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View Diary: Catholic Authority Based on a Forgery: The Donation of Constantine (40 comments)

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  •  Well this is no surprise in terms of (2+ / 0-)
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    chloris creator, Randomfactor

    the behavior of the Catholic Church, but the true "forgery" in history is the gospels, since "Jesus Christ" is a fiction.  The church knew it from the start. They worked tirelessly to "prove" the existence of "Jesus of Nazareth" and made sure that those within the church or its satellites were quieted when they said they believed the stories of his existence to be metaphorical or allegorical.  They knew that the gospel stories borrowed heavily from the pagan traditions and they wanted to elevate their mythologies above the pagan ones by claiming that the difference between Jesus and say.. Mithras... was that Jesus was real.

    So this Donation of Constantine is just another stick in the eyes of the world, and certainly more proof that you can only believe in the Christian explanation for the cosmos if you remain blinded by concocted mythology and the darkness of the Catholic church.

    •  Well, I did not want to go there (2+ / 0-)
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      OldDragon, LynChi

      But I view the whole set-up of "pay me while you're alive and I'll pay you after you're dead" to be one of the best scams ever perpetrated by human beings on human beings.

      There are things I like about churches and religions.  I like community, and music, and services, and thinking good thoughts.  I like meditation, too.

      by chloris creator on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 08:48:25 AM PDT

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      •  Plenty to like (1+ / 0-)
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        chloris creator

        when it's approached honestly.  Myths were originally understood on multiple levels, and complex social organizations dedicated to mutual assistance and enlightenment CAN be very useful.  Ossification of orthodoxies is not.  And as in all human structures, the more power accrues to the organization, the more attractive it becomes to those whose interest is primarily in power. Eventually, the most powerful organizations in the world will attract all of the VERY Worst People.  I don't necessarily believe that "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" with individuals. Individuals can buck the statistical trend.  But organizations?  No, absolute power (Sole SuperPower, One Church, World Empire) ALWAYS  yields an absolutely corrupt result when applied to social structures.

    •  Can you provide links to serious historical (0+ / 0-)

      scholars who take this position?

      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 02:55:51 PM PDT

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      •  Well, if you have the time (1+ / 0-)
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        chloris creator

        to read about the first five volumes of Will Durant's history of Civilization, you may find some of that info. in there.  I have read so many essays and papers by various scholars on the hisotry of the Catholic church or the history of Christianity that it would be impossible to list them all.

        However, a serious and well respected history, Richard Carrier, has not only written on this topic, but has a book coming out I think this fall On the Historicity of Jesus Christ.

        There is also some information on the fact that the early church bishops discussed how to convert pagans to Christ since his biography was so similar to many of the pagan gods, and the discussion came to the tactic of proving "evidence" that Jesus was a real entity.

        Over 40 writers and historians that lived in that area of the middle east and during the claimed time of his life wrote tons on what was going on, and not a single one of them mentioned this character called "Jesus Christ".  He was only written about starting about 40-50 years after his birth.  Just that fact alone has to give one pause.

        •  resurrection (1+ / 0-)
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          One connection that many people don't seem to make is resurrection.

          Many people think that it "started" with Jesus.  But not only were there stories about many Greek heroes who went down to the dead and came back (such as Heracles), and the mysteries of Persephone and Dionysus, there was an enormous industry in Egypt devoted to resurrection.

          by chloris creator on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 10:14:21 AM PDT

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        •  Durant is not a contemporary historian, and waving (0+ / 0-)

          at five volumes and saying, "Have at it!" is not a citation. As Carrier's book is not published I can't evaluate it. If the non-historicity of Jesus was widely accepted there would be abundant citations.

          Certainly there are some suggestive parallels to pagan stories but to leap from those to concluding that Jesus did not exist fails to note that all the first Christians were Jews - such extreme monotheists that many would rather die than worship pagan gods. To analogize from pagan myths is seriously ahistorical and misses the context.

          The letters of Paul were written less than 25 years after the death of Jesus, well within the lifetime of eyewitness, a number of whom Paul met and talked with. In Paul's letters are included that Jesus was a Jew, "born of the seed of David according to the flesh," had “brothers,” that is, blood relatives (1 Corinthians 9:5; Galatians 1:19), what happened at the Last Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23). Paul knew some of  Jesus' sayings, about the indissolubility of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:10 vs Mark 10:11-12) and the need for the community to provide for those who preach (1 Corinthians 9:14 vs Luke 10:7). Paul knew the traditions of the Last Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24-25 vs Luke 22:19-20), and that Jesus was crucified. Paul also included information about the circle of disciples with several names.

          All of these facts about Jesus' life are also in the letter to the Hebrews, which was written about the same time as Paul's letters but by a different person.

          Secular historians of the time did not written a life of Jesus but there are references to Christians beginning in the forties and the various references are largely consistent with the Christian sources (barring Talmud, unsurprisingly).

          There are multiple references in the NT canon that are difficult to explain under the mythological hypothesis. Bauckham has pointed out for example that the prevalence of Jewish first names in the gospels matches a database for Palestinian Jews of the first centuries BCE and BC (like Prudence living in Boston and Tammy Sue living in Dallas). It is very difficult to imagine a process of mythologizing happening half a century later with gentile authors half-way around the Mediterranean producing this.

          People disagree about the resurrection and what led to the accounts of it. Mass hysteria? Gross invention? Spiritual insights? The canonical account? And doubtless such disagreements will continue. But to claim that there was no such physical person as Jesus of Nazareth is not supported by historical thinking, and to be blunt it makes atheists look silly and credulous.

          Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

          by Wee Mama on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 06:22:59 AM PDT

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