The Jesus Doubt File
(Top Posts - Distance From Belief
in christianity - 022801, updated 032809)

For consideration of the likelihood that Jesus was a mythical
creation -or- an overly ambitious series of creative extrapo-
lations pertaining to a human who, if he even existed, had
neither divine nor extraordinary attributes anywhere near
those credited to him in the gospels, review the following ...

- - -

Q - The Hypothetical Gospel (PBS special: From Jesus to Christ)
  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/story/hypothetical.html  

More About Q and the Gospel of Thomas
  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/story/qthomas.html
Excerpt: "... The 'recovery' of the Q gospel has stimulated
a debate about the nature early Christian communities, and
by extension, the origins of Christianity itself.

One scholar, Burton Mack, has advanced a radical thesis:
that at least some Christian communities did not see Jesus
as a Messiah; they saw him as a teacher of wisdom, a man
who tried to teach others how to live. For them, Jesus was
not divine, but fully human.

These first followers of Jesus differed from other Christians
whose ritual and practice was centered on the death and the
resurrection of Jesus. Their did not emerge as the 'winners'
of history; perhaps because the maintaining the faith required
the existence of a story that included not only the life of Jesus
but also his Passion."

The Atlantic Monthly (Dec 1996) - Search for a No-Frills Jesus
  
http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/96dec/jesus/jesus.htm
Excerpt: "... according to a largely North American cadre of
biblical scholars that includes Mack, who in 1993 published
a book called The Lost Gospel containing his own Q rendition,
and James M. Robinson, the founder of the International Q
Project and a colleague of Mack's at Claremont, the teachings
of Jesus in Q hold the key to an understanding of Jesus that
is fundamentally non-Christian.

According to these scholars, the authors of Q did not view
Jesus as 'the Christ' (that is, as 'the anointed one,' the promised
Messiah), or as the redeemer who had atoned for their sins by
his crucifixion, or as the son of God who rose from the dead.

Instead, they say, Q's authors esteemed Jesus as simply a roving
sage who preached a life of possessionless wandering and full
acceptance of one's fellow human beings, no matter how dis-
reputable or marginal. In that respect, they say, he was a Jesus
for the America of the third millennium, a Jesus with little super-
natural baggage but much respect for cultural diversity. ..."

- - -

Jesus: Fact or Fiction?
  http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/robert_price/price-rankin/index.shtml

- - -

The following is excerpted from an article by pastor William
Edelen at
  http://secweb.infidels.org/?kiosk=articles&id=723

"There is a sin among a large segment of the Christian clergy that
I find despicable. It is the sin of omission, the sin of silence. It is
the sin of promoting falsehoods in order to hold your job. It is
the sin of not sharing with a congregation what you know to be
true about the bible and Christianity.

Those graduating in religious studies from every major university
in America, as well as every major theological seminary that is
independent of Christian financial pressure, know certain facts
to be true.

They know that:

1. The entire bible is saturated with common mythological themes,
from the creation and flood myth to virgin birth and resurrected
hero mythology.

2. The stories of the patriarchs in the Old Testament are known as
'temple legends' to enhance the history of the Hebrew people and
are mostly fictional.

3. The gospels were not written by anyone who knew Jesus
personally.

4. The 'Christ' myths and formulas are direct copies of Zoroastrian
myths adopted by the Jesus sect.

5. These facts, with others, have been known for years, and taught
by internationally respected scholars from major universities world
wide."

- - -
316 verses in the Quran which mention Jesus ...

  http://tinyurl.com/Jesus-Quran-verses
- - -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The gospel writers are unknown - see the follow-
ing Encyclopedia Britannica details for reference
(the following information was originally available
for free, without a subscription, but that may no
longer be the case [their policies are varying and
unpredictable], and you may have to subscribe or,
after an initial 'free' subscription, pay to access
the following):

The key words to look for here are "anonymous" and
"unknown" ...

