Freedom from Religion Foundation Lecture by Bart Ehrman

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    Aug 19, 2014 2:41 AM GMT
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    Aug 19, 2014 3:30 AM GMT
    Sorry, I'm 7 minutes into this and my orientation is yelling a big grumble. My Ancient Roman orientation is the Roman imposition that you bless the state, you bless the emperor. You express goodwill and cooperation to the state and you express goodwill and cooperation to the emperor. Why? Because a state is a fragile thing. The Republic fell. The Empire rose. Emperors were assassinated, went crazy, etc. The Empire fell.

    So, it's like you're jumping to an irresponsible conclusion.

    Bart Ehrman:
    Freedom from religion does not mean opposing religion.
    Freedom from religion means opposing the imposition of someone else's religion on us.

    StephenOABC:
    But, we do not have Julius Caesar's nephew in D.C. We do not have a fallen Republic raised to greatness by Augustus; Augustus who set the direction for the Roman Empire's imperial cult, and as a result, Rome arguably was not a secular state.

    Before I agree with you, the question must be posed: would you have wanted freedom from religion in the religious pluralism of Ancient Roman territory first century B.C.E. and first century C.E., Judea or anywhere else?

    Was Rome a good influence, religiously, upon the areas it influenced?
    Do you disagree with Paul, Dr. Ehrman?

    Judaism did offer sacrifices for the emperor. When it stopped, the Jewish Revolt was on.

    So, you're a proponent of religious isolationism--putting religion in a closet, a bathroom, closed-door activity? Once people get together and really talk this through, we can agree on the lowest common denominators:

    God is impersonal therefore persons need not interact with an impersonal God.
    Problem: people will awe at the Grand Canyon, an impersonal object.

    God is the Sun and the operation of its Solar System, provider of day and night. The Sun grounds us--keeping us from floating out into the Milky Way.

    Some will say, this sets us back to Constantine's pre-Christian Sol Invictus and possibly to Akhen-aten's Power behind the Sun.

    God is Authority and the ideal of Good Authority is partially how God gets personified.
    Problem: assigning the attribute of authority to God is not a lowest common denominator of God. Authority is subject to interpretation.

    In conclusion, if one takes the stance of Augustus, Tiberius, Nero, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, does your case really hold up against these? Would you be a Jewish zealot, rebel/bandit on this issue?

    After applying your answer to the times of the emperors, we can see if your answer can apply to our current case.

    Thank you.
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    Aug 21, 2014 2:39 AM GMT
    Finished watching.

    Jesus is God in the gospel of John, not so much in the Synoptics was thought-provoking. It, to me, shows a contradiction in the New Testament.

    I would go further and say Jesus is not so much God in the Acts of the Apostles.

    As you mentioned months ago, Jesus becomes God in the works of Paul.

    "A religion needs a god: Jesus had to become God." This helps separate Christianity from Judaism.

    For Jesus to have existed with God, one should ask where was Jesus when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.

    Sorry, I don't see Jesus as God. Jesus may be a third of a trinity, Jesus may be Lord, with authority over some areas. Jesus is a little light on his Heavenly Father being the Creator. His Father-God is a personification of "Life will work out, so, don't concern yourself with what will you wear, what will you eat, you have enough problems for today." Yes, the Earth was a place of abundant resources. When famine came to Judea, Prince-to-King Izates and Queen Helena fed the people, don't worry. (We can say Prince and King Izates because he was a king of a small kingdom.) Yes, I can hear King Izates-Jesus speaking to the people as he fed them.

    You can say Jesus became God but what was the quality of that notion of God? What is the quality of the claim? Jesus could have talked Adam & Eve out of the Fall. All Jesus had to do was tell Adam and Eve to say, "Get behind me Satan" (and, "I'm not yielding to your temptation" or "lead us, Adam & Eve, not into temptation."

    So, you've helped me see a major flaw in the Gospel of John.
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    Aug 21, 2014 2:45 AM GMT
    Freedom from religion means not being considered a social outcast for not believing in fairytales.
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    Aug 21, 2014 4:04 AM GMT
    Ehrman's a douche.

    LASTNIGHTISAWABUNDANCEONTHETABLE
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    Aug 22, 2014 2:36 AM GMT
    Jack_NNJ saidEhrman's a douche.

