Sketches on Atheism

The Rather Simple Question No Christian Can Answer

delusionThere are many ways to litigate the general nonsense presented by religions, especially that species of religion expressed in the Abrahamic faiths. The most tempting is—naturally—in contesting the outlandish claims of supernaturalism, but what is the most tempting is not necessarily the most potent.

Simple history—actual physical reality—is by far the best method to demonstrate a falsehood. Through the exhaustive efforts of biblical archaeologists and scholars we know today that the Jewish origin narrative contained in the Pentateuch is nothing but a geopolitical work of fiction—inventive myth—conceived of in the 7th and 6th centuries BCE, and written to place Judah at the centre of the Jewish world so as to capitalise on a weakened Mamlekhet (Kingdom) Yisra’el after its sacking in 722 BCE. This is a fact, and so overwhelming is the evidence that the majority of Jewish rabbis today openly concede that their origin tale is fiction, and have adapted accordingly.

Another use of history is to contrast what is known against any claim made by a religion, and in Christianity we have quite a bold claim: that a 1st century CE rabbi (for whom no physical description even exists) was in fact a God made flesh. Now, by extension, a God made flesh, a God who walked and talked and did things, should have said or done something new or original. This simply stands to reason.

It’s astonishingly straightforward, yet time after time after time I have asked Christian apologists (who’re not at all shy in proclaiming that Jesus was the greatest character in all of human history) to answer this simple question:

 Can you name a single genuinely new or original (or even marginally useful*) thing Jesus said or did?

Originality: the quality or state of being original

Original: present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest

Not one apologist has ever succeeded in providing an answer… an answer one would assume, given the claim made by Christians, to be the easiest thing in all of history.

Most recently, a blogger called Citizen Tom got so upset with himself in not being able to answer this patently simple question that he banned me. Another apologist, Colorstorm, simply refuses to even address the question. Recently also, Insanitybytes and Wally Fry have at least tried to answer, and for that I am grateful, but unfortunately for them they tried and failed.

And so the question remains dangling awkwardly out there in open space, teasing every Christian alive today:

Can you name a single genuinely new or original (or even marginally useful*) thing Jesus said or did?

*Edit note: by “useful” I have always meant information which reduced physical suffering, and I accept full responsibility for any confusion resulting from the use of that particular word without clarification. 

*To mark this monumental event (being banned), the always brilliant Meme has composed a song

*And continuing the nonsense, Citizen Tom has produced another diversionary post on the matter, failing, again, to actually answer the question which no Christian (it appears) can answer. 

*And further continuing the nonsense Citizen Tom has produced yet another post, yet once again, has failed to actually answer the question.

 

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491 thoughts on “The Rather Simple Question No Christian Can Answer

  1. How about: “go forth, procreate and become the root of a tree that will under the right celestial conditions give birth to a child. You shall name him the Superstitious Naked Ape. He shall ask the question: “Can you name…” .
    So your question is the fulfillment of a prophecy. The answer is a distraction from the TRUTH.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love that you’re out there getting yourself banned….
    There is a character in the Iroquois mythology who is very like Jesus – he’s called The Peacemaker. He paddles a stone canoe to the warring, cannibalist tribes and through parable and miracle, through the power of love and faith brings them into peace and democracy.
    Very similar kinda story. Everybody has their Jesus.

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  3. And the Banned Played On!
    If Tom turns up please ban him.

    No … Muchbetter idea. Ban first, add an ”Edit” informing all of what you have done and promise to reinstate him the instant he answers the question.

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  4. The answer is obviously nothing in that Jesus was one in a string of Messiah candidates who followed Phariseeic (Pharasaic?) teachings to a tee. All of the things Jesus said were already espoused by the Pharisees. And that was not Jesus’ main point which was that there was to be a physical overthrow of the Romans by divine intervention and that the people needed to made aware of that message. Hints to this are all over the scriptures including the rather mysterious cleansing of the money changers. One has to ask how one lonely rabbi with a cord belt could scatter a contingent of moneychangers and scatter their coins. These moneychangers, of course, would have had token bodyguards at least (every Jew was allowed access, so protection was needed). So, he swung his belt and a dozen or so money changers and their bodyguards went flying? (If that were the case would it not have been reported?) No, there must have been a team of people working on that caper to have pulled it off and have gotten away. Can you think of a better way to shake up the temple hierarchy, a hierarchy in the pocket of (and put in place by) the Romans?

    So, Jesus’ message was not a spiritual one but mostly a political one and his spiritual message was intended only to bolster a Jewish audience, which he is quoted as having said himself. So, why would the message differ from what the vast majority of Jews believed all along?

    Banned in Brazil! Dude, you are reaching celebrity levels!

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    • Even that message (performance) isn’t new. A generation before Jesus we had Simon of Paraea who was called “Messiah,” led an uprising against Rome, was killed (4BCE), then ordered by Gabriel to “Rise after three days.”

      Yeah, banned… But just from Tom’s place. As far as I can tell I can still walk outside here and enjoy he sun.

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  5. Citizen Tom … banned me”

    I just made a comment on that blog so let’s how long it takes for him to get irritated with another “apostate” 🙂

    Oh, and Welcome Back my friend from your rather lengthy sabbatical.

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  6. It would seem that originality is not a prerequisite either for being a messiah, or for exhibiting messianic tendencies. If we seek originality, then we must surely look to the arts. You’ve go to hand it to him though, people are still getting their knickers in a twist over Jesus – whoever he was – 2,000 years later. Some pragmatists might argue that the emotional solace they derive from both the story and putative teachings of Jesus are “marginally useful”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right Hariod, that is useful to some people, won’t doubt that, but I was hitting more along the lines of useful like letting people know epilepsy, for example, was not demonic possession (and deserving of being stoned to death), but rather a mental illness requiring care. In this sense, things that actually reduced genuine suffering.

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      • You thinking now seems a little revised John, and whilst I’m not sure if epilepsy should be considered a ‘mental illness’ – it’s neurological disorder – I do get your drift nonetheless. You suggest that being a messiah necessitates also being a polymath so as to qualify – quite a tall order. As to any reduction in what you call ‘genuine suffering’, then I would say very often this relies upon, at least in some degree, the gleaning of emotional solace, and that this obtains even when our suffering is (thought to be) physical in origin. [Actually, suffering is purely a mental construct, but that’s a separate issue.]

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      • Hi Hariod

        Not revising it, as far as I can see, at least. Granted, the word “useful” is quite broad, and definitions will inevitably refine it, which can then be challenged, but I find it has resonance in making the point. I could also add flushable toilets to combat disease, a word or two about the nature of lightning and thunder, a word or two about the earth not being flat, or even a useful word or two about bacteria and infection.

        Now, I would assume being a polymath to be a requisite for an omniscient, omnipotent capital G, God. Wouldn’t you? I mean, we are dealing with the specific claims made by Christians. Sure, there are some anti-Trinitarian churches, but on the whole the great majority of Christian sects believe Jesus was the god Yhwh made flesh. That God, one would assume, would know some things, strange, seemingly exotic things not known to anyone in 1st century Palestine. Jesus should have known that Moses and Abraham were not real historical characters, yet he makes a tremendous blunder in naming both as real people. (Muhammad made the same blunder).

        Emotional solace is fine, and again, people can find certain comfort in stories (true or fictional), but there is nothing new or original in wrapping nice messages up in pleasant stories.

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    • Cheers Arb! It actually went flying across three (maybe four?) posts because the ax came down and Tom went all ISIS. But yeah, the song and dance numbers were impressive, even by apologists standards. I mean, it should be an easy question, shouldn’t it?

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      • @JZ

        I was surprised at how quickly the US politics malarkey came into play. How they get anything useful done down there, with the gross level of mischaracterization that seems the bog-standard, is quite beyond me.

        I’ve studied the Social Studies curriculum here in Canada and “pushing the Marxist agenda” is not anywhere to been seen in the document. Although, being Canadian pretty much automatically makes you a dirty socialist…

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  7. What a simple question and yet it makes people quake in their boots when they can’t answer it. People like their bubble worlds too much :p

    The self-deception is amazing. Only the other day I heard someone talk about ISIS and Islamists and they asked why anyone would follow such a violent god. I think I bit through my lip trying not to laugh as I know that person was christian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is astonishing how many Christians (Evangelicals, at least) don’t know that Muslims worship the same god, the god of Abraham, who is described in the Qur’an as Yhwh’s best friend.

      The question irks them because its rather embarrassing to admit Jesus didn’t say or do anything that hadn’t already been done and said before, and often said and done much, much better. Awkward.

      Liked by 1 person

      • John,

        Unfortunately for your argument, Mohammed the Prophet lived in the 7th century AD, Anno Domini, Year of our Lord.

        So compared to iSLAM, Jesus and the Jews are as new as a newborn baby’s butt.

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  8. Jesus did one remarkably useful and original thing, and that was to provide a vivid example of how not to commit suicide. Don’t commit suicide by Roman. The Romans were brilliant engineers who made coliseums and aqueducts and excellent highways, and they applied this practical genius when they set their mind to creating the absolutely most wretched form of execution ever devised.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Goooood point! To be fair, though, he never claimed to be a god, did he? Still, a simple “It would wise, my dear, for you not to play in that pile of pooh with that gaping, bloodied wound on your elbow… you might catch an infection.”

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  9. I thought it was rather flattering that you and Ark received a personal post espousing your virtues. It may not have been flattering to have been linked together, but that’s a different matter. Maybe Arch could amplify?

    However, I would question your basic tenet here. Is simple history really the best way to demonstrate a lie? Because those who don’t know their own history and all that … and, everyone just seems to pull another dodgy source out of the cupboard resulting in a lot of toing and froing.

    My history and archaeological days of academia are some years back, I prefer to answer ask simple questions about human rights, ethics, compassion.

    Each to our own. But I’ve not yet been banned or had a glorifying post so I concede you may well be more successful 😉

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    • Well, we can demonstrate that Jesus didn’t know basic regional history when he named Moses and Abraham as real historical characters. That’s not the type of mistake you’d expect a “God” to make, especially considering that particular “God” played a fairly large role in both these characters lives.

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      • That one deserves a prize for the understatement of the century. Admittedly the century is not very old yet.

        Despite the rudeness of calling people mentally ill, I have to say that reading some of the fundy (computer self-corrected that to funny) blogs, I confess they are seriously loopy. I am proud to say I had a huge diatribe AGAINST me today, you know the SORT, where someone SHOUTS in capital letters.

        I may answer if I get sufficiently bored/feel wicked.

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  10. The atheist requirement that Jesus be original is a hallucination that atheists force on Christians and then demand that they address.

    What good is there in giving credibility to hallucinations, especially atheist hallucinations?

    Jesus took what is natural to man and ordered it to the Creator of man and nature.

    That is why Christian Western Civilization is the only civilization in human history that progressed past the slave and the beast of burden.

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    • “That is why Christian Western Civilization is the only civilization in human history that progressed past the slave and the beast of burden.”

      LOL! Sure they did SOM after that went on that rampage we call the crusades and then brought that violence to the New World wiping out any and all who rejected their hallucinations about a man-god. I mean, when you wipe out all of the opposition, whose to stop your “progress”? The Mafia had a perfect role model in how to accomplish control over those territories that served their needs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LB,

        If had anything resembling a 5th grade education you would know that the Crusades where in response to the Jihad which stormed out of Arabia in the 7th century and conquered lands that had been Christian for centuries.

        The utter ignorance of atheists is absolutely amazing.

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      • Woody,

        Here are the facts concerning Christianity and the Jihad:

        1. Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire peacefully for nearly a thousand years.

        2. North Africa, the Middle East, Asia Minor and Europe were all Christian lands when the Islamic Jihad stormed over 6 centuries after the Christ.

        3. The Jihad conquered the Christian lands of North Africa, Middle East, Asia Minor and the Iberian Peninsula. Constantinople hug on until 1453 Year of Our Lord.

        4. Charles Martel stopped the Jihad at the Battle of Tours in 732 Year of Our Lord.

        5. The Spaniards meanwhile took nearly 800 years to drive the Jihad out of the Iberian Peninsula, back into North Africa.

        6. The Jihad has established itself as the perennial enemy of the West.

        7. The first Crusade wasn’t until 1096, over 300 years after the Battle Tours.

        8. Today, 21st century Year of Our Lord, Western Civilization is collapsing and the Jihad is again on the march.

        9. In February, 2015 Year of Our Lord, the Jihad has threatens to obliterate Catholic Rome and throw homosexuals off the “leaning tower of pizza.”

        Yes, Woody, maybe you should join them noshing pizza with Catholic gay people while learning how to spell and learn history too.

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      • “1. Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire peacefully for nearly a thousand years.”

        LMFAO. You’re delusional SOM. How many people would have to be killed and tortured before it is not considered “peacefully” spread. I think many Pagans and Arianists would not see their “assimilation” into the faith as peaceful. Like a said SOM, your slant on the history of the church has been an indoctrination, not an education.

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      • Woody,

        Christianity spread during the rule of the Roman Empire.

        Therefore it had to spread peacefully otherwise the Romans would have wiped it out.

        Your Woody version of history is not only wrong but it doesn’t make any sense at all.

        Further, heresy has absolutely nothing to do with the social integration of the Greco-Roman culture with Christianity.

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      • “Further, heresy has absolutely nothing to do with the social integration of the Greco-Roman culture with Christianity.”

        Oh is that what you call it when you murder people who don’t tow the line or won’t buy into your faith?

        You’re the guy with the log in your eye SOM. What you see as jihad by Islam as it rose to power conquering surrounding countries and imposing their faith on others was something pretty much done by Xians ever since Constantine gave the church legitimacy. He learned it from his Roman heritage. It was also the tactic Roman Catholic Europeans used when they went to the new world and wiped out entire civilizations that refused to bow to the cross. Religions have positively defined their roles in these clashes to give themselves credibility. Then they create schools, madrasas and Torah classes to indoctrinate their prodigy to perpetuate the myths their fathers have created

        They use this indoctrination in their empire building efforts and claiming God is on their side is a deception used by the leadership to get lesser fools to do the dirty work. In a term that’s popular in this country today, they were merely doing what was in their “national interests”.

        Millions have been killed in the name of God and you want to single at only one branch of this lunacy as being the righteous ones? You have effectively been indoctrinated my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Woody,

        What year was Emperor Constantine?

        Yes, that would be the 4th century, Year of Our Lord.

        How many years in a century, Woody?

        Yes, those Christian Jihadists like Jesus getting crucified, stoned to death, fed to the lions, all because they were so very powerful and warlike.

        Woody, you’re brain dead, fascist, anti-Christian bigot.

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      • “Woody, you’re brain dead, fascist, anti-Christian bigot.”

        Can someone really be brain dead and consciously choose to be both a fascist and an anti-Xian bigot. I think you have succinctly demonstrated that you ARE delusional SOM.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, dreadfully sorry, SOM. I thought you were educating Larry about Christianity’s 1000 year peaceful expansion, and how it was those naughty camel-jockey Islamic people with sand in their underpants that ruined your World Domination Party for a while until Martin Luther kicked the Catholic Church in the Bollocks, nutted the Pope and said, ‘Oi!, Shirtlifter. Fuck you!’ and eventually forged ahead with their own fantasy version leaving the Popes’ and Cardinals’ and what have you to their nefarious, incestuous, corrupt lifestyle which eventually manifested to what it is now – a deviant group replete with pedophiles and dried up old virgins that somehow produced screwed in the head people …just like you! How nice.

        Oh …do carry on, old boy. You were saying?

        Liked by 1 person

      • John,

        Did you know that the atheist concept of time (discrete instead of the classical continuous) comes from Medieval priest.

        Thought not.

        That’s why you and Ark can hallucinate yourselves back and forth to the future centuries and millennia at a time without batting an eye.

        And yes, heretic Catholic priest William of Ockham was excommunicated for being an unrepentant numb skull.

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      • Martin Luther on what should be done to the Jews:

        “What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing and blasphemy. Thus we cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of divine wrath, of which the prophets speak, nor can we convert the Jews. With prayer and the fear of God we must practice a sharp mercy to see whether we might save at least a few from the glowing flames. We dare not avenge ourselves. Vengeance a thousand times worse than we could wish them already has them by the throat. I shall give you my sincere advice:

        First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly ¬ and I myself was unaware of it ¬ will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.

        Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.

        Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them. (remainder omitted)

        Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor Jews captive with the saying of Moses (Deuteronomy 17 [:10 ff.]) in which he commands them to obey their teachers on penalty of death, although Moses clearly adds: “what they teach you in accord with the law of the Lord.” Those villains ignore that. They wantonly employ the poor people’s obedience contrary to the law of the Lord and infuse them with this poison, cursing, and blasphemy. In the same way the pope also held us captive with the declaration in Matthew 16 {:18], “You are Peter,” etc, inducing us to believe all the lies and deceptions that issued from his devilish mind. He did not teach in accord with the word of God, and therefore he forfeited the right to teach.

        Fifth, I advise that safe¬conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let they stay at home. (…remainder omitted).

        Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. The reason for such a measure is that, as said above, they have no other means of earning a livelihood than usury, and by it they have stolen and robbed from us all they possess. Such money should now be used in no other way than the following: Whenever a Jew is sincerely converted, he should be handed one hundred, two hundred, or three hundred florins, as personal circumstances may suggest. With this he could set himself up in some occupation for the support of his poor wife and children, and the maintenance of the old or feeble. For such evil gains are cursed if they are not put to use with God’s blessing in a good and worthy cause.

        Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jewsand Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, as was imposed on the children of Adam (Gen 3[:19]}. For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.”

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      • John,

        For the record, the Book Samuel precedes the Greek Athenians by a century or so and the Magna Charta by about 1700 years.

        So consider your question answered.

        Oh I know you won’t!

        That’s because your question isn’t a question, it’s a hallucination.

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      • John,

        Yes, Jesus said he was big on the teachings of the prophets.

        And the Gospel of John defines Jesus as the Word of God.

        Isn’t the Bible also defined as the Word of God?

        See how that works?

        It’s called consistency, something the atheist doesn’t see while hallucinating.

        Liked by 1 person

      • John,

        Here is God sounding like the Founding Fathers (only a couple of millennia give or take before them), from 1 Samuel.

        The political principles inherent in God’s advice were later stated concisely by Charles de Montesquieu of the Enlightenment…

        “11 When you have a king to reign over you, he will claim the rights of a king. He will take away your sons from you, to drive his chariots; he will need horsemen, and outriders for his teams; 12 regiments, too, with commanders and captains to marshal them, ploughmen and reapers, armorers and wheelwrights.

        13 It is your daughters that will make his perfumes, and cook for him, and bake for him. 14 All the best of your lands and vineyards and olive-yards he will take away, and entrust to his own bailiffs; 15 and he will tithe the revenues of such crop and vintage as is left you, to pay his own courtiers and his own retinue.

        16 He will take away servants and handmaids of yours, all the lustiest of the young men, all the asses that work for you, to work for him instead; 17 of your herds, too, he will take tithe. You will be his slaves;

        18 and when you cry out for redress against the king you have chosen for yourselves, the Lord will not listen to you; you asked for a king.

        19 But Samuel could not gain the ear of the people; That will not serve, they cried out; a king, we must have a king! 20 We must be like other nations…”

        How often do you and your atheist brethren argue that America must be like the “other nations” of Europe so that it too can be a just society?

        Atheists hallucinate that the government can actually be an agent of social justice.

        That’s an even worse hoax than global warming, ObamaCare and Net Neutrality.

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      • You still didn’t answer the question. Okay, I’ll give you Slavoj Zizek’s answer to your question: Jesus died an athiest!

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      • Calling on the name already? Please pardon my chuckling. Ideology is in the cracks, ain’t it. Just try and answer the first question…

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      • I’m told as a child I once burped, farted, sneezed and coughed all at once.

        But again, I’m not claiming to be an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent god, am I?

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      • Is any of that original, new or useful? Why are you demanding an answer from fictional character that you, a living person, cannot answer? Why break a kayfabe that is already dead? When your own kayfabe still needs to be shattered?

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      • Have you ever heard of someone burping, farting, sneezing and coughing all at once?