- - -
  http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=119714&tocid=73435#73435.toc
- - -

Writer of Matthew

Excerpt: "... The Gospel According to Matthew - Matthew
is the first in order of the four canonical Gospels and is often
called the "ecclesiastical" Gospel, both because it was much
used for selections for pericopes for the church year and
because it deals to a great extent with the life and conduct
of the church and its members.

Matthew gave the frame, the basic shape and colour, to the
early church's picture of Jesus. Matthew used almost all of
Mark, upon which it is to a large extent structured, some
material peculiar only to Matthew, and sayings from Q as
they serve the needs of the church.

This Gospel expands and enhances the stark description
of Jesus from Mark. The fall of Jerusalem (AD 70) had
occurred, and this dates Matthew later than Mark, c. 70-80.

Although there is a Matthew named among the various lists
of Jesus' disciples, more telling is the fact that the name of
Levi, the tax collector who in Mark became a follower of
Jesus, in Matthew is changed to Matthew. It would appear
from this that Matthew was claiming apostolic authority for
his Gospel through this device but that the writer of Matthew
is probably anonymous. ..."

- - -
  http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=119714&tocid=73430
- - -

Writers of Matthew, Mark, and Luke

Excerpt: "The two-source hypothesis is predicated upon
the following observations: Matthew and Luke used Mark,
both for its narrative material as well as for the basic
structural outline of chronology of Jesus' life.

Matthew and Luke use a second source, which is called
Q (from German Quelle, "source"), not extant, for the
sayings (logia) found in common in both of them. Thus,
Mark and Q are the main components of Matthew and
Luke.

In both Matthew and Luke there is material that is peculiar
to each of their Gospels; this material is probably drawn
from some other sources, which may be designated M
(material found only in Matthew's special source) and L
(material found only in Luke's special source). This is
known as the four-document hypothesis, which was
elaborated in 1925 by B.H. Streeter, an English biblical
scholar.

The placement of Q material in Luke and Matthew
disagrees at certain points according to the needs
and theologies of the addressees of the gospels, but
in Matthew the Marcan chronology is the basic scheme
into which Q is put. Mark's order is kept, on the whole,
by Matthew and Luke, but, where it differs, at least one
agrees with Mark.

After chapter 4 in Matthew and Luke, not a single
passage from Q is in the same place. Q was a source
written in Greek as was Mark, which can be demon-
strated by word agreement (not possible, for example,
with a translation from Aramaic, although perhaps the
Greek has vestiges of Semitic structure form).

... Though the author of Mark is probably unknown,
authority is traditionally derived from a supposed
connection with the Apostle Peter, who had transmitted
the traditions before his martyr death under Nero's
persecution (c. 64-65). ...

- - -

Writer of Luke

Excerpt: "... Approximately one-third of Luke is from
Mark (about 60 percent of Mark); 20 percent of Luke
is derived from Q (sometimes arranged with parts of L).
Almost 50 percent is from Luke's special source (L),
especially the infancy narratives of John the Baptist and
Jesus, and parables peculiar to Luke (e.g., the prodigal
son, the good Samaritan, the rich fool). L material is
also interwoven into the Passion narrative.

While Matthew structured similar teaching materials in
his five discourses, Luke places them in an extensive
travel account that takes Jesus from Galilee to Judaea
via Jericho to Jerusalem. This is similar to the ways in
which Acts is structured on the principle of bringing
the word from Jerusalem to Rome (see below).

The author has been identified with Luke, "the beloved
physician," Paul's companion on his journeys, presumably
a Gentile (Col. 4:14 and 11; cf. II Tim. 4:11, Philem. 24).

There is no Papias fragment concerning Luke, and only
late-2nd-century traditions claim (somewhat ambiguously)
that Paul was the guarantor of Luke's Gospel traditions.

The Muratorian Canon refers to Luke, the physician,
Paul's companion; Irenaeus depicts Luke as a follower
of Paul's gospel. Eusebius has Luke as an Antiochene
physician who was with Paul in order to give the Gospel
apostolic authority.

References are often made to Luke's medical language,
but there is no evidence of such language beyond that
to which any educated Greek might have been exposed.