    LASTNIGHTISAWABUNDANCEONTHETABLE


    JackAss_NNJ, Would you like to use actual words to express yourself?
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    Aug 22, 2014 12:42 PM GMT
    "Jack_NNJ said
    Ehrman's a douche


    WOW! What words of wisdom.
    I guess that's why they're called 'wiseguys' in NJ.

    Very interesting speech. He couldn't have described my position on religion any better. Nice to know that the way I think is more in tune with a scholarly assessment of religion than with blind belief in a 'handbook' of legendary tales, questionably translated multiple times and available in multiple versions.
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    Aug 24, 2014 4:19 PM GMT
    StephenOABC

    “A religion needs a god: Jesus had to become God.” This helps separate Christianity from Judaism.


    A blogger

    Did Jesus indicate he needed a religion?



    # # #

    StephenOABC

    "For Jesus to have existed with God, one should ask where was Jesus when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac."


    A blogger

    Why?


    StephenOABC

    "His Father-God is a personification of 'Life will work out, so, don’t concern yourself with what will you wear, what will you eat, you have enough problems for today.'”


    A blogger

    Do you see a problem?


    / / / / / Response:

    Did Jesus indicate he needed a new religion? It seems he indicated it to Paul and he indicated it to James who allowed Gentiles some leeway with respect to religious customs of Judaism.

    It's almost irrelevant whether or not Jesus indicated he needed a religion.

    1) Remember or read The Grand Inquisitor by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

    2) Jesus' own succession plan failed. He did not need a religion if the Jewish people would have supported him in the first incarnation/coronation as Son of Man of the Kingdom of Heaven/Righteousness with Star Prophecy as harbinger. So, Titus fulfilled the prophecies of the Son of Man, then, he became Emperor, and you might as well say when he died, he was deified like his father and now sits at the right hand of his deified father, Vespasian.

    The irrelevancy. If Jesus's Son of Man movement had succeeded, there would have been no need for him to start a new religion because Judaism would have been fulfilled and victorious. People would have come. Judaism would have grown had it delivered on Jesus' promise of a kingdom of righteousness.

    As for how can we see Jesus factoring into God asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac,

    (will respond later; ditto on the third point)

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    Aug 25, 2014 2:12 AM GMT
    StephenOABC said

    StephenOABC

    "For Jesus to have existed with God, one should ask where was Jesus when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac."


    A blogger

    Why?




    John 8:58 (Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.)

    Well, either Jesus would have allowed God's will to be done and he could find another garden where he could agonize over this or his "Good Father" notion of God would have created a different test of Abraham's loyalty.

    according to Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz (Chief Rabbi of the British Empire), child sacrifice was actually "rife among the Semitic peoples," and suggests that "in that age, it was astounding that Abraham's God should have interposed to prevent the sacrifice, not that He should have asked for it." Hertz interprets the Akedah as demonstrating to the Jews that human sacrifice is abhorrent. "Unlike the cruel heathen deities, it was the spiritual surrender alone that God required." In Jeremiah 32:35, God states that the later Israelite practice of child sacrifice to the deity Molech "had [never] entered My mind that they should do this abomination." - Binding of Isaac in Wikipedia

    Hm, It's certainly in Genesis. God denies?! in Jeremiah. It comes back to mind in the first century with the Father and Son of the gospels. It comes back when God allows the food supply for Jews to be destroyed and some of the people started eating any and everything, including the food of cannibalism (see Cannibal Mary, an account in Josephus' Wars of the Jews).

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    Aug 25, 2014 2:19 AM GMT
    StephenOABC

    "His Father-God is a personification of 'Life will work out, so, don’t concern yourself with what will you wear, what will you eat, you have enough problems for today.'”


    A blogger

    Do you see a problem?


    StephenOABC

    Some people who follow this become victims and they do not rise to the top to enforce this idyll for all.
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    Aug 27, 2014 2:04 AM GMT
    A blogger: Jesus existed?

    Steefen: They certainly did. Jesus is a number of historical persons crafted with much care into a biblical Jesus--even the Homeric Epics were used to craft the Biblical Jesus.

    Bart Ehrman says there are multiple attestations of Jesus.

