Jesus was a good man but his biographers got it wrong?


#21

and

How can attainment of faith be a responsibility of those who lack it? I thought faith is supposed to be a gift from God, not a quest to repair one’s own deficiencies; and viewing it as the latter seems to me to be entirely futile.

These two quotes seem to be contradictory to me. Care to clarify?


#22

That is a fantastically succinct way of summing up most of the debates here.

What would Christianity look like of the three synoptics were separated from John, i.e. John did not make it into the canon? John differs in several ways from the synoptics and is thought to be the last written of the gospels. Should this make its “truth” more suspect? Many of the “divinity issues” are inherent to John.

If I had only the three, I would conclude that Jesus was not divine nor did he consider himself divine. John complicates this simple perspective. The three synoptics complicate the simple “fact” of Christ’s divinity in John. I see John as a purely theological text, its factualness is secondary if non-important.

In looking for evidence of the “truth” of faith propositions, I find it un-helpful to look to other people’s behavior as evidence of the truth of their faith. For example, the history of science is littered with “factual statements”, later proven untrue, on which people based their behavior.


#23

There is a good chapter in the Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli ( I think those are the authors) about this topic.


#24

I do not consider my lack of faith a deficiency I must remedy. I am, however, quite prone to vanity, envy, sloth, and so on, and those I recognize as things better changed or at least moderated than not. The advice I mention in this thread is not ‘get religion’, but rather things like ‘do unto others’ or ‘act only by that maxim whereby you can will it becomes a universal law’. I do not need to know God to better myself.

Perhaps the problem here is not people who do not accept Jesus’ divinity saying he was a ‘good man’; maybe it is instead those who claim his divinity coming to terms with the fact that he was a good man. Jesus was not merely a wise and charismatic teacher, but a concrete, living, human example; and entirely too many Christians fall far short of that example. How many instances have we seen of those who claim to follow the Christ preferring to rebuke those they call sinners over sitting down and eating and drinking in company with them?


#25

Because, simply stated, you are not a follower of Christ

But you love to go on internet sites and try to provoke for your own amusement. Spitting out names like Kant and Nietzche have been done by many others just like you, not realizing that you follow no logical order to your ramblings. For someone so well read, you must suffocate from your own knowledge. But why would you want to follow any of the above mentioned, since having not met any of them in person, they must all be nothing but the embellishment of others from your original argument.


#26

I do not believe he is a god; but I think the man had some pretty good thoughts about how to behave, and in that sense, I most certainly am a follower.

But you love to go on internet sites and try to provoke for your own amusement.

Oh no, I’ve been found out! I’m a troll!

:rotfl:

Spitting out names like Kant and Nietzche have been done by many others just like you, not realizing that you follow no logical order to your ramblings. For someone so well read, you must suffocate from your own knowledge. But why would you want to follow any of the above mentioned, since having not met any of them in person, they must all be nothing but the embellishment of others from your original argument.

My knowledge only makes me more curious, and when I see a good idea, I make it a part of my mentality and action. Your pride must do some awful, awful things to your lungs, however – or maybe you just like the smell? I’m sure it’s all roses and candy.


#27

Can we get back on topic? I’m really *not *an expert on the subject, which is why I come here with my questions.

The question is not: Which of Jesus’ teachings should we believe and follow? though it stems from the actual question:

Could it be that Jesus’ biographers got Him wrong?

Does it take the ultimate of skepticism to respect the man while using *this *claim to escape believing He was God?: Perhaps.

Is such skepticism so beyond faith that it merits no decent responses: NO! So let’s stay on topic.


#28

My apologies. I presumed you were interested in truth, not debate for its own sake. My bad.

:stuck_out_tongue:


#29

Yes, this is true, unless you are seeking an honest dialog. Then this discussion thread might become one of the most read, i think.

Please tell me, LPA, what evidence would you accept that a dead guy who claimed to be God really got up and walked? Is there any evidence, that if we were to provide it to you, you might become convinced?


#30

There is only one type of evidence of the resurrection of Jesus and His claim of divinity, part of the GodHead, and that is a relationship with Him brought by the Holy Spirit. One can talk forever about evidence but there is no empirical evidence, only eyewitnesses and a doubter can doubt them of course.


#31

Yes, i agree that the best for which i can hope is to change a skeptic’s mind. For only the Holy Spirit can change his heart.

I think God works through both, however. As St. Peter wrote:

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect… .

