What makes Jesus so special? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-12-2009, 01:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I *knew* you couldn't pass a title like THAT up

Ok, I posted the following on another thread but it veers into serious OT (as we're prone to do), so I figured we'd start the tangent here. I'm looking for a discussion that evaluates this topic, and not for anyone to feel personally offended about anything as that isnt the intent. Please check out any of HennyPenny's great disclaimers for reference, as I'm too lazy to go copy them but it's generally the same gist

Here we go....here is an ancient but familiar story. A long time ago, a child was born who was said to be the savior of all mankind. His birth was heralded by angels and attended by three kings who had followed a brightly glowing star. He grew up to be a great religious leader who traveled from place to place sermonizing and performing miracles such as raising the dead and walking on water. Eventually, the man was crucified and buried, but after three days he rose from the grave. The man is said to have been the Son of God, the Lamb of God, “the way, the truth, and the light.”

Its safe to say that the vast majority would equate it with the story of Jesus Christ as told in the New Testament of the Bible. It is one of the most well known stories on the planet for hundreds of years. It is completely logical to assume that the man in this story is Jesus… unless you also happen to be familiar with the story of Horus, the Christ of Ancient Egypt...3-4 thousand years before Christ.

Both Jesus and Horus's births are celebrated on December 25th. Both were miraculously conceived. Both were threatened with death in their infancy, one by Herut, the other by Herod. Both were baptized in rivers at 30 years of age, and both of the characters who performed the baptisms, Anup the Baptiser and John the Baptist, were later beheaded. The coincidences go on and on.

There are dozens of other ancient men that bare striking resemblances to Jesus of Nazareth. Mithra, for example, was a god of the ancient Zoroastrian religion where Iraq is now. He was born on December 25th, he was a traveling religious teacher with 12 disciples, he died as a sacrifice for mankind, he rose three days later, and there is even a Eucharistic ceremony associated with him. Other ancient heroes whose life stories bare remarkable similarities with Jesus are Krishna of India, Attis of Phrygia, and Dyonisus of Greece. Even Quetzacoatl resembles Jesus in many ways, including the December 25th birth, the crucifixion, and the resurrection.

Some fascinating theories have suggested these commonalities are all astrologically related. December 25th birthday is associated with the winter solstice, the twelve disciples are the 12 signs of the zodiac, the 3 Kings are the three stars of Orion’s belt which line up with (and therefore appear to be following) the north star Sirius at the time of the winter solstice. The God-man is the Sun, which battles darkness throughout the year, reaching the trough of its winter descent under the constellation of the Northern Cross, and then rising to claim victory over darkness again and again.

So. What makes Jesus any different than any other Christ that has lived before (and since) his time?

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Old 03-12-2009, 01:13 AM
 
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I have not really studied all of those other stories so I cannot comment much on them, but I would be interested in reading about them. Can you suggest any good books I could look for at the library or good online links?

Beyond that, the three kings concept with Jesus is wrong - perhaps it is influenced by the earlier stories? There were 3 gifts given to Him, but no mention of how many magi visited - it could have been anywhere from 2 to 200 - the number is not given in the Bible.

And then, Jesus is God and He went though incarnation, a sinless human living, an all inclusive redemptive death and resurrection so that He could become the Life-giving Spirit who can and does live within the human spirits of His redeemed and regenerated believers.
I know that is true because He lives in me and other Christians who I know.

Did the other characters of the similar stories ever claim to or did their followers ever claim that their version of Jesus lived within all of his believers after he resurrected?
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Old 03-12-2009, 01:37 AM
 
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ok you KNEW I couldn't resist a thread with a title like that!!

ok it's late and i so should not be on the computer... but i was dying to read what you had to write. I will give you a semi- short answer. (yep, I can actually be brief, if I want to! who knew?)

It is totally reasonable that there would be many people of similar "story" and "background" as Jesus... as it was foretold in the OT LONG LONG ago. so there was always people looking out for it. and if you believe in the spiritual side of things - it always goes hand in hand that when a prophecy is told, many thing just shy of the prophecy will happen before the actual prophecy does. (don't ask me for proof... as I'm not sure how one would prove it with statistics... but this happens with all prophecies I've ever read about...)