Of more import is the fact that in the writings of Luke
specifically Pauline ideas are significantly missing; while
Paul speaks of the death of Christ, Luke speaks rather of
the suffering, and there are other differing and discrepant
ideas on Law and eschatology.

In short, the author of this gospel remains unknown.

Luke can be dated c. 80. There is no conjecture about its
place of writing, except that it probably was outside of
Palestine because the writer had no accurate idea of its
geography. ..."

- - -
  http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=119714&tocid=73438
- - -

Writer of John

Excerpt: "... Irenaeus calls John the beloved disciple who
wrote the Gospel in Ephesus. Papias mentions John the
son of Zebedee, the disciple, as well as another John, the
presbyter, who might have been at Ephesus. From internal
evidence the Gospel was written by a beloved disciple
whose name is unknown.

Because both external and internal evidence are doubtful,
a working hypothesis is that John and the Johannine letters
were written and edited somewhere in the East (perhaps
Ephesus) as the product of a "school," or Johannine
circle, at the end of the 1st century. The addressees
were Gentile Christians, but there is accurate knowledge
and much reference to Palestine, which might be a
reflection of early Gospel tradition. ..."

---

So, unknown, anonymous, unknown, and unknown about
sum it up, with "Q" a definite unknown with no name.

- - -

As for the Writer of the Gospel of Thomas
  http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=109559&tocid=61916

The Coptic Gospel of Thomas (written in the 2nd century
by Gnostic Christians; i.e., heretical believers in esoteric,
dualistic doctrines), which was found in 1945 in Naj'
Hammadi (Egypt), is an example of such extracanonical
literature.

It contains 114 sayings of Jesus loosely strung together,
which have some points of contact with the sayings of
Jesus in the canonical Gospels. But this Gospel has no
earthly, historical contours in its account of Jesus (e.g.,
no accounts of the Passion and Easter).

As a bearer of heavenly revelation in this Gospel, Jesus
instructs the esoteric circle of his disciples about the
foreign world of matter that they must renounce in order
to participate in the imperishable, transcendent world of
light from which they originate. The Gospel of Thomas,
thus, is of no use as a source for the historical Jesus. ..."

- - -

Genealogies of Jesus from Matthew and Luke (David to Jesus)
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/gen_ml.html

Genealogies of Jesus from Matthew and 1 Chronicles
(From David to the Babylonian Captivity)
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/gen_mc.html

Those who are not with Jesus are against him.
Those who are not against Jesus are for him.
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/withme.html

If Jesus bears witness for himself, his witness will not be true.
Jesus bears witness for himself, yet his witness is true.
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/Jesus_witness.html

Jesus came to bring peace.
Jesus did not come to bring peace.
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/sword.html

There are some things that Jesus lacks the power to do.
Jesus is all-powerful.
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/power.html

Per the Old Testament, honor your parents.
Per the Jesus of the New Testament, disrespect and hate your parents.
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/parents.html

Jesus was silent in his trial before Pilate.
Jesus made lengthy speeches in his trial before Pilate.
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/speech.html

Both thieves reviled Jesus.
Only one thief reviled Jesus.
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/reviled.html

The disciples were frightened when they saw Jesus.
The disciples were gladdened when they saw Jesus.
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/frightened.html

Jesus judges everyone.
Jesus judges no one.
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/Judge_Jesus.html

It is possible to fall from grace.
It is not possible to fall from grace.
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/fall_from.html

Jesus said that he'd return before his disciples can
preach throughout Israel.
Jesus said that he'd return after the gospel
is preached throughout the world.
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/return.html

No, the gospel is not to be preached to the Gentiles and Samaritans.
Yes, the gospel is to be preached to everyone, including the Gentiles
and Samaritans.
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/samaritans.html

Christians must obey the laws of the Old Testament.
Christians are not bound by Old Testament laws.
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/otlaw.html

Humans are to serve God only.
Some humans must serve other humans.
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/serve.html

The true followers of Christ routinely perform the following
tricks: 1) cast out devils, 2)speak in tongues, 3) take up serpents,
4) drink poisons without harm, and 5) cure the sick by touching
them.
  http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/mk/16.html#17

---

Top Books/Videos: Christian Criticism
  http://prohuman.net/top_books_videos_christian_criticism.htm

---

The Jesus Puzzle. Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ?
Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus
by Earl J. Doherty
  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0968601405

Excerpt: "From the Back Cover

Why are the events of the Gospel story, and its central
character Jesus of Nazareth, not found in the New Testament
epistles?

