Author Topic: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?  (Read 8594 times)

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Offline davedan

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Re: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?
« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2014, 07:45:01 pm »
No but it still gives me the irrits. I would just like it if there was more to their motivation than simply ignoring the bit that stops them getting rich. In any event I think Biblical Literalism (and Biblical Inerrancy) are the province of the intellectual lazy, dishonest or incapable. I really don't see why you can't have your Religion (be it Christianity or Islam or whatever) without believing in an inerrant and literal Bible. But then again I have trouble conceiving of a Omnisicient, Ominipotent AND benevolent Deity. Some fundies come pretty close to dispensing with the benevolence by basically asserting because he's God (I use he because these fundies invariably make god male) Whatever he does is good and he can do what he wants.

Offline Witchyjoshy

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Re: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?
« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2014, 08:07:20 pm »
No but it still gives me the irrits. I would just like it if there was more to their motivation than simply ignoring the bit that stops them getting rich. In any event I think Biblical Literalism (and Biblical Inerrancy) are the province of the intellectual lazy, dishonest or incapable. I really don't see why you can't have your Religion (be it Christianity or Islam or whatever) without believing in an inerrant and literal Bible.

There are plenty that are Christian without believing in a literal/inerrant Bible, but even they aren't immune to being intellectually dishonest (especially when they start using No True Scotsmen arguments)

Quote
But then again I have trouble conceiving of a Omnisicient, Ominipotent AND benevolent Deity. Some fundies come pretty close to dispensing with the benevolence by basically asserting because he's God (I use he because these fundies invariably make god male) Whatever he does is good and he can do what he wants.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpaRouocBes" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpaRouocBes</a>

"I can do no wrong, for I do not know what it is."

From what I've heard, the story that this was based on was, basically, Mark Twain criticizing the Christian God, but calling him "Satan" to drive his point home.
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Offline davedan

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Re: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?
« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2014, 09:11:19 pm »
One thing I have been thnking of is do you believe that there was a historical Jesus Christ. Is it necessary to believe in the Historicity of Jesus to be a Christian?

Offline Ultimate Paragon

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Re: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?
« Reply #33 on: May 01, 2014, 09:15:21 pm »
One thing I have been thnking of is do you believe that there was a historical Jesus Christ. Is it necessary to believe in the Historicity of Jesus to be a Christian?
That's a good question.  Or at least it would be if there was any debate about Jesus's historicity.

Offline davedan

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Re: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?
« Reply #34 on: May 01, 2014, 09:36:40 pm »
So you take the view that the Historicty of Jesus has been conclusively resolved? 

Here is an interesting article from rationalwiki - http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Evidence_for_the_historical_existence_of_Jesus_Christ

While it is definitely in the minority position there is still plenty of scholars who believe in ahistoricity.

Here are some interesting excerpts:

"I often read that most scholars think Jesus existed

What most historians and scholars think (as stated above) is that a human named Jesus was the seed for the Christian myths. But, it would be factually wrong to suggest that "most scholars think the Christ existed" — a seed is not the same as the myth.

The term "scholar" can be a weasel word. It's worth asking the question "Who is this scholar, and what are his investments in the issue?" If he is a theologian, then it is worth asking "Would this theologian ever be able to even say that the Christ did not exist, or would his theological underpinnings prevent him from saying that?" When apologists quote scholars or 'experts' of Jesus' historicity, they are often quoting theologians whose focus is theology, and whose vestment in the argument is clear.[185] Further, those who have a bias towards not challenging the theology as they know it have often preselected the texts that are "canon" and "authentic"[186]

Hector Avalos details the differences between the seminary and secular streams of Bible-related study in his 2007 book The End of Biblical Studies, which had some impact on the field.[187] It should be noted that some apologists for a historical Jesus are fundamentalists such as Lee Strobel who are rarely taken seriously in mainstream academia. Others are liberal Christians such as Marcus Borg, or flat-out agnostics such as Bart Ehrman and Robert Grant who are more respected in mainstream academic circles (there are also quite a few Jewish New Testament scholars such as Amy Jill-Levine or Geza Vermes). Even taking scholars like Ehrman into account, mythicists such as Richard Carrier believe that the methodology of Jesus-related historical studies is of a much lower standard than the methodology of other historical study of comparable periods.[6]

Historians who are skeptical of the historicity of Jesus are often painted by theologians and apologists as fringe lunatics. However, these arguments rarely go beyond ad hominem attacks.[188][189] However, secular historians can also be critical of the mythicist position. In his recent book Did Jesus Exist?, Bart Ehrman distinguishes between mythicists whom he regards as flat-out pseudo-historians (such as Tim Freke) and those he regards as responsible mythicists such as Robert Price or Richard Carrier. He regards the latter as playing by the proper rules of historical inquiry, while the former simply make up facts to support wild surmises. However, Ehrman regards even Price's views as ultimately unconvincing and as therefore "fringe" in the sense of being believed by a very small percentage of scholars. "

And this highlights the problem of defiining what is meant by Historicity:

"American historian Richard Carrier writes:
One could say that Jesus was an insignificant, illiterate, itinerant preacher with a tiny following, who went wholly unnoticed by any literate person in Judaea. However, this would not bode well for anyone who wished to maintain he was God, or did any of the more amazing things attributed to him. It is very implausible, for instance, that a biography would be written for the obscure itinerant philosopher Demonax in his own lifetime (by Lucian), yet God Incarnate, or a Great Miracle Worker who riled up all Judaea with talk, should inspire nothing like it until decades after his death. And though several historians wrote on Judaean affairs in the early 1st century (not just Josephus and Tacitus, but several others no longer extant), none apparently mentioned Jesus (see the Secular Web library on Historicity). Certainly, had anyone done so, the passages would probably have been lovingly preserved by 2nd century Christians, or else inspired angry rebuttals.

For instance, the attacks of Celsus, Hierocles, and Porphyry, though destroyed by Christians and thus no longer extant (another example of the peculiar problem of Christian history discussed above), nevertheless remain attested in the defenses written by Origen, Eusebius, and Macerius Magnes. But no earlier attacks are attested. There is no mention of Christians in Plutarch's attack On Superstition, nor a rebuttal to any attack on Christianity in Seneca's lost work On Superstition (which ruthlessly attacked pagans and Jews, as attested in book 10 of Augustine's City of God), so it seems evident Christians got no mention even there, in a text against alien cults, by a man who would have witnessed the Neronian persecution of 64 CE (alternatively, the fact that this is the only work of Seneca's not to be preserved, despite the fact that Christians must surely have been keen to preserve an anti-pagan text by a renowned pagan, might mean it contained some damning anti-Christian material and was suppressed, though Augustine clearly had access to the work and says nothing about such content). All of this suggests a troubling dichotomy for believers: either Jesus was a nobody (and therefore not even special, much less the Son of God) or he did not exist.[199]"

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Besides which most people writing about Jesus are still Christian Theologians, most of whom have a somewhat obvious interest in affirming his Historicity and most of the arguments devolve into - the Argument from Silence is not a good argument.


Offline Ultimate Paragon

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Re: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?
« Reply #35 on: May 01, 2014, 09:43:15 pm »
Really?  I'd always assumed that Jesus's existence was pretty firmly established.  Shows what I know.

Offline davedan

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Re: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?
« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2014, 10:00:07 pm »
There is a mystifying absence of non-biblical evidence for a historical Jesus. There are some forgeries and interpolations (Like that to Josephus) and there are reference to Christian sects but significantly after when Jesus is meant to have lived and died.

Offline Ultimate Paragon

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Re: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?
« Reply #37 on: May 01, 2014, 10:11:06 pm »
There is a mystifying absence of non-biblical evidence for a historical Jesus. There are some forgeries and interpolations (Like that to Josephus) and there are reference to Christian sects but significantly after when Jesus is meant to have lived and died.
Really?  Well, in antiquity, the Romans never bothered to deny Jesus's existence.  You'd think that would have been a major tactic used.  And while Josephus's reference to Jesus may not be authentic in its entirety, most believe that he really did reference Jesus.  Tacitus also referenced Jesus.  The Talmud, which attempts to discredit Jesus, does not even try to pretend Jesus never existed.

Besides, why would Christians imagine such an undignified death for their greatest figure?

Offline davedan

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Re: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?
« Reply #38 on: May 01, 2014, 10:19:08 pm »
Why not read the article I posted in its entirety? Contemporary Romans may not have denied his existence as they did not even know that he existed. Nor would they have felt a particular need to deny one messiah or miracle worker when the mediteranean of antiquity abounded with them. Why does Paul never mention any acts of a historical person or refer to his sermons  -even after apparently meeting with Jesus's brother James. Paul's epistles are the earliest dated writings of the New Testament and Paul expressly gains his knowledge of Jesus from mystical revelation.




Tacitus writes generations after Jesus is meant to have died. And as for his reference to Chrestus :

The assumption that "Chrestus" must refer to Jesus and "Chrestians" to his followers is a prime example of the Miner issue on the historical Jesus side of the argument. Not only was "Chrestus" a familiar personal name meaning "good" or "useful",[20][21], but it was also a name of the Graeco-Egyptian god Serapis,[22] who had a large following in Rome, especially among the common people.
Egypt, which you commended to me, my dearest Servianus, I have found to be wholly fickle and inconsistent, and continually wafted about by every breath of fame. The worshipers of Serapis (here) are called Christians (Chrestians), and those who are devoted to the god Serapis (I find), call themselves Bishops of Christ (Chrestus) are, in fact, devotees of Serapis. There is no chief of the Jewish synagogue, no Samaritan, no Christian (Chrestian) presbyter, who is not an astrologer, a soothsayer, or an anointer. Even the Patriarch himself, when he comes to Egypt, is forced by some to worship Serapis, by others to worship Christ (Chrestus). They are a folk most seditious, most deceitful, most given to injury; but their city is prosperous, rich, and fruitful, and in it no one is idle.[23][24]

Hence pagan references to "Christians" or "Chrestians" may be to followers of the pagan god Serapis (Chrestus) and not Jesus.

