Christianity -- Revisited
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  1. #1
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    Christianity -- Revisited

    Greetz all.
    I've got an argument for Christianity that is guaranteed to piss off everyone but a select few. I'm just gonna go over the basics of this argument to begin with; if you want more detailed information (references, for example), just let me know, and I'll do what I can to help.

    First of all, the New Testament has been proven to be historically accurate by comparing it to other sources of the period (first and second century AD). If you want specific sources, again, let me know, and I'll get them for ya. So, we know for a fact that Jesus lived. But there are three possibilities for who Jesus really was. He was either Lord, liar, or lunatic.

    Liar
    If, when Jesus made his claims, he knew that he was not God, then he was lying and deliberately deceiving his followers. But if he was a liar, then he was also a hypocrite because he told others to be honest, whatever the cost, while he himself taught and lived a colossal lie. More than that, he was a demon, because he told others to trust him for their eternal destiny. If he couldn't back up his claims and knew it, then he was unspeakably evil. Lastly, he would also be a fool because it was his claims to being God that led to his crucifixion.

    Many will say that Jesus was a good moral teacher. Let's be realistic. How can he be a great moral teacher and knowingly mislead people at the most important point of his teaching--his own identity?

    You would have to conclude logically that he was a deliberate liar. This view of Jesus, however, doesn't coincide with what we know either of him or the results of his life and teachings. Wherever Jesus has been proclaimed, lives have been changed for the good, nations have changed for the better, thieves are made honest, alcoholics are cured, hateful individuals become channels of love, unjust persons become just...

    Someone who lived as Jesus lived, taught as Jesus taught, and died as Jesus died could not have been a liar. What other alternatives are there?

    Lunatic
    If it is inconceivable (fun word) for Jesus to be a liar, then couldn't he actually have thought himself to be God, but been mistaken? After all, it's possible to be sincere, yet wrong. But we must remember that for someone to think himself God, especially in a fiercely monotheistic culture, and then to tell others that their eternal destiny depended on believing in him, is no slight flight of fantasy but the thoughts of a lunatic in the fullest sense. Was Jesus Christ such a person?

    Someone who believes he is God sounds like someone today believing himself to be Napoleon. He would be deluded and self-deceived, and probably he would be locked up so he wouldn't hurt himself or anyone else. Yet in Jesus we don't observe the abnormalities and imbalance that usually go along with being deranged. His poise and composure would certainly be amazing if he were insane.

    In light of the other things we know about Jesus, it's hard to imagine that he was mentally disturbed. Here is a man who spoke some of the most profound statements ever recorded. Would it make sense to be such a "great moral teacher" and be insane? I don't think so.

    Lord
    I cannot pesonally conclude that Jesus was a liar or a lunatic. The only other alternative is that he was the Christ, the Son of God, as he claimed. As Josh McDowell says in his book More Than A Carpenter, "When I discuss this with most Jewish people, it's interesting how they respond. They usually tell me that Jesus was a moral, upright, religious leader, a good man, or some kind of prophet. I then share with them the claims Jesus made about himself and then the material [just discussed] on the trilemma (liar, lunatic, or Lord). When I ask if they believe Jesus was a liar, there is a sharp 'No!' Then I ask, 'Do you believe he was a lunatic?' The reply is 'Of course not.' 'Do you believe he is God?' Before I can get a breath in edgewise, there is a resounding 'Absolutely not.' Yet one has only so many choices."

    The evidence is clearly in favor of Jesus as Lord. Some people, however, reject this clear evidence because of moral implications involved. They don't want to face up to the responsibility of calling him Lord.

    In the Old Testament, 60 major prophesies and 270 ramifications were made about the Messiah. Jesus fulfilled every one of these. As of 1977, the chance that eight of the main prophesies would be fulfilled by one man was one in ten-to-the-seventeenth. In other words, 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. If you were to take that many silver dollars and lay them on the face of texas, it would be covered entirely two feet deep. Now take one of those coins, place a small black mark on it, and throw it randomly back into the pile. Now send an blind man in search of it. Good luck. He's got the same odds of finding that coin that he does of being Jesus.