Why does Paul's divine Christ seem to have no connection
to the Gospel Jesus, but closely resembles the many pagan
savior gods of the time who lived only in myth?

Why, given the spread of Christianity across the Roman
Empire in the first century, did only one Christian community
compose a story of Jesus' life and death-the Gospel of
Mark-while every other Gospel simply copied and reworked
the first one?

Why is every detail in the Gospel story of Jesus' trial and
crucifixion drawn from passages in the Old Testament?

The answer to these and other questions surrounding the
New Testament will come as a shock to those who imagine
that the origins of Christianity and the figure of Jesus are
securely represented by Christian tradition and the Gospels.

With the arrival of the third millennium, the time has come
to face the stunning realization that for the last 1900 years,
Christianity has revered a founder and icon of the faith who
probably never existed."

- - -

The Jesus Mysteries (092100)
  http://prohuman.net/history/jesus_mysteries.htm
"Preface : CNN posted information today,
9/21/00, which pertains to a controversial
subject, Jesus Christ, said subject having
stirred up emotions on all sides of the issue,
amongst disbelievers / doubters / believers. ..."

- - -

A few comments from yours truly ...

So, some questions regarding the New Testament ...

Who wrote the biblical gospel of John, for example?
We know not, we only know it was written in Greek.

Who told the mysterious writer(s) of John about what
Jesus said some 70 years or so before the mysterious
writer(s) of John wrote his/their document? Probably
religious folks influenced by other writings and faiths
of the time.

Certainly, the evidence points to the writer(s) of Mark,
another document written in Greek, as the originators
of the Jesus Christ spin on previous christ myths, as
well as the mysterious writers of the mysterious "Q"
document.

What did Jesus write? Nothing that we know of, giving
one pause to ponder if he really existed at all, being that
you'd think a son of god would be able-willing-ready to
pass on the knowledge of the mysterious other-world,
in this, his one sure shot at it, in an official written "holy"
document of major importance to humankind.

Were there a substantial number of other faiths (far earlier
than the Jesus Christ of the New Testamyth would have
had to exist) that had a son of god as part of their religion?

Yes.

Do Parts of the Bible Come From Pagan Mythology?
  http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa.htm

Key Excerpts:

"... Pagan spirituality in ancient times was composed of two
components:

o The Outer Mysteries consisted of Pagan beliefs and practices
which were widely disseminated and taught to the general public.
Knowledge of these has been preserved in historical records.

o The Inner Mysteries were revealed only to those who had
been initiated into the Pagan religions. The initiates learned that
Osiris-Dionysus was not a historical person. His legends were
simple 'spiritual allegories encoding spiritual teachings.'

---

Late in the 4th century CE, Christianity was established as the
state religion. Pagans were given the choice of converting to
Christianity, being exterminated or being exiled. Their temples
were either stolen for use as Christian churches, or destroyed.
Eventually, detailed knowledge of the inner mysteries was lost.

The core of the Outer and Inner mysteries was a mythical,
male entity who was part god and part human -- often referred
to as a 'godman.' The biographies of these godmen were
consistent from religion to religion. The main difference
among the faiths was his name ...

o Alexandria: Aion
o Asia Minor: Attis
o Babylonia: Antiochus
o Egypt: Osiris
o Greece: Dionysus, Asclepius
o Syria: Adonis
o Italy: Bacchus
o Persia: Mithras

These were viewed as mythical characters. There were also some
self-proclaimed godmen -- humans who actually lived on earth.

