How Did the Biblical Character, Jesus, Come to be Considered a God?

Scholar Bart Ehrman has been talking on his blog of the ancient notion Jesus was a god.  He notes there are various versions in the Bible of when/how this label came to be.

Ehrman finds two approaches to the Jesus-turned-into-a-god story.  In one, Jesus started as man, then was promoted.  This is called the bottom-up story.  In another, Jesus was labeled a god long before he was born, top-down.

The story of the resurrection leaves a conclusion Jesus was not considered divine by the locals until he came back to life.  This, then, started the bottom up version of being a god.

In the earliest Gospel, Mark, and in what is thought by some to be the original intent of Luke, Jesus became super charged when he was baptised by John the Baptist. That view changed when two chapters were added later to Luke and in the Gospel of Matthew.  Jesus was then made divine at the virgin birth.

As time moved on after the resurrection, the time of the branding as divine became even earlier.  When, finally, the book of John was written, it is claimed Jesus was divine long before he was even conceived.

Ehrman saw the Jews at the time of Jesus as believing divine characteristics to be on a continuum, not an either/or thing.  This indigenous view of the divine was bottom up.

The bottom up theory of a Jesus being both human and Divine best fits the mythology of that period two thousand years ago.

http://ehrmanblog.org/

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I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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78 Responses to How Did the Biblical Character, Jesus, Come to be Considered a God?

  1. Henry says:

    Errman’s metrics of analyzing scripture are unreliable as usual. He determines he is of a better position to judge the validity of scripture 2000 years later than the people of and near that era. If the writings of the gospel are a farce and contrived as Errman is painting, wouldn’t the apostolic fathers have had grave objections to the texts? The apostolic fathers would have had the opportunity to listen to first-hand eye-witness accounts of the gospels. Errman is not only calling into question the validity of the gospel texts, but by doing so, he is also calling into question the character and integrity of people like the apostolic fathers for which he has no proof of any poor character for them. He is slaying their reputations, and making money at it. It is academic dishonesty that a scholar in his position should avoid.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Henry 1:03 Maybe you have read things Ehrman wrote that I have not. I have not seen what you are describing. He has traced the various copies of scribe work that are available and concluded there was a lot of different among the copies, both as they were passed down and amoung those circulated at any given time.

      What I wrote is mere about observations Ehrman made about the different times when authors decided Jesus was a god. I don’t see how this can be considered “contrived”. It’s simply their in the Bible.

      What can be controversial are conclusions about what was going on in the societies of that time and concluding the faith is not some sovereign phenomenon but a product of political, social and economic circumstances. I see the faith in this was and I think Ehrman does also.

      “..first-hand eye-witness accounts..” of what? The many many corpses that walked out of their graves at the cruxifiction?

      • Henry says:

        Jon: “different times when authors decided Jesus was a god.”

        I believe what you are referring to is Ehrmann’s metric of “bottom-up story/top-down story”. His characterizations of this metric doesn’t prove that either Jesus was or was not considered a god at any given time. Correlation does not imply causation. He is trying to infer things that he cannot know, while ignoring what the texts directly tell us. Scripture points out Jesus’ deity and incarnation in the flesh while on earth. This was pointed out early in the Gospels. For Ehrmann to suggest the authors did not know Christ’s devine nature in the flesh is quite a leap.

        • Jeffrey Eide says:

          “He is trying to infer things that he cannot know”

          Like there was a historical person such as Jesus, or there was a person people later made into a fictional account, or there was no historical person, simply a fictional account?

          Correct, there is not much evidence to work with. We can not know these things with any amount of certainty, Henry, and it would seem you have beliefs with an unwaranted amount of certainty…

          Please illustrate for us an extra-biblical source to work with. If you could mention a reason to believe in ANY of the story of Jesus Christ without mentioning the Bible. Within 200 years of the supposed existence would be amazing.

          Even if you could demonstrate there was a historical person, you would have all your work ahead of you to demonstrate divinity.

          • Henry says:

            Josephus, Lucian, Tranquilllas, Julian, Tacitus, Pliny, the Talmud…………

            Not much evidence? Hillarious.

