As much as I would like to take all the credit for the second response to Pastor Aaron, I cannot. I had help from several people who responded to a post I made in a Myspace blog regarding Pastor Aaron's historians and their references to Jesus Christ. Here are some of the letters I got in response.
I read your blog post, and these names are very commonly used by Christians. We discussed this at length many times. The best biblical historian to find info from is Bob Price, "the bible Geek."
The important thing to remember is the earliest name on that list Josephus, is not a contemporary of Jesus. That stuff was supposedly written at least 60 years after Jesus' death. So none of these so-called accounts are written during Jesus' life, and none of them lived during Jesus' life.
Franc says to look up the word Hagiography: it means something is not biographical because it incorporates belief and legends.
I must mention also that Josephus' "account" has been widely trashed, because anything about Jesus is said to have been added in--fudged, as it were. It was interpolated, fabricated a part of a sentence within real text.
"Most historians believe that the paragraph in which he describes Jesus is partly or completely a forgery that was inserted into the text by an unknown Christian. The passage "appears out of context, thereby breaking the flow of the narrative." --Religious Tolerance
There is simply tons of info out there on this jesus stuff. Try typing in those names in google, and add "IIDB" or Internet Infidels. That site has a lot of papers and resources for this very thing.
Check out these pages: Pg1, 2, 3
That a man named "Jesus" who claimed to be the son of God existed isn't really all that important. What is important is how many people claiming to be the One and Only Son of God there were walking around during that point in history. The answer is most certainly greater than one.
I wish I could find a list of the more popular messiahs of the Roman Empire, but there were several of them. Some were probably even more popular than Jesus at the time. the Big J just happened to be the one who's name passed the test of time.
I really wish I could come up with more for you, but I can't off the top of my head. If I do run across something though I will be sure to pass it along.
Wait a sec... I was just acctually reading what Mr Preacherman had to say.
"...Christ, which was Jesus surname.."
No it wasn't.
"Christ" simply means "Messiah". he was Jesus THE Christ. Oh, and that therefore shoots out a lot of those other appearances where only the word (not name) "Christ" appears. Just because the dude calls himself a "Christ" does not make him Jesus.
This link does a good job debunking some of the said extra bibical accounts for Jesus. Keep in mind that heresay is not evidence for anything. Many of the accounts he mentioned were people who simply wrote about what they were told. And for the gospels lol, The gospels were written in the years 70-90 CE. They were not signed Matthew, Mark, Luke and John they were written decades after Jesus supposedly existed and were anonymous documents. Listen to the clip i attached.
Ask the pastor if you provide him similar evidence that Mohammed existed would he automatically believe that Mohammed was the prophet sent by god? Let me know if there is anything else i can do to help.
Atheist In Wonderland
For the record, Jesus (in the Bible) never claimed to be the 'son of god.' It's a general practice of Christians to refer to to "God the Father" and that we are all "God's Children," but is taken to another level when they see it in the writings of their religion about their prophet. He also never claimed himself to be "King of the Jews," rather, only a few of his followers even did so.
So then, there's 'proof' that there was a man named Jesus.
There's also bits of this 'proof' coming out recently that he used cannabis to miraculously heal people.
If this first guy on the list was writing in the common language of his time, (ignoring the laughable mistake of 'Christ' being a surname) Chrestus wouldn't have been a misspelling at all of even the word for 'messiah,' as the Greek word for 'Christ' starts with an X.
There were also many many different messiahs during that time and there were many people given the title of "Christ"...The rest just didn't catch on apparently.
* * * * *
Hey... enjoyed the Aaron Harder exchanges. You're right, Pastors are the most fun to respond to and with!
Back in my day, I used the Josephus reference to help support my "then belief" that Jesus was a historical, living person. Josephus was alive and real when Jesus' diciples were getting things off the ground. So there's no doubt about Joe.
I have since read that many scholars feel that the style of the writing where the reference to "Jesus" and being a "wise man" and "wonderful works" is uncharacteristic of Josephus and probably inserted by an over-zealous scribe.... especially the part about "He was the Christ".
This article describes some of it.
