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The author of the Raw Story article on historical Jesus, Valerie Tarico, omitted important parts of her article in her Raw Story iteration so I wanted to put out this correction and make a few comments about why I write on the topic of Jesus.

First of all, I should have spent more time on the diary and found the original blog. That context, see below, would have helped keep the diary on a different respectful trajectory. I blame busy schedule but I should have done better so my apologies for that and for causing the ensuing shitstorm.

That said, this topic should be valid for debate, particularly how the the Orthodox version, the basis of most modern Christian denominations, omitted Mary Magdalene as a disciple and partner of Jesus, then branded her a whore, and started Christianity on a path of historical genocide. That is one of many edits to the story of Jesus by the Orthodox and only one version can be historically accurate.

The fact that the story was changed so drastically and that competing sects had such different versions of the same story, shows that early Christians were in the business of religion building, perhaps in relation to the Roman devastation of Israel that started around 70CE. That fact is in and of itself important to the debate about the existence of Jesus: was he created out of whole cloth or his story inspired by other apocalyptic preachers of the time for religion building purposes? Again, only one of the versions of Christianity can be historically correct as they are diametrically opposed (Gnostic vs Orthodox).

Ms Tarico's blog with the original article is here.

Whether she, who is not an antiquities scholar, or the "mythicists" as Dr Ehrman likes to call scholars who question the historical Jesus, are right about the historical Jesus is still an open question. Neither side is yet proven to be valid. But it is a topic that should be open to debate without such vitriol as was displayed after my rather short "messenger" diary.

Anyhow, the most important correction to point out: the Raw Story version did take Dr Ehrman out of context.

Raw Story version:

1. No first century secular evidence whatsoever exists to support the actuality of Yeshua ben Yosef.  In the words of Bart Ehrman: “What sorts of things do pagan authors from the time of Jesus have to say about him? Nothing. [snip]
Tarico's blog version:
In the words of Bart Ehrman (who himself believes the stories were built on a historical kernel):

“What sorts of things do pagan authors from the time of Jesus have to say about him? Nothing. [snip]

So the blog version tells we non-scholars that this is an out of context snippet from Dr Ehrman while the sensationalist Raw Story version omits it. Not cool.

The Ehrman quote is itself from his book Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium. He has a later book dedicated to taking on the "mythicists": Dr Ehrman believes in the historical Jesus and his expert opinion on the matter is important to take into account. His next book continues with this as he looks into oral traditions that precede the earliest writings of Paul (I think).

I will leave it to the scholars to hash out whether Jesus existed or not but it is amazing in and of itself that the debate is happening at these highest levels of scholarship at all. It shows to me as a layman that it is possible that Jesus didn't exist, which is amazing considering the historical trajectory the Catholic Church took the world, and when seen in this context of religion building that was rampant at this point in history, it shows that anything is possible. Again, Elaine Pagels description of how the "Orthodox" christians vastly changed the Gnostic version of early Christianity, banned the other sects, and proceeded to kill off their competition, including Jews, for hundreds and now thousands of years is important context to the debate on whether Jesus was invented for political  reasons.

This history is important to understand or else such genocidal history can and will repeat itself. It is outrageous that people get branded as bigots or haters simply for searching for and pointing out these historical truths.

For the sake of truth, I wanted to put this correction out there and apologize for putting out her out-of-context version. I will try to do better next time in my search for the truth.

Ms Tarico did herself a disservice to the cause of truth by removing the parts of her article that she removed.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm going to link to what I think is (4+ / 0-)

    probably one of the more comprehensive overviews on the web - the AskHistorians subreddit of, which I have found to be a tightly regulated and even handed view on many topics.

    Particularly, their sections on the historicity of Jesus give a wide ranging spectrum of sources, layman answers and historical context.

    Look, I tried to be reasonable...

    by campionrules on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 07:24:57 AM PDT

  •  Jesus came to the USA on Thanksgiving Day in 2007. (6+ / 0-)

    Jesus crossed into the USA via our southern border.

    Jesus then performed a Thanksgiving Day Miracle, saving the life of Christopher Buztheitner, a 9 year old boy whose mother had just died in a terrible car accident, leaving Christopher stranded and alone in the Arizona desert.