        Now, if you are saying Jesus was just an ordinary 1st Century Palestinian crisis cultist, then we have no issue here. If the claim is, however, that he was a god incarnate, then I’m afraid we have to scrutinise that claim against a backdrop of originality and usefulness.

        Can you name something new or original which Jesus said or did?

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      • You have heard of someone doing all those physical actions at once and you believed the tale. Hmmm. Burping, farting, sneezing and coughing, even all at once is not original, not new, not useful.
        Have I claimed something about Jesus? Or are you restating the either/or proposition you are fixated on?

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      • That is the question.

        Gently trying to point out a pattern: you think about Jesus more than many so-called christians do. You have two ideas about the subject that you feel comfortable with. Is there a third option? Could Jesus be a fictional character like Sherlock? How does that sit with you?

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      • I’m of the opinion that “Jesus” was an amalgam of multiple crisis cultists. But again, that is beyond the scope of this post, and the question asked. It assumes Jesus was real, and assumes the claims made by the majority of Christian denominations. That’s our starting point, whether I believe it or not.

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      • Please don’t take offense, I’m a fan of your blog and have been following for a long time. Always enjoy your posts! Your points about the absurdities of your subject are all excellent. If the story you are successfully disproving turns out to be pure fiction, then what?

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      • Don’t worry, I’m not taking offense.

        Then what? Then we have less noise distracting people from having those conversations which truly matter, conversations that address (or attempt to address) the immediate problems which face our species, and the planet.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “John Zande isn’t claiming to be a god incarnate”

        I dunno John. We could put that to a vote. One more fantasy added to the mix couldn’t hurt anything, eh? 🙂

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      • “Get a brain of your own, please and then get it educated.”

        Ooooh, we’re on a mean streak again eh? Actually SOM what your referring to in accepting your tripe is not an education. It’s an indoctrination

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sure, but do understand, you make me a God and everyone will have to wear large red clown shoes as a sign of their admiration 😉 Now, I can appreciate that this requirement will be tremendously hard on our brothers and sisters who enjoy running, and walking, but it’ll be a wonderland for the swimmers among us!

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  11. i am late to the party, but I can think of many original things the fellow did.
    1. To the question what is truth, he said he is the way the truth and the light. Now who else has said that?
    2. He walked on water and didn’t get wet
    3. Linuxgal already mentioned suicide by centurion
    4. Claimed he was god, son of god and son of man without contradicting himself

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    • Didn’t #4 come about after Nicaea?
      #1 Zoroaster had the Truth Key, too.
      #2 Are we categorising miracles? Didn’t Dionysus and Mithras walk on water?
      #3 Simon of Paraea did it 30 years earlier

      You see, at least you’re trying, Noel! It’s not too much to ask the Christian to do the same, is it?

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    • A few years back, I would have said, he rose from the dead, defeated death, and granted us the power over sin.
      I know there are stories of others who rose from the dead. I don’t know how many others claimed to heal the sick and raise others from the dead. Looking at it now, I am wondering about his teaching on forgiveness, forgiving seventy time seven, turning the other cheek, and loving your enemy. Not sure if those are not original. I figure you would know. Oddly enough, those are the teachings that caused me to question whether everything he taught was always good.

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      • Hi Holly

        Yeah, dying/resurrecting god men is an old plotline, and just a generation before Jesus there was Simon of Peraea who was called the messiah by the Jews, lead an uprising, was killed by the Romans, and was then commanded by Gabriel “to rise from the dead within three days.”

        The theme is also mildly repeated in the notion of Apotheosis where many men of antiquity were snatched up to heaven and became divine. Many Roman generals were divinitised this way, and in China the three most famous are Guan Yu, Iron-crutch Li and Fan Kuai.

        Healing the sick, Dionysus and Mithras did all this, and all the miracles, as well as dying and rising.

        Turning the other cheek and loving your enemy is an ancient utterance

        Lao Tzu, said it this way: I treat those who are good with goodness. And I also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained

        Zhuangzi said it this way: Do good to him who has done you an injury.

        Rishabha said it this way: My Lord! Others have fallen back in showing compassion to their benefactors as you have shown compassion even to your malefactors. All this is unparalleled.

        Mahavira said it this way: Man should subvert anger by forgiveness, subdue pride by modesty, overcome hypocrisy with simplicity, and greed by contentment.

        In Hinduism its said this way: A superior being does not render evil for evil; this is a maxim one should observe; the ornament of virtuous persons is their conduct. One should never harm the wicked or the good or even criminals meriting death. A noble soul will ever exercise compassion even towards those who enjoy injuring others or those of cruel deeds when they are actually committing them–for who is without fault?

        And Siddhartha Gautama said it this way: Conquer anger by love. Conquer evil by good. Conquer the stingy by giving. Conquer the liar by truth.

        The Golden Rule is also an ancient utterance. It can be found in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (1780 BCE), as well as in the Mahabharata (8th Century BCE) “The knowing person is minded to treat all beings as himself,” in Homer’s Odyssey (6th century BCE), “I will be as careful for you as I will be for myself in the same need,” 6th century BCE Taoism, “Regard your neighbour’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss,” in 5th century BCE Confucianism, “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself,” in 4th century BCE Mohism, “For one would do for others as one would do for oneself,” and was articulated by the Greek, Pittacus (640–568 BCE), who said: “Do not do to your neighbour what you would take ill from him.”

        Brandon nearly got me last year with Jesus saying you commit adultery just by looking at a woman. Almost. Lao Tze taught on that matter and said: It is true that you commit no actual crimes; but when you meet a beautiful woman in another’s home and cannot banish her from your thoughts, you have committed adultery with her in your heart.

        Liked by 1 person

      • wow. I somehow knew you were the guy to ask. lol. Seeing as I figure you have had everything thrown at you already. For the most part, the sermon on the mount is still found very inspirational to me. And even when I let my faith go, I still found myself willing to follow the teachings of Jesus, but I also realized that I was as comfortable with many teachings in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and more. I actually find the quotes on forgiveness and returning good for evil as better that you have listed here. I think the “forgiving seventy times seven, and turning the other cheek” have led to many many victims living in abuse. It was the story of the Amish girls who were instructed to forgive their rapists seventy times seven, after each occurrence that fist shocked me into looking at those words in a new light.

        Like

      • Agreed. I did a post on Jesus’ immoral teachings, and turning the other cheek is up there with the worst of them for the reasons you just mentioned. What good is anyone who doesn’t fight injustice?

        Sermon on the Mount (the Beatitudes) is nice, but it’s just a rehash of eastern notions of Karma, of cosmic justice. Long before all of them, though, was the Zoroastrian teachings of the Saoshyant: the Saviour, who is described as the “World Renovator” [Astavat-ereta] and “Victorious Benefactor” who will defeat “the evil of the progeny of the biped”, bring “retribution for offenses,” and establish “the Kingdom of Good Thought (righteousness).” In other word, a great reckoning where justice is delivered. Great idea, immeasurably comforting for people who’re suffering or have been wronged, but hardly new to Jesus.

        Liked by 1 person

    • well, the bible said JC said he could turn himself into crackers and grape juice (we had grape juice and sweet cake/bread at my church). So, I think we can say that Jesus said something really weird bread and wine and that was indeed unique. However, I am thinking of claims of religions where the “god” was killed and became the grain, so the idea of deity becoming food isn’t that unique.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tammuz is a pretty good example and it seems most life/death/rebirth deities are often associated with grain, since it grows, is cut and comes back (Ceres and Persephone is part of this type of myth). Neper was a grain god and got subsumed into the Osiris myths. When I was looking into Wicca, it was a fairly common reference to the Goddess and the God too, as the goddess is eternal but the god lives/dies and rises again.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Dude, you have to been raised Southern Baptist to come up with that one! Love it. We always bitched about that. My Catholic GF got real wine. We got grape juice. One of the things that drove me to the Dark Side! It was only when I went to the county line beer joint on Sunday for choir joy juice ammunition that the transformation was complete! Mississippi back in the day was fun!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Very close – Assemblies of God. I was actually a Catholic for a while, too, so I got to enjoy the ritual both ways – eating both the literal and figurative Jesus. Communion in the AoG church was always performed with some reticence and embarrassment, and was done only a few times a year. They hated anything that smacked of Catholic tradition. Also, no mention of Mary, except at Christmas, and then sparingly – Mary was too Catholic to even speak of!

        Like

  12. Useful … is not difficult to answer if one reads the new testament gospels.
    It’s the first part of the question … the original part… that I think has me stumped as a 25yrs christian and former minister/pastor/missionary.
    2 yrs ago I wouldn’t have had this difficulty but now after looking and considering many evidences and ideas and histories that I denied myself and others had denied me, I can’t answer the ‘original’ part of the question in the positive.
    Still holding onto my faith but not by much more than a thread.
    -mike

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mike

      I’m glad you popped in, and i must thank you for your defense over on Tom’s blog. It was appreciated.

      True, “useful” is not a good word. As Hariod pointed out above, correctly, people can find solace and comfort in stories regardless of originality or historical validity, and that is useful. Wally also made a funny comment in that Lazarus benefited from being resurrected. So yeah, “useful” isn’t helpful here, but as I had it in the original framing of the question it’d be a little disingenuous to now edit it out.

      I applaud your honesty here. The question was never designed to hurt Christians, rather introduce them to thinking about the subject of Jesus from a different perspective. We all assume Jesus produced an ocean liner full of original material, because that is how the story is presented, but if we actually look at it, we see a rather surprising answer. Now, this is not to say the message presented wasn’t important, or valuable. Much of it is great, and we sorely need more of it in this world, especially in the form of action rather than simple devotion, but if we see that nothing said was actually new or original, then the supernatural claims become less immediate. Less real.

      May I ask, have you ever heard of the Clergy Project? As a former minister/pastor/missionary I’d say that group is tailor made for you.

      Like

  13. Hi John, you banned heathen, you. Jesus invented the bicycle.That was very original. Particularly for a guy who never existed. Few know this, but before Jesus, all that existed were tri, and uni cycles. Moses actually parted the Red Sea from atop a unicycle. Jesus sped up the world with his invention of the bicycle. He used it when he was a teenager while delivering matzo ball soup to hungry Jews in Galilee. If you were able to read the bible CORRECTLY, you’d know all this and wouldn’t be banned on pious christian sites where IQ’s are so high there’s no number in existence to describe them. $Amen$

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 1. In a unique display of genuine, divine love, he called a suffering woman, her child and their people, “dogs”…
    2. In another unique display of the above, he left a whole crowd of suffering, disabled people by a pool at the mercies of some mysterious angel, and healed only one, as an example…
    3. In another genuine display of divine patience and all-knowledge, he cursed a tree for not providing figs, completely off season…
    Because the show must go on…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great post, John.

    I think I’m with Roughseas on this one. Using history would work well for disciplined thinkers, but already there’s one assumption these people are willing to make that only works outside of formal logic (that there’s this Ubiquitous Cloud Gorilla named YHWH). Evangelicals pride themselves on being able to resort to fabricated data and appealing to ignorance in the face of countervailing evidence. So the bottom line is you’re right with regards to people who are capable and willing to evaluate evidence, but nobody over at Tom’s was willing to go there.

    It’s not like you were asking them to prove Jesus was real. That’s what gets me about all of this. You were meeting them more than halfway. No good deed goes unpunished and all that.

    This is a great “rolling out of bed” post. I look forward to when you put the coffee pot/ tea kettle on and get cracking again.

    Like

    • Ubiquitous Cloud Gorilla named YHWH

      I am so stealing that! 🙂

      You’re right, too. I think what annoyed Tom and his lads the most was the simplicity of what was being asked of them. The initial thought is “Oh, this’ll be easy!” but then things get a little more complicated.

      Oh well, he has to sleep with himself.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi John! Like everyone else I am so glad to see and read your blog again. Sorry to hear that you have been banned. You must have said something you thought was funny and it turned out to be foolish. You must be feeling like a blooming idiot. 😦
    Don’t worry I am going to make it all better! 😉

    Like

    • X,

      Karl Marx invented Communism, not Jesus.

      In fact, in his parable of the talents, Jesus tells the tale of investors who were blessed for earning profit and one investor who was sent to the pit simply for not losing money.

      Like

      • “In fact, in his parable of the talents, Jesus tells the tale of investors who were blessed for earning profit”

        Ah, so Jesus invented Capitalism, eh? So, the spirit of Jesus … that’s the invisible hand of the markets Adam Smith was talking about? Blessed are the money-changers somehow got lost from the Mount sermon.

        Like

      • Woody,

        Jesus cited the laws of nature and illustrated characteristics of human nature in his talks.

        Communism could have only been invented by a dummy because it is so preposterously at odds with both the laws of nature and human nature.

        Like

      • John,

        We’ve had this same conversation before where I try to educate you about the monastic tradition that is followed in almost every culture and time period in the world, and you get confused and think we are talking about the 21st century global economy.

        Like

      • “SOM, the Essenses (to which Jesus has been connected) were practicing Communism…”

        And then of course the early Christian church was essentially communistic too. Man, were they some real DUMMIES!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Woody,

        For the illiterate and hearing impaired I’ll repeat a stripped down version of what I already told your buddy John:

        This is where I try to educate you about the monastic tradition that is followed in almost every culture and time period in the world, and you get confused and think we are talking about the 21st century global economy.

        Yeah, I know, I know…

        Expecting an atheist to get educated is like expecting pigs to fly.

        Like

      • “For the illiterate and hearing impaired …”

        Make up your mind SOM. You seem to be all over the map on who I am. Am I illiterate and hearing impaired, brain dead, or a fascist protagonist? I’m pretty sure I can’t be all three equally and simultaneously

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, Woody, now your ignorance is all about me and how you always change the subject when it becomes apparent that you are arguing with yourself and losing badly – as usual.

        That Jesus was a communist is just another atheist hallucination.

        Like

      • John,

        As with your deliberate misuse of the Hindu word, “moksha” (which means “liberation,”) to somehow have anything to do with Christian “salvation,” you are deliberately slaughtering the meaning of “monasticism” by associating it with the brutal, genocidal governing regime preferred by atheists throughout time, the world over.

        Like

      • “That Jesus was a communist is just another atheist hallucination”

        This from someone who perpetuates the delusion that our “salvation” relies on accepting a 1st century avatar as our savior. Puleease. Gave up on that space ship hypothesis years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “Woody, now your ignorance is all about me and how you always change the subject when it becomes apparent that you are arguing with yourself and losing badly – as usual.”

        Just trying to establish some consistency here SOM. And btw, wishful thinking IS part of a delusional mind.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I am so glad Tom is still grilling you over at his spot. Means you are living in his head, rent free.
    And what is the deal with that Keith bloke?
    I think he banned me because I wouldn’t call him a Dickhead and give him an outright excuse so he made one up.
    ”Ark called Jesus names and was mean to me ….”

    You just kept telling him his trousers were round his ankles and he refused to pull them up.
    And we can still see his arse!

    Like

    • siriusbizinus is making their lives difficult, which is nice to see. I got Tom’s hairs up over the Tea Party. He won’t readily forget that, which is why he’s playing along with Tom. Interesting stuff, though.

      Like

  18. What about the bit where he said, “Curse you fig tree! If you won’t give me fruit, you’ll wither and die!” That’s quite original, isn’t it?

    Apart from that, I love the post and links to this Citizen Tom. I wish I had more time to dive in like the olden days, sigh. I think what this person says is really important:

    “That really was, in that time and place, when coupled with the life examples Jesus set of humility, outreach to the poor, sick, and despised, and a focus on not just the temporal world, but a separate transcendant world beyond, a spectacular message. Paul had to flesh it out, because there is very little written record of Jesus’s words”

    Paul had to flesh it out? What an interesting thing to say. Does that not point to fact it’s all made up nonsense? Paul had to flesh it out, then his fleshing out needed fleshing out by various committees of random men known as the Early Church, which then needed to be fleshed out continuously by 40,000 denominations over the next 2000 years. What a wonderfully simple message direct from the son of the god God!

    Like

    • violet,

      Everything God did with his Chose People was way ahead of its time and had to be fleshed out over the millennia and centuries.

      For example, in 1 Samuel (which I posted here in the comment section), God gives a dissertation on tyranny that sounded like the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence.

      Indeed, atheists still don’t get it even after political philosophers like Machiavelli from the Renaissance and Charles de Montesquieu of the Enlightenment “fleshed” it all out for the rest of humanity centuries and centuries later.

      Also, the meaning of the Bible, love thy neighbor, is a God concept way ahead of its time and completely beyond the comprehension of atheists who advocate mass murder, mass hoaxes and mass brainwashing as a matter of their fundamental atheist creed.

      To help the poor atheist get with times, one of my latest posts is called, The Bible for Dummies and Atheists.

      Like

      • Love thy neighbour is certainly new and original to Christianity… Provided you ignore the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (1780 BCE), the Mahabharata (8th Century BCE), Homer’s Odyssey (6th century BCE), 6th century BCE Taoism, 5th century BCE Confucianism, and 4th century BCE Mohism 😉

        Like

      • John,

        The Jews and the Christians where the only ones to ever make love thy neighbor work.

        Though mentioned in other cultures, before the Jews and Christians, love they neighbor, actually meant everything to the advantage of the strong.

        Like

      • “Everything God did with his Chose People was way ahead of its time and had to be fleshed out over the millennia and centuries.”

        This is an apologetic statement NOT an incontestable fact. Using your primary source – the bible – how do you justify this claim SOM?

        Like

      • Woody,

        The fascist bigot reduces everything to mere opinion, just so he can sleep at night.

        For if everything is just a matter of opinion, fascist bigotry is pure, sublime justice for those like you who opine it so.

        Like

      • “For if everything is just a matter of opinion …”

        Not everything is opinion, but where it is needs to be pointed out. If it were factual you wouldn’t have danced around my question and come up with this gibberish. Simple question, how do you know that God’s plan was to “be fleshed out over the millennia and centuries.”? Where do you draw this from?

        Like

      • Thanks SOM, have missed you dearly. Perhaps your clever new post can put me on the right track. (P.S. I am surprised you’re still managing to keep this charade up! What mental stamina you must have!)

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Yep, Liberty suggested that above, and I think he (and you, now) might have something. I can’t recall any other demigod berating a tree. Quite unique. Go Jesus!

    It is a wonderfully simple message direct from the son of the god God… which requires all sorts of creative hermeneutics if you want it to make sense.

    How are you, anyway. Despite the weather, which i’m just assuming is miserable…

    Like

    • The weather is indeed simply miserable but it’s getting lighter which is a relief. I’m generally … tired. Unsurprisingly. I wasn’t really designed (by the god God) for motherhood. I require too much napping.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Here’s an interesting insight I found John on the issue of “pacifist’ christians vs. violent muslims from an learned source:

    “At one level, ISIS cannot be about “Islam,” because Islam is as varied as the number of sects or even the number of adherents that claim the label, some of whom are pacifist mystics, and most of whom abide by the dictates of compassion and by the secular laws that govern the countries where they live. So, to say ISIS is about Islam is to say something far too broad and nonspecific to be either substantially true or useful.

    And yet, it is equally clear that the form and focus of the Islamic State are scripted by patriarchal, violent, dominionist texts contained in the Quran and Hadiths and sanctified therein, just as Christianity’s history of witch burnings, inquisitions and slavery–and modern obsessions with sin, salvation, creationism and Armageddon—have been scripted by verses from the Bible.”

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  21. For a guy sorta coming out of some sort of self imposed hiatus (crudely cobbled together from the comments) you sure hit a nerve with this one.

    Getting banned from creationist blogs for asking a simple non confrontational question, should be worn as a badge of honor sir. Sounds like you have them buttressing their fortifications. Save for SoM, who clearly lives on another level of conciousness than the rest of us. (sarcasm folks)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Does tend to be an awkward question. Sounds easy enough, but on second inspection… Oh bugger.

      I think we solved the problem, though. Seems Jesus berating the fig tree and cursing it to hell was genuinely original 🙂

      Like

      • You never know, once you ask the tough questions, what the actual answer might be. This answer might not be the one you were looking for, but the world do work in mysterious ways.

