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The Bible as Myth and History
Posted: 01 January 2010 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 121 ]
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Lausten - 17 November 2009 10:13 AM

What other mythology has a story like Jesus?  Virgin birth - stolen, resurrection - nothing new, historical inaccuracy - okay. Not important to me.  Gods have come down in human form in many myths, but are they completely human, to the point that they doubt themselves?  Do they accept their fate of a violent death and tell their followers not to fight?  Do they act as healers and teachers or as warriors?  Do they engage and debate their leaders?  The Passion narrative has all of that, making it a pretty rich story, worth passing on.

Actually, the basic plot of the Gospels about Jesus was already very old by the first century CE. A good example is Hercules himself, who is mentioned in the Iliad which was written about 750 BCE. The story of Hercules is very old, probably over a thousand years old by the time of Jesus, and no doubt the story evolved over time with many different layers to it. Also, the story of Hercules has many differences from the one about Jesus, but the basic outline is similar, which is one reason I do not believe Jesus ever existed as a real person.

The story as I know it is that Hercules was born to Zeus and a mortal woman, so he was born of a virgin, and was the son of god and the son of man. It was foretold that Hercules would be the savor of the gods and man (this is in Roger Lancelyn Green telling. I’m not sure where he found this). Just as Satan gave Jesus a choice between an easy life and a hard life, Hercules was offered the same choice when he was young by the two nymphs Pleasure and Virtue. Jesus, to prove he was the son of god, went on a ministry of teaching wisdom and making miracles; Hercules proved himself by performed his twelve labors (The ancient Greeks were more Earthy than the first century Jews, and they had different concerns). In each of the four Gospels Jesus raises one person from the dead; Hercules also raises a person from the dead (The Greeks, always the storytellers, have Hercules wrestle with death and win). Jesus is supposed to be the savor of humanity; Hercules saved the gods and humans from the giants that mother Earth had given birth too. Finally, Jesus was the willing sacrifice and then rose from the dead to go be with god; Hercules willingly built his own bonfire, was burned to death, then rose to live with Zeus on Mount Olympus.

One last detail, which I like. In the Gospels, Jesus needs help carrying his cross so the Romans pull some guy out from the crowd to help Jesus. In the story of Hercules as Hercules is standing on the wood he had gathered for his bonfire, he cannot (for some unknown reason) light the wood himself. He tries to get his friends to do it, but they will not. Finally, he finds a boy to do it for him. I think the point of this little bit is that we can’t do it all by ourselves; we need help. I also believe, but can’t prove, that they derive from the same mythological ideal.

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Posted: 02 January 2010 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 122 ]
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Mr Clay:

Checked out the Web site. Good job.  I will recommend it to several of my friends.

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Gary the Human

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

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Posted: 02 December 2010 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 123 ]
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asanta - 16 November 2009 09:49 PM

You certainly can’t use it as a behavioral guide! It often contradicts itself after several ‘verses’.

I’d like some examples of that.

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Posted: 02 December 2010 07:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 124 ]
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ThatGuy, the Bile contradicts itself in many places, esp with behaviours.  Not sure how people miss that, but it seems they often do. Give us time though, if really need examples of that.  However, I think a prominent one that many people see is Jesus saying if one calls someone a fool they are in danger of hellfire and then he turns around and calls people fools.  However, Xians seem to come up with some bizarre justifications for that, which make absolutely no sense at all.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 02 December 2010 08:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 125 ]
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Mriana - 02 December 2010 07:22 PM

ThatGuy, the Bile contradicts itself in many places, esp with behaviours.  Not sure how people miss that, but it seems they often do. Give us time though, if really need examples of that.  However, I think a prominent one that many people see is Jesus saying if one calls someone a fool they are in danger of hellfire and then he turns around and calls people fools.  However, Xians seem to come up with some bizarre justifications for that, which make absolutely no sense at all.

Shrug, it’s silly to try and justify the Bible. Even if there was a Jesus and it were based on eyewitness accounts you know how reliable those are.

Culturally people were taught that somehow God ensured the accuracy of the Bible. How can we accept that when God doesn’t seem capable of doing anything else.

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Posted: 02 December 2010 09:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 126 ]
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ThatGuy - 02 December 2010 02:20 PM
asanta - 16 November 2009 09:49 PM

You certainly can’t use it as a behavioral guide! It often contradicts itself after several ‘verses’.

I’d like some examples of that.

The Skeptics Annotated Bible should keep you busy for a few hours.

My favorite part is where Lot offers to let a gang rape his daughters. Now that’s some great parenting. Then there is the one about David sending his best friend on a suicide mission so he could indulge his carnal desires with his best friend’s wife. And who can forget the classic bit of Yahweh ruining Job’s life to win a bet with Satan? This is some weird feces.

[ Edited: 02 December 2010 09:12 PM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 03 December 2010 12:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 127 ]
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And, “Thou shall not kill”, but God instructing Joshua to kill every person, male and female, old and young, including babies in Canaan.

You mentioned Lot. Darron.  Remember that god judged him to be without sin (after the above offer) and allowed him and his two daughters to escape Sodom and live in a cave.  Then his daughters got him drunk so they could have sex with their father.  Gotta love that morality.

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Posted: 03 December 2010 01:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 128 ]
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Is that enough for you ‘thatguy’? LOL

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 04 December 2010 12:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 129 ]
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Damn, I thoght this tread was dead.

The Bible covers many things and is the basis for a strong cultural movement over the past 2,500 - 3,000 years.  As such it is going to be contrictory in many areas, as it is a set of what today we would call political documents, created by various humans over many generations, first as oral history and tradition then as written documents, all with the purpose of creating a common bond among a certain set of humanity, to bind them together in the face of threats to their way of life.  It is a large part of the basis of Western culture and as such a very important gathering of documents.  It can still be useful, if for no more than to provide a basis for studing how socities organize themselves.

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Gary the Human

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

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