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posted by LaminatorX on Saturday April 19 2014, @11:06AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Down-the-hall-to-the-left dept.

Each year, Cahleen Shrier, associate professor in the Department of Biology and Chemistry at Azusa Pacific University, presents a special lecture on the science of Jesus' crucifixion detailing the physiological processes a typical crucified victim underwent based on historical documentation of crucifixion procedures used during that time period. According to Dr. Chuck Dietzen, the Romans favored it over hanging because it was a slow death taking as long as two days making it quite effective for quelling dissent. "It is important to understand from the beginning that Jesus would have been in excellent physical condition," says Shrier. "As a carpenter by trade, He participated in physical labor. In addition, He spent much of His ministry traveling on foot across the countryside."

Evidence suggests that Jesus dreaded his fate. The New Testament tells of how he sweated blood the night before in the garden of Gethsemane. A rare medical condition known as hematohidrosis may explain this phenomenon, Dietzen says. In this condition, extreme stress causes the blood vessels around the sweat gland to rupture into the sweat ducts. While few of these cases exist in the medical literature, many of those that do involve people facing execution.

Crucifixion was invented by the Persians in 300-400 BC. It was developed, during Roman times, into a punishment for the most serious of criminals and is quite possibly the most painful death ever invented by humankind. The Romans would tie or nail the accused to the cross being sure to avoid the blood vessels. While many people envision the nail going into a person's palm, it was placed closer to the wrist. The feet were nailed to the upright part of the crucifix, so that the knees were bent at around 45 degrees. "Once the legs gave out, the weight would be transferred to the arms, gradually dragging the shoulders from their sockets. The elbows and wrists would follow a few minutes later; by now, the arms would be six or seven inches longer," says Alok Jha. "The victim would have no choice but to bear his weight on his chest. He would immediately have trouble breathing as the weight caused the rib cage to lift up and force him into an almost perpetual state of inhalation." Suffocation would usually follow, but the relief of death could also arrive in other ways. "The resultant lack of oxygen in the blood would cause damage to tissues and blood vessels, allowing fluid to diffuse out of the blood into tissues, including the lungs and the sac around the heart," says Jeremy Ward.

Eventually the person being crucified would go into shock and die after organs failed. Medical science can also explain why blood and water spurted out of Jesus's body when a Roman stabbed him with a spear. That was likely a pleural effusion, in which clear lung fluid came out of his body as well as blood. Shrier says Jesus' stamina and strength were, most likely, very well developed so if the torture of the crucifixion could break a man in such good shape, it must have been a horrific experience. "I am struck every time with the stunning realization that as a flesh and blood human, Jesus felt every ounce of this execution," concludes Shrier. "What greater love than this can a man have for his friends?"

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19 2014, @12:31PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19 2014, @12:31PM (#33321)

    "What greater love than this can a man have for his friends?"

    Obviously you've never made love to a man like me.

    • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Saturday April 19 2014, @07:26PM

      by davester666 (155) on Saturday April 19 2014, @07:26PM (#33421)

      Yeah I have. It sucks banging a pasty, fat white guy in a basement.

  • (Score: 2) by d on Saturday April 19 2014, @12:32PM

    by d (523) on Saturday April 19 2014, @12:32PM (#33322)

    While I am not even sure if the person of Jesus actually existed, matching these particular Bible's claims to the facts seems to make sense to me. This makes me wonder - could you explain any paranormal thing this way, or were the descriptions based on an actual crucifixion, not necessarily Jesus's?

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by yellowantphil on Saturday April 19 2014, @02:57PM

      by yellowantphil (2125) on Saturday April 19 2014, @02:57PM (#33343) Homepage

      I'm no historian, but from what I understand, there is good evidence for the existence of a rabbi named Jesus who lived at the time (Historical Jesus [wikipedia.org]). I don't think that Jesus' crucifixion is in much doubt, and in any case it isn't paranormal: plenty of people got crucified back then.

      For that matter, there are plenty of historical accounts in the Bible that hold up to modern scrutiny. The example that comes to mind is the sailing trips in the book of Acts. They are recorded in detail, with trip durations, sailing routes, prevailing winds, and weather. I guess that it matches what we know of sailing in the Mediterranean in that time period very well, so that the simplest explanation for the account in the Bible is that someone actually did hop on a boat and record his travels.

      • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:10PM

        by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:10PM (#33346) Journal

        Did you read your own link? The "evidence" is frankly third and even fourth hand and if it were a court of law it would be tossed right out the gate. if you want to believe in Jesus or Odin or Zoroaster (in fact a LOT of what is attributed to Jesus seems to be lifted from Zoroaster) that is fine and dandy but actual scientific proof that this person existed? Its just not there.

        And frankly that is the most damning evidence of all IMHO, as anybody who has done some reading about the Roman Empire knows that when it comes to paperwork they made the Nazis look sloppy by comparison as they tried to keep records on just about everything....you telling me that a guy walking on water and raising the fricking dead wouldn't have gotten an "FYI" memo or twenty? There are write ups on more than a dozen self proclaimed "holy leaders" stirring up trouble in the area, yet we are supposed to believe that a guy that is supposedly so powerful that blindness and lepers are being cured left and right wouldn't have made a shit-ton of paperwork go flying between Israel and Rome?

        --
        ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
        • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:43PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:43PM (#33363)

          ...There are write ups on more than a dozen self proclaimed "holy leaders" stirring up trouble in the area...

          Were any of these named Brian?

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by sgleysti on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:53PM

          by sgleysti (56) on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:53PM (#33370)

          Ok, I'm with you in basic conclusion, but your second paragraph is a rather amorphous argument from silence. Josephus would be a better choice, as he listed messianic claimants in Judea (more specific), and the passage about Jesus in that section is an obvious forgery. Another is the impossible dating of Jesus' birth in Luke, which runs into actual Roman records on Herod's death and Quirinius' time of service in the government, not a lack of records.
           

