Email: Sweet and Sour
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Hi to all, I thought this was worth sending on, hope you find it so too.
As ever, Joanne
U_S_ News 02-23-98
A hundred years of thinking about God
A philosopher soon to be rediscovered
BY GREGG EASTERBROOK
"The reward for living is the living itself," says Charles Hartshorne, and he should know, since he has been doing it for 100 years. The centenarian Hartshorne is an academic philosopher, an unsung hero of the culture wars. John Silber, chancellor of Boston University, puts Hartshorne among "the top 10" 20th-century American philosophers. Others have described him as the century's foremost philosopher of theology. Yet Hartshorne is little known because his work violates perhaps the strongest postwar intellectual taboo: He believes God actually exists.
In the milieu of "postmodernism," the general outlook dominant at top universities during the postwar era, few ideas have been less welcome than serious arguments supporting God. "No form of thinking has been more out of vogue in this century," says George R. Lucas Jr., executive director of the American Academy for Liberal Education, a scholars' group. That, however, may be changing. Increasingly, the most basic contention of postmodernism--that life is a meaningless accident--is coming under fire. Hartshorne's specialty of "metaphysics," or the search for higher truth, may make a comeback. Hartshorne's own work may be poised for the sort of rediscovery that often happens a few decades after a great thinker's death--except that Hartshorne is still alive.
In Hartshorne's philosophy, even somewhat unorthodox assumptions about God lend support to contentions that creation has purpose and that pure truth exists. "Without God, how can we know what is true?" Hartshorne has asked. "Human beings barely know themselves, after all these centuries of inquiry. There must be a larger reality with a higher understanding of truth than ours."
Reason and faith. Born in 1897 in a small Pennsylvania town, Hartshorne was the child of an Episcopal minister descended from Quakers. "No one in my family disbelieved in religion, and no one disbelieved in evolution, either," he says. These two seemingly conflicting views came to inform Hartshorne's work, most of which concerns the application of rationality to theological questions.
Though Hartshorne might have used his Quaker lineage to avoid the draft, he volunteered to serve in the war. That's the Great War--Hartshorne is a veteran of World War I. After discharge, he studied at Harvard with Alfred North Whitehead, one of the last academic philosophers to be a celebrity. Just before the Depression, Hartshorne was hired to teach philosophy at the University of Chicago. There, he elaborated Whitehead's late-in-life idea called "process theology," which holds that God cannot see the future and therefore changes in response to human actions.
If the future could be known supernaturally, Hartshorne reasoned, then God would already be fated to do whatever brings about the foreseen: Even the Maker would lack free choice. But if the future does not yet exist, it is a non-thing, unknowable even to a deity. Working from the second assumption, Hartshorne concluded that a changing God is involved in an ongoing process of responding to humanity. This, he felt, could explain leading puzzles of theology, such as how the wrathful God of the Old Testament became the compassionate Maker of the Bible's second half.
Using the logic of process theology, Hartshorne rejected unbelief as "an egotistic view that nothing can be larger than a human being." He argued, "What we need is to make a renewed attempt to worship the objective of God, not our forefathers' doctrines about him." Such ideas simultaneously offended upper academia, where unbelief is often taken as a badge of intellect, and offended Christianity, by suggesting the Maker has defects. "It is amusing that many academic elites look down on process theology as too religious, when to orthodox religion Hartshorne is a radical," notes Robert Kane, a University of Texas philosophy professor.
Completed work. During his career, Hartshorne wrote some 20 books and oversaw restoration of the thought of the 19th-century philosopher of logic Charles Sanders Peirce. Some of Hartshorne's best work, including his Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes, was not published until after he turned 80. His daughter, Emily Goodman, a New York attorney, says that when Hartshorne retired from teaching, he showed her several unfinished manuscripts squirreled away in various boxes and drawers. "He told me, `If I die, find someone to complete my work,' " Goodman says. "Instead, he completed it."
