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Old 06-19-2014, 11:40 AM
 
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My real question is why did God permit there to be no secular evidence? Outside of the Bible we have absolutely no Roman records of any man named Jesus ever being crucified and more importantly resurrected.

If God went through the trouble to sending Jesus to earth so that people could believe He'd done so why did God see to it that both sides could argue their cases so convincingly. A look at the results of an internet search for "proof of Jesus" existence" turns up thousands of sites all saying two separate things:
1. there is no historical evidence and
2. there is ample historical evidence

Seems to me this should be as clear-cut a case to prove as just asking, "Are there stars in the sky?" Does anybody doubt there are stars in the sky when you look up at the sky at night?

Why do you suppose God made it so difficult for Christians to have to prove Jesus existed and in the end all they have to point to are a few gospels which are tenuous at best and Paul's epistles--Paul, who might have been a delusional paranoid schizophrenic?

The best evidence I can muster in my own mind is not the Bible, but the unexplainable surge in acceptance of Christianity when it was competing with much more powerful religions like Mithraism. But there may have been reasons outside of purely theological ones for Christianity's appeal. For one thing, it crossed the barrier of religion into secular altruism--helping the poor and the needy; teaching there was no inequality among men; that all were equal

Quote:
the establishment of hospitals, of some kind of health service, we have a clear establishment of social service - everything from soup kitchens to money for the poor if they need it.
Why Did Christianity Succeed? - The Great Appeal | From Jesus To Christ | FRONTLINE | PBS

This would have been a very powerful lure for the poor to join Christianity--free handouts.

But as many atheists like Richard Carrier say, hard evidence-wise outside the Bible accounts there's no mention of Jesus or the apostles or anything having to do with Jesus' miracles:

Quote:
There is no contemporary evidence for Jesus’ existence or the Bible’s account of his life; no artifacts, dwellings, works of carpentry, self-written manuscripts, court records, eyewitness testimony, official diaries, birth records, reflections on his significance or written disputes about his teachings. Nothing survives from the time in which he is said to have lived.
All historical references to Jesus derive from hearsay accounts written decades or centuries after his supposed death. These historical references generally refer to early Christians rather than a historical Jesus and, in some cases, directly contradict the Gospels or were deliberately manufactured.
Why there is no god

So my question is not, "Did Jesus exist?" but "Why did God make it so difficult, if not impossible for people to believe He existed"

Comments on having faith are not helpful here. Everyone can have faith in something. What we need is hard evidence outside of the Bible, which is a faith-based document.
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Hong Kong
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It is because you can only rely on human witnessing to reach any historical truth. That is, we have to rely on putting faith on what have been written down by an extremely small group of humans who are believed to be the direct (or more direct) contact of the truth itself. To put it in your words, you have to put faith on what have been written down by the few historians to reach a historical truth.

So the question boils down to, 1) what is a historian, 2) how trust worthy he is. The Bible God is the only God who explicitly employed His own witnesses (the prophets) to convey the truth. And in the case that God is a truth, who should be the more legitimate 'historians' (witnesses)? God's chosen witnesses, or man's historians?

Moreover, did humans historians ever martyr themselves for what they said? God's witnesses did.
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:57 PM
 
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I'm sure there was a plethora of court records of His two trials. Remember Rome was burnt to the ground and so was Jerusalem? And you wonder where the records are? Not to mention world wars, world-wide catastrophes since then. It is any wonder anything survived.
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,070 posts, read 8,557,571 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eusebius View Post
I'm sure there was a plethora of court records of His two trials. Remember Rome was burnt to the ground and so was Jerusalem? And you wonder where the records are? Not to mention world wars, world-wide catastrophes since then. It is any wonder anything survived.
Yes and no. There was not just Rome, there was still Constantinople and Alexandria, and various regional and local repositories. It is at least as odd to me that something more didn't survive, especially considering that such evidence would have been considered priceless right from the start, and some would have moved to preserve it. Yet such evidence is even more elusive and questionable than alleged Catholic relics (fragments of the One True Cross, itself a telling term; bits of bone supposedly from apostles, shroud of Turin, etc).
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
36,951 posts, read 17,431,639 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eusebius View Post
I'm sure there was a plethora of court records of His two trials. Remember Rome was burnt to the ground and so was Jerusalem? And you wonder where the records are? Not to mention world wars, world-wide catastrophes since then. It is any wonder anything survived.
You think that they had court recorders in 30 CE?

The Romans did not give a doo dap diddly for trouble making peasants in backwater provinces, the execution of Jesus would have been nothing to them, one more irritation disposed, nothing more.