Two are:

o Samos, Italy: Pythagoras (569 to circa 475 BCE)
o Sicily: Empedocles (circa 450 to 390 BCE)

---

Osiris in Egypt may have been the first godman. His story has
been found recorded in pyramid texts which were written prior
to 2,500 BCE.

These saviors were truly interchangeable. Coins have been found
with Dionysus on one side and Mithras on the other. A person
who was initiated into one of the mysteries had no difficulty
switching to another Pagan mystery religion.

In the 3rd century CE, these godmen were referred to by the
composite name 'Osiris-Dionysus.' Authors Timothy Freke
and Peter Gandy have used this term in their book 'The Jesus
Mysteries.'

---

Life events shared by Osiris-Dionysus and Jesus:

The following stories appear both in the Gospels and in the
myths of many of the godmen:

Conception:

o God was his father. This was believed to be literally true
in the case of Osiris-Dionysus; their God came to earth and
engaged in sexual intercourse with a human. The father of
Jesus is God in the form of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18).

o A human woman, a virgin, was his mother.

Birth:

o He was born in a cave or cowshed. Luke 2:7 mentions that
Jesus was placed in a manger - an eating trough for animals.
An early Christian tradition said that the manger was in a cave.

o His birth was prophesized by a star in the heavens.

Ministry:

o At a marriage ceremony, he performed the miracle of converting
water into wine.

o He was powerless to perform miracles in his home town.

o His followers were born-again through baptism in water.

o He rode triumphantly into a city on a donkey. Tradition records
that the inhabitants waved palm leaves.

o He had 12 disciples.

o He was accused of licentious behavior.

Execution, resurrection, etc:

o He was killed near the time of the Vernal Equinox, about MAR-21.

o He died 'as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.'

o He was hung on a tree, stake, or cross.

o After death, he descended into hell.

o On the third day after his death, he returned to life.

o The cave where he was laid was visited by three of his female
followers.

o He later ascended to heaven.

His titles:

o God made flesh.

o Savior of the world.

o Son of God.

Beliefs about the Godman:

o He is 'God made man,' and equal to the Father.

o He will return in the last days.

o He will judge the human race at that time.

o Humans are separated from God by original sin. The
godman's sacrificial death reunites the believer with God
and atones for the original sin.

All of the Pagan myths had been circulating for centuries before
Jesus birth (circa 4 to 7 BCE). It is obvious that if any copying
occurred, it was the followers of Jesus incorporating into his
biography the myths and legends of Osiris-Dionysus, not
vice-versa.

---

Life events shared by Jesus and one other godman:

Some stories appear both in Jesus' biography and in the legends
of a single godman:

Mother's pregnancy:

o It was a common belief among early Christians that Mary was
pregnant for only seven months. This legend is preserved in the
Gospel of the Hebrews. Although this gospel was widely used
by early Christians, it was never accepted into the official canon.
Semele, mother of Dionysus, was also believed to have had
a 7 month pregnancy.

Virgin birth:

o Author William Harwood has written that Jesus' "equation
in Greek eyes with the resurrected savior-god Dionysus led
an interpolator to insert a virgin-birth myth into the gospel now
known as Matthew."

Birth Witnesses:

o The gospel of Matthew records that Jesus was visited by an
unknown number of wise men, called Magi.

- Freke & Gandy identify them as followers of the godman
Mithras from Persia.

- Most other sources believe that they were Zoroastrian priests
from Persia who were experts in astrology. There is a Zoroastrian
belief 'that a son of Zoroaster will be born many years after his
death by a virgin...This son will apparantly [sic] raise the dead
and crush the forces of evil. Later Christians got rather excited
about this apparant [sic] pagan prophecy of the coming of the
Messiah...'

o The gospel of Luke records that Jesus was visited by three
shepherds. Mithra the godman from Persia was also visited
shortly after birth by three shepherds.

o The magi brought gold, frankincense and myrrh. A Pagan
belief from the 6th century BCE states that these are the
precise materials to use when worshiping God.

Healing:

o Jesus is recorded throughout the gospels as healing the
sick and restoring the dead to life. So was Asclepius, a
Greek godman. Pagans and early Christians debated who
was the more effective healer.

