originally posted by deesw
Disprove the BIBLE, disprove JESUS.
No man or woman in history has ever been able to do so.
Well, you got to love a challenge. I guess the following is just an intellectual exercise since I doubt the points I'm about to present will be
considered with the proper scrutiny and consideration they deserve. Before I begin I'd like to say that if you have a personal relationship with
Jesus Christ that you experience as real than you should not be threatened by what anyone has to say about the matter. Not Dan Brown, or Tom Hanks or
me or anyone. My purpose in this is not to challenge your perception of reality, which is yours and yours alone. If you feel the love of Christ as
an active part of your being, good for you and more power to you.
originally posted by deesw
Billions of people throughout history have died in the name of Jesus Christ. I don't think anyone has ever died in the name of Davinci.
I had to laugh at this as it shows that you are completely unfamiliar with the book your railing against. "The DaVinci Code" in no way presents
Leonardo DaVinci as an alternative to Jesus Christ. Do you even know what the book is about? If not then go Google and familiarize yourself with the
material at the very least or actually read the damn thing. It won't hurt you. That being said, billions is an awfully big number. Let's use
millions just to be on the safe side. Millions of people of people have died in the name of Jesus Christ and no one has ever died in the name of
DaVinci but remember also that millions of people have been killed in the name of Jesus Christ and no one has been killed in the name of DaVinci.
Something to consider.
originally posted by deesw
Ya gots ta look at the fact that Christianity has always been the most persecuted religion ever.
I didn't know Popeye was a fundamentalist. I'm not sure if Christianity is the most persecuted religion ever. I would imagine the most persecuted
religion ever has been wiped off the face of the Earth. Maybe if you factor in all the occasions when Christians have persecuted other Christians it
might reach the level of most. It could just as easily be argued that Christianity is the most persecuting religion in history, but I digress...
Okay, so we'll start with the standard question of "Why does God let bad things happen to good people?". The typical, and unsatisfactory answer:
"The Lord works in mysterious ways".
I'll leave the Old Testament out of this for the sake of brevity and focus on the New Testament. If the New Testament is so very provable doesn't
it stand to reason that the authorship of the canon would be readily apparent and that its tenets would be readily apparent and acceptable to all of
its practitioners, particularly in the earliest years of its existence? Unfortunately this is not the case.
In fact we know nothing about the authors of the Gospels. We only have speculation. There is not one shred of evidence confirming their authorship.
The early Christians felt they had no need of a written testament because they felt that Christ's return was imminent. Why wouldn't Christ have
clued in his closest followers that his return would be delayed for several thousand years? Once the life spans of those who could have conceivably
known Christ first hand dwindled out they started to realize that they better start writing some stuff down so they could transmit it to future
generations. When they did so their were many, many stories and gospels that gave differing accounts that were often contradictory to one another,
especially in regards to the resurrection. Some argued it was a physical resurrection. Others contended it was a spiritual event that could be
experienced by anyone, a "heresy" that naturally was threatening to the authority of the church.
Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels because they generally agree on details and the timeline. They often used the same words to
describe the same event causing some to posit a previous collection of Christ's sayings used as a mutual source. Mark is regarded as the earliest,
and of his 661 verses only 24 aren't quoted by Matthew or Luke. Matthew and Luke do occasionally disagree with Mark but never over the same
Assuming for the sake of argument that the Synoptic Gospels were written by who they are said to have been written by, Mark was not an apostle but an
associate of Paul, also not an apostle. Neither Mark nor Paul had first hand experience of Christ. The Gospel is said to be based on the preaching
of Peter and dates to c. 65 CE. Matthew is held to be the tax-collector mentioned in Matthew 9:9, aka Levi. But Matthew borrows heavily from Mark so
one has to wonder why an individual with first hand experience of Christ had to rely on a second hand source. Matthew dates to anywhere between
64-134 CE. Luke and the Book of Acts are assumed to have the same author as they are both addressed to the Roman Theophilius and they most likely
represent the teachings of Paul. The dating, especially regarding Jesus' birth, is inconsistent with other sources. Luke is a character in Acts and
a companion to Paul. It dates to 65-70 CE. It's interesting that even within the Synoptic Gospels that there isn't a uniformity of thought.