        I have seen this concept before, although from a differing angle, being a simple claim of “none of the bible claims are original if you look a little deeper in history.” The way you posed the question seems to have been a stroke of genius. Leaving the apologists no option but to do the X-ian Crawfish, and laughably ban your devious ass. 🙂 Which is the best possible outcome IMO. It indeed shows that their pants are down around their ankles.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Osiris once berated a rose bush after a drinking binge one night. He was so pissed, that he passed out on top of it in his mother’s garden. When he woke up, he was covered in wounds from the thorns on the bush. And thus he said unto the rose bush,” OW! God damn it! That hurt.” True story. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  22. I was getting ready to be blown away by some fancy smart question, but what a letdown. It’s trivially easy to show originality in Jesus. That’s the bad news for you. The good news is, I have reciprocity for any willing naturalist: why do you exist?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Brandon, great to hear from you! Hope you’re doing well.

      Your comment, though, is tremendously odd, considering you and I have had this dance… Or have you forgotten?

      To remind you, your best suggestion (and it was good, compared to all the other things you threw at the problem, but were shown quite easily not to be new or original) was Jesus’ warning about adultery being committed as a thought-crime. Lust in the heart = adultery. Now, perhaps you have forgotten, but Lao Tze taught on that exact matter some 600 years earlier, and said:

      It is true that you commit no actual crimes; but when you meet a beautiful woman in another’s home and cannot banish her from your thoughts, you have committed adultery with her in your heart.

      Like

      • It’s good to see you back John, I was beginning to wonder if any of my atheist friends still blogged. I do remember this conversation vaguely. As it turns out, the book of sayings this is from was merely attributed to Lao Tzu, but was actually written after Christianity as a religion spread into China.

        Even so, if I proved to you beyond any reasonable doubt that Jesus taught something new and original, I feel like it would not really make any difference in your ultimate analysis of the truth of Christianity. You would still be lacking the kind of evidence you desire to commit to such a worldview, right?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Brandon,

        Unfortunately, you offered this exact same deflection last time I pointed out Lao Tze’s teaching on lust and adultery, and you know what I said then? To quote:

        “Attributed to Lao Tze”… You mean like the Gospels are “attributed” to Jesus? LOL!

        The Treatise on Response and Retribution, are the recounted tales (wisdom) of Lao Tze, born 604 BCE, which begins with these words: “THE Exalted One says…”

        The Gospel of Thomas begins with, “Jesus said…” 😉

        So no, Brandon, I’m afraid to say that although it was a good suggestion, the idea that lust = adultery (whether true or not, which is highly debatable) is not new or original to Jesus. In fact, in Zoroastrianism, adultery is revealed to Zarathushtra as the greatest of sins (Vendidad 18.6162), and Buddhism, Confucianism, Jainism, and Hinduism all have much to say on the matter of lust and matters of the mind and heart, although they deal with the subject in broader terms, as opposed to a specific mention of “married adultery” which one may argue, though, is certainly implied. Marriage traditions were, of course, not uniform across all cultures.

        To give a few examples:

        “Continence is to regard the wife of another as one’s own sister or daughter” (Jainism. Kartikeya, Anupreksa 337-39)

        “From lust springs grief, from lust springs fear; for him who is wholly
        free from lust there is no grief, much less fear” (Buddhism. Dhammapada 212-16)

        “When all the desires that surge in the heart are renounced, the mortal becomes immortal.” (Hinduism. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.6-7)

        “Realising that pleasure and pain are personal affairs, one should subjugate his mind and senses.” (Jainism. Acarangasutra 2.78)

        “Regard old women the way you regard your mother. Regard those who are older than you the way you regard your elder sisters; regard those who are younger than you as your younger sisters, and regard children as your own. Bring forth thoughts to rescue them, and put an end to bad thoughts.” (Buddhism. Sutra of Forty-two Sections 29)

        “If out of the three hundred Songs I had to take one phrase to cover all my teachings, I would say, ‘Let there be no evil in your thoughts.'”(Confucianism. Analects 2.2)

        So, would you like to try again?

        Liked by 1 person

      • John, do you have any sources that Treatise was written while any eyewitnesses were alive to testify about Lao Tzu? Was it based on some sort of tradition? Or, was it simply written 1700 years after Lao Tzu himself walked the earth? Because, that does not pass as credible history.

        I’m sure you are aware of the reason scholars take the canonized gospels as serious historical accounts and not the gospel of Thomas or the Acts of Peter and other gnostic texts. Part of the reason is the time at which they were written with respect to the events they are supposed to represent. The gnostic texts are rejected as credible sources though they were written one century later and you want me to accept Treatise that was written 17 centuries later?

        But, all this aside. Even if we cannot agree on Lao Tzu or the concepts behind lust equating to adultery, let me throw out a few other things for consideration:
        – Prediction of the destruction of the temple in 70 AD
        – Parables about the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven
        – Teachings about how to attain eternal life that amazed crowds
        – Teachings about how to receive the Holy Spirit
        – Unique actions: dying as a ransom for many, led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by Satan, cast demons into pigs, and so on

        Like

      • Hi Brandon

        John, do you have any sources that Treatise was written while any eyewitnesses were alive to testify about Lao Tzu?

        Brandon, do you have any documents written while any eyewitnesses were alive to testify about Jesus? 😉

        The Treatise on Response and Retribution, are the recounted tales (wisdom) of Lao Tze, born 604 BCE, which begins with these words: “THE Exalted One [Lao Tze] says…”

        The Gospel of Thomas (just like the canonical gospels) are the recounted tales (wisdom) of Jesus, born… (no one actually knows), which begins with these words: “Jesus said…”

        I think you can see where I’m going with this, but tell me Brandon, are you going to just ignore all the other teachings on lust, such as Jainism’s, “Continence is to regard the wife of another as one’s own sister or daughter” (Jainism. Kartikeya, Anupreksa 337-39)?

        Your list.

        It’s almost a carbon copy of what you produced last time. Why are you repeating yourself?

        – Prediction of the destruction of the temple in 70 AD

        My answer to this one remains unchanged:

        Where does Jesus say the temple will be destroyed in 70 AD?

        You never did answer me.

        – Parables about the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven

        To repeat what I said last time:

        Zoroastrians had a detailed concept of heaven, with the dead persons spirit being escorted to the outskirts of heaven by the guardian spirit, Daena, where the spirit is shown their life (thoughts, words and actions). An angel waiting at the Chinawod Bridge would then determine if the dead person would go on to heaven, hell, or a third destination (purgatory) where it would wait until the Judgment Day. The Egyptian Book of the Dead is dedicated to heaven, the Hittite’s had a very clear idea of it, Buddhists have five heavens, Hindus has Svargam where the Gods and good people reside after death, and Judaism was centrally focused on Shamayim (heaven): the dwelling place of God.

        – Teachings about how to attain eternal life that amazed crowds

        Really? Please see every religion ever invented, but you can start with Buddhism (follow the teachings of the Buddha), Confucianism (a general ethical life rather than religion), Jainism (total non-violence), and Hinduism (a way of life in and by itself). What about Judaism, or are you just ignoring all that business about Moses Law? Zoroaster taught that humans had a choice about how they lived (follow the teachings, or not) and this would reward them with heaven, hell, or purgatory until Judgment Day.

        – Teachings about how to receive the Holy Spirit

        What teachings? Zoroastrians had strict teachings on being in harmony with God, which I’m guessing is what you’re alluding to. Buddha dedicated his entire life to the subject. Jains as well.

        – Unique actions: dying as a ransom for many, led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by Satan, cast demons into pigs, and so on

        Casting demons out, see Samuel 16:14-23.

        Sacrifice for sin is an ancient theme, it was a central idea in Zoroastrianism (Yasnas), and it is especially prevalent throughout the OT. God required animal sacrifices to atone for sins (Leviticus 4:35,5:10). The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven. One may simply interchange animal for human, the idea is exactly the same, and it is represented in the Avesta where the primordial man who represents humanity, Gayō, is sacrificed for all of creation (later replaced with a sacrificial bull), and in the Ṛgveda, where Puruṣa-sūkta (the cosmic Man) is sacrificed for all (RV10.90.15cd). As a side, interestingly, in Luke 7:48 there is in fact a contradictory passage where Jesus demonstrates he can erase sin without being killed. Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

        But what we’re really dealing with here is the notion of the Saviour, a Redeemer, and for that we just have to look to the Zoroastrians. Zoroaster spoke in detail about the Saoshyant, the Saviour, who is described as the “World Renovator” [Astavat-ereta] and “Victorious Benefactor” who will defeat “the evil of the progeny of the biped”, bring “retribution for offenses,” and establish “the Kingdom of Good Thought (righteousness).”

        The concept of a great balancing is ancient.

        So, apart from simply repeating what you offered last time, thanks for trying.

        Like

      • Ok John, I remember how this conversation ended now. Before I spend time addressing any of this, we need to agree on criteria for originality. Because by your criteria, nothing is original. So, I’m asking you to propose concrete criteria for originality and maybe give an example.

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      • You require a definition for “originality”? Seriously? The dictionary says the quality or state of being original

        And the definition of “original” present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest

        How’s that?

        That was the “criteria” I was always using. It’s basic English. Do you know of some other definition?

        An example? Sure, sacrifice as an atonement for sin. The concept of sacrifice is ancient, far older than Judaism (Zoroaster is recorded to have been appalled at how cruelly sacrifices were conducted prior to his new rules which called for less unnecessary suffering), but we can use Judaism to demonstrate that the concept was not “original” to Jesus. In Leviticus (4:35,5:10) we have

        “The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven.”

        What is sacrificed (a blood sacrifice) doesn’t matter. What matters is a perceived debt is being paid with the life of another. Now, the only place where “lamb” is used in the bible is in the Gospel of John, Jesus never says anything, but we can see the concept in action…. and age-old concept: a blood offering for atonement.

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      • Erm, Judaism? 😉

        Oh, you mean the Trinity? Well, yes, quite unique to Christianity… after Theophilus of Antioch devised the concept in 170

        But then again, we really have to go to Tertullian (3rd century) before the concept was fleshed out in the form you’re using…

        Just saying 🙂

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      • John, let me demonstrate why we need criteria.

        Take this proposition: Jesus is the incarnation of God who died as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity.

        You say that the is unoriginal because it is merely a rehash of the concept of sacrifice. Your criterion for unoriginality is: if a teaching contains any concept used prior, then it is unoriginal.

        Now think about the consequence of such a criterion. What in the world could possibly be original by this criterion? Perhaps the first hominid having the first concept ever about something? But, even this is a concept itself. So, perhaps every concept after the first concept is just unoriginal. This is absurd, John.

        There is more specificity to Jesus’ sacrifice compared to other and more ancient sacrifices. It is the specificity that makes it unique. That is my criterion. Q.E.D.

        Now, let’s quite playing games. No one is going to agree with your criterion because its absurd. But, that is a huge problem for your argument. That means Christianity has plenty of unique material, even though it is derivative of Judaism.

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      • Hi Brandon

        Are you saying there is absolutely no point in time when the first bicycle, for example, wasn’t “original” to the world? Are you saying Democracy wasn’t “original” to the Greeks (in a formalised manner, at least)? Are you saying Leucippus and Democritus weren’t “original” in proposing atoms as the fundamental building block of nature? Are you saying the Akkadian’s weren’t “original” in inventing the first written counting system? Are you saying the concept of interest wasn’t “original” to the Laws of Eshnunna? Are you saying Gilgamesh didn’t fire the first bricks?

        Please Brandon, your objections are laughable. In many, many things we can trace their introduction into reality back to an original source, or at the very least indicate a source older than one perhaps being claimed. The Golden Rule, for example, is no doubt far, far, far older than the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (as a working concept), but it is to the Egyptian Middle Kingdom where we find it first articulated in a form that has lasted. Alas, to claim the Golden Rule is “original” to Jesus, is false. We know of many, many, many older sources.

        Brandon, “Jesus is the incarnation of God” is a theological opinion, not fact. “Who died as a sacrifice for sins” is also an opinion, but the notion of sacrifice for sin is not. It’s real. Humans have been sacrificing animals and humans since time immemorial. The concept of making a blood sacrifice for the atonement of sins is, as I have already demonstrated (twice), an ancient concept, found also quite conspicuously in Judaism, written in your own bible.

        Are you trying to suggest that before Jesus there had never been blood sacrifices, and these sacrifices were not for the atonement of sin? That would be quite a claim, especially since we have this:

        “The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven.”

        And again Brandon, there is no “criteria” beyond basic English. English is your first language, is it not? Either you can name something genuinely original said or done by Jesus, or you cannot.

        So far, you have not.

        Care to keep trying?

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      • John, if democracy was an original form of government, then Jesus’ sacrifice was an original form of sacrifice. If blood sacrifices were concrete “fact”, then so was Jesus’ crucifixion. Just ask any historian if this is a fact or an opinion. 🙂 Trust me, it’s a fact.

        You have no argument. It’s time to admit this about this “originality” stuff. And, no one is going to care if you admit that it’s garbage. We’ve all held bad ideas at times. Probably, we all have some bad ideas in our heads that haven’t been weeded out by logic and evidence yet. But this originality argument of yours has been weeded out. It’s over.

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      • Hi Brandon

        It’s really not complicated.

        Originality: the quality or state of being original

        Original: present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest

        Can you show me where in history Democracy was practiced before the Greeks? Could you point me in the direction of some notion of fired bricks before Gilgamesh? Could you demonstrate where there exists a written counting system before the Akkadian’s? Could you demonstrate where there exists an earlier example of a motorised transportation device before the Cugnot Steam Trolley?

        And again, are you trying to argue that before Jesus there had never been blood sacrifices, and these sacrifices were not for the atonement of sin? That would be quite a claim, especially since we have this:

        “The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven.”

        Standard English definition again: Original, present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest

        Care to toss something else out there for consideration?

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    • “It’s trivially easy to show originality in Jesus.”
      Brandon, I don’t want to sound like John’s echo, but given your confident assertion above, would you care to have a stab at giving an example? Just curious, given that the conversation goes on to show you really didn’t … at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • violet,

        I gave you the example you asked for and you ignored it by responding in the typical atheist fashion, that is, with an insult.

        Clearly, all we can expect from you is the sound of one hand clapping, followed by the inexpertly crafted atheist insult.

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      • Hey Violet, welcome back too. 🙂 I gave John a short list above. We have to keep in mind that the gospels record crowds and disciples being totally shocked by Jesus’ teachings. They were unheard of.

        But, like I told John, originality does not prove something is true. Nor, does quotidian prove that something is false. So, I’m left wondering where John wants to take this.

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      • Thanks Brandon, nice to hear from you. I look forward to seeing what John makes of your list, I don’t see his response anywhere.

        The destruction of the temple is something concrete at least, although of course he didn’t give a timeframe, and was it not likely that it would happen anyway? Also, were the gospels not written down after the event? Most of the rest of your list is nothing we can verify, any more than we can verify Joseph Smith’s version of the god God’s will and heaven. Joseph Smith also rather uniquely got golden plates, but as you say, uniqueness on its own doesn’t make something true.

        I think John’s point stands that most of the story of Jesus has strong parallels with other mythical man-god stories, and that it’s odd, if he was the son of a creator deity, that he didn’t bring any practical knowledge of lasting value. Theories from ‘holy’ men about how to get to an afterlife are dime a dozen. I guess the fact that his recorded words did, and still do ring true for so many people is a point in his favour. But then the same can be said for Mohammed and Buddha, and even Joseph Smith …

        Liked by 1 person

      • Violet, the prediction of the destruction of the temple seems to be unique. Also Jesus claimed to be YHWH. That is unique. Historical credibility (i.e., did Jesus really say that?) is an entirely different issue. The truth of the matter (i.e., was Jesus telling the truth?) is also an entirely different matter.

        So you think John wants Jesus or Christianity to be unoriginal in order to run a mythicist argument? 🙂 This stuff amazes me. I’ve never seen more intellectual garbage in my life.

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      • And Brandon, Jesus never said he was Yhwh. Where are you getting all this nonsense from?

        John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me

        So, if Jesus is Yhwh, who’s this entity that “sent him”?

        And here’s a few more, just to hit the point home:

        John 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak,

        John 8:26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him

        John 14:24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

        John 14:31 the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

        John 8:42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.”

        John 17:3-12 [3] Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. [4] I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. [5] And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. [6] I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. [7] Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. [8] For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. [9] I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. [10] All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. [11] I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be one as we are one. [12] While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

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      • John, you are questioning how Jesus can be I AM (YHWH) and also be sent as the divine Son. This is legitimate theological question. But, it is just that, a theological question. The question itself does not undermine the fact that Jesus claimed to be divine.

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      • But it’s not incredible that someone would suggest in turbulent times that a building of importance would be destroyed at an unspecified time in the future. If it had been a hundred years later would you still accept it was a prophecy? If it had been 5 years after he said it would you be even more convinced? John’s comparison with Nostradamus stands here.

        Sorry it seems like intellectual garbage to you, but the fact that the story of Jesus is a rehash of loads of older superstitious beliefs, with themes of thinking found in loads of other cultures, makes it look like just another religion built on superstition. Certainly more successful than the ones that now seem obviously built on superstitious myths to you and other Christians, but not set so far apart from them to make it seem in any way probable.

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      • Please just think about what I am repeating here for the third time. Saying that some story or teaching is original (or not) is one thing. But, this is not necessarily connected to whether or not it is true is entirely different. Jesus specific predictions are unique. Whether they are true, we can debate.

        You should at least know what Jesus said and what actually happened. Jesus predicted the destruction of the Jewish temple which was the most sacred Jewish construction and completely covered in gold. Not only this. He predicted it would be razed: “no stone left on another” by, you guessed it, the Romans. This actually happened in 70 AD. Is there anything this specific in Nostradomas? Please do tell. 🙂 Do you realize that the prediction is so uncanny, or to use your word “incredible”, that this is the primary reason scholars date the gospels after 70 AD. Their reasoning is that the gospel authors must have fabricated this prediction. Is anyone contemplating redating Nostradomas? 🙂 I don’t think so. We know that his predictions were vague and meaningless.

        Hyperparallelism is not just intellectual garbage to me. It is to real life historians. Militant atheists can entertain themselves with this garbage, but it will come at a cost.

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      • John, the Olivet Discourse is recorded in all three synoptic gospels. Jesus clearly states that the temple will be destroyed and “not one stone will be left on another, all will be thrown down” (Luke 21:6). But, Jesus, when will this happen? “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you know the desolation has come near.” (Luke 21:20). Can you please be more specific? When? “Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place.” (Luke 21:32). So, you mean the Roman army laying siege to Jerusalem and razing the temple in 70 AD?

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      • So, for arguments sake, if we’re to accept this as a fulfilled prophecy, then did everyone miss the 2nd Coming? I mean, Jesus did say in this exact rambling passage full of earthquakes, famines, pestilences, and amazing signs from heaven, At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

        I don’t recall a 2nd Coming, do you? I don’t recall any earthquakes, famines, pestilences, and amazing signs in the sky being mentioned by any historian, do you?

        Now, tell me Brandon, do you believe Jesus is predicted in the Torah? If so, then you are acknowledging an earlier example of a prophecy fulfilled.

        Are you denying the OT prophecies?

        Original: present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest

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      • This is a legitimate question, John. Basically what you are raising the difference between hyperpreterism (or full preterism) and partial preterism. Rather than me elaborate on these complicated issues, I would encourage you to at least do a quick google reading. It’s worth it for your developing criticism of Christianity to understand these different escatological views.

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      • It will come at a cost? What cost?

        The problem with the Bible is that too many people have tried to make sense out of it, and Christians have lost the ability to read it as it is written. Read Matthew 24 again, without one of those fancy Bibles that tries to guide it into sections. Jesus is talking about the end of the world, not two sentences about something in less than 40 years time, then the rest about thousands of years later, like Christians try to twist it with hindsight. It’s simple manipulation of the text with headers to try and make one tiny section of an end times ramble to be a fulfilled prophesy – and it makes no sense!

        Nostradamus? Great fire of London in 1066:
        “The blood of the just will be demanded of London,
        Burnt by the fire in the year 66”

        That seems quite clear in comparison. Actually, I’m surprised how many look convincing, you should google for more. Imagine, he did a better job than the vague ramblings of Jesus!

        http://www.smashinglists.com/top-10-nostradamus-predictions-that-have-come-true/

        Liked by 1 person

      • The cost is your mind and your reputation. You will look desperate in front of academia while you get roughly 20 likes from diehard atheists. But, that’s anyone’s prerogative.