          • Henry says:

            “Like there was a historical person such as Jesus”

            You were speaking about ignorance earlier. You know of it well.

          • Jeffrey Eide says:

            Josephus — All scholars agree that Josephus, a Jew who never converted to Christianity, would not have called Jesus “the Christ” or “the truth,” so the passage must have been doctored by a later Christian

            Lucian –a well-known Greek satirist and traveling lecturer wrote mockingly of the followers of Jesus for their ignorance and credulity. Given that Lucian’s understanding of Christian traditions has significant gaps and errors, his writing is unlikely to have been influenced by Christians themselves

            Tranquillas — Lived a century after the life of Jesus, and would have had access to the early gospels. Never mention the fact that he NEVER MENTIONS JESUS or his apostles.

            Julian — Lived over 300 years after the death of christ, from 331-363. Eye witness would be great, but I am not that flexible.

            Tacitus — Written some time after 117 C.E., Tacitus’ claim is more of the same late, second-hand “history.” There is no mention of “Jesus,” only “the sect known as Christians” living in Rome being persecuted, and “their founder, one Christus.” Tacitus claims no first-hand knowledge of Christianity.

            Pliny –The Nero 16 passage refers to the abuses by Nero and mentions how he inflicted punishment on Christians – which is generally dated to around AD 64. This passage shows the clear contempt of Suetonius for Christians – the same contempt expressed by Tacitus and Pliny the younger in their writings, but does not refer to Jesus himself.

            Talmud???? If there was evidence of Jesus on the Talmud, then why are Rabbis not Christian?
            It is always cherry picking loosely translated names and intentions.

            You know what is Hilarious? Here comes the sarcasm, Henry. What is hilarious is the obvious confirmation bias you have going on. Agree with all those sources which validate your belief, disagree with any shred of evidence which might undermine it.

          • Henry says:

            JE : “Like there was a historical person such as Jesus”.

            You made the above statement. I responded specifically to that statement with a number of non-Christian historical sources acknowledging Christ. Then you moveth the goal-post. A claim that these were eye-witnesses to Christ was not made, yet that is the standard you are aparently setting.

            You are in a strong minority on the historical Jesus.

          • Henry says:

            “so the passage must have been doctored by a later Christian”

            So Josephus is in error solely because of your conspiratorial reasonings. Great.

          • Jeffrey Eide says:

            By conspiratorial reasoning, what part of All Scholars didn’t you understand? moving Goal Posts? Do you know the difference between historical account and reference?

            For the record, I believe there was likely a historical figure, perhaps a wandering rabbi, but I choose humility and have doubt, not faith. Regardless of whether there was a historical figure or not, this is simply a red herring. Let’s assume for the sake of space on Mr. Lindgren’s blog that there was a historical figure. That gives you NOTHING in the way of miracles, divinity, or special powers.

            So please, throwing aside the handful of fraudulent and second hand accounts, tell me how we can know of the miracles, divinity or special powers and why we shouldn’t throw out the idea of the bible as anything but allegory for mentioning such things?

          • Henry says:

            JE: “Regardless of whether there was a historical figure or not, this is simply a red herring. Let’s assume for the sake of space on Mr. Lindgren’s blog that there was a historical figure. “

            You brought it up. Now that your arguments are struggling concerning the historical Jesus, now we need to concern ourselves with saving space on Jon’s blog? Sure, Ok. Then I do not need to meet your new requirements of eyewitness for the historical Jesus. Thanks for letting me off of your goalpost hook.

          • Henry says:

            JE: “For the record, I believe there was likely a historical figure,”

            That is not what you led me to believe in your earlier statement. But, ok. You can change your position.

          • Henry says:

            JE: “tell me how we can know of the miracles, divinity or special powers”

            Faith, the Bible, and reliance on the apostolic fathers on matters of old.

            The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

          • Henry says:

            Some analysis of JE’s previous work. Not good. Much inaccuracy. He will fit right in on Jon’s blog and be highly praised.