    After performing his miracle, Manuel Jesus Cordova Soberanes was then deported, as an undocumented immigrant.

    Every year, on Thanksgiving Day, this atheist gives thanks to Jesus.

  •  Richard Carrier does a fairly good (0+ / 0-)

    job of countering Ehrman on his insistence that an actual person was at the heart of the gospel accounts. Their online discussions of this are quite long and detailed.  While I have not read this book yet (it's on my list), Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus Christ is a very important read for those interested in this topic.

    I simply think it is VERY important that the doubts about the existence of "Jesus" not only be discussed, but publicized highly, if for no other reason than the numbers of people now and in history (millions) that suffer(ed) because people think he's real and that the acts and deeds attributed to him are real as well.

    •  you have a link? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


    •  I think that the question whether Jesus existed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, Lujane

      is profoundly uninteresting.

      If he did not exist, somebody has to explain how he got a sufficient following for the Romans to persecute in the 30 years or so from when he was not crucified until Nero blamed them for the great fire in Rome.

      If he did exist, there is still the problem that we know almost nothing for sure about what he did or taught.

      But so what? Somebody said them, and we have to evaluate them.

      I look at the teachings of Jesus from a Buddhist point of view. The miracles and the theology have nothing to tell us about the problem of suffering in the world, except as an allegory that can be compared with the Bodhisattva vow in Buddhism. (Giving up Heaven, or Nirvana, for oneself in order to save all sentient beings.)

      His supposed moral teachings are not correct because he said them. They are correct if we can try the experiments for ourselves and replicate his results.

      We have ample evidence that loving your neighbor works, with the widest possible meaning of neighbor on this planet. Except of course if you believe in inequality and oppression because you are the rich and powerful oppressor, or you have been promised crumbs by the rich and powerful. Then loving your neighbor of course does not put you on top, and is a total failure.

      No divorce except for adultery was a dismal failure, the height of inhumanity to women.

      I could go on.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 10:36:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  re buddhism (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        it is important for people to know about the gnostic vs orthodox history, which has been proven (Pagels and others).

        you will be interested I'm sure in the possible buddhist influence of the gnostics (via Thomas who was in the East is the speculation, plus trade had opened to the East at this time and finally Buddhist missionaries possibly had influence)...

        but the orthodox banned anything related to the concept of "christhood" which is a descriptor of the gnostic concept which is much like nirvana.

        this history is important. Jesus ever having existed is another whole layer on this history.

        I am now leaning back toward thinking he existed... not that that matters.... what matters to me is what happened with the gnostics vs orthodox history.

        •  What about the history (0+ / 0-)

          of orthodoxy versus gnosticism is "unknown" in this modern age? We have the Essene writings and a fair picture of their cult and its practices. Among those writings are a host of "apocalyptic" style writings attributed by their authors to this famous prophet or that one who was hundreds of years dead at the time, and chock full of fanciful 'miracles' far more imaginative than those mentioned in the NT and attributed to Jesus. All very interesting if you're into that kind of thing, but not particularly 'important' in the overall scheme of things.

          As for some sort of absolute determination of relative "truth" between gnosticism and Christianity at two millennia's distance, that's a pipe dream. Come on, there have been regular big deal Hollywood movies and bestselling books appearing regularly for decades all about how this Jesus guy married Mary the Magdalene and fathered children - the Big Horror per orthodoxy, surely. And without remarking on the fact that the man Jesus was old enough to have been a grandfather in first century Middle Eastern culture by the time he even met the Magdalene (and that is certainly not precluded by the large blanks in his 'official' biographical narrative), has it changed the situation at all? Has Christianity been "defeated?" How many humans care?

          The old "orthodoxy versus heresy" gig is so eye-rollingly dull at this point in history that it's easily ignored now that neither the orthodox nor the heretics has any real power. That's one good thing that came of it per the Christian millennia. Sadly, the Sunni vs. Shi'ia gig is still going strong in the Muslim world. Maybe they'll grow out of it eventually too. If not, eventually the rest of us will just write them off and fence them in, let them work it out amongst themselves. They can apply for civilized status once that's over.

          I have learned one important lesson in my 6+ decades on this planet. You can't make people care about what they don't want to know. There will still be Christians long after you and I are gone. That's a big ol' shrug.