    One of the leading Jesuses of the historical Jesus group is King Izates who:

    1) was an "only begotten son"
    2) fed 5,000 a number of times during the famine of approximately 47 B.C.E.
    3) had a royal blood line who wore crowns of thorns
    4) had a father who appears in the teachings of Jesus, Matthew 6: 19-20 (See: The Greatest Bible Study in Historical Accuracy: Insights on the Exodus, King David, the 23rd Psalm, Jesus and Paul, 1st Edition, by Steefen, ps 126-128.)

    So, you are in error when you write: "He was history when Paul came along, wasn’t he?"
  • metta

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    Aug 27, 2014 7:40 PM GMT
    Interesting interview...still watching it. icon_smile.gif

    5 Reasons to Suspect Jesus Never Existed

    A growing number of scholars are openly questioning or actively arguing against whether Jesus lived.



    Most antiquities scholars think that the New Testament gospels are “mythologized history.” In other words, they think that around the start of the first century a controversial Jewish rabbi named Yeshua ben Yosef gathered a following and his life and teachings provided the seed that grew into Christianity.




    http://www.alternet.org/belief/5-reasons-suspect-jesus-never-existed
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    Aug 28, 2014 1:24 AM GMT
    prestonp, I forgot to put an important reason for putting King Izates at the top of the historical Jesuses list; so point 3 becomes 3a and the reason I'm adding to make the list complete is 3b below. I'm also adding an additional reason, 3c.

    1) was an “only begotten son”
    2) fed 5,000 a number of times during the famine of approximately 47 B.C.E.

    3a) had a royal blood line who wore crowns of thorns
    3b) some of the kings wearing crowns of thorns had the name Manu.

    Jesus is Em-manu-el which seems to mean With the Manu line of kings--who converted to Judaism with Queen Helena and following the example of Queen Helena and King Izates--is God. It does not mean With Us is God.

    3c) in my book, I make an issue about Jesus grilling the pharisees: Is it not written in YOUR law... as opposed to, Is it not written in OUR law. For me, Jesus is phrasing as Queen Helena or King Izates would question a Jewish authority. We are not Jews, we are proselytes. For me, it is also Roman writers of a pro-Roman composite Jesus questioning Judaism. More important and very important: Queen Helena's palace would seem to obligate her and sons to have some sort of understanding with Rome when it came to paying taxes. So, when Jesus is questioned by enemies trying to entrap him to tell Jews not to pay taxes to Caesar, the Queen Helena royal family would have a politically correct response. Queen Helena (see http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/helene-queen-of-adiabene) had to co-exist under Roman authority of the region. Did her family get a tax break for the famine relief that year? It probably could have been negotiated or could have been an item to hold against the Romans; for, we know her family tree fought against the Romans during the Jewish Revolt.

    Mark 8: 18 "Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? ..."

    4) had a father who appears in the teachings of Jesus, Matthew 6: 19-20 (See: The Greatest Bible Study in Historical Accuracy: Insights on the Exodus, King David, the 23rd Psalm, Jesus and Paul, 1st Edition, by Steefen, ps 126-128.)

    Matthew 6: 19-21 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
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    Aug 28, 2014 1:33 AM GMT
    metta8 saidInteresting interview...still watching it. icon_smile.gif

    5 Reasons to Suspect Jesus Never Existed

    A growing number of scholars are openly questioning or actively arguing against whether Jesus lived.



    Most antiquities scholars think that the New Testament gospels are “mythologized history.” In other words, they think that around the start of the first century a controversial Jewish rabbi named Yeshua ben Yosef gathered a following and his life and teachings provided the seed that grew into Christianity.




    http://www.alternet.org/belief/5-reasons-suspect-jesus-never-existed


    Re: #4
    The gospels are not our only account of the historical Jesus. You can see the book, Jesus Outside of the New Testament by Van Voorst. You can also see the book Jesus in the Talmud by Peter Schafer and my 3-star review of it on amazon.
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    Aug 30, 2014 5:00 PM GMT
    Metta8,

    If you get to the end of the lecture, you will hear the professor make a case that Jesus did exist.

    I would like to add something from my own thoughts and readings.