Dec 25th ISN'T Christ's birthday. it is the day commonly chosen to celebrate it. However there are many cultures and churches that do not celebrate it on the 25th. some have another day, and some choose to "celebrate it every day"... Any Christian should know it isn't actually Christ's birthday. (not saying *all* do, but they should!) I am positive that the reason the 25th was used was it was a popular date used in some other cultures for their own Gods or celebrations etc... and also because it is close to the winter solstice. on that ground i agree there is much confusion as to when He was born... but when wasn't really the point. it was THAT he was born.


personally speaking, coming to the belief that Jesus is real, isn't easy. it isn't either a matter of comparing facts. it is a mixture of history, study, seeking, and prayer like any other biblical matter. Just as believing the Bible to be true (or not to be true... or to be part allergorical and part literal etc). it is just not matter that can be summed up in a short list of why and why not's...

that is the best I can do for tonight

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Old 03-12-2009, 02:24 AM
 
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Here we go....here is an ancient but familiar story. A long time ago, a child was born who was said to be the savior of all mankind. His birth was heralded by angels and attended by three kings who had followed a brightly glowing star. He grew up to be a great religious leader who traveled from place to place sermonizing and performing miracles such as raising the dead and walking on water. Eventually, the man was crucified and buried, but after three days he rose from the grave. The man is said to have been the Son of God, the Lamb of God, “the way, the truth, and the light.”

Its safe to say that the vast majority would equate it with the story of Jesus Christ as told in the New Testament of the Bible. It is one of the most well known stories on the planet for hundreds of years. It is completely logical to assume that the man in this story is Jesus… unless you also happen to be familiar with the story of Horus, the Christ of Ancient Egypt...3-4 thousand years before Christ.?
My knowledge really may be lacking but, just from what I know of Horus already, for me this reads like possibly the most oversimplified, selective, and directed telling of the story of Horus I've yet seen, to be quite honest. I'll totally grant certain parallels -- the version of the story of Horus that does include being killed and coming back to life (although I thought it involved a scorpion or snake? Maybe there's yet another version around?), the view that pharaohs were the earthly personification of Horus, the story changing such that for a time Horus wound up being his own father (though a lot of Egyptian mythology is just kind of like that ). I've never read of him being a savior to all mankind so much as an avenger of his father, though, and I've never read of the angels/kings thing surrounding his birth. I got curious about the Anup the Baptizer thing, and the best I can come up with is Anubis, variant Anup, gathering the parts of the body of Osiris -- later Horus/Ra/whoever, it's hard to keep track -- from the Nile? But I'm guessing that can't be the origin of the parallel given above. The only other accounts I found, though, were from similarly intended, unsourced comparisons between Jesus and Horus, and critical references to a single work by Gerald Massey.

In short, I'm curious about better details. Particularly when things like "miraculous conceptions" are being given as parallels, when the particular stories involved are so very, very different.
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:33 AM
 
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The stories have been... to say it tactfully... heavily skewed to make them seem closer to Jesus' life. Most of the evidence, in fact, seems to be completely made up. This article at Tektonics.org addresses some of the most popular claims.

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Old 03-12-2009, 09:06 AM
 
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Yeah, reading the actual details of the stories, I see very little, if anything, resembling Jesus' life and purpose.
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Old 03-12-2009, 12:47 PM
 
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The stories have been... to say it tactfully... heavily skewed to make them seem closer to Jesus' life. Most of the evidence, in fact, seems to be completely made up. This article at Tektonics.org addresses some of the most popular claims.
Any less apologist-biased papers on this?
This source is a bit too biased for me to consider reliable.

Liquesce, I've be reading Parrellel Myths by Bierlein with my son and his take on Horus was that he would be champion of the gods and mankind against Set. Horus was 'conceived' after Isis had breathed life back into her husband following his death and was born after Osiris went to the Underworld to become King and Great Judge of the dead who will reunite souls. So certainly some ties there to the Christian versions of miraculous birth and resurrection mythology.

As to the original question, I agree with Kung that the Gospels were written for people thinking mythologically at the time of mythological thinking and so it makes perfect sense that the new myths designed to move people away from polytheist religions to Christianity would need to draw on the myths of previous eras. IMO, it's that reason that Dec 25 was chosen as to celebrate his birth, and why the stories that surround him pull from so many of the myths prevelant at that time.

I personally thinking what distinguishes the mythology of Jesus from others has more to do with number and the passion of his followers, and the era in which that mythology was developed/established - prior to the development/transmission of scientific thought, and the age of exploration, but still strong enough at era of the book/the time of the printing press to be one of the dominant storiesto be widely communicated.
His popularity is a function of being in the right place at the right time.

