Skeptics Sunday School:

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Skeptics Sunday School:

Post  Admin on Wed Sep 09, 2009 3:55 pm

A topic you'd like to hear us on Skeptic Sunday School --
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Re: Skeptics Sunday School:

Post  MisterChristopher on Thu Sep 10, 2009 12:18 pm

Bare with me on this, because I'm not sure how well I can articulate it. We'll just say this is some bible theory, nothing but pure unbacked speculation (but still interesting for me to think about) on my end.
Lets assume Jesus was in fact a person, his divinity is still questionable at best, but the Jesus of the bible to some extent, existed. Lets assume that the outlandish miracles didn't happen (walking water, water wine, healing the sick, etc, unless they were done by the means magicians and faith healers perform them today, but that's a whole other tangent), however one aspect did happen: The Resurrection. However, the bible writes what happens in massive hyperbole (not that it doesn't already I'm sure...). Perhaps he wasn't dead when he supposedly rose from the grave. Perhaps he fainted on the cross, was let down, and was then prematurely put in his tomb, thus making him awakening and leaving the tomb. This screws the pooch on his divinity, but perhaps apologists can at least argue "well, it DID HAPPEN!!"
Any thoughts? Oh, and thanks RD group for giving me a place for a random thought like this
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Re: Skeptics Sunday School:

Post  Momma Heathen on Thu Sep 10, 2009 1:29 pm

MisterChristopher wrote:Bare with me on this, because I'm not sure how well I can articulate it. We'll just say this is some bible theory, nothing but pure unbacked speculation (but still interesting for me to think about) on my end.
Lets assume Jesus was in fact a person, his divinity is still questionable at best, but the Jesus of the bible to some extent, existed. Lets assume that the outlandish miracles didn't happen (walking water, water wine, healing the sick, etc, unless they were done by the means magicians and faith healers perform them today, but that's a whole other tangent), however one aspect did happen: The Resurrection. However, the bible writes what happens in massive hyperbole (not that it doesn't already I'm sure...). Perhaps he wasn't dead when he supposedly rose from the grave. Perhaps he fainted on the cross, was let down, and was then prematurely put in his tomb, thus making him awakening and leaving the tomb. This screws the pooch on his divinity, but perhaps apologists can at least argue "well, it DID HAPPEN!!"
Any thoughts? Oh, and thanks RD group for giving me a place for a random thought like this

Definitely an interesting thought.

However, there would have to be a method of determining whether someone was dead or simply passed out. I would think that if he was merely pronounced dead and buried without any type of evaluation, that it would also be happening to others. Because of that lack of attention to detail, there would be other men 'rising from the dead' during that time, not just Jesus. I suppose it could be said that because of all of the other 'fantastic' events that supposedly surrounded Jesus' birth, life, and death that his supposed rising from the grave would seem extraordinary.
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Re: Skeptics Sunday School:

Post  Stegocephalian on Thu Sep 10, 2009 1:43 pm

Well, I guess that is a possibility, but the thing is that there really isn't any good evidence to judge it one way or the other - personally, I would be inclined to think that probably there existed an apocalyptic preacher named Jesus, who may have even said some of the things attributed to him, but the miracle stories and the resurrection are overwhelmingly likely to be myths.

Whether he was burried before actually dying, and then woke up in his tomb.... well, with no evidence to suggest this scenario, I have to go with with Occam's Razor and consider the simpler option more probable. I don't think it very probable that someone would have been mistaken for dead, taken off the cross and burried before they were actually dead, and nevertheless still were in a condition that they would be able to recover to a degree that they could walk away from their tomb. On the other hand, we do know that stories of miracles arise very easily among people inclined to believe in them, without anything miraculous needing to happen. We do know how easily and quickly myths arise.

Even in our modern age, there are devoted Elvis fans who refuse to believe that he actually died - it's not a stretch to think that without the benefit of modern media and communication that imposes some limits on what claims are credible, there might have been born, and spread, a myth around him that would have rivalled the Jesus myth. And it's not been much more than thirty years since he died. Imagine the sort of myth those few "Elvis didn't die" believers could have sparked and spread in that time, in a pre-industrial society.
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Non-Anaheim Angels

Post  minus on Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:40 pm

Admin wrote:A topic you'd like to hear us on Skeptic Sunday School --

Here’s a bible topic I would like to hear discussed. I raise this because, on your last show, one of your panelists mentioned their interest in mythology. I too am fascinated by mythology and interested in the way myths circulate and reappear in different cultures.