    Who Would Die for a Lie?
    For some reason, I feel that I can trust the testimonies of the twelve apostles. Maybe it's because all but one of them were martyred for what they believed in:

    1) Peter--crucified
    2) Andrew--crucified
    3) Matthew--the sword
    4) John--the only natural death of the whole bunch
    5) James, son of Alphaeus--crucified
    6) Philip--crucified
    7) Simon--crucified
    8) Thaddaeus--killed by arrows
    9) James, brother of Jesus--stoned
    10) Thomas--spear thrust
    11) Bartholomew--crucified
    12) James, son of Zebedee--the sword

    The response to this could easily be "Well, a lot of people have died for a lie, so what does this prove?" Yes, many have died for a lie, but they thought it was the truth. Now, if the resurrection (a key point in Christianity) didn't take place, the disciples knew it. Therefore, these eleven men not only died for a lie--here's the catch--but they KNEW it was a lie. It would be hard to find eleven people in history who died for a lie while KNOWING it to be a lie.

    In all of the New Testament, the disciples are describing events that they observed. They repeated numerous times that Jesus was raised from the dead and appeared to them for a period of forty days. Just for fun, here's some scripture that shows the apostles to be witnesses of Jesus' resurrected life:

    Luke 24:48; John 15:27; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:24, 32; Acts 3:15; Acts 4:33; Acts 5:32; Acts 10:39; Acts 10:41; Acts 13:31; 1 Corinthians 15:4-9; 1 Corinthians 15:15; 1 John 1:2; Acts 22:15; Acts 23:11; Acts 26:16

    So, the apostles had to be convinced that Jesus was raised from the dead. At first, they hadn't believed. They went and hid. They didn't hesitate to express their doubts. Only after ample and convincing evidence did they believe. There was Thomas, who said he wouldn't believe that Christ was raised from the dead until he had put his finger in the nail prints. He had this opportunity. He later died a martyr's death for Christ. Was he deceived? He bet his life he wasn't. Similar stories of doubt and denial apply to Peter, James (Jesus' own brother), and others. They all became convinced, even to the point of death.

    If the resurrection was a lie, the apostles knew it, and therefore, they lied. That made them hypocrites, as they also taught to be honest. The resurrection became "the belief that turned heart-broken followers of a crucified rabbi into the courageous witnesses and martyrs of the early church. This was the one belief that separated the followers of Jesus from the Jews and turned them into the community of the resurrection. You could imprison them, flog them, kill them, but you could not make them deny their conviction that 'on the third day he rose again.'" (Michael Green)

    Before the resurrection, the apostles were beaten. They had seen their Messiah die. But once they saw he was alive, they KNEW that he was the true Messiah, and they preached it earnestly. This even took this group of outcasts, and made them the largest threat to the Jews at the time.

    "On the day of the crucifixion they were filled with sadness; on the first day of the week with gladness. At the crucifixion they were hopeless; on the first day of the week their hearts glowed with certainty and hope. When the message of the resurrection first came they were incredulous and hard to be convinced, but once they became assured they never doubted again. What could account for the astonishing change in these men in so short a time? The mere removal of the body from the grave could never have transformed their spirits and characters. Three days are not enough for a legend to spring up which would so affect them. Time is needed for a process of legendary growth. It is a psychological fact that demands a full explanation. Think of the character of the witnesses, men and women who gave the world the highest ethical teaching it has ever known, and who even on the testimony of their enemies lived it out in their lives. Think of the psychological absurdity of picturing a little band of defeated cowards cowering in an upper room one day and a few days later transformed into a company that no persecution could silence--and then attempting to attribute this dramatic change to nothing more convincing than a miserable fabrication they were trying to foist upon the world. That simply wouldn't make sense." --Unknown

    The apostles went through the test of death to substantiate the veracity of what they were proclaiming. I believe I can trust their testimony more than that of most people I meet today, people who aren't willing to walk across the street for what they believe, let alone die for it.

