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A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Once again, a new book is being released by that proves that Jesus Christ didn't exist! Yes, once again we are being treated to the idea that the historical Jesus is nothing but a fraud perpetrated upon society for the past 2,000 years. According to the news release from PR Web, a new book entitled Dead Little Fish: The Accidental History of Jesus Christ, by author Derek Murphy, "proves that Jesus Christ was a mythological figure that accidentally became mistaken for a real man."

Articles and TV programs about the historical Jesus are finding their way into every sphere of consumer culture, and public opinion is quickly embracing new ideas about Jesus. Scholars like Baigent, Pagels, (The Gnostic Gospels), and Timothy Freke (The Jesus Mysteries), while popular, are ignoring crucial evidence that radically re-defines the origins of Christianity: Jesus, and his consort Mary Magdalene, stem from an ancient mythological tradition and were originally never considered as real people.

When we stop looking for the historical Jesus, it becomes blazingly obvious that Jesus Christ is a spiritual metaphor, which developed out of a long history of religious mythology. "Dead Little Fish" exposes the accidental roots of Christianity, by tracing its development from Greek mystery cults, pagan sun myths, and ancient philosophy. "Dead Little Fish" proves that the first Christians believed in Jesus only as a spiritual entity, and he was later, mistakenly viewed as a real man.

While most books on Christian history are making guesses about the real Jesus, the mystery behind the lack of evidence, "Jesus Didn't Exist!" shows conclusively how to interpret the symbols in the story of Jesus Christ. It provides many new insights, a comprehensive overview of Christian beginnings, and a well-documented yet easy to digest manuscript. It is also the first book to clearly detail the constellation mythology which developed directly into biblical stories.

Scholars like Baigent, whose book The Jesus Papers has been appropriately ridiculed on this blog? Like Pagels, who has pretty much admitted that she attends a church even though she never had any belief that it was true? Like Freke, whose book The Jesus Mysteries has been rated "abject nonsense" by Tekton Apologetics? While Pagels has at least authored some books of substance relating to the time period in which Jesus lived, authors like these have largely proven time and again that they have nothing of substance to add to this discussion.

So, obviously, being released by a major publisher, this book must have some substance behind it, right? Let's see, it's published by . . . uh, the author. Yep, another self-published book proving that the consensus view held by virtually all historians that Jesus was a real person is wrong. Give me a break. I guess all of you people who yelp loudly that Intelligent Design hasn't published peer reviewed papers in legitimate journals of science will immediately disavow this book as trash on that basis alone, right?

Anyway, with so many good books to read about legitimate subjects, I know I'm not going to waste my time with this, and I hope none of the rest of you do, either.

9 comments:

"Yep, another self-published book proving that the consensus view held by virtually all historians that Jesus was a real person is wrong. Give me a break. I guess all of you people who yelp loudly that Intelligent Design hasn't published peer reviewed papers in legitimate journals of science will immediately disavow this book as trash on that basis alone, right? "

If I do, will you reciprocate?


I mean, here you are "reviewing" a book, sight unseen. And you would like us to dismiss it as garbage because it hasn't been published in a peer-review setting. Forgetting of course that theology, history and science are different disciplines with different styles of discourse. Shall we dismiss all the claims of all books which were not peer-reviewed, sight unseen? Of course not!

When speaking of intelligent design, we do not dismiss Behe's claims sight unseen because he self-published. No! We scientifically examine every single claim and show them all to be utterly false, and THEN we hold it up as an example of what bogus, ten-minute phone call "peer review" produces. Rather it is Behe who memorably with a waive of his hand dismissed stacks and stacks of scientific data he had not read as "not good enough."

Dismissing someone's arguments without reading them is not a good idea. Not good when Behe does it, not a good rule of thumb generally. Many foundational works of science and history were not peer-reviewed before being published. It's not a good rule of thumb to automatically dismiss everything not peer-reviewed (which also would include the Bible!).

If the book is written in a scholarly area, and they do not submit them to peer review, it rightly raises my level of skepticism, however. As does any view that is as far out of the mainstream as this one.

Bruce,

My point is this: If you are going to dismiss ID because of the reason stated, you must dismiss this, too. I don't dismiss ID for that reason, and I don't dismiss this for that reason, either. I dismiss this because it is an old story that has been rejected time and again. I have already read books similar (including The Empty Tomb and find the arguments to be strained, to say the least.

BTW, Behe is not self-published. And with respect to your claim of "We scientifically examine every single claim and show them all to be utterly false, and THEN we hold it up as an example of what bogus, ten-minute phone call 'peer review' produces," I can honestly say that I have read quite a bit in this area, and have yet to see anyone show his claims to be "utterly false." What are you referencing?

It does not matter to my central point which disproval of Behe's claims I am referencing. What I am saying is that the primary challenge to "Darwin's Black Box" for example, is not its shabby pseudo peer-review process. No. The Primary challenge is that the science contained within is faulty.

What I'm attempting to do is to illuminate the fact that scientists and science-advocates do not as a matter of operational process, automatically refuse to read or consider all works that are not peer-reviewed beforehand. If such were the case, there would be no scientific challenge to Behe at all, as nobody would have read his book!


Before I give you links to criticisms of Behe, I wonder what flavor you'd like. Do you want primary scientific studies which disprove his central claims?