The only real argument against this letter is that it appears in Historia Augusta which "In modern times most scholars read the work as a piece of deliberate mystification written much later than its purported date, however the fundamentalist view still has distinguished support. (...) The Historia Augusta is also, unfortunately, the principal Latin source for a century of Roman history. The historian must make use of it, but only with extreme circumspection and caution."[25] So the source is of questionable quality but it is basically all the historian has to work with so they are stuck with it.

However, it should be mentioned that in Panarion 29 Epiphanius in the 4th century expressly states "this group did not name themselves after Christ or with Jesus’ own name, but Natzraya." a term that was applied to all followers of Jesus. He then relates that they were even called Jessaeans for a time. Compounding matters is that Tiberius in 19 CE expelled Jewish and Egyptian worshipers from Rome[26] which would have logically included worshipers of Serapis (Chrestus). Moreover early Christian authorities like Tertullian go to great pains in explaining that Christian and Chrestian were two different words with entirely different meanings and were not variants of each other[27], a claim supported by the evidence.[28][29]

It has also been suggested that "Chrestus" refers to a would-be messiah unrelated to Jesus.[30]

Another issue is Chrestos had been used as an adjective and even a title going back to the 5th century BCE and appears on tombs before, during, and after the supposed time of "Christ"[31][32]

Finally no Bible contains the actual term Christian (ie quite literally anointed men) until near the midpoint of the 5th century in the Codex Alexandrinus. Before that the term is Chrestian (or quite literally good men) a generic term used by many other groups and yet the term Christ is used.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Nor is the Talmudic reference to Jesus contempory. It is dated to the 2nd Century CE.

Edit: As to the dignity of his death perhaps as part of a Mystical Revelation cult it was just a modern updating for the death of the Attis/Adonis figure. As for dignity at least he wasn't castrated, like Attis or Cronus. Yet they were chosen to worship.

« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 10:22:23 pm by davedan »

Offline Ultimate Paragon

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Re: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?
« Reply #39 on: May 01, 2014, 10:28:30 pm »
I understand your points, and the article's.  However, I have to say I disagree.

Offline Witchyjoshy

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Re: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?
« Reply #40 on: May 01, 2014, 10:50:27 pm »
One thing I have been thnking of is do you believe that there was a historical Jesus Christ. Is it necessary to believe in the Historicity of Jesus to be a Christian?

Depends on who's defining "Christian", I suppose.  Most would say "Yes, it is absolutely necessary", even many of the liberal ones, while only the most liberal would say "No, it is not necessary."

Meanwhile, in Greekland and Norseland, asking if the requirement is believing that the myths have to be literally true will get you a majority of "Hah, fuck no, they're stories told by bored men around campfires."

(And to no one's surprise, this doesn't solve a lot, if any, of the problems that come with those religions.)
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Offline davedan

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Re: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?
« Reply #41 on: May 02, 2014, 12:08:13 am »
I understand your points, and the article's.  However, I have to say I disagree.


That's fine. There would be no contraversy if people were in furious agreement. The fact that you can't say why you disagree would suggest that it is because it conflicts with your belief as a Christian. But part of the problem with the field is that there is such an investment (really on BOTH sides of the debate). Putting it aside, if your belief were in a purely mystical Jesus could you still be a Christian?

Funnily enough it would appear that Zeus was originally the title for a sacred king which was sacraficed each year. Which is the origin of the saying "The cretans are liars" - the balance of the quote is "as they say you die oh lord Zeus".

Magus - that might be true of 'modern' pagans but was it true of pagans in antiquity?


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Re: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?
« Reply #42 on: May 02, 2014, 12:17:42 am »
Magus - that might be true of 'modern' pagans but was it true of pagans in antiquity?

I'm unsure.  I've heard it for ancient Greeks, but I cannot verify the source so it could be just bullshit.  The idea goes is that the Greeks loved stories and plays and such, and loved to use the gods as characters in their stories.

As far as the Norse go, we don't even know what their original mythology truly was before Christians came along and messed stuff up.  Ragnarok and Loki being a Satanic figure seem to be the monk Snorri's way of saying "Your gods are dead, our God came back from the dead, join us," but even then, that itself is speculation.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 12:20:40 am by Magus Silveresti »
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Re: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?
« Reply #43 on: May 02, 2014, 05:57:51 am »
My understanding of the historicity of Jesus was always that He was barely known during His actual lifetime, which is why we've got so little empirical evidence.
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Offline davedan

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Re: Should fanatical Christians really be called "fundamentalists"?
« Reply #44 on: May 02, 2014, 07:50:43 am »
My understanding of the historicity of Jesus was always that He was barely known during His actual lifetime, which is why we've got so little empirical evidence.

Which is why I quoted the Carrier quote which ends thusly:

"All of this suggests a troubling dichotomy for believers: either Jesus was a nobody (and therefore not even special, much less the Son of God) or he did not exist."