            JE: “Josephus — All scholars agree that Josephus, a Jew who never converted to Christianity, would not have called Jesus “the Christ” or “the truth,” so the passage must have been doctored by a later Christian”

            We see quite a different picture painted by JE than reality. If this is so, then the last clause of JE’s above paragraph is his own reckoning, not “all scholars” as he later alleged when confronted. Furthermore, it even reads as if presented as his own conclusion.

            “Josephus scholar Louis H. Feldman has stated that “few have doubted the genuineness” of Josephus’ reference to Jesus in Antiquities 20, 9, 1 and it is only disputed by a small number of scholars.[37][38][39][40]

            JE: “Tranquillas — Lived a century after the life of Jesus, and would have had access to the early gospels. Never mention the fact that he NEVER MENTIONS JESUS or his apostles.”

            You were a little hasty.

            “Suetonius refers to the leader of the leader of the Christians as Chrestus (a term which may have also been used by Tacitus) and was also common at the time, particularly for slaves, meaning good or useful.[196] Van Voorst states that there is “near-unanimous” agreement among scholars that the use of Chrestus here refers to Christ.[194]“

            JE: “Tacitus — Written some time after 117 C.E., Tacitus’ claim is more of the same late, second-hand “history.” There is no mention of “Jesus,” only “the sect known as Christians” living in Rome being persecuted, and “their founder, one Christus.” Tacitus claims no first-hand knowledge of Christianity.”

            More JE haste and inaccuracy.

            “Both Josephus,[89] writing in Antiquities of the Jews (c. AD 93), and the early 2nd century Roman historian Tacitus,[90] writing in The Annals (c. AD 116), state that Pilate ordered the execution of Jesus.[91]

            JE: “Pliny –The Nero 16 passage refers to the abuses by Nero and mentions how he inflicted punishment on Christians – which is generally dated to around AD 64. This passage shows the clear contempt of Suetonius for Christians – the same contempt expressed by Tacitus and Pliny the younger in their writings, but does not refer to Jesus himself.”

            More JE inaccuracy.

            “Pliny the Younger (c. 61 – c. 112), the provincial governor of Pontus and Bithynia, wrote to Emperor Trajan c. 112 concerning how to deal with Christians, who refused to worship the emperor, and instead worshiped “Christus”. “

            JE: “Talmud???? If there was evidence of Jesus on the Talmud, then why are Rabbis not Christian? It is always cherry picking loosely translated names and intentions.”

            More inaccuracy and atheist “reasoning”. This is starting to get boring.

            “The Talmud refers to “Jesus the Nazarene” several times and scholars such as Andreas Kostenberger and Robert Van Voorst hold that some of these references are to Jesus.[47][49] Nazareth is not mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian gospels portray it as an insignificant village, John 1:46 asking “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”[50] Craig S. Keener states that it is rarely disputed that Jesus was from Nazareth, an obscure small village not worthy of invention.[50][51] Gerd Theissen concurs with that conclusion.[52]“

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Henry 3:50 “His characterizations…doesn’t prove that either Jesus was or was not considered a god at any given time.”

          Of course no one can “prove” anything about what happened or why it happened. Ehrman does what other scholars do, he takes what is written in the Bible, compares it to the various versions, analyzes the type of writing, compares various translations, finds infomation of what apparently the prevailing views of the time and sell books. In his next book he will talk about the path of gentiles at the time from paganism to the Jewish faith that had been revised to make it more appealing to them. I’ll probably blog about that soon.

          Ehrman presents things is a logical and appealing way. That must be why his books, tapes and lectures are so popular.

          • Henry says:

            Jon: “Ehrman presents things is a logical and appealing way. That must be why his books, tapes and lectures are so popular.”

            Appealing? I’ll grant the ones with itching ears that. Logical? Nope. One example of his that defies well-accepted practice is Ehrmann attributing authorship based on writing style only. Doesn’t wash in the real world. But he does it. And everyone celebrates his genius, almost.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 4:26 “…Ehrman attributin authorship based on writing style…”

            I thought there was broad consensus “Paul” did not acutally write all the books attributed to him. Isn’t that the same thing, or something different (than what Ehrman does)?

