13 Mar 2004

If what you say is true ...

Submitted by theshovel
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If what you say is true. Why would Jesus make an appearence on this earth back in that time for eveyone to see for everyone to believe. Wasn't his reasoning for coming to this world and dying is to give the ability to have a personal relationship with god without having to go through the church. Now how do you have a relationship with someone you have never seen someone you have never talked to. What christians believe is if you pray and it happens the way you want it then he answered your prayers if it doesn't go your way then its not his will. Isn't that like the indians that use to pray and dance to the god of rain and they would every day til it rained. they belived that their god finally answered their prayers. Probably not they just waited long enough sooner or later its got to rain. One more question I know the Christians don't believe in sister mary or mother mary I don't know which one but either way how do the christians explain the miracle sun at fatmia in portugal in 1917 witnessed by 70,000 people. I am just looking for the truth I have have been doing my own research for my own benefit I need some real facts before I can just believe in something. Hopefully you may be able to shed some light on my questions thanks, Brian

Hello Brian! And thanks for writing. :)

The truth is nearer than you can possibly imagine, it is not far at all. You seek proof, but the proof is all around you ... and within you. I don't discourage you from searching out the facts, but you need to know that whatever is rooted in the physical world can not bring a faith that exists outside its reach.

Realize that most who saw Jesus did not believe. Even the disciple known as "Doubting Thomas", the one who claimed to believe by seeing and touching Jesus after his resurrection, throughly misunderstood the very nature of faith. For Jesus made a very strong rejection of the faith Thomas spoke of by saying, "More blessed are those who believe without seeing!" Years later, Paul would describe the difference between a faith based upon the physical and that which is based upon that which is invisible. In his second letter to the Corinthian believers Paul wrote: "Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we HAVE KNOWN Christ according to the flesh, yet NOW we know Him in this way NO longer."

I would venture that you are looking for a touchable and seeable faith - and you might find it - but it won't be that which relates to God. That's why so many who call themselves "Christians" have a faith that is so similar to other religions and beliefs. Is that what you want? You see, lots of people "believe" that Jesus died and rose again AS A FACT, but not as a reality in their own being. That's a faith that doesn't recognize Jesus according to the flesh anymore.

Thoughts?

Jim Minker :)


Thanks for the reply. I am just looking for some evidence that it all happen. I watch the Passion of Christ this weekend a very graphic and strong movie watching it made me wonder. Hundreds of people were in that movie theater and move them or touched them in a spirited way. Now that was just from watching a movie now imagine if you seen it actually happen. how much more do you think it moved them believer's or not. People would have felt something. Why didn't any one write about it. The only written document that (I) know about is the bible. There was thousands of people there two rulers judged him with no records of it. Don't you find that strange. Like Moses and the Egyptians the nile was their life line without it they would die. The egyptians documented everything why wasn't there any writings on the plaques when he turn the nile into blood. Do you truely believe the Egyptians would just leave something like that out. Doesn't that make you wonder if it really happen. One more thing the Dead Sea Scrolls they are dated to be older than any book written in the bible. Now The Pslams chapter in the scrolls hold more Pslams then in The Book of Pslams. How could that happen and the Bible be inerrant. I dod believe in God but I do think the Christian religion is not all right, there are holes and how can they say every other religion is going to hell. they all believe in God just maybe in different ways. What about people like Gandi do you think he is going to hell. Look at all the things he did for mankind even a religious man just not the same as yours and are you going to tell me he is going to hell. That doesn't sound like a very humble God of yours if so. I do thank you for your answers and reply I hope I never offend you in any way with my questions, They are never meant to offend you, like I say I am just looking for answers I cannot believe in something so blindily. Thanks again, Brian

Hello again, Brian!

