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Topic: Pope debunks myths about Christ< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 24 2012, 10:47 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://www.cnn.com/2012....t=hp_t3

QUOTE
(CNN) -- It's Christmas, but not as you know it: a new book released this week by Pope Benedict XVI looks at the early life of Jesus -- and debunks several myths about how the Nativity unfolded.

In "Jesus of Nazareth -- The Infancy Narratives," the pope says the Christian calendar is actually based on a blunder by a sixth century monk, who Benedict says was several years off in his calculation of Jesus' birth date.
Read more: Egypt's Coptic Christians pick new pope
According to the pope's research, there is also no evidence in the Gospels that the cattle and other animals traditionally pictured gathered around the manger were actually present.

Pope debunks Christmas myths
He also debunks the claim that angels sang at the birth, a staple theme of Christmas carols.


So what happens when a Pope finally comes clean and admits the entire narrative has little evidence to support it?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 24 2012, 11:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

None of that is new news. Christmas is actually celebrated on a pagan holiday, in order to get pagans to join in on the celebration and eventually convert. Christ was probably born in the springtime.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 24 2012, 2:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Woh. Then writer's of Jesus' history in the bible never knew him as far as I know. I'm surprised the Pope claims to be more than 2K years old. He doesn't look a day older than a 140 year old crack head.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2012, 10:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Since the pope is the anti-christ, none of this is surprising.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 12:48 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Lamebeaver @ Nov. 27 2012, 7:52 pm)
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Since the pope is the anti-christ, none of this is surprising.

I never knew the antichrist was an elected office!   :D

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 7:41 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I thought this was more known. That Christmas Day is not necessarily the day Christ was born, but rather the day we celebrate Christ being born.

On a related note,  I remember reading that the wise men would have arrived when Jesus was months old, and not at the moment of birth like we have heard.
Not sure if that's accurate, but interesting nonetheless.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 8:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Many scholars believe that the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke (there are none in Mark and John and other non-canonical gospels) were later additions to those texts: appended possibly simply to serve as a theological prologue, or perhaps to answer questions/rumors about the identity of Jesus' father.

These stories use highly symbolic language: it's unlikely, in my opinion, that they were ever meant to be understood as descriptions of historical facts. They are, in essence, parables about Jesus. Since parables were Jesus' favorite way to make points, it should not be surprising that his companions and followers would use the same rhetorical device. (Storytelling, after all, has always been one of the most effective ways to communicate truth.)

There's no record (outside of Matthew and Luke) anywhere of any census that required people to travel to the town of their familial origin. It's extremely likely that Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 8:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hmm. I have to wonder what else is embellished in the bible. Besides like everything.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 9:10 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Bible is a blend of history, theology, storytelling, poetry, etc.

Many of the events portrayed in the Bible are corroborated by other sources and can therefore be assumed to be factual, historical accounts. Many others are not corroborated by other sources, which means they may or may not be factual historical accounts. Some stories may be based on factual events (like Noah and the ark, for example: there is certainly evidence of catostrophic floods from time to time in the near east in antiquity, but other elements of the story are highly implausible).

Many of the stories and poetry are fairly obviously not intended to be regarded as factual accounts of historical events. (for example, the story of Job.)

If one aspires to take the Bible seriously, then there will be some work to be done in deciding which parts fall into which categories. Neither regarding the whole thing as literal, inerrant truth nor disregarding the whole thing as fairy tales qualifies as "taking the Bible seriously," in my opinion.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 9:16 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Then why do some religions take things so literally? Like the JWs who don't accepts blood transfusions or the Christians who don't think gays are human?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 9:20 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great question, to which there is no simple answer. One possibility is that it's simple: if you can pretend that your book has a cut and dried answer to everything, then living life "correctly" is a simple construct (not necessarily easy to achieve, but a simple construct.)

Of course, believing that requires not really reading the Bible very carefully, IMHO, since there are contradictions all over the place.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 11:11 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(cweston @ Nov. 28 2012, 6:17 am)
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There's no record (outside of Matthew and Luke) anywhere of any census that required people to travel to the town of their familial origin. It's extremely likely that Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem.

Josephus mentions the census.  I think there are a few others as well.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 11:36 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Lamebeaver @ Nov. 28 2012, 10:11 am)
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(cweston @ Nov. 28 2012, 6:17 am)
QUOTE
There's no record (outside of Matthew and Luke) anywhere of any census that required people to travel to the town of their familial origin. It's extremely likely that Jesus was born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem.


Josephus mentions the census.  I think there are a few others as well.

Yes--the key phrase in my post was "...that required people to travel to the town of their familial origin." Josephus (nor any other source) says nothing about this requirement, which is wildly implausible. Josephus does mention a census that took place in 6-7 CE, although the most common estimation of the year of Jesus' birth is more like 4-3 BCE.