We often hear the Judaic tradition extolled as the source of monotheism, as if that was some kind of great leap forward (fail). But, looking more closely at the old testament, it really looks a lot more like some of the older traditions, such as the Sumerian. (I find the Sumerian legends very appealing and much warmer and nicer than the Judaic, but that’s just an aside.) For example, we are all familiar with the flood story and it precedents.

I would like to put forward the suggestion that, rather than one god, there is actually a pantheon in the old testament, not unlike the Sumerian.

You have this one head god, whose name shall not be spoken, who decides everything, but who never actually does anything or appears. Whenever he wants something done he sends one of his “angels” to do it. Who the heck are these angels, anyway? Immortal messengers flying around doing stuff for god? Hmm, they appear very similar to the minor gods of the Sumerian myths whom Gilgamesh described as buzzing around the sacrificial food offerings like of bunch of flies. Could these Sumerian minor gods have been morphed into the angels of the OT?

And then there were the giants. Sounds very much like a lot of myths populated by giants, unicorns etc.

So anyway, I am no scholar, but would love to hear a discussion of the angels and other mythological creatures in the OT and how they relate to the other Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Greek mythical creatures.

P.S. I have not listened to your entire archives. I hope I am not raising something which has already been discussed.

P.P.S. Great show!

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Re: Skeptics Sunday School:

Post  Nicholas on Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:58 am

I don't remember an episode on Judaic Henotheism, either. I think I recall them mentioning it here and there, but never a full episode. Or at least I think I recall something. Maybe it was just running through my head when I was listening to one of their shows.

Anyway, I'd love a show about the influence of pre-Christian religions in general, Sumerian or otherwise.
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Re: Skeptics Sunday School:

Post  Neon Genesis on Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:28 pm

Snice we had the interview with Robert Price this week who's an ex-Jesus Seminar scholar, I think it would be interesting if there was a Skeptic's Sunday School on the Jesus Seminar, like on the pros and cons of it. I would be interested in hearing what secular criticisms of the Jesus Seminar there are out there since it seems like to me that most of the criticism comes from fundamentalists who spend more time accusing the Jesus Seminar of being false Christains than on actually criticisizing their arguments.

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Re: Skeptics Sunday School:

Post  jgrow2 on Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:50 pm

Momma Heathen wrote:
MisterChristopher wrote:Bare with me on this, because I'm not sure how well I can articulate it. We'll just say this is some bible theory, nothing but pure unbacked speculation (but still interesting for me to think about) on my end.
Lets assume Jesus was in fact a person, his divinity is still questionable at best, but the Jesus of the bible to some extent, existed. Lets assume that the outlandish miracles didn't happen (walking water, water wine, healing the sick, etc, unless they were done by the means magicians and faith healers perform them today, but that's a whole other tangent), however one aspect did happen: The Resurrection. However, the bible writes what happens in massive hyperbole (not that it doesn't already I'm sure...). Perhaps he wasn't dead when he supposedly rose from the grave. Perhaps he fainted on the cross, was let down, and was then prematurely put in his tomb, thus making him awakening and leaving the tomb. This screws the pooch on his divinity, but perhaps apologists can at least argue "well, it DID HAPPEN!!"
Any thoughts? Oh, and thanks RD group for giving me a place for a random thought like this

Definitely an interesting thought.

However, there would have to be a method of determining whether someone was dead or simply passed out. I would think that if he was merely pronounced dead and buried without any type of evaluation, that it would also be happening to others. Because of that lack of attention to detail, there would be other men 'rising from the dead' during that time, not just Jesus. I suppose it could be said that because of all of the other 'fantastic' events that supposedly surrounded Jesus' birth, life, and death that his supposed rising from the grave would seem extraordinary.

There was a book that came out in the late 1960s or early 1970s called The Passover Plot which covered the notion that the dying on the cross was faked so Jesus could get away from Judea and the Roman troubles. My dad used to have a copy. Look into a figure called Yuz Asaf as well.
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Passover Plot

Post  PenitenziAgite on Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:07 am

Was written by a defrocked RC priest. The gist of it was that Jesus had to make the prophecies about the messiah come true by dying and then coming back from the dead to lead the faithful into the new age. This was achieved by the use of tetrodotoxin ( famous for creating 'zombies' in Haiti). All was developing according to plan, except for the soldier sticking Jesus with a spear, which ended up causing a fatal case of septicemia, thus cutting short the rest of the plan, which was ultimately to end up causing a political uprising in Judea.

Regardless of how far-fetched that may be, I'll buy that before I buy the supernatural explanations.

On another note:

One topic that I am intrigued by is something I read in God is Not Great. One of the Gnostic gospels mentions a bizarre conversation between Judas and Jesus wherein Jesus indicates that he "knows who he [Judas] is", which refers to this idea that Judas knew that Jesus was some sort of alien being from another planet. What's up with that? What's the consensus (if any) about that passage?


