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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
SharonA Bible prophecy (189* d) RE: Bible prophecy 14 Oct 09


Guest from Sanity sez: "I find it highly unlikely that all 12 [disciples], but one, was martyred for a story, based on illusion, that they just 'made up'..not logical, nor realistic. It is very likely that they all witnessed, or experienced, something rather extraordinary, and chronicled it, to the best of their abilities...I mean, would any of us, be willing to be put to death, for any one of our 'Mudcat' opinions,..and furthermore, skepticism, is NOT 'logical proof', of anything, other than that of the holder, of that mindset, of being nothing more than skeptical!"

Unquestionably, the disciples lived in an extraordinary time (meaning an extraordinary political/religious quagmire) and were desperate for some way to deal with it. Unquestionably they were presented with some extraordinary ideas about dealing with it, gleaned from several ancient world religions (by Jesus and/or by other rabbis/prophets). But what they did with those ideas has 'wayyyy more to do with them than with anything that Jesus the man said or did.

Two of the many pieces of evidence for this are: the Gospel of Thomas, the closest thing we have to the earliest book of Jesus' sayings; and certain manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark, the earliest-written of the New Testament gospels.

The Gospel of Thomas is not a narrative of Jesus' ministry, as the Big 4 gospels are (note that I said they are "narratives", not "chronicles"), but it's a book of 114 sayings attributed to Jesus. There's no philosophizing, no rhetoric, just what he is supposed to have said. If Jesus had performed extraordinary, mind-blowing acts -- miraculous healings, raisings of dead people, rising from the dead himself -- wouldn't those stories have comprised the core of the earliest book about him??? Instead, the book contains his teachings. This indicates that the tall tales about him were piled on later, and that they escalated as the political situation deteriorated and as certain sects of early Christianity sought to increase their ranks of believers in opposition to the tyrannical rule by Rome.

The Gospel of Mark: the most reliable early manuscripts end at Mark 16:8 -- the part where three women are too frightened to tell anyone they'd seen a young man in a white robe who had told them Jesus was risen from the dead and was on his way to Galilee. Period. The end. Not very strong evidence for a resurrected Christ -- just a guy next to an empty tomb (from which the body might have been stolen, for all they knew). Various other manuscripts tag on various endings about sightings and teachings of a risen Christ; the two most common are referred to as "the shorter ending" and "the longer ending". But it's obvious to scholars that the endings came from different writers than the writer of the preceding text. The Gospel of Mark is said to have been written during the Jerusalem war of circa AD 70, and the 3 longer ones in the New Testament came later (with even more fanciful stories and philosophies in 'em). So, yeah, no matter what Guest from Sanity thinks, people did "make up" stuff about Jesus -- more and more as time went on. (Ever read the Gospel of Peter? Now there is a pretty fantastic story!)

Let's not forget that a lot of the writings of various sects of early Christianity were condemned as heresy for the reason that they didn't agree with the beliefs of the most outspoken sects hundreds of years after they were written. So, yeah again, lots of people were making up lots of different stories about Jesus' acts and teachings, and what they meant.

Let's face it, an illogical, unrealistic illusion of a risen-from-the-dead, risen-into-heaven God-Son is a much more attractive thing for which to martyr oneself than a real, boring story of some guy who walked around and said stuff.


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