'Who is this Messiah [Christ]? Who is Jesus?', and how has two millenia's been influenced by the legend's of one mythic-figure?
I wouldn't expect a laugh or two to this perhaps childish or elementary question for some, but I would like to hear others thoughts on this figure in the middle of the confusion I've had about this legend since a child, concerning the man, and the myth; for some reason I just can't accept the mainstream idea of Jesus Christ, I've asked myself many times, "who is this guy?"
I always wondered why Jesus supposedly said all those exalting statements of Himself; to identify himself with the 'Father in Heaven? 'his Father in secret, was the inner God or some external God? or is that all blasphemous jargon and Jesus is the only Son of God literally sitting next to His Fathers chair in Heaven?' The legend of the virgin-birth? anything about Him; discuss from what you understand or think about Him here.
My understanding of John's quote ("I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me") is that the word "I" is used just because there is not another one.
The first meaning of this "I" is "consciousness" (clear consciousness of reality), so "Christ" is this clear consciousness that can be realized by any human being, and anyone can (and eventually will) say : "the Father and me are one" if (a really big "if") she or he has realized it.
The second meaning of this "I" is related to the particular individual who says it in any given time and place.
Many people regard Jesus and/or Christ (there is no unanimity about Jesus-Christ, as the title of this thread shows) as their beloved Teacher; many other people have had other Teachers. If we understand that everyone uses the same word ("I") to refer to him/herself and also uses his/her personal name which is different from other people's personal name we may understand that there is no real difference and no reason to quarrel.
Everyone have a nice day!!!
That's a nice thought, but the fact is that the whole book of John differs greatly from all the other synoptic gospels--generally in ways that turn a "teaching" into a "religion." There's a lot of questions that come up, as far as who authored this particular book and why.
Yes, the book of John differs greatly from all the other synoptic gospels. Because it was written so much later, some have proposed part of his intention was to mention things not covered in the other gospels, since he was certainly familiar with them.
My own analysis of complementary differences among the gospels is:
Jesus Christ presented as: Messiah, King and Redeemer
National audience: Israel
Personal audience: Religious man
Theme: Kingdom of Heaven
Mark (probably from Simon Peter's eyewitness account)
Jesus Christ presented as: Servant of Jehovah, mighty Conqueror and Ruler of the world
National audience: Romans
Personal audience: Strong Man
Theme: Action, Power
Jesus Christ presented as: Perfect Man, our great High Priest
National audience: Greeks
Personal audience: Thinking Man, Intellectual
Theme: Love, Grace
Jesus Christ presented as: God as Man, the Son of God
National audience: Orient
Personal audience: Spiritual man
John's own account testifies:
"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20: 30-31).
Your logic doesn't follow. All of the books are most likely from oral traditions, but "John" was probably not traceable to an apostle, at all. He certainly wouldn't have been living anywhere near the time that it was written.
Authorship of John as internally claimed was previously questioned by skeptics, but those objections were fully answered by the Dead Sea Scrolls, by Carbon 14 dating, and by contemporary Biblical scholarship.
The oldest manuscript for John is currently the St. John papyrus (P52), housed in the John Rylands museum in Manchester, and dated at 120 A.D. (Time, April 26, 1996, p.8), within a short time of John's life.
The following early church 'Fathers' all ascribe John's gospel to John:
Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch (180 A.D.)
Iranaeus (190 A.D.) (student of Polycarp, who was a student of John)
Clement of Alexandria (200 A.D.)
Overall, evidence for authenticity of the gospels is rock solid, as described in the article I referenced a couple of posts ago.
I'm not sure what Miracle means by the "evidence for the authenticity of the gospels is rock solid," but as far their authorship is concerned, it's far from settled. A quick investigation into Wikipedia on all the gospels shows that to this day there is considerable disagreement among Biblical Scholars as to the authorship of each one. Something Miracles fails to mention.
Miracles takes a fundamentalist Christian view and obviously sides with the conservative Biblical Scholars. It should also be noted he is associated with the "Calvary Bible Church," a very literalistic, doctrinaire Christian Church. That's his perfect right, but should be taken into consideration when evaluating the points and "evidence" his makes.
