Report: "Age of Life on Earth" Conference — Part 1

First, Jesus and Paul’s testimony is evidence, the word of a respect individual. Such evidence is allowed in court, our justice system could be seen as based on it.

The gospels tell of Jesus, and are some of the most powerful literature written, so cannot be just dismissed. Western civilization is based in part on them. There are few that deny the existence of Jesus, the most influential man to have lived.

As far as Luke, he tells how he compiled his work, Luke-Acts at the beginning of Luke. He interviewed, or gathered testimony. Note his comments on the birth narratives: “And Mary stored these thing in her heart.” He either made it all up, or spoke directly to her.

And if you think about it, who is better to give a careful account, one who lived at the time, or hundreds of years later.

How do you determine whether someone is speaking for God? What is your view on how God communicates with us, if he does.

First, our court system avoids making ruling on credibility of religious narrative, so it wouldn’t even carry a case like this. You should stop reciting Lee Strobel, because he was and still is absolutely clueless about how historical methodology feeds our certainty of the past.

Biblical narrative, by its nature, carries minimal amount of certainty due to:

  1. It existed in era where myths could develop and propagate unchecked in isolated communities.

  2. That would be even worse when it comes to isolated individuals structuring narratives that “connected the dots” of certain religious preferences they held, since people wrote stories to carry structured premises and not describe history.

Hence, Biblical narrative is more likely a Hollywood embellishment of moral premises that drive human existence to certain end, rather than it is “the reality” that actually happened as written a long time ago.

I don’t doubt that it is a powerful literature, and likewise few people would deny that Hercules was historical figure in some shape or form, in his legendary scope of “Hero narrative” that was a precursor to many hero stories in the antiquity that are powerful due to ideals these exemplify. Even Comic Book character heroes are loosely based on some people the writers knew, with collection of other that’s thrown into a mix to create a composite narrative.

And perhaps that’s the point here… what makes it powerful isn’t that it happened. When it comes to how we approach it as a story, it makes no difference whether it happened or not, since we don’t have access to that reality. These stories exemplify moral premise. That how preachers use these. They don’t come and say… give me a fish and a piece of bread and we’ll pray to multiply it… they would quickly find that there’s no power in such interpretation of narrative. They scope analogies that are real to which Biblical narrative is a hyperbolic example of they can relate to.

He didn’t have to made it ALL up. Any powerful narratives will be attached to some scope of meaningful reality that anchor these, especially places and people in history… who can no longer be interviewed about any of this.

We don’t know who that was who was giving an account, and there’s a very good reason why these things are anonymous. Real people can be scrutinize and taken apart. They can be constrained to a timeframe. Anonymous narrative can’t be. But it also makes it less certain, and that’s why fundamentalism will die on that hill of projecting certainty to something that obviously not, and that pointing to it as “the truth” with only one possible interpretation.

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If someone says they’re speaking for god, I’m immediately skeptical, again given that an all-powerful god cannot possibly need middle men, or messages transmitted in secret or from the dreams interpreted through self-proclaimed “special agents”.

Further, if the bible is a “perfect” god’s best plan for “perfect” interaction with his creatures, then he and his plan have been a collosal failure, given that the book itself, as well as the effect it has had on human history, are decidely much less than perfect.

Also, the fact that god, personally, has never committed anything to writing, tends to support the fact that he agrees with the old adage that “talk is cheap”. For instance, he could–but doesn’t–write the ten commandments in cloud formations every evening, or spell out “I love you”, in seashells on beach, the next morning. So there’s an infinite array of inaction on the part of our creator which make it reasonable to conclude that he, she or it, wants to have no part in communication through words.

How does he communicate then? I always go back to his first “message” and look to nature for the lessons to be learned there. But then please note that I’m not saying that god is anything other than the consciousness of the universe or that he, she or it told me to tell you that.

Instead–and rather than being based on anyone’s hearsay testimony–the things I’ve learned form that “book” rely on both subjective intuition combined with objective evidence, which I admit are not necessarily meaningful to anyone but me.

That is, I would never insist that I’ve seen my creator’s face in a Sonoran Desert Sunset or that I’ve heard my maker’s voice in the sound of water gently slapping the beaches of Paradise Island! :grinning:

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There are few who have actually tackled the subject. Most simply accept the received assumptions. However, the historicity of Jesus is far less certain than you seem to think. There are very good reasons to consider that Paul wrote of a mythical Jesus acting in the cosmos who later writers historicized. If, however, there was a historical Jesus, virtually nothing can be known about him due to the exaggerated mythologizing of him. His “biographers” sourced the accounts of his life from rewrites of OT narratives, Greek literature, especially the Odyssey, Josephus’s accounts of other messiah types, perhaps Julius Caesar, and OT verses wrenched from their context and turned into narrative events such as Psalm 22 being used to create the crucifixion narrative. The contradictory and incredible (used in the sense of lacking credibility) accounts render any real knowledge of such a man elusive beyond recovery.

So he says, but his main source turns out to be the gospel of Mark which he used in large part, and rewrote quite a lot of his concepts to counter that which he considered to be faulty theology and to counter Matthew for the same reason.

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