    God bless you all,
    --PhirePhreak

    PS -- much of my information has come from my recent reading of Josh McDowell's book, More Than A Carpenter. If you want more information, ask me, or read the book... it's great.
    I know you\'re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you\'re afraid. You\'re afraid of us. You\'re afraid of change. I don\'t know the future. I didn\'t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it\'s going to begin. I\'m going to hang up this phone, and then I\'m going to show these people what you don\'t want them to see. I\'m going to show them a world without you, a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.

  2. #2
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    First of all, the New Testament has been proven to be historically accurate by comparing it to other sources of the period (first and second century AD). If you want specific sources, again, let me know, and I'll get them for ya. So, we know for a fact that Jesus lived.
    - "Historically accurate"... hmmm... The New Testament is just as accurate as any other 'third-person-report': I'm damn sure it's full of exaggerations, manipulations of the facts, and what else...

    - On the other hand, I don't think anyone here is going to deny that Jesus actually lived.

    But there are three possibilities for who Jesus really was. He was either Lord, liar, or lunatic.
    and
    I cannot personally conclude that Jesus was a liar or a lunatic. The only other alternative is that he was the Christ, the Son of God, as he claimed.
    My brother is neither a liar nor a lunatic. My brother is Lord. Praise my brother. Oh no, wait, he's a Looser... or a Lawyer... or a Lazy bum... or a Lefty...
    "EITHER x, y OR z" implies that there are only three choices: x, y, and z. Your premisse is flawed.

    Here's an analogy:
    There are three possibilites for what my cat really is. She is either a bird, a fish, or a reptile. She can't fly, she can't swim, so she must be a reptile. Quod erat demonstrandum.
    In my opinion, Jesus was just a nice dude...

    The Liar-part sounds flawless to me, and so does the Lunatic-part (although...ever seen life of Brian?). But next... again, you make it sound like there are only three options (Liar, Lunatic, or Lord). I think it's pretty clear that your assumption is flawed, but anyways...

    Josh McDowell, More Than A Carpenter
    The evidence is clearly in favor of Jesus as Lord. Some people, however, reject this clear evidence because of moral implications involved. They don't want to face up to the responsibility of calling him Lord.
    Clear evidence? Violations of the logical codes, my friend. I can only conclude that Mr. McDowell is a deliberate liar...

    In the Old Testament, 60 major prophesies and 270 ramifications were made about the Messiah. Jesus fulfilled every one of these. As of 1977, the chance that eight of the main prophesies would be fulfilled by one man was one in ten-to-the-seventeenth. In other words, 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. If you were to take that many silver dollars and lay them on the face of texas, it would be covered entirely two feet deep. Now take one of those coins, place a small black mark on it, and throw it randomly back into the pile. Now send an blind man in search of it. Good luck. He's got the same odds of finding that coin that he does of being Jesus.
    The chance somebody wins the Belgian lottery twice in a row is one in 254,000,000,000,000,000,000 (something to that extend - where the hell did you (or Mr. McDowell) get that figure anyways? At least my figure makes sense. If you were to take that many silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas, Texas would collapse, leaving a hole big enough to fill with twice as many silver dollars... or something like that. Don't put a black mark on it, just keep one of the dollars in mind. Now send a cripple man in search of it. Good luck. He's got the same odds of finding that coin that he does of winning the Belgian lottery twice in a row. If he actually finds the dollar you had in mind, you are allowed to lie, and hold another dollar in mind.

    In 1986, Ms. Vandermeer won the Belgian lottery twice in a row.

    The response to this could easily be "Well, a lot of people have died for a lie, so what does this prove?" Yes, many have died for a lie, but they thought it was the truth. Now, if the resurrection (a key point in Christianity) didn't take place, the disciples knew it. Therefore, these eleven men not only died for a lie--here's the catch--but they KNEW it was a lie. It would be hard to find eleven people in history who died for a lie while KNOWING it to be a lie.
    So... because they REALLY believed in the resurrection, because they would even state the fact of Jesus' ressurection under torture, it MUST BE true??