I also read some of the works of Philo, a Jewish Philosopher who lived in Jerusalem from 30 BC to 50 AD .... and makes no reference to Jesus or his followers. In fact, some of Philo's ideas seem to be plagiarized by the Gospel of John and other works. This always bothered me and really started to get me to see that a historical Jesus as described in the Gospels was mostly speculation.
I think I can say Bob, with about 99% assurance that sometime around 30 A.D. there was some guy named Jesus who was saying some really interesting stuff, that got people thinking differently about things. The crucifiction and resurrection... and what really happened got lost in translation. Some of the early Christians probably just wanted a more exciting end to the story. If you replace the Gospel of John with the Gospel of Thomas, that would have changed EVERYTHING! Disgruntled Christians wouldn't need to become Buddhists.
Anyway brother, that's more than anyone has time to read I guess.
Sounds like we've heard the last from Pastor "Fly for a white guy" Harder.
Your oldest brother,
|“I know my words will fall off your dense skull and you will find some way to attack me, I can't wait”
Subject: my letter to the king of OZ
Hi I'm Pastor Aaron,
Well lets just start my email by saying this, I know I do not spell well, or have great sentence structure so your attacks on my spelling and structure will have no effect on me. (although that does not excuse me from simply putting my email through spell check) I stumbled across your web page by accident, and was very confused by what you hope to achieve from your web page. I also have a web page that I use for my church youth group, but it's ends are simply to post events and possibly be of some information to the user or attenders of our church. Correct me if I'm wrong but is your web page simply designed just to offend Christians and other followers of Jesus or is it to make a little money off of him? I can safely assume that Jesus has never done anything to you, or wait has he? I could be wrong but your bone is not with Jesus but with Christians? I do agree with most of the stuff you say about Christians being narrow minded, sometimes Christians do things that Jesus does not even endorse. Another question I have, is do you even believe that Jesus even existed? If you do not you must ask yourself why? History books other than the bible show that he was alive and on this earth.
Now if you do not believe him to be real. Then you are just ignorant and thus keeping your self uneducated also making yourself more narrow minded than Christians who take the time to write you, (I agree some of there letters are pathetic, telling you you are going to hell and you should repent, thats pretty dumb when you don't even believe in God). If you believe Jesus was alive but wasn't who he says he was thats fair enough. The stuff in the bible is impossible to believe without faith and its obvious to everyone that you have no faith in God.You wrote in your hate mail section of your web page that mother Theresa and pope john paul are going to hell according to Christians, that is simply not true, they had a relationship with God, he knew them ,so yeah no they are not in hell. Yes there are catholics who are going to hell but there are Christians who are going to hell right along side them because they don't know God. You also wrote that everyone who was alive before Jesus came to town is in hell, that is also not true either, the bible says he set the the prisoners of hell free, (no I won't be like every other Christian an quote you a verse because I know you won't read it) You also said that "bushman" goto hell, well thats not true either, the bible says that he places eternity in the hearts of men, and judges us on what we do know of him, so the bushmen who know nothing of God will not be condemned to hell because they see God in mother nature.
You are very religiously ignorant and don't even take the time to study the very thing you hate, yeah yeah yeah you grew up in church blah blah blah you heard it all, but you know so little, yeah you know I hate a lot of things but at least I take the time to know why I hate them and at least I know the facts before I post them on a hate web page so i don't make my self look like a total moron. This has been entertaining to me, I know my words will fall off your dense skull and you will find some way to attack me, I can't wait, will you say something about me being a pastor, hmmmmm will you use your boring old spelling mistake bit, people like you are a dime a dozen and to expect you to change would be like asking me to walk on water both can be done but neither of us really want to nor do we have the guts!
Are you kidding? It's the pastors I love responding to most of all! They're the most pompous of the bunch! And their position as some sort of authority figure has distorted their self awareness to the point where they talk the most illogical gibberish with a preconceived notion that everyone simply accepts what they say as knowledge. I love debunking that.
The main objective I hope to achieve with my site is expressing myself logically, while exposing the illogical ideas of those who base their lives in faith, and showing how basing one's self in logic is superior to basing one's self in faith. Oh, and I also hope to achieve an entertaining, funny site too! I've found it's what keeps people coming back for more. I like to think I make learning fun!