          • Henry says:

            I can only speculate that these have been established for many years with methods relying on more than writing style. Perhaps context was taken into account. For example, 1 Thess. is attributed to St. Paul. However, some scholars dispute St. Paul’s authorship of 2 Thess. However, when one plainly reads the context of 2 Thess., one can see it is St. Paul based on context. Quite different than Erhman’s approach.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 5:32 “..these have been established for many years with methods relying on more than writing style….on can see it is St. Paul based on content. Quite different than Ehrman’s approach.”

            I’m never sure if you have actually read a lot of Ehrman, or, you have read commentary critical of him and pretend you have read him. I don’t claim to have read all, or even a lot, of Ehrman, but in what I have read he goes into a lot of context. In fact, I think his expertise is more in context than in writing style.

            Just now, he is about to explain on his blog the conext into which the Jesus figure fell among the gentile population. It is a much different context than the Jews, where there were several gods of various kinds. It would only make sense for the Jesus god to fall into one of the categories that existed before. The oldest trick in all of religion is to replace one god with a slightly different version, one that is like the old one, but gives you a better deal.

            I remember watching the a– hole Pat Robertson a few years ago when he bragged about bringing 10′s of thousands of very poor uneducated people to Jesus in India or some other country in that part of the world. He showed a video of him preaching and a huge mass of people reacting hysterically. He said, half smiling, “I learned you had to call Jesus a new version of XXX. XXX is the god they know. If you say ‘Jesus knows XXX’ they immediately accept what you have to say.”

            Ehrman said just a few days ago all the scrolls discovered in the past 50 years reveal context that was not know as well before.

    • Jeffrey Eide says:

      “He is slaying their reputations”

      Jesus Henry!

      Just like you are doing right now, simply because you disagree with his conclusions? Dr. Ehrman is also well versed in Ancient Greek, Aramaic, Coptic, and other languages of the time, and in the process, he has studied documents from many eras. I would think his understanding of ideas and attitudes of biblical times would more extensive than your wishful thinking.

      We do not even know who the apostolic fathers are! We do not know who wrote the cannon, or how they knew about it. We do not have any of the original sources, so anything you claim to be true would surmount to one giant argument from ignorance! How can you “slay their reputations” when we do not even have a clue who “they” are? Calm down and let the academics handle this one.

      • Stanta says:

        Goodness, so an academic working 2000 years later is to tell us what the Bible REALLY said? Hahahahahaha.

        Dr Ehrman has made a lot of money off this. I wonder how much has been put to good works.

        • Jeffrey Eide says:

          Perhaps you are right, lets listen to those academics from 2000 years ago, shall we?

          What the bible says is as relevant as what we can find in Aesop’s Fables. Before you can use a book as an authority on anything, you have mountains of work to demonstrate it is correct first.

          • bill says:

            Well, the academics of the time were there and were witnesses. I think that gives them at least a hint of credibility as oppossed to a scholar of the 21st century trying to piece together his version of history. JON. Jesus and his works were not a “myth” or “mythology. ” He existed. Historically proven. His miracles were witnessed. Historically proven. I do wish you would quite using that classification in your attempts to illegitamize him.

          • entech says:

            Bill tell me; Who were these academics of the time, which universities? The closest to academics were the priests who condemned him, called him a blasphemer.
            The other eyewitnesses? well the closest were fisherman – as fishing was, and is, a hard and time consuming job and literacy levels were low it is unlikely that they took time of to find a teacher of literature, as well as a teacher of religion.

            The new testament was written in very literate classical Greek, in my mind the odds are that they were written by converts from the upper echelons of Greek society based on the most common stories and oral traditions available. Bit ironic, if it is true, as most of the converts, apparently, came from slaves and working class peasants. All quite happy to accept the idea of a better life to come, and if you were close to bottom everything looks to be an upward improvement. In fact many were prepared to die for the hopeful beliefs.

            That there was a historical Jesus is pretty certain and difficult to deny; miracles – not proven and witnessed by converted followers only.
            Do you think the priests would have been unconverted if they had witnessed repeated miracles, would Yeshua have had to talk his way out of trouble if it was all obvious, demonstrable. If it was the plan to gain as many converts as possible a couple of miracles would help, I confess even one would convince me.