    My conclusion: Yes, a dude named Jesus lived some 2000 years ago. Yes, he was a good, sincere, honest,... man. Resurrection? Nah... Son of God? Nah... There is no god

  3. #3
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    Well... I don't have time to respond to everything at this moment, but I'll start from the bottom and work up. You say he was honest. But, according to you, he lied about being the Son of God. So, that would make him dishonest, correct? Looks like this theory is flawed.

    About the resurrection... they were all witnesses to Christ's resurrected life. They were so convinced of this that they would rather die than to have someone change their mind. Do you believe in anything so strongly that you'd be willing to die for it? Chances are, no.

    I will give you the exact quote that introduces the probability that I used... that's all I have on it, but I plan to look for more later:

    "The following probabilities are taken from [Science Speaks] to show that coincidence is ruled out by the science or probability. [Peter W.] Stoner says that by using the modern science of probability in reference to eight prophecies, 'we find that the chance that any man migh have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10(to the seventeenth)'"

    As I said, I'll try to find some more information on that later today.

    Okay... as I said earlier in this post, you've already 'proven' Jesus to be a liar. He said he was the Son of God, and if he wasn't/isn't, then he lied. No what if he thought he was telling the truth in regard to that statement, but wasn't? Then he's insane; schizophrenic. You either tell the truth, or you tell a lie. If it was a lie, then he's a liar and/or lunatic. If it's the truth, then he's exactly what he said: Lord.

    I don't have time right now, but I'll get you a list of historically-reliable manuscripts that mention events that happened in the Bible, and other such goodies to help prove the New Testament historically reliable. But notice, the four Gospels are written by four different authors. It's interesting that they all have the exact same 'exaggerations.' Luke even wrote his book from a historical point-of-view.

    And now, I must go, as my brother needs the computer. Til next time

    God bless,
    --PhirePhreak
    I know you\'re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you\'re afraid. You\'re afraid of us. You\'re afraid of change. I don\'t know the future. I didn\'t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it\'s going to begin. I\'m going to hang up this phone, and then I\'m going to show these people what you don\'t want them to see. I\'m going to show them a world without you, a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.

  4. #4
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    There is no god


    __________________

    Do you promise? I mean, if I give up my life of
    religion and renounce god, he won't send me
    to hell or anything?
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.

  5. #5
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    As Negative said:

    "Historically accurate"... hmmm... The New Testament is just as accurate as any other 'third-person-report': I'm damn sure it's full of exaggerations, manipulations of the facts, and what else...
    And like any other historical fiction novel....most are "historically accurate" too (authors use this technique to write period pieces to highlight the era.)

    The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje
    A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway
    Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell

    Anyone can write a book in a time piece, that doesn't mean it's necessarily the truth...
    Unless there really IS a Rhett Butler....
    PLEASE.....let him be REAL.... *drools*

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    Well... I don't have time to respond to everything at this moment, but I'll start from the bottom and work up. You say he was honest. But, according to you, he lied about being the Son of God. So, that would make him dishonest, correct? Looks like this theory is flawed.
    Lying about something doesn't make one dishonest, imo. It's assumable that Jezus himself really thought of himself as the son of God. If so, I wouldn't categorize his constant perseverance in saying he was the son of God as "lying". He was just mistaken, can happen to anyone...

    About the resurrection... they were all witnesses to Christ's resurrected life. They were so convinced of this that they would rather die than to have someone change their mind. Do you believe in anything so strongly that you'd be willing to die for it? Chances are, no.
    I only believe in myself... Dying for myself sounds like a dang hard dilemma...
    The name "David Koresh" pops into my mind all of a sudden...


    The following probabilities are taken from [Science Speaks] to show that coincidence is ruled out by the science or probability.
    First rule in statistics/science: never rule out coincidence...

    Okay... as I said earlier in this post, you've already 'proven' Jesus to be a liar. He said he was the Son of God, and if he wasn't/isn't, then he lied. No what if he thought he was telling the truth in regard to that statement, but wasn't? Then he's insane; schizophrenic. You either tell the truth, or you tell a lie. If it was a lie, then he's a liar and/or lunatic. If it's the truth, then he's exactly what he said: Lord.
    I didn't prove a thing.
    Is someone insane/schizophrenic for being mistaken? Don't think so. Is someone a liar for telling something wrong what he actually believes to be true? Arguable...