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 11:28:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  sorry but you're wrong (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Elaine Pagels changed my life after I read her book "The Gnostic Gospels."

            as someone who grew up in the South in the Methodist church (relatively liberal but still orthodox) and swallowed the tall tales told to me all my life about christianity, I was pretty amazed to learn that it was all bullshit. Pagels changed everything.

            I had instinctively rejected it anyway but coming across that information solidified my resolve to fight conservative ideology in every way possible, including this way.

            so you're wrong. this information can change people for the better, one person at a time.

            the dogma of the orthodox is based on lies intended to support a centralized, fascist view of the universe.

            the Gnostics taught of an inclusive "christhood" spirituality that any could attain. that's huge, at least to people who consider themselves spiritual. that's basically buddhism.

            i reject what the orthodox have done and will work against it until the day I die.

            •  Good for you. (0+ / 0-)

              I just doubt that your great awakening is or will be particularly 'important' to the whole rest of humanity. I am against the entirety of fascistic ideology in all its myriad forms, in 'orthodoxy' (The Powers That Be) or just in individual people. I do not expect to cure the world of all things human that ail it. In fact, that kind of imagined self-importance would look a whole lot like just another iteration of fascistic ideals.

              There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

              by Joieau on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 11:54:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  its not about me (0+ / 0-)

                and fuck you very much for your condescension. the unraveling of the orthodox was well underway before I added my .02.

                If I can enlighten just one young person to the information in Pagels pages, then I'm good.

                •  You do know that's a blatant (0+ / 0-)

                  no-no on this site, don't you? I cannot HR because it's aimed at me. No one else will HR it because nobody else is reading.

                  It really wouldn't hurt you a bit to grow up.

                  There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                  by Joieau on Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 07:59:25 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I will take my medicine (0+ / 0-)

                    I've been on daily kos since 2004. I'm on my 4th (allowed) UID and I know that rule #1 is "don't be a dick".... in my opinion, a condescending person talking down to someone, being judgmental for their views, fits the model.

            •  Thanks for sharing your story. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              This explains a lot. I find it useful and helpful.

              This is the kind of explanation I had hoped to get with the questions I asked elsewhere in these comments.

              Gnosticator, I get the impression you might feel kind of frustrated about these interactions over the past couple of days ...?

              I know from my own experience that it can feel frustrating to want to share one's enthusiasm about something, only to discover others don't seem very interested. I know it can be frustrating to see something I value criticized or denigrated.

              Something I find it useful to consider sometimes, is whether the circumstances that helped to make something valuable to me are the same circumstances that other people have experienced or are experiencing. Sometimes, if our circumstances are different, the things that will seem most important to us will differ also.

              That's my perspective. Thanks for sharing yours.

              •  nah (0+ / 0-)

                wasn't expecting much... I am just responding to you here... I got "frustrated" when church goers started calling me a bigot for pointing centuries of genocide by orthodox christians.

                I can't help but think you and Joieua are being a bit condescending, even if you aren't doing it intentionally. but that's your prerogative.

        •  There were Buddhist monks in Alexandria (0+ / 0-)

          Sent by a Greek king of Bactria, descended from one of Alexander's generals.  Jews would have had nothing to do with them, and they were mostly a curiosity to Greek philosophers. There is nothing remotely Buddhist in Christian scripture or apocrypha.

          Bactria is much of modern Afghanistan. Hence the Bamiyan Buddhas destroyed by the Taliban. Buddha statues began as repurposed Apollos.

          Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

          by Mokurai on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 11:41:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  sorry you're wrong (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            > There is nothing remotely Buddhist in Christian scripture or apocrypha.

            Read the gospel of thomas or philip.... that anyone can attain gnosis, something NOT allowed by the orthodox, is akin to nirvana... buddhism.

            3. Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father's) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.

            this is well known of the Gnostics.

            •  You might be interested in (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              reading a little Aldous Huxley (and later philosophers in his vein), particularly "The Perennial Philosophy." Or look into some of the work published by Carl Jung's Eranos Society annuals in the early to mid part of the last century.

              The mystical aspects of all the great religions in history - including Christianity - all speak to the same concepts and internal ['gnostic'] experiences, in languages suitable to the times and cultures when and in which they are conceptualized and experienced.