          • bill says:

            Entech. Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. Bless the beds they rest upon. They may not have been academics in the sense that so called, HA! HA!, “intellectuals” like you and Eide believe you are. But for the time and place they qualified. Unlike you they were there.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            bill 11:47 “Unlike you they were there.”

            They were where? Certainly, they were not named “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John”, we don’t know who the writers were. Certainly, they did not witness, personally, any of the Jesus history they wrote about. They were people were don’t know who were not there.

        • entech says:

          I have heard him asked that question at a lecture, apparently he does have a few causes he picked up on his travels and supports them very generously. You could ask the same of the evangelists who collect money in Gods name, those that are still out of jail.

          • Stanta says:

            Nice deflection Entech. Stalin………

            I refuse to be accused of what you do daily. I wish I could use the words I would like to………….

          • entech says:

            I did not accuse you of anything. You ask how much he gives to charity, I said that I had heard that it was quite a lot.

            I guess following on with the thought that the evangelists are often only in it for the money leaves me open to the charge. I won’t exacerbate by trying to excuse, but I do think it is valid to point out that Ehrman has never been charged with fraud.

            How much did Stalin give to charity? :oops:

          • entech says:

            PS. Oops, a quick correction, Henry is accusing him of Academic Fraud. But there must be something wrong with anyone who does not agree with Henry.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            entech 6:16 “You could ask the same of the evangelists who collect money in Gods name, those that are still out of jail.”

            Apparently, this is not asked often enough of church officials either. In this morning’s paper is a breath-taking story of half a million dollars taken from a local Missouri Synod church. The chruch’s Chairman, Jon Evert, is a local farmer/politcian I know who helps oversee County budgets of perhaps 100 million a year, but failed to catch the theft of half a million from by the his chruch’s Treasurer.

          • Henry says:

            Jon, as usual, your information is bad. You will have to re-read The Forum in order to obtain the correct detail.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            “…the former bookeeper for the Northwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,…”. Not a church of the LCMS, or the Synod of the LCMS. Nor was it “a specific church in Moorhead”, it was from the synodical office based in Moorhead. Very sloppy reporting.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 3:53 “..it was from the synodical office based in Moorhead.”

            My apology.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; It was from the synodical office in Moorhead of the ELCA ! ! ! ! ! ! ! NOT the LCMS. You said; ” Missouri Synod”.

          • entech says:

            Poor Jon, you get some detail wrong and the crows are crowing all over you. As if, by some miracle, this means the money was not stolen.
            We have here, what from the Christian is a legitimate correction of detail, but what the Christian would call from the Atheist a diversion.
            go figure.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            I wouldn’t/ didn’t call it a diversion. I did say “sloppy”. I could have used; careless or irresponsible, both of which would be accurate, along with “sloppy”. The Synodical office for the LCMS Minnesota North District is in Brainard. That’s not to say Jon hasn’t used “diversions” in the past.
            Entech; your response is a “diversion” to get Jon off the hook for a false accusation which he still has not admitted to, even if not intentional.

          • entech says:

            Jon Lindgren says: March 5, 2013 at 6:33 pm
            Wanna 3:53 “..it was from the synodical office based in Moorhead.”
            My apology.

            Poor Jon, acknowledgement of error and apology is not enough. Would abject grovelling be enough. Perhaps 40 days and 40 nights penance in the desert.
            Or.
            Perhaps some people will search until they find some mistake/misprint, probably influenced by the Good Book – seek and ye shall find. :?:

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Entech; Read the article, then Jon’s apology. He apologized only for “the synodical office based in Moorhead. ” No mention of which synod. Most people would not know the difference or relationship. Now you are getting sloppy.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Entech-Jon; All Jon would have had to do is say regarding his 2:56 is; “Oops, I meant to say ELCA, not Missouri Synod.” Error corrected.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 1:21 Opps, I meant to say ELCA, not Missouri Synod. I thought my earlier apology would be recognized an generic, but that was not the case so here’s another. I have never belonged to a denomination that used the word “synod” so I when I saw it I assumed it meant Missouri. All us white people and our denominations look alike. : )

