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What Type Of Evidence Would Cause An Orthodox Christian To Denounce Jesus Christ


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I would be interested to find out where you got that idea.

I'd like to see something more authoritative, but this is the theory apparently:

http://www.zimbio.co...e+Cesare+Borgia

From the New World Enc: A little known fact about Cesare Borgia is that, according to the French writer Alexandre Dumas and others, his handsome appearance seems to have influenced many images of Jesus Christ painted during and subsequent to his career. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Cesare_Borgia

Edited by calmoriah
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Again, I believe in the resurrection, but surely you don't believe "by reason" that people come back to life do you?

I conclude from assessing the data that the best explanation of events is that Jesus was resurrected.

How do you know that the whole thing is not made up?

If I were to dismiss the story of Christ as a hoax, then to be consistent I would also have to dismiss Socrates, Plato, Caesar, Paul, Clement, etc. as hoax.

How do you know that it was only Jesus who was resurrected and not some "other mythological figure"... how do you KNOW that some Old Testament writer didn't prophecy about the savior... How do you KNOW that did NOT happen?...

I can't prove a negative. That's a logical fallacy.

Got it. Religion is true by majority rule. The truest religion is the one with the most followers despite how long it has been around etc.

That's not what I said.

How many Christians were there relative to world population in 150 AD? Oops, I guess then Christianity is not true.

To measure the efficacy of a religion, in particular its pervasiveness amongst diverse populations, requires time. Obviously, as a percentage, the penetration of a religion will be weaker the closer you get to its inception. The measurement doesn't hinge on one snapshot in time, but rather its trend over time. That Christianity in 150AD was a tiny fraction of the global population, and today is 33% demonstrates its universal appeal. Given the host of competing religions today (many older than Christianity), Christianity is by far the most pervasive.

Yep. That's exactly what i suggest too- subjective evaluation. And when you prove anything about religion "objectively" please let me know, because no one has ever done so yet. Prove the resurrection objectively and scientifically please.

You don't think Peter, James, John and Thomas were objective?

You are missing the point- I believe they are true, but you have given me no REASON (because none exists) to believe they are NOT "fairy tales".

Again you employ a logically fallacy—can't prove a negative.

Uh huh. Best explanation? Come on! The best explanation is that it is stories and legends!

Most critical scholarship acknowledge the historicity of Jesus Christ. The Jews, who had something to gain, didn't claim the whole thing a hoax, their argument was that the apostles stole the body of Jesus from the empty tomb—thus indirectly acknowledging he was a real person, died, and not in the tomb.

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They cannot be "equally true" if they are objective facts, like scientific facts. But guess what? They are not like that! They are not "true" like "The capital of the US is Washington DC" is true

It's about the right way for each of us to learn about Christ- and there is nothing objective about that.

There is no "objective" way to teach everyone- some learn by reading, some by hearing, some by math reasoning, some by linguistic reasoning.

And there is a HUGE variation in what you are acknowledging as "Christian" belief anyway. Is the eucharist the literal Body and Blood of Jesus or not? "It can't be both"

Should one be immersed in Baptism or not? "It can't be both"

Are we predestined or not? "It can't be both"

Yet you live with these ambiguities and call everyone (except us) "Christian". Guess what? THERE IS NO WAY TO ARBITRATE ANY OF THIS ANYWAY!

God leads and directs us using the best way he has to get through to us and that is all we can know. Nothing is "objective" here, what is "true" is what works for the individual to bring them closer to Christ.

I don't live with these ambiguities, I resolve them.

1 Tim. 4:16

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Your approach suggests that since there is a variety of opinions, truth is impossible to find. It's as if you plan to go "right" and as soon as somebody else says "go left" we are stuck and can't arbitrate which way to go.

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I guess I would cite Bart Ehrman as a prototype.

Ehrman came to lose his faith in Christ (although he does not denounce Jesus, he merely disbelieves) at least primarily due to his researches in the scriptures, to wit, all the evidence suggested to Ehrman that there was no way to be certain what the scriptures actually looked like when they were first penned, and no way to know from the scriptures who Jesus Christ actually was. I've read a couple of his books, and I can see how HE came to the conclusions he came to, but as for me they confirmed at an intellectual level that when Nephi wrote that there were problems with the Bible, he was told this fact by the Lord, who certainly knew would happen.