No, I am not at all offended by your questions. Actually, many of the things that bother you about the Christian religion have bothered me for a long time. Heck, I'd go as far as to say that even though the Christian religion seems to be the source of truth about Jesus Christ it is probably the biggest stumbling block regarding the reality brought to pass by him. That's right, most of what's called Christianity is no friend of Christ, for most of it denies the very reality of the "gospel", or good news, which is that the life of God was joined together in union with man through Christ. Christianity has become little more than a self-righteous club made up of those who think themselves above others (including those of other Christian groups).

Now as to the history of Jesus, you need to realize that "the Bible" did not exist as the unit we recognize for many, many years after Jesus. Over the centuries the particular writings of Christ became valued as copies got passed around, but it wasn't until about 15 centuries later that they became officially grouped as one "book", which is what the word, bible, really means. Each of the writers of what is now called "The New Testament" made their own personal accounts. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John did not get together and collaborate on the "Four Gospels" so they could create the historical Christian portion of "the Bible". Instead, they had individually written their own accounts for one reason or another. The letters of Paul make up a good portion of the "New Testament" writings, and the truth was that the others were very suspicious of him on many occasions. So, instead of ONE source of information from what is now called "the Bible" there are really many pieces of evidence all rolled into one book.

There are also numerous other writings about Jesus that didn't get included in what was called the Canon of the Bible for one reason or another, and there are even discrepancies between the number of writings included in the Catholic and Protestant versions (the Catholic version includes more). Also, the Roman persecution against the followers of Christ included the confiscation and destruction of any writings they may have possessed so that only those most valued, and/or best hidden, remained. This shouldn't sound too far-fetched as the same thing happened under Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, and many others before and after. Historically, conquerors often do this.

There is also an ancient Jewish historian named Josephus, who had been taken captive by the Romans and had ended up serving as an advisor to three of the Roman emperors. Included in his historical accounts are mentions of Jesus, John the Baptist, Herod, James and Ananias (the priest who condemned Jesus). If you do a search for Josephus you'll find many links. Here's one I just found, http://www.josephus-1.com/

There is something else about history I think you might want to consider. We've often fallen for the lie that demands that the backward view of history is more accurate than what can be understood in the unfolding of the actual events. The usual statement is "Hindsight is 20/20" ... which is a bunch of bull. No doubt we can see SOME things in a better light after the event, but in seeing clearer we often lose sight of what was happening TO THEM because we force our own supposedly more enlightened assumptions back into the equation.

Consider the movie (the Passion of Christ) you just saw. You assume that those who were there at the original event should have the same reaction as those who watch the movie,. even more so, because they were there. But those who watch the movie, for the most part, have heard something about the story, if not being themselves religious devotees of the Christian religion that has been built around that story. In other words, most who see the movie are already prepared to be emotionally stirred (even though many are not prepared for the depth of it because of ignorance concerning the actual brutality).

Now, do you suppose those who witnessed the original scene would have already known what was going to happen to Jesus? Would they have been telling themselves, "This is how much God loves me.", or would they been in total shock and perhaps even wondering if they had been totally mistaken about the possibilities that Jesus was supposed to be some kind of deliverer? The fact is that the crucifixion of Jesus was so shameful that most had concluded that God had abandoned the man called Jesus and had damned him just as surely as had the official religious "men of God". Jesus' own disciples had had their world shattered ... even though Jesus had repeatedly told them what was about to take place. They just didn't get it ... not until later.

Why didn't more people write about it? Heck, most were illiterate. They not only didn't know how to write, they didn't know how to read. Information was mostly passed down verbally. When the people went to the synagogues, they were read TO by the few who could read. The scribes didn't become so highly valued just because they were religious men, but probably more so because they could both read and write. That's right, the official "men of God" during that time weren't considered backward and ignorant but were among the most educated men on earth.

So, why didn't those guys write about it? Geez, don't forget that they were doing everything they could to deny and denounce this event as a myth, so why would they go about trying to validate it in any way? The fact that the religious establishment - the educated ones - did NOT write about it lends more credence to the actual events of the story. To them, Jesus was a blemish, a mistake, an embarrassment to everything they held sacred. He simply could NOT have been the one God sent because he had embarrassed THEM in front of the people they had been dominating "in the name of God".

