I suppose you understand me that I did not read all the posts until now. Actually, I've read only your first post.
Now, here's my view:
First off, you've asked a lot of questions, I would have asked you before WHAT IS YOUR ACTUAL QUESTION, WHAT IS THAT YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW, but now the discussion has went far (and I've just registered), so I can't just wait until you reply to that.
So I'm just going to try to answer all your questions...
If I say things that people have said before, sorry.
About the miracles of Jesus:
There exists little in the way of historical documentation for Jesus' life beyond the Biblical Gospel, and it is likely that these accounts were not written by eyewitnesses. This lack of evidence makes it very difficult to discern actual historical facts behind the Christian stories that describe him.
A historical Jesus to be a red herring and argue that, while a person named Jesus may or may not have existed, there is clearly no reason to believe that he had special powers, was the son of God, or performed miracles. Even if it could be firmly established that Jesus, the man, existed, this would not be evidence for the extraordinary claims that make up the foundation of the Christian religion.
What makes it likely that these accounts were not written by eyewitnesses, but by people whom did not know what they were talking about? Is it more than a simple non-provable assumption?
There are some books of the New Testament in which it says who they (the authors) are. In Luke 1.1-4 it is written about eyewitnesses. In Galatians 1 Paul says that he was not eye-witness, but the knowledge he has received he has received from God, Paul also doesn't appear in the Bible just so, but it is written in the book of Acts about him (he also mentioned by Peter in 2 Peter 3.15), also Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are mentioned in the books of the New Testament (And it seems that Matthew and John were two of the apostles Mat 10.2-4). So, you can take what is written as a lie or not. However, if they were false witnesses then perhaps they would have convinced a bunch of people their story and contradicted one another in many places (e.g. one to invent the story that Jesus went in Egypt and other 'apostle' who has never heard that story before to say that He never went in Egypt), but it would have been impossible that in the following more than 300 hundred years for the christianity to spread throughout the entire Roman Empire because of these 'apostles' who have visited different places and taught their stories everywhere - and consider people saying "tell us more, tell us more" to a 'false witness' then hear another 'false witness' saying his own version of story, etc. and so get to the end of the 4th century with all together and see the great majority believing very common things and possessing the same writings. How that?
These 4 gospels and the other books of the new testament are the writings most spread in the ancient times and translated in different languages (e.g. aramaic) in that time, who agree one with another, unlike one piece of fake writing of which we have only one manuscript that did not survive pretty well called “Gospel of Thomas” or other thing and that remained local and was not spread anywhere, not to Greeks, not to people in current Italia, nowhere. Consider that in the 4th century there were already compilations of the books of the New Testament. That is, a New Testament. I’m talking about Codex Siniaiticus, Codex Vaticanus, while Codex Alexandrinus was in 5th century; Peshitta (written in Aramaic/syriac, whatever) became the standard in the syriac-speaking languages in 5th century:
“The Peshitta Old Testament is the earliest piece of Syriac literature of any length, probably originating in the 2nd century AD (although there are also differing views on this among scholars).”
They are complete New Testaments, not just a book or two, not just a piece of a manuscript. There are also manuscripts (of the New Testament) before the 4th century (of course) and pieces of manuscripts, and the Church Fathers quote from them. For instance, a writing of the Early Church Fathers is the Didache which quotes from Matthew, I don’t remember if from others as well), and it is“dated by most scholars to the late first/early second century.”
So in the 2nd century we have even New Testament commentators?
And compare the New Testament writings with a writing like the Gospel of Thomas, of which it was found, if I remember well, only some pieces of a single manuscript, which, because it is broken, cannot be translated all (missing phrases, etc.) found in Egypt, which says that Jesus was crucified on a tree (and guess how many teach otherwise) and has a story that no other writing supports it.