Ehrman has explicitly cited the 'problem of evil' as the issue that compelled him to reject religious belief, not textual variants. The conclusions of his text-critical scholarship appear to have been ancillary.

and no way to know from the scriptures who Jesus Christ actually was

I don't believe Ehrman has made this argument. He certainly accepts Jesus as a historical figure. While he doesn't accept the supernatural claims made about Jesus in NT, he obviously accepts that NT tells us something of historical value regarding who Jesus actually was.

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I don't live with these ambiguities, I resolve them.

1 Tim. 4:16

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Your approach suggests that since there is a variety of opinions, truth is impossible to find. It's as if you plan to go "right" and as soon as somebody else says "go left" we are stuck and can't arbitrate which way to go.

Of course I don't think that. I am LDS. I have said that repeatedly

The point is how do YOU choose?

They can't all be right. (According to you)

You have provided no evidence of why you are right and most other Christians wrong.

World_religions_pie_chart.png

http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/mysticism/world_religions_populations.html

Edited by mfbukowski
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I'd like to see something more authoritative, but this is the theory apparently:

http://www.zimbio.co...e+Cesare+Borgia

From the New World Enc: A little known fact about Cesare Borgia is that, according to the French writer Alexandre Dumas and others, his handsome appearance seems to have influenced many images of Jesus Christ painted during and subsequent to his career. http://www.newworlde...y/Cesare_Borgia

Interesting. He was not a nice fellow.

If I was an artist I would paint him as handsome too! And if I were really scared of him, I would always paint his face for Jesus' face.

But that is just cowardly me.

;)

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I've already answered this above. The resurrection is compelling that Jesus is the Son of God, but it is not absolute proof, and that's where faith comes in. Otherwise it's putting the horse before the buggy to say that we can have faith in Christ without first establishing that he is a real person.

Does anyone really dispute that Jesus was a real person? When Jesus asks his followers to "believe" does he mean "believe that I am a real person?"

Some say Jesus is a myth, some believe in Darwinism, some in global warming. Everybody gets to look at the data and make up their own minds.

That seems like a kind of mechanical faith to me if it's just a matter of data analysis and that is all. I know Mormons are often accused of following a blind faith. And I don't mind admitting there is some truth in that. I guess a lot of orthodox Christians follow a mechanical type faith.

Interesting.

Edited by Fig-bearing Thistle
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Right you are!

There is no refutation for this, and I have tried for years for a single person who claims that there is "rational evidence" for Jesus being the Christ to be able to prove it, and there has not been a single one.

Testimony is the only way one can know.

So how does one know which testimony is "true" becomes the question, and I am convinced that the reason there can be "true testimonies" pointing to other faiths, is that God knows what we need individually to come unto Christ.

As I have said before, if you are a drunk on skid row, and God sees the only way to bring you to Christ is the Salvation Army, will he give you a "testimony" that the Salvation Army is "true"? Absolutely!

If the only truth you have, perhaps because of how you were raised etc is Catholic or Evangelical or simply because that is the path you need, leads you to Christ, God will affirm it as "true" I am convinced.

On the other side, our progression will continue and we will go from grace to grace and learn more and more about what we need to be like Christ. Honestly one of the major reasons I am LDS is because I am firmly convinced that our progression does not stop at death- and that God will continue leading us in the spirit world.

The LDS church is the only one which teaches this principle, therefore for me this is a major "reason" to be LDS. There is no way I am about to believe that God holds us responsible for what we could not possibly know in this world, or that he sends his children who do NOT find the right path in this life to a burning h*** for eternity- it just does not make sense in any way whatsoever.

So God leads us here to the best path for us individually and then we can seek further light and knowledge on the other side. I think this is clearly scriptural as well, with the usual scriptures we cite as evidence that it is a teaching of the savior.

And of course, it must be accepted all on a testimony which is the only way WE individually can know God- not because someone else tells us it is "true", not history, not someone's idea of what is "rational" etc.

The only possible "evidence" is testimony. Period.

Well said!