Matthew had even recorded the first cover-up attempt of the Jews regarding the empty tomb:

Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said, "You are to say, 'His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.' "And if this should come to the governor's ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble." And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day. Matthew 28:11-15

Does this sound too far-fetched ... or does it sound rather plausible as a religious-political move? The fact is that if the Roman guard (a good number of men) had fallen asleep at their post they would have been put to death, but as it is they were so desperate that they made this agreement. The soldiers would lie for the Sanhedrin (religious counsel) because they were already dead men for failing their duty, and their only chance was if the Jews could really win the governor over to keep them out of trouble. The Jews also gained an alibi to help explain their inability to produce the dead body of Jesus.

So, why are there not more accounts of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus? Most could not write it, and most who could have, wouldn't have. And then, many of the stories and letters written by any who were there were destroyed by those who persecuted them.

See, it might be incomprehensible for us in our own little protected world to understand something like this, simply because it is hard to understand what it's like to live in a world where most can neither read nor write. It's also difficult to imagine being on the receiving end of a move to have everything you possess taken away and destroyed in the attempt to erase you and your history from memory. Truth is, this has happened more times than we'd like to know, and is often called "ethnic cleansing". The fact that ANYTHING survived that was written about Jesus is amazing.

So, when you ask if the Egyptians would just leave something like Moses and the Jews out, I would have to wonder if there was any real possibility that they would dare to include it because it was such an offense to them. I doubt the Egyptians documented everything anyway, for they would have been just like most world powers in that they would write history to put them in the the best possible light.

By the way, the Dead Sea Scrolls only contained the oldest COPIES out of the many known manuscripts, they are not older than the original documents themselves. There's a whole science to the tracing of manuscript copies in the attempt to determine where they came from and when they were copied. Nobody's got the originals as they would have fallen to dust a long time ago. Apparently the fact that the entrance to the caves had been covered by water they were sealed off and the manuscripts became better preserved than anything in circulation.

You know that game where you line up two groups of people and the first is given a sentence to whisper to the next person, who in turn passes it on down the line to see what the last person hears? Well, the science behind tracing manuscripts is like that. They have figured out where certain differences crept in so that they can tell what "line" it is from. In other words, every copy in that line will end up making the same mistakes, even adding to them along the way. There are apparently many different lines of recognized manuscript copies, not just one or two. It also turns out that just because a copy is the oldest known copy in existence doesn't mean that it is the most accurate copy since every copy that is available is recent in comparison to the originals.

Does stuff like this bother me? Not in the least!! Now, it used to, but I have come to realize that most of what is called Christianity has been built upon some rather desperate assumptions, one of them being the whole issue of inerrancy. I do not doubt that God spoke through the prophets and that the words they spoke or wrote down were accurate representations of the message received. But the truth of God cannot be contained, or should I say, isolated in so-called inerrant documents. The truth of God is way, way bigger than words spoken through men. And when men decide to keep the truth of God contained in the black and white of the printed page it always ends up denying the very reality of the God that is supposed to be declared. You can read a lot more about my thoughts on the Bible and the doctrine of inerrancy here.

The Jews at the time of Jesus' visit claimed to be the staunch believers of the writings of Moses and the Psalms and the Prophets, and yet Jesus would end up taking the very writings they stood upon to show how they had misunderstood everything. The truth is that they had done what every religion ends up doing: used the words to validate their own authority, goodness, truth, etc. This is the very nature of religion itself!

The whole issue of "going to hell" has also been turned around so that what was once spoken to the religious self-righteous of the supposed "true" religion of God has been now turned against everyone else.

The good news of Jesus is not about which group is better than the other, but that all are equally judged through Christ's death on the cross, and that God no longer holds men's sins against them!! The reality of Jesus is about the miracle of new life, not the religion of the old which is what most of what the Christian religion is built upon.

I know I haven't answered all your questions, but I hope I've given you something to think about.

Jim

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