              This has been known for a long time. You believe you have "discovered" it. I think you'd enjoy rounding out your knowledge base a bit now that you are aware. It might even help promote the mission you've taken on if you are able to opine knowledgeably about the ample history of human seeking that has always gone on behind the 'orthodox' scenes.

              Orthodoxies are for governing the masses. They are not geared toward "truths," big or little t.

              There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

              by Joieau on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 12:06:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Gnostic gnosis as they describe it themselves (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              is radically dualistic, and has nothing to do with bodhi or nirvana or anatta or Buddha Nature as described by any of the various kinds of Buddhist.

              Gnosticism appears to be an exclusively Jewish and Christian invention since there are no Gnostic documents from before the Christian period, and it is easy to trace Jewish and Christian ideas in the documents we have.

              Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

              by Mokurai on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 01:02:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  given the rapid spread of Christianity circa (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    70 CE or so, I have always, purely as a personal opinion (before I am accused of not being a historian or archeologist), preferred the idea of several Jesus figures originating during the previous period.

    I note that Revelation is a part of a body of literature known as Apocalyptic.  In other words, there are similar texts from the era belonging to the same school of thought.  Revelation is not unique except it is the only example in the NT.

    By the same token, I believe that several men with similar ideas arose during the same period, since there are some dozen or so self proclaimed Messiahs during that era and that the historical Jesus was an amalgam of these teachers.  Later we have the embellishments and gilding of the legend and the inclusion of the "miracle stories" and various other additions from other religions in the region to make it more palatable to the "pagans" (which was an argument in the very early Church, if pagans could be Christians or if they must first convert to Judaism)

    So that leaves Jesus as a quasi-historical person, such as Robin Hood or King Arthur, who may be based on an actual person but whose life and achievements have undergone massive editorial revision over the centuries  

  •  which Jesus? (0+ / 0-)
    it is possible that Jesus didn't exist
    The guy in the paintings? That guy never existed. That's all made up bullshit.

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 08:08:20 AM PDT

  •  There have always been (4+ / 0-)

    those who deny the existence of Jesus, so I'm having trouble figuring out why you think this current assertion merits so much attention. Just another one, just like all the other ones.

    Think about it. This country is weird and getting weirder by the day with authoritarian bullshit and regular murders by police, who are now an army unto themselves to 'pacify' possible citizen unrest. Which will come, as nobody really expects us all to starve homeless in the streets, and the Masters of the Universe are by no means done stealing everything they can possibly steal. We are being set up, a bit like Judea in the first century c.e.

    When the smoke clears, how many of the individuals who died in the struggle - before and during the final conflagration - will be remembered by history 2,000 years later? Who gets to write the history? Is it possible to edit records if you're the winner who's writing the history? In Jesus' time the Romans were crucifying people in the occupied territories by the hundreds. There was a steady stream of erstwhile "Messiahs" who came and went without much fanfare as the people anxiously sought a savior. That one of these should have been 'lost' to the secular histories written by the victors is not the least bit odd.

    Even your 'experts' don't claim there's nothing about Jesus in Jewish historical records, and there's certainly plenty in the sect's own historical records. The 'church' was extant and active in Judea with headquarters in Jerusalem well before Saul of Tarsus was appointed chief enforcer by the Sanhedrin. Many years before his encounter on the road to Damascus (to do a little 'enforcing' against the Christians there).

    The Jews were meticulous about keeping records of their priests and rabbis' pronouncements, no one really argues about that. Gamaliel's (grandson of Hillel) statement to the Sanhedrin that persecution of the sect was counterproductive is certainly a contemporary record. Do your 'experts' also claim that Hillel and Gamaliel and the rest of the recorded historic Judaic leadership never existed? No. They simply brush it off because they don't want to admit any evidence of historicity written by any contemporary sources who were Jews and/or belonged to the Jewish sect known as "Christian."

    Sorry, but that's sloppy history. And not very impressive even all these years later. There is legitimate argument to be made against what came to be the official biography of the man as Paul turned the sect's particulars into a mission to the broader gentile world through the blatant incorporation of elements of the extent pagan religions he was seeking to overcome. That's quite a fascinating history all by itself, proceeding even as the Romans were destroying Jerusalem (hence it became the version of Christianity that survived).