And the witness which provides that testimony to our spirits is the Holy Ghost. When we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, it is the Holy Ghost who beings to open our eyes and our ears. Yet we will continue to be blind to whatever Truth has not yet been revealed personally to us. As we continue to progress and are prepared to receive more Truth, it is the Holy Ghost who reveals more to us; line upon line, etc. When we first desire to believe in Jesus, we receive understanding equated with "milk". As we grow in spiritual knowledge, we advance to understanding equated with "meat", etc. We begin to see layers of understanding in the very same passages we have studied before. The Holy Ghost reveals to us what we are ready and capable of understanding.

The Holy Ghost is not teaching "different" truths to members of different religions; He is teaching us what we are ready to receive. What we are ready to receive is influenced by our circumstances, our world view, family traditions, etc. Truth does not change; but the filtering process everyone uses in determining what they perceive about the Truth they are receiving, is unique to each individual. Our journey with God is a personal one; and each one of us is at his/her own point on that path. The Holy Ghost is not going to have long conversations with our spirit. Rather, He reveals Truth through promptings, affirmations, epiphanies, etc. Through faith, whatever the Holy Ghost reveals to us becomes something we "know" spiritually. Spiritual Truth is not a tangible thing which can be recognized in a physical/worldly way. If Truth WAS physical here on the earth, we would no longer be walking in faith; we would be walking in proof. Until Christ returns, mankind has no choice other than to walk in faith.

Regards,

jo

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The message of the Bible: that Jesus Christ lived, died and was resurrected had better be rooted in fact or the whole premise is false. Paul makes that very point in 1 Cor. 15:4 "if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." I don't accept the notion that evidence and faith are mutually exclusive. Again, faith is only as useful as what you place it on. A person's faith in a rope to secure him climbing a mountain is only as good as the strength of that rope. Likewise all religions require faith, but not all have a strong rope to put it on.

Really? Then show me the tomb. Then show me the nails. Then show me the cross. Then show me His foot steps. Then show me His crown of thorns. Show me His cloak. Show me the spear. Show me the blood on the ground. Can you place one piece of evidence in your hand?

When you say 'heart' over mind, are you proposing an emotion condition? Ancient Judaism made no such distinction between the mind and heart. The notion that our minds are not part of the equation is certainly not biblical. I submit our 'hearts' cannot fully embrace what our minds reject.

We are a spirit. I know I am a spirit. I have no idea what you think you are. You are all over the map in your responses.

Jesus never made such a contrast. He purposefully showed himself post-resurrection to all his disciples. Thomas, who had not yet seen him, rightfully demanded too, and Jesus allowed him to inspect his scars. This was necessary so the Apostles could be witnesses to the resurrected Jesus. Christianity lives or dies on their witness.

Maybe you should take a Bible class.

John 20:29

King James Version (KJV)

29Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Seems like a contrast to me. Please tell me how this is not a contrast between faith and evidence. But no matter how strong your argument is I will stay with Christ because my spirit tells me to. Not my head. It seems you read scripture with predetermined ideas and you refuse to let the Words in scripture interfere with those ideas. You might want to rethink that way of reading scripture.

Oh, and please point out in scripture where it talks about the tree of evidence I want to read all about it.

This is a false dichotomy. Again you're pitting faith against evidence as though they are mutually exclusive. Faith is what you do with the evidence. If there is no evidence, then we have nothing to put our faith on.

This is so wrong. You really are mixed up. We are so far apart that I am not sure I can even help you.

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I don't live with these ambiguities, I resolve them.

No offense, but I don't think you resolved them, but rather resolved to believe one over the other.

IMO, that's the heart of this issue.

Spirituality is paradoxical...

We seek God's spirit, yet can only feel it when it's not sought by force.

We're commanded to be perfect, but we're NOT & will never perfectly arrive in this life!

Illusions can be helpful or harmful, but we're often too illusional to distinguish!

We are walking paradoxes...

We have such lofty ideals, that we never completely reach.

We think we know everything, but we have such selective attention!

We are logical & yet intuitive.

Although Jesus was considered the prince of peace, he was also acquainted with grief.

It is difficult & ongoing challenge to harmonize such conflicting experiences as logic & feeling.

Yet, to understand & love most, we must realize different perspectives & learn to harmonize reason & spirit.

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HeatherAnn,

... After all scripture is but a stepping stone. The more sure spiritual communication is the true source of knowing. The Holy Ghost is the witness.

After all we are talking about God...

Thanks, Franktalk.

I agree!

The scriptures may be our "bible" - but so can everything else be spiritual lessons, when viewed through spiritual eyes!