I don't have the time, nor interest, to present the other sides to this discussion, but only point out that anyone interested can look it all up, starting with the articles in Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is not necessarily an authoritative source since it is open source, and the information I provided and referenced is accurate according to contemporary scholarship.
If documentary evidence for the Bible is not strong enough, then by the same standard virtually no ancient documents should be considered reliable. Almost all have much less documentary and historical evidence than the Bible, yet they are rarely or never questioned by anyone.
From a documentary standpoint, it is difficult to imagine how evidence for the Bible's authenticity could be stronger. From a scholarly perspective, the default assumption of truth goes to the authors, and the burden of proof is on others to clearly prove why the consistent eyewitness accounts are not true based on fallacious internal or external evidence.
Skeptics almost always take an unscholarly approach, revealing extreme bias against the message, simply because they don't want to believe what the Bible says.
Regarding 'Calvary Bible Church', this church is currently an independent assembly, and not formally affiliated with any denomination or sect. Those who wish may examine its position, but I would not classify it or myself as 'literalistic'.
Straightforward reading of the Bible doesn't always mean 'literal'. One can read straightforwardly and still recognize obvious metaphors, not trying to force them into an unnatural meaning. But according to the Bible, we should always start with trying to understand the Scriptures as naturally and straightforwardly as possible, the same way we would normally read most other historical documents.
Clearly Mr. Williams simply does not like what the Bible says, and is searching for any possible reason to justify his rejection of it. That's his perfect right, but should be taken into consideration when evaluating the points and "evidence" he makes.
Thanks J. Spencer !!!
Most scholars divide the canonical Gospels into the 3 synoptics (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and John in the other side.
Oral or written sources of all four are still debated.... but I'd like to go back to the question heading the thread.
This is what I think is true:
Christ is the name given to clear consciousness of reality in some parts of this world. Jesus is one of the Teachers who have taught this. Clear consciousness of reality and ressurrection are two ways to say the same. Jesus taught this publicily and like many others was misunderstood. The gospels themselves show that Jesus was misunderstood by his own disciples. Seems to happen quite often.
The gospels, just like any other book, can help understand or misunderstand,and can be considered an autoritative source or not, and so has happened through history.
Also, "Christ" has "visited somehow" a number of people through history and even today different people still testify that have met him "somehow". I seems that his work did not finish 2000 years ago...
In reply to Miracles, I never said that Wikipedia was the final authority on
answering questions on the gospels. In this instance, Wikipedia only points
out that there are various scholarly schools of thought on the authorship of
the gospels. Names of scholars on the various views are given and source
material provided for readers to further investigate on their own. I stated
that Wikipedia was a "starting point" for those interested in examining the
different scholarly positions, not an "end point."
This is a far cry from what Miracles has presented. The gentleman puts
forward the conservative scholars camp as the final and proven position on
all matters with the gospels and the Bible in general. Such is not the case.
Obviously, in his mind, it is.
As regards my "rejection of the Bible," I don't reject it at all, just disagree with much of it and much interpretation of it. Miracles is coming from a mindset that believes that all the Bible, Old and New Testaments, is infallible and all of it, including the translations, are the inspired word of a God named "Jehovah." An ill tempered, judgemental old white man with a gray beard, who's up in the heavens somewhere and has an all consuming need to be worshiped by his creations, us humans. This mindset also believes in the doctrine of "original sin," than all humans are born in "sin" and the only way to get rid of this and to get to 'Heaven" is through a belief in Jesus Christ as some kind of personal savior. All others, no matter how exemplary a life they've lived, will end up in "Hell."
I was brought up with this theology and know it backwards and sideways, and after much investigation and reflection, I was "inspired" to reject it. The Bible is a good book in many respects and sections of it are inspired from a transcendent reality, but have been badly misinterpreted, in my view.