    Christ Jesus can be understood as terms as opposed to a singular person. Christ would mean Messiah. Jesus would mean Savior or God Saves. Three historians claim Emperor Vespasian

    Vespasianus01_pushkin_edit.png

    was Christ Jesus because he was the leader promised in the Star Prophecy. Those historians were Josephus, Suetonius, and Tacitus.
  • metta

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    Aug 30, 2014 5:41 PM GMT
    Yes, I realize that about Ehrman. The article I posted mentions Ehrman as well as others. The not believing that Jesus existed was not Ehrman's opinion....quite the opposite.
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    Aug 30, 2014 7:03 PM GMT
    metta8 saidYes, I realize that about Ehrman. The article I posted mentions Ehrman as well as others. The not believing that Jesus existed was not Ehrman's opinion....quite the opposite.


    We know that's not Ehrman's opinion: He wrote a book in the last 5 years, "Did Jesus Exist?" in which his position is Jesus did exist.

    The article you posted has the position Jesus did not exist.

    So, what is your position on Jesus and the historical Jesuses? Are we in agreement that Jesus did not exist is false?
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    Aug 30, 2014 7:05 PM GMT
    Jesus did not exist is false because, first, we have King Izates; second, we have Emperor Vespasian, third, we have the Woe-saying Jesus.

    Yes, there are mythological elements and non-mythological, fictional elements to the biblical Jesus.
  • metta

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    Aug 31, 2014 1:38 AM GMT
    StephenOABC said
    metta8 saidYes, I realize that about Ehrman. The article I posted mentions Ehrman as well as others. The not believing that Jesus existed was not Ehrman's opinion....quite the opposite.


    We know that's not Ehrman's opinion: He wrote a book in the last 5 years, "Did Jesus Exist?" in which his position is Jesus did exist.

    The article you posted has the position Jesus did not exist.

    So, what is your position on Jesus and the historical Jesuses? Are we in agreement that Jesus did not exist is false?


    I don't know if he existed or not. And if he did exist, in what capacity? I have read different opinions, including that we are all sons of God. But again, they are just opinions. Without scientific proof to back it up, I will just say 'I don't know.' I'm not religious so it does not matter to me as much as it would with someone the is religious. When religion is used for good, I will support that. When it is used for bad, I will not. But neither will make me a believer without scientific proof.
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    Aug 31, 2014 2:00 PM GMT
    StephenOABC:

    So, what is your position on Jesus and the historical Jesuses? Are we in agreement that Jesus did not exist is false?

    metta8:

    I don't know if he existed or not.


    StephenOABC:

    That's dishonest. Historians, scholars, writers agree there was at least one historical Jesus, not existing as described in the Bible, for the Bible was not written to be a purely non-fiction book.

    So, the Jesus who has a mission from age 30-33 (Bible's version) has weak historical proof because its source isn't even historical, it is writing for another purpose.

    The Jesuses I mentioned above have more historical and scientific-archaeological proof.

    I've given you the scientific proof of Christ Jesus as Emperor Vespasian existing. No one denies Emperor Vespasian existed.

    The biblical Jesus and Emperor Vespasian are tied to the Star of Bethlehem/Star Prophecy. Here's an article about the scientific (astronomical) event:

    http://www.science20.com/news_articles/astronomers_explanation_star_bethlehem


    metta8

    And if he did exist, in what capacity?


    StephenOABC:

    Already explained above. His capacities were as 1) King Izates, son of Queen Helena. We have scientific-archaeological evidence of Queen Helena; 2) Emperor Vespasian. We have historical and scientific-archaeological evidence of Emperor Vespasian.


    metta8

    I have read different opinions, including that we are all sons of God. But again, they are just opinions. Without scientific proof to back it up, I will just say 'I don't know.'


    StephenOABC:

    Scientific proof of the two people who are now known as Christ Jesus (Messiah-Savior), King Izates and Emperor Vespasian, have been presented in this thread.


    metta8:

    I'm not religious so it does not matter to me as much as it would with someone that is religious.


    StephenOABC:

    This isn't just a religious issue. It matters in World History / World Civilization studies.


    metta8:

    But neither (religion used for good or bad) will make me a believer without scientific proof.


    StephenOABC:

    I'm not discussing this with you from a religious perspective but from a History / World History perspective and the facts in the contents of western civilization.