Also, most scholars believe that the manuscripts of Josephus were probably subjected to redaction from later Christian sources, so it's tricky using Josephus as external confirmation of details in the Christian Scriptures. (Welcome to the wonderful world of trying to make sense of ancient texts.)

There were clearly censuses from time to time--that's not the issue here.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 12:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Marmotstew @ Nov. 28 2012, 6:16 am)
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Then why do some religions take things so literally? Like the JWs who don't accepts blood transfusions or the Christians who don't think gays are human?

Some people are just bad with ambiguity.

You'd think that as adults who believe, we would recognize that the bible is both inspired by God and written by humans?  God use us as His tools.  And biblical writers were no more "perfect transmitters" as evangelists are today.  Most try their best -- but there's ALWAYS the tendency to input their own biases, etc. into the message.  We are all humans.

FINALLY, your rant about some Christians not viewing gays as humans is a poignant example of YOUR OWN EXTREMISM!   Some Christians see gays as sinners -- OMG, they HATE SINNERS AND SEE THEM AS SUBHUMAN!!!  In your case, Marmot, kettle calling pot black is unhelpful.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 12:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well some Christians don't want to give gays the same rights(marriage) as non gays. So thats why I came to the conclusion they don't view them as human.

It's difficult for me to comprehend beleiving all that mumbo jumbo in he bibles knowing its not really accurate and all that jazz.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 12:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Marmotstew @ Nov. 28 2012, 9:38 am)
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Well some Christians don't want to give gays the same rights(marriage) as non gays. So thats why I came to the conclusion they don't view them as human.

It's difficult for me to comprehend beleiving all that mumbo jumbo in he bibles knowing its not really accurate and all that jazz.

That's exactly the "black and white" world view I was alluding to above!  Unhelpful all around.

It's equally difficult for me to comprehend the simplistic way (b/w with maybe just 1 or 2 shades of gray)  so many fellow Americans tend to view issues both domestic and international.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 12:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

No equal rights=not human. That's why we call foreigners Aliens. They go around infecting our children with their voodo and popping out of people's stomach. Ok that's not entirely accurate but neither is the bible.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 12:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Marmotstew @ Nov. 28 2012, 9:47 am)
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No equal rights=not human. That's why we call foreigners Aliens. They go around infecting our children with their voodo and popping out of people's stomach. Ok that's not entirely accurate but neither is the bible.

You need to look up the definition of the word "alien" -- esp. in legal context -- and not science fiction context!  :D


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 1:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Marmotstew @ Nov. 28 2012, 11:38 am)
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It's difficult for me to comprehend beleiving all that mumbo jumbo in he bibles knowing its not really accurate and all that jazz.

Of course it's not 100% accurate--what source is? It's not 0% accurate, either, and, more importantly, its value is not determined by its level of historical factual accuracy. It's not a history textbook, afterall.

Your statement would seem to me betray an oddly black/white worldview.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 1:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(cweston @ Nov. 28 2012, 1:16 pm)
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Of course it's not 100% accurate--what source is? It's not 0% accurate, either, and, more importantly, its value is not determined by its level of historical factual accuracy.

Then why don't we celebrate Christmas in the summertime? Maybe we can add or detract commandments. Thou Shall Not Write Checks at The Store.

The Hobbit wasn't historically accurate. But I value that book.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 1:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm afraid I'm not following. If it's not important that The Hobbit be historically factual in order to be valuable, why would that also not be true of the Bible?

(FWIW, the Bible does not say when or what time of year Jesus was born. I don't really get that part of your point, either.)

I'm not trying to be snarky here, BTW--I just don't follow.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 2:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Did I say earlier that Marmot has trouble dealing with ambiguity?  :D

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2012, 9:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There is very little evidence outside of the biased books of the NT that support the existence of a historical Jesus.

And there are no neutral or hostile evidences that support this premise within the NT as well.

There is much comparable evidence between living-dying-resurrecting god men in Pagan cultures and the messiah mythology of the Bible however.

There is nothing unique or astoundingly credible about the Jesus story, except it's popularity.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 7:30 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tamarac @ Nov. 28 2012, 8:49 pm)
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There is very little evidence outside of the biased books of the NT that support the existence of a historical Jesus.

And there are no neutral or hostile evidences that support this premise within the NT as well.

There is much comparable evidence between living-dying-resurrecting god men in Pagan cultures and the messiah mythology of the Bible however.

There is nothing unique or astoundingly credible about the Jesus story, except it's popularity.

All of this is essentially true, although it needs to be placed in some context:

There are some non-Christian sources that corroborate the existence of Jesus, although it's very difficult to sort out whether or not these sources have been redacted by later Christian authors (i.e Josephus). This is always an issue with "decoding" ancient texts (including Bible texts).

