desire to experience the Holy Spirit, You can wait upon Him to manifest.  It is by undeserved condescension to you that He would make Himself known.  "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10)


"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. " (Hebrews 11:6)  If you don't seek His face, earnestly waiting in prayer (and maybe fasting,) if you dump the Bible...really if you don't seek Him where He hangs out, why would you expect anything?  Of course you can risk being casual.  He likes to show up and show off to those that weren't seeking Him.  Sometimes His presence distills as the dew.  Sometimes it is giant hailstones with fire.  Certainly you don't have to fast and pray; but, Jesus promised to reward you if you do it in secret, pursuing Him.  There is a sort of trick to it.  He says, "In the day that you seek me with your whole heart you will find me."  You have to go for broke.  It has to be complete abandonment, no ulterior motives, nothing held back.  Is it just a certain kind of information you expect to be able to think about? Or do you want to walk with God?  Other peoples knowledge of God does not have every "t" crossed or every "i" dotted; but, I guarantee that is part of finding Him because He is in those He's chosen.  You need to learn to follow Him, to be under His discipline, not in subjection to other religious men.  Come to Him with a great big emptiness, just an aching need in your heart that you cannot fill.  That's where He puts something of Himself to unfold before your wondering eyes.
 
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 05:38:25 PM by reFORMer »
I went to church; but, the Church wasn't on the program!  JESUS WANTS HIS BODY BACK!!  MEET WITHOUT HUMAN HEADSHIP!!!

Offline hopeful

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2008, 01:30:37 PM »
  Sometimes His presence distills as the dew.  Sometimes it is giant hailstones with fire. 

That blessed me, reFORMer.   :Pray:
You're welcome to visit http://toknowhimmore.blogspot.com/

SLN

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2008, 02:42:54 PM »
Two excerpts of secular history mentioning Jesus have been posted now. I'd say take it or leave it.

Unless you can prove Tacitus (a famous historian, not someone prone to lie) was lying (he would have no reason; romans and christians weren't exactly best friends. If anything, denying Jesus' existance would be favorable for them) it's a fact he existed. Period.

There's obvious evidence for his existance. We shouldn't have to prove a historical figure did exist, they should prove he didn't! I could make a webpage right now claiming hitler didn't exist, despite the evidence arguing to the contrary. Wouldn't people just say I'm a fool? And wouldn't they say I have to supply evidence that he didn't exist, rather than the other way around?
« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 05:16:56 PM by SLN »

Offline Cardinal

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2008, 04:24:54 PM »
 :cloud9: That was excellent Reformer  :thumbsup:
"I would rather train twenty men to pray, than a thousand to preach; A minister's highest mission ought to be to teach his people to pray." -H. MacGregor

Mississippi Heretic

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2008, 06:50:54 PM »
Two excerpts of secular history mentioning Jesus have been posted now. I'd say take it or leave it.

Unless you can prove Tacitus (a famous historian, not someone prone to lie) was lying (he would have no reason; romans and christians weren't exactly best friends. If anything, denying Jesus' existance would be favorable for them) it's a fact he existed. Period.

There's obvious evidence for his existance. We shouldn't have to prove a historical figure did exist, they should prove he didn't! I could make a webpage right now claiming hitler didn't exist, despite the evidence arguing to the contrary. Wouldn't people just say I'm a fool? And wouldn't they say I have to supply evidence that he didn't exist, rather than the other way around?

I agree with much of your post...much of what Josephus has to say is amazing and I do consider it...Tacitus as well...but yet there is scholarship to suggest the writings of Josephus have been added to, and if they were not, it is still heresay.  So, I think it is safe to say...there is no way to know. 

Dave...obviously you do not know enough about me to make a call like you did.  If you had read and understood my original post, it is evident I have "met" Jesus the WAY...I have never met Jesus the HUMAN.   Dave, I have read several of your posts as a lurker on this boad and you are quite adept at producing nice little "soundbytes."  I look for something more.  If you have nothing to offer, then I ask you please refrain from joining the discussion.  If you choose not to, then I will simply ignore you and you can rest assured that you will be writing for yourself only. 

Gizmo

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2008, 10:00:36 PM »
Quote
what texts, sources etc. do a good job in backing up the claim that Jesus was an historical figure and not just a synthesis of previous mythic,spiritual men(or women) or not a real person at all.


I wonder why people don't consider the New Testament to be historical.  Simply because the Christian church has declared the writings to be "the word of God" and "Scripture", it is in fact history.  It was written by more than a few people who testified that Jesus existed and suffered persecution for that belief.

Imagine there was no New Testament, and archaeologists found the original letters, or even copies, of Peter, James and John.  Archaeologists would be asking themselves...."Who is this Jesus?"  There would be no doubt of His existence.  Once you add it to the "Bible", it is immediately thrown into question for no other reason than the fact it is in the book.

Just one man's relatively uninformed opinion.

Giz

Offline jfraysse

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Re: Did Jesus Exist?
« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2008, 07:04:02 AM »
Brother Mississippi:

I "feel" you, Bro!  But, I don't think you will ever logically or rationally prove God or Jesus.  The best that Deist and Theist can come up with is the mystery of the "Uncaused Cause".  Science can't explain Origins either and (many) plug the scientific hole with more ("Future") Science, that is, they have faith that they will, some day, discover the answers to these puzzles.  Believers fill this void with "God-Did-It" and trust that God will explain these mysteries to the curious by and by.  This is also an act of faith. 

But the question is, "Did Jesus Exist".  I don't think a proof or disproof is going to be possible here either.  First, it is generally difficult, if not impossible, to prove a negative.  So proving that someone didn't exist, especially an ancient someone (Jesus), would cause me to place this pursuit in the "next-to-impossible" category.  However, proving that Jesus absolutely did exist is very difficult too.  There are very few external sources besides the Bible.  Now, the Bible, allegedly, verifies itself (2 Tim 3:16), but for me, 2 Tim 3:16 proves nothing other than the fact that some early Christian writers revered the OT writings - the only "Bible" they had at the time. 

However, if it is important for we humans to "know" God, then I think it reasonable to expect this same God to provide us (in due time) with whatever, intellect, senses or resources that we need to "make contact". Consider Thomas in John 20:29.

From your post, it seems that God may have already done this.  If so, the next question is what are YOU really willing to accept on faith?  This is a very personal question that only you and "God" can answer.  No matter what you decide, I can't believe God would condemn us for using our minds in a sincere search for Him. 

Wishing you Grace and Peace in your quest, John :HeartThrob:
I'm smart enough to know that I'm not always smart enough!