Hartshorne had a second career studying Charles Darwin's favorite topic, natural selection among birds. He acquired enough standing as an ornithologist that he could have been tenured in zoology, Silber of Boston University says. Hartshorne's 1973 book, Born to Sing, argues that some bird species have evolved the ability to appreciate melody and now warble partly for the sheer pleasure of it. "Musicians who have listened to birds believe this much more than ornithologists, who are terrified of being accused of anthropomorphism," Hartshorne says. "Having studied thousands of hours of birdsong from around the world, I am convinced some species possess an aesthetic sense, however limited compared to ours. It is part of human egotism to believe that only we have active minds."
Today, Hartshorne lives in a small house in Austin, Texas, where a live-in assistant cares for him. His wife of 67 years, the former Dorothy Cooper, died in 1995. She was a classically trained soprano, and Hartshorne cherishes memories of times he would sit in their living room and she would sing Mozart to him, alone. "I felt magnificently privileged," he says.
His body now frail, Hartshorne rarely ventures from his house, which has the darkened feel of aging. He spends his days rereading his own work ("I admit this gives me pleasure, even when I find errors") and writing letters to the editor on such favored topics as feminism (for), capital punishment (against), bicycles (for; Hartshorne never owned a car and became hopelessly lost on the few occasions he attempted to drive), red meat (against; Hartshorne attributes his longevity partly to vegetarianism), and pacifism (once for, now against: "Hitler made it impossible to keep believing in pacifism, which was one of the many terrible things he did to the world"). He says his main reflection on a full 100 years of life is that "we live in a century in which everything has been said. The challenge today is to learn which statements to deny."
Hartshorne does not shy from contemplating his own mortality. He takes what he calls a "modest but positive" view of death--that consciousness ceases to exist but each person's thoughts, feelings, and experiences are "eternally and vividly remembered by God." To memorize and honor everything that has ever happened is, Hartshorne thinks, God's ultimate role, the infinite divine memory representing a reserve of metaphysical truth to which any person may contribute.
"I had a happy, idyllic, old-fashioned childhood," Hartshorne says, his voice tired but not weary. "Go to the town where I spent that childhood, you will not find my happy hours there. Yet they remain definite constituents of a divine reality about which true statements can still be made. My happy childhood was a gift my parents and the world offered to God." Someday Hartshorne's thoughts will be understood to number among these gifts, too.
Ideas for our time
Twentieth-century American philosophy has been largely dominated by dueling schools of thought
Positivism recognizes only those concepts that can be empirically verified. It gets high marks for banishing the polysyllabic mumbo jumbo that plagued 19th-century philosophy, but it also defines the spiritual out of existence.
Analytical theory treats ideas as word structures divorced from any larger reality. Though internally neutral, analytical theory is often called on to support the "postmodern" philosophical contention that truths are only "contingent claims," with nothing ultimately right or wrong.
A currently unfashionable third school of thought is metaphysics, which holds that higher truths exist independent of culture or context. Because it contemplates transcendence, metaphysics has been scoffed at by postwar academia. Charles Hartshorne is among the few philosophers to have carried the torch for this idea.
It's early morning and I can't sleep. So I read the latest on the site. The message from Bob about Jesus is interesting. I can see Bob's questions, his ideas, and his thoughts. I understand, and I empathize with him. I've been there. I understand. And, I have some input, if that's Ok.
For wot it's worth. Here's a couple of things that I like to throw in, if I may.
First: Jesus was indeed a historical character. Josephus testifies to Him (and I use the upper case only to delineate Jesus from others and NOT out of reverence), so does Tacitus. These guys were only historians. Nothing more. Any number of Jewish writers have referred to Him over the years, but NEVER as Messiah. Who the heck ever said that He was a Messiah? He didn't. This is Catholicism talking. Jesus NEVER claimed to be anyone special.
I have a lot of friends who are Jewish. Most of them are as wild or as crazy as I am, but we all love each other as buddies. All of them acknowledge Him (Jesus) as a person who walked the Earth 2k~ (whatever) years ago, but NEVER think of Him anymore than a good person who taught "good" things.
Second: Was Jesus God? Yup. But, is Ed God? Yup. Is John God? Yup. Are we all God? Yup. There's nothing else we can be. Let's be honest. God is All and in All. If people wanna quote Bible, then you've hit the right place. The address is Enlyten@hotmail.com. Anyone wanna challenge me on this Biblical point? Please do so. I'm here.
