11 Nov 2007

The Jesus Myth

Having grown up in a Christian environment and then steadily marching towards agnosticism as I grew older, many simple but numerous paradoxes in the Bible were enough for me to smell something fishy. So, I felt little further need to scour scriptures that I knew were more than just three times removed from the original biblical texts (which are lost anyway). What could possibly remain of the original ancient texts when it has been translated and retranslated so many times? If we recognize how translation in the real world works, with the conundrum of translating puns and subtle word associations that work in one language but not necessarily in another (without a lengthy footnote), we have to contend that much of the scriptures that we find, whether it be in our bookcase or in a motel nightstand, have been sanitized in the average version of the printed Bible. Since most people can't read Classical Greek or Aramaic fluently, it's not unreasonable to say that the great majority of Christians are pale imitations of the real thing, though in fairness they are not deliberately so.

As of now, I've always left the possibility open that a man could have existed at this time to form the basis of "Jesus" as most Christians know him today, but I'm very conscious of the fact that pre-Christian legends were undoubtedly overlaid on top of whatever historical events might have taken place, such as the virgin birth (compare with Babylonian religion) and the resurrection (compare with the stories of Egyptian Osiris, Bablyonian Tammuz and Norse Odin).

So to continue on with this blasphemy, I present to you a very thorough and lengthy article called Jesus Myth - The Case Against Historical Christ to ponder on. I can't vouch for the many details on this page but I have to say that the author went through much trouble and for those interested in the historical details of that time period, it might be something intriguing to look into further.


  1. Since most people can't read Classical Greek or Aramaic fluently, it's not unreasonable to say that the great majority of Christians are pale imitations of the real thing, though in fairness they are not deliberately so.

    No need to learn Classical Greek, just Koine Greek. ;), okay I'm nitpicking. Anyway.

    I just got myself a copy of the Greek New Testament. I personally think one can not truly believe in Christianity if he can't understand the holy scriptures in its true form.

    Neither can one say that Christianity is bullocks (like I tend to want to do) without having a good understand what it's about.

    I'm luckily gifted with an education allowing me to read the Bible in Greek. I personally think this should be far more encouraged by churches, and schools. Especially since the Greek in the New Testament is relatively easy compared to say, Homer's Iliad (Which I had exams on a month ago, and failed miserably :( ).

    It's obviously a bit of a stretch to force believers to read the Old Testament in its original Hebrew. Because first of all, it's not an Indo-European language, and secondly it's written in a terribly pompous form of the language.

    Nevertheless, it sickens me that people can deny people certain rights on this planet, due to their religious beliefs while having read a mere translation of those original 'holy scriptures'.

    Errrrh, I'm straying. :D I hope to get round to reading that webpage, though it seems longer than the New Testament itself!

    Bottom line is: We should try harder to understand the language of world's biggest religion. The Muslims and Jews make a point out of it too. Though admittedly it's a bit easier for Muslims to read classical Arabic than it is for any non-Greek speaking Christian to read Greek.

  2. Phoenix: "No need to learn Classical Greek, just Koine Greek. ;)"

    Touché! :)

    Phoenix: "Neither can one say that Christianity is bullocks (like I tend to want to do) without having a good understand what it's about."

    Hmmm. I don't agree. One doesn't need a deep understanding of this religion to reject it on logical grounds.

    Like I said, I grew up a Christian, a particular brand of obsessive Christian that emphasized reading scriptures and learning them to heart. From within, I look back and think of it now as like being trapped in the Matrix, where one has to look beyond one's "religious virtual world" and fight towards the truth beyond.

    From the outside looking in, however, it's clear to see how irrational Christianity really is.

    If God is loving, it's still unavoidable that he has created Evil in the world because it's part of "the universe" as much as Good. Even if Satan created Evil, God created Satan and thus also Evil. This shows that there are only the following bleak possibilities:

    1. God is evil
    2. God is powerless
    3. God is crazy

    Neither a crazy god, a powerless god nor an evil god is worthy of worship and so this paradox of creation suffices to show that Christianity and all similar monotheistic and creationist religions such as Islam are irrational and therefore always potentially dangerous to society when we fail to encourage in our global citizens logical thinking.

  3. Actually, I just had a delicious thought. I wonder if the growing nihilism we see in Western society today is the direct result of the underlyingly nihilistic views of Christianity as shown in my aforementioned "paradox of creation".

    I wonder if (whether a believer is directly conscious of it or not) this paradox actually breeds nihilism because of this inevitable choice between a crazy, evil or powerless God, none of which are pure good as is normally teached.

    Maybe fundamentalism (a form of nihilism in itself) was a predictable result of these irrational beliefs since Christianity only ever offered a thin veil of hope laid over this everburning philosophical dilemma. Without rejecting the religion altogether, Christianity could only survive in society through systemic and inhuman denial of reality itself. Perhaps the pot is now boiling over.

    I don't know. I'm just thinking out loud. Blah, blah, blah :)

  4. You have a point by not having to know the scriptures.

    The problem is I guess, that I want to find common ground with Christians.

    I've been raised in a family that has been atheist for several generations now, from my mother's side anyway (which, even in godless Europe is considered quite rare ;-) ). Nevertheless I do get in contact with some very religious people.

    I'd like to understand what the hell these people talk about. And then preferably in the language it all came from, because it's hard to imagine both Catholics and Protestants are basing their believes on the same holy scriptures.

    I might just be a masochist though. I know that, when I finish reading the New Testament in Greek, I'll still find myself as an atheist, and will probably be only more frustrated people read that stuff.

    Oh well, after the New Testament, I'm going to start on my newly attained bilingual Qur'aan. Seeing as Muslims make up a huge amount of the Dutch population, having some understanding of their religion isn't a bad idea either.

    Ah religion. I'm glad I don't have one. (And now witty Christians will tell me I believe that there is no God, and in itself this would mean I would have a sort of religion, but that reasoning is error ridden :P)