    So, a question. Why is it so (apparently) "important" for modern anti-religious 'scholars' to deny the very existence of Jesus? Do they really believe that if they can sell this sloppy version of history, Christianity will quietly go away? I'm befuddled as to why anyone thinks this sort of thing is even pertinent - to anything - in the 21st century.

    There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

    by Joieau on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 08:15:34 AM PDT

    •  because the truth matters (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      if there's any chance at getting to the truth, it matters. for a thousand reasons.

      •  And you apparently expect to unearth "the truth" (4+ / 0-)

        One day, maybe we'll unearth a perfectly preserved Hall of Records for Bethlehem and find out that it was staffed by efficient civil servants who took and kept meticulous records - preferably in English - and we'll just have to look at the Book of Births on December 25, Year 0 and voila, we'll either find Jesus or we won't.  And voila - if his name isn't there, it will be viewed as conclusive proof by every living person on the planet, and having disproved Jesus' existence, all of the world's problems will magically disappear.  

        Somehow, the image in my mind is more like Don Quixote and windmills, but please proceed.

          •  Why sugarcoat it? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Catte Nappe, Joieau, semiMennonite

            The truth is what's important.  And the truth is that it's a fool's errand to think that we're going to so conclusively disprove the existence of one man who lived 2000 years ago that every believer on the planet is going to say, "Yep, I'm totally convinced!"  

            (As it's been a fool's errand to think that we're going to find proof of any of the miracles in the Bible or Noah's Ark or any of the other silliness designed to establish or disprove Christianity.)

            And it's probably not logical to believe that if/when Christianity wanes in 500 or 1000 or 2500 years, that there Islam and Hinduism or some new faith pops up in the dominant culture and we get to start the whole process all over again.

            We could learn to distinguish people who do bad things under the guise of religion from religion and put the blame on the former instead of the latter.

            •  Well, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joieau, Darmok

              it's been my observation and experience that a diplomatic approach sometimes yields a useful outcome.

              I had hoped to draw out the diarist in a way that I thought might be helpful for future community interaction.

              If I were the diarist, I would probably interpret some of these comments in ways that would make me less inclined to open up. For me, then, these comments seem to undermine something I had hoped to accomplish.

              Since I did not express my intent explicitly, I can't really complain. I had hoped to steer the conversation more subtly. Didn't work, I guess.

              That was my thought process. Time, now, to get some lunch and get on with the day.


              •  This diarist hasn't shown that kind of openess (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                In the past few days.  And if anything, opinions have hardened considerably after the back and forth recently in the meta diaries. So, because hope springs eternal, a different tack seemed appropriate.

                •  yeah (0+ / 0-)

                  after being called a bigot, I objected. and then when people like you started ad hominem attacks, I objected. not that it matters. ad hominem attacks are particularly effective.

                  this diary is my attempt to stick to the facts and to call out the blogger who sensationalized her Raw Story publication to get more eyes.

                  meanwhile, why don't you stick with rule#1 eh?

            •  wuh? (0+ / 0-)

              > The truth is what's important.

              er, I thought you just went all smug on me about wanting truth?

              as to the "silliness" you reference, there are some historical documents (Josephus and Tacitus in particular) as well as other references of gnostic critics who were criticizing christians (Irenaeus, the orthodox Bishop of Lyons around 180CE)...

              whether they prove anything or whether they are faked is being hashed out by scholars. but you think them "silly" to study such stuff apparently.

              you but have to read to see the issues in this discussion. then maybe you can better wax philosophic. or not. it's a free country.

        •  oral tradition (0+ / 0-)

          ehrman is compiling the oral tradition that might provide evidence to tip the balance.

          right now, the scholars are still hashing out the evidence.

          but you don't care about any of that. you just want to sit there all smug and be a dick. rule #1at daily kos: don't be a dick.

          •  ? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            How does one "compile the oral tradition" for an isolated sub-cult that's been basically extinct for two millennia? I mean, you could of course write it down when you figure out how to write, at which point the "oral" tradition becomes the written tradition - scripture and associated material. The Jews pretty much finished their compilation some hundreds of years before Jesus was born, and the Christians voted their canonical compilations into orthodoxy in the 4th century.