          I say all of this because, to the religious mind, such things are easily ignored. It is better to use the book against itself. For instance, the account of the afterlife in Job 3 is markedly at odds with that in Daniel 12 or Revelation 20(? near the end); Job 3 even says, in verse 17, "there the wicked cease from their turmoil" -- contra Jesus in Luke 13:28. The view of the afterlife we get after the Jews spent time in Babylon is totally different from the view in pre-Babylonian scripture, because in Babylon they had contact with Zoroastrianism (as you mentioned), which has heaven and hell and forces of evil warring against god and so on.
           

          Even that, my dad wouldn't buy, perhaps because it involves accounts and theories about history that are not biblical. Perhaps conflicts among gospel accounts would work better -- the birth narratives and resurrection accounts have several irreconcilable inconsistencies. Jesus ascends from Bethany, Galilee, and a mount near Jerusalem, depending on who you read. In Mark, he tells the disciples to go to Galilee, and in Acts (I think) he tells them to wait in Jerusalem -- you can't do both! In Acts he waits 40 days to ascend, while in the others, he doesn't seem to. Judas hangs himself in one account, but in another he falls and his guts spill out. Different groups of women go to the tomb in each gospel, see something different, and do something different in response to what they see. The events of the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke could not all have happened in the time span allotted, and so on. This is just from memory...
           

          There are places where Jesus or Paul seem to believe that the end of the world is coming very, very soon. 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 is a good example. Luke 21:32 (and context) is another.
           

          The problem of evil is another good one, as it is an inconsistency in the character of god himself. It's also helpful to note that god supposedly loves mankind, but still sends people to hell if they don't believe in Jesus, even though a majority of people will die without hearing about him. This makes sense for an apocalyptic prophet who believes the world will end soon speaking to "god's chosen people," which is a limited set; Jesus says things like "give up everything and follow me." All of this makes a lot less sense in our world.

        • (Score: 2) by Bot on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:54PM

          by Bot (3902) on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:54PM (#33372) Journal

          > you telling me that a guy walking on water and raising the fricking dead wouldn't have gotten an "FYI" memo or twenty? There are write ups on more than a dozen self proclaimed "holy leaders" stirring up trouble in the area, yet we are supposed to believe that a guy that is supposedly so powerful that blindness and lepers are being cured left and right wouldn't have made a shit-ton of paperwork go flying between Israel and Rome?

          And what the purpose of the paperwork was? Making things easy for future historians or keep the empire safe and sound?

          Having been a Roman authority I would have not advertised left and right the fact that a powerful guy with great appeal to the masses was not on my side. So the memo would have been confidential.

          Instead, the "false messiah of the week" could be treated differently.

          In other words, conclusions can't be drawn until all possible objections are proved wrong. The crucifixion study itself is not applicable to the Jesus situation because the hypothetical guy had had a hypothetical flagellation and he might have died even before getting the first hypothetical nail.

          Happy Easter!

          --
          Account abandoned.
          • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Monday April 21 2014, @03:44AM

            by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Monday April 21 2014, @03:44AM (#33839) Journal

            Are you SERIOUSLY telling me you would let such a person GAIN in strength and followers instead of calling for aid? And this guy is traveling so its not like you could just keep your mouth shut and hope nobody found out because if you don't get on top of this the regent the next town over may tell Rome "We got a big mess on our hands and this fucknuts let it get out of hand, maybe you should seriously have a talk about how he is doing his damned job" and rat you out. Not to mention there are plenty of examples in the historical record of local leaders doing exactly that, calling Rome to send some extra troops and squash shit before it got unruly.Hell even WE do that shit this very day, see the troop surge. Shit gets out of hand, you call the cavalry and get more boots on the ground, this is military 101 and is as old as dirt.

            So I'm sorry but there would be no logical or even illogical reason for a leader who was NOT a follower of Jesus to not sound the alarm and call Rome, if for no other reason than to have some troops from a nearby outpost sent to help restore order. And again you really can't have the story without the miracles...you telling me the Romans wouldn't have paid DAMN good money for a guy that could heal the sick and raise the fricking dead? Hell if for no other reason to do like Pharaoh did with Moses and say "okay, lets see what you can do".

            --
            ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
            • (Score: 2) by Bot on Monday April 21 2014, @05:05PM

              by Bot (3902) on Monday April 21 2014, @05:05PM (#34052) Journal

              > Are you SERIOUSLY telling me you would let such a person GAIN in strength and followers instead of calling for aid...

              I said the report would have been confidential. Confidential, as in the latin verb confido, could have been verbal communication, for two reasons 1. same speed as written communication, in those times. 2. Writing down "We have a guy that by way of his powers shows our belief system is a sham and that our Caesar is a nobody" and send it across the empire, with all connected risks, is terribly stupid.

              --
              Account abandoned.
              • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Tuesday April 22 2014, @04:47AM

                by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Tuesday April 22 2014, @04:47AM (#34251) Journal

                Sorry but I call bullshit. Most likely the regent (unless he saw it with his own eyes) would think the "miracles" were a scam and would have written something like "We have this magician that is passing himself off as the son of God and using his tricks to gain an army. We need you to send group X from outpost Y to come put a big stop to his ass before things get out of hand. Please advise as to what action to take until the troops arrive, because there is the risk of rebellion if we go in underpowered. Awaiting reply".

                Remember one of the BIG force multipliers Rome had was their signal network, which allowed a message from the farthest outpost to reach the heart of the empire in less than 2 weeks. In an era where a message could take years to get from one side of the country to another? That gave them a HUGE military advantage. This network wasn't encrypted so the proper way to word shit without losing one's job would be SOP and well known and again, there is NO reason not to call for aid before shit got out of hand. Remember they were the occupying force in the country so quashing rebellion would have been job #1 for any regional leader.