My "bone" (as you put it) is with the concept of faith. It's your idea that faith is a good thing. You see, I believe it to be a bad thing. Something that should not be encouraged or endorsed, much as you wouldn't tell a child to avoid looking both ways before crossing a busy street, and to instead simply use faith before stepping into traffic. I take issue with these things because your teachings are sending people out into the world who are not only ignoring the methods and discoveries of science, they are also less able to reason things out with their own brains. In short, you're promoting ignorance; the requirement of true faith.
Regarding Jesus, personally, I am starting to come into the school of thought that Jesus may not have even existed at all. He could've just as easily been contrived hundreds of years after his supposed death and ascent into heaven. Zues, Thor, and Apollo never existed either, and their existence went without question at one time as well. And as you well know, it is not at all beyond our abilities as humans to story-tell people into existence who never actually existed at all.
As for all of those quotes you took from my site about who's going to hell, that was sarcasm. I don't believe anyone goes to heaven or hell, but I wanted to give some insight as to what I was taught as an Evangelical Christian in my youth. That, and I thought it was all quite amusing.
I really hope to hear back from you, and that you explain yourself on each of the points I brought up. Many times when I'm in this sort of a discussion with a pastor they ignore everything I say and slip into preacher-mode. All mouth/no ears. You know? And keep in mind before you write down your rebuttals I'm already familiar with the fact that faith makes people happy, and gives people hope, and if Jesus is who he said he was then God is real. Try and avoid these "arguments," because I'm more about the truth than the pretty lies. It's called tough love, and faith is a luxury we can't afford any longer now that people are flying planes into buildings because of their unwavering faiths.
|“I am pretty fly for a white guy and nobody believes me when I tell them I am one”
Well tell you what Bob i am not your typical pastor, I am pretty fly for a white guy and nobody believes me when I tell them I am one, unlike you I grew up in a non Christian home, I grew up with drugs and achohal, all around me and its a wonder that I am who I am today, I do not stand as an authority figure who knows it all, but my christianity goes beyond faith, I have come to a place where i do not question God's exsistance I know he's there like i know my freinds are here, you seem to have more faith than me Bob, it takes faith to say God's not real, faith in its self is a nesesity of life, for example if i tell you i want to buy you lunch you must have faith that what I am saying is true even though you don't see the lunch in my hand ready to give you, life and faith go together, no matter how you look at it. A little child gets told that they are gong to mcdonalds, does he question that? no he believes that he will go to mcdonalds until his trust is misused and he no longer believes in things he can not see. Even when you sit on a chair you have faith that it wil hold you, faith is a part of life, faith without logic is completely outragous, that is why we have logic to see if what we are bing told is completely outragous and can not be believed such as mormonism, logic says taht joseph smith was out of his mind, but mormons look past logic all together and rely on faith alone " The burning in the bossom" Logic and Faith go hand in hand
History Proves Jesus actualy exsisted, the 4 gospels alone are historic facts but that might not work for you so I found more information. The ancient historical record provides examples of writers, philosophers and historians who lived during or not long after the time Jesus is believed to have lived and who testify to the fact that he was a real person. Lets look at what some of these people have said.
Tacitus lived from A.D. 55 to A.D. 120. He was a Roman historian and has been described as the greatest historian of Rome, noted for his integrity and moral uprightness. His most famous works are the Annals and the Histories. The Annals relate the historical narrative from Augustus’ death in A.D.14 to Nero’s death in A.D. 68. The Histories begin their narrative after Nero’s death and finish with Domitian’s death in A.D. 96. In his section describing Nero’s decision to blame the fire of Rome on the Christians, Tacitus affirms that the founder of Christianity, a man he calls Chrestus (a common misspelling of Christ, which was Jesus’ surname), was executed by Pilate, the procurator of Judea during the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberias. Tacitus was hostile to Christianity because in the same paragraph he describes Christus’ or Christ’s death, he describes Christianity as a pernicious superstition. It would have therefore been in his interests to declare that Jesus had never existed, but he did not, and perhaps he did not because he could not without betraying the historical record.