Ministry:

o Jesus appeared as a wandering holy man who is later
transfigured in the presence of some of his disciples.
Dionysus was portrayed in the same manner in Euripides'
play The Bacchae, written in 410 BCE.

Miracles:

o Both Jesus and Empedocles were recorded as teaching
spiritual truths, curing illness, foretelling the future, controlling
the wind and rain, and raising people from the dead.

o Both Mithra and Jesus performed many healings of the sick
and mentally ill; both raised the dead.

o Mark, chapter 5 describes Jesus driving demons from a man
into a herd of about 2,000 pigs who rushed over a cliff and
drowned. In Eleusis, about 2,000 initiates would bathe in the
sea. Each had a young pig to which the believers' sins would
be transferred. The pigs were then chased over a chasm and
killed.

Fishing:

o John 21:11 records that Jesus performed a miracle which
enabled Simon Peter to catch exactly 153 fish. The Pagan
Pythagoras considered 153 a sacred number. The ratio of
153 to 265 was referred to by the Pagan Archimedes as
'the measure of the fish.' That ratio is used to generate
a fish-like shape using two circles. The sign of the fish
was used by the early Christians as their main symbol.

Arrest:

o Both celebrated a Last Supper with his 12 disciples
before his death.

o Dionysus is described in Euripides' play The Bacchae
as bringing a new religion to the people, being plotted
against by the leaders, being arrested and appearing
before the political ruler. Dionysus said to his captors
'You know not what you are doing..,'" almost replicating
Jesus' words at the cross. He was unjustly accused and
executed. All of these themes are seen in the Gospels.

Crucifixion & resurrection:

o An ancient Greek amulet has been preserved from the
3rd century CE. It shows a man being crucified on
a Roman cross. The caption reads 'Orpheus Bacchus'
one of the pseudonyms of Osiris-Dionysus. A photograph
can be seen at Amazon.com:
  http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0722536763.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

o Jesus' body was wrapped in linen and anointed with myrrh
and aloe. Osiris was also said to have been wrapped in linen
and anointed with myrrh.

Again, the godmen myths had been circulating well before
Jesus birth. The Christians would have copied earlier Pagan
material, not vice-versa.

---

... Freke & Gandy have concluded that the original, main
Christian movement was Gnostic Christianity.

They kept their inner mysteries secret, revealing them only
to those who have been initiated into the faith.

Some early non_Gnostic, 'literalist' Christians were unaware
of the inner mysteries of Gnosticism. They came to accept
the Gnostic outer mysteries and their myth of a godman
savior as an actual description of the historical Jesus. The
literalist Christians, being ignorant of the inner mysteries,
did not realize that the godman story was only a legend
about a mythical being. Decades later, literalist Christianity
became the dominant movement. They oppressed and
exterminated the Gnostics. ..."

- - -

When was the New Testament written? Note that
no documents were written during the period of
time the Jesus Christ as described in the gospels
would had to have lived. These date estimates
are assembled based on information from a table
on page 451 and from information on holy books
on pages 451 to 453 of "Webster's New World
Book of Facts":
  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0028634853

1. James ~ + 1,948 years ago

2. Galatians ~1,947 years ago

3. 1 Thessalonians ~1,950 to ~1,946 years ago
3. 2 Thessalonians ~1,950 to ~1,946 years ago

4. 1 Corinthians ~1,943 years ago
4. 2 Corinthians ~1,943 years ago

5. Philemon ~1,940 to ~1,938 years ago

6. Philippians ~1,937 years ago

7. 1 Timothy ~ + 1,936 years ago
7. 2 Timothy ~ + 1,936 years ago
7. Titus ~ + 1,936 years ago
7. 1 Peter ~ + 1,936 years ago
7. 2 Peter ~ + 1,936 years ago