        If you read Matt 24, in a non-fancy bible :), and the other places where the Olivet Discourse is recorded (Mark 13, Luke 21), you find that Jesus is talking about two different things. One is clearly the destruction of the temple leaving “no stone on another” by the Romans that will occur within this generation. The other is the end of the world. Now, there are some differing interpretations on these. After looking into it, I think the “partial preterist” position is the best to hold.

        Violet you should be more charitable towards interpretation where it is needed. It is not inherently manipulation. If you go to a modern hospital, there will also be interpretation of lab tests, radiology, biopsies, surgical specimens, autopsies, physical exams. The act of interpretation is not inherently manipulation. It depends on how serious and thoughtful and inquisitive and unbiased one is being. It depends on developing a broad differential diagnosis and narrowing it down by reason.

        As for Nostradamus, I’m not impressed. He is not forcing real life scholars to redate his work unlike the gospels. Nostradamus is as a vague as any fortune cookie. BTW my fortune cookie last night said I have a 6th sense and good insight. 🙂 I’m just wondering if the person who made up this fortune has even seen the movie the Sixth Sense, because no one wants that curse.

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      • “The cost is your mind and your reputation.” Thank you for your concern but I don’t have any kind of academic reputation to maintain, and I enjoy the 5 likes I get from my diehard atheist friends. 😀

        “If you read Matt 24, in a non-fancy bible :), and the other places where the Olivet Discourse is recorded (Mark 13, Luke 21), you find that Jesus is talking about two different things.”
        I’m genuinely dismayed you are so far gone you can’t see the complete conversation in these chapters. Jesus says the temple will be destroyed and gets asked when these things will happen, and goes on with further details of his end of the world scenario. It’s a clear continuation of the same conversation. And only by most Bible versions splitting it up and providing separate headers could anyone imagine they are distinct.

        Charitable towards interpretation? As someone pointed out on one of John’s post I think, if Jesus existed and if we have anything like an accurate record of his words, even then, his message was ‘fleshed out’ (ie biasedly interpreted, and at his own admission) by Paul, whose message has been ‘fleshed out’ by countless over-thinking theologians, until we’ve reached the point where Christians quote random dead men for their version of the Truth rather than looking directly at the words of Jesus as recorded in the Bible. Too much studying secondary and tertiary sources can cloud your understanding (not that a primary one exists …)

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      • Well, Violet, I appreciate that you are an honest human. 🙂 Seriously.

        I see what you mean about Matt 24, etc. No one said interpretation was easy, and if you really believe in God, the whole New Testament should be important for rendering an interpretation. Your “straightforward reading” is ultimately what is called hyperpreterism. But, in light of the entire New Testament it is difficult to defend.

        Also, I think you are exaggerating the problems of interpretation because it serves your side. But, when it comes down to something like having your uterus cut out of your body, you will defer to the expert, the doctor. Even though there is an error bar for any scientific claim.

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      • “I see what you mean Matt 24, etc.” Hurrah! So glad you can at least see it, even if you still don’t agree with it. I for my part acknowledge that there many aspects to an old text such as the Bible that you can’t possibly understand without knowing the wider context. But I think the areas I’m challenging here are quite straightforward.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Violet, before John responds to Brnadon’s list, I could make a few observations first.
        There is no where in scripture Jesus says the temple will be sacked in AD 70. It can’t be a prophesy, it has no specifics.
        The rest John seems to have responded to far better than I could

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, Brandon is playing very loose in saying Jesus said 70 AD. There is nothing at all which says this. In fact, the passage is so vaporous it’d make Nostradamus blush 🙂

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    • Hey, Brandon, you old sycophantic Dickhead, how the Hades/Sheol/Gehenna are you?
      All this time Johns been away and you immediately come back dribbling all over your keyboard?
      Come on , show us you have some cojones and answer the damn question properly.
      I always thought it was lawyers who used double speak not medical professionals?
      Or maybe it is both?

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  23. Question for SOM

    I’m wondering why you really come to sites like this. You have no earthly possibility of changing anyone’s mind here and by persisting in this vain attempt you disregard the New Testament imperative of Matthew 10:14 ”If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”

    So I can only presume you are infatuated with yourself and have this pretense that you are doing “God’s work” while all the time ingratiating yourself with a delusional sense that you can survive a cyber-version of the lion’s den that the mythical character Daniel went through.

    Isn’t Vanity one of the seven deadly sins?

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  24. I’m not so sure though. Especially with Hinduism and other Asian mythology it is extremely possible that a single one of them may have cursed a tree given that there are soooooooooo many of them.

    In fact, in Chinese mythology there are indeed “tree demons” – trees that are sentient and do evil, generally tripping people walking in the dark and then eating them. Rather sure some of them would have been cursed at some point.

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  25. Theologically, If Jesus is God made flesh, than through the trinity Jesus originated all things said and done. As part of the trinity God exists outside of time (see Thomas Aquinas).

    Furthermore, keeping with Aquinas, he argues that as temporal things are concerned, only present things exist. Therefore, philosophically, Jesus at any time could be an originator of he idea said or done.

    However, this all has to be taken into account that people with different schools of thought will disagree on many aspects of the above. #1 Atheist do not believe in Christ’s divinity, therefore, will not also acknowledge the concept of the trinity. #2. There are other philosophical schools that disagree with Aquinas’ notion of temporal things and their relationship to the present.

    I could attempt to use other theological and philosophical agents to give possible answers, but John you have to be honest. You won’t accept the above answer, or any other because it appears you’ve all ready decided. Which is fine, but I ask that you consider this you motives, Folks that appear on Tom’s blog believe that the bible is God breathed and a lot them are fundamentalist. They believe that no part of the bible could possibly be allegorical. So ask yourself, what was your goal? You had to know that you couldn’t persuade anyone. I couldn’t persuade you to accept the above answers, but hopefully I can get you to consider the worthiness of going on quixotic missions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Phadde

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment. First things first: Yes, an after-the-fact theological opinion doesn’t count, not in the spirit of the question. I hope you can appreciate that. It’s not a trick question though, and doesn’t even attempt to litigate any supernatural claim, just examine that which was recorded… that which was allegedly said and done.

      Now, I’ll happily accept any answer if it fits. Until this morning we thought we’d actually found something genuinely original to Jesus—his chastising of the fig tree—but as it has since been pointed out, other (older) gods have actually done that, cursing an entire forest, in fact. So, we’re still at zero originality, which, I hope, is thought-provoking. That is the goal… to promote thought, to help people look at the claims from a fresh, perhaps challenging perspective.

      Again, there is no trick. Truth be told, you couldn’t get a more straightforward question. If it could be demonstrated that the thoughts expressed in the Beatitudes, for example, were truly original to Jesus then I’d accept the Beatitudes as being truly original to Jesus. The thoughts contained in the Beatitudes are not, though, original to Jesus. We have far older sources for those same ideas.

      Now, Tom. The way Tom has framed the defence of his rather curious behaviour is by implying that I had somehow invaded his blog. Nothing could be further from the truth. Tom posted a hunk of my work which actually dealt with this question. I had to Approve his comment/link, then naturally popped over to see what the fuss was all about. Seeing my work there in his post I then simply asked him if he could answer the question which had been raised… and so began the song and dance.

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      • Let me ask you this as I ponder your question, you’ll have to accept that fact that I was raised Catholic so my understanding comes from a more theological aspect as opposed to biblical like Tom and Company. You have God/Son/Holy Ghost. God spoke to Moses, Elijah, Abraham etc. Judaism in theory was derived from this. Jesus, the Christian Messiah, was a Jew so many of those laws passed down he referred to scripture. Those would negate all of those ideas, as being original by your “criteria” God through the Prophets to Christ.

        However, Christ did reject many of those teachings in favor for a “new testament”. Now those philosophies can be found in many other regions, is your argument correct?

        I think what scares fundamentalist is that if it’s not God breathed, therefore not original, than it might not be true. I personally do not think the answer matters to the credit or discredit of Jesus being God, or divine.

        My father was an archaeologists, he use to talk about this piece of wood attached to string that use to be used in the Oceania region for religious ceremonies. When Lewis and Clark journeyed across America they found that native’s children used the same object as a toy. Now whose idea was original? Is it important question to ask? Does the purpose of the object or idea matter?

        Furthermore, the bow and arrow was found on every continent, was it shared, or did it come about independently ?

        Originality in my opinion doesn’t discredit ideas. It may to fundamentalist. Just a thought.

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      • Hi Phadde

        Originality in my opinion doesn’t discredit ideas.

        Positively, I agree with you. I think Powell said it wonderfully, and I really can’t add anything to that. I must stress, this question, as simple as it is, isn’t framed or delivered to discredit the good people find in Jesus. It is merely an attempt to get people to consider the claims attached to this story from a different perspective.

        I’m not sure I follow exactly what you’re suggesting is original in the “new testament.” Could you clarify it a little better?

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      • Hi Phadde2,

        I think you missed the point of John’s question.

        Certainly ideas that are not original does not negate its usefulness nor diminishes their impact. Case in point Jesus’s command of love thy neighbor. I would like to say the world will be a better place if all christians follow this teaching wholeheartedly.

        But that is not John’s point. He is saying that Jesus didn’t bring anything new to the table. No special philosophy, no new knowledge that other school of thoughts/philosophy or religion hasn’t already covered. And that is disturbing, because between Jesus’s time to ours, there are indeed a lot of knowledge and new moral principles that men have developed/discovered.

        So why didn’t Jesus teach us or show us even a glimpse of that?

        Yes you can argue that perhaps to God all these are not important, and the most important thing is for humans to find salvation through Jesus and that is the whole point of Jesus being there on earth. And I’m sure John will be able to then move this discussion forward into another territory. Unfortunately, as you can see with the christian answers thus far, none of them are willing to concede the point that Jesus didn’t say anything original and then we can actually move to more meaningful discussion – e.g. the implications, instead it seems that they immediately jump on the defensive and hand-wave the question. This to me is being disingenuous and actually made John’s question sound more threatening, when imho it is the subsequent debate on its implication more important, and perhaps easier for theists to defend.

        That being said, at the very least I think you do concede the point about originality? I welcome that and perhaps John can answer you about the implication issues.

        Thank you

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      • Powell,

        It has already been established that Jesus’ teaching of God as Trinity is an innovation, thus discrediting this post.

        John’s reply was that a Catholic Bishop who lived in 167 Year of Our Lord offered the innovation accredited to Jesus.

        That reply is an error on two counts because the Catholic Bishop’s job is to teach the doctrine of the Trinity first taught by Jesus and because 167 Year of Our Lord is 130 years or so AFTER Jesus.

        Therefore, it is impossible for the Bishop of Antioch in 167 Your of Our Lord to have offered an innovation 130 years after the Jesus had already taught it to his disciples.

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      • SOM, the word Trinity is not in the bible. It is a theological opinion first mentioned in 170 by Theophilus of Antioch, but not formalised, as you’re using it, until Tertullian (3rd century). There are today Trinitarian churches, and anti-Trinitarian churches. The concept is all over the shop. For example, we have many, many cases of Jesus saying he’s not god:

        John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me

        John 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak,

        John 8:26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him

        That’s just three. There are more. But what it seems you’re not aware of is that the idea can be traced back to Zoroastrianism. There are three Zoroastrian divine dimensions: Ahura Mazda, the Father; Spenta Mainyu or Vohu Mana, the Holy Spirit; and Asha Vahishta, the Logos or Son.

        “Praise to thee, Ahura Mazda, threefold before other creations.”

        About which he [Ahura] in the beginning thus thought, “let the blessed realms be filled with Light”, he it is that by his wisdom [Mazda] created Right [Asha]. – Yasna 31:7

        So, as you can see, even if one is to accept the trinity being Christian (which is debatable) the concept of the trireme godhead is actually far older than Judaism, and far, far, far older than Christianity.

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      • John,

        The Great Commission of Jesus at the end of Matthew: “Go forth and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

        The Trinity is the fundamental doctrine of Christianity.

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      • Hi SOM

        New avatar?

        Despite being a theological opinion that was never specifically addressed by Jesus (which is what we’re dealing with here, remember), the concept of a Trinity (if you want to argue this line) is nothing new, or original, to Christianity. Hints can be found in Judaism:

        Isaiah 48:16:“From the beginning from the time that it was, I was there: (1st person) and now the Lord GOD (2nd person) and His Spirit, (3rd person) hath sent me (1st person).”

        The concept of a Trinity is however fully expressed in Zoroastrian:

        Ahura Mazda (the Father), Spenta Mainyu or Vohu Mana (the Holy Spirit), and Asha Vahista (the Logos, or Son):

        “Praise to thee, Ahura Mazda, threefold before other creations.”

        In the Egyptian “Hymn to Amun” it’s written:

        ‘No god came into being before him (Amun)’ and that ‘All gods are three: Amun, Re and Ptah, and there is no second to them. Hidden is his name as Amon, he is Re in face, and his body is Ptah.’

        In Buddhism the Trikāya doctrine says that the Buddha has three kāyas or bodies (from wiki):

        1. The Dharmakāya or Truth body which embodies the very principle of enlightenment and knows no limits or boundaries;
        2. The Sambhogakāya or body of mutual enjoyment which is a body of bliss or clear light manifestation;
        3. The Nirmāṇakāya or created body which manifests in time and space.

        In Hinduism, the trinity (Trimūrti, or The Three Forms) is of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. These three in one are called “the Hindu triad” or the “Great Trinity”

        In the Hindu Puranas there is this passage:

        ‘O ye three Lords! know that I recognise only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.’

        And the concept is found with the Greeks. Aristotle wrote:

        ‘All things are three, and thrice is all: and let us use this number in the worship of the gods; for, as the Pythagoreans say, everything and all things are bounded by threes, for the end, the middle and the beginning have this number in everything, and these compose the number of the Trinity'” (Arthur Weigall,Paganism in Our Christianity, 1928, pp. 197-198).

        Thomas Dennis Rock wrote in his book, The Mystical Woman and the Cities of the Nations, 1867 (Pg. 22-23)

        “The ancient Babylonians recognised the doctrine of a trinity, or three persons in one god— as appears from a composite god with three heads forming part of their mythology, and the use of the equilateral triangle, also, as an emblem of such trinity in unity”

        So, as you can see, the Trinity is not new, or original.

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      • John,

        In fact, Jesus refers to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit many times throughout the Gospels.

        The Christians celebrate Pentecost an event in the New Testament, which is a celebration of the Holy Spirit.

        Christianity is a celebration of Jesus, the Son of the Father.

        The atheist in all his grandeur has not the power to redefine or hallucinate away, what is clearly stated in the Bible for all to see with their own eyes and understand with their own literate minds.

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      • SOM, you can take your complaints up with the multitude of anti-Trinitarian Christian churches and have that debate with them, but I’m happy to accept the Trinity if you really want me to. As I have just demonstrated, the concept of the Trinity is scattered throughout far, far older religions and even surfaces in Greek philosophy some 300 years before Jesus.

        Nothing new, or original there.

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      • John,

        This discussion concerns innovations courtesy of Jesus.

        Further, “anti-Trinitarian” Christian is an oxymoron.

        There can be no Christianity without the Trinity.

        That fact is also stated categorically throughout the New Testament.

        Therefore, you switching the authority for your argument from yourself to a modern religion is yet another affront to reason.

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      • Hi SOM

        “Innovations” doesn’t fit the spirit of the question. The standard definition of “original” is: present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest

        Are you going to try and argue the concept of a Trinity was “original” to Jesus when I have already shown you it to have existed in Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and Greek philosophy?

        And let’s not forget, it also emerged fully formed in Taoist teachings. Taoists teach of the The Three Pure Ones who are regarded as the pure and singular manifestation of the Tao and the origin of all sentient beings. They are also called:

        The Three Pure Pellucid Ones

        the Three Pristine Ones,

        the Three Divine Teachers,

        the Three Clarities,

        or the Three Purities

        Like

      • John,

        Making a list containing the word, “Three” or its derivative and then using that list as a standard with which to assign the meaning of the Christian Trinity is also an affront to reason.

        That particular logical fallacy which you insist on clinging to, has already been addressed.

        Further, just as Christian theology cannot be used to define Hinduism (or any other religion), neither can any other religion be used to define Christianity.

        Christianity defines itself. Or put another way, Jesus defined himself and God.

        There is no other religion that defines the nature of God the way Jesus did.

        There is no other person or religion in history that predates the biblical description of the nature of man and tyranny as stated in 1 Samuel.

        John, every single one of your arguments is an affront to reason, proving once again, that atheism is an affront to reason.

        The atheist is thus, a bitter clinger to irrationality.

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      • Hi SOM

        By “Christianity defines itself” do you mean in the sense that it took three to four hundred years of theological debate (opinion) to arrive at a concept (again, opinion) of what the “trinity” might be… yet even then it couldn’t actually be agreed upon? 😉

        Sorry SOM, but you can’t play hard and fast with the facts here. The definition of “original” is not in question, and I have demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that a trireme godhead was anything but original to Christianity. Even you have to admit it’s found in Judaism! Are you about to deny the authority of your own bible?

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      • John,

        The Bible is the story of God’s plan of Salvation for mankind.

        It starts with the book of Genesis and the beginning of the universe.

        Consequently, we are looking at a time period far greater than the few centuries you hallucinate as some sort of temporal standard.

        Follow this link to dictionary.com: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/innovation

        You will see that you are also hallucinating a difference between “innovation” and “original” that doesn’t exist in reality.

        If all we need to do to win our arguments is hallucinate alternate realities, than we are left with atheism and the arguments of John Zande, one of its acolytes.

        Nevertheless, our Western Heritage is based on real reality and the systematic thinking developed over millennia which is the gold standard for the pursuit of truth.

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      • Powell, I’m really just expanding the range of the idea. John has expressed an idea about originality. Personally, I am favor of the trinity as expressed SOM; however, John has refuted those dates, and to be honest I’m not well versed in that aspect. So I will leave the discussion between those two. So far as I know, it may be the only ‘original’ idea based on John’s criteria. I think what SOM is attempting to argue is that one may manifest an idea that has no label, and secondary sources will then compile and give context to said ideas. I think it’s not quite fair to eliminate theological studies after Christ’s death as in many ways it can be just an interpretations of teachings and events. Historian do this with the field of historiography. When looking over the comments the other perspective is that many of Christ’s works come from sources at later dates. Now, as a historian, I would tell any many within the field of historiography would consider reminiscences at later dates as first person sources. As a historian you have to look at many different elements, who is the author? what is their bias? who is their audience?

        It’s a discussion worth having just simply the idea of originality, and its importance. I’m glad John brought the discussion forth, I wished that it was met with better reception at the other blog, but then again. I’ve discussed different interpretations of parables with those folks only to be told I was wrong. I left it at that.

        I will end with this, I think the those in favor of Christ must attempt to argue the trinity, fundamentalist usually will stray away from such theology as they’ll have to dive into more Catholic philosophy on the matter. However, it maybe that he didn’t give an original idea, but I don’t think that it negates anything from Jesus and his teaching.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Phadde2, I’m glad a historian would come and weigh in. My conversation with John has been more with what is a good criterion for originality. John’s criterion is too exclusive, it makes virtually nothing original. I think when we talk about originality it should be based on history (through sound historiography) and based on specificity. So, for example, there were probably many men claiming to be divine before Christ. But, has anyone claimed to be YHWH? If history cannot find a predecessor to this specification, then it is original. By this criterion, Christianity is highly original.

        As far as ethical teachings, Christianity teaches that the law is written on the hearts of humanity. So, it should not be surprising to find, say, the Golden Rule expressed in so many cultures before it was in the Mosaic Law. Or, Plato’s four virtues, and so on.

        Other examples I can think of off the top of my head are a dying-rising Messiah (Jewish Messianic expectation was a warlord), Jesus’ idea of the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus’ teachings about the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ teaching on the impossibility of being saved by human effort, Jesus’ criticism of self-righteousness of the Pharisees. I think these are historically original, and the gospels even record audiences being amazed when hearing them which is consistent with them being original for their time and place.