(1 Peter 3:15)
Peter himself appealed to the evidence to convince those he evangelized

“After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”

(Acts 1:3)

as did St. Paul

“For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

(Acts 17:31)
Paul even went so far as to say that if we cannot prove Christ rose from the dead, then our faith is in vain:

“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”

(1 Corinthians 15:14)
I myself left the Roman Catholic church as a teen. It was only after having my questions answered that i returned to Christ. I’m convinced that anyone who examines the evidence with an open mind will be surprised by the strenght of it.

Perhaps i’m different from you, RF? God wires us all differently and gives some one gift and others another gift. Perhaps God has given you the gift of trusting Him without needing any evidence. If so, i’d say He has given you a gift that i do not possess, and i would sincerely say you are highly blessed. My lack of faith, i think, causes me to seek out answers to my questions, which in turn gives me the satisfaction of sharing the answers i have found with other skeptics.


#32

If that is true than this discussion is meaningless. We can only go in the evidence at hand. We know the Gospels were written by witnesses close to the time Christ lived. We know what they wrote was beleived to such an extent that a small “cult” engulfed the Roman empire and beyond within a realtively short period of time.

Barring any evidence that the contemporaneous accounts are not valid we must assume them to be correct to have any kind of rational discussion. Sayng they are wrong ends the discussion right there.


#33

If the Gospel writer lied about his divinity how would you know the didnt lie about him being a good man? If one does not beleive the Scriptures there is no basis for discussion.


#34

How would you now this? You have already rejected as false the only contemporaneous writing we have about the man.

BTW-best thing about Nietzsche is the awesom quote by him that opens the Conan the Barbarian movie"

“That that does not kill us makes us stronger”

I think that is an apt descrition of defending Catholicsm in CAF:D


#35

The gospels aren’t biographies. They are a fusion of theology with facts. Suetonius is a biographer. Tacitus is a biographer. Mark is not a biographer, but an evangelist. Good men don’t have gospels written about them - the very fact that a gospel is written about someone, is itself a judgment about the value of that someone


#36

Dr. Luke, who wrote the gospel that bears his name, was a historian, however:

Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy … this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians. … Luke’s history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness.
(Sir William Ramsay)

Sir William Ramsay is regarded as one of the worlds greatest archaeologists.


#37

Not as first-hand eye-witnesses, though. For example, Buddha’s nearest and dearest, and Mohammed’s nearest and dearest, all died safely in their beds of old age.

No one who personally knew either of them ever died a martyr’s death defending their claims.


#38

Nah, he’s just saying it’s pointless if it didn’t happen, nothing about proving it.

[quote=estesbob]Barring any evidence that the contemporaneous accounts are not valid we must assume them to be correct to have any kind of rational discussion. Sayng they are wrong ends the discussion right there.
[/quote]

Yeah, there really isn’t that much to discuss.

If the Gospel writer lied about his divinity how would you know the didnt lie about him being a good man? If one does not beleive the Scriptures there is no basis for discussion.

I don’t know that, very true; but I have little reason to doubt there was a good man and teacher named Jesus walking around first-century Judea. That this man was God in mufti, now, that’s something it’d make sense to reserve judgment on without some kind of backup.

How would you now this? You have already rejected as false the only contemporaneous writing we have about the man.

I have called it embellished, exaggerated, and in parts erroneous; but then, no historian’s perfect. I have not rejected the entire thing.

BTW-best thing about Nietzsche is the awesom quote by him that opens the Conan the Barbarian movie

I always thought the moustache was quite impressive myself – though Zarathustra, of course, wins over even that :wink:

[quote=jmcrae]Not as first-hand eye-witnesses, though. For example, Buddha’s nearest and dearest, and Mohammed’s nearest and dearest, all died safely in their beds of old age.

No one who personally knew either of them ever died a martyr’s death defending their claims.
[/quote]

In the case of the Buddha, I do not know of any martyred companions; in the case of Mohammed, you would be wrong. Sumayyah bint Khabbab, for example, was the seventh person to accept Islam, and she became its first martyr in Mecca itself. There was a reason Mohammed and his followers spent so much time running around to different places, and it wasn’t for the view.

I know of one further example (and I’m sure I could find more if I dug a little): Zoroaster, who is thought to have been martyred while praying in a temple. Not just a follower, but the founder of the religion himself!


#39

But if someone did prove it, would you need any more evidence to convince you?


#40

I covered that in post #17 :wink:


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