I just think, Miracles, you should be clear from what arena of Christianity you are coming from, is all I'm saying. You are perfectly welcome to your views, but I can't let you throw misinformation about that says the fundamentalist position is supported by all or most scholars. It isn't. Just simply say that conservative Biblical Scholars support my particular beliefs. Fine, I have no quarrel with that.
Getting back to the thread here, I go along with the previous statements of Ferren Sanz Orriols, and that Jesus Christ represented a state of high consciousness, and that's what he meant by "I Am the way to the Father." The "I Am" being a state of consciousness within each of us, and the "Father" being a term in those days representing the "whole universe" or "universal consciousness." And that the writers of the gospels, whoever they were, misinterpreted the deeper meanings of Christ's teachings.
I won't continue arguing these points and I don't want to "convert" anyone to my way of thinking. Let each of us investigate these matters on our own, open to all the options. In fact, it looks like this forum has generated very little interest here and we've all probably have been wasting a lot of our time. The best to you all.
That's good you encourage others to check out the facts of the matter for themselves, and I also strongly encourage this. Having done so myself, I am confident those who do so objectively will find my comments about the Bible's historicity and documentary position valid. There are many reputable sources quoted in the article I referenced, and they can be easily verified.
Although no ancient document can be proven 100% reliable, the Bible has stronger evidence in this area than almost all ancient books, and many who reject or continue to seriously question its authenticity do so with a bias against it, bandying about outdated arguments that have already been disproved by archeology. The Bible is subjected to an unreasonable and unconventional standard of proof by skeptics like no other book, simply because many people don't want to believe it for personal reasons. A typical reason given by atheists/naturalists is the assumption that miracles are impossible, therefore the Bible can't be true, but this is an unproven and unprovable assumption.
Biblical wisdom is straightforward and right for those open to receiving it so men can understand it, not obscure (Prov. 8:7-9 II Peter 3:16). There indeed is great depth to God's words, but they are never intended to deceive the receptive hearer. Any deeper understanding should never contradict plain, face-value meaning of the Bible's words as they would be understood by a speaker of Hebrew or Greek in the time and place where they were first given to men. Anything else would lead to deception, which is contrary to the Bible's definition of wisdom.
Your portrayal of God in the Bible is typical of those who have rejected Him, but is inaccurate. The Bible certainly does say we are all sinners (which is obvious, terminology quibbling aside), so need to depend on and trust the work of Christ instead of our own to be 'adopted' into His new family. No one here has 'arrived', and anyone who imagines they have is not being honest with themselves.
Pagan 'gods' are often capricious and display many human attributes, but the Bible overall portrays a God who is the very essence of genuine love, and for whom judgment is a sad but necessary last resort for those who don't believe what He says about us and the gift He has graciously provided to be reconciled to Him. Skeptics often focus on the justice characteristic of God out of context, neglecting to mention the main message of God's position as loving, patient and kind Creator and Savior. God created us for a good and loving purpose, but to fulfill that purpose we must understand and respond to His love in the way He provided, and that way is only through Christ, as He clearly said.
I also don't want to convert anyone, and have absolutely no power to do so. I am simply sharing my thoughts and beliefs like anyone else, and anyone's 'conversion' or not is completely between themselves and God.
How sad and typical that when one cannot or will not respond to reason, the only thing left is unfounded personal attacks.
You can call me a liar as you wish, but you are mistaken, and have no logical basis for such a presumptuous accusation. I personally believe I have much to learn, and possibly more so than some who claim they are sure that the Bible is unreliable and the God it portrays is like a mean old man.
You may say I am insulting, but it is you who has resorted to personal attacks without a cause. I have only commented on what the Bible says as well as my personal experience, so your problem seems to be with it, not with me.
I wish the best for you and everyone, but those who find my position unacceptable such as you can hopefully find it in themselves to be mature enough to agree to disagree, and not resort to unfounded personal attacks.
Even in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, there's some obvious questions that come up, particularly in the passages of things that happen before Jesus met John the Baptist. The gospels don't agree amongst themselves, and even less with the "apocryphal" books. I absolutely refuse to believe in the virgin birth. That is clearly stolen from other traditions and grafted onto the Christ story. That seems obvious.