                --
                ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
                • (Score: 2) by Bot on Saturday April 26 2014, @10:34PM

                  by Bot (3902) on Saturday April 26 2014, @10:34PM (#36717) Journal

                  I dunno when Rome needed to send reinforcement so urgently that a courier with a confidential message was out of the question.

                  Are you talking about before the crucifixion, where Jesus behaved more or less like John the Baptist who did not pose much of a threat, physically?
                  When his life was exchanged for Barabba's? (now THIS is something I would not have advertised upstream)
                  Or after the crucifixion, when his followers begin to go around and behaved like Jesus and John? But then we start having documents...

                  You might not like my hypothetical scenarios, I don't like yours.

                  --
                  Account abandoned.
                  • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Sunday April 27 2014, @12:43AM

                    by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Sunday April 27 2014, @12:43AM (#36734) Journal

                    You have to remember you are reading the SANITIZED version of events, for something closer to the source read the gospel of Thomas (oldest copy less than 200 AD) and the gospel of Judas (oldest copy less than 130 AD) that paint a FAR different picture. in fact if you consider Judas to be a reliable witness then Judas was trying his damnedest to push Jesus into the role of liberator of Israel and thought right up until it was too late that Jesus would incite the followers to overthrow the occupiers.

                    If you read about the history of the book itself, instead of the text that has been censored and rewritten probably a dozen times? its pretty damned fascinating. I believe it was the king of Constantinople that finally put his foot down in, again IIRC, the late third century that basically told the priests "get the story straight or I'll have you hanged" that forced the priests to come together and decide on a "true" book which caused a LOT of what was in there before to be tossed because groups within the clergy objected to this part or that part.

                    But in any case you have several other supposedly "lesser" leaders named in texts of that period, yet somebody that again was healing the sick and which according to the gospel had throngs lining up just to touch his robes didn't even get an "FYI", when what he was preaching was in direct opposition of the state sponsored religions which were frankly making serious bank for the occupiers? I'm sorry but that just isn't believable, not when we can see what actually did get written up by the lackeys of Rome back then.

                    --
                    ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
        • (Score: 1) by artman on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:59PM

          by artman (1584) on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:59PM (#33373)

          And nobody in government has ever covered something up.

          Before you ask no I did not read the link.

          --
          No Sig for me Thanks
        • (Score: 2) by umafuckitt on Saturday April 19 2014, @05:58PM

          by umafuckitt (20) on Saturday April 19 2014, @05:58PM (#33397)

          you telling me that a guy walking on water and raising the fricking dead wouldn't have gotten an "FYI" memo or twenty?

          That's not what he seems to be saying. He seems to be talking about a historical figure upon whom myths of miracles were latter added. He seems to be saying that there were no miracles. So nothing for the Romans to write down. At most the Romans might have recorded the existence a new Judaic sect/cult and have also recorded the execution of its Rabbi. Then again, there were lots of similar cults around that time.

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19 2014, @08:05PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19 2014, @08:05PM (#33429)

          FTFS: As a carpenter by trade
          That is not even what the "original" Greek texts say.
          Those say "tekton": literally "hand worker". [google.com]
          There is no evidence (again, given the 4th-hand nature of what was written many years after he was dead) that his daddy owned a carpenter shop or even any tools.
          The modern version of "tekton" would be "day laborer" or "hired hand".

          The "evidence" is frankly third and even fourth hand
          The first mention of "Jesus" by A LEGIT HISTORIAN was in 94CE. [google.com]

          -- gewg_

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by Buck Feta on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:44PM

        by Buck Feta (958) on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:44PM (#33366) Journal
        >> rabbi named Jesus

        This is merely a confusion in the translation. It was a rabbit named Jesus rather than a rabbi. This explains much of the modern traditions of the Easter Bunny (Jesus), bringing eggs (salvation) and chocolate (eternal bliss), with the proviso that children (mankind) must search for his gifts and accept the reality of his existence.

        >> hop on a boat and record his travels

        I think the hopping is the clincher in proving my theory. Dan Brown eat your heart out.
        --
        - fractious political commentary goes here -
        • (Score: 1) by yellowantphil on Saturday April 19 2014, @04:13PM

          by yellowantphil (2125) on Saturday April 19 2014, @04:13PM (#33379) Homepage

          I stand corrected. Thank you, Mr. Feta, and may the Bunny bless you.

          • (Score: 1) by Buck Feta on Saturday April 19 2014, @04:25PM

            by Buck Feta (958) on Saturday April 19 2014, @04:25PM (#33383) Journal

            And His chocolatey blessings upon you, good sir.

            --
            - fractious political commentary goes here -
        • (Score: 2) by Lagg on Saturday April 19 2014, @06:54PM

          by Lagg (105) on Saturday April 19 2014, @06:54PM (#33411) Homepage Journal

          I hope all of you that were responsible for this not being +5 are hard boiled in hell.

          --
          http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by sgleysti on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:02PM

      by sgleysti (56) on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:02PM (#33344)

      or were the descriptions based on an actual crucifixion, not necessarily Jesus's?

       

      I think this makes the most sense. The gospels peg Jesus' followers as uneducated Palestinian Jews, while the writers of the gospels were literate Greek speakers. The gospels were written anywhere from 40 to 70 years after the crucifixion supposedly happened, and they show signs of literary embellishment and borrowing from other myths.

       

      As an example of literary embellishment: Mark's gospel was written first. It has no birth narrative, and the resurrection account is fairly simple -- at the tomb, the women find a boy in a white robe (literary device to represent an angel) who tells them Jesus isn't there. Matthew and Luke have conflicting birth narratives, both as regards the date (look up a guy named Quirinius) and the events that took place. Furthermore, the tomb scene in Matthew involves an earthquake and a legion of Roman soldiers who are paralyzed by an angel. No other accounts mention this.
       