    I don't have a major problem in using scientific proof for historical claims but History isn't practiced that way: Give me scientific proof of a historical claim. Where is the scientific proof that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon? Where is the scientific proof for everything that appears in the biography of Constantine or Abraham Lincoln?
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    Aug 31, 2014 2:03 PM GMT
    a blog poster at Ehrman's blog:

    Most everyone agrees that there are huge differences between religion and spirituality. Anyone can claim to be speaking for god or jesus and many have. They do so in vain. They use his name to do all kinds of good and evil things and they are con-artists. Focusing on them or their institutions/churches is a choice and many choose it. Some are sure that that god and their words and actions are one. Some enjoy that perspective because it offers justification not to concentrate on the divine.

    This guy jesus is quoted as saying that god is spirit. He supposedly added, if anybody wants to hang out with this spirit, it is accomplished through spirit. The guy who was rescued at the last split second? wasn’t baptized, did no good works, didn’t repent of anything, never tithed, never quit drinking or lusting after babes. He did express a thought: He don’t deserve this. We do. He don’t.

    Instead of being “biblically correct”, jesus made a bizarre statement. Pal, this very day you and I will hang out in heaven together. (Wasn’t he supposed to wait a few days?) Some kind of connection sparked between them, spirit to spirit.
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    Aug 31, 2014 2:05 PM GMT
    My response:

    You’re missing important ingredients.

    It wasn’t just that he thought Jesus did not deserve to be crucified but also:

    1) he had a fear of God when he asked the other crucified man, “Don’t you even fear God?”

    2) he told Jesus he had faith in Jesus’s kingdom. Jesus appreciated that. (Jesus: I agonized in the Garden of Gethsemene, I gave my life for the kingdom of righteousness.) That was the connection sparked, spirit to spirit. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for having faith in me after I asked my own father, "Why have you forsaken me?"
  • roadbikeRob

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    Aug 31, 2014 5:57 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidFreedom from religion means not being considered a social outcast for not believing in fairytales.
    Thank you. +1
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    Sep 01, 2014 5:20 PM GMT
    roadbikeRob said
    paulflexes saidFreedom from religion means not being considered a social outcast for not believing in fairytales.
    Thank you. +1


    There is much more to religion than fairytales, and for that reason people choose with whom they wish to associate.
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    Sep 01, 2014 7:11 PM GMT
    Bart Ehrman:

    We don’t have any ancient historians who claim that Christ was Vespasian.

    StephenOABC:

    The “Star Prophecy” (or Star and Scepter prophecy) is a Messianic reading applied by radical Jews and early Christians to Numbers 24:17. The Star Prophecy was applied to the coming Messiah himself in contemporary radical Jewish documents, such as the apocalyptic War Scroll found at Qumran.

    Now for the Ancient Historians who claimed Christ was Vespasian, Josephus, Suetonius, and Tacitus:

    [Vespasian] had not arrived at the government without Divine Providence, but a righteous kind of fate had brought the empire under his power. Josephus War of the Jews 4, 10, 622

    But what more than all else incited them to the war was an ambiguous oracle also found in their sacred writings, that ‘At about that time, one from their country would become ruler of the habitable world.’ This they took to mean one of their own people and many of the wise men were misled in their interpretation. This oracle, however, in reality, signified the government of Vespasian, who was proclaimed emperor while in Judea. – Josephus Wars VI, 312-313.

    There had spread over all the Orient an old and established belief that it was fated for men coming from Judea to rule the world. This prediction, referring to the emperor of Rome–as afterwards appeared from the event–the people of Judea took to themselves. – Suetonius, Life of Vespasian, 4-5

    The majority [of the Jews] were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judea would go forth men destined to rule the world. This mysterious prophecy really referred to Vespasian and Titus, but the common people, true to the selfish ambitions of mankind, thought that this exalted destiny was reserved for them and not even their calamities opened their eyes to the truth. – Tacitus, Histories, 5.13

    Vespasian saved us from militant, zealous, messianic rebel Jews just as today we need to be saved from militant, zealous, rebels of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria committing genocide against Christians, beheading adults and children. (NPR transcript: http://wmra.org/post/spectacle-beheading-grisly-act-long-history )

    For people to miss the assignment of the Star Prophecy by three historians away from Jesus to Vespasian and Titus is to miss the historically accurate picture of Christianity in Antiquity. Jesus is assigned the title of Messiah as Roman propaganda to appease messiah loving zealots but corrupting the love for a militant messiah for a pacifist messiah. Josephus saw Vespasian and Titus as doing the work of the Messiah of God.