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Thank you Jon. It is best to know the subject matter when commenting.
            There is not an organization on this earth that isn’t vulnerable to the foibles of man, including the LCMS.
            The word “synod”–(synhodos) means essentially going together in agreement. In the LCMS, “synod” is not church. It is a support organization put in place for education and preperation of men and women in the ministry, general christian education, outreach, social responsibility, and evangelization (missions) both locally, and world wide. Along with support in the area of ecclesiology. Both synod and the particular churches are united by subscribing to the “ruling rule” (the Bible), and the “ruled rule”, (the Book of Concord.) As outlined in their constitutions.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            I must also follow up; The synod does not appoint ministers or leadership. Each individual congregation votes for each individual provided by synod, and from the floor other elegible candidates not provided by synod to fill those positons, (call), knowing full well they too subscribe to the confessions, (the Book of Concord), and the constitution which contains them. For many many years, each candidate to be called is given a criminal and criminal sexual background check independant of synod, before the final vote.

      • Henry says:

        I would suggest you calm down. Your exclamations and intentionally objectionable language indicate passion. The entire basis of your argument hinges on Ehrmann’s credentials in addition to your claim that we do not know who the apostolic fathers were. The first part of your argument is of little value considering Ehrmann’s approach(es). The second part of your argument concerning the apostolic fathers is not entirely accurate.

        • Jeffrey Eide says:

          I can not use his credentials to imply veracity, that is understood, but I would insist they are taken into the context and countered academically, via skepticism and desire to find empirical evidence, not via belief.

          Perhaps you misunderstand my sarcasm for passion, easy enough to do from the written word.

          Please define what you mean by “considering Ehrmann’s(sic) approach(es)”

          Since you continue to misspell his name, I wonder how much of his work you have read. Which part of what I mentioned is inaccurate? Do we know who wrote the Gospels? Do we know extra-biblically who the apostles were?

  2. entech says:

    Barts main problem is that his writing doesn’t agree with the thoughts of Henry.

    We have Ehrman – studied the bible in its original languages, a doctorate with high honours from Princeton Theological College, he works as a professor of religious studies (not at some fancy Eastern liberal pretend place but in the heart of the bible belt). One of his books was about the historical Jesus and he is most scathing of any talk of a mythical Jesus. His studies eventually led to doubts and eventually to agnosticism.

    We have Henry – as a metal worker studied which end of a hammer to pick up (not sure how many refresher courses were undertaken). Not known as a published author and gives the impression that he is currently retired from gainful employ. His blinkered vision, shaded by scripture, has led him to a fundamentalist and creationist viewpoint.

    I am so confused by it all, I have seen quite a lot of Bart lecturing on Youtube and debating many well known apologists, I was starting to think he knew what he was talking about – but now Henry says I am wrong. I had better check the qualifications in the field of knowledge again.

    :lol: :roll:

    • entech says:

      PS. You talk of metrics, Henry, the only metrics I know of in the field of writing is to do with things like Iambic Pentameter, remember that from school, can’t quite remember what it is, I do remember Khayyam write in quatrains. Never mind I suppose you throw something clever sounding into the mix and hope no one notices, terribly copasthetic.

    • Dustin Metzger says:

      I feel sorry for you, entech. Regardless of postion on Christianity, Henry’s stands for something greater than himself. You stand for nothing but yourself. I pray for you.

      • Jeffrey Eide says:

        Hey Dustin, thanks for the reply. I question, would you say the same thing if someone here devoted their life to imposing Sharia law on everyone? Isn’t that also something greater than oneself?

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Jeffrey 2:17 “Isn’t that also something greater than oneself?”

          When someone promotes the idea of heaven and hell, I always wonder if they are doing it for themselves or others.

          To our readers, here, I reccommend Jeffrey’s blog at:

          http://eidestravels.blogspot.com/2013/03/safe-topics-and-anti-intellectualism.html?showComment=1362495643741#c3571