Besides all this, consider the fact that Christians have been persecuted first when they appeared in Israel (by Jews) and then by the Roman Empire who has massacred, tortured, etc. them until the 4th century (in 313 BCE Constantine I proclaimed religious tolerance of Christians throughout the empire). Now if all that originated from some fables of some false witnesses how could have people not only accept to die and be tortured to keep their faith, but also to spread Christianity that much? And how did the Jews that ‘invented’ them (the apostles), seeing the persecution of the Jews and then the Romans, continued to teach and believe what they were saying, even to death? If some people would try to fool a group of people with a story, perhaps they would have succeeded. But could have they made so many people to accept death and torture instead of happiness in paganism? And how could the ‘false preachers’ or “don’t know, just heard” preachers (the apostles) better accept death, beatings, etc. and continue to spread their story, if it was all a fable invented by them or nothing certain in their minds? When it was soooo easy to do and say like everybody else!
Jesus believed the world would end within his lifetime, and is based on numerous passages within the Gospels, such as Mark 13 , where Jesus at least seems to express such a view. It makes sense within the context of the general apocalyptic fervor of the time, as well as the beliefs of John the baptist and early Christians such as Paul and the author of the book of Revelation.
I don’t see how you read in Mark 13 that Jesus believed that the world would have ended in his lifetime. I read in Mark 13:
“4 “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”
5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 6 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. 7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.
9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.”
In verses 5 to 9 it is obvious that could have not happened in Jesus’ lifetime! Come on, it says that would come wars and wars and wars, and still that would not be the end. Does it sound that he was speaking “after a few years”? In verse 10 it says that the gospel must be preached to all the nations. Now it should have been obvious that that was impossible in a lifetime! They must have been aware how large the Roman Empire is and about Persia, and the fact that they are also surrounded by unknown territory. Verses 21-23 speak about false Christs. But if all happened in Jesus’ time (while Jesus was with them) how could there have been people claiming to be Him and fool the multitude?
There is almost no evidence for the miracles of Jesus outside the hearsay reports of the Gospels. For this reason, there is no basis for accepting that he worked actual miracles.
Well, when the apostles told these events to the gentiles, the gentiles were pretty in the same situation, don’t you think? They didn’t see Jesus performing miracles, they’ve only heard people that were saying that they are the eye-witnesses of the events. Now I think that it is the same hard for you to believe what is written as it would have been to them when they’ve heard the apostles.
On the other hand, faith healings and exorcisms happen today, though investigations show there is no reason to regard them as actual supernatural events. This suggests a possibility that Jesus was a fraudulent or self-deceived wonder worker and there were witnesses who really believed they had seen him work miracles.
Well, show me a faith healing that makes a man blind from birth to see, show me a man walking on the water in the middle of the storm, show me instant healings like those that Jesus did. Grab the Bible, read the Gospels and tell me which exactly can be done. As about exorcism, it’s a sensitive issue: we cannot check to see if there are indeed spirits (demons), like to meet one and check it day by day to see what it is and how it is. And by the way, demon does not mean “fallen angel”.
Unlike Jesus' other miracles, Paul mentions post-resurrection appearances of Jesus in I Corinthians. Unlike the Gospels, I Corinthians probably was written by its traditionally assigned author. However, the reference provides no better evidence for the resurrection than the evidence for angelical authentication of the Book of the Mormon. It is also not the sort of evidence that many psychical researchers would demand for the existence of ghosts or telepathy.
I don’t know what exactly evidence in 1 Corinthians you speak of, but the book of Corinthians’ objective is not in any case to prove Jesus’ resurection, because it speaks to people who already believe that.
Many Christian apologists have claimed that the high quality of Jesus' moral teachings is undisputed and is evidence of his divinity. However, Jesus' status as a moral teacher has been disputed on many occasions.
It’s always the same way: grab 10 men and you have 10 different views. Now I don’t believe that Jesus’ behaviour and teachings should conform with everyone’s imagination and desire how things to be.
In Why I Am Not a Christian, Bertrand Russell argued that while many of Jesus' teachings were good, the Gospels clearly portray him as believing in eternal punishment, and this is unbecoming of a truly humane person.
Wow! That’s interesting! And if he thinks that believing in hell is unhumane, does it mean it must be? For everyone? Anyway, many times it happens like this: a man rapes, then tortures a woman and kills her. And people say “oh, poor him! Would he go to hell? It cannot be so!” and no one cares about the woman.
