How to Learn About Christianity

Algernon

Active member
I agree that the teachings of Paul are not the teachings of Jesus because Jesus, and his immediate followers were apocalyptic Jews convinced he was the Jewish messiah come to usher in the end times before the generation that stood before him would see death. Paul seemed to come in and prescribe some other possible narrative to Jesus in order to provide relief and continued meaning to a shocked and disparaged following trying to make sense of it all as time passed and nothing that Jesus said would come to pass ever did.

It seems both Paul and Jesus were wrong doesn't it?
Not sure what you have in mind, but I suspect that it is related to the misconceptions that we discussed about Jesus "raising the dead" in the other thread.

Post the pertinent scripture from the gospel preached by Jesus and your interpretation and I'll address it.
 

Algernon

Active member
I'm not saying you are wrong about your Christianity. It just does seem.....odd that someone would go to all the trouble of setting up all the prophecies and generations, work history and culture around for centuries upon centuries, get yourself miraculously re-incarnated, spend your short life intensely teaching, get yourself betrayed, tortured and killed, all to redeem humanity, but then fore-ordain things so that the very large majority of people would get everything totally wrong anyways.

I mean, it doesn't make a lot of sense, does it?
For one, I'm not a Christian. That said, I advocate for the gospel preached by Jesus. As I said earlier, Christianity has Paul's gospel as its foundation rather than the gospel preached by Jesus. So I don't fit the definition of Christian as it's commonly understood.

You seem to be conflating the gospel preached by Jesus with concepts rooted in Christian beliefs. But if you believe it is rooted in the gospel preached by Jesus, then post the pertinent scripture from the gospel preached by Jesus and your interpretation and I'll address it.
 

Algor

Active member
For one, I'm not a Christian. That said, I advocate for the gospel preached by Jesus. As I said earlier, Christianity has Paul's gospel as its foundation rather than the gospel preached by Jesus. So I don't fit the definition of Christian as it's commonly understood.

You seem to be conflating the gospel preached by Jesus with concepts rooted in Christian beliefs. But if you believe it is rooted in the gospel preached by Jesus, then post the pertinent scripture from the gospel preached by Jesus and your interpretation and I'll address it.
I'm sorry: I did think you were a Christian there. My apologies.
But at the risk of asking something you have doubtless answered before, what exactly are your beliefs (relevant to this conversation) on the existence and nature of God and the divinity of Jesus? It is hard to know what to make of your ideas without a bit of background. As for myself, I'm essentially an atheist, but it isn't very important to me.
 

Furion

Well-known member
Some people here are apparently under the misconception that the best way to learn about Christianity is to post on CARM.

Here's a better approach:

0. Don't post on CARM.
1. Google something like "Christian doctrine reading list."
2. Click on a few links and see what books are listed.
3. Buy or borrow a book that seems helpful and reputable.
4. Read it - preferably slowly, while taking notes or jotting in the margins.

Congratulations, now you know stuff about Christianity!

I'm only being a little sarcastic, here. I honestly do think this is a MUCH more efficient and reliable way of learning about Christianity than arguing with random laymen you happen to come across on internet discussion boards.

If you're already doing this, and CARM is only a supplement, then kudos.
The answer you propose is for an irrelevant question.

Not annie randie, objectificationalism, nor atheistic views on the state of God, the universe, or anything.

Seek God. Find Him, you win.

Otherwise accept your fate.

All this handwringing is pathetic.
 

5wize

Well-known member
Not sure what you have in mind, but I suspect that it is related to the misconceptions that we discussed about Jesus "raising the dead" in the other thread.

Post the pertinent scripture from the gospel preached by Jesus and your interpretation and I'll address it.
What I have in mind is that Jesus was an apocalyptic Jew that thought he was the Jewish Messiah, and he wasn't. That tradition is not easily summarized by a few posts from scripture, but is the result of the scholarly study of the history of Judaism, the prophesies, and then the Christian development movement of the first century.

Jesus was not the Jewish Messiah and the mythos of the restoration of the Jewish kingdom on earth, then passing into the heavenly kingdom did not happen. That was really the end of it. No need to dig up Jesus's gospel at that point unless you just like the wisdom that peeked out every now and then when he wasn't preaching the myth of the Jewish apocalypse, mostly of that wisdom not being originally attributed to him anyway.
 

Algernon

Active member
I'm sorry: I did think you were a Christian there. My apologies.
But at the risk of asking something you have doubtless answered before, what exactly are your beliefs (relevant to this conversation) on the existence and nature of God and the divinity of Jesus? It is hard to know what to make of your ideas without a bit of background. As for myself, I'm essentially an atheist, but it isn't very important to me.
No apology necessary. As much as I post scripture, it's understandable.