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Old 03-12-2009, 02:21 PM
 
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In general, there seems to be a tendency for some people, even well thought of scholars of mythology, to skew mythological and religious stories to suit their agenda. I haven't studied Egyptian mythology extensively, but what I have studied doesn't have parallels nearly so neat as suggested here between Osiris and Jesus.

Not to say there are no parallels. I think there are some thematic similarities, concerns with the same problems of human life. But the way those problems are explained is, to my mind, quite different. Certainly Egyptian religion took a quite different direction than Christianity.

One of the wost offenses with this kind of thing I ever saw was from Joseph Campbell, who really should have known better. He was comparing the Christian creation story with Eastern, and especially (if I remember correctly) Buddhist. But he ignored the beginning of the Christian story, saying it began with duality, and the end of the Eastern, saying it ended with unity. He totally ignored that both accounts begin with unity and go on to describe a world that seems fractionated. It boggled my mind.

That being said, I've seen some crazy Christian explanations of other religions stories and mythology.

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Old 03-12-2009, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The point in the illustrations I provided was that there are many godlike characters from mythology who had similar (some extraordinarily similar, Julius Caesar is another one) stories told about them. The evidence that Julius Caesar was deified, and worshipped as a god is vast - FAR more than that for Jesus, yet no one worships him now...and there *is* historical proof of his existence.

The reason I brought all of that up was to illustrate the point of the question...what makes Jesus so special. I don't mind if we get into the debate of the older myths and their more in depth stories, but I just want to say that OF COURSE it is an oversimplification of the myths to put it the way I did. I'm not 'skewing' the stories, but I'm also summarizing and not writing a book...it's an internet post so I need to keep it as concise as possible. There are plenty of other 'Jesus myths' from before Jesus existed also, I was just hitting the ones I thought most familiar to everyone.

Here's an article from Religious Tolerance that compares the two more specifically. It's about as unbiased as you can get for an online resource, as they have no agenda for or against any particular religious belief.

As for some book references:

Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism

Christianity, The Birth of a Pagan Religion
(one of the best on this topic, it's a personal favorite)

The Egyptian Origins of Christianity

Christianity: An Ancient Egyptian Religion

The Historical Origins of Christianity
(He also wrote the book The Historical Origins of Islam, also a great read)

Pagan Christianity, Exploring our Church's Practices

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Old 03-12-2009, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That being said, I've seen some crazy Christian explanations of other religions stories and mythology.
When I was a Christian, I asked my pastor about this exact topic. I was told that Satan *knew* doubt based on logic and historical evidence would tempt us away from God, so Satan created these god myths in other cultures BEFORE Jesus' life on earth in order to create the doubt in our minds and encourage us to forsake The Lord NOW.

:

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Old 03-12-2009, 03:22 PM
 
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That being said, I've seen some crazy Christian explanations of other religions stories and mythology.
yeah I agree on that one. which is why when I want to know about another religion I try to ask some different people OF that religion for more info... not just read some random book about it. b/c for all I know the book could be completely wrong.

example:
I was at a church one time about 8 or 9 yrs ago. and I invited a good friend of mine who grew up LDS. anyhow the guy at the pulpit was a smart guy, but he didn't know much about mormonism other than what he read on some website I assume. He didn't know she was mormon at all and by total [terrible] coincidence he picked this Sunday to start preaching against mormonism and why it was wrong. I was so embarrassed. I looked over and my friend turned to me and said "um, that actually isn't what we believe..." and left it at that. she was gracious about it... for some reason. (granted you could say LDS isn't exactly another religion, but the same thing applies - be careful who your sources are about a religion/belief system BEFORE you start spouting off about it heheh - it was a valuable lesson for me!!

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Old 03-12-2009, 03:27 PM
 
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When I was a Christian, I asked my pastor about this exact topic. I was told that Satan *knew* doubt based on logic and historical evidence would tempt us away from God, so Satan created these god myths in other cultures BEFORE Jesus' life on earth in order to create the doubt in our minds and encourage us to forsake The Lord NOW.

