Originally posted by dave420
That's my whole point. This thread is discussing whether a fictional character was a magician. It's like asking whether Han Solo was a vegetarian
or if Gandalf would have approved of microwave ovens. It's an absolutely pointless discussion
First of all, you'll have to prove to me He didn't exist. The evidence is by far in my favor. However, let's say for argument's sake He did not
exist. This would still be an interesting subject to discuss. Let's use a critical excerpt from the polemicist, Celsus, of the 2nd century:
"Jesus, on account of his poverty, was hired out to go to Egypt. While there he acquired certain [magical] powers... He returned home highly
elated at possessing these powers, and on the strength of them gave himself out to be a god... It was by means of sorcery that He was able to
accomplish the wonders which He performed... Let us believe that these cures, or the resurrection, or the feeding of a multitude with a few loaves...
These are nothing more than the tricks of jugglers... It is by the names of certain demons, and by the use of incantations, that the Christians appear
to be possessed of [miraculous] power..."
This is how I explain it elsewhere on my website:
"Not only does Celsus confirm Jesus' existence, he also tries to debate the source of Jesus' miracles. Like the pharisees of Jesus' day, Celsus
tries to dismiss these miracles as both demonic possession and cheap parlor tricks. However, he is clearly grasping at straws: On one hand Celsus
accuses Jesus of performing magic learned in Egypt, then later states it is by the power of possession, then states the miracles were not really
miracles at all but were illusionary tricks performed by a deceiver, then finally states the miracles never occurred!"
So what was Celsus' final conclusion about Jesus (even though the contradictions of his excuse for Jesus' miracles will make your head spin)?
He was therefore a man, and of such a nature, as the truth itself proves, and reason demonstrates him to be.
Celsus (2nd century A.D.), smug in in his own conclusion that Jesus was simply a trickster, admits Jesus was only a man. A man who existed 2,000 years
Origin comes along and says the following in rebuttal of Celsus' claims:
After this, through the influence of some motive which is unknown to me, Celsus asserts that it is by the names of certain demons, and by the use
of incantations, that the Christians appear to be possessed of (miraculous) power; hinting, I suppose, at the practices of those who expel evil
spirits by incantations. And here he manifestly appears to malign the Gospel. For it is not by incantations that Christians seem to prevail (over evil
spirits), but by the name of Jesus, accompanied by the announcement of the narratives which relate to Him; for the repetition of these has frequently
been the means of driving demons out of men, especially when those who repeated them did so in a sound and genuinely believing spirit. Such power,
indeed, does the name of Jesus possess over evil spirits, that there have been instances where it was effectual, when it was pronounced even by bad
men, which Jesus Himself taught
(would be the case), when He said: "Many shall say to Me in that day, In Thy name we have cast out devils, and done many wonderful works."
Whether Celsus omitted this from intentional malignity, or from ignorance, I do not know. And he next proceeds to bring a charge against the Saviour
Himself, alleging that it was by means of sorcery that He was able to accomplish the wonders which He performed; and that foreseeing that others would
attain the same knowledge, and do the same things, making a boast of doing them by help of the power of God, He excludes such from His kingdom. And
his accusation is, that if they are justly excluded, while He Himself is guilty of the same practices, He is a wicked man; but if He is not guilty of
wickedness in doing such things, neither are they who do the same as He. But even if it be impossible to show by what power Jesus wrought these
miracles, it is clear that Christians employ no spells or incantations, but the simple, name of Jesus, and certain other words in which they repose
faith, according to the holy Scriptures.
-Origen (2nd century A.D.).
Basically, Origin accuses Celsus of pulling the claims out of his behind, contradicting himself, purposely leaving information out to provide his own
spin, and mimicking the accusations made by the Pharisees of Jesus' day. In essence, he's telling Celsus to get some new material and to get his
story straight if he wants to be taken seriously. Then he basically says, "For argument's sake, if I cannot convince you Jesus' miracles were real,
look around at the Christians. They are performing wonderful works as well without any sort of incantation or spells." Other historical documents of
the time, both Christian and secular, corroborate Origen's claims that Christians were doing so mighty impressive works that could not be chalked up
I think that's pretty cool although I don't expect the skeptics to ever agree.