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Christianity: Fact or Legend?

  1. Jul 4, 2003 #1
    I heard an alternative explanation recently, so I'd like to pose it here. This came from a college professor, just so you know. So I'm not using it as a platform for atheism. However I'm wondering if anyone else has heard of this theory, and I felt this was the best place for this post. The story goes something like this.

    Jesus did exist as a man, and was a philosopher. He spent time with Socrates and Plato. He was not preaching religion perse. He was however preaching alternative philosophies that the romans did not like. So in time he was eventually nailed to the cross, as so many others were in that time. That was a common method of punishment then.
    However there was another man who watched all this unfolding, and it was he who deemed Jesus the messiah, and starting writing a book on it. This of course became known as the bible. All of these things thusfar were based in fact. Then this man who was writing the book starting preaching his beliefs, and it gained popularity. And that was the birth of Christianity.

    I don't have anymore details than that. I heard this through a 3rd party, so I'm trying to get more details. But I'm curious to know if anyone else has heard this. Again, I'm only presenting an alternative explanation here, but as they say, Every myth has some root basis in fact, so you never know..
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 4, 2003 #2
    Exactly. It's either:

    1. Jesus said what he is said to have said, and was false.

    2. Jesus did not say what he said, and thus it is false.

    Either way it's false - and that's what's important!
  4. Jul 4, 2003 #3


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    It is an interesting idea. It reminds me of something I read sometime ago: that in the renaissance, there was a school of thought (I think it was the "scholastics", but I'm not sure) saying that the bible was the way used by old philosophers to teach values and philosophy to the poor.

    According to the book ("History of philosophy", I'm sorry I don't remember anything more specific), even some clerics embraced such idea, and regarded the bible as a well developed teaching tool... something like a book of fables, that allowed them to teach about philosophy and virtues to the less priviledged, uneducated people.
  5. Jul 4, 2003 #4

    Definetely. The bible, like most religious texts have one part of their origins in the idea of a philosopher or group of philosophers needed to create rules for a society.

    Let's face it - once humans began to create societies, rules were needed, it's a fundamental. And punishments were in order.

    These fables were used to teach rules, and the grown-ups in the stories (jesus etc...) were usually the philosophers dealing with rules towards adults rather than children.

    Thousands of years later religion is a failed structure carried on by delusional humans while the rest of us realize the need for rules comes from a lawfull stance and not a mythological one.

    Of course it's the OTHER parts of the ingredients of religion that hold it up much more than this one.
  6. Jul 4, 2003 #5
    No, I think there are too many divergent views in the New Testament for it all to have come from one man, not unless he was another William Shakespeare or something! :wink:

    There are other reasons to believe the Bible is valid though, than just its historical authenticy. For example in your mentioning its possible philosophical ties, it's either good philosophy or it isn't, and so helps belie the validity of its source.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2003
  7. Jul 4, 2003 #6
    Re: Re: Christianity: Fact or Legend?

    No you are mistaken. There is not a single reason to support the claim that anything in the bible is valid.
  8. Jul 4, 2003 #7


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    The lawful stance doesn't work, at least the way it's practiced in western societies. When "right and wrong" are derived merely from the law, its effectiveness is determined entirely by fear of the law. Thus, if the law can't catch all lawbreakers reliably and the penalties are a slap on the wrist, then the law does not effectively impose structure on society.
  9. Jul 4, 2003 #8
    And yet in all actuality, this is pretty much the purpose it was created for isn't it?
  10. Jul 4, 2003 #9

    You are mistaken. Currently the U.S. governemnt does not catch all criminals. However the fear is absolutely enough to stop almost anyone from committing most crimes. So your concept is completely invalid in every way. The lawful stance works very well. Nothing will work perfect.
  11. Jul 4, 2003 #10
    Well I guess there might be the need to establish the fact that we have "a soul" then? :wink:

    For indeed this is the "one criteria" by which the Bible is truly based.
  12. Jul 4, 2003 #11
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Christianity: Fact or Legend?

    The "fact" that "we" "have" a "soul"?

    I don't know if someone could say a more absurd statement. I sincerely hope for your mental health that you're either on hypnotic medication or are joking.
  13. Jul 4, 2003 #12
    Well it is a philosophical question, and it's a question that each one of us needs to answer for ourselves. Whereas if you read the Bible, with an open mind and "objectively," you may begin to understand that indeed this is what it's trying to teach us.

    While it's fairly obvious to me that you haven't pursued it in this sense. :wink:
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2003
  14. Jul 4, 2003 #13
    And yet if people were to "maintain" their sense of morals about themselves, then perhaps there wouldn't be a need for "the law."
  15. Jul 4, 2003 #14

    Answer for ourselves??? Now I'm seriously concerned.

    I suppose you think the question of weather or not the Earth is round is something we need to answer for ourselves?

    Absurdity at it's most gross!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2003
  16. Jul 4, 2003 #15
    Well how do "you" know something unless you can see it for yourself?

    And yet somebody had to answer that question for themselves, before they could "enlighten" everyone else.

    So who do we have an axe to grind with today?
  17. Jul 4, 2003 #16
    Iacchus32 - How can someone live when they can't understand fact from opinion? Do you still hold the claim that the Earth is flat?

    Claims that are fact are fact for everyone - I can't stand this "for yourself" issue that I hear so much from religious "people" these days.
  18. Jul 4, 2003 #17


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    Only the major ones with a decent chance of getting caught and with a decent penalty. ATM I'm speaking mainly about things like traffic violations of all kinds, lesser shoplifting, piracy... and, of course, there aren't even laws against a lot of things that many consider bad or detrimental to society... I'm not even talking about the contraversial stuff like abortion and homosexuality, I'm talking about things like blatantly offensive behavior, cheating at games, et cetera.
  19. Jul 4, 2003 #18
    It would work just fine. I have absolutely no doubt. It has worked fine in plenty of atheist countries for decades.
  20. Jul 4, 2003 #19
    And yet what is an opinion, if not an opinion about "the fact."

    So is this your opinion, or the fact? :wink:

    If it's not something that can be ascertained on a "personal level," how will we ever ascertain it?
  21. Jul 4, 2003 #20
    You don't want people to read teh Bible with an open mind. If they do, they will find a storybook full of hate, fear, and the legends of a superstitious people. That is what an open mind will reveal.
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