            Plus expositions on what those mean. And debates about their applications. And leadership rulings on those. And more minutia generated in every single generation since than anybody can shake a stick at. People of those traditions (and most others) are still at it today. The Essenes, however, are not.

            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

            by Joieau on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 01:15:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  a couple of questions: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm guessing your username is not coincidence. Does it reflect your interest in this topic?

        How does this topic fit with your other interests in your life and in your writing here at Daily Kos, and how do you see it fitting in with other topics that seem to be of interest to other participants here?

        Thanks, and cheers

        •  yes (0+ / 0-)

          > Does it reflect your interest in this topic?

          > How does this topic fit with your other interests in your life and in your writing here at Daily Kos, and how do you see it fitting in with other topics that seem to be of interest to other participants here?

          I think this topic is a core foundational issue that could stop the uber-conservative juggernaut. I am particularly galled by the conservative movement disregard for coming resource crises due to climate change.

          I also think it important to show how the Establishment democrats are complicit in this.

          What is your purpose in this line of questioning? Are you against me pointing out how the Orthodox killed off their Gnostic counterparts and instituted a false/perverted doctrine?

          Seems that important information for the world...

          •  This is not what is stopping (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gnosticator, quarkstomper, Joieau

            the über-conservative juggernaut. They are losing significant numbers of their own children over issues that matter, not over historical arcana. Jesus is supposed to have taught us to love our neighbors, and the Religious Right teaches hatred and oppression for every neighbor: women, minorities, immigrants, workers, the poor, the young, the old…even each other. Case closed.

            See, for example, The Incredible Shrinking Church, by Frank Page, at one time President of the Southern Baptist Convention. It sort of admits to the problems, while at the same time whitewashing them and saying that the remedy is to become even more Christian. Things got so bad that they officially renounced racism and started recruiting minorities. But they doubled down on misogyny and bigotry and anti-science in the process, so they are continuing to drive enough of their children away to doom the entire enterprise in the long term.

            Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

            by Mokurai on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 10:52:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I can save you a good deal of trouble (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, Darmok, schumann

        None of us will ever know the truth of the matter.

        Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

        by ricklewsive on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:27:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oddly enough, (5+ / 0-)

        I don't think it's "truth" you are actually looking for, nor in this instance do I see that the "truth" about the man named Jesus even matters. Lord knows it didn't matter for the last 2,000 years.

        Gnosis, that which your user name is (I'm guessing) based upon, is direct, subjective 'knowledge' by virtue of direct, subjective experience of what we could call "The Ineffable." Do you experience that? Do you have any kind of grand message for humanity that "The Ineffable" has imparted to you? I mean, beyond your belief that the man named Jesus never existed, because that's pretty much a shrug at this point in history.

        Of all the religious bottom lines in all the man-made religions boasting avatars that may or may not have ever really existed, in all the centuries and millennia of human questing, I sincerely doubt the Grand Message is ever going to get any simpler or more effective - if it were actually practiced instead of just preached - than the one we have inherited from the man named Jesus. Whether he existed or not matters not a whit to that truth.

        "Love one another." If humanity could just accomplish that one simple thing, all our troubles and travails would disappear almost overnight. That has always been true, thus qualifies as "truth." Even big-t Truth. Yet here we are, completely unable to do that, forever corrupting it into just another excuse for our overwhelming pride and bottomless greed. I long ago began to suspect we're evolution's stupidest mistake. We'll be gone soon enough.

        There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

        by Joieau on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:29:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There is simply no reason to believe that Jesus of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, Deward Hastings