        The reason I bring all this up is because I do not think the Trinity is the only Christian innovation. But, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

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      • Honestly, like I said previously, it’s a bit disingenuous to ask what is labeled a simple question, “What did Jesus do or say that is original?” Have folks answer, and then all of the sudden quantify the asked question. Personally, like I said, I think in regards to historiography, if ones takes account Mosaic law, one must separate it from laws had existed around or prior in the historical record. This would be most prominently the Code of Hammurabi and the Code of Ur-Nammu. These laws for the most part were social contracts within social contract theory, what separates Mosaic law it is a contract with a deity (A survey of the Old Testament p52 Andrew E. Hill, John H. Walton – 2000) So, let’s examine Mosaic law within the cult of Yahweh. As Karen Armstrong explains in her book, A History of God, The Cult of Yahweh fashioned with the people a covenant that all of the people of Israel were God’s (Yahweh) elect people. (A History of God p40 Karen Armstrong-1993) “God did not simply intervene in history to glorify Israel, but to secure social justice.” (Armstrong, 40.)

        Armstrong explains further into her book that what Jesus innovated within the frameworks of the Cult of Yahweh was to open up this exclusive club, law, and covenant. (Armstrong, 80) Armstrong says, “Nobody…had imagined Yahweh to actually have a son.” (Armstrong, 80)

        “By the time of Jesus’ death in about 30 ce, the Jews were passionate monotheists, so nobody expected the Messiah to be a divine figure: he would simply be an ordinary, if priviledged, human being. “

        “The Psalms sometimes called called David or the Messiah Son of God (Yahweh) “The Son of God,” but was simply a way of expressing his intimacy with Yahweh.”

        Now let’s note that Armstrong says that Jesus never claimed to be to God, that this idea wasn’t truly formulated until the 4th century. He did in fact call many himself many times the ‘Son of Man’, which most likely he was referencing his humanity.

        Perhaps an innovation of Christ, which I think has elements of Buddhism is that she claims that Christ never claimed his miracles as a tool solely confined to that of the divine, “If his disciples had ‘faith’, they would be able to do even greater things (like miracles).” (Armstrong, 83) Therefore Christ taught through ‘faith’ their frail human bodies could be ‘transfigured’ to having ‘powers’ of a God. This of course is similar to the Greek demi-god’s which even draws comparison to that of Jesus, what separates it from that notion is that Armstrong again says that these all powers that can be found within all mankind.

        So I think if one wants to argue the Trinity as being taught by Christ, one would have to rectify Christ’s ‘teachings’ with that of Abelard’s ‘findings’, however, I think it can definitely be argued that Christ’s connection to Yahweh is original, his teachings of the spirit within the framework of the Gospels also allows for the possibility of the trinity. Armstrong notes that Mark from consensus is probably the most ‘historical’ out of the Gospels. Mark also has the baptismal scene. I think it can definitely be argued that Christ’s connection with Yahweh and therefore his teachings allowing gentile’s to be apart of the convent can also be argued to original. (Matt. 15:27) One would also have to acknowledge Armstrong strays away from John, mainly because it is the farthest away from Mark in regards to historiography, it also takes shots at her argument.

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      • Well, good sir, I can tell that our views both align and conflict, and that’s good. Better than total conflict. 🙂 I agree that historiography is “in debate”, i.e., can amount to a game of rules as postmodernism criticizes. If you are postmodern enough, John’s question is pretty well meaningless. I am not sure how a historian can be a strong postmodern and wake up every day without falling into a deep depression over the futility of one’s work. I’m a physician and it’s difficult enough as a sort of weak postmodern and with the nagging arguments of nihilism.

        Also, I’m not sure John’s position can be categorized as empiricist. Otherwise he would be an incoherent fool! He accepts some sort of “rational” historiography, but it is incoherent to say, as John, that democracy was an original form of government in ancient Athens and deny that Jesus’ sacrifice was an original form of sacrifice.

        So, let me affirm our agreements. You seem to agree in various ways that Christianity and/or Jesus were original in some way. This already separates us from John. I’m not sure if you agree or disagree with my proposals, but judging from your response, probably not. And, maybe it’s because we have completely different views.

        You seem to hold Karen Armstrong to high regard. I think Armstrong is dancing on a perilous bridge between the default secular academic position and a vague new-age spiritualism. It does not surprise me that she does not think that Jesus claimed to be God, for whatever reasons, whether exegetical or historiographic or philosophical or theological or whatever.

        In general, I’m not sure comparative religion specialists are the best to ask about what degree ideas are innovative and/or derivative. Sitting in an ivory tower and writing a decades-old tome is not sufficient. Especially when one is totally serving this idea that actually we are so equal that there are no real differences between religions. That is just foolishness. I’ll stop here.

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      • I don’t hold Karen Armstrong to any higher pedestal, I just find her research useful in regards to John’s question. I was just using her research because A. I own the book, and B. My more secular friends of mine hold her to a high regard.

        I’m a moderate really when it comes to the schools of thought, I take points from both schools. Which is the reason why I am attempting to take a more rational aspect to this question. I will concede calling John an empiricist, is a generalization, but based off of his criteria, I was choosing a word based off of lack of a better term. Being a moderate, I actually do not agree with a lot of Karen’s assertions, which is why I commented on her avoidance of the Gospel of John, but at the same time she has done major research, I’m not afraid of assertions that I don’t agree with my own; therefore, as a historian find it prudent to use all research, whether it’s written in an ivory tower or not.

        I work for a historical-society/non-profit organization. I have discussions with a great many different ph.d’s who come from a variety of different schools. Somedays I argue for the need of more objectivity, and others I argue for more subjectivity, it really depends on the ‘extremist’…haha.

        I am post-modern enough to ask what is the purpose of John’s question? I am sure one could take this debate even further and argue that there’s no such thing as an original idea at all, only human observations of the mathematics of natural law. This of course again, begs the question, What’s the purpose?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Those are good reasons to cite Armstrong, I will give you that.

        Moderate is a good position to take. I think it allows us to appreciate the complexity of real life. I do not think our subjective interpretations are totally disconnected from reality. It’s just that they are all qualified by degrees of certainty. And, sometimes interpretations are a bit more grand, such as the existence of God when God is not a being accessible by phenomenological experience and scientific experimentation. Being a grand interpretation with massive consequences for our lives does not necessarily make it less certain.

        Now that I think about it, you are right that John aligns with the empiricist school. I was mistaking empiricism for something else last night.

        That’s awesome that you work for a historical society! And, I agree with you that the direction John is going is more towards there not being anything original. That’s why I asked John to propose a criterion for originality but got no answer. I think a necessary component will be a certain amount or type of specification. Like Jesus’ sacrifice is a specific type of sacrifice just like democracy is a specific type of government. It is not like a pagan sacrifice which was about things like keeping the universe alive (ancient Mesopotamia, Mayans) or placating gods or gaining favor for material gain. The Marxist motivated sacrifice. 🙂 Jesus’ sacrifice was definitely analogous to Jewish sacrifices of atonement which dealt with sin. But, it was fundamentally different because the sacrifice was not offered by humans, rather by God. The older religions had sacrifices that came from humans, votive offerings, Mayan slave’s heads rolling to keep the universe alive, one’s own child, and so on. But, Jesus was offered by God, so this was out of God’s love and desire to reconcile himself with the world, not out of human motivations.

        But, yeah. What is John’s purpose? I think ultimately his desired result (Christianity not being original) feeds into his hypothesis that Christianity was fabricated by preexisting ideas. A mishmash of ideas that a cult adopted after a Jewish rabbi, Jesus, died. That is unless Jesus did not exist. I’m not sure if John is a mythicist or not.

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      • That’s why I asked John to propose a criterion for originality but got no answer.

        Really Brandon? That’s quite an interesting accusation.

        As I recall, on the 27th of February I outlined the basic English definition of the word/s:

        Originality: The quality or state of being original

        Original: Present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest

        I have never deviated from this definition, with particular attention being paid to first or earliest.

        And when asked for an example I immediately gave you the Golden Rule.

        Hence the question: name something genuinely new or original Jesus said or did.

        To date, you have not named a single thing.

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      • That’s clearly not a criterion. You need to specify why entities fitting in general categories can still be original. Grunge rock was rock, but it was original in that it was grunge. Ay?

        Just work with me on this.

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      • Brandon,

        democracy was an original form of government in ancient Athens and deny that Jesus’ sacrifice was an original form of sacrifice.

        To add the disclaimer, “of government,” is just being sneaky. Democracy was an original idea to the Greeks. Yes, it is a form of government, but in this same light, by your reckoning, the 2015 Audi S3 is then a wholly and entirely “original” form of motorised transport to the Cugnot Steam Trolley. Is it?

        You can see the absurdity in your statement now, correct?

        Yes or No: was Jesus’ death a blood sacrifice (offering) for the atonement of sin?
        Yes or No: was Jesus’ death the perceived paying of a debt with a life?

        Are you, Brandon, trying to claim that there was never any blood sacrifice’s for the atonement of sin before Jesus?

        That’s quite a claim, and it contradicts your own bible, as you are fully aware.

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      • John, you are getting closer to criterion. Close but no cigar yet.

        So, the 2015 Audi S3 is obviously different from the Cugnot steam trolley, but this difference and novel design does not meet your criterion of originality. Why not? Give me a solid reason. We may be able to figure out your criterion.

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      • Distinct, yes, but both motorised forms of transport. If you had to trace the progress of motorised (mechanical) transport back to the first “original” example, would you not arrive at the Cugnot Steal Trolley?

        I think that is self-explanatory.

        Original: present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest

        Now do be so kind to answer the questions I put to you:

        Yes or No: was Jesus’ death a blood sacrifice (offering) for the atonement of sin?
        Yes or No: was Jesus’ death the perceived paying of a debt with a life?

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      • Maybe if we focus on something less controversial, we can actually come up with a good criterion for originality.

        You acknowledge that there are similarities and differences between the steam trolley and a brand new Audi. There are also similarities and differences between democracy and monarchy. The question is what difference, in quantity or quality or both, justify calling something original?

        This is an extremely important question for patent law, so maybe I will search there. So, of course the steam trolley and an Audi serve as motor vehicles, but they utilize radically different technologies and have differing performances in the capacity as a vehicle. These features, I think, are sufficient differences to justify the Audi as original in comparison to the steam trolley. Would you not agree?

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      • Hi Brandon

        It’s really not complicated:

        Originality: The quality or state of being original

        Original: Present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest

        The question: name something genuinely new or original said or done by Jesus.

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      • John, I understand that it needs to have no precedent. No one is arguing with that.

        I’m honestly trying to work with you here.

        Let’s look into patentability. Just a few minutes of Google and Wikipedia, and I find the concept that something is patentable if it contains an inventive step that is non-obvious (among other things). Now, think about how that applies to Athenian democracy. Yes, it was inventive, transferring governing decisions from a few elite to society. And, this transfer is not an obvious solution to governing problems.

        So, we could have criteria for originality as 1) unprecedented in history, 2) contains an inventive step that 3) is not an obvious solution or alteration. What say you to this?

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      • And I’d appreciate it if you answered my questions:

        Yes or No: was Jesus’ death a blood sacrifice (offering) for the atonement of sin?
        Yes or No: was Jesus’ death the perceived paying of a debt with a life?

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      • I also believe that the discourse on the Bread of Life, the idea of Transubstantiation, in John could possibly be argued as an original idea. This is an idea that originates from Christ,”For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” However, I am sure that the question will be further quantified by saying something of the nature that there are other sacrifices, cannibalism, or shape shifting. I personally do not see any of those things being the same as Transubstantiation, but I am sure John and Co. will.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Phadde

        The Iranians and Indians (Indo-Iranians) had a drink concoction made of water and flesh which was believed to bring immortality. It’s actually quite a common theme in religions where sacrifice is a central component, like Christianity

        In a roomy antechamber the intoxicating haoma (the counterpart of the Indian soma drink) was brewed, the holy water prepared, and the sacrifice of flesh (myazda) and cakes (darun) offered to the gods. The precious haoma, the drink of immortality, not only conduced in the case of mankind to eternal life, but was likewise a drink for the gods themselves.

        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13309a.htm

        So, eating and drinking ritualised food and drink for immortality is not original, far from it, but eating the said sage might be?

        I don’t know enough about Mithraism to say either way, but there are an awful lot of sites which say Mithraists had the sacraments of the bread and wine.

        The sacred meal of bread and water, or bread and wine, was symbolic of the body and blood of the sacred bull.

        As far as I can see, though, there is no specific claim to it being the body and blood of Mithras. Apart from him I can’t immediately call to mind any other deity/sage specifically saying “he/she” physically turned into the food. Of course, this is just symbolism, we can test the claim any given Sunday and find it to be false, but it might just qualify given no one else (as far as I’m aware, at least) made that particular claim.

        The term “transubstantiation” was however only first used in the 11th century, and of course, apart from Catholics (who invented the concept), none of the other 42,000 Christian sects believe it, or practice it. Brandon, of course, doesn’t believe it, and will no doubt take serious issue with this being presented as a “valid” suggestion. In all honesty, I’m sure he would in fact take offense at you suggesting it, given the divergence in “beliefs” regarding this single, wildly ambiguous, vague matter. That is a debate, however, for you two to have.

        Is it therefore a strong suggestion based on something Jesus said or did? I’d say it’s certainly a fair suggestion. The concept is definitely not new, but the personalisation of it might indeed count… at least as a symbolic gesture, and at least for Catholics.

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      • He will most likely say that it relies on Aristotle’s idea of metaphysics, I reject that notion. Transubstantiation is completely independent, which ties in my argument that all things can be asserted as observations not genuine as they operate within the confines of the mathematics of the world. This, of course, is why I find the constant quantifying of a ‘simple’ question bogus.

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      • Also consider this, History and with it Historiography within the frameworks of academia is still actively debated. What I arrive at studying John’s question is he abides by the sub-discipline called empiricism born out of the Scientific Revolution, which is why when folks attempt to answer his questions by using logical extension such as mosaic law to Yahweh to Yahweh son to Son who teaches about Spirit to Abelard forming the answer being the term “trinity”. It’s not good enough because Jesus didn’t say the word trinity.

        Hopefully, at least right now, John can concede that within historiography at this moment, Most historian’s do not operate by this sort of empiricism, they operate within the framework. There is something also at the heart of this debate being subliminally debated also within academia and historiography such as deductive vs. inductive reasoning. In many ways why some answers may satisfy my needs, and but wouldn’t satisfy John’s.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Phadde

        No, I’m not that bothered by the word Trinity not being mentioned. Apologies if it came across that way. I’m more concerned with older sources of what is being claimed to be original. In the case of the Trinity, and as I pointed out to SOM, it’s found in Judaism:

        Isaiah 48:16:“From the beginning from the time that it was, I was there: (1st person) and now the Lord GOD (2nd person) and His Spirit, (3rd person) hath sent me (1st person).”

        It’s also fully expressed in Zoroastrianism: Ahura Mazda (the Father), Spenta Mainyu or Vohu Mana (the Holy Spirit), and Asha Vahista (the Logos, or Son):

        “Praise to thee, Ahura Mazda, threefold before other creations.”

        In the Egyptian ” Hymn to Amun” it’s written:

        ‘No god came into being before him (Amun)’ and that ‘All gods are three: Amun, Re and Ptah, and there is no second to them. Hidden is his name as Amon, he is Re in face, and his body is Ptah.’

        In Buddhism the Trikāya doctrine says that a Buddha has three kāyas or bodies (from wiki):

        1. The Dharmakāya or Truth body which embodies the very principle of enlightenment and knows no limits or boundaries;
        2. The Sambhogakāya or body of mutual enjoyment which is a body of bliss or clear light manifestation;
        3. The Nirmāṇakāya or created body which manifests in time and space.

        Taoists teach of The Three Pure Ones who are regarded as the pure and singular manifestation of the Tao and the origin of all sentient beings. They are also called the Three Pure Pellucid Ones, the Three Pristine Ones, the Three Divine Teachers, the Three Clarities, or the Three Purities.

        In Hinduism, the trinity (Trimūrti, or The Three Forms) is of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. These three-in-one are called “the Hindu triad” or the “Great Trinity”

        In the Hindu Puranas there is this quite remarkable passage:

        ‘O ye three Lords! know that I recognise only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.’

        And the concept is found with the Greeks. Aristotle wrote:

        ‘All things are three, and thrice is all: and let us use this number in the worship of the gods; for, as the Pythagoreans say, everything and all things are bounded by threes, for the end, the middle and the beginning have this number in everything, and these compose the number of the Trinity'”.

        Given this extensive history of the Trinity idea across multiple religions and cultures, what might have been genuinely original to Jesus is if he renounced the trinity concept, defining perhaps some new god idea distinct from all others.

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      • John,

        From Wiki:

        Zoroastrianism arose in the eastern region of the ancient Persian Empire, when the religious philosopher Zoroaster simplified the pantheon of early Iranian gods[2] into two opposing forces: Spenta Mainyu (“progressive mentality”) and Angra Mainyu (“destructive mentality”) under the one God, Ahura Mazda (“Illuminating Wisdom”).[3]

        The Zoroastrianism is monotheistic with the one God, Ahura Mazda ruling over two opposing forces, Spenta Mainyu and Angra Mainyu.

        That is totally different from the Christian Trinity.

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      • John,

        No it is not baffling, it is simple.

        Zoroastrianism is completely different from Christianity.

        Three equal persons, all of the same nature in one God is purely and uniquely Christian.

        Nevertheless, to keep people like you from confusing yourselves, the Church authored the Nicene Creed in the 4th century, Year of Our Lord.

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      • SOM, lift your eyes from wiki. Zoroastrianism has a trinity, yet is also monotheistic, like Christianity. Three for the price of one! 🙂

        Now, let me guess, you’re just going to ignore all the other examples of the trinity, right? What about that really awkward one being Judaism… But my favourite is from the Hindu Puranas:

        ‘O ye three Lords! know that I recognise only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.’

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      • John,

        Zoroastrianism – One God controlling two opposing forces.

        Christianity – One God, a family of three persons, each person of the same nature.

        In Zoroastrianism God is not the same nature as the two opposing forces he controls.

        In Christianity, God is three persons all of the same nature.

        Therefore, Zoroastrianism and Christianity are fundamentally different.

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      • Christianity, God is three persons all of the same nature

        Careful there, SOM, it seems you’re just citing a theological “opinion” established in the 4th century.

        Remember, we’re only dealing here with things “said” or “done” by Jesus.

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      • John,

        The Nicene Creed is not theological opinion. The Creed states all the fundamental beliefs of Apostolic Christianity.

        All Catholics, past, present and future, must believe the Creed. They say it every Sunday at Mass.

        And once a year we repeat our baptismal vows using the Creed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Here’s an interesting article for you: How Ancient Trinitarian Gods Influenced Adoption of the Trinity

        It’s blurb reads: “Many who believe in the Trinity are surprised, perhaps shocked, to learn that the idea of divine beings existing as trinities or triads long predated Christianity. Yet, as we will see, the evidence is abundantly documented.”

        http://www.ucg.org/booklet/god-trinity/how-ancient-trinitarian-gods-influenced-adoption-trinity/

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      • John,

        Jesus was a strict Jew. He had nothing to do with Zoroastrians.

        The Jews had their own traditions and theology that made them unique among the ancient peoples.

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      • “Ahura Mazda is depicted in the Zoroastrian scriptures as a kind of trinity: “Praise to thee, Ahura Mazda, threefold before other creations.” From Ahura Mazda came a duality: the twin spirits of Spenta Mainyu (the Holy or Bountiful Spirit) and Angra Mainyu (the Destructive or Opposing Spirit). The twin spirits are popularly thought of as good and evil, but rather they are two principles that represent all the opposites of life. In her lecture on “Zoroastrianism,” Annie Besant has this to say of them:

        Good and evil may be said to only come into existence when man in his evolution develops the power of knowledge and of choice; the original duality is not of good and evil, but is of spirit and matter, of reality and non-reality, of light and darkness, of construction and destruction, the two poles between which the universe is woven and without which no universe can be. . . . There are two names again that give us the clue to the secret, the “increaser” and the “destroyer,” the one from whom the life is ever pouring forth, and the other the material side which belongs to form, and which is ever breaking up in order that life may go on into higher expression.

        https://theosophical.org/publications/quest-magazine/42-publications/quest-magazine/1231-zoroastrianism-history-beliefs-and-practices

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      • Thanks for the clarification, I understand your point. I think what I am trying to say is that I can understand from your empirical school of thought in regards to originality, why you question and why you reject certain answers. However, I personally can understand those who question what you have presented as evidence and present other answers because I think you could understand that one could argue how those example may differ from Christianity’s trinity, whether you agree with them or not. This is from the school of postmodernism and subjectiveness, which I believe creates the actual conflict in the debate, not necessarily theism vs. atheism.

