FaithnJC wrote:AMbomb wrote: I don't address the central issue?! You gotta be kidding me! The central issue is the similarity of the Jesus story to earlier pagan godman myths. That's the reason for my conclusion that there was no Jesus. Getting other people to address it has been like pulling teeth! That's why I've had to repeat myself so damn many times! And if you think the life of Jesus is well documented, go look through the Roman archives and see if you can find any mention of him. And when you're finished, you can go through the writings of the 27 pagan writers who lived within a century of when Jesus is said to have lived and see if any of them mention him. That'll take you a while, though. They're writings could fill a library. I know you're a Christian. What you need to do is divorce yourself as much as possible from that and think about what I wrote in the third message from the top of page 5 if you actually read it. And if you didn't, read it.
Ah yes, the similarity of the Jesus story. I am acutely aware of your mantra. As I am acutely aware of your cognitive dissonance. While I understand that you cannot seperate yourself from your presuppositions and therefore will wrongly conclude that Jesus is a myth, I still enjoy this debate.
Let me shed some additional light on this subject. If you care to open up your mind to the possibility that the Biblical gospels are the truth, then read through this link:
http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/tex ... j0169a.txt
Some highlights from the link:
RECONSTRUCTING THE MYSTERIES_*
It is not until we come to the third century A.D. that we find
sufficient source material (i.e., information about the mystery
religions from the writings of the time) to permit a relatively
complete reconstruction of their content. Far too many writers use
this late source material (after A.D. 200) to form reconstructions
of the third-century mystery experience and then uncritically
reason back to what they think must have been the earlier nature of
the cults. This practice is exceptionally bad scholarship and
should not be allowed to stand without challenge. Information about
a cult that comes several hundred years after the close of the New
Testament canon must not be read back into what is presumed to be
the status of the cult during the first century A.D. The crucial
question is not what possible influence the mysteries may have had
on segments of Christendom after A.D. 400, but what effect the
emerging mysteries may have had on the New Testament in the first
Attempts to reconstruct the beliefs and practices of Mithraism
face enormous challenges because of the scanty information that has
survived. Proponents of the cult explained the world in terms of
two ultimate and opposing principles, one good (depicted as light)
and the other evil (darkness). Human beings must choose which side
they will fight for; they are trapped in the conflict between light
and darkness. Mithra came to be regarded as the most powerful
mediator who could help humans ward off attacks from demonic
The major reason why no Mithraic influence on first-century
Christianity is possible is the timing: it's all wrong! The
flowering of Mithraism occurred after the close of the New
Testament canon, much too late for it to have influenced anything
that appears in the New Testament. Moreover, no monuments for
the cult can be dated earlier than A.D. 90-100, and even this
dating requires us to make some exceedingly generous assumptions.
Chronological difficulties, then, make the possibility of a
Mithraic influence on early Christianity extremely improbable.
Certainly, there remains no credible evidence for such an
Enough has been said thus far to permit comment on one of the
major faults of the above-mentioned liberal scholars. I refer to
the frequency with which their writings evidence a careless, even
sloppy use of language. One frequently encounters scholars who
first use Christian terminology to describe pagan beliefs and
practices, and then marvel at the striking parallels they think
they have discovered. One can go a long way toward "proving" early
Christian dependence on the mysteries by describing some mystery
belief or practice in Christian terminology. J. Godwin does this in
his book, _Mystery Religions in the Ancient World,_ which describes
the criobolium (_see_ footnote 6) as a "blood baptism" in which the
initiate is "washed in the blood of the lamb." While uninformed
readers might be stunned by this remarkable similarity to
Christianity (_see_ Rev. 7:14), knowledgeable readers will see such
a claim as the reflection of a strong, negative bias against
Exaggerations and oversimplifications abound in this kind of
literature. One encounters overblown claims about alleged
likenesses between baptism and the Lord's Supper and similar
"sacraments" in certain mystery cults. Attempts to find analogies
between the resurrection of Christ and the alleged "resurrections"
of the mystery deities involve massive amounts of
oversimplification and inattention to detail.
The Risen Christ and the "Rising Savior-Gods"_*
Which mystery gods actually experienced a resurrection from the
dead? Certainly no early texts refer to any resurrection of Attis.
Nor is the case for a resurrection of Osiris any stronger. One can
speak of a "resurrection" in the stories of Osiris, Attis, and
Adonis only in the most extended of senses. For example, after
Isis gathered together the pieces of Osiris's dismembered body,
Osiris became "Lord of the Underworld." This is a poor substitute
for a resurrection like that of Jesus Christ. And, no claim can be
made that Mithras was a dying and rising god. The tide of scholarly
opinion has turned dramatically against attempts to make early
Christianity dependent on the so-called dying and rising gods of
Hellenistic paganism. Any unbiased examination of the evidence
shows that such claims must be rejected.
Christian Rebirth and Cultic Initiation Rites_*
Liberal writings on the subject are full of sweeping
generalizations to the effect that early Christianity borrowed its
notion of rebirth from the pagan mysteries. But the evidence
makes it clear that there was no pre-Christian doctrine of rebirth
for the Christians to borrow. There are actually very few
references to the notion of rebirth in the evidence that has
survived, and even these are either very late or very ambiguous.
They provide no help in settling the question of the source of the
New Testament use of the concept. The claim that pre-Christian
mysteries regarded their initiation rites as a kind of rebirth is
unsupported by any evidence contemporary with such alleged
practices. Instead, a view found in much later texts is read back
into earlier rites, which are then interpreted quite speculatively
as dramatic portrayals of the initiate's "new birth." The belief
that pre-Christian mysteries used "rebirth" as a technical term
lacks support from even one single text.