:
yeah umm... I get what he's trying to say here. but really, isn't that like saying "never doubt anything *I* tell you b/c everyone else is just out to get you". I think to sayw hat he said is a dangerous thing. it sounds great fi you're a christian - not so great if you're not. and really, it silly. perhaps God has the ability to make such claims. but certainly not any human.

we were given the ability of logic just as much as were the ability to eat, or drink, or sleep or pray... I don't throw logic out the window at all with my christianity, I just don't trust it full alone either. It takes many parts of us to be able to seek God/truth. ykwim? If someone ever encouraged me to throw out logic and historical evidences in my search for truth, I'd be pretty leery of their intelligence... just as I would if someone told me to only use historical evidence and logic.

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Old 03-12-2009, 03:30 PM
 
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When I was a Christian, I asked my pastor about this exact topic. I was told that Satan *knew* doubt based on logic and historical evidence would tempt us away from God, so Satan created these god myths in other cultures BEFORE Jesus' life on earth in order to create the doubt in our minds and encourage us to forsake The Lord NOW.

:
That is so funny, because I have heard it argued that they are a foreshadowing, to prepare people for the true religion when it came. I doubt they could both be true!

Mind you, I guess God or Satan could do things in the past to affect the future a certain way.

This question makes me think of a story I read once, about aliens coming to get the people of Earth ready for the end of their world. For a generation they wouldn't show themselves, and it turned out they looked like devils - horns, forked tails, etc. Apparently it was a matter that the future somehow affected the past, our minds were impregnated with a horror of that shape, because somewhere deep in our collective unconscious it was associated with our end as a species.

I don't know if that is so far-fetched.

I think for Christians, what is supposed to be special about Jesus is that he is REAL. For so long philosophers and others had been looking for the connection between heaven and earth. Jesus was supposed to unite the two, but only if he was real - if he was just a story or an "idea" it wouldn't work.

In many of the other cases, the person in question wasn't really a person (Osiris) or wasn't really god (Julius some said a god, but not in the platonic sense).

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Old 03-12-2009, 04:05 PM
 
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What made Jesus special was the fact that when he incarnated into flesh, he maintained his memory of who and what he was (is). As he walked the earth, he knew he was the son of god, knew he was god. As drops of water are water, and so the lake is also water. the drops of water represent those of us walking in physicality and the lake represents what we think of as god. we are all sons and daughters of god. we are all gods. jesus simply knew he was a god. he knew he could manipulate matter and understood the matrix, so to speak. when he said, these things i do, ye shall also, but better... that is meant literally. we can all do miracles, but most of us do not remember how. Many parts of the bible are valid, but many are not. jesus literally wanted us to be like him, to realize we are him, we are all one, we are all the word. we are all gods. Read the series conversations with god from Neale Donald Walsch to hear the latest revelations of god. he is still communicating with us, the material from 2000 yrs ago has been distorted, this is a message in today's language and very clear and explains what was meant by many of the things jesus said. Then listen to Eckhart Tolle read the power of now.... it is all very empowering, and it explains so much. I was raised southern baptist, switched to methodism, studied the bible a lot throughout my teenage and adult years, really examined catholicism and how it relates to the downfall of society, studied foreign religions in my 20s... was baptised for the first time in 1999. But something always told me there was more to it... so glad i found my way to these new writings, it all makes sense now...

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Old 03-12-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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this question made me think of the song "jesus was way cool" by king missile (do not read if you are a christian who is offended by gross sacrilege, but do read if you enjoy cheeseball humor, even if you are christian):
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Old 03-12-2009, 05:23 PM
 
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The date of December 25th was chosen by Constantine in the 300's AD. He chose it in an effort to unite the pagan world with the Christian one. For this reason, many Christians still see Christmas as pagan. We must remember that Constantine was 300 years after Christ. A lot can happen in 300 years. How much more can happen in 1000 years? That's how much time passed between when Ceaser's Gallic Wars document and the earliest scrap of the document that we have. And, how about Homer's Illiad? 500 years (past the "publication" date) is the earliest record we have. But, for the New Testament, only 25 years. Not too much can change in 25 years, because there would still be people alive who had lived through it and would know if the information was false.

If we look at the amount of documents we have for each manuscript, we only have 10 for Ceaser's Gallic Wars. We have a greater number of manuscripts for Homer's Illiad, 643. Much better. How about for the New Testament? More than 24,000 documents in Greek (primary), Aramaic, and others. By the weight of evidence alone, I'm much more likely to believe in the New Testament than the Illiad.