        Many atheist may think that theist are simply ignorant or at least blinded by ‘faith’, but one must also understand that currently right now and I can attest to this that in advance course classes, postmodernism is the dominant theory within academia at least when looking at the historical record. The reason being because its the historical method that allows for revisionism. Revisionism is needed to be able to make rhetorical arguments look more appealing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Phadde

        No revisionism going on here, just citing older sources for the concept of a godly trinity which anyone is free to look up and verify for themselves. As you can see, there are many, including Judaism, so to claim the concept of the trinity is original to Jesus is demonstrably false. It’s really as simple as that.

        That said, I’m still entirely open to be shown anything that can be attributed to Jesus as being genuinely original, following the basic English definition of the word “original.” No tricks. No fancy linguistic manoeuvres, or sleight of hand. I’m not redefining the word as I go along. It remains as it has always been: present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest

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      • Really my issue with the question is that it’s not as simple as it seems. Can question can even be answered with any sort of an affirmative while there’s such a debate between the different schools of historiography?

        When I examine historical text and questions I examine with the tools that were taught to me. What’s the Thesis/Purpose of the a text? Who is the Author? (background etc.) Who is the intended audience? What evidence does the author use, is there detectable bias? Are there possible outside influences? What am I not being told?

        I do think you’re bias, which you’d readily admit. Therefore if one is opening biased they can assume the position of integrity, claim to be up to no tricks. One can ‘willfully not misquote’ but still misquote inaccurately. In this example from a postmodern perspective older sources do not have authoritative power over the debate, because I’m not speaking in regards to ‘godly trinities’ I’m speaking on the evolution of the trinity within the frameworks of the Mosaic tradition. It’s well known that the number three has been a mystically number throughout humanity. So listing other religions that incorporate the use of numbers, does that constitute the same? Perhaps within the empirical school of thought, but certainly not post modernly. In the Egyptian model you quote, ‘Amun, Re and Ptah, and there is no second to them.’ This seems to be more of the polytheistic model as the gods are equal to each other, this would be in opposition the Trinity theory as clearly represented by The Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46).

        All of those examples represent the idea of three deities that are equal and separate but at the same time not governed by one will. This concept in regards to your examples is a new idea. So it becomes an interpretation of subjective forces; hence, the postmodern argument.

        “The Father is God”
        “The Son is God”
        “The Holy Spirit is God”
        “God is the Father”
        “God is the Son”
        “God is the Holy Spirit”
        “The Father is not the Son”
        “The Father is not the Holy Spirit”
        “The Son is not the Father”
        “The Son is not the Holy Spirit”
        “The Holy Spirit is not the Father”
        “The Holy Spirit is not the Son”

        If one where to use economic models as another example is “game theory’ truly an original idea? I think by your quantified questioning certainly not, but I personally believe it innovates the idea of Adam Smith’s wealth of nations and the invisible hand.

        So long as anything can be said to be ‘built on the shoulders’ of another idea it takes away the ability to call it original by this quantified method. I think that’s an unfair assessment.

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      • Hi Phadde

        The question is, is there clear evidence of the concept of the trinity being in existence before Jesus. The answer is, yes. Therefore, and ignoring the fact that Jesus didn’t even discuss the concept in any shape or form, the idea is not original to Jesus. Now, I’ll readily accept we cannot locate a true historical origin for many things—some things, sure, but others things, not so easy—but that is not necessarily the issue here. As I explained to Brandon:

        The Golden Rule, for example, is no doubt far, far, far older than the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (as a working concept), but it is to the Egyptian Middle Kingdom where we find it first articulated in a form that has lasted. Alas, to claim the Golden Rule is “original” to Jesus, is false. We know of many, many, many older sources.

        The question again is: Name something genuinely new or original which Jesus said or did. Was the concept of a godly trinity new or original to Jesus? No. Was the concept even new or original to Judaism? No.

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      • You’ve shown your cards, well I have named several possible ideas. I do not believe it’s so ‘matter of fact’ ,but you do, fair enough. I think by the points I’ve brought forth within the schools of historiography you’re wrong based on my criteria (not your criteria, last time I checked you had no monopoly on schools or modes of thought) within the realm of postmodernism. It would be better at this point perhaps for a future blog post of yours to illustrate how postmodernism is a flawed school, because this is obviously where you and I don’t agree. I’ve described how things could be presented as original especially illustrating how concepts were new or original to Judaism via Armstrong’s text, you ignored them or at least unintentionally misrepresented them. Those answers are simply not good enough for your empiricism, which I’ve explained. Which is all very ironic because your ’empiricism’ is all driven by your ‘bias’ which sorry to say makes it still subjective history.

        At any rate we’re at an impasse because you’ve made up you mind on the matter. You’ve already formed an absolute answer to the question you’ve asked, when presented with an answer from anyone you further quantify your question, the question then becomes unfair for anyone who attempts to answer because of your absolutes.

        At any rate it was a pleasure to discuss such matters. I concede the floor.

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      • Hi Phadde

        You seem to want to complicate what really isn’t complicated at all. Who’s talking about postmodernism, who’s talking about empiricism? I most certainly am not. I’m sorry, but you’re kind of having this conversation with yourself.

        I’ve described how things could be presented as original especially illustrating how concepts were new or original to Judaism

        Doesn’t the very fact that you are having to jump through non-descript hoops demonstrate to you that you really don’t have a valid suggestion here?

        Now, as I have demonstrated repeatedly, the concept of the trinity is not original to Judaism (let alone new to Jesus), so your point of argument (which is already beyond what the question actually asks) is utterly baffling. Are you denying that the concept is found in Egyptian belief, Zoroastrianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism?

        The Hindu trinity is of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. They are respectively the creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe. They are also aligned as the transcendent Godhead, Shiva, the cosmic lord, Vishnu and the cosmic mind, Brahma. In this regard they are called Sat-Tat-Aum, the Being, the Thatness or immanence and the Word or holy spirit. This is much like the Christian trinity of God as the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The trinity represents the Divine in its threefold nature and function. Each aspect of the trinity contains and includes the others.

        http://www.hindunet.org/god/trinity/

        And in the Hindu Puranas there is this of course this quite remarkable passage:

        ‘O ye three Lords! know that I recognise only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.’

        Are you trying to argue that Judaism is older than Hinduism?

        And do remember, my question is not even about Judaism, rather Jesus. It seems you’re determined to practice revisionism on my original question 😉

        As I pointed out to you earlier, considering this long, long history of the trinity in other religions and cultures what would have been original is if Jesus had rejected this trireme god-make up and taught a new cosmic arrangement.

        He didn’t.

        In fact, he didn’t even teach on the trinity, so this conversation is absurd in the first place.

        At any rate we’re at an impasse because you’ve made up you mind on the matter

        To repeat: I’m perfectly happy to accept anything which can be shown to be genuinely new or original to Jesus. So far, you have not presented anything. This is interesting, considering the claim made by Christians. One would naturally expect a god who bothered to come to earth and spend (at least) three years conducting a ministry—speaking to people and happily performing supernatural tricks to prove himself—to have said or done at least one truly original thing…. Wouldn’t you agree?

        when presented with an answer from anyone you further quantify your question

        That’s quite an accusation. Could you please demonstrate where I have altered the question at any time?

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      • It’s important when debating to establish the historiography, school of thought, and the bias of any presenter/author. The question is a clever attempt to present a ‘cute’ spin on something that’s answer cannot be as equally facile as the prose used to ask the question. I’ve said time after time as well as others that there ideas of the ‘three’ and not the same as the Christian ‘trinity’ . Therefore, because of postmodernism, I do dismiss the concept that they are equal ideas, it’s the fallacy of false equivocation, they’re simply not the same. This is why I assert of the constant need to quantify the question. When anyone arrives at an answer if barely somewhat resembles another idea, you equate them. It doesn’t mean they’re equivalent, it defies logical principles.

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      • Hi Phadde
        So, when the speaker in the Hindu Puranas says:

        ‘O ye three Lords! know that I recognise only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.’

        he’s not actually talking about three gods which he sees as “one” single divine entity, is that what you’re saying? In him asking for clarification as to which of the “three unique entities” that he sees as “one indistinguishable being” is the principle, he’s just confused… correct? 😉

        When the Taoists speak of the singular manifestation of the Tao being composed of the Three Pure Ones they’re not actually referring to a trinity, is that right?

        And Zoroastrians are of course talking about something completely different to a trireme cosmology when they call Ahura Mazda, the Father, Spenta Mainyu or Vohu Mana, the Holy Spirit, and Asha Vahista, the Logos, or Son.

        Now, let’s not forget, the concept of the trinity (as vague as it is) emerges also in Judaism, predating Jesus… There alone is an older source which is written about in your own book.

        Isaiah 48:16:“From the beginning from the time that it was, I was there: (1st person) and now the Lord GOD (2nd person) and His Spirit, (3rd person) hath sent me (1st person).”

        Consider then: does your suggestion of the trinity (which Jesus never even defines) answer the question: Name something genuinely new or original said or done by Jesus

        Of course not.

        The early Catholic theologian, St. Jerome, even stated: ‘All the ancient nations believed in the Trinity'” (Old Truths in a New Light, Marie Sinclair, P. 382).

        Now, as I have already pointed out, if Jesus had in fact jettisoned this most ancient of godly configurations and instead presented an entirely fresh arrangement then we could honestly say he’d said or done something truly original on this matter.

        He didn’t, though, did he? No. He simply repeated (alluded to) an ancient, ancient, ancient concept: one god composed of three.

        I apologise if you find this awkward, but facts are facts: they are enormously discourteous.

        Above, though, as you might have already seen, I have conceded that you (being a Catholic) might have approached an answer.

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      • “facts” are never awkward, not even when you’re wrong. Archaeological Suppositions are not ‘facts’ either. I think this is where you and I fail to see eye to eye on the matter.

        Also it’s not awkward because I don’t mind the challenge, I simply saw a challenge by your question, and wanted to answer it. I’ve shown many in secular academia your blog, which gives you some stat bumps, and they see my assertions as valid. This doesn’t mean they see it as “right” or “wrong” only that I’ve established that the answer cannot be as facile as the question makes it out to be.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I haven’t brought archaeology into this. In fact, I’ve been avoiding doing so, even though you keep alluding to Moses as being a real historical character, which of course, he was not. That, though, is beyond the scope of the question asked.

        Now, I’m not at all sure how exactly you see you’ve presented a valid suggestion. What did “Jesus” say about the trinity? Did he offer any unique description that diverges from that in Judaism? Now be careful, I don’t want after-the-fact theological opinions.

        And just doing some digging, I found out what the Hindu trinity answered the devotee asking the question. It’s quite interesting:

        ‘Learn, O devotee, that there is no real distinction between us. What to you appears such is only the semblance. The single being appears under three forms by the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, but he is one.’

        That’s pretty cool

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      • Saying I’m alluding to Moses as a real figure is exactly what I am speaking of, you’ve MISCONSTRUED my words. Again, perhaps you’re unintentionally misrepresenting my points, but misrepresentation nonetheless. Mosaic law is my only reference, and yes it exists in our world as concept whether Moses is a real or fictional person.

        For integrity’s sake, I call for you to retract you statement completely.

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      • Hi Phadde

        Apologies, wasn’t intentional, but that is the way it came across… especially considering your continual references to historiography as somehow vitally important to this conversation. Regardless, the “evolution” of a thought races outside the scope of the question. Firstly, and most importantly, by even diving down an evolutionary line of thought you’re conceding there exists a progenitor position for the thought. Secondly… actually, there isn’t a second point. By even raising evolution you have admitted there is an older source, a specific and traceable source, and therefore the contemporary does not meet the standard English definition of “original.”

        Now, don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate there comes a time when the evolution of something moves into a distinctly new form (species, of course, comes to mind), but there is nothing but frightfully obscure window dressing separating the ancient trinities.

        Three gods, one form = Trinity.

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      • I do not accept your hindu comparison, they are not the same, which makes it false equivalence.

        “Trimurti has nothing in common with the Christian Trinity. It has, in fact, not even the number three strictly in common, since under the three names, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, really four realities are pictured, whether we duplicate Brahma, first as the Absolute and then as the personal God in Vishnu, or whether we again duplicate Vishnu as representative of Brahma with Vishnu as the maintainer. Moreover, the three gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, in no sense stand towards one another as the Three in the Christian Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

        There is no ‘destroyer’ in the Blessed Trinity, and there is no ‘Son’ in the Hindu Trimurti. In fact, the Trimurti is only a clerical device by which the names of three popular Hindu divinities are attached to the perpetual cosmic process of production, maintenance, and destruction. It is pantheism in the guise of polytheism and never transcends the material, for even Brahma has a body of some sort and is not pure mind or deity.”

        Jesus said to baptize in the name of the trinity. Matt 28:19

        Jesus said that his Father would send the Holy Spirit. John 14:26 .

        John 14:16-7 is another reference Christ makes to the trinity.

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      • Hi Phadde

        Where’s the false equivalency? Are we, or are we not talking about a trireme godhead: a Trinity… three independent gods in one form? Yes, we are. Nitpicking subtleties of how those three-gods-in-one are presented is absurd in the spirit of the question, and especially absurd when the Great Trinity of Hinduism is presented in such a way:

        ‘O ye three Lords! know that I recognise only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.’

        ‘Learn, O devotee, that there is no real distinction between us. What to you appears such is only the semblance. The single being appears under three forms by the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, but he is one.’

        Even your own early Catholic theologian, St. Jerome, stated:

        ‘All the ancient nations believed in the Trinity’”

        Are you questioning the bedrock opinion of one of your own seminal Catholic theologians?

        And if there’s no ‘destroyer’ in the Blessed Trinity then whom, may I ask, annihilated the world in the Flood narrative?

        One god, many hats, right? And isn’t one of the names of Yhwh The Lord of Armies… called that some 280 times in the bible, if I recall 😉

        Now, with all due respect, it’s triply absurd given that the Judaic trinity (which predates Jesus, and therefore obviates your argument in the first instance) is never even appropriately defined. You are drawing upon theological opinions to make your argument, not on what is actually there in your book. May I remind you, those opinions are so vaporous, so vague that few Christian sects even share a single view on the matter, and many don’t even believe in the trinity at all.

        Hardly convincing, and certainly not something you can base a solid argument on.

        Now, back to reality. Didn’t the question rather simply ask: name something genuinely new or original which Jesus said or did.

        Where did Jesus give a detailed explanation of the trinity?

        Let’s forget for one moment the Hindu trinity, the Zoroastrian trinity, the Buddhist trinity, and the Taoist trinity, and concentrate simply on Jesus’ words which categorically distinguish the Christian trinity from the Judaic trinity.

        Are there any?

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      • You’re plucking things completely out of context. Did you even read my last paragraph?
        You’re not acknowledging anything, but instead simply responding, as if I made no point. Where’s the integrity?

        1. I explained how The Christian trinity is nothing like the Hindu example .

        2. I gave you Biblical references of when Jesus references the trinity.

        And you ask for me to give you them again?

        Should I assume you’re simply not reading them?

        My own Catholic theologian?, again, you assume because I spoke of mosaic law that I am making a claim about the realistic Moses. You assume that since I said I was raised Catholic, that I am in fact Catholic. I ask for a retraction on the Moses bit, you say nothing.

        So I ask, Does Integrity mean anything?

        This is some time to go back read, and clear the air.

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      • Hi Phadde

        A retraction? Rather formal, don’t you think? But fine, by your admission, you weren’t referring to Moses being a real historical character, which he wasn’t. Now, while we’re on the formalities then, you accused me of altering my question. This is quite a serious accusation, and I asked you to show me where I had done this. You never answered that request…

        Now, of course I read your comment in full, I appreciate your efforts here, and checked out your verses. My ignoring them, no offense, was my way of articulating how much I thought of them as pertinent to the discussion on whether the concept of the trinity was original to Jesus, which is what we’re talking about, remember?

        1. I explained how The Christian trinity is nothing like the Hindu example

        And I explained to you that that is window-dressing. What we are dealing with here are original things said or done by Jesus, and the concept of the trinity is not original. Period. Your own seminal Catholic theologian, St. Jerome, stated: “All the ancient nations believed in the Trinity’” . This is quite a definitive statement, and pretty much says there were trinities everywhere.

        You objected saying that the Christian trinity (which incidentally Christians cannot even agree upon, or collectively believe in) doesn’t have a destroyer, yet your god is called The Lord of Armies over 280 times in your own book, and at one point annihilated the entire world. If this is not the definition of a “destroyer” then I don’t know what is.

        But again, this is simply beyond the point. The components of the trinity mean nothing to what we’re talking about: three gods in one… a concept that appears in Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastriansm and, of course, Judaism. I don’t care if their respective names are Larry, Mo and Curly… what is important is that Larry, Mo and Curly are bound into one godhead, which is exactly what is said in Hinduism, to use that example.

        To repeat:

        ‘O ye three Lords! know that I recognise only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.’

        ‘Learn, O devotee, that there is no real distinction between us. What to you appears such is only the semblance. The single being appears under three forms by the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, but he is one.’

        To repeat the question: name something genuinely new or original which Jesus said or did.

        So, is the attestation of a trinity new or original to Jesus? No, it is not. There are trinities in multiple earlier religions, not least of all, Judaism. It’s in your bible.

        Are you trying to argue that the Old Testament god wasn’t a trinity?

        I’d be tremendously interested to hear that argument, if that is what you are indeed suggesting.

        2. I gave you Biblical references of when Jesus references the trinity.

        “Referencing the trinity” is not being original now, is it? What trinity was Jesus referencing, anyway? The Judaic trinity, correct? Does the Judaic trinity pre-date Jesus? Yes, it does. Is it therefore “original” to Jesus? No, it is not.

        But sure, let’s review these passages, if you wish:

        Matt 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

        John 14:26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

        John 14:16-7 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[a] to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[b] in you.

        Okay, where is the originality here? Does Jesus say “Judaism is wrong, I have a new trinity… the real trinity… gather round and I’m going to describe this new godhead in fantastic detail and it is going to blow your minds!” Is he talking about some new god arrangement which is distinct from Judaism? Is he talking about Yhwh, or some other three-in-one triangle god?

        As you are fully aware, he was simply repeating the godhead notion which he was familiar with: the trinity found in Judaism. Jesus died a Jew, did he not?

        Isaiah 48:16:“From the beginning from the time that it was, I was there: (1st person) and now the Lord GOD (2nd person) and His Spirit, (3rd person) hath sent me (1st person).”

        Now please, this repetition is becoming quite tedious.

        The question remains as it always has: name something genuinely new or original said or done by Jesus.

        Original: Present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest

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      • Also, if SOM’s argument is the trinity, and there’s biblical references. You say something, Does Jesus give ‘detailed’ explanation of the trinity? This is a prime example of quantifying your question. It has nothing to do with your original question, you’re merely deflecting the answer, which is yes in John he talks about the three parts of the trinity, but since he didn’t give treatise or a discourse it doesn’t count.

        You should again, probably reread, and retract.

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      • I didn’t see that you replied twice, you addressed the mosaic law, thank you. I apologize, I thought you weren’t even reading my comments. Although I did address Jesus mention on the trinity in John. I also explain that asking for a detail explanation from him is an example of quantifying because to a basic original idea, such detail as discourse or treatise is not needed.

        I also read where you give your definition on what makes the Christian trinity equal to the hindu example. I simply do not see it on such a level 3 =1= trinity. The quote I gave you illustrates three points, that there maybe even 4 deities, and also the hindu is not necessarily a single agent, and represents more polytheism. Also their roles in connection to each other are not the same.