John is quite different from the other Gospels, following a different timeline and containing additional stories and details. The identity of the
author of John is unknown. It's traditionally held to be written by "the disciple that Jesus loved" mentioned in John 13:23. While John does
mention the names of the other Gospel writers he never mentions his own name. John dates to c. 100 CE. Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians,
Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (the Pauline Epistles) are assumed to have been written by Paul. The author of
Hebrews is unknown but it is grouped with Paul's letters. The Revelation of St. John is attributed to the author of the Gospel of John but this
claim is unlikely. The style of Greek is different and unlike John the author mentions his own name repeatedly. He calls himself a prophet but never
an apostle. Revelations dates to 95-100 CE. If the apostle John wrote either John or Revelations he would have been extremely aged at the time.
Early Christians argued what constituted the nature of Christ and Christianity. The chief competitor to what was to become the mainstream was
Gnosticism, whose tenets held that an individual did not need the church to serve as an intermediary with God. The second century Gnostic Marcian
produced the first list of books he felt were appropriate for the New Testament, a heavily edited Luke and some of Paul's letters. Marcian was
heavily anti-Semitic and felt Christianity should completely separate itself from Judaism. He believed that Jesus was not born of Jewish parents and
manifested fully grown from the mind of God. His writing was eradicated by the orthodox church.
Lodovico Muratori compiled a list (the Muratorian Canon). This inspired other Christian leaders to compile lists and councils were held to determine
a single set of books. Fearing the effect of Gnostic principles, Irenaeus of Lyon determined that the canon should be based upon Scripture and the
apostles. This established the basis for future orthodoxy determinations. It wasn't until the fourth century that a list was produced that matches
what is in place today, courtesy of the church historian Eusebius. In 367 CE Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria under Constantine (who worshipped Sol
Invictus until his deathbed), set forth what proved to be the final canon, listing 27 works. In 382 at a council held in Rome under Pope Damasus,
church leaders adopted the list. It was affirmed in councils at Hippo in 393 and 419 CE, and wasn't officially ratified until 473 CE. It should be
noted that these councils made decisions through voting, meaning the will of God could be usurped potentially through the free will of a single or
small group of individuals. The Greek Orthodox Church didn't finalize their canon until the 10th century, with the primary contention occurring over
the inclusion of Revelations. The Syrian Church to this day only recognizes 22 books, excluding 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude, and Revelations. Copts
and Ethiopians both have additional books.
If there is such validity to the story of Christ then why was it so difficult to come to a uniformity of thought on the matter? Why did it take
nearly 500 years to produce the official New Testament? How could the arguments and counter theories exist to begin with? This doesn't even take
into account the Protestant revolution and the scores of variations that have been generated since.
It's an observable fact that the Christ mythos contain many elements found in numerous earlier mystery religions, some of which date to thousands of
years before the supposed birth of Christ. Here's just a sample:
Mithras - A Persian (Iranian) tradition dating to prehistoric times, c. 3,000 BCE at the latest. Revered in Zoroastrian and Vedic (Hindu) literature.
Imported to Rome c. 70 BCE. The early christians asserted their dominance on the followers of Mithra through mass murder, the razing of temples and
the burning of sacred texts. Mithra was born of a virgin mother on December 25th (celebrated near the winter solstice) and after he died he was
resurrected (celebrated near the spring equinox). He was called God's messenger of truth, Savior, Son of God, Redeemer, and the Lamb of God. On the
sabbath his followers ate a sacramental meal of bread and water or bread and wine symbolizing flesh and blood. Initiation included baptism. At a
Mithric temple in Rome an inscription reads, "And thou hast saved us by shedding the eternal blood".