Remember I John 3:2. We ARE the sons of God, and that goes for the ladies too. Women are TOTALLY equal. I'm a total believer in woman's equality. If you wanna quote Bible, it's there. Talk to me. I'm open to discussion. I'm ready with the right quotes. Jesus was the son of God, but SO ARE WE ALL. God ain't discriminatory.
Third: Must we believe on Jesus for salvation? Now, where the heck does that nonsense come from? Jesus never said it. Modern religion, including Worldwide Church of God+ corporations have used this for a jumping point to make $$$$$$$$$$. Since it's NOT Biblical, then why the heck do people believe it?
Fourth: Is the Bible a legitimate book? Sure. But so are may others. My personal feeling is that the "Writings" constitute the best part of this book. Jesus Himself said that the Law and Prophets were until John (the Baptist). He never mentioned the Kitaveem (Writings). It's a book/books of history, wisdom, and instruction. But, take it as you will, and PLEASE everyone, prove all things, and don't leave our minds at the "church" door. Be discriminating. PROVE all things.
No one's knocking Jesus here. I'm simply trying to put everything in the proper perspective. Jesus was NO MORE God than anyone else. His own words will tell everyone that. He was a regular guy. A buddy. A friend.
From whence comes all this Catholic nonsense?
Personally, I'm fed up with the crap that is deposited in Jesus' name.
For a guy that taught the facts of life simply, this guy has been elevated to the status of a Godhead that is way beyond the limits of any sanity. Jesus would puke if He could see all this.
Since the Internet might be around forever, we should be careful. Anyone who contributes to this site might be deemed to be the next Messiah.
I'm really surprised at you accepting the Bible and Jesus as true and using the sources you do. But I guess there are no better ones.
I was going to copy out some info from the attached document but couldn't figure out what to not send. I think it pretty well wipes out any of the "historical proofs" of Jesus' existance.
I won't challenge any of your Biblical points. If the Bible is not from any God that I could worship, then the points don't matter.
Just one quote below from http://www.truthbeknown.com/origins.htm
Basically, there are no non-biblical references to a historical Jesus by any known historian of the time during and after Jesus's purported advent. Walker says, "No literate person of his own time mentioned him in any known writing." Eminent Hellenistic Jewish historian and philosopher Philo (20 B.C.E.-50 C.E.), alive at the purported time of Jesus, makes no mention of him. Nor do any of the some 40 other historians who wrote during the first one to two centuries of the Common Era. "Enough of the writings of [these] authors . . . remain to form a library. Yet in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author, and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ."28 Their silence is deafening testimony against the historicizers.
In the entire works of the Jewish historian Josephus, which constitute many volumes, there are only two paragraphs that purport to refer to Jesus. Although much has been made of these "references," they have been dismissed by all scholars and even by Christian apologists as forgeries, as have been those referring to John the Baptist and James, "brother" of Jesus. Bishop Warburton labeled the Josephus interpolation regarding Jesus as "a rank forgery, and a very stupid one, too."29 Wheless notes that, "The first mention ever made of this passage, and its text, are in the Church History of that 'very dishonest writer,' Bishop Eusebius, in the fourth century. . . CE [Catholic Encyclopedia] admits . . . the above cited passage was not known to Origen and the earlier patristic writers." Wheless, a lawyer, and Taylor, a minister, agree that it was Eusebius himself who forged the passage.
Regarding the letter to Trajan supposedly written by Pliny the Younger, which is one of the pitifully few "references" to Jesus or Christianity held up by Christians as evidence of the existence of Jesus, there is but one word that is applicable - "Christian" - and that has been demonstrated to be spurious, as is also suspected of the entire letter. Concerning the passage in the works of the historian Tacitus, who did not live during the purported time of Jesus but was born two decades after his purported death, this is also considered by competent scholars as an interpolation and forgery.30 Christian defenders also like to hold up the passage in Suetonius that refers to someone named "Chrestus" or "Chresto" as reference to their Savior; however, while some have speculated that there was a Roman man of that name at that time, the name "Chrestus" or "Chrestos," meaning "useful," was frequently held by freed slaves. Others opine that this passage is also an interpolation.