8. Mark ~ + 1,930 years ago
8. Matthew ~ + 1,930 years ago

9. Luke ~1,930 to ~1,920 years ago
9. Acts ~1,930 to ~1,920 years ago
9. Jude ~1,925 to ~1,920 years ago

10. Hebrews ~1,920 to ~1,910 years ago

11. Revelation ~1,919 to ~1,904 years ago

12. John ~1,910 to ~1,900 years ago
12. 1 John ~1,910 to 1,900 years ago
12. 2 John ~1,910 to 1,900 years ago
12. 3 John ~1,910 to 1,900 years ago

13. Romans ~1,880 years ago

14. Ephesians ~1,860 years ago
14. Colossians ~1,860 years ago

- - -

The Other Jesus (Newsweek - March 27, 2000)

[article no longer available at the Newsweek web site; you
can, however, find it transcribed to other web sites or you
may purchase it via the Newsweek archives site]

Excerpt: "To Christians, Jesus is the Son of God. But the
world's other great religions have their own visions of a
legendary figure. ... the lack of extra-Biblical evidence for
the existence of Jesus has led more than one critic to
conclude that he is a Christian fiction created by the early
church. ... Christian persecution of the Jews made dialogue
about Jesus impossible in the Middle Ages ...

What Muslims believe about Jesus comes from the Qur'an-
not the New Testament, which they consider tainted by
human error. They also draw upon their own oral traditions ...
the infant Jesus announces that he is God's prophet, though
not God's son, since Allah is 'above having a son' according
to the Qur'an. ...

In India there is a strong tradition that the teenage Jesus
slipped away from his parents, journeyed across Southeast
Asia learning yogic meditation and returned home to become
a guru to the Jews ... To Hindus, India is the Holy Land, its
sacred mountains and rivers enlivened by more than 300,000
local deities. It is only natural, then, that Jesus would come
to India to learn the secrets of unlocking his own inherent
divinity. ...

The life stories of Jesus and the Buddha are strikingly similar ...
when Buddhists encounter Christianity they depersonalize
the Jesus who walked this earth and transform him into a
figure more like Buddha. ... He believed in sin, which is not
a Buddhist concept. Jesus did not teach compassion as
a way of removing bad karma, nor did he see life as a cycle
of death and rebirth. In short, says the Dalai Lama, trying
to meld Jesus into Buddha 'is like putting a yak's head on
a sheep's body.' It doesn't work. ..."

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I've posted a vast amount of evidence and theory
regarding the nature and causality of religion/belief
in imaginary beings that, taken together, as a whole,
constitutes proof beyond a reasonable doubt that
supernaturalism is a human-created superstition
mechanism, not an existentially validatable one
reflecting real beings/powers rather than manifes-
tations of the human imagination.

Here's more evidence to add to the case for
disbelief in and distance from treating imaginary
beings as if they are real ...

Freud, Sigmund
Religion, Civilization, and Discontents
  http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=117272&tocid=22608#22608.toc

Excerpt: "... Although many accounts of Freud's
development have discerned debts to one or
another aspect of his Jewish background, debts
Freud himself partly acknowledged, his avowed
position was deeply irreligious. As noted in the
account of Totem and Taboo, he always attributed
the belief in divinities ultimately to the displaced
worship of human ancestors. ...

In his 1907 essay ... 'Obsessive Actions and
Religious Practices' Freud had already contended
that obsessional neuroses are private religious
systems and religions themselves no more than
the obsessional neuroses of mankind.

Twenty years later, in ... 1927; The Future of an
Illusion, he elaborated this argument, adding that
belief in God is a mythic reproduction of the
universal state of infantile helplessness. Like an
idealized father, God is the projection of childish
wishes for an omnipotent protector. If children
can outgrow their dependence, he concluded with
cautious optimism, then humanity may also hope
to leave behind its immature heteronomy.

The simple Enlightenment faith underlying this
analysis quickly elicited critical comment, which
led to its modification. In an exchange of letters
with the French novelist Romain Rolland, Freud
came to acknowledge a more intractable source
of religious sentiment.

The opening section of his next speculative tract,
... 1930; Civilization and Its Discontents, was
devoted to what Rolland had dubbed the oceanic
feeling. Freud described it as a sense of indis-
soluble oneness with the universe, which mystics
in particular have celebrated as the fundamental
religious experience.