      Nazareth did not exist.
         In order to believe in the non-existence of Jesus, you have to disregard first, the Gospels. The Gospel of Mark dates to 60-70 AD, or ~30 years after the death of Jesus. And it is fairly clear that Mark used pre-existing records.
         Paul of Tarsus engaged in theological disputes with Peter, one of the original apostles, and with James, who Paul identifies as the brother of Jesus. That James is a historical character is verified by Josephus.
         There is a passage in Josephus describing Jesus, but it may be a later interpolation.
         Likewise, Tacitus describes the persecution of Christians by Nero, and informs the reader that "Chrestus" had been executed by Pilate in Judaea. Seutonius may have been under the impression that Jesus was alive in Rome at the time of Nero, but he wrote that the Christians had been stirred up by their leader, Christus.
         Contrary to popular belief, the Romans didn't keep detailed records of their actions in occupied lands. Historians were pretty sparse on the ground, too. There were comparatively few Jewish historians around at that time and nearly all histories that may have been written about life in Jerusalem in 30 AD have been lost.
         Only by disregarding all Christian accounts (the Gospels and letters of Paul) and regarding mentions of Jesus by Josephus, Tacitus, and Suetonius as forgeries, does the mythicist case become tenable.
         There is as much evidence for Jesus as there is for Hillel, for Socrates, and for any number of ancient characters that we consider historical. There is far more evidence for Jesus than there is for Alexander the Great (the accounts of his life were written 400 years after his death) or for Caligula.
         Note that there were no Christians before ~30 AD. By 64 AD the Christians were numerous enough in Rome to be considered a nuisance. (Suetonius considered the persecution of the Christians to be one of Nero's "good" acts.)
         The simplest explanation for the sudden appearance and the rapid spread of Christianity is that it had a single founding character who was the inspiration for a number of followers and missionaries.

      •  Oh, I do believe the man existed. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I just can't and don't try to "prove" it for the purpose of doing harm to those who choose not to believe. Belief-in is always a personal choice, each one of us has choices to make in life, and those are none of my business when it comes to others.

        Do I believe Jesus was the fulfillment of all the miraculous deeds of all the religious avatars of every "pagan" belief system that came before him? No. Nor do I care. I can believe to a certain extent the stories of miraculous healing, as I've seen and experienced a bit of that in my lifetime. Weird things do occasionally happen, sometimes they happen more often around certain people. I do not know why. Nor do I care, really.

        I went looking in my younger days, put off of a childhood chock full of varying and somewhat bizarre forms of Christianity in my own parents' quest for something that fit. There's hundreds of 'em out there, take your pick or reject them all. Looked at Buddhism, Hindu manifestations, Shinto, Tao, and a seemingly endless supply of "New Age" weirdness that involve such nutty stuff that it's laughable on the surface.

        Decided in the end that nothing really "New" is ever going to come down the human pike that's ever going to make the message simpler or the practice easier than the primary thing we got from the man named Jesus. Love one Another. After 2,000 years, we are completely unable to do even that. The evil is in us, it is not in the truth that human institutions exist to corrupt. Because humans are so corrupted.

        Why, right here we have a modern mass communications attempt to divert and distract from the truth. And it's not even pretending to be a 'new' religion. It's just another way to pick a fight. Meh.

        There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

        by Joieau on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 10:04:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I see that they did get to you (0+ / 0-)
          The evil is in us, it is not in the truth that human institutions exist to corrupt. Because humans are so corrupted.
          Total Depravity is one of the most evil doctrines put forward in Christianity.

          No, we are not wholly evil, and "completely unable" to love one another. If it were so, no social or political progress would ever have happened. We who do love everybody are just a minority working against systems created by and for corrupt elites. We have, over the centuries, cut back on their powers quite significantly, what with human rights, the rule of law, the buildup of civil society, environmentalism, and so on.

          Jesus is supposed to have compared those who love their neighbors to yeast in bread dough, which cannot be seen, but all of the dough rises. He was wrong. We can see ourselves.

          Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

          by Mokurai on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 11:01:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Scarecrow. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I did not say a single word about "total depravity." I said that the evil that exists in human relations is in us (therefore not in 'the world'). That is true, I see no sense in arguing about it.

            A lion is not 'evil' to kill and eat an antelope. He's just being a lion. A tornado is not 'evil' to destroy a house in its path. It's just wind. A flood is not 'evil' for drowning those who didn't get out of its way. It's just water. An earthquake is not 'evil' for toppling a mountain onto a village. It's just the earth moving. Death is not 'evil' because it is the end result of living. It's just the end result of being alive.