Of these "references," Dujardin says, "But even if they are authentic, and were derived from earlier sources, they would not carry us back earlier than the period in which the gospel legend took form, and so could attest only the legend of Jesus, and not his historicity." In any case, these scarce and brief "references" to a man who supposedly shook up the world can hardly be held up as proof of his existence, and it is absurd that the purported historicity of the entire Christian religion is founded upon them.31 As it is said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof"; yet, no proof of any kind for the historicity of Jesus has ever existed or is forthcoming. "
Another regarding the Josephus account which has been completely discredited:
The Testimonium Flavianum
"Josephus' reference to Jesus, the Testimonium Flavianum may be translated from the Greek as follows. (Clearly Christian [interpolated] words are in italics):
"At this time there was Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising works, (and) a teacher of people who with pleasure received the unusual. He stirred up both many Jews and many of Greeks. He was the Christ. And when Pilate condemned him to the cross, since he was accused by the first-rate men among us, those who had been living (him from) the first did not cease (to cause trouble), for he appeared to them on the third day, having life again, as the prophets of God had foretold these and countless other marvelous things about him. And until now the tribe of Christians, so named from him, is not (yet?) extinct."
- Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Bk XVIII, Ch III, Sn 3
The knowledge here encapsulates the kerygma, the earliest formulation of the Christian message by the author of the Gospel of Mark and the apostle Paul.
"However because it has an explicit acceptance of Jesus as Messiah [Christ] and of his resurrection, almost all scholars believe that this passage is a Christian interpolation. There are some scholars who believe that the core of it is original, and Christians added only the parts acknowledging Jesus as Messiah and the reality of resurrection. There is virtually no doubt about the passage referring to James." (Source: John Meier, Bible Review, June 1991)
- James Kiefer
"Perhaps Josephus referred to Jesus as 'the so-called Christ', as he did in his comment on the death of James, the brother of Jesus."
- Graham N. Stanton, The Gospels and Jesus, The Oxford Bible Series (1989), paperback, p. 143
"Probably the most damning evidence against the Josephus passages is that the two interpolated passages do not seem to appear in Origen's second-century version of Antiquities. Origin was locked in a fierce debate with the Platonic philosopher Celsus over the merits of Christianity in Origen Contra Celsum (Origen against Celsus) and although Origen quotes freely from Antiquities to support Christianity, he never once used either of these passages instead remarking that 'Josephus did not believe that Jesus was the Christ.'"
- James Still, "Biblical and Extrabiblical Sources for Jesus"
"For more than two hundred years, the Christian Fathers who were familiar with the works of Josephus knew nothing of this passage. Had the passage been in the works of Josephus which they knew, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Origen and Clement of Alexandria would have been eager to hurl it at their Jewish opponents in their many controversies. But it did not exist. Indeed, Origen, who knew his Josephus well, expressly affirmed that that writer had not acknowledged Christ [Comment. in Matth.] This passage first appeared in the writings of the Christian Father Eusebius, the first historian of Christianity, early in the fourth century; and it is believed that he was its author. Eusebius, who not only advocated fraud in the interest of the faith, but who is known to have tampered with passages in the works of Josephus and several other writers, introduces this passage:"
- Marshall J. Gauvin, "Did Jesus Christ Really Live?"
"Certainly the attestations I have already produced concerning our Savior may be sufficient. However, it may not be amiss, if, over and above, we make use of Josephus the Jew for a further witness."
- Eusebius, Evangelical Demonstration, Book III., p.124
"Everything demonstrates the spurious character of the passage [Testimonium Flavianum]. It is written in the style of Eusebius, and not in the style of Josephus. Josephus was a voluminous writer. He wrote extensively about men of minor importance. The brevity of this reference to Christ is, therefore, a strong argument for its falsity. This passage interrupts the narrative. It has nothing to do with what precedes or what follows it; and its position clearly shows that the text of the historian has been separated by a later hand to give it room."
- Marshall J. Gauvin, "Did Jesus Christ Really Live?"
Jesus: Fact or Fiction?