Its origin, Freud claimed, is nostalgia for the
pre-Oedipal infant's sense of unity with its mother.
Although still rooted in infantile helplessness,
religion thus derives to some extent from the
earliest stage of postnatal development.

Regressive longings for its restoration are possibly
stronger than those for a powerful father and thus
cannot be worked through by way of a collective
resolution of the Oedipus complex. ..."

---

Ritual
The Origin Approach
  http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=117412&tocid=66237#66237.toc

Excerpt: "The earliest approach was an attempt to
explain ritual, as well as religion, by means of a theory
concerned with historical origin. In most cases, this
theory also assumed an evolutionary hypothesis that
would explain the development of ritual behaviour
through history. ...

In the search for an origin of ritual, research turned
from the well-known literate cultures to those that
appeared to be less complex and preliterate. The use
of the terms primitive religion and primitive cultures
comes from this approach in seeking an answer to
the meaning of ritual, myth, and religion.

Various cultures and rituals were singled out, sacrifice
of either men or animals becoming one of the main
topics for speculation, though the exact motivation
or cause of sacrificial ritual was disputed among the
leading authors of the theory.

For W. Robertson Smith, a British biblical scholar
who first published his theory in the ninth edition of
Encyclopędia Britannica (1875-89), sacrifice was
motivated by the desire for communion between
members of a primitive group and their god.

The origin of ritual, therefore, was believed to be
found in totemic (animal symbolic clan) cults; and
totemism, for many authors, was thus believed to
be the earliest stage of religion and ritual. The
various stages of ritual development and evolution,
however, were never agreed upon.

Given this origin hypothesis, rituals of purification,
gift giving, piacular (expiatory) rites, and worship
were viewed as developments, or secondary stages,
of the original sacrificial ritual. The Christian Eucharist
(Holy Communion), along with contemporary banquets
and table etiquette, were explained as late developments
or traits that had their origin and meaning in the totemic
sacrifice. ..."

---

Bloody Sacrificial Salvation ... a primitive concept from
primitive and ancient cultures, with the one surviving icon
perpetuated to this day
  http://prohuman.net/history/bloody_sacrificial_salvation.htm

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A Surfeit of Jesuses! – But No "Jesus of Nazareth"
  http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/

- - -

Historical Jesus Summary : No Reliable Evidence
  http://groups-beta.google.com/group/alt.religion.christianity/msg/e640189b0537c139

- - -

What influences, other than the gospel and epistle writings,
impacted the origins and spread of christianity?

Greco-Roman Foundations For ...
the origins of Christianity
  http://prohuman.net/history/greco_roman_foundations_for.htm

Rome: Power & Glory
  http://prohuman.net/history/rome_power_and_glory.htm

Middle Eastern/Greek/Roman
Foundations For ... the origins
of Judaism and Christianity
  http://prohuman.net/history/mideast_greek_roman4.htm
  http://prohuman.net/history/mideast_greek_roman3.htm
  http://prohuman.net/history/mideast_greek_roman2.htm
  http://prohuman.net/history/mideast_greek_roman1.htm

Egyptian Foundations For ... concepts impacting
the development of philosophies within Judaism
and Christianity
  http://prohuman.net/history/egyptian_foundations_for.htm

Iranian Foundations For ... the origins of theological
concepts which impacted how humans perceived the
interactions between the spirit world and the real
world, with some of those concepts having an impact
on the development of Judaism and Christianity
  http://prohuman.net/history/iranian_foundations_for.htm

Mesopotamian Foundations For ... the origins of
Judaism, some of which led, eventually, to the origins
of Christianity
  http://prohuman.net/history/mesopotamian_foundations_for.htm

- - -

What happened after the Jesus Christ stories/religions
became entrenched in western culture?

Christian Church History
(022001)
  http://prohuman.net/history/christian_church_history.htm
"... I do think the Roman Catholic religion
is a disease of the mind which has a
particular epidemiology similar to that of
a virus... -Richard Dawkins ..."

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