    I don't have time right now, but I'll get you a list of historically-reliable manuscripts that mention events that happened in the Bible, and other such goodies to help prove the New Testament historically reliable. But notice, the four Gospels are written by four different authors. It's interesting that they all have the exact same 'exaggerations.' Luke even wrote his book from a historical point-of-view.
    Again, I ain't argueing about Jesus from Nazareth. I'm argueing about his putative God-connection, about his ressurection... Historically reliable? How so? Because of twelve people willing to die for it?

    But notice, the four Gospels are written by four different authors. It's interesting that they all have the exact same 'exaggerations.'
    Spiderman is written by like 100 different authors. They all have the exact same exaggerations...

  7. #7
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    I dunno...

    The Gospels were written 40+ years after the death of Jesus. That leaves a lot of room for blurred memory and biased opinions to color the text.

    And actually, if you look at history, Christianity did not begin as a religion, but rather as a movement of people who followed a charismatic and unconventional Jewish teacher. It wasn't until 4 years after the death of Jesus that a non-Christian Roman emporer (Constantine) held an inquiry to decide whether Jesus was actually a god. Once the decision was made that Jesus had in fact been a god, then the religious beliefs of what we know now as Christianity became more widely accepted.

    Interestingly enough, Constantine never professed a belief in or worship of Jesus or the Christian God until his death. All of his life he lived worshipping the "pagan" gods we now associated with the Romans -- that is until his dying day, when, on his death bed he proclaimed his love and belief in a Lord Jesus Christ -- just in case the Christians were right all along.

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    I don't agree with the figure about winning the lottery twice. If someone had a chance of winning it, say 2,000,000,000 to one, the next time, and all subsequent times that person bought a ticket (assuming the same details to compute the original odds were in effect) and would not change. Stats 101. The reason it does not happen often is the buyer is still up against such large odds to win in the first place, not, that the odds to win magically increase.
    About the other stuff - it has been covered in previous threads.
    Trappedagainbyperfectlogic.

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    My brother is neither a liar nor a lunatic. My brother is Lord. Praise my brother. Oh no, wait, he's a Looser... or a Lawyer... or a Lazy bum... or a Lefty...
    "EITHER x, y OR z" implies that there are only three choices: x, y, and z. Your premisse is flawed.
    Your brother isn't going around proclaiming to be the Son of God, is he? Your brother cannot be compared to Jesus until he starts preaching a belief that would make him either a lunatic, liar, or lord.

    Lying about something doesn't make one dishonest, imo. It's assumable that Jezus himself really thought of himself as the son of God. If so, I wouldn't categorize his constant perseverance in saying he was the son of God as "lying". He was just mistaken, can happen to anyone...
    If somebody today proclaims to be God, actually believes it, and wanders the street preaching it, people don't tend to say he's mistaken, they call him a lunatic.
    Why am I still here?

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by Gold Eagle
    I don't agree with the figure about winning the lottery twice. If someone had a chance of winning it, say 2,000,000,000 to one, the next time, and all subsequent times that person bought a ticket (assuming the same details to compute the original odds were in effect) and would not change. Stats 101. The reason it does not happen often is the buyer is still up against such large odds to win in the first place, not, that the odds to win magically increase.
    If the change that someone wins the lottery is 1 in 2,000,000,000, then the chance he wins it twice in a row is 1 in 2,000,000,000 ^ 2. The chance he wins the second time of course is still 1 in 2,000,000,000, but the chance he wins TWICE IN A ROW IS 1 in 2,000,000,000 ^ 2. The reason it does not happen often is that the buyers chance of winning twice in a row increases with a ^ 2 factor...

    Your brother isn't going around proclaiming to be the Son of God, is he?
    Only on Sundays.
    I was just trying to disprove the 'Jesus was either a lunatic, a liar, or Lord'-statement, although I already know that only non-religious people will agree with me...

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