Josh McDowell, comp., Evidence that Demands a Verdict (San Bernardino: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1972), ch. 5, 'Jesus--A Man of History', pp. 84-89: Rebuttal 1) Thallus, writing about 52 CE, gives the 'naturalistic explanation' of a non-believer who witnessed the darkness accompanying Christ's crucifixion. 1) Thallus was a Samaritan freedman of the Emperor Tiberius who wrote a history of Greece and Asia, who mentions an eclipse of the sun. In 221 CE, a Christian writer, Sextus Julius Africanus notes that "Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away this darkness as an eclipse of the sun." Thallus does not refer to a Jesus, only to an eclipse, which a Christian used to bolster the Christian story. 2) Mara Bar-Serapion, writing later than 73 CE to his son, says, "What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise king?... He lived on in the teaching which he had given." 2) This Syrian was not an eyewitness of Jesus and does not mention a resurrection. He is retelling a story he has heard.
Verdict on the first century: "Apart from Thallus, no certain reference is made to Christianity in any extant non-Christian Gentile writing of the first century." (F. F. Bruce, Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis in the University of Manchester, in The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, fifth ed. (Ann Arbor: Eerdmans, 1960), p. 114)
3) Josephus ben Matthias ("Josephus"), writing in 93 CE, says, "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man.... He was the Christ, and when Pilate condemned him to the cross...he appeared to them alive again the third day." 3) Josephus never wrote it. Christian defenders as early as Clement of Alexandria (150-215 CE) never cited it. Origen (185-254), who dealt extensively with Josephus, wrote that Josephus did not believe Jesus to be the messiah nor proclaim him as such. Eusebius, in 324 CE, first mentions this passage (twice), and is likely the forger of it. 4) Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus ("Pliny the Younger"), wrote in 112 CE that Christians sang "a hymn to Christ as to a god." 4) Again, this is derivative, not an eyewitness account of Jesus. 5) Cornelius Tacitus, wrote in 120 CE, "Nero punished...a class of men, loathed for their vices, whom the crowd styled Christians. Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilatus." 5)Tacitus is repeating the story Christians had told him, not what he had found in official archives, since: 1) the title procurator was current only from the second half of the first century (Pilate's title was prefect); 2) Christus ("Messiah") would not have appeared as a proper name in the archives. 6) Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, writes, "As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome." (circa 120 CE) 6) Again, derivative, useless for evidence that Jesus was an historical person. 7) Lucian, writing about 175 CE, refers to "the man who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced this new cult into the world." 7) No eyewitness; retelling a story. 8) and 9) Tertullian and Justin Martyr 8) and 9) Christian apologists, who claim material relating to Jesus would be found in the archives of Tiberius and Pontius Pilate. It wasn't. 10) Encyclopaedia Britannica: "uses 20,000 words in describing this person, Jesus." 10) The Encyclopaedia Britannica also contains articles on Hercules and Odysseus. This hardly makes them historical.
Verdict on the second through twentieth centuries: These writers, who lived at the time that Jesus supposedly lived, left a library of Jewish and Pagan literature, in which not one mention of Jesus or of his apostles or his disciples appears: Arrian, Plutarch, Apollonius, Hermogones, Appian, Damis, Aulus Gellius, Appion of Alexandria, Philo Judaeus, Petronius, Juvenal, Quintilian, Silius Italicus, Phlegon, Pausanias, Dio Chrysostom, Favorinus, Seneca, Dion Pruseus, Martial, Lucanus, Statius, Phaedrus, Florus Lucius, Columella, Lysias, Theon of Myrna, Pliny the Elder, Paterculus, Persius, Justus of Tiberius, Epictetus, Ptolemy, Valerius Maximus, Quintius Curtius, Valerius Flaccus, and Pomponius Mela.
McDowell cites Otto Betz, author of What Do We Know About Jesus? (1968) as concluding that "no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus" (p. 9). Betz is either disingenuous or unaware of the work of Charles F. Dupuis, Robert Taylor, David F. Strauss, Kersey Graves, John M. Robertson, Thomas Whittaker, Robert Arthur Drews, Peter C. A. Jensen, William B. Smith, L. Gordon Rylands, P. L. Couchoud, and John E. Remsburg.