That Jesus even had a trial as opposed to it being an invention of his followers is a valid question. Only Roman citizens had a right to a trial, low rent religious rebels were just killed when they became sufficiently annoying. It elevates the status of Jesus by writing that not only did he get a trial, but got one presided over by the Roman prelate himself. If he was just arrested and crucified without a trial, his death is indistinguishable from those of countless petty criminals.

The records we do have of Roman trials are always ones associated with bigshots...in Rome. Some case would be so controversial and closely followed by the citizens that someone would make an independent record of what went on and how it turned out, but there were no official record keepers of what was said by everyone to be used later in an appeal. There was no appellate system, so there was no need to keep records for that purpose.

The reason we are absent historical records for Jesus is that the people who were keeping the records, the Romans, did not view Jesus as anyone of any consequence. Jesus did not make a splash while he was alive, his impact came later, created by his followers. John the Baptist was a far bigger celebrity in his time than was Jesus. The events of the Baptist's life and death found in the gospels, are confirmed in the writings of Josephus who devoted a few pages to him.
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Old 06-19-2014, 02:29 PM
 
10,179 posts, read 10,541,144 times
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Quote:
Jesus did not make a splash while he was alive,
I beg to differ. Jesus was the hottest act in town during His ministry. Didn't the Pharisees exclaim in exasperation, "Behold! The whole world is running after Him!"

Jesus would have been big news simply by virtue of the miracles He was doing. Nobody had ever seen the likes of these things. Raising Lazarus from the dead would have been headline news throughout the Roman empire. It was big enough that the Pharisees plotted to have Lazarus killed to suppress the evidence.

Certainly Philo of Alexandria is the one historian of repute who lived at the exact time Jesus was living; would have heard about these miracles and the movement being spawned from them and would have mentioned somewhere in his writings, "There is a prophet named Jesus who is performing mighty miracles but was crucified for His religious beliefs," or something along those lines, but we have nothing from him.

But putting that aside, here's my central question. God knew the importance of His Son's mission. If He was going to send Jesus here to do such an important thing as die for sin, be resurrected from the dead and then ascend into heaven, wouldn't it stand to reason that God would want a record of all this made right on the spot so that atheists like Richard Carrier and Richard Dawkins could not successfully argue in our day, "Look! There's absolutely no evidence in secular writings to support the notion that a Jesus ever existed."

If God was going to order the apostles to write their gospel accounts why wait for 40-60 years to order them to do it just to have the writings challenged on the basis of authentication, authorship, inaccuracies because of lapse of time, etc. Why didn't God order John to immediately write a record after Jesus ascended so that Christians could present absolute irrefutable proof that Jesus lived, died and resurrected. Such a document would not have been uncommon in that time; people were making historical records that stand up to time a thousand years before Jesus; certainly one apostle out of the twelve could have written at least one account that could have been preserved. Why would God wait over half a century before inspiring someone to finally write all this down.

Paul's epistles give us nothing of Christ's life here on earth. All Paul continues to claim in his letters is that he is getting his info from Jesus through telepathic communications with Him. He mentions nothing of what Peter and John would definitely have told him about Jesus when He walk on earth, something like, "You know, Paul, we were all amazed when Jesus healed that blind man and then raised this little boy from the dead. Thomas said he couldn't believe it but I told him on the road to Jerusalem that many more would be raised, etc." details like this---concrete details that can be backed up by the gospels. But we get nothing like this from Paul. There has to be a reason why none of all this lines up from a strictly historical and logical point of view. None of it makes any sense. It all has to be taken on faith. I don't think it was God's intention to throw such a heavy burden on people 2000 years down the road--to believe in someone based in the skimpiest of concrete evidence. And then have God cast people into hell merely because they said, "Hey, I see no evidence that can really make me change my mind."

Last edited by thrillobyte; 06-19-2014 at 02:44 PM..
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Old 06-19-2014, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
36,951 posts, read 17,431,639 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrillobyte View Post
I beg to differ. Jesus was the hottest act in town during His ministry. Didn't the Pharisees exclaim in exasperation, "Behold! The whole world is running after Him!"

Jesus would have been big news simply by virtue of the miracles He was doing. Nobody had ever seen the likes of these things..

You are incorrect with both of the above statements. Had Jesus been any sort of a celebrity while he was alive, he would have left some sort of paper trail from secular sources, as did John the Baptist. You are confusing Jesus' current celebrity status with what took place while he was living. There is no indication, no documentation, which suggests that Jesus was any sort of big deal while he walked the Earth. If you have such evidence, please present it. It was what happened long after Jesus died, the deeds of his followers, which made the name Jesus famous.