Jesus is special because He is the I AM. Jesus is God. Not just a god or part of God, but the One and Only God. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. By Him, all things were created. Without Him, nothing was made that was made. He is the Perfect One, slain as the Passover Lamb for sinful humanity. Yet, He is also the Resurrection, because He was resurrected, so shall we be. He is the Only Way to the Father and the Only Way to Eternal Life. He is the Warrior on a White Horse with a Sword coming out of His mouth. At His name, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.

There are only two ways to live your life. Either you can continue to live with the crown on your own head, pretending to be god and ignoring the True God. The consequence for that rebellion is death, eternal death in hell. But, while we were still in that hopelessness, Jesus died for us. Jesus made it possible for us to live in a new way. If we confess our sins, He (Jesus/God) is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Our other choice is to take the crown off our own heads and put it back on Jesus' head, where it belongs. Being a Christian is more than just escaping hell; it's about living with Jesus as Lord every day.
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Old 03-12-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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I mean, that's so cool
Jesus was way cool

No wonder there are so many Christians[/COLOR]

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Old 03-12-2009, 05:51 PM
 
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How much more can happen in 1000 years? That's how much time passed between when Ceaser's Gallic Wars document and the earliest scrap of the document that we have. And, how about Homer's Illiad? 500 years (past the "publication" date) is the earliest record we have. But, for the New Testament, only 25 years. Not too much can change in 25 years, because there would still be people alive who had lived through it and would know if the information was false.
This is a little misleading. While the original manuscripts were written shortly after Jesus' death, we don't have any of those original manuscripts. Our earliest manuscripts are copies that date to more like 120 years after Jesus' death.

Also, I am always a little puzzled by the comparison of the New Testament to Homer and others. If you're talking about the NT as a historical document, I don't think there are very many historians that deny it recorded actual events, just as they believe Homer recorded actual events. But no one believes Homer is the inerrant Word of God. If you did, you'd have to believe in all the Greek gods. Since the NT is believed by many to be inerrant, it should be held to a completely different standard of proof.
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Old 03-12-2009, 05:54 PM
 
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Religious Tolerance 'about as unbiased as you can get'? Um, no. Look at the page's references: most of them are to Tom Harpur's The Pagan Christ book and the rather thoroughly discredited Acharya S. The 'similarities' between Horus and Christ include things not based on Biblical data (being born in a cave, three wise men), anachronisms and irrelevancies (Jesus 'birthday' being Dec 25, the origin of which celebration is well-documented, and which isn't the same date as Horus' alleged 'birthday' in any case!), stretching (Isis-Meri, one of many many names for the figure popularly known as Isis, is equated with Miriam/Mary) and many factoids which are simply not backed up with primary sources or evidence. 'Seb', Horus' father's name, is equated with 'Joseph' without any linguistic justification - JP Holding disagrees that the names have anything in common at all. He also disputes the number of disciples, the characterisation of Horus' very bizarre birth as a 'virgin' birth, can find no evidence supporting the 'crucified next to two thieves' contention, and many others; nor is he the only scholar to cast doubt on the claims. None of the pro-Jesus-as-Horus sites or articles I have read have substantiated each claim with quotations from actual primary sources, photographs of images from Egyptian art or tombs which corroborate their interpretations, or any such.

If anyone's interested, JP Holding gives a rather scathing rebuttal of Tom Harpur's works here. Yes, it is a 'biased' Christian site (and if anyone wants to know my thoughts on that I'm sure searching 'Smokering bias' in RS wll bring up my exact thoughts on the matter), and Holding does indulge in a little snark, but he also does a very good job of going through Harpur's claims point-by-point and exposing a lack of primary sources, reliance on dubious 'experts' and twisting of historical data.

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Old 03-12-2009, 09:01 PM
 
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Other virgin births...

http://englishatheist.org/indexd.shtml

manger and the Dec 25th stuff...

http://www.borndigital.com/tarsus.htm

Not so special in my book. More like a fictional person, fabricated by those in power.
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, taking away the mythological aspects....why Jesus? Why not anyone else? What is so 'sticking' about Jesus that millions of people devote their lives to following him? FWIW, the same can be asked about Islam and several other major religions, I'm not saying it can't.

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Old 03-12-2009, 10:21 PM
 
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Not so special in my book. More like a fictional person, fabricated by those in power.
not to sound snide... but fabricated by people in power.... why? for their own purposes, I assume you mean? but who do you think fabricated it, is what I mean..