The ten sources cited are McDowell's only evidences outside the gospels for the existence of Jesus as an historical person. Except one, and here he planted the seeds of his own destruction, because it is the key to how the cult of Christianity was constructed:
11) The Jewish Talmuds, in which Jesus is referred to as "Ben Pandera". 11) Second-century Rome was the golden age of professional story-telling. Pliny the Younger says street-corner story-tellers would announce, "Give me a copper coin and I'll tell you a golden story." Their stories were of first century wonder workers, whose fantastic miracles delighted hearers. Favorites were the Transformations of Apuleius, Life of Apollonius Tyana by Flavius Philostratus, and Book of the Generation of Jesus (in Hebrew the "Sepher Toldoth Jeshu"). It was the latter from which the idea and name of Jesus came. In 178 CE the atheist Celsus wrote the first attack on the Christian cult. In Alethes Logos, or True Word, Celsus refers to this story that Jesus was born of a country-woman, and that when she was pregnant she was turned out of doors by the carpenter to whom she had been betrothed, as having been guilty of adultery, and that she bore a child to a certain Roman soldier named Panthera who lived at Bethlehem; that Jesus, having served for hire in Egypt, and then coming to the knowledge of certain miraculous powers, returned to his own country, and by means of those powers proclaimed himself to be god. Every copy of the True Word was destroyed by zealous Christians, and today it is known only by Origen's attack on it, in which he had to quote from it. The story Celsus quoted from, the "Sepher Toldoth Jeshu", was mentioned in the Jewish talmud, and has survived. It refers to Janneus, the Sadducee king of Judea, who reigned from 106 to 79 BCE; and to Simeon ben Shetach, who lived in 90 BCE. The birth of the fictitious Jesus is placed at this time, and the rest of the book is filled with his wonder-working and miracles.
Creation of Christianity: At the same time this popular street story of Jesus, son of Joseph Pandira or Panthera, was spreading in Rome in the first century BCE, the cult of Mithra was introduced into the Roman empire and attracted the military and mercantile classes. This cultural influx of a Persian religion meshed with ancient Hebrew traditions to form what became the cult of Christianity.
Anyone who doubts that the popular story of the Jewish Jesus was written into the worship of Mithra to become Christianity should look at Mithraic worship point by point. (See the link above for a summary by David of that religion).
Jesus acquired a biography in the so-called gospels just as Paul Bunyan would if four Americans separately tried to write down all of his history and wonder-working activities, in order to consolidate that aspect of American culture.
Final verdict: There is no historical evidence whatever that the Jesus of Christianity was an historical person.
--David L. Kent
For the information. As you said, we don't have many references, and since I can't refer to any others, then I look at the Bible as a reference, but that's all.
I think that one of the big reasons that Jesus is not talked about much in history is because He had such a little effect on the world at the time that no one noticed Him. I guess we'll have to wait until we go over to the other side before we get the "plain truth," about all the arguments in history. Anyhow, I think there's one big thing that most of us agree on. Jesus was no more God that any of us. And religion is the quickest way to become rich by providing NO product.
Have a good'un Ed. And thanks again for the information.
Mornin' again Ed:
I'm uppercasing Jesus' pronoun out of clarification only, and certainly NOT because of reverence. If you wanna use this on the site, it's Ok. It maybe good as food for thought. Right or wrong.
Jim Walker has a good article, but for every pro, there's a con. What can any of us believe at this stage? You know something? I don't think it matters if Jesus lived or not. Who really cares? Other than the fact He preached wisdom (and I'll quote ANYONE with wisdom), His life now has no impact on our salvation other than simple info. We're all uniquely and wonderfully derived from the essence of God thinking, and in fact we're His offspring, as there's nothing else we can be. Back to Jesus. I think Jim's quote here is fitting. From his article.
"While it is entirely possible that a historical Jesus actually lived, it is also possible that a mythology could have arrived totally out of earlier mythologies. Although we have no good evidence for a historical Jesus, we certainly have many accounts for the mythologies of the Middle East and Egypt during the first century and before that appear similar to the Christ savior story."
