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sonofnietzsche
July 5th, 2010, 03:06 PM
Note: I call this "part one" because I only address part of Zhavric's claims regarding Christianity. More later.


Zhavric

Where Christianity is concerned, you atheists out there HAVE to start doing some real research into the Jesus myth.


Dionysus

If all you're going to do is press people to do the research you've claimed you've done (then go on to make unsupported claims against that unsupported claim), then this is a thread that belongs in "Shootin' the Breeze" as there's nothing to debate here.


Zhavric

*sighs*

The explanation of how Jesus didn't exist from Zeitgeist.

Citing the Zeitgeist film is, quite possibly, the worst thing Zhavric could have done. He only succeeds in flushing his credibility down the toilet. I suspect he simply does not know better.

Here is a brief look at what experts on the subject matter have to say.

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"I ended up almost laughing, because the claims it makes are mostly wildly wrong - and in some cases, simply silly." ~ Quote from the historian in the above video.

In my posts, I often cite Dr. Richard Cevantis Carrier. An atheist, Dr. Carrier critiques Christianity more harshly than most historians, scholars and philosophers. In fact, he is one of the few scholars who is even remotely sympathetic to the theory that Jesus did not exist. (Check out: Richard Carrier: Did Jesus Exist? Earl Doherty and the Argument to Ahistoricity).

Carrier dismissed the Zeitgeist film as "so egregiously full of sh*t." He added:


Richard Cevantis Carrier

Zeitgeist: The Movie, which has been thoroughly debunked as absolute garbage by several knowledgeable commentators (the best critiques are catalogued by Jim Lippard at the end of his own blog post on that awful doco). I wouldn't recommend Zeitgeist at all.

Tim Callahan wrote a big piece in Skeptic, which begins:


Tim Callahan, The Greatest Story Ever Garbled

Perhaps the worst aspect of “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” Part I of Peter Joseph’s Internet film, Zeitgeist, is that some of what it asserts is true. Unfortunately, this material is liberally — and sloppily — mixed with material that is only partially true and much that is plainly and simply bogus.


Wikipedia entry on Zeitgeist:

Chris Forbes, Senior lecturer in Ancient History of Macquarie University and member of the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney, has severely criticized Part I of the movie as having no basis in serious scholarship or ancient sources, relying on amateur sources that "borrow ideas from each other, and who recycle the same silly stuff" and "not a single serious source" can be found in official reference lists attached to the movie.[31] Of the film he says "It is extraordinary how many claims it makes which are simply not true."

I could keep going, but I won't. The point is that Zeitgeist is the laughing stock of the scholarly and historical community. That is, of course, when the community even bothers to listen to the joke. As real research reveals, actual experts regard Zeitgeist as "absolute garbage," "bullsh*t," "conspiracy crap," "bogus" and "silly."

Watching this crocumentary is what Zhavric calls "real research"?




Wikipedia entry on Christ Myth Theory

The theory remains essentially without support among biblical scholars and classical historians.


Michael Grant (atheist), Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels,

This sceptical way of thinking reached its culmination in the argument that Jesus as a human being never existed at all and is a myth.... But above all, if we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned. Certainly, there are all those discrepancies between one Gospel and another. But we do not deny that an event ever took place just because some pagan historians such as, for example, Livy and Polybius, happen to have described it in differing terms....

To sum up, modern critical methods fail to support the Christ myth theory. It has again and again been answered and annihilated by first rank scholars. In recent years, no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary.


Will Durant, Caesar and Christ

The Christian evidence for Christ begins with the letters ascribed to Saint Paul. Some of these are of uncertain authorship; several, antedating A.D. 64, are almost universally accounted as substantially genuine. No one has questioned the existence of Paul, or his repeated meetings with Peter, James, and John; and Paul enviously admits that these men had known Christ in his flesh. The accepted epistles frequently refer to the Last Supper and the Crucifixion.... The contradictions are of minutiae, not substance; in essentials the synoptic gospels agree remarkably well, and form a consistent portrait of Christ. In the enthusiasm of its discoveries the Higher Criticism has applied to the New Testament tests of authenticity so severe that by them a hundred ancient worthies, for example Hammurabi, David, Socrates would fade into legend. Despite the prejudices and theological preconceptions of the evangelists, they record many incidents that mere inventors would have concealed the competition of the apostles for high places in the Kingdom, their flight after Jesus' arrest, Peter's denial, the failure of Christ to work miracles in Galilee, the references of some auditors to his possible insanity, his early uncertainty as to his mission, his confessions of ignorance as to the future, his moments of bitterness, his despairing cry on the cross; no one reading these scenes can doubt the reality of the figure behind them. That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so loft an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospel. After two centuries of Higher Criticism the outlines of the life, character, and teaching of Christ, remain reasonably clear, and constitute the most fascinating feature of the history of Western man.


Rudolf Bultmann, Jesus and the Word

Of course the doubt as to whether Jesus really existed is unfounded and not worth refutation. No sane person can doubt that Jesus stands as founder behind the historical movement whose first distinct stage is represented by the Palestinian community.


Robert Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament

Contemporary New Testament scholars have typically viewed their arguments as so weak or bizarre that they relegate them to footnotes, or often ignore them completely.... The theory of Jesus' nonexistence is now effectively dead as a scholarly question.


Graham Stanton, The Gospels and Jesus

Today, nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed and that the gospels contain plenty of valuable evidence which as to be weighed and assessed critically. There is general agreement that, with the possible exception of Paul, we know far more about Jesus of Nazareth than about any first or second century Jewish or pagan religious teacher.

There you have it. Zhavric rests his case on appeals to at least one bogus authority (more on his other sources in Part II). The consensus of actual authorities - professional historians and scholars - reject Zhavric's claims. It puzzles me that an ODN member with over 10,000 posts would commit such a sophomoric blunder.


Zhavric

So believing that Jesus existed (without the supernatural part) is sort of like believing that smoking is healthy (based on studies performed by Big Tobacco).

By now, it should be obvious why this analogy sucks. It is not just the words of the bible, or fundamentalist Christians, that declare Jesus existed. Critical, secular, atheist historians and scholars also accept it as fact. So, it's more like believing smoking does not cause health problem "Z," because nearly every degreed medical professional on the planet says so (while also saying that smoking does cause health problems "A" through "Y.")

It doesn't take a genius to point out the irony.

Some critics describe atheism as a religion. People like Zhavric lend credence to this claim.

Naturally, atheists object to the label of religion. We like to think of ourselves as skeptics. We reject faith and embrace reason. Yet, like a fundamentalist Christian who denies the scientific consensus on evolutionary theory - and instead relies on the long-debunked arguments of kooks and quacks - Zhavric blasts his morally supercilious sermons. It is almost as though he thinks of himself as the messiah of ODN's atheist community. His account was dead, but now it has come back to life, attempting to save us from ourselves.

What he lacks in quality sources, he makes up for with zealotry of a television evangelist. If we would just leave our sinful, "insane" ways behind, he will show us the way, the truth and the light. And this exposes the second layer of irony.

Zhavric would probably tell us that belief in Christianity requires a combustible mix of gullibility, unjustified confidence in unreliable sources, and blind faith in religious spokespeople.

Unfortunately, we would need all of the above in order to believe Zhavric's gospel.