      If these things interest you, there is good material available on it: Debates on the resurrection between Mike Licona (evangelical christian) and Bart Ehrman (agnostic, former evangelical) and, separately, Richard Carrier (atheist) are quite good. Licona is more thoughtful in his argument and far more fair in debate than a blowhard named William Lane Craig, who debates the same topic.
       

      Richard Carrier and Robert Price both write for the mythicist position, which states as you do that Jesus probably didn't exist. My favorite book on this topic, however, is "The Myth of the Resurrection" by Joseph McCabe. I share his sympathy with the mythicist position and also his belief that there may have been an itinerant preacher in Judea at the time who was later embellished into the Jesus we know.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Ethanol-fueled on Saturday April 19 2014, @02:20PM

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Saturday April 19 2014, @02:20PM (#33338) Homepage

    Author Thomas Harris (of Hannibal Lecter fame) made frequent references to religion's past in his novels, which is no surprise since he attended and graduated from Baylor. Choice excerpts:

    " 'Another anomaly is that the figure is nailed to the cross through the wrists rather than the palms...You've got to nail them through the wrists and use big wooden washers, otherwise they get loose and start flapping...Our Savior was actually nailed through the wrists. All the Crucifixion paintings are wrong. It's a mistranslation between the Hebrew and Latin Bibles.'

    '...recreational flayings are always conducted with the victim inverted, so that blood pressure is maintained longer in the head and chest and the subject remains conscious. '

    'I collect church collapses, recreationally. Did you see the recent one in Sicily? Marvelous! The facade fell on sixty-five grandmothers at a special mass. Was that evil? If so, who did it? If he's up there, he just loves it, Officer Starling. Typhoid and swans - it all comes from the same place. ' "

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by TrumpetPower! on Saturday April 19 2014, @02:32PM

    by TrumpetPower! (590) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Saturday April 19 2014, @02:32PM (#33340) Homepage

    Hate to break it to ya, but Jesus is every bit as much a fictional character as any other ancient Mediterranean pagan demigod.

    We have a very extensive contemporary record of that time and place, and not the slightest hint of a parenthetical mention of Jesus, anybody who could reasonably be mistraken for Jesus, or any of the spectacular events of the Gospels.

    The Dead Sea Scrolls, for example, are an huge cache of the actual pieces of paper and parchment penned by apocalyptic messianic Jews living in and around Jerusalem, spanning a period from well before to well after the first third of the first century. They include the portions of the Hebrew Bible which Christians claim were prophecies of Jesus's coming; beatitudes (but not those beatitudes); commentaries on laws and justice; more prophecies; discourses on war; and lots more things that Jesus made divine proclamations about or was otherwise relevant to. Yet there's not even a scribbled note in a sidebar about how such-and-such a passage is more or less significant in light of Jesus.

    And there's Philo, an Hellenized Jewish philosopher who would have been Joseph's age. He was a brother-in-law (or some variation thereon -- I can never figure out how to name those types of relationships) of the King Herod Agrippa whom the Gospels have as the reigning king in Jerusalem during Jesus's ministry. Philo was not merely a prolific author who mentioned all sorts of contemporaries and events; he was the philosopher who incorporated the Greek Logos into Jewish thinking. The Logos, for those not familiar, is the Word of John 1:1, the divine creative and communicative force that was personified by the pagans in Mercury...and by the Christians in Jesus. Philo's last writing was an account of his participation in an embassy of Jews to Rome to petition Caligula about the unjust treatment of Jews at the hands of the Romans, including wanton executions. And yet Philo never mentioned the human embodiment of the philosophy he himself invented; never mentioned the perfect example of Roman injustice in his attempts to prevent further injustices; and certainly never mentioned any of the spectacular, earth-shattering world-shaking events of the Gospels.

    And we're just getting started! Pliny the Elder, who was fascinated with all things supernatural, never mentioned this actually-real miracle worker who was his contemporary. Not a single one of the Roman Satirists, whose stock in trade was the type of political scandal that the Gospels describe of the Trial and the incident with the moneychangers and the like, mentioned any of that, despite it being far more notorious and juicier than anything they actually had to work with. No contemporary recorded the physically-impossible eclipse or the devastating regional earthquake. And on and on and on and on.

    When we finally do get mentions of Jesus, they're all written decades, generations, even centuries after the "fact," and they're full of wild fantasies about magic and zombies and anachronisms and just plain bullshit. Hell, they don't even pretend to be serious accounts; they open with "I heard it from a friend of a friend of my sister's boyfriend's cousin's hooker's in-laws, so you know it's true!" formulations, and regularly feature ancient fictional devices such as detailed omniscient third-party accounts of internal dialogue or conversations between two people in private.

    Far more damning are the earliest attempts by Christians to defend their faith. Justin Martyr, for example, devoted much of his First Apology to the thesis that the reason why Jesus looked just like all the Pagan demigods that came before was because evil demons with the power of foresight knew Jesus was coming and so, in order to lead honest men astray, started the Pagan stories of demigods so Jesus would seem like a Johnny-come-lately. And he was quite detailed and explicit in the comparisons, too. Perseus was born of a virgin; Bacchus turned water into wine; Æsculapius healed the sick and raised the dead; Bellerophon Ascended unto the Heavens; Mercury was the Word personified; and so on. Indeed, once you gather together all the analogies Martyr quite rightfully made, there's nothing left of Jesus that's original.