Also, and more importantly, there is no written record of the existence of the vast majority of people ever to walk the earth, including, in the first century, virtually every person of the peasant class in occupied Roman territory. So, what's remarkable in the case of Jesus is not that there isn't much evidence of his existence, but the fact that there is any at all.

Yes, it's possible that he never existed, although it seems very implausible to me. His program had grown into a significant movement within a few decades of his execution, so this would be within the lifetime of eyewitnesses to his alleged existence. It seems very unlikely that such a vast conspiracy could have been possible.

Finally, yes, the mythological elements of the Jesus story (born of a virgin, rose from the dead) were not unusual in near-eastern cultures at the time. What was unusual was what Jesus preached: radical non-violence, radical inclusiveness, and that the kingdom of God was here, now, among humans, rather than in the sweet by and by when God would clean everything up by God's self. Those aspects of his ministry are unique among his milieu. These are the aspects that would have intrigued and "hooked" early followers. As you say, being born of a virgin, etc, would not have struck anyone as such a big deal: it was not a claim unique to Jesus in that milieu.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 10:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So people are actually getting bent because their nativity scenes may not be historically accurate??

Or because marketing was involved in determining the date we celebrate the birth of our Savior?

I don't know why I am surprised


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 10:49 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 10:50 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Joseph Campbell always does a much better job expressing my thoughts than I do...

http://www.whidbey.com/parrott/toms.htm

QUOTE
TOMS: I want to get back to the interpretation of myth, and especially relative to Christianity. What is your experience with people from the established religions? How do you convey to them that it is possible to look at the Bible from a symbolic point of view?

CAMPBELL: I taught a course at Sarah Lawrence College on comparative mythology for thirty-eight years. I taught young people of every available creed. More than fifty percent of my students from the New York area were Jewish; many were Christians – Protestant, Catholic; there were Mormons and Zoroastrians and Buddhists. There wasn’t much of a problem with the Buddhists, but all the others were somewhat stuck in their provincial traditions.

It was the simplest thing; all I did was to point out the parallels and identities all over the place. You see, when there is a motif – such as that of the virgin birth – which occurs in American Indian mythologies, in Greek mythology, and so on, it becomes obvious that the virgin birth could not have referred to a historical event. It’s a spiritual event that’s referred to – even in the Christian tradition. One after another, these motifs became spiritualized instead of historicized. And the interesting thing is that instead of the person losing her religion, she gained it. It became a religion instead of a misleading theory.


QUOTE
TOMS: You mentioned the Flood. Like the Virgin Birth, it also is a motif that runs through all cultures.

CAMPBELL: Yes. There are very few cultures that don’t have a Flood motif. That’s a basic idea: the dissolution of the world which takes place every night when we go into the flood of our own unconscious. It’s the analogue of the mythological Flood: at the end of the cycle, there’s a flood. The American Indians have lots of Flood stories.

It was thought when the diggings in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley were proceeding that evidence of the Biblical flood could be located – at least a flood universal to that area. And there were flood levels found in several cities. But they were not the same flood level; they were local floods. There’s no cosmic flood; the Flood motif is a mythological idea. The whole notion that all originates from water, and all is going back to water, gives you a cycle: out of water, back to water, out of water, back to water; and each new cosmic aeon, each new world-age, is, as it were, a creation out of water and a dissolution into water. So it’s a mythological motif. This is exactly the point that Thomas Mann makes very well in the first part of Joseph and His Brothers: the archetypal Flood is a mythological, a psychological flood, and when local floods occur they become identified with it. Do you understand? We have experienced The Flood. The Flood is a mythological principle, and when a flood occurred, we understood the sense of the image.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 10:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A bit more from Thomas Mann:

A myth is “a story about the way things never were, but always are.”

So, is a myth true? Literally true, no. Really true, yes.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 9:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(cweston @ Nov. 29 2012, 8:59 am)
QUOTE
A bit more from Thomas Mann:

A myth is “a story about the way things never were, but always are.”

So, is a myth true? Literally true, no. Really true, yes.

Very nice - Lots of truth in myths, but significantly fewer facts...
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 11:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Is it ironic that the pope would use a source as flawed as the Bible to establish "facts"?  Additionally, is it ironic that the word "pope" doesn't exist in the historical record he sites, either?  

No cows.  No goats.  No popes.  No sht.

It's a never ending source of interest for me to see believers go on about the validity of the Bible's stories, only to throw in a little reality about what is a parable.  Are we supposed to believe that these stories were told as anything but fact 1000 years ago?  Or course not.  They were how the ancients wrapped their brains around the world in which they lived.  We do that with science now.  

As a philosophy Christianity is fine.  As a religion...  Let's just say it's only rarely practiced as it's advertised.

(BTW- the fact that the shepherds were tending their flocks gives some idea of what time of year Jesus was born.  It wasn't winter.)


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