I've posted the following before, but it should give you some perspective:
By and large, I find the gospel preached by Jesus to be reasonably sound and reasonably coherent within itself. I don't share that view of the mythology and beliefs that the NT writers wrapped around them. At best, they can merely echo His words. At worst, they deviate from His words and at times substantially so.

The truth in the gospel preached by Jesus still rings out loud and clear despite the corruptions that were introduced by the NT writers. The core of His gospel is contained in the parables, explanations of the parables, the Sermon on the Mount, passages where Jesus is explicitly describing the Kingdom and what living in the Kingdom entails, passages where Jesus is explicitly describing what is required for "eternal life" / living in the Kingdom etc. In short, passages where Jesus is explicitly preaching the vision of His gospel.


While Jesus preached His gospel, He never claimed to be God. For that matter, even to literally be the son of God. Jesus calls all His followers to become sons of God as He was a son of God. It's a metaphor.
 
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Algernon

Active member
What I have in mind is that Jesus was an apocalyptic Jew that thought he was the Jewish Messiah, and he wasn't. That tradition is not easily summarized by a few posts from scripture, but is the result of the scholarly study of the history of Judaism, the prophesies, and then the Christian development movement of the first century.

Jesus was not the Jewish Messiah and the mythos of the restoration of the Jewish kingdom on earth, then passing into the heavenly kingdom did not happen. That was really the end of it. No need to dig up Jesus's gospel at that point unless you just like the wisdom that peeked out every now and then when he wasn't preaching the myth of the Jewish apocalypse, mostly of that wisdom not being originally attributed to him anyway.
No Jesus wasn't the "Jewish Messiah". Nor did He claim to be while He preached His gospel.

When Jesus began His ministry he quoted from the Book of Isaiah:
Luke 4
16And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
18“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,
19TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”
20And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

In doing so, Jesus declared the purposes for which He is the Christ - which basically boils down to the following three things:
1) To preach His gospel - These are the words He spoke while preaching His gospel.
2) To give sight to the blind - To open the eyes of those blind to the will of God which Jesus explained in His gospel.
3) To set free the captives - To FREE those who abide in His word from the slavery of committing sin (see John 8). To FREE those who abide in His gospel.
Note that Jesus was NOT anointed to serve as a "sacrificial lamb" as a means for vicarious atonement. Nor was He anointed as the "Jewish Messiah".

My response to @Algor in post #47 might lend additional perspective.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
I agree that the teachings of Paul are not the teachings of Jesus because Jesus, and his immediate followers were apocalyptic Jews convinced he was the Jewish messiah come to usher in the end times before the generation that stood before him would see death. Paul seemed to come in and prescribe some other possible narrative to Jesus in order to provide relief and continued meaning to a shocked and disparaged following trying to make sense of it all as time passed and nothing that Jesus said would come to pass ever did.
While I agree Paul's teachings were different, I would say that he still believed Jesus was the Jewish messiah just the same, and he too fully expected the kingdom of God to arrive soon - within his lifetime.

1 Cor 15:51 Behold, I am telling you a [w]mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised [x]imperishable, and we will be changed.
 

5wize

Well-known member
While I agree Paul's teachings were different, I would say that he still believed Jesus was the Jewish messiah just the same, and he too fully expected the kingdom of God to arrive soon - within his lifetime.

1 Cor 15:51 Behold, I am telling you a [w]mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised [x]imperishable, and we will be changed.
Not the Jewish messiah outlined in the prophesies. That Messiah was to be an earthly king of an earthly Jewish kingdom that both gentile and Jew would bow down to. Jesus even promised his disciples each a seat (an office) over each tribe in the kingdom. The prophesy was then to roll up the streets after the 1000 yr. reign of peace and the Messiah would be exalted and the righteous would be raised to the coming kingdom and the unrighteous left to suffer.

Paul invented a savior for all and the notion that the kingdom was not an earthly one, but a heavenly one alone, and the thought that the resurrection (exaltation) already happened but we all missed it because we didn't understand and Jesus certainly didn't clarify it in 3 years of babbling on. Paul created the truncated version required in the face of the failed reality.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
Not the Jewish messiah outlined in the prophesies. That Messiah was to be an earthly king of an earthly Jewish kingdom that both gentile and Jew would bow down to. Jesus even promised his disciples each a seat (an office) over each tribe in the kingdom. The prophesy was then to roll up the streets after the 1000 yr. reign of peace and the Messiah would be exalted and the righteous would be raised to the coming kingdom and the unrighteous left to suffer.