IMO, scriptures & church & temple ordinances are spiritual tools, not the ends in themselves.

And since they are all full of symbolism, they can take on deeper meaning, as we progress spiritually.

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Coolrok,

Thanks for that info. - it's one perspective, different from what I've read.

It seems there are many theories of the origins of Christianity.

Nobody knows for sure, as Fig-bearingThistle mentioned.

If we establish and accept the premise that Jesus was an actual historical person, that is one thing. But how does this help you know that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world and that he died for YOUR sins too? How do historians know these things that I just mentioned, in such a manner that you can put your greatest trust in what they say?...

...Shouldn't God's true religion indicate for sure whether it is His intent to save the masses or not? I believe it IS his intent to save the masses, and yet we also read in Matthew 7:14 "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

...Some people make the claim that the preponderance of the evidence supports that Jesus cannot be who he claimed to be. Eventually, in the realm of faith and God's true religion, a person is required to take a leap into a place he cannot see with his natural eyes. That could be called by some "blind faith" and I wouldn't have a problem with that. That's just the way it is, IMO.

Great question about how any of this "historical" info helps us spiritually?

Beliefs are powerful - whether "true" or not... they can make people do great or terrible things.

IMO, to believe, it takes both intellect & spirit.

Personally, I LOVE the teachings of Jesus, but I believe they've been twisted. I don't think he wanted us to worship human sacrifice, nor to use him as a scapegoat.

I think he tried to tell us in many ways, that "the kingdom of God is within you." - Luke 17

Yet, like children, we tend to resonate most with what is visual or concrete & with packaged beliefs rather than our own spiritual intuition.

We, or should I speak for myself, tend to seek temporary comfort over less comfortable soul-searching.

We really need both logic & spirit & the courage to chart unmarked territory within our own souls - So, "few there be that find it."

Edited by HeatherAnn
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This is so wrong. You really are mixed up. We are so far apart that I am not sure I can even help you.

I know the feeling.

The only way to answer a spiritual question is ... spiritually! Seems simple enough to me :pardon:

I don't see physicists praying for answers, so why should we want scientific, empirical answers for spiritual questions?

Ain't gonna happen!

You can reason all you want about the gospel, but the only way you are going to know it's true is spiritually. There are just too many other explanations when you bring "reason" into the equation.

Edited by mfbukowski
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What type of evidence would cause an orthodox Christian to denounce Jesus Christ or the Bible?

I'm not sure "denounce" is the right word, but my loss of faith in Christ and the Bible was the culmination of many discoveries, including my realization that much of the Bible is pseudepigraphal, the morality taught in the Bible is mediocre at best, the doctrine of the atonement is nonsensical, and Jesus's time-sensitive prophecy of the end of the world never came true. It was also the result of a new pessimism about the reliability of "spiritual" ways of knowing, as I studied spiritual experiences across many religions and cultures and found them to be totally unreliable and basically just reflections of the worldview of the time and place in which they occurred.

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I'm not sure "denounce" is the right word, but my loss of faith in Christ and the Bible was the culmination of many discoveries, including my realization that much of the Bible is pseudepigraphal, the morality taught in the Bible is mediocre at best, the doctrine of the atonement is nonsensical, and Jesus's time-sensitive prophecy of the end of the world never came true. It was also the result of a new pessimism about the reliability of "spiritual" ways of knowing, as I studied spiritual experiences across many religions and cultures and found them to be totally unreliable and basically just reflections of the worldview of the time and place in which they occurred.

But other than that.....

;)

The problem is that you were looking for literal truth, and it is not surprising you didn't find it.

Is there some way you could say you "communicate with the absolute" or something like that? Do you have subjective feelings that there is something more in the universe than you and all of us?

Are you able to use those feelings to give you purpose in life?

To me, that is the essence of religion. No, I admit it is a long way from that to "truth claims of the LDS church," but I think upon analysis, it is closer than you might think at first blush.

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The problem is that you were looking for literal truth, and it is not surprising you didn't find it.

Yes, I suppose my mistake was expecting my religion to be true. But in my defense, those expectations weren't exactly of my own invention.

Is there some way you could say you "communicate with the absolute" or something like that? Do you have subjective feelings that there is something more in the universe than you and all of us?