Like this, for instance:

http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10%2E1371%2Fjournal%2Epbio%2E0030181

Or is all that stuff gobldegook to you (as it is to me, admittedly), and you'd like something a little more user-friendly?
That root-level stuff is pretty dense, but there are many avenues we can travel that are slightly higher-level than that that I hopefully can communicate to you with some lucidity should you wish to actively pursue it.



Here's a good start in the user-friendly department. A great talk by scientist and Christian Ken Miller, author of "Finding Darwin's God".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVRsWAjvQSg


Anyway, if you want information... if you really want to go down this rabbit hole and see where it leads, we can discuss intelligent design further. First watch that Ken Miller lecture. It's about two hours long, but it'll start you off pretty well. I promise that video is quite entertaining.

I could be wrong, but the three scholars listed seem to be listed by way of contrast: meaning, these three have missed the point, Jesus never lived.

This theory bips into the world of Jesus studies from time to time. Of all the ways to read Jesus, it seems to me the most fantastic, the most open to withering criticism. No, I haven't read the new book. I haven't read Behe, but the analogy Bruce makes is interesting. I'll go ahead and say that scholars of Jesus from all over the map, from Sanders to Borg to Crossan to Meyer to Wright...the list is actually very, very long, find the idea of myth-Jesus unbelievable. Me too. We could go back into history, Schweitzer, even Bultmann, with his very mythic readings of the gospels...no doubt, the gospels are a puzzle which deserves an answer.

Anyway, I agree every scholar deserves a hearing. Let's get the Jesus-evidence on the table and talk about it all we can.

Same goes for evolution, about which I know very little.

Peace to both.

t

Yes, every scholar deserves a fair hearing, but who is Derek Murphy? I can't find a listing of his credentials. And if you look at the book cover on Amazon.com it looks like anything but the cover of a dispassionate book of history.

It is amazing how these Jesus-myth theories just keep getting recycled. They have been adequately refuted for over 100 years. The proponents have of the myth theories have never answered the points made against them, they just ignore them. For anyone interested there are two excellent books that should be read. They are "The Gospel and the Greeks" by Ronald Nash and "The Virgin Birth" by J. Greshem Machen. They go through the various mystery religions and virgin birth stories and show that there is abosolutely no connection between the pagen versions and the story of the New Testament.

"What I'm attempting to do is to illuminate the fact that scientists and science-advocates do not as a matter of operational process, automatically refuse to read or consider all works that are not peer-reviewed beforehand." Good, they shouldn't, but that's exactly what one of the arguments that is constantly raised against ID says. (Actually, since there now have been a couple peer-reviewed articles published, the argument has become "not many" peer reviewed articles). My point was simply that people can't have it both ways: they cannot claim that they reject ID because of its relative lack of peer-reviewed articles while accepting this book as somehow disproving Christianity when it is obviously not peer-reviewed. If you are willing to accept the one, you should not reject the other for the same reason. Since you are apparently not a person inclined to oppose ID on the basis of the lack of peer-reviewed publications, then my snide side-comment doesn't apply to you.

BTW, I read the Biology article with interest. It wasn't entirely gobbledey-gook to me since I am somewhat familiar with the issue of immunology and T regulators, but I didn't see anywhere where it disproved Behe. In fact, this area is one that actually has a lot of really interesting stuff happening that make it pretty incredible to believe that it happened by sheer chance alone.

I will watch the yourtube video, but I don't know when. I have bookmarked it for later viewing. Thanks for the reference. But I will add that I have read some of Ken Miller's work and what I recall is that he entirely misses the point. But I will see whether he is more on point in this lecture.

Evolution is the exact opposite of sheer chance.

It is the step-by-step accumulation of tested and proven adaptations.

If evolution was sheer chance, it'd be utterly impossible. Predictably fundamentalist evangelical Christians seek to define it as "sheer chance."


Watch the video. Really. Miller disproves Behe with solid scientific facts. First he quotes Behe directly, then he shows the science that disproves the quote. And it's the central claims of Behe he's disproving. Watch it! It's enlightening. Put you faith in God and Christ if that's your calling, but please, PLEASE put it not in Behe. He is decieving you. I am not decided whether he is decieving himself or not... I am leaning toward not. .


And I have a few books to recommend as well.


Try "Evolution, the Triumph of an Idea" by Carl Zimmer. (The hardback can be found on Amazon, and it's much nicer than the current paperback which doesn't have nearly the easy readability. It's the companion volume to the excellent PBS series of the same name.

I'd also recommend the Smithsonian Institute's "Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins" also written by Zimmer.

If God made this world, He made a wonderful thing. Learn about God's true creation, the Book He wrote with his own hand... Do not turn your back on the real world and chase fantasies peddled by Behe and Dembski who seek only to advance their own fortunes and personal esteem.

Evolution is the wonderwork of God's own hand. Even I, an atheist, look at evolution and say... wow... if there was one thing pushing me toward a God... this would be it. Nothing is more wonderous to me than this, this amazing freeflowing, infinitely creative process. Constantly changing, constantly improving, wonderfully evolving all things bright and beautiful, great and small. No human could ever, in a million years, have invented such a fantastic wonder... operating at every level, wonderfully forming forms endlessly original. The sheer grandeur of evolution, properly understood, swells my heart and connects me, roots me within the deep history of time.

Which is why I react so harshly to those who would erase it from our schoolbooks to teach stale dogma and quack science. In their folly and myopically simple political power grab, they seek to remove the single greatest argument I ever have heard for God.

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