Ancient historian Richard Carrier has argued thatt the Stoic philosopher Musonius Rufus was a better moral teacher than Jesus. Among other things, Carrier cites Rufus' belief in equality for slaves and his belief that "freedom of speech means not suppressing whatever one chances to think."
Another one’s opinion. And now, I think... am I suppose to make up my own story and then get frustrated that Jesus did not teach it that way? About freedom of speech, I’m sure that too many people do not agree with swearing and speaking dirty words and insulting people in the parliament in a conference, though that’s what one might have chosen to think (and thus, say)! So I’m curios both of what this philosopher was thinking when he said that and what is the freedom of speech he was talking to, about the Bible, so I would compare and draw a conclusion.
In chapter 7 of his book The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins praised Jesus because he "was not content to derive his ethics from the scriptures of his upbringing... Since a principle thesis of this chapter is that we do not, and should not, derive our morals from scripture, Jesus has to be honoured as a model for that very thesis." However, Dawkins criticizes New Testament ethics on the issues of original sin and Jesus' demand that people must abandon their families to follow him.
Excuse me for not caring what others thought and think and write in their theories, etc. It would have been better if you would have told me how YOU think that things are rather than saying what everybody else is thinking. I think there is a little confusion about the original sin so I can’t say anything here. As about abandoning families to follow Jesus, no, Jesus does not teach that whoever wants to serve God must abandon his family. The discussion would expand too much, so I won’t start explaining everything now.
It should be noted that some secularists hold very positive views of Jesus' ethics. For example, there is a website called Atheists for Jesus whose stated mission is "to provide a method of communication between religious and nonreligious people who believe in the message of love and kindness put forth by Jesus" and which argues that Jesus' actual teachings were at odds with the stance of modern Christian fundamentalists.
Again, I don’t care who thinks what. If one has something he wants to talk to me (debate), that’s ok, I’ll talk, but I don’t care what others do and others say and others think (as you’ve written above)
According to accounts in the Gospels, Jesus was either born in the year 6 CE (during the first census of the Roman provinces of Syria and Iudaea; during the reign of Quirinius) Luke 2:2 or in the period 37-4 BCE (during the reign of Herod the Great) Matthew 2:1 . Traditionally on December 25th, although the Jehovah's Witnesses refuse to celebrate Christmas for the reason that the gospels suggest that sheep were still out in the fields suggesting that it wasn't the start of winter (among other reasons). So, at best there are 9 years (4BCE - 6CE, no year 0) where neither Gospel allows Jesus to be born and the rest of history where at the least one Gospel contradicts the date.
I don’t care when people chose to date Jesus’ birth. Be it 25 dec, or other date, it doesn’t matter.
About the dates and events, that’s a bit of unclarity due to the fact that there are actually few informations (resources, details, etc.) available.
It is a possibility that Josephus has written the year errorneusly when he said “When Cyrenius had now disposed of Archelaus’s money, and when the taxings were come to a conclusion, which were made in the thirty-seventh year of Caesar’s victory over Antony at Actium”, there’s no way to check that, for instance. And errors like that happened in history.
Also, Josephus wrote:
„Moreover, Cyrenius came himself into Judea, which was now added to the province of Syria, to take an account of their substance, and to dispose of Archelaus's money; but the Jews, although at the beginning they took the report of a taxation heinously, yet did they leave off any further opposition to it, by the persuasion of Joazar, who was the son of Beethus, and high priest; so they, being over-persuaded by Joazar's words, gave an account of their estates, without any dispute about it.”
So it is possible that it lasted a few years since Quirinius (Cyrenius) became the governor and the censsus has been executed, because the jews have responded with rebellion. However, there should then be more attempts for this census to take place and it is possible that there were jews that went to it while others refused (starting rebellions, protested, etc.). In this case, in Luke it might have been stated that this was a census to whom not everyone responded, and the censuses have began in Quirinius’ times. That would make it possible for Jesus to be born before 6 CE. This is just a probability. It might have been Josephus’ mistake, it might be that Quirinus was governor of Syria some time before as well, or something else, etc.
Anyone to counter this?
Did you write all these only to keep people busy? That is, are you seeking to show flaws only to see if people can answer to them? Or, what is your purpose?