Resurrection Debate – Question #1 From Vocab With Tim’s Response

Q1. Do you believe Jesus existed as a historical person? If so, what do you think we can know that’s historically probable about him? Why do you think this?

A1. I don’t really think we have enough evidence either way. The arguments for and against are equally convincing to me, but I don’t think it’s important. The Christianity we have came from traditions and theologies from the early Christians and those ideas are the ones that matter, historically. Nobody knows exactly who the earliest Christians were – the history is simply lost. But the ideas attributed to Jesus were, and still are, hugely influential. That is the main thing, which I could wish Christians could focus on. The ideas are in no way devalued by conceding that the person who said them might not have been an all-powerful God.

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About Kazz

My name is Shawn Esplin and I am an advocate of Free Thought and general good sense and thought in general. To that end, I encourage people to seriously question the things that they have been taught, especially as children, because many of these things - religious and secular - are taken on faith until we actively choose to seriously examine them for ourselves.

2 thoughts on “Resurrection Debate – Question #1 From Vocab With Tim’s Response

  1. I do agree with Tim in the wish that people would focus on the positive aspects of their religion, taking more of the good side of Jesus and using those ideas to make the world a better place for all of us, but I disagree about the importance of knowing whether or not Jesus was a real person, and if he was, whether or not he was also an all-powerful god.

    Those things don’t really have to matter. I don’t know as much as I would like to about Buddhism, but I have found some important and meaningful teachings in it, and not a single one of them is changed if the supposed Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, existed as anything more than human, or even as a human being. In fact, the teachings attributed to him specifically state that those things are irrelevant.

    Whether real or fictional, he was a teacher, and that is the important part. Anyone can learn from the teachings, can consider them and test whether or not they are effective and whether or not they make sense, and the whole question of his existence is fairly meaningless.

    The teachings of Jesus could be taken the same way, except that according to the books generally accepted in Christianity today, the existence and godhood of Jesus are not just important, but of paramount importance.

    That means that rather than being able to take “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” on its own, as we can take “A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”, Christians must put Jesus above that – above everything – and with the addition of the Christian tradition which says that their bible is an accurate account of the words and deeds of their god Jesus, who they also believe is the same god depicted in earlier Jewish writings, they must also accept all of the other things in the bible, good and bad.

    If we don’t believe in Jesus as supernatural, then his existence becomes not much more significant than that of the Buddha, and we can take the good teachings of Jesus without the hateful and horrible ones. If we accept him as the one true god, then we no longer have that option. We are stuck with the whole misshapen, warty package. To me, that is quite significant.

  2. Kazz –

    Historians of comparative religions agree with you that it is relatively inconsequential to Buddhism whether the Buddha lived or not.

    However, the same does not go for Jesus, for Christianity is often understood as a ‘historical religion.’ When secular scholars use this term, they are not saying they automatically agree that everything in the Bible is historical but rather that Christianity is a religion rooted in an an actual historical person – not just in a floating body of logia.

    Kazz said, “If we accept him as the one true god, then we no longer have that option. We are stuck with the whole misshapen, warty package. To me, that is quite significant.”

    Again, we agree: if Jesus is the one true God-Man, then we don’t have the option to pick-and-choose from his teaching. That is really the whole point of this debate, for if Jesus *was* raised from the dead, then surely his claims to deity are vindicated. I hold that the resurrection obtains historically and therefore we are “stuck” with the “whole … package.”


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