Are you able to use those feelings to give you purpose in life?

To me, that is the essence of religion.

I'd call myself a humanist, now. I don't "communicate with the absolute," but I do have a sense of identity with my fellow creatures. I suppose it's very much like Buddhism, actually. Once I stopped believing in the existence of the soul, my sense of being an autonomous "self" broke down, and my sense of separateness and individual entitlement broke down along with it.

Edited by Chris Smith
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Yes, I suppose my mistake was expecting my religion to be true. But in my defense, those expectations weren't exactly of my own invention.

I'd call myself a humanist, now. I don't "communicate with the absolute," but I do have a sense of identity with my fellow creatures. I suppose it's very much like Buddhism, actually. Once I stopped believing in the existence of the soul, my sense of being an autonomous "self" broke down, and my sense of separateness and individual entitlement broke down along with it.

What I think is ironic is that, in losing your faith, your worldview became, in many ways, aligned what the key goals for pure Christianity - as I see them - are, goals that, from my observation, a great deal of Christians (LDS or otherwise) struggle to conceive of and live for. I know I do.

While there are definite things we disagree on, there are definite things, I think, we would agree on. And I have a great respect for you.

Thanks for sharing, Chris.

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Yes, I suppose my mistake was expecting my religion to be true. But in my defense, those expectations weren't exactly of my own invention.

Well as we grow up of course we often see the symbolism and take it to another level. I was never a believer in talking donkeys or people living in whales, so maybe I was different.

I'd call myself a humanist, now. I don't "communicate with the absolute," but I do have a sense of identity with my fellow creatures. I suppose it's very much like Buddhism, actually. Once I stopped believing in the existence of the soul, my sense of being an autonomous "self" broke down, and my sense of separateness and individual entitlement broke down along with it.

Interesting. I studied Buddhism myself and considered myself one for a while myself. I am writing a paper right now on the concept of the self, and was wondering if that was possible. Maybe someday I could talk to you at length about that somehow.

If you were ever physically threatened, would you defend your "self" or would your sense of "separateness" win? "Self" preservation is a very strong impulse. Also, when one expresses opinions, one wonders "who" is doing that without a "self".

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While there are definite things we disagree on, there are definite things, I think, we would agree on. And I have a great respect for you.

Thanks for sharing, Chris.

As do I, incidentally.

Chris is one of the reasons I still hang out here!

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Well as we grow up of course we often see the symbolism and take it to another level. I was never a believer in talking donkeys or people living in whales, so maybe I was different.

I was never a fundamentalist. I was raised to believe in evolution, and I never believed in biblical inerrancy. And as I got more educated about the "difficulties", I was able to reconcile most of them by adopting a "symbolic" view, as you say. But there came a point at which it just wasn't practical to allegorize any further. Rejecting the atonement was the breaking point. When I could no longer in good conscience sing the evangelical songs about being "covered by the blood of Jesus," I started to feel dishonest and out of place even being there in church at all. Evangelical religion centers heavily on a literal atonement. If you can't buy into that, there isn't much left.

I tried attending a Unitarian church, but it just didn't hold my interest enough to get me out of bed on Sunday morning.

Interesting. I studied Buddhism myself and considered myself one for a while myself. I am writing a paper right now on the concept of the self, and was wondering if that was possible. Maybe someday I could talk to you at length about that somehow.

If you were ever physically threatened, would you defend your "self" or would your sense of "separateness" win? "Self" preservation is a very strong impulse. Also, when one expresses opinions, one wonders "who" is doing that without a "self".

I still live my life as if my artificially constructed "self" is worth preserving and expressing. But my perspective on a lot of things has changed, and I think that when death comes I'll be able to accept it without too much grief. I'd have to write a whole treatise to do justice to the topic, I think, so I won't attempt it here.

Edited by Chris Smith
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I still live my life as if my artificially constructed "self" is worth preserving and expressing. But my perspective on a lot of things has changed, and I think that when death comes I'll be able to accept it without too much grief. I'd have to write a whole treatise to do justice to the topic, I think, so I won't attempt it here.

I'm working on an in depth discussion of Richard Rorty's Contingency Irony and Solidarity, oddly enough, from a Mormon perspective. I think his notion that a contingent self is incompatible with theism is flawed in important ways.

Sounds like you'd like that book if you haven't read it.

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