So, did He or didn't He? I've books here at home, there that brag of bibliographies on Jesus that go from here to Andromeda and back, but they all have one thing in common. They all virtually say that although He was a historical figure, this guy's existence was nothing special at all. They say He existed, but so what? All they say is that He was a virtuous man who preached love in contrast to the barbaric Laws of Moses. That description would undoubtedly go for thousands of guys too.
If God, let's say, dropped out of heaven now and told me that Jesus never existed, then it wouldn't phase me much. I'd only have to change any quotes I've made and re-arrange my thinking. But it isn't gonna affect anyone's REAL life.
The reason that I quote Jesus and Bible in articles is NOT because I actually believe so much that He existed as depicted, or that He was anyone special. He NEVER claimed to be anyone special. So why all the fuss? I don't honestly know (except for the money and power angle), and I really cannot prove His historicity one way or the other. I ain't that much of a historian. But what other references do we have? Since the Bible is one of oodles of reference books, I'll quote it if it bears witness. For no other reason. I'm NOT a Biblical junkie anymore, but I still remember the quotes. But if any Biblical statement makes sense, then I'll quote them. Over the years I've chatted with a few Rabbins, and they all say the same in effect: "Yeah, Jesus? So what?" No one seems to care outside the "Christian" community. They all seem to agree that He existed, but so what? No one else seems to give a damn.
What really angers me (and you know this) is that (2k years ago) some asshole/s took the sayings of this carpenter of Nazareth, blew them totally out of proportion, butchered 50 million people (over the last 2k years) in the bargain, destroyed homes, generated almost 2k years of ignorance and stupidity, held minds in bondage, terrorized children, ripped apart families, caused untold and excruciating suffering, and enslaved over one-third of our civilized world. This is the continuing lunacy that maddens me, whether Jesus lived or not. I'd personally like to "Golgotha" the whole damned organization of the Catholic Church+, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.
I was raised a Catholic, and my dad died actually believing that crap. He never saw anything different, but I must give him credit . . . he was probably the most moral man I ever knew. He had the wrong theology, but he lived up to his ethical beliefs. Unfortunately, he (like so many others) was in bondage. I still wish he were here now, but I'm sure he'd still think the same. And we'd still argue. It takes a "spiritual yanking" to pull us from the jaws of stupidity, and into sanity. We went from Catholicism to Worldwide Church of God. But we learned. We are some of the fortunate ones, but, Ed, look at the rest of humanity. Literally billions. These are the ones that I grieve for.
It really doesn't matter anymore if Jesus lived or not. I'll only quote Him because people relate to him, much the same as Aesop or Aristotle, or Donald Shimoda from Richard Bach's "Illusions."
As a side note, I still hear from people in Hawaii. They're all doing their own thing now. And many have not forgotten the one thing that I tried to teach them. THINK. In time, most figured it out for themselves. THEY did it. But it took an exit from organized religion to regain logical consciousness. They did this for themselves. No one did it for them. They chose to think for themselves. Sadly, it didn't work in every case. You (meaning anyone) can rip me apart, and we can all have different opinions. Good. But if you're thinking (I feel this way), then you're growing. I personally feel that our mind is our fundamental extension from the Infinite, and it's ability to reason sets us apart from all other Earthly life forms, and puts us on the road to the Divine and Infinite, Creative, Intelligence. 4 wot it's worth.
We may all be wrong in many of our deductions (and that CERTAINLY includes me), but at least we're working on it. Thanx again for a progressive site that makes folks THINK.
I'll continue to read the articles and links you sent and referred to. It's good to get a balance of input. Thanks again.
Blessings 2 U and family.
I know you don't like talking about demons, but there is more to tell about what we were taught in the church. Our minister told us that amongst the group of us there were many who might be demon possessed and that we should be careful around each other.
And you know there was another story in the bible somewhere about how we should welcome strangers that may appear in church some weeks. If we don't invite them over to our houses or feed them then we fail God's test. He sends strangers to us now and then to see if we take care of them. There are good demons and bad demons I guess.
Thanks for posting my last letter.