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Old 03-12-2009, 10:22 PM
 
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So, taking away the mythological aspects....why Jesus? Why not anyone else? What is so 'sticking' about Jesus that millions of people devote their lives to following him? FWIW, the same can be asked about Islam and several other major religions, I'm not saying it can't.
to be honest I'm not sure what you mean by this question...

do you mean why did Christianity (jesus) last so long through all the ages? why do we believe in him instead of others? or??

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Old 03-12-2009, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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to be honest I'm not sure what you mean by this question...

do you mean why did Christianity (jesus) last so long through all the ages? why do we believe in him instead of others? or??
Sure to both of the questions...those are both great and essentially what I was asking, although you prob said it more concisely.

I just meant that the thread was derailing into the whole 'is this mythological story similar to Christ or not'. I'm happy to get into that, but it wasn't the intent of the thread, so I was wanting to get it back to where we were. So...mythology aside....there we go

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Old 03-12-2009, 10:55 PM
 
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So, taking away the mythological aspects....why Jesus? Why not anyone else? What is so 'sticking' about Jesus that millions of people devote their lives to following him? FWIW, the same can be asked about Islam and several other major religions, I'm not saying it can't.
Timing I think.
The Jesus stories were becoming established about the time when books/manuscripts were becoming more accessible, prior to the advent scientific thought. The church inserted itself into the politics and ruling class of the time and was well established at the dawning of the age of exploration. Christiainity became the dominent religion of the western world and I think tradition - for the most part - is what keeps it there. From what I have read, Christianity (as a percentage of total population) is in decline now and I would expect that trend to continue.

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Old 03-12-2009, 11:55 PM
 
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one thing that isn't often brought up is that thoguht "christianity" was brought into politics in many ways, and incorperated into many goverments of different cultures through time, that wasn't what was taught to us from Christ... infact just the opposite. (I'm Anabaptist, remember? heh)

Mat 5:43-45a -- "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven."

John 18:36 -- Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, My servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

2Cr 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the fleshFor the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds

Luk 6:27-30 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the [one] cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not [to take thy] coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask [them] not again.

(obviously there are many more vs... I'm just giving a handful)

My point is just b/c some political figures, and governments decided to adopt some offshoot ideal if "christianity" as their religion... is that truly what Christianity was meant to be? Religion was always a big part of goverment... and it wasn't unusual (as still isn't) to see a particular religion be "used" by the governmental forces to pursue or push it's own agenda.

(you know, how many people feel that America is somehow God's chosen nation and we somehow feel the have God's blessing to do whatever we want with other countries? that isn't biblical! it's political entirely.)

ok sorry for going off topic there for a second... my apologies... you know.. me and my bunny trials

I know I surely don't by into America's popular idea of Christianity.... btu I follow the actual Christ and his messages... and I know many like myself do as well.

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Old 03-12-2009, 11:57 PM
 
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I wouldn't call the timing super. Christianity was in its early days very closely associated with Judaism, a religion despised by the extremely powerful ruling Roman Empire. For the first few hundred years of its existence Christianity was persecuted almost to extinction.

I don't see how 'scientific thought' comes into it either. The average first-century citizen would have had quite enough knowledge to realise that miracles went against the usual workings of the world, virgin births were physically impossible, water was not the same thing as wine, and so on. The miracles were noted by the people precisely because they were seen to be 'scientifically' impossible, if you like; nobody would have batted an eyelid if they thought walking on water was a commonplace occurrence. Unless you're saying that the lack of a naturalistic worldview was a useful factor in the rise of Christianity, which would be a rather odd claim as most worldviews, whether naturalistic or otherwise, are natural skeptical to some degree about the paranormal.

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Old 03-13-2009, 01:38 AM
 
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I wouldn't call the timing super. Christianity was in its early days very closely associated with Judaism, a religion despised by the extremely powerful ruling Roman Empire. For the first few hundred years of its existence Christianity was persecuted almost to extinction.

I don't see how 'scientific thought' comes into it either. The average first-century citizen would have had quite enough knowledge to realise that miracles went against the usual workings of the world, virgin births were physically impossible, water was not the same thing as wine, and so on. The miracles were noted by the people precisely because they were seen to be 'scientifically' impossible, if you like; nobody would have batted an eyelid if they thought walking on water was a commonplace occurrence. Unless you're saying that the lack of a naturalistic worldview was a useful factor in the rise of Christianity, which would be a rather odd claim as most worldviews, whether naturalistic or otherwise, are natural skeptical to some degree about the paranormal.
Christianity began its rise about the same time the Roman Empire was in decline. Until then it was a minor religion. It started to expand as the political sands were shifting.