Lucian of Samosata
Lucian was a Greek satirist of the latter half of the second century. He therefore lived within two hundred years of Jesus. Lucian was hostile to Christianity and openly mocked it. He particularly objected to the fact that Christians worshipped a man. He does not mention Jesus’ name, but the reference to the man Christians worship is a reference to Jesus.
Suetonius was a Roman historian and a court official in Emperor Hadrian’s government. In his Life of Claudius he refers to Claudius expelling Jews from Rome on account of their activities on behalf of a man Suetonius calls Chrestus [another misspelling of Christus or Christ].
Pliny the Younger
Pliny was the Governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor (AD. 112). He was responsible for executing Christians for not worshipping or bowing down to a statue of the emperor Trajan. In a letter to the emperor Trajan, he describes how the people on trial for being Christians would describe how they sang songs to Christ because he was a god.
Thallus and Phlegon
Both were ancient historians and both confirmed the fact that the land went dark when Jesus was crucified. This parallels what the Bible said happened when Jesus died.
Some time after 70 A.D., Mara Bar-Sarapion, who was probably a Stoic philosopher, wrote a letter to his son in which he describes how the Jews executed their King. Claiming to be a king was one of the charges the religious authorities used to scare Pontius Pilate into agreeing to execute Jesus.
Josephus was a Jewish historian who was born in either 37 or 38 AD and died some time after 100 AD. He wrote the Jewish Antiquites and in one famous passage described Jesus as a wise man, a doer of wonderful works and calls him the Christ. He also affirmed that Jesus was executed by Pilate and actually rose from the dead
I am more than willing to listen to what you have to say and be more than just a mouth, but history proves Jesus is real no matter what or who you think he is, he walked the earth I am looking forward to your reply
Let me begin by stating that none of those people you listed were witnesses to Jesus' existence, let alone anything godly. Don't you think it's incredible that a man of Jesus' miraculousness was neither noted for any of His magical acts, nor was He even noted during His lifetime? It's absolutely astounding if you consider all of the gargantuan feats he managed; Born of a virgin, feeding 5,000 people with a couple loaves of bread and fishes, healed lepers, raised people from the dead, walked on water, water into wine, created the freaking universe for Christ's sake, and yet no one ever made mention of these things until hundreds of years after his death. And unfortunately for you, I'm sure these are the best examples you've got in your hat.
Let me ask you this. If I were to present to you the same amount of references to confirm Mohammed's existence would you then believe Him to be God? Pastor Aaron! You should be ashamed for putting forth such weak evidence pertaining to the God of the Universe's existence in human form here on earth! Not very fly! Not very fly for a white guy at all.
How can YOU (a grownup!) fully aware of our ability to contrive fantastic tales of super beings, be so willing to accept these scrounged references as any sort of account of The Son of God? This alone should be proof enough TO YOU that nothing amazing occurred during this "Chrestus" fellow's life, whoever the hell Chrestus was! And by the way, "Christ" isn't a surname. Christ means "Messiah." It's Jesus THE Christ! Not "Mr. Christ Winthorpe Jesus the Third."
Someone calling himself "Christ" does not make him Jesus.
And those "brave" leaps of everyday faiths we practice are a far cry from believing in talking snakes, arks of animals, earth floods, flying messiahs, eternal hell fire and everlasting paradise for all who believe. Those examples of faith you mentioned are things that're supported by evidence. McDonalds exists. Buying somebody lunch is not a miracle. A chair can be scientifically broken down, and its ability to support a sitting person can be formulated. There are different levels of faith, and it comes as no surprise to me why you would gloss over this detail. It's your duty as a pastor to cloud the line that separates the two different kinds of faiths; to make an unwarranted belief in unbelievable bible stories seem no different than having faith in a pillow to be soft.
And you know the ugliest thing of all, Pastor Aaron? You're fully aware that you're being misleading. You're certainly smart enough to see the difference, and understand the significant canyon which separates these two examples of faith. I mean, you would not hand your baby to a stranger with such little reference. You would not lay your son on an altar to slit his throat with total faith the Hand of God would stop you if it was not meant to be.