And miracle workers were a dime a dozen in those days. Read Josephus' two books on Palestine in the 1st Century CE, they are chockablock with descriptions of other messianic claimants, many of whom were said to have performed many impossible acts across the land. Further, the Hebrews enjoyed no monopoly on miracle workers, all of the cultures in that region at that time had their share of these wizards and shamans.
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Old 06-19-2014, 02:51 PM
 
10,179 posts, read 10,541,144 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
You are incorrect with both of the above statements. Had Jesus been any sort of a celebrity while he was alive, he would have left some sort of paper trail from secular sources, as did John the Baptist. You are confusing Jesus' current celebrity status with what took place while he was living. There is no indication, no documentation, which suggests that Jesus was any sort of big deal while he walked the Earth. If you have such evidence, please present it. It was what happened long after Jesus died, the deeds of his followers, which made the name Jesus famous.

And miracle workers were a dime a dozen in those days. Read Josephus' two books on Palestine in the 1st Century CE, they are chockablock with descriptions of other messianic claimants, many of whom were said to have performed many impossible acts across the land. Further, the Hebrews enjoyed no monopoly on miracle workers, all of the cultures in that region at that time had their share of these wizards and shamans.

If miracles workers were a dime a dozen, Jesus would have had no moral ground telling the people in Israel, "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves."

How could Jesus expect people to believe in Him based solely on His miracles when dozens of other people were performing the exact same miracles and saying the exact same thing, "Believe in me for the sake of the works."

There's no logic. Either Jesus would have to have been doing things no one else was doing so that people could distinguish Him from the frauds, or He was making an unreasonable demand when He said, "Believe in me based on My works."
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Old 06-19-2014, 03:24 PM
 
472 posts, read 307,196 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrillobyte View Post
My real question is why did God permit there to be no secular evidence? Outside of the Bible we have absolutely no Roman records of any man named Jesus ever being crucified and more importantly resurrected.

If God went through the trouble to sending Jesus to earth so that people could believe He'd done so why did God see to it that both sides could argue their cases so convincingly. A look at the results of an internet search for "proof of Jesus" existence" turns up thousands of sites all saying two separate things:
1. there is no historical evidence and
2. there is ample historical evidence

Seems to me this should be as clear-cut a case to prove as just asking, "Are there stars in the sky?" Does anybody doubt there are stars in the sky when you look up at the sky at night?

Why do you suppose God made it so difficult for Christians to have to prove Jesus existed and in the end all they have to point to are a few gospels which are tenuous at best and Paul's epistles--Paul, who might have been a delusional paranoid schizophrenic?

The best evidence I can muster in my own mind is not the Bible, but the unexplainable surge in acceptance of Christianity when it was competing with much more powerful religions like Mithraism. But there may have been reasons outside of purely theological ones for Christianity's appeal. For one thing, it crossed the barrier of religion into secular altruism--helping the poor and the needy; teaching there was no inequality among men; that all were equal



Why Did Christianity Succeed? - The Great Appeal | From Jesus To Christ | FRONTLINE | PBS

This would have been a very powerful lure for the poor to join Christianity--free handouts.

But as many atheists like Richard Carrier say, hard evidence-wise outside the Bible accounts there's no mention of Jesus or the apostles or anything having to do with Jesus' miracles:



Why there is no god

So my question is not, "Did Jesus exist?" but "Why did God make it so difficult, if not impossible for people to believe He existed"

Comments on having faith are not helpful here. Everyone can have faith in something. What we need is hard evidence outside of the Bible, which is a faith-based document.
Well, If the Bible is true, there would also be a Satan. The Bible says Satan is the God of this system of things...would he not have records of Jesus destroyed?
Go outside at night. Look into the sky...was all this from nothing? Look at everything on earth. Plants need us to breath, we need them to breath. Everything is locked into something else...all this by chance?
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Old 06-19-2014, 03:40 PM
 
10,179 posts, read 10,541,144 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by domenic View Post
Well, If the Bible is true, there would also be a Satan. The Bible says Satan is the God of this system of things...would he not have records of Jesus destroyed?
Go outside at night. Look into the sky...was all this from nothing? Look at everything on earth. Plants need us to breath, we need them to breath. Everything is locked into something else...all this by chance?
Honestly and with all due respect, domenic, I have absolutely no idea what this has to do with my central question:

Quote:
If God was going to order the apostles to write their gospel accounts why would He wait for 40-60 years to order them to write the accounts just so that the writings could be challenged on the basis of authentication, authorship, inaccuracies because of lapse of time, etc. Why didn't God order John to immediately write a record after Jesus ascended so that Christians could present absolute irrefutable proof that Jesus lived, died and resurrected. Such a document would not have been uncommon in that time; people were making historical records that stand up to time a thousand years before Jesus; certainly one apostle out of the twelve could have written at least one account that could have been preserved. Why would God wait over half a century before inspiring someone to finally write all this down.
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