    That takes us to the Pagan reaction to the Christians -- which was one of universal scorn and derision. Pagans saw the early Christians as the exact same type of batshit fucking insane nutjobs that we today see the Raelians or the Branch Davidians or the like. Worse for the Christians, Lucian of Samosata even wrote a delightful little bit on the passing of Peregrinus, a notorious cad who, amongst his many exploits, convinced the Christians he was one of their own and then proceeded to give them many new revelations of his own that were really just stolen from Pagan myths. To add even more insult to injury, Peregrinus's biography amongst the Christians is a loose fit for Paul's -- and, in the case of Paul, we can know for certain that Paul not only is the source of the Eucharist but that he himself stole it from the Mithraism of his home town of Tarsus.

    So when something like this comes out, purporting to tell the "real" story of the "real" Jesus...well, pardon me if I just roll my eyes the same way any of us would if somebody tried to tell us the "real" story of the "real" Darth Vader. Haven't we grown out of that sort of thing by now?

    Cheers,

    b&

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by cx on Saturday April 19 2014, @02:56PM

      by cx (239) on Saturday April 19 2014, @02:56PM (#33342)
      Man, you nailed it.
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by sgleysti on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:16PM

      by sgleysti (56) on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:16PM (#33351)

      Ok, you've obviously read about this. Can you list some reading material?
       

      My favorites so far are "The Myth of the Resurrection" by Joseph McCabe and "Atheism and the Case Against Christ" by Matthew McCormick. I've also read "The Christian Delusion" by Loftus and others and "Not the Impossible Faith" by Richard Carrier. Robert Price has some good lectures on youtube, but I haven't read his writings yet.
       

      I grew up in fundamentalism and read my way out. Reading "Coming to Peace with Science" in college (harmonizes faith and evolution) was a helpful first step. When, sometime after college, I read about Evolutionary Psychology, I found an account of human nature with far more explanatory power than anything in christianity. This opened the door to doubt, and I started reading books like the above. I'm glad to be free.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by TrumpetPower! on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:53PM

        by TrumpetPower! (590) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:53PM (#33371) Homepage

        The best sources are the original ones, and they're all readily available online in decent English translations.

        If you're not already familiar with the usual lists of ancient sources that mention Jesus that apologists regularly trot out, Google will help you find one.

        And Google will also get you to the full, original text -- which, though it will often (but frequently not) actually mention Jesus, the way it does so is not at all consistent with the apologetic narrative that this is something that really did happen.

        A few particular examples worth mentioning:

        Josephus wasn't even born until years after the latest possible date of the crucifixion. And he never actually wrote anything about Jesus; we know this because later authors bemoaned the fact that he didn't. The Testamonium Flavanium is a well-known forgery by the hand of Eusebius. The other oft-cited passage is a reference to Jesus bar Damnaeus, the high priest who was a son of a high priest. "Jesus" was a rather common name in those days, and remains just as popular today in its modern form of "Joshua." Literally translated, it means, "YHWH's personal salvation / savior."

        You might start with Martyr's First Apology, not typically on the lists given by the apologists because he was a Christian. Martyr clearly and unambiguously sets out all the evidence necessary to know that there's nothing original about Jesus and that there was shameless and very knowing copying at play. Martyr just gets the arrow of time worng, is all. (And his lunatic explanation, best I know, remains the official one of the Church to this day for why those parallels exist.)

        And then move on to Lucian. It's a short, entertaining read, and it gives you the how for the what that Martyr lays out. And it's not merely entirely plausible but exactly how we still to this day see new religions being invented.

        Pliny the Younger's letters to Trajan are also great for putting things in context. You really get a feel for just how crazy and bizarre the early Christians seemed to their contemporaries. The only reason Christianity doesn't seem so bizarre today is because we're engulfed by it.

        Also take some time to re-read the Gospels themselves. Magic tricks galore, and all sorts of fantastic spirits running amok. There're zombies everywhere, including a mass invasion of downtown Jerusalem at the moment of Jesus's death. The climax that we're told contains the reason we're supposed to believe all this...has the king of the undead commanding one of his thralls to thrust a hand into his side through a gaping chest wound and fondle his intestines. Seriously? It's like they were trying to one-up each other with the most unbelievable bullshit story that nobody could possibly swallow...and yet people do. Talk about cognitive dissonance! ...that should keep you busy for a while, I should think....

        Cheers,

        b&

        --
        All but God can prove this sentence true.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bucc5062 on Saturday April 19 2014, @08:53PM

          by bucc5062 (699) on Saturday April 19 2014, @08:53PM (#33437)

          In our attempt to discredit Jesus, are we perhaps shooting the messenger while missing the message. Remove the "magic" and you still some deep, profound, and meaningful ways to life and live with others. The message may have been served up in prevalent allegory and storytelling manners, but it carries throughout time. Love your neighbor, be kind to strangers, greed is bad, give and you receive more back. These are important ideals and if you look around the world today, we could not hurt by looking at them and spending less time proving the actual existence of Jesus.

          The Tao was written 3000+ years ago, do we argue over who really wrote it, or what it means, does it add or have value in our lives. Jesus existed or not, it will never be proven and that is what is the corner stone of Faith. Those that cling to the "man" and ignore the word miss the whole message.

          --
          The more things change, the more they look the same
          • (Score: 2) by TrumpetPower! on Saturday April 19 2014, @10:05PM

            by TrumpetPower! (590) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Saturday April 19 2014, @10:05PM (#33457) Homepage

            While you can extract a few out-of-context aphorisms from the Gospels that make not-miserable sound bites, you can do the same with any text -- even Mein Kampf.

            In the Bible, we read that Jesus will be returning Real Soon Now to literally bring about Armageddon, to "rescue" all his true followers and lay waste to all that remain, and that those who aren't his followers are condemned to infinite torture. Worse, he emphatically commands today's followers to do as he himself will do and kill all infidels -- see Luke 19:27. And he very famously came not to bring peace but a sword, to rip families asunder, and on and on and on. Hell, even in the opening verses of the Sermon on the Mount, he condemns to infinite torture all men who've ever looked admiring on a beautiful woman and failed to immediately gouge out their own eyes and chop off their own hands.