Dionysus/Bacchus - First worshipped in Thrace (NE of Greece). Imported to Greece by the time Homer wrote the Iliad (c. 800 BCE). By Hellenistic
times (after 332 BCE) worshiped from Italy to Greece into Egypt and the Middle East. Mentioned in tablets c. 1,200 BCE. Herodotus described
initiation into his mysteries in the 5th century BCE. Euripides' play "The Bacchae" was first performed c. 400 BCE. Livy mentions worship in Rome
as early as 186 BCE. Julius Caesar formally recognized the mysteries in the 1st century BCE. Entered Palestine with Helenism after Alexander's
conquest in 332 BCE. Dionysus' father was the all mighty god Zeus, his mother was the mortal Semele. Dionysus is identified with the lamb. He's
called the King of Kings, the Only Begotten Son, Savior, Redeemer, Sin-bearer, Anointed One, and the Alpha and Omega. Dionysus died, was resurected
and ascended to heaven. Belief in Dionysus was said to bring salvation. Initiation in the mysteries included baptism. The inscription on the
following image reads "Orpheus Bakkus" and appeared 200 years prior to images of Christ on the cross.
Dionysus was the god of wine and one can see the imagery at play in images of an agricultural deity when one considers grapes ripening on stakes or
Isis and Osiris - Major Egyptian deities dating to prehistory, as early as the 3rd millennium BCE. There were Greek temples as early as 333 BCE. The
tradition was introduced in Rome in the 1st century BCE. Osiris is killed, resurected, becomes immortal and rules the afterlife as the judge of the
dead. Initiation to the mysteries included baptism and a sacramental meal.
Note the striking similarity of the following sculpture of Isis and Horus to images of Mary and the Christ child.
Cybele and Attis - From Phrygia (modern Turkey). Worshipped for centuries in Phrygia before being imported to Rome in 204 BCE. Mentioned by
Lucretius (b. 98 BCE, d. 54 BCE), Catollus (86-40 BCE), and Varro (116-28 BCE). Attis was born to the virgin Nana on December 25th. Before and
during the years the Gospels were written, Romans yearly celebrated the Festival of Joy in remembrance of Attis' death and rebirth. On March 22nd a
pine tree was brought to the temple of Cybele on which hung an effigy of Attis. Two days of mourning were followed by revery on March 25th to
represent the god's resurrection. Worshipers ate a sacramental meal of bread and wine representing the god's body and blood. Initiates were
baptized with bull blood on a site on Vatican Hill where now stands St. Peter's Basilica.
Christian apologists such as Tertullian and Father Justin Martyr (who wrote in the 100s CE) owned up to the striking parallels and the earlier origin
of these and other pagan figures. The explanation, the only one ever presented, was that the devil read in the Old Testament about the coming of a
messiah and sent these figures to Earth earlier in order to confuse the masses. A pretty flimsy excuse by anyone's account and one wholly dependent
upon the belief in the devil.
Note the frequency of these agricultural gods to a goddess figure who survives the physical death of their male counterpart and factor in the
relationship of Christ to Mary Magdelene as presented in "The DaVinci Code". As mentioned by others, TDVC draws heavily from "Holy Blood, Holy
Grail" by Richard Leigh, Michael Baigent and Henry Lincoln. One of the primary characters in TDVC is Leigh Teabing (anagram of Baigent), who is
crippled in a manner similar to Henry Lincoln. HBHG presents much more material than Brown's pulp-style page turner and goes in great detail
discussing the possibility that Christ was a political figure with a legitimate claim to the throne of Israel as an ancestor of King David. They
raise questions such as how anyone could be taken seriously as a Jewish leader if they were unmarried and didn't sire children. They also wondered
why Christ would be executed and paid so much attention to if his followers at that time numbered so few. I have yet to hear any explanations for
these and many other salient points in their book.
The bottom line is that belief in Jesus Christ as presented in the Bible depends upon belief in the soul, an intangible quality that is unobservable
making it untenable to study through the scientific method. Even the mind is a construct. Mind is minding. The separation of body and spirit is a
dualism that can not be demonstrated. If the material I've presented is insufficient to you as proof first prove to me that the soul exists and then
we can talk about Christ.