Ed: Here is something all your viewers should know and have a copy of: a 32 page printout of an FBI Report titled;
"The attached analysis entitled PROJECT MEGIDDO, is an FBI strategic assessment of the potential for domestic terrorism in the United States undertaken in anticipation of or response to the arrival of the new millennium."
Under this heading is a seal of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The next page is titled PROJECT MEGIDDO and gives a list of contents. Among them are: Christian Identity, Interpretations of the Bible, Apocalyptic Religious Beliefs, White Supremacy, Black Hebrew Israelites, Apocalyptic Cults, and the Significance of Jerusalem. It summarizes all with a CONCLUSION. Here is some of what is said in Apocalyptic Cults; "For apocalyptic cults, especially biblically based ones, the millennium is viewed as a time that will signal a major transformation for the world. Many apocalyptic cults share the belief that the battle against Satan, as prophesied in the Book of Revelation, will begin in the years surrounding the millennium and that the federal government is an arm of Satan. Therefore, the millennium will bring about a battle between cult members--religious martyrs--and the government." and-"In the broadest meaning, cults are composed of individuals who demonstrate "great devotion to a person, idea, or object of movement." ---"Specifically, a cultic relationship refers to "one in which a person intentionally induces others to become totally or nearly totally dependent on him or her for almost all major life decisions, and inculcates in these followers a belief that he or she has some special gift, or knowledge." (Does this sound familiar, Ed.?) This definition of cults provides important distinctions that are vital for analyzing a cult's predilection towards violence." Ed, there is a whole lot more in this report on what could happen next year. Christianity is the dominant factor. It mentions British Israelism, Adam and Eve, and of her genes being inferior to his, producing Cain, the forerunner of the black race, etc. Straight out of Herbie's handbook. Here is how you can get it: Put your cursor on the Web, and click "search". type "Project Megiddo" in the blank box. then "search." It will take you to "Documents in the News". Scroll all the way down until you come to "Project Megiddo." Click on it. It will access you right to it. If you decide to print it, remember that it is in small print and 32 pages long. Be sure you have a full ink cartridge. It is well worth it. What you will read will astound you. Again, Ed, I believe it is something all your viewers should have a copy of.
I am sorry this letter is so damn long, but I thought you and others would like know about this.
thanks for your patience,
Just burned trash and then I realized I should have saved the latest WorldWide News so I could "share" an article. But I remember what it was about. How there was a disaster somewhere, there was a lot of damage, injuries (don't remember if there was any loss of life.); "but no member suffered."
No matter who much they (wcg) pretend they have changed, they still are printing articles about how "the Members" are being spared while all others around them are suffering! Excuse me while I go throw up!
If anyone else received the latest issue of WWN and could copy the article for you; you could see what I mean.
Its probably on their website if you want to try to find it.
Isn't it incredible? They are playing to their audience though. This is what these people want to hear. That they are special and have special protection. They are paying for God's protection. It is a racket.
Just reading all those updates on the site. They're wonderful. Especially fitting are all of those by Louise for all of us damaged people. I could respond "yes" to almost all of the questions on the questionnaire, for instance. Many of the questions are ones that I had not even considered asking myself before.
Also, it's a really good thing that a "disclaimer" has been added to beginning of at least one posting that John O. has contributed to the site. I certainly hope that no one posting things on the site would be attempting to persuade people to follow what he/she is writing about blindly. A disclaimer at the beginning of any posting that may otherwise be construed as an attempt of revealing "truth" or all-relevant and applicable advice is a great idea. It prepares readers' minds before they even start reading the posting.
After all, most of us are still trying to seek "truth" and answers to questions that have left us befuddled for years. It is all to easy to follow into yet another mindless trap of following individuals who seem to have more answers to the questions than we have. Yes, I think it can happen even on the PT Website if we're not careful.
Keep up the good work, Ed. There are some really good articles on the site.
(from a windy, Christmas mania-struck Manhattan!)
I liked Louise's pages too. How did these people survive so long? I should do a tribute page to those that were smart enough to get themselves kicked out of the church and tough enough to come to terms with it. I wonder if I would get anyone else to want to be on it?
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