        You won’t agree to the sentiment, so I think we’ll have to leave it at that. Does it matter to me if the trinity is an original idea? No. Do you make good points? Absolutely. However, my issue I think we can both understand and which I’ve tried to explain is that the method to reach assertions I think is unfair with the originally asked question.

        John: Name something original Jesus said or did.

        Example: Trinity =Jesus

        John= 3 =1 =Trinity: therefore all these others are equal

        Example: They have nothing to do with each other, it’s a false equivalence. There are different roles, explanation how they fit into polytheism, depending on the context there are 4 agents.

        John: John= 3 =1 =Trinity: therefore all these others are equal. I must have a detailed explanation from Jesus.

        Example: Well, the simple question didn’t ask for a detailed response… ….
        Christian Trinity is 1 +1+1=1=-1-1-1=3

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Phadde

        The question did ask: name something genuinely new or original said or done by Jesus.

        Is the trinity new or original to Jesus, or was he simply repeating the notions he was familiar with from Judaism?

        Is Judaism unique in having a trinity? No, it is not.

        Now, if you want to leave it at this then fine. I know I’m bored with this repetition, and I suspect you must be, too. If you want to leave thinking the trinity was truly and genuinely original to Jesus then you’re free to do so.

        Thanks, though, for the run. It was good fun, and I appreciate your time.

        Take care.

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      • *within the framework of Postmodernism’s which biggest critique of empiricism is that all history is subjective.

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    • Hi Phadde

      Since leaving this thread, I see you wrote this over on Tom’s blog post about me.

      I refuted a lot of what Zande said, I implied that his archaeological evidence were suppositions and not facts.

      May I ask what you’re talking about? What, exactly, did you refute? And what archaeological evidence, exactly, did I posit?

      Please be specific, thanks.

      He would also quantify his question, and ask for ‘details’ for his simple question.

      Really? This is the second time you have accused me of this, yet you appear unwilling to demonstrate where I have ever altered the question.

      What “details” are you protesting me asking for? If I remember, I was asking you to cite precisely where Jesus personally gave a description of the trinity, as opposed to you alluding to theological opinions devised hundreds of year later. To remind you, the question was: name something Jesus said or did which was new or original. The question does not ask, present the esoteric, vaporous opinions of theologians, did it?

      And Phadde, why are you telling Tom you said this:

      “I suppose from your ‘empirical’ school of thought and questioning method the answer is “no”; however, my criteria answers your questions sufficiently. So far as I know you have no monopoly on schools of thought.”

      When you never did?

      You then say this:

      This of course didn’t ever suffice for Zande, and he couldn’t concede that it was possible to tackle the subject from a different point of view.

      This is simply baffling. What “different perspective,” Phadde? Why even present a “different criteria” if the question was so very simple in the first place? Shall I repeat the criteria as to the question?

      Originality: the quality or state of being original
      Original: present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest

      That’s not complicated, is it? First or Earliest. It’s a not a trick. It’s basic English, and does not require metaphysical dissection and philosophical conferences to grapple with some deeper, hidden meaning.

      To help, I gave both you and Brandon two easy-to-understand examples, as follows:

      1) sacrifice as an atonement for sin. The concept of blood sacrifice for the atonement of sin is ancient, far older than Judaism (Zoroaster is recorded to have been appalled at how cruelly sacrifices were conducted prior to his new rules which called for less unnecessary suffering), but we can use Judaism to demonstrate that the concept was not “original” to Jesus. In Leviticus (4:35,5:10) we have: “The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven.”

      2)The Golden Rule, for example, is no doubt far, far, far older than the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (as a working concept), but it is to the Egyptian Middle Kingdom where we find it first articulated in a form that has lasted. Alas, to claim the Golden Rule is “original” to Jesus, is false. We know of many, many, many older sources.

      So, Phadde, it seems you’re trying to practice some historical revisionism over on Tom’s blog as to your efforts here. Now, I’m happy you did engage the subject, and I truly do appreciate your efforts, but please don’t try and rewrite reality. It doesn’t look good.

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      • I’ve given you examples, you rejected them, fine. You’re free to read them again at your leisure on your blog. We Keep saying the same things to each other over and over again even when I address it logical as ‘false equivalence’.

        We’re not going to see eye to eye, so let’s just end it with that.

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      • Hi Phadde,

        What you tried to do was say this “trinity is different because the trireme is dressed this way, and not that way.” I’m afraid, that is not establishing any originality… and it is also absurd, as Jesus did not even create this trinity, did he? No, it’s the trinity that is found in Judaism, is it not? Did Jesus create Judaism? No, he did not.

        So, you have not even begun to give an answer to the question.

        And as I repeatedly said: so common is the trinity concept that what would have been original is if Jesus had jettisoned this age-old, time-worn configuration (one god in three flavours) and had instead presented an entirely fresh arrangement.

        He didn’t, did he? No, he repeated the trinity found in Judaism.

        Now, Phadde, you said : I refuted a lot of what Zande said, I implied that his archaeological evidence were suppositions and not facts.

        Why haven’t you answered my questions? What, exactly, did you refute? And what archaeological evidence, exactly, did I posit?

        Don’t throw out claims and accusations if you’re not willing to back them up in a coherent and adult manner.

        And again, you have accused me of altering my question, yet again you have refused to show me where. Could this be because you’re just making this up, Phadde?

        Originality: the quality or state of being original
        Original: present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest

        That’s not complicated. It’s a not a trick. It’s basic English, and does not require metaphysical dissection or philosophical conferences to grapple with some deeper, hidden meaning. There is no deeper, hidden meaning.

        It’s a patently simple question, and simply put, you have failed to present a single thing that was the first or the earliest.

        Like

      • John: “What you tried to do was say this “trinity is different because the trireme is dressed this way, and not that way.” I’m afraid, that is not establishing any originality… and it is also absurd,”

        “And Phadde, I would appreciate it if you now clarified/amended your comments to Tom so as to better reflect reality, and the truth.”

        Who do you think you are?

        I’m not entirely certain that you understand that I do not and would not ever think you’re any sort of an authority on logic to be able to use circular logic claim my assertion of your use of false equivalence to persuade me. It’s called Postmodernism for the 10th million time, again, study all of the schools of historiography, and then understand why have arrived at this assertion, then you can attack it from there.

        John: ” You’re having a conversation with yourself.”

        It’s simple you can’t acknowledge the concept of “historiography” because it flips your entire world view to the ground. Human beings can arrive at ‘truth’ and discover ‘truths’ you’re unable to because they follow a different method. Again, like I said, assert why schools of thought are wrong, and we can discuss a linear debate rather than circular.

        It’s absurd that you believe you have a monopoly on ‘truth’. I’ve answered your question, regardless if you believe that “I have not even begun to answer” it. I Did. It’s the answer to your question. Period. You failed at your game. I bet you couldn’t have imagined going on Tom’s blog to have someone from Academia step on your parade. It happened, so stop with the circular logic, regroup and conduct linear thought.

        Again, since we disagree, What I said as the truth, so there’s nothing to amend based on the comments that I made on Citizen’s Tom blog.

        We disagree, you can’t fathom any other form of historiography, so we simply will never agree. You attempt to use false equivalence and circular logic until you’re blue in the face but I would suggest Just letting it go.

        If you want details on how you’re doing this, I can copy and paste your entire post prior to this one, but let’s save the hassle, and just let it go.

        Address this in your life and consider that I and a great many can never concede to any of your material, until you can concede that other schools of human thought processes can produce a truth that you’re not equipped to discover.

        Understand this concept as a way for common understanding within Academia, and I’ll begin to amend or clarify my comments, as we would be to establish an understanding.

        If you cannot; Just let it go.

        Like

      • It’s simple you can’t acknowledge the concept of “historiography” because it flips your entire world view to the ground.

        What sort of utter nonsense are you on about here? There is no “method” to the question. The question was very, very, very simple: name something new or original which Jesus said or did.

        Originality: the quality or state of being original
        Original: present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest

        First, or earliest.

        Which part of that don’t you understand? Where do you think the “trick” is?

        You suggested the trinity.

        Was Jesus the first or earliest example of someone talking about a trinity?

        Answer: Categorically, No.

        Was Jesus’ trinity any different from that established in Judaism hundreds of years earlier?

        Answer: Categorically, No.

        Was Jesus being original then?

        Answer: Categorically, No.

        Suggestion rejected by all rational observers

        To repeat the question: name something new or original which Jesus said or did.

        Like

      • We’re not going to come to some sort of agreement, I can explain myself over, but you’re going to ask the same questions again based on my answers… I feel like the Disney Character, “Let it go.”

        Like

      • You just have to answer one simple question: Was Jesus the first or earliest example of someone talking about a trinity? Is the idea “original” to Jesus, yes, or no?

        Like

      • I did answer it, multiple ways (you can go back and read it to verify) and if doesn’t suffice for your method, then we’ll have to let it go. I even said a simple question doesn’t necessarily imply an equally facile answer. If this doesn’t suffice for you, let it go.

        Like

      • So, let me get this straight: You are saying then that Jesus was the first and earliest example in all human history of someone talking about a three-god-in-one trinity?

        That’s a tremendously interesting position you have there…. 😉

        Like

      • Again, I have explained that your generalization with the above straw man, you above quote is the example, so don’t ask for it, is creates a false equivalence. So logically speaking, no, that’s not my position; however, you can go back read and discern a new one if you would like, if not, let it go. 😀

        Like

      • Ah, so you’re now saying Jesus wasn’t the first person in all of human history to present the idea of a three-god-in-one trinity.

        I see.

        So, have you answered the patently simple question that was asked, that was never altered, and which is not seeded with any clever semantic tricks: name something new or original which Jesus said or did?

        No, you have not 😉

        Like

      • Well considering that most of the times attempting to put answers into folks mouths generate straw mans of every nature, that’s not my point either. I’ve explained it, you can go back and think about it some more, again, you can simply let it go.

        I’ve answers the question a great many times, you simply think I’m wrong, which is okay that we don’t agree, but that still doesn’t mean I didn’t answer the question. Linear rules.

        Like

      • It’s in my above comments, why give my answers again? You think they’re wrong, and that’s okay we disagree 😀 We can just let it go.

        Like

      • Yes or no: was Jesus the first person in all of human history to present the idea of a three-god-in-one trinity?

        Yes or no: is the idea of a three-god-in-one trinity new or original to Jesus?

        Like

      • Why answers when none of those were my position, false equivalence. You can see my position I’ve explained the Christian formulation of the trinity, it didn’t suffice for you, so let it go. Your facile question doesn’t deserve an equally facile answer, again, we’ve been over this. let it go.

        Like

      • the Christian formulation of the trinity

        Where did I ever ask for theological opinions?

        Please read the question slowly and carefully: name something new or original which Jesus said or did

        Yes or no: was Jesus the first person in all of human history to present the idea of a three-god-in-one trinity?

        Yes or no: is the idea of a three-god-in-one trinity new or original to Jesus?

        Like

      • Datur Tertium, by quantifying only two answers, my answer either way would force me into a generalization, it’s not logical for me to answer.

        Like

      • Yes or no: was Jesus the first person in all of human history to present the idea of a three-god-in-one trinity?

        Yes or no: is the idea of a three-god-in-one trinity new or original to Jesus?

        Like

      • Datur Tertium, logical rule, Instead of a proposition either being true or false, a proposition is either true or not able to be proven true. Again, I’ll never answer a question that will allow you to generalize my answer.

        Like

      • Yes or no: was Jesus the first person in all of human history to present the idea of a three-god-in-one trinity?

        Yes or no: is the idea of a three-god-in-one trinity new or original to Jesus?

        Yes, or No?

        Like

      • And to your question: Who do you think you are?”

        Evidently someone more intellectually honest that you.

        And given your unfounded accusations (which you continue to avoid substantiating), I’d be tempted to also say someone evidently more decent and trustworthy than you.

        Like

  26. Not sure if this qualifies –

    Jesus coming to earth for the Jews and Jews only despite many other races living there believing in the Judaism God

    Mark 7:27 – But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.

    A clear “caste system” that Jesus is showing e.g. Non Jews are considered dogs – yet sympathy is given to the lower caste if they acknowledge that they are dogs, as seen in the subsequent verses.

    Certainly other religions/societies have concept of chosen people and caste system, but generally it is within one race that suffer the caste – e.g. Hinduism. However in this case the caste system based on race, a new idea lol?

    Even if you don’t accept it, could you consider that Jesus subsequently healing the woman not because of her faith but because of her acknowledging that she’s a dog pleased him. Rather twisted I would say, and I don’t think any other gods did that to the best of my knowledge.

    Not really a nice idea but seem original enough to me, doesn’t really qualify for your “useful” requirement but that wasn’t the main thrust of your point in the first place right eh?

    Then again, with the vast number of Asian mythologies…….

    p.s. Yes I know Matthew 15 says Jesus was impressed by her faith, but I’m using Mark version since most people will agree Mark came first and Matthew’s version is most likely a revision of the original story since it make Jesus seem callous for a loving God.

    Like

    • Could be, could be, the Jews were certainly tremendously exclusive. There are some truly horrendous passages in the Talmud which exemplify this. Paul though was the one who really opened the club up to the gentiles. He saw the marketing benefits.

      Like

      • From the one true book on divinity, The Qur’an: 5:73: “Surely, disbelievers are those who said: “Allâh is the third of the three (in a Trinity).” But there is no god but Allâh. And if they cease not from what they say, verily, a painful torment will befall the disbelievers among them.”

        Liked by 1 person

  27. Hey…He turned water into wine, an idea that never took off cause of the Judean Grape Cartel, plus all the Sea of Galilee water rights were help by the Pharisees, so he never had a chance to bring free booze to the masses. Bummer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! You’re lucky to have that opportunity. I’m in Brazil and my Portuguese is truly horrendous, which is a shame, because we have the evangelicals trolling up and down our street at least once a week.

      Let me know how it goes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  28. John,

    This is a delightful post and question! In my experience with Xian apologists — or even moderate church-going Xians (that honestly don’t take their “label” overly serious) — the majority of them have a fly-by-night knowledge and grasp of 3rd century BCE to 1st century CE Jewish Messianism within the profound context of Greco-Roman Emperorial tradition; i.e. specifically how Emperor Constantine was in reality the sole catalyst of a fledgling social-welfare system during Rome’s decline and eventual collapse in 325 CE to c. 476 CE. Constantine turned it into what he and his closest bishops (the Early Church Fathers in Rome/Vatican) had HOPED would be the unifying policy/law for the Eastern Empire (Constantinople) and the Western Empire (Rome). SHAZAAM!!! It worked! MAN did it work! 😛

    Once you have the full financial and legal support of Rome’s Emperor all backed up by the renown military machine of its Legions, well duh!?…who can argue or refute that(!)… so JOIN for the sake of mere survival! Or move to the otherside of the world! LOL

    I am very much looking forward to browsing this post’s comments and the rest of your blog Sir!
    *tips hat, nods, and applauds your great labor!*

    Liked by 1 person

      • To add to my comment a bit more…

        Furthermore, what said Apologists and lazy church-goers alike typically don’t realize aside from “not doing the homework or legwork” to TEST their proclamations… (word lazy is interchangeable with “faith”)… is how covertly Greco-Roman theology and socio-political undertones HIJACKED historical Jewish Messianism. And if any other non-canonical testimonies, or gospels, or epistles that turned up — then or later — would simply be amputated out of the official record. This “surgery” falls perfectly inline with long, LONG standing Roman social imperial management.

        One reason this side of history isn’t very well known is because after 70 CE and the utter anniliation of Jews and Judeo-Christians, i.e. Jesus’ immediately family via his brother James, and finally after the anniliation of the last remnants at Masada in 73-74 CE… anybody of first-hand experience/testimony of 1st century Jerusalem and immediate region was exterminated. One exception of course…

        …the Roman Empire’s version of events. “History is almsot always written by the victors.” 🙂

        Cheers John!

        Liked by 1 person

      • word lazy is interchangeable with “faith”

        I like! 🙂

        And you’re right, the silly-people claim Christianity defeated paganism, but nothing of the sort happened. Christianity absorbed paganism, adopted it, and changed it into something else.

        Liked by 1 person

      • And perhaps one last tid-bit that is also important relative to your post and my two comments…

        I’d wager that ONE possible reason Xians (expert or not) cannot answer your simple question John…is that they are self-restricted from non-Christian historical, archaeological, linguistic, and all other potential scientific relevant fields that are NOT Christian or Judeo-Christian in origin. Since 1991 when I began my own deconversion out of seminary & the pious life, the vast majority of attempts by “rescuing” Believers would only use the limited Christian records, e.g. the eary Church Fathers who descended from Constantine’s courts.

        Fortunately for the fair-minded, there are growing numbers of non-Christian sources on this subject that greatly aids in decisions…sort of like a juror watching & listening TO ALL evidence and records, then in the end (or for that matter until further determined) can make their own conclusion without emotional peer-pressure. 🙂

        Cheers again fine Sir!

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are kind John, thank you. However, I must give major credit to my 2-3 years study of Robert H. Eisenman and his scholarly work on Messianism in Antiquity. Phenomenal must read/study for diligent inquiring minds of little-known history. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  29. John,

    With regard to some of my “early church history” posts — if you’re interested in some introductory detail — there are two related to what I’ve commented upon:

    The Suffering Messiah That Wasn’t Jesus and…
    Constantine: Christianity’s True Catalyst/Christ

    Though they are both posts under 2,700 words — which must be kept in mind on a subject like this — I believe they should spark curiosity for the investigator in most of us; maybe start their OWN line of examination! As a professional teacher, naturally I do not want to tell students what to think, but I am happy to guide them in HOW to think! 😉

    Like

  30. Hi John!… I know few of the bloggers you mentioned above, such as ColorStorm….
    But at the end, We know that religion and its related statements are just a matter of belief… It is hard to deal with them if we assume a more empirical approach…
    And even if we are simply humanists… Needless to say that religion is in the opposite pole of Logics… And we know that even philosophers failed with the teleological arguments to prove God’s existence… So… well… it is a vain attempt, I’d say…
    Almost as try to name a single genuinely new or original (or even marginally useful) thing Jesus said or did…
    Mythological tales?… Well, without any bellicose aim, I’d say that I don’t see many differences between the stories told in the Bible and those I read through ancient greek sources regarding Greek Gods and Goddesses…
    If Mary was a virgin who gave birth… Zeus could also be forged Athena on his head after having swallowed her fetus… 😛
    All my best wishes to you! Thanks for this clever post!. Aquileana ⭐

    Like

  31. I was going to do a post on this , but my blood pressure won’t take it.

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/history/561704/Jesus-childhood-archaeologist-home

    What had me nearly gagging was this:

    “The simplest reason for believing it is the home of Jesus is that the Byzantines believed it and they were a lot closer to the early Christian period than we are.”

    “Of course there isn’t a name plate to say this is the childhood home of Jesus.

    It can’t be proved on archaeological grounds. But there is no archaeological reason to say this is NOT his home.”

    In other words, perhaps all that is needed is a little faith.

    See if you can find out if Dark has Christian leanings, I have tried but have come up blank.

    Like

      • No its not. SOM posted an article to it above. He’s excited!

        I love the rationale, though. It’s a house, its in the region where Jesus allegedly lived, therefore its Jesus’ house! Airtight argument, I think 🙂

        Like

      • In that case …oh fark…here we go afriggingain.

        So we now have two cases that definitely positively almost certainly although it is not actual archaeological proof that ”Jesus Woz Here”

        Remember the other house they uncovered a few years back? Alexandra nearly came in her pants.
        http://www.antiquities.org.il/article_eng.aspx?sec_id=25&subj_id=240&id=1638&module_id=#as

        Dark say he does not do archaeology with a bible in one hand and trowel in the other but his entire approach suggests he wholeheartedly acknowledges the character Jesus.
        And he sounds like he;s strutting around like a flaming peacock.
        ”Oooh, the Russians want me on the telly!’

        unklee and tim o’neil are going to have boners for a fortnight.

        Like

      • Oh yeah, the house that was at the end of a dead end street, out of town, which surely must be Jesus’!!

        Hey look… a sandal! That must be Jesus’!!!