Paul invented a savior for all and the notion that the kingdom was not an earthly one, but a heavenly one alone, and the thought that the resurrection (exaltation) already happened but we all missed it because we didn't understand and Jesus certainly didn't clarify it in 3 years of babbling on. Paul created the truncated version required in the face of the failed reality.
I do not think Jesus saw himself as the messiah of the prophesies; a military leader to lead the Jews to triumph. I think it possible he intended to start a revolt, but unlikely, and it is rather more likely he never said he was the messiah at all.

Paul did not think the general resurrection had happened - he was looking forward to it. I think that would be when God's kingdom came to earth, as that was the Jewish belief, though you have me thinking now. What makes you think he expected the righteous to go to heaven?

But certainly the reality had not failed when Paul was writing; he still expected it to be just around the corner. I would guess the realisation that it was not soon would be around AD 70 or just after, and life was returning to normal after the events of the Jewish revolt - which would have felt like the apocalyse at the time, and then turned out otherwise.
 

Lighthearted Atheist

Well-known member
I do not think Jesus saw himself as the messiah of the prophesies; a military leader to lead the Jews to triumph. I think it possible he intended to start a revolt, but unlikely, and it is rather more likely he never said he was the messiah at all.

Paul did not think the general resurrection had happened - he was looking forward to it. I think that would be when God's kingdom came to earth, as that was the Jewish belief, though you have me thinking now. What makes you think he expected the righteous to go to heaven?

But certainly the reality had not failed when Paul was writing; he still expected it to be just around the corner. I would guess the realisation that it was not soon would be around AD 70 or just after, and life was returning to normal after the events of the Jewish revolt - which would have felt like the apocalyse at the time, and then turned out otherwise.
What convinces you that Jesus was a real man and not an amalgamation created by the Church?

I know I am on the extreme end of evidence - I work in the sciences and we are kinda nutty that way - always skeptical. But I wonder why you believe in Jesus but not Homer or King Arthur?

We have nothing from within 200 years of Jesus that even mentions his name. The first mention we have of Jesus existing on Earth was written by the church 300 years after the event. The extra-Biblical sources we have were created 800 years after the fact by Christians.

I do not see how you can believe that is proof that this man lived. I see it as equal to the evidence for Homer or other historical figures.

Maybe I am wrong - what do you think?
 

sbell

Active member
I know I am on the extreme end of evidence - I work in the sciences and we are kinda nutty that way - always skeptical. But I wonder why you believe in Jesus but not Homer or King Arthur?
Come on man, because they're both cartoons. I've watched the Simpsons and the Sword in the Stone. I like when Arthur turns into a squirrel and that older squirrel is nutty for the Merlin squirrel. ;)
 

5wize

Well-known member
I do not think Jesus saw himself as the messiah of the prophesies; a military leader to lead the Jews to triumph. I think it possible he intended to start a revolt, but unlikely, and it is rather more likely he never said he was the messiah at all.

Paul did not think the general resurrection had happened - he was looking forward to it. I think that would be when God's kingdom came to earth, as that was the Jewish belief, though you have me thinking now. What makes you think he expected the righteous to go to heaven?

But certainly the reality had not failed when Paul was writing; he still expected it to be just around the corner. I would guess the realisation that it was not soon would be around AD 70 or just after, and life was returning to normal after the events of the Jewish revolt - which would have felt like the apocalyse at the time, and then turned out otherwise.
I agree the idea of a suffering messiah was so counter to Scripture and the righteous expectations of God’s people that it was completely unthinkable, even blasphemous against God. That's why Paul started out ad a persecutor of the sect. Some of the things Jesus said and possibly did made some of his followers wonder if he could be the messiah. The question as to who the disciples thought he was, the triumphant entry to Jerusalem, the promising the disciples leadership roles in the kingdom. Eventually they became convinced. He must be the messiah. But then he was crucified. This, of course, radically disconfirmed everything his followers had thought and hoped, since he obviously was the furthest thing from the messiah. But then some of them began to say that God had intervened and brought him back from the dead. The story caught on, and some (all? There is no way to know) of his closest followers came to think that in fact he had been raised. This reconfirmed in a big way the hopes that had been so severely dashed by his crucifixion. For his re-inspirited followers, Jesus is, he really is, the one favored by God. So he is the messiah.