            Evil is a term we invented (because we can) for harmful/deadly deeds done by cognizant beings who had a choice to do something else instead. We are the only beings that we know of who have that kind of choice, and enough abstractive brain power to think up truly heinous deeds to do just for fun. I don't see that there's any good arguments otherwise, do you? Excluding domestic cats, of course. Who might also have the capacity for evil... §;o)

            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

            by Joieau on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 11:48:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  there is also the "Q" ("source") (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        or "sayings" of Jesus to his followers . . . uniform enough across all the Gospels to suggest the existence of such a collection (and multiple copies of it) even though no "original" document exists.  The "Christ" myth (essentially a recounting of mysteries and miracles), however, clearly has little or no rooting in fact . . . that was all "created" at a later date (often by borrowing from other religions) with the clear intention of "selling" to an audience that could never hear the original.

        And that's the root of this "disagreement" . . . who (or what) are we talking about?

        It seems quite likely that there was some one person who either originated or at least collected the "sayings", and established (or was adopted by) an existing "following" in his own lifetime.  Might as well call that person "Jesus".  

        And then there's the whole "Christ" thing . . . clearly fabricated, invented, whatever one wants to call it, well after the (possible) "factual" Jesus was gone. That's the "Jesus" of "virgin birth", "son of god", "miracles", "resurrection" and all the other claptrap that clearly didn't happen and which was added later to re-define and expand the franchise.  That "Jesus" is fiction through and through.

        One of those two almost certainly did not "really exist" . . .

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 10:17:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is for your comparison (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JosephK74, schumann

        With Alexander is that first, you are incorrect. While there's no surviving firsthand accounts, later writers such as Arrian and Plutarch did have the contemporary writings, and specifically referenced those documents, of men such as Onesicritus (who was criticized for exaggerating and bringing in some fables in addition to his eyewitness accounts), Nearchus, Aristobulus, and the biography of Ptolemy, all of whom traveled and fought with Alexander and provided firsthand accounts,

        The second is that there's actual physical evidence. We have coinage minted by Alexander. We have artifacts spread from India to Egypt. We have Ptolemy in Egypt, and contemporary inscriptions showing his gradual move from being a satrap due to the splitting of Alexander's empire to full blown independent king/pharaoh. We have the fall of the Achaemenid dynasty in Persia, and so on and so forth. We have archeological evidence from multiple sources all confirming his existence.

        In other words, we have a ton of evidence from people and things that were there, at the time, who saw stuff happen.

        We've got nothing remotely similar for a historical Jesus. The documents of whom authorship is well established and authentic, Paul, never met Jesus. For all the rest, they don't say where they got their information--unlike the histories of Alexander--they don't agree with each other, and there's nothing save for the writings themselves to verify the existence of a singular historical person who was Jesus.

        No one doubts that a Christian cult existed by the time of Nero, but that doesn't mean that the person they were named after actually did, any more than the existence of Scientologists means there was a Xenu.

        •  the existence of Scientologists does, however, (0+ / 0-)

          support the existence of a "real" L Ron Hubbard.

          You're correct that it says nothing about the reality of Zenu, just as the existence of Christians says nothing about the existence of their mythical "god", or the existence of Hindus testifies to the reality of Krishna.

          Lots of people believe lots of silly stuff.  That doesn't make it true.  But . . . it's also pretty clear that there was some sort of Jesus congregation before Paul turned it into the Christ cult that grew into modern Christianity.

          Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

          by Deward Hastings on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:03:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  why I believe Jesus was a real person (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    there are some very cool, aware things that he said. Those are right there in ye olde Bible. And yet the "followers", from the early days, acted in a way that indicates they either didn't believe what Jesus said or understand it.

    In my opinion (oh great...) those who were spreading the Word should have removed the teachings from the Bible but were too dumb to see what was there.

    If Paul and others had created a fictional Jesus they wouldn't have put all that good stuff in that book. They did put a lot of screwy stuff in there but not anything that was said by Jesus.

    Dear NSA: I am only joking.

    by Shahryar on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:26:13 AM PDT

  •  The Diary Link to Valarie Tarico . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Catte Nappe

    appears to be broken. The original AlterNet article is here. Valarie Tarico's own web page is here.

    "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

    by midnight lurker on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:28:14 AM PDT

  •  Was it her doing, or an editor? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ms Tarico did herself a disservice

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Thu Sep 04, 2014 at 09:33:45 AM PDT

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