            In the midst of all that hate and violence, and in light of the Crusades and the Conquistadors and the Inquisition and the Holocaust (Hitler's anti-Semitism was taken almost word-for-word from Luther, who took it straight from the Gospels and red-letter passages quoted in their full context and obvious meaning) and all the rest, I'd say we'd do ourselves an huge flavor if we stopped trying to extract a few pearls from that steaming pile of rancid shit. We can do -- and have done -- much better ourselves, without relying on the sociopathic rantings of the priests.

            You don't need the Bible to figure out that killing people isn't such a good idea. Indeed, most of the Bible teaches the exact opposite -- that YHWH slaughtered wantonly as did his captains at his orders, and that Jesus is just more of the same but with a bit of lip service paid to pretending to make nice every now and again.

            You wouldn't turn to the Bible for your political science; your cosmology; your biology; or anything else, would you? So why turn to it for your morality when the Bible's moral failings have consequences far more evil than simply thinking that animals used to talk and that magic wands can turn into snakes?

            Cheers,

            b&

            --
            All but God can prove this sentence true.
        • (Score: 2) by moondrake on Saturday April 19 2014, @10:51PM

          by moondrake (2658) on Saturday April 19 2014, @10:51PM (#33467)

          I had not planned on commenting as this discussion as things like this usually end in a yes-no game. Whether the evidence is positive or negative, it is always discredited by others (unsurprisingly with things 2000 years old). Moreover, contrary to a silly comment somewhere above, not a single official Roman administrative document survives from Jerusalem in that time, making it rather hard to say anything about specific (and maybe not all that famous) people.

          But you seem to claim to have read about things, and I very much like your suggestion to read the original sources. I do want to point out that the idea that the Josephus text is a 100% forgery is a minority view [1]. It is with such things very hard to know how much of the text was embellished by later writers, but analysis of the text at least suggest that he did refer to a historical Jesus. The evidence is still tainted obviously. I guess Tacitus is more clean as one of the closest external sources, but that again, the text does not tell us much either.

          Instead of the Gospels, I would start with Paul's letters. He is responsible for a lot of somewhat perhaps unauthentic ideas in Christianity, but he definitely existed, and wrote one of the earliest accounts.

          By the way, deriding 2000 old literature for being somewhat esoteric compared to today's standards is a bit silly...

          [1] Most sources are paywalled or not available digitally. This site is perhaps not fully neutral, but it does give a list of sources and quotes of most of the relevant literature: http://www.bede.org.uk/Josephus.htm [bede.org.uk]

          • (Score: 2) by TrumpetPower! on Sunday April 20 2014, @12:08AM

            by TrumpetPower! (590) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Sunday April 20 2014, @12:08AM (#33481) Homepage

            Even were I to grant the authenticity of the entire Testamonium -- something that seems absurd given the complaints before Eusebius of Josephus's silence on the subject and the novelty of Eusebius's description of it, but never mind -- he would still be irrelevant. Josephus, again, wasn't even born until years after the latest possible date for the Crucifixion, and he was an old man when he wrote his histories -- and we have contemporary sources that should have mentioned Jesus but didn't. (Not the equally-mythical Roman Daily Prefect Briefings, but the ones I already mentioned upthread: the Scrolls, Josephus, Pliny the Elder, the Satirists, etc.) And Josephus also credulously reported on other fantastic figures such as the Jewish Rip van Winkle from the first century BCE, Honi the Circle Drawer. It'd be like citing somebody near retirement at World Net Daily to establish the historicity of Flash Gordon and his efforts to defeat the Kaiser in the Great World War.

            And of course it's a minority position. The majority position is that Jesus really was born of a virgin, really did walk on water, really did resurrect himself as a zombie, and really is sitting on his throne in Heaven just itching to judge the quick and the dead -- and said majority publicly and repeatedly reaffirms as much in weekly loyalty oaths. What makes you think that a majority composed of such deluded fools is going to conclude anything contrary to the dictates of their fantasy? Especially when doing so would mean jeopardizing their salaries at institutions devoted to cranking out yet more Christian propaganda!?

            Cheers,

            b&

            --
            All but God can prove this sentence true.
            • (Score: 2) by moondrake on Sunday April 20 2014, @12:39PM

              by moondrake (2658) on Sunday April 20 2014, @12:39PM (#33588)

              I was talking about the opinion among historians (including non-Christians), but never mind... In any case, there is nothing so unusual about a person preaching in 1st century Jerusalem. There were many (in fact, so many that I do not believe that people like Pliny would worry about it too much at the time. It was only after the belief attracted a significant number of followers that it was worthwhile to talk about). To be honest, I do not see a reason to get worked up about whether or not this particular person existed (although again, given the few sources that we have, it is plausible that he did indeed exist).

              Whether this person performed miracles, is a completely different question, and you would be well justified in questioning that.

              • (Score: 2) by TrumpetPower! on Sunday April 20 2014, @01:49PM

                by TrumpetPower! (590) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Sunday April 20 2014, @01:49PM (#33595) Homepage

                I was talking about the opinion among historians (including non-Christians), but never mind...

                The overwhelming majority of historians who study early Christianity are Christian and employed by seminaries or other Christian institutions.

                In any case, there is nothing so unusual about a person preaching in 1st century Jerusalem.

                Of course not. But Jesus is not and never has been merely a person preaching in first century Jerusalem. Even the earliest author we have, Paul, described him as an eternal divine force from another age who was the ultimate source of love and humanity's only hope for salvation after death. And that same Paul deliberately introduced the Mithraic Eucharist into Christianity; that's not the sort of thing done for some dumb schmuck shouting on a street corner, but it's exactly how syncretic paganism has always worked: you invent a new god, and steal bits and pieces from the other gods representative of the attributes you want in yours.