Most contemporary scholars maintain that the mystery use of the
concept of rebirth (testified to only in evidence dated after A.D.
300) differs so significantly from its New Testament usage that any
possibility of a close link is ruled out. The most that such
scholars are willing to concede is the _possibility_ that some
Christians borrowed the metaphor or imagery from the common speech
of the time and recast it to fit their distinctive theological
beliefs. So even if the metaphor of rebirth was Hellenistic, its
content within Christianity was unique.
SEVEN ARGUMENTS AGAINST CHRISTIAN DEPENDENCE ON THE MYSTERIES_*
I conclude by noting seven points that undermine liberal
efforts to show that first-century Christianity borrowed essential
beliefs and practices from the pagan mystery religions.
(1) Arguments offered to "prove" a Christian dependence on the
mysteries illustrate the logical fallacy of false cause. This
fallacy is committed whenever someone reasons that just because two
things exist side by side, one of them must have caused the other.
As we all should know, mere coincidence does not prove causal
connection. Nor does similarity prove dependence.
(2) Many alleged similarities between Christianity and the
mysteries are either greatly exaggerated or fabricated. Scholars
often describe pagan rituals in language they borrow from
Christianity. The careless use of language could lead one to speak
of a "Last Supper" in Mithraism or a "baptism" in the cult of Isis.
It is inexcusable nonsense to take the word "savior" with all of
its New Testament connotations and apply it to Osiris or Attis as
though they were savior-gods in any similar sense.
(3) The chronology is all wrong. Almost all of our sources of
information about the pagan religions alleged to have influenced
early Christianity are dated very late. We frequently find writers
quoting from documents written 300 years later than Paul in efforts
to produce ideas that allegedly influenced Paul. We must reject the
assumption that just because a cult had a certain belief or
practice in the third or fourth century after Christ, it therefore
had the same belief or practice in the first century.
(4) Paul would never have consciously borrowed from the pagan
religions. All of our information about him makes it highly
unlikely that he was in any sense influenced by pagan sources. He
placed great emphasis on his early training in a strict form of
Judaism (Phil. 3:5). He warned the Colossians against the very sort
of influence that advocates of Christian syncretism have attributed
to him, namely, letting their minds be captured by alien
speculations (Col. 2:8).
(5) Early Christianity was an exclusivistic faith. As J. Machen
explains, the mystery cults were nonexclusive. "A man could become
initiated into the mysteries of Isis or Mithras without at all
giving up his former beliefs; but if he were to be received into
the Church, according to the preaching of Paul, he must forsake all
other Saviors for the Lord Jesus Christ....Amid the prevailing
syncretism of the Greco-Roman world, the religion of Paul, with the
religion of Israel, stands absolutely alone." This Christian
exclusivism should be a starting point for all reflection about the
possible relations between Christianity and its pagan competitors.
Any hint of syncretism in the New Testament would have caused
(6) Unlike the mysteries, the religion of Paul was grounded on
events that actually happened in history. The mysticism of the
mystery cults was essentially nonhistorical. Their myths were
dramas, or pictures, of what the initiate went through, not real
historical events, as Paul regarded Christ's death and resurrection
to be. The Christian affirmation that the death and resurrection of
Christ happened to a historical person at a particular time and
place has absolutely no parallel in any pagan mystery religion.
(7) What few parallels may still remain may reflect a Christian
influence on the pagan systems. As Bruce Metzger has argued, "It
must not be uncritically assumed that the Mysteries always
influenced Christianity, for it is not only possible but probable
that in certain cases, the influence moved in the opposite
direction." It should not be surprising that leaders of cults
that were being successfully challenged by Christianity should do
something to counter the challenge. What better way to do this than
by offering a pagan substitute? Pagan attempts to counter the
growing influence of Christianity by imitating it are clearly
apparent in measures instituted by Julian the Apostate, who was the
Roman emperor from A.D. 361 to 363.
*_A FINAL WORD_*
Liberal efforts to undermine the uniqueness of the Christian
revelation via claims of a pagan religious influence collapse
quickly once a full account of the information is available. It is
clear that the liberal arguments exhibit astoundingly bad
scholarship. Indeed, this conclusion may be too generous. According
to one writer, a more accurate account of these bad arguments would
describe them as "prejudiced irresponsibility." But in order to
become completely informed on these matters, wise readers will work
through material cited in the brief bibliography.
You have already been informed of the Roman and pagan writers who mentioned Jesus in their writings. Not only Jesus but His brother James, John the Baptist, etc. As far as your demand for contemporaries: there aren't as many surviving Roman records as you claim. In addition, do you really think a Roman historian would give a hoot for Jesus? Jesus was a peasant, running around a dreadful Palestinian outpost, teaching other Jews in the desert about the Jews' God, and this peasant Jesus was on the scene for a mere 3 1/2 years?
In the message before this last one, you wrote about the similarities between the Jesus story and the pagan godman myth as if they supported your argument. Now you post a quote that says they were exaggerated. What happened? Did you figure out that the similarity between the stories means that I'm right? And you stated earlier that the life of Jesus is well documented. And now you admit that there aren't many surviving Roman records, implicitly admitting that there is, in fact, no mention of him in the Roman archives. You said I've already been informed of the Roman and pagan writers who mention Jesus. Then you ask why a Roman historian would give a hoot for him as if to offer an explanation why they don't mention him. Give it up, dude. Your godman's not real and never was.