But he is a different kind of messiah than anyone expected him to be. So they began to think that God had a different plan, from the beginning. He planned to save Israel not by a powerful royal messiah, but by a crucified messiah became the new message.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
I agree the idea of a suffering messiah was so counter to Scripture and the righteous expectations of God’s people that it was completely unthinkable, even blasphemous against God. That's why Paul started out ad a persecutor of the sect. Some of the things Jesus said and possibly did made some of his followers wonder if he could be the messiah. The question as to who the disciples thought he was, the triumphant entry to Jerusalem, the promising the disciples leadership roles in the kingdom. Eventually they became convinced. He must be the messiah. But then he was crucified. This, of course, radically disconfirmed everything his followers had thought and hoped, since he obviously was the furthest thing from the messiah. But then some of them began to say that God had intervened and brought him back from the dead. The story caught on, and some (all? There is no way to know) of his closest followers came to think that in fact he had been raised. This reconfirmed in a big way the hopes that had been so severely dashed by his crucifixion. For his re-inspirited followers, Jesus is, he really is, the one favored by God. So he is the messiah.

But he is a different kind of messiah than anyone expected him to be. So they began to think that God had a different plan, from the beginning. He planned to save Israel not by a powerful royal messiah, but by a crucified messiah became the new message.
Okay, yes, I agree. But I think it was the same for Paul. He expected a different messiah, and so persecuted the Christians. but then he too saw something he thought was Jesus, so he changed his beliefs/expectation just as the disciples had years earlier.
 

5wize

Well-known member
Okay, yes, I agree. But I think it was the same for Paul. He expected a different messiah, and so persecuted the Christians. but then he too saw something he thought was Jesus, so he changed his beliefs/expectation just as the disciples had years earlier.
I guess I was taking too much liberty by saying Paul "invented" the narrative. There was a group that invented the narrative and Paul became a champion of it.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
What convinces you that Jesus was a real man and not an amalgamation created by the Church?
I think it best fits the evidence. Not that I am completely convinced. I have read arguments against the existence of Jesus, but they just seemed to point out that it is plausible, not that it is likely.

I know I am on the extreme end of evidence - I work in the sciences and we are kinda nutty that way - always skeptical. But I wonder why you believe in Jesus but not Homer or King Arthur?
I work in the sciences too! We have to be sceptical of both sides. I find the idea that Jesus was made up harder to swallow.

We have nothing from within 200 years of Jesus that even mentions his name. The first mention we have of Jesus existing on Earth was written by the church 300 years after the event. The extra-Biblical sources we have were created 800 years after the fact by Christians.
We do not have manuscripts from back then, but it is quite a leap to conclude he therefore did not exist.

We do have texts from only twenty years later that scholars think are authentic in the sense of being reason copies, and they do mention Jesus by name as a descendant of David.

I do not see how you can believe that is proof that this man lived. I see it as equal to the evidence for Homer or other historical figures.
I would certainly not say proof, but I feel reasonably certain Jesus existed and was crucified.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
I guess I was taking too much liberty by saying Paul "invented" the narrative. There was a group that invented the narrative and Paul became a champion of it.
I think the narrative changed a lot after Paul. I would say that the appearances of the risen Jesus in Jerusalem, the claim that Jesus was risen in his original body and the empty tomb were all made up after Paul was writing his letters.
 

Lighthearted Atheist

Well-known member
I think it best fits the evidence. Not that I am completely convinced. I have read arguments against the existence of Jesus, but they just seemed to point out that it is plausible, not that it is likely.
What evidence? I am not trying ot be a jerk - I just do not understand what evidence 'fits' when I see zero evidcne at all. Just a story in a book written 300 years later.

There is nothing to fit - what am I missing?
I work in the sciences too! We have to be sceptical of both sides. I find the idea that Jesus was made up harder to swallow.
OK. I actually think Jesus probably did exist - but I really cannot prove that with what we have. So I remain skeptical.
We do not have manuscripts from back then, but it is quite a leap to conclude he therefore did not exist.
I did not conclude that. I am saying that I cannot prove he did exist. It may even be likely that Jesus existed but if I had to prove that to an independent peer review I would really struggle.

So I remain in the "maybe" camp :)
We do have texts from only twenty years later that scholars think are authentic in the sense of being reason copies, and they do mention Jesus by name as a descendant of David.
I do not know of anything that mentions Jesus from before 200 CE. Which documents were created 20 years after jesus? I'd love to see them.

The only thing we have is textual criticism of the 200 CE documents that claim to have come from something created 20 years after Jesus. And that feels thin to me.
I would certainly not say proof, but I feel reasonably certain Jesus existed and was crucified.
:)

Maybe we'll find a Roman record of the crucifixion today - who knows! But until we have something better than the 300 CE anonymous copy of a story I just cannot say either way.

Thanks for the chat - good fun - have a great weekend pixie!
 
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