Personally I do not know how you sleep at night living in such foolishness.
Author Christopher Hitchens wrote: "That which can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence."
And right now I can see exactly where he's coming from.
|“i'm not gonna do research so you can just argue it down, waste of my time. Obviously your heart is just shut off to his exsistance”
Hey Bobby thank you so much for showing so much respect by calling me pastor through out your whole letter, wow you must really like me, I think that I'm winning you over, we should go to the fellowship hall and have some cheap church juice and have Mrs Milling knit us some socks wouldn't that be fun me and you best buddies? oh yeah except your second letter was a bit disrespectful you didn't put pastor in front of my name. After all as you say I am an authority figure! Come on you can't be serious Christ isn't his last name? It wasn't Joseph and Mary Christ? oh ok you got me I'm kidding I knew that the whole time, I don't know what I wrote that made you think I thought it was his last name but yes I know that Christ is what he, is not who he is but i capitalize out of respect, God is not his name its what he is but we capitalize that.
Also I know you don't really think i'm misleading. your really just kidding about that part right?...right?.....were still friends?.......oh ok good i wouldn't want to lose your close friendship over miscommunication, oh yeah talking about sliting your child throat thats kinda gruesome, oh right that happened to Abraham!!! haha thats funny I get it! Ok our "brave" everyday faiths didn't work for you I assume, ok well how bout this, do you know how the medicine works that a doctor prescribes to you do you know how each part of it is used to fight your viruses or what ever the hells wrong with you? Of course not you just have faith that this is going to work because it has worked for others in your situation. Scientifically it is proven that the power of prayer works, there have been studies done i am sure you are well aware of these. I am sure however there is somthing wrong with these studies, or you will come up with somthing!
Ok so Jesus doesn't exist in your mind there is nothing I can do or say to change your mind, so i won't bother even trying wasting my time or yours seriously i'm not gonna do research so you can just argue it down, waste of my time. Obviously your heart is just shut off to his exsistance alltogether and I think that it will be very scary for you when you find out he's real, This is how I look at it Bobby, What if i'm wrong I get a happy peaceful existance out of this life I would have lead a great life it would have been meaningless, but still i can hold my head with dignity I have nothing to lose in believing and everything to gain,. But if your wrong Bobby then there's hell to pay
You've got to be kidding me. You're completely caving already? You began your correspondence saying your words were probably going to roll off my dense skull, and now you're falling apart after just two letters? What the hell kind of teacher are you?
Aaron, the examples of faith you keep presenting aren't examples of faith at all. They're examples of trust. The medicine a doctor prescribes has been tested and proven. It isn't faith. It's trust. Faith would be taking aspirin to heal a broken leg. There's no evidence to say it should work, all logic says that it won't work, there's only faith, and then you take that aspirin. "Blind faith" is what they call it. And you promote it. How can I respect that? How is blind faith respectable? Name any other example in life where blind faith is respectable. Personally I don't see how someone can call himself a man if he subscribes to blind faith as a way to decipher truth.
No, I was not kidding in my emails. I think that your beliefs are as weak as you've just shown them to be. And to go around telling strangers how to live their lives, even going so far as to act like everything we've been saying to each other is a joke. Well, this is precisely why I post the letters I respond to. I hope to show how even though you're a pastor, you've no idea why you believe what you do. You don't even know what faith is. You just believe because people before you did, and people before them did too.
You seem to be under the assumption I think God is mistaken, or I have a grudge against Jesus or Christians, and I'm unwilling to listen to what your sayin' on account of this. This isn't the case at all. I'll listen to anything you've got to say. But I won't simply buy it unquestioned because you say it's a sin to doubt. I would love to believe it, but I cannot, because all evidence points towards it all not being the truth. Your book appears to be false, and I'm not going to believe in it when everything points towards it being made-up hogwash.
And I'm sorry, but there's no hell to pay, because hell doesn't make any sense either. Aaron, there can be no paradise in heaven while my brother burns in hell.
But your blind faith will make it so, huh?
I've no respect for you or your belief, because neither of you earned it.
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