When Christianity was becoming established mythology was still the primary way people made sense of the natural world. As such I would expect there would be less inclination to dismiss stories of 'miracles' like Jesus walking on water than there would be in an age of scientific thought, when that story would be viewed as a parable or myth. They became part of the mythology of Jesus precisely because people of the time were willing to accept these sorts of explanations or myths to explain their world.

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Old 03-13-2009, 02:29 AM
 
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A quick google came up with this website about researching the Horus/Jesus similarity: http://creativecounterpart.wordpress...f-horus-jesus/

Now, why I believe Jesus is who He says He is, that is God incarnate. I'll tell you and bear in mind this is just from me, explaining what makes sense to me... it's not a scholarly authority or anything.

It starts back with a fundamental belief in God Himself. As the Creator, the One God, the God that existed before the world began. God, the Judeo-Christian God (possibly the Islamic God due to the whole Abraham/Ishmael thing) created the physical universe (when and how I don't know and don't particularly care. Whether He did it in 6 earth-days or created the stuff that went "bang" it doesn't matter to me...just the fact that the physical universe originated from the creative mind of a higher being.) So He's got this universe that He created including mankind created to be like Him in some sense, created not only to worship Him, but also created to fellowship with Him, to be friends, if you will, not just yes-men but with a freedom to choose. Then at some point there was a fall from grace, an entering of Evil. The character of God is pure, perfect and holy so the choice of the created to embrace evil means they embraced the antithesis of God. A schism happened; it meant that mankind forced himself apart from fellowship with the God who created him. And God let him do it. Why? Because I believe that God desired fellowship and only free choice meant true fellowship.

Because God IS life and good and purity and truth, it meant that when mankind chose evil (evil being everything that is not God, remember, just as darkness is an absence of light) it meant that mankind chose death. Death, both in a shortening of lifespans (if you believe the biblical ages of the patriarchs) and death in a separation from God in the afterlife.

Time went along in prehistory and then in recorded history. Mankind, created by God, instinctively longs for a restored relationship with the Creator. He invents other gods to take the place of God. He also tries to be good enough to restore relationship on his own. God gives the Jewish Law saying "if you want to try to be good enough, go ahead." Mankind tries, but cannot overcome the choice toward evil through any kind of effort (law-keeping or behavior changes).

God knows this and longs for restored relationship with His creation as well. He knows the only way that it can be accomplished is through redemption. God gave the ancient Israelites a picture of what this looks like with the Passover, the perfect sacrifice and the blood over the doorway, sending Death away (Exodus). God began preparing the world for that perfect sacrifice through hundreds and hundreds of prophecies about a Messiah.

As usual, people didn't quite get it. They thought the prophecies meant a political King. But God wasn't talking about a kingdom here on earth. He was talking about restoring for all mankind for all time the broken relationship between a Creator and the created. The fellowship that was intended from the beginning.

When Jesus came, he proclaimed himself to be that Messiah. He told people about God and the Kingdom of Heaven. He fulfilled every one of the hundreds of prophecies God gave the people. He lived a sinless life, the perfect spotless Lamb. Then He was killed and bled the blood of the perfect sacrifice, the only thing that can restore mankind to God. The only thing that can reverse the effects of the evil choice made by the first man who chose to disobey God and sever the perfect tie they shared.

Jesus proved His divinity by his forgiving of sins, his miracles and by rising on the third day. He eventually left the earth but still lives to advocate to God on behalf of mankind. Accepting that He is who He says He is means a person is willing to accept His blood sacrifice and admit that he or she is unable to meet God's standards of holiness without it. It means that a person accepts the existence of a monotheistic God as ruler and Lord of the created universe and also of their lives, a God who is not only omniscient but also all-good, all-loving and who longs for the love of the beings He created for that sole purpose. A God who weeps at those who reject Him.

That is what Jesus means to me and the reason I accept Him as who He says He is.

Edited to add: I realize this is a HUGE oversimplification and every point eminently debatable. I don't intend to offend, just explain my own thoughts.

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Old 03-13-2009, 02:51 AM
 
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not to sound snide... but fabricated by people in power.... why? for their own purposes, I assume you mean? but who do you think fabricated it, is what I mean..
http://freethought.mbdojo.com/josephus.html

Happy reading.
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