Last edited by PenitenziAgite on Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Skeptics Sunday School:

Post  jgrow2 on Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:14 am

PenitenziAgite wrote:Was written by a defrocked RC priest.

One topic that I am intrigued by is something I read in God is Not Great. One of the Gnostic gospels mentions a bizarre conversation between Judas and Jesus wherein Jesus indicates that he "knows who he [Judas] is", which refers to this idea that Judas knew that Jesus was some sort of alien being from another planet. What's up with that? What's the consensus (if any) about that passage?

I don't recall that from God is Not Great. Is the gnostic text you're referring to The Gospel of Judas?
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Gospel of Judas

Post  PenitenziAgite on Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:18 am

I believe so. I have it on audiobook, so it's hard for me to go and find the specifics...
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Re: Skeptics Sunday School:

Post  jgrow2 on Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:29 am

PenitenziAgite wrote:I believe so. I have it on audiobook, so it's hard for me to go and find the specifics...

Okay. If it is from the Gospel of Judas, that quote might refer to the notion that Jesus knew that Judas had to betray him in order to allow Jesus to fulfill his destiny. Thus he "knew who Judas was." Indispensable to Jesus' mission.

Elaine Pagels' examination of the Gospel of Judas is a fascinating book, and puts forward the notion that the Gospel of Judas was written partly to pass on that idea about Judas, but also to make a commentary about the martyrdom trend that Christians were falling into in the second and third centuries AD. Somewhat like the Sufis coming up with a hadith about suicide bombers today, but couching it in the language of the quranic hadiths.


Last edited by jgrow2 on Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:15 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Finally remembered the word I forgot: hadith!)
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Hmm

Post  PenitenziAgite on Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:00 pm

I thought it was in there, but I may have it confused with another work. I will see if I can run it down.
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Jesus and the Lost Goddess

Post  jgrow2 on Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:37 pm

Something else comes to mind, which I don't think the show has touched on as yet. At least, I don't recall it from listening to the whole run a few months back.

Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy put out The Jesus Mysteries and Jesus and the Lost Goddess, two books which put forward various ideas, including that the gnostic movement was the one that actually came first. That the Jesus Movement was started (or gained early momentum) as a Hellenized Jewish version of mystery cults like those of Mithras, Adonais, and Osiris (hence the many similarities seen between them and Christianity even at the time), and that the literalist sagas were regional tales for the rubes. Once you got in, you were initiated into mystic secrets, but they were filtered through a Hebrew lens.

Examining these parallels is another bit of what kept me interested in Christianity for so long, and it would be interesting to hear the gents go after the subject of gnosticism and mystery cults given their backgrounds.
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Barbelo(?)

Post  PenitenziAgite on Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:10 pm

OK, so I went back to Hitchens, and found the reference from the Gospel of Judas. The strangeness I was referring to was this whole thing about this paradise beyond the stars called "Barbelo" (Spelling may not be accurate, but that's what I could derive from the audiobook).

What is this all about? Not having read any of these apocrypha, (it wasn't required reading for religion classes in High School), but having some familiarity with the themes present in various apocryphal texts, I unaware of any alternative theologies presented therein.
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Re: Skeptics Sunday School:

Post  jgrow2 on Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:16 am

PenitenziAgite wrote:OK, so I went back to Hitchens, and found the reference from the Gospel of Judas. The strangeness I was referring to was this whole thing about this paradise beyond the stars called "Barbelo" (Spelling may not be accurate, but that's what I could derive from the audiobook).

What is this all about? Not having read any of these apocrypha, (it wasn't required reading for religion classes in High School), but having some familiarity with the themes present in various apocryphal texts, I unaware of any alternative theologies presented therein.

Very well done with the spelling. I did a google search and found...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbelo

...which is all very well. But here is this from another more specific entry.



In looking at the Gospel of Judas (Ioudas) there are two words that are the keys to unlocking an extraordinary mystery. The first key word is, "Barbelo," the word by which Judas identifies Jesus. "I know who you are and where you have come from," Judas says. "You are from the immortal realm of Barbelo."

According to the scholars and editors who worked on the National Geographic translation of the Gospel of Judas, the word Barbelo "apparently comes from Hebrew," and perhaps means God. Others state it remains unexplained, and some suggest it refers to a divine "emanation."

This is referenced from "The Gospel of Judas," 2006, National Geographic Society. Editors: R. Kasser, M. Meyer, G. Wurst. Commentary: B. Ehrman. "Barbelo," p. 23. (from that site's footnote #1)

The wiki entry is a little more extensive, but hints at the complex cosmology of the gnostics.
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