        Like

      • Fox News just released a report that Fred Flintstone’s house was found near Paris, France. Archeologists strongly believe it’s Fred’s house cause it’s next to another house the ancient Gauls believed belonged to Barney Rubble. Since we know Fred and Barney and homes right next to each other, we can make the logical deduction that the house next to the house Barney supposedly lived in must be Fred’s. Plus, there was a photograph found inside it of a dinosaur archeologists claim is probably Deano, Fred’s pet brontosaurus.

        Like

      • …and there are trees located nearby, many which have branches that could be fashioned into clubs, clubs that Bam Bam used, THEREFORE, Fred’s house, positively!

        Like

  32. Reading Phadde2 and Brandon:
    These hyperbolic half-wits simply have no concept of simple common-sense or the capacity to frame a straightforward answer to an even more straightforward question.

    They worship a narrative super-being based on zero verifiable evidence and think they brush the upper atmosphere of intellectualism yet struggle to come to terms with the word ”Original”?

    They believe tales of a 2000 year old god-man from the pages of a 1700 year-old spurious religious text that they are still unable to explain or even understand yet they wish to argue the back leg off a talking donkey over semantics?

    Ho hum…..

    Like

  33. Altruistico over at CT’s blog (part ii) says

    Two thing Jesus “said”, which was genuinely new, original and useful, were “I and the Father are one” and; “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.”

    No other god, mythological or otherwise, has made such a bold, enlightening and relevant statement. Never before has such a revelation been brought to man. Enjoining these two statements is, of course, the most useful saying by Jesus of all: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” That, then, meets all of the requirements of “genuinely new, original, or useful?”

    Comments?

    Like

    • From the Gospel of the Miscreants:

      And lo, Jesus said; ”Pah! No sugar in tea! How many times have I told you, Peter?
      For my dad’s sake. I can’t minister to the faithful looking like that fat bastard, Moses in the Old Testament.”

      Original?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Tildeb

      Thoughts:

      First, it appears he’s trying to appeal to the notion of the trinity as something original. As shown above, there are a heap of examples of the trinity in older religions, including Taoism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, and, of course, Judaism. The Greeks taught on the nature of the godly trireme, and the early Christian theologian, St. Jerome, even stated: “All the ancient nations believed in the Trinity”.

      To make the claim that you’re actually god is not at all original. Naram-Sin (2255 – 2119 BCE) was one of the first (recorded) examples of someone diving down this path. Horus was the Son of God. Heracles was the Son of God. Dionysus was the Son of God. Mithra was the Son of God and the Light of the Way. In Hinduism, though, you have Krishna (the human expression of Vishnu) who is part of the “Great Trinity.” In the Hindu Puranas there’s this remarkable passage where a devotee asks the Great Trinity who the principle being is, to which they, as one, answer:

      ‘O ye three Lords! know that I recognise only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.’

      ‘Learn, O devotee, that there is no real distinction between us. What to you appears such is only the semblance. The single being appears under three forms by the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, but he is one.’

      Second, and just to confuse matters, Jesus clearly states he is not god (by extension, not part of an equal trinity, just a vessel which has been commanded to act)

      Jesus said “No one is good – except God alone

      Jesus said “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only

      John 13:3 the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God, and went to God.

      John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me

      John 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak,

      John 8:26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him

      John 14:24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

      John 14:31 the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

      John 8:42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.”

      Third, claiming to be “the way” is pretty much the central theme in every religion, isn’t it? Zoroaster was “the way” long before. You followed his teachings and would be judged, rewarded, or punished with heaven, hell, or purgatory where you’d wait until Judgment Day when the Saoshyant, the Saviour, the “World Renovator” [Astavat-ereta] and “Victorious Benefactor” defeats “the evil of the progeny of the biped”, brings “retribution for offenses,” and establishes “the Kingdom of Good Thought (righteousness).” In the Saoshyant you can see that the entire role Jesus was playing had been written long, long before. Buddha was simply “the way.” In Hinduism one emulates Krishna. In the Mithraic mystery traditions (to which I know very little, and there seems to be a wild divergence of beliefs across eons going back to the Indo-Iranians) Mithra is we’re told the “Way, the Truth and the Light.” In Taoism, Tao means “way” or “path,” and is a single godhead trinity which is referred to as The Three Pure Ones. Jainism is also “the way” embodied in the teachings of total non-violence.

      The concept of a Gatekeeper (if that’s what he’s alluding to) is also not new. Heracles was the Gatekeeper of Heaven. The early Romans had Janus, and the first Egyptian gatekeeper was Aker. You had to go “through” these gods.

      Like

    • Nice! Great site. I had Phadde trying to claim the Trinity was original to Jesus, forgetting, of course, Jesus was a Jew and simply repeating Judaic trinity. There are also three resurrection stories in the Torah, so we have to rule that out also as being in way “original.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • There is but one “school of thought” that is correct: Islam. From the Qur’an:
        5:14: “And from those who call themselves Christians, We took their covenant, but they have abandoned a good part of the Message that was sent to them. So We planted amongst them enmity and hatred till the Day of Resurrection, and Allâh will inform them of what they used to do.”
        Due to arrogance, stupidity, lack of true Faith, and an insipidly evil “school of thought”, christians are doomed to forever burn in Hell. The Prophet has brought them water in the form of the Qur’an, but still they adhere to lies and blasphemous, circular rhetoric rather than drinking deeply of its Truth. The rage of Allah shall strike down all christians and their lies in the end. Their childish, circular logic and evil “schools of thought” will be their ultimate undoing. There is but one Truth and one God: Allah, and Mohammad is His Prophet. Evil reeks from the pores of the lying deceiving christians who tout their sinful rhetoric on this blog. There is nowhere they will be able to hide from the fire that awaits their sick, twisted souls. Infidels. One and all.

        Like

      • Hard to say. We can’t be certain that miracle actually occurred because the story ends with a cliff-hanger (i.e. it doesn’t explicitly state whether or not Peter carried out the request and found a coin.) 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  34. John, I think Phadde2 is correct in concluding that you are making false equivalences. You are just declaring that your word is the truth and not allowing anyone to question it. But we are skeptical. We think you need reasons to prove your point. Isn’t that what freethinking rationalism is about? The only way forward is not more mindless declarations, but to actually provide a criterion of originality. I’m going to help you. . .

    What feature made democracy in Athens original and Christian doctrine and practice unoriginal? You need a REASON, you cannot just declare that it is obvious and needs no reason.

    Obviously, painfully obviously, it must be unprecedented in history. Any proposed doctrine or practice, must be different from priors. But, what differences qualify it to be original? Can it just be any difference?

    Let’s examine Athens once again. The Athenian democracy was a form of government, there is no getting around this category, but you could still say that it was different enough from all prior governments to be called original. But, what feature made it different? It transferred power from the few elite to society. That was revolutionary. The problem is, obviously not everything original involves a transfer of power to society.

    Now, here’s where we can learn from patent law. If there is an incremental difference, this is an obvious next step and requires no novelty. So, for example, if power is transferred from the few elite to wealthy male citizens, then a further transfer to all male citizens indiscriminate of wealth is simply an incremental change that requires no significant novelty.

    This means a criterion of originality could be that it is 1) unprecedented in history and 2) different from prior ideas in a non-incremental non-obvious way.

    Here’s problem for you John. This means Christianity is highly original. Jesus’ concept of lust in heart equating to adultery, Jesus’ unique conception of the Kingdom of Heaven, the kind of Messiah Jesus was, the resurrection, communion, Jesus’ conception of salvation, all of these are original. Sure, you can find examples of condemning lust and perhaps one example of vague spiritual kingdom and examples of some who claimed to be the Messiah, but Christianity is different from these in a non-incremental, non-obvious way. That makes it original. QED

    To argue against this what you really to do is either prove that I am not adhering to my own criterion or provide your own criterion and show how these doctrine and practices do not fulfill it.

    Like

      • Thanks. I’m so impressed by your homosexuality. I love gay men like you. The scent of your estrogen radiates from the screen like flowery perfume when I read your words. If you want to fuck me, I’ll be more than happy to bottom for you and suck your gay christain dick. I love gay christians like you. Stop being so afraid of who you are and accept me as your lover. You and I both know that is exactly what you want. I’ll come to you and we can speak Latin to each other as I blow you. Lord, how I love fags like you. So drop me your address, you sexy hunk of a dominant man, and I’ll cum by for you to use me like you wish. I LOVE you!!!!

        Like

      • Thank you again for your response, you sexy hunk of man. You just can’t stop yourself because you crave what I offer. Grey matter? No. You want cock. You and I both know that. That is why you respond, and that is why you will respond to this. I know faggots, and you Sir, crave cock. I’m offering you the bait and you, being the weak, idiotic imbecile that you are, will always bite. You, sir, are my dog. Come on, bark little puppy. Bark. I’m holding the meat for you, so bark. You will because, like all christians, you are evil, weak, and lack a brain.

        Like

      • Woof! Woof! Thank you again, you gay man you. You just can’t not respond, can you? You know why? You WANT me. You crave what I offer. Each to you respond you prove it. You are my dog. You are will respond to this you evil godless christian. You just can’t stop, can you? You want cock THAT much? OK. You got it. Give me your address and I’ll teach you Latin and Greek whilst you fuck me. Woof! Woof! Good boy! Thank you for responding, once again. You dog. Come on, try and stop responding. Just try. You arrogant, stupid, brain dead evil christian. Just stop. Go ahead. Woof! You fucking dog. You’re EVIL. Christians are the spawn of the Devil! And you, my doggie gay friend, prove it every time you respond to me. Woof! You dog. Trained ya well, didn’t I? I won’t respond further. I must go wank now because you’ve gotten me so hard with your evil christian manly self. But you’ll respond because you can’t stop. That’s how fucking dumb you are. You just can’t stop. Bye. I’ll be awaiting your address, or are you just a tease, you gay, dog of an evil christian. Can’t wait to turn you upside down and fuck your bearded/pussy face. LORD that’s hot!!! Woof!

        Liked by 1 person

      • P.S. Your beard, if I turn you upside down, makes your mouth look like a pussy. A pussy I’d like to fuck. Of course, after you fuck me. Thanks for biting and playing with me, my fellow homosexual. Jesus hates you. I hope you know that. You beautiful faggot, you. Please. Send me your address so I can cum visit and you can show me how smart you are by fucking me. You know you want it. you faggot you. I LOVE gay men like you. I studied Latin for years. No need for Google. Just call me, lover, and I’ll show you who you really are. You already know it, or you wouldn’t have bitten the bait I left for you, my sexy man. Come on, fuck me. You know you crave men. You always have.

        Like

      • Well I thought the saga could continue, but I think we are flying on different wavelengths. We will have to agree to disagree, but at this point, I’m not sure about what.

        Like

    • And here you go, Brandon, Holly just posted this, and it seems I don’t even need to direct you to Taoism to debunk your claim of Jesus’ being the first to mention lust = adultery. At 30 seconds is an older example.

      (why are you even so fixated on this subject?)

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  35. In The First Apology, Justin Martyr defends himself against charges of atheism by appealing to Christianity’s shared similarities with Greek mythology:

    Chapter 20. Heathen analogies to Christian doctrine

    […] If, therefore, on some points we teach the same things as the poets and philosophers whom you honour, and on other points are fuller and more divine in our teaching, and if we alone afford proof of what we assert, why are we unjustly hated more than all others? For while we say that all things have been produced and arranged into a world by God, we shall seem to utter the doctrine of Plato; and while we say that there will be a burning up of all, we shall seem to utter the doctrine of the Stoics: and while we affirm that the souls of the wicked, being endowed with sensation even after death, are punished, and that those of the good being delivered from punishment spend a blessed existence, we shall seem to say the same things as the poets and philosophers; and while we maintain that men ought not to worship the works of their hands, we say the very things which have been said by the comic poet Menander, and other similar writers, for they have declared that the workman is greater than the work.

    Chapter 21. Analogies to the history of Christ

    And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter […]

    Chapter 22. Analogies to the sonship of Christ

    Moreover, the Son of God called Jesus, even if only a man by ordinary generation, yet, on account of His wisdom, is worthy to be called the Son of God; for all writers call God the Father of men and gods. And if we assert that the Word of God was born of God in a peculiar manner, different from ordinary generation, let this, as said above, be no extraordinary thing to you, who say that Mercury is the angelic word of God. […] And if we even affirm that He was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you accept of Perseus. And in that we say that He made whole the lame, the paralytic, and those born blind, we seem to say what is very similar to the deeds said to have been done by Æsculapius.

    But then in Chapter 54. (Origin of heathen mythology), he sneakily backtracks by accusing demons of having prefabricated these myths to deceive men into thinking the prophecy of Jesus was just another unoriginal myth:

    “But those who hand down the myths which the poets have made, adduce no proof to the youths who learn them; and we proceed to demonstrate that they have been uttered by the influence of the wicked demons, to deceive and lead astray the human race. For having heard it proclaimed through the prophets that the Christ was to come, and that the ungodly among men were to be punished by fire, they put forward many to be called sons of Jupiter, under the impression that they would be able to produce in men the idea that the things which were said with regard to Christ were mere marvellous tales, like the things which were said by the poets.”

    As Sam Harris once said:

    “This is how you [Christians] play tennis without the net.”

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    • Ron, you’re a champion!

      Mercury is the angelic word of God. […] And if we even affirm that He was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you accept of Perseus. And in that we say that He made whole the lame, the paralytic, and those born blind, we seem to say what is very similar to the deeds said to have been done by Æsculapius

      I like the way Justin brings up the absence of proof for the others, yet ignores the absence of proof for his. That’s some serious apologetic sidestepping right there.

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  36. Yikes!! – sorry – didn’t think the thing would pop up on the screen – thought you’d only get the link. Can I delete it – can you? little red faced now.

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  37. Why does Jesus need do anything new? Yes, he is God according to Christianity, but his reason for coming to Earth was not to do something ‘new and amazing’. Out of interest, have you ever read what the Christian’s call ‘The Bible’? According to that, he walked on water, he came back to life, he made others come back to life, he turned water into wine, he healed blindness, the lame, the dumb, and turned a few loaves of bread into a feast. New indeed. Maybe he could be God.

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    • Hi Jollyman

      None of those miracles were new. Dionysius, for one, did all those things like walk on water and turn water into wine. Dying and rising godmen is also far, far, far from being a new storyline… it’s actually a staple from earlier mythologies. Resurrection of the dead is also nothing new. In the Old Testament alone there are three occasions: Elijah resurrected the son of Zarephath’s widow, Elisha resurrected the son of the great Shunammite woman, and a dead man comes back to life when he touches Elisha’s bones.

      Now, I think you have answered your own query in saying Yes, he is God according to Christianity. A “god” (the creator of the universe, no less) should have said at least one thing that was genuinely new, or even marginally useful. Explaining the earth wasn’t flat (as it was believed to be at the time by Palestinians) would have been one such thing, even if it were said in passing. What really would have been impressive is if Jesus had informed his fellow Jews that Abraham and Moses were not real historical characters, and there never was an Exodus or a Conquest of Canaan, as we know today. Christians like to believe Jesus came to start a new religion, which is actually erroneous, so in the Christian mindset at least Jesus has no reason to be sympathetic to Judaism, and therefore telling his fellow Jews the truth of the Pentateuch (that it is myth) would have been natural, and, as I said, quite impressive. This fact alone would have lent some credence to the idea Christians hold that a new religion was on Jesus’ mind.

      Now, this is before we even start to delve into matters that would have truly reduced unnecessary suffering. Epilepsy, for example, was certainly not understood in the 1st Century, and epileptics were believed to be possessed by demons and were often stoned to death. This is unnecessary suffering, and Jesus could well have informed people that sufferers were not possessed, rather inflicted, and required care, not death. Would reducing suffering be too much to ask of a visiting creator of the universe?

      Now, the larger point of this exercise is however to highlight that absolutely everything Jesus said and did had been said and done before. There was nothing new in his entire ministry. Nothing. Not even a new, more accurate cosmogony.

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      • Thanks John Zande.

        I disagree with you on several points, but at least we can discuss them in a civil manner. I have been to some websites where people cannot even have a reasoned argument, so I would like to thank you for this opportunity.

        First of all, Dionysius, by which I assume you mean the god, is from a different religion. Can I or anyone prove that he, or Jesus, actually managed to change water to wine, or walk on water? With the Greeks and Thracians he was actually recognised as a legend later on, while Jesus was still a real person, with many people witnessing what he did. Converting water to wine at a wedding with a hundred people.
        Secondly, there are many faiths surrounding Jesus, multiple of which call themselves Christians, or followers of Christ. I don’t know which one you may have been focusing upon, but the faith that I follow believes that the old testament, all the bible before Jesus, was centred upon him and his coming, and the saving of both the Jews and the Gentiles; the revelation that the first books of the bible were false would not have helped them to become followers of Christ.
        Thirdly, Christ is believed by Christians as God’s son. Elisha and Elijah only resurrected people through God’s power, so Jesus may not have been doing something new, but he was God on earth, so he did similar things to what God managed through man (Elijah and Elisha).
        Finally, unnecessary suffering. Different beliefs have different opinions, but I will list a few; ultimately it does not change the important part of the gospel, that is that Jesus died to save us from what we do wrong. Some beliefs are of the opinion that it is God testing us and making us grow, perhaps you’ve noticed that you change most in times of grief. Still others believe that it is Satan tempting us, or wrecking havoc in the world as God said in the beginning. Oh. Forgot to mention. The pentateuch may indeed be inaccurate, but Christians believe that ‘all scripture is god breathed.’ new testament, phillipians. So everything in the old and new testament was inspired by God, that he worked through the writer of the pentateuch to write a reflection of history. You will find in most cultures a reference to the one part of the pentatuech that affected the whole world, the flood. Tangent, sorry. Would I like God to remove epilepsy, cancer and various other illnesses and diseases? Of course. Would that be just, and fair. Not according to the first part of genesis. We are cursed because we disobeyed God. We were given a perfect life, with the decision to do right or wrong and we chose wrong. And so God has given us this curse. So Jesus is the beginning of the end of that curse, yet his mission was not to inform us of how stupid we were, but to save us from the curse and our due punishment from that.

        Sorry I dragged on a bit. Nice blog and cool discussions. Thanks for your time.

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  38. Another astonishing question is: why did he only have 12 disciples. Imagine, the creator of the universe incarnates himself as a man. Should that not be a person who becomes some kind of superstart, with millions of followers? But just a meagre 12 and no contemporary mention in any historical source (and one should think that the creator of the universe should be able to make sure that such a document is preserved). And would this god not have had the patience to wait the 2000 years until TV and the internet are around on this planet, so that his incarnation could be imidiately be known worldwide. What are 2000 years, a blink of an eye.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Twelve, because he wanted to emulate Dionysus 😉 Waiting until mass communication would have been wise, but all the communication problems could have been easily sorted by simply writing self-translating kilometre high letters in the sky, crafted from diamonds. Or better still, simply visiting every month to say “Hi!” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  39. It’s funny to think that J didn’t do any miracles that a two-bit David Copperfield couldn’t have done. Really, he had a pretty lame CV. Now, Moses parting the Red Sea, that was impressive. Why couldn’t J have done that? He could have had everyone in the Roman Empire worshiping him within a fortnight.

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    • Agreed. Healing one leper is somewhat passe when he could have healed every leper on the planet, all at once. Now that would have been awesome. Growing meat on trees would also be pretty nice. The cows and the sheep and the goats and the chickens would have appreciated that. 😉

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  40. The useful message of Jesus is that if you truly believe in something you should go all out and not worry about success or failure. Be willing to die for it. That’s the way you truly succeed.

    Jesus also said being rich and greedy was a form of Hell. More money means more problems, and it’s therefore more pleasant to live a simpler life.

    Jesus also said violence begets violence, which is why it’s better to try to forgive people and live in peace.

    Jesus also said that marriage is a good idea and basically equated casual sex with adultery.

    There’s a lot of wisdom in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John for those whose ears are open.

    Of course, those who don’t want to listen I’m sure will be glad to burn in Hell. Jesus mentioned these people when he preached too.

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    • Hi Matt

      Many sages before Jesus warned of the ills of greed, so that’s certainly not new. Buddha was an exemplary of this thought, giving up his tremendous wealth (he was a prince, of sorts) to lead the simple life.

      Peace and forgiveness is also nothing new. Lao Tzu, said it this way: I treat those