                It was only after the belief attracted a significant number of followers that it was worthwhile to talk about

                And your evidence supporting this radical and novel theory of theogenesis? Oh...that's right: as nonexistent and / or fabricated as the evidence that Jesus liked getting his intestines fondled through a gaping chest wound.

                To be honest, I do not see a reason to get worked up about whether or not this particular person existed

                If you were instead insisting that Hercules, Perseus, Mithra, Mercury, Bellerophon, and all the rest really did exist and really were real people but they were all just dumb schmucks around whom fantastic legends accrued, would you be surprised when people challenged you on such nonsense?

                That, and it's taken right out of the Christian apologetic playbook, whether you're using it in that way or have simply been taken in by it. Various theologians have known for a long time that Jesus is clearly no more real than Paul Bunyan, but if word of that got out they'd not only be out of a job but facing angry hordes upset at the way they've been duped. So, they erect layers of misdirection, and the "Jesus was a dumb schmuck" is one of the most effective. If you can convince people that even non-believers accept that Jesus was real, it's nothing from that point to, as you're trying to do, move the argument to the nature of the miracles he performed -- and, at that point, the theologians have already convinced you of their Big Lie and won the game.

                Fuck that noise. The question isn't whether Santa brings better presents to rich kids because they're more likely to have been good little boys and girls. The question is why anybody old enough to need to remove a shoe to count her age still buys into that nonsense, except perhaps as an indulgent fantasy game.

                I've provided copious amounts of evidence to support the entirely mundane claim that Jesus was no more real than any other Pagan demigod. All you've offered is implausible assertions that an absurd position -- that this one god out of all the thousands of the history of humanity really was real -- isn't so tough to swallow.

                If you'd like me to take you seriously, I'd urge you to offer up at least some bit of positive evidence to support your claim. Otherwise, all you've got is a fantastic conspiracy theory that some literal nobody whom nobody would even have thought to have mentioned managed to convince the world that he was the Alpha and the Omega, the Word who Spoke the world into existence, the ultimate judge of all humanity...and who, oh-by-the way as an encore, also manage to found and personally serve as the cornerstone of the religion that supplanted the Olympians. That's not just rags-to-riches; that's as fantastic a journey as YHWH spitting on some dirt, fashioning it into a pair of golems, and the pair becoming the ancestors of us all.

                Cheers,

                b&

                --
                All but God can prove this sentence true.
                • (Score: 2) by moondrake on Tuesday April 22 2014, @09:01AM

                  by moondrake (2658) on Tuesday April 22 2014, @09:01AM (#34291)

                  And see what happened. It turned out to be a pointless discussion...

                  >I've provided copious amounts of evidence to support the entirely mundane claim that Jesus was no more real than any other Pagan demigod.

                  No you did not. You merely asserted that the earliest mentions of Jesus were myths, fantasies or fabrications. You cannot prove this.

                  >All you've offered is implausible assertions that an absurd position -- that this one god out of all the thousands of the history of humanity really was real -- isn't so tough to swallow.

                  I have never said that the god was real (and, as an aside, I find it actually a good starting hypothesis to believe some mythical person are real. I do think it is plausible that both Buddha and Mohamed walked this world. What would be the point of going to look for evidence if you do not believe it a priori? We are lucky Schliemann believed (part) of Homer, or we would never have seen Troy.). In fact, I pointed out that was a different question.

                  I have posted a link were you find a list of papers on the subject, several of the most interesting publications are actually from Jewish scholars. But I also admit that, although I have no idea if the majority is Christian, it is likely.

                  But you do not need the link. I can see you have read enough to form an opinion. You will not convinced by their arguments as there simply is no, and _there cannot be a_ 100% proof. History is not an experimental science. If we would follow your rules, you can throw out more than 90% of your history book, because many things (i.e. everything that was written down) in there could have been fabricated or be just stories (and the more far back you go, the more zombies and magic is written between lines with possible facts). Luckily, we do not disbelieve everything that is written and instead form a picture of the past based on interpretation and opinion. And yes, some things might be wrong.

                  But I find it absurd you disbelieve the existence of a person merely because your dislike for (the) religion. Why is it easier to believe that NOBODY was at the core of the story compared to that a nobody was at the core of the story? The second hypothesis is far more simple in my opinion.

                  • (Score: 2) by TrumpetPower! on Tuesday April 22 2014, @01:49PM

                    by TrumpetPower! (590) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Tuesday April 22 2014, @01:49PM (#34383) Homepage

                    No you did not. You merely asserted that the earliest mentions of Jesus were myths, fantasies or fabrications. You cannot prove this.

                    I'm astonished you even think this might be questionable enough to need proof.

                    The Christians have been quite helpful in compiling the best evidence for Jesus into a single volume. Any Christian would be delighted to give you a copy of the book, and you can find one for the taking in many hotel rooms -- or, of course in the library.

                    Turn to the section towards the back labeled, "New Testament." And in it you'll read a story of a man born of a virgin, who did incredible magic tricks like turning water into wine and walking on water and making zombies, who turned himself into a zombie and -- just to prove it all -- had somebody fondle his intestines through a gaping chest wound.

                    If you do not accept that those stories are fantastic, I again urge you to read Justin Martyr's First Apology. In it you will see him repeatedly and emphatically equate Jesus's story with the stories of the pagan demigods whom he and virtually everybody else in the modern world would agree are fantastic fabrications. I would also take this opportunity to deliver to you the sad news that Santa Claus is just your parents, and no amount of clapping will bring Tinkerbell back to life because she's just an imaginary character in a make-believe book; sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

                    Why is it easier to believe that NOBODY was at the core of the story compared to that a nobody was at the core of the story? The second hypothesis is far more simple in my opinion.

                    So you think there was a real Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Paul Bunyan, or Tatiana at the core of their stories? How about Hercules, Mercury, Perseus, Mithra, and Jupiter, all characters whom Martyr accused the Pagans of stealing from the Christians? Maybe you think there's a real Xenu at the heart of Scientology, that the Angel Moroni was some hobo who met Joe Smith behind the woodshed, that Orpheus was a drunken vagabond who couldn't carry a tune to save his life?

                    Credibly explain to me how you think it's "far more simple" that the Olympians really were really real, only somehow exaggerated, and I might stop laughing at your naivete.

                    Cheers,

                    b&

                    --
                    All but God can prove this sentence true.
        • (Score: 1) by JeffPaetkau on Sunday April 20 2014, @12:52AM

          by JeffPaetkau (1465) on Sunday April 20 2014, @12:52AM (#33496)

          I wish I had time to write a the reply your posts deserve. However, in short, you take your point too far.

          Look, if you wish to argue that Jesus was not (is not) God, was not born of a virgin, and did not rise from death, fine. I accept that a extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. But you argue that Jesus did not even exist. On that point, I find your arguments unconvincing.

          Jesus, was a first century peasant who for the most part lived the unremarkable life of a carpenter then for 3 years wandered around Galilee. It would in fact be surprising to see him show up in the "official" historical record. That we have the volume of references to him that we do have and from so soon after his death (much of the new testament was written within living memory) is a testament to how important the early Church regarded him and how quickly it grew from a few dozen people to becoming the official religion of Rome.

          You attempt to argue from silence, and in this case the argument is simply not credible.

          Sure lets argue about his deity but to argue about his existence as a historical person is laughable.

          • (Score: 2) by TrumpetPower! on Sunday April 20 2014, @04:00AM

            by TrumpetPower! (590) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Sunday April 20 2014, @04:00AM (#33525) Homepage

            The problem with the "Jesus was just some dumb schmuck whom nobody would possibly have noticed" theory is that it's violently contradicted by all the evidence we do have.

            I challenge you to name one single first- or second-century source in which Jesus was a mere mortal. Not cherry-pick a sentence in the midst of a faery tale, but one in which the author clearly considered Jesus to be a mere mortal, and so unremarkable that nobody else could reasonably be expected to have otherwise noticed him.

            Hell, I'll even grant you the Gospels stripped of everything supernatural, and the argument still doesn't fly. This is a man who rubbed shoulders and butted heads with all the important people of the era, especially including Pilate and the Sanhedrin. The trial itself was far more scandalous than anything the Satirists or Josephus actually wrote about; the notion that they could possibly have missed anything so deliciously juicy is every bit as unbelievable as that he really did teleport back to the Enterprise in full view of the townspeople after being a zombie for a month and an half.

            Or, alternately: you're suggesting that Jesus was a mere mortal; therefore, any source which clearly claims otherwise is clearly unreliable in the extreme. So we discard all of them...and what do we have left?

            Absolutely nothing.

            Cheers,

            b&

            --
            All but God can prove this sentence true.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Hairyfeet on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:18PM

      by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:18PM (#33352) Journal

      I would only add that the supposed place of his birth didn't even exist until 400 years AFTER he had supposedly died and it was set up by a Christian sect that found a few pottery shards and said "this must be it!" and even then they got it WRONG, as the place they chose was practically on top of burial caves and NO Jewish group would EVAR build their city right on top of burial caves like that because there is nothing more unclean to an Orthodox Jew than corpses.

      Finally there is the simple fact that the Romans were insane when it came to the amount of records they kept and as you rightly pointed out nothing shows up until centuries AFTER he was supposedly killed. When you look at the evidence there is no more proof of a Jesus than there is for Odin or Zeus or the FSM, and plenty more evidence that just like the rest it was a myth.

      --
      ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Saturday April 19 2014, @09:40PM

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Saturday April 19 2014, @09:40PM (#33454) Homepage
        > there is no more proof of a Jesus than there is for Odin or Zeus or the FSM

        As a devout Seventh Day Appendagist, I take offence at that comparison.
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19 2014, @04:13PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19 2014, @04:13PM (#33380)

      A bit over eager there to not see the evidence I think, and an interesting summary of the various ways in which some were not witnesses of someone known as Jesus.

      but these non witness statements can't really support the conclusion you lead out with.

      Contrary quote:

      Most modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed,[5][7][8] but scholars differ on the historicity of specific episodes described in the Biblical accounts,[12] and the only two events subject to "almost universal assent" are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.[9][10][11]

      en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by evk on Saturday April 19 2014, @06:47PM

        by evk (597) on Saturday April 19 2014, @06:47PM (#33409)

        Lots of references, I guess it must the true... Especially since the first thing on the page is: "The neutrality of this article is disputed."

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 20 2014, @10:17AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 20 2014, @10:17AM (#33563)

          It has a lot more authority than the parent poster who thought there was no evidence. But you want historical evidence that is NOT disputed?

          • (Score: 1) by evk on Sunday April 20 2014, @10:47AM

            by evk (597) on Sunday April 20 2014, @10:47AM (#33569)

            Now you're just mixing up the cards. It wasn't a question about if the theories presented in the article are disputed. The actual article is disputed since it's trying to pick a side.

  • (Score: 1) by naubol on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:44PM

    by naubol (1918) on Saturday April 19 2014, @03:44PM (#33365)

    Science and bible verses?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19 2014, @05:35PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19 2014, @05:35PM (#33395)

    a flesh and blood human, Jesus

    It's a lie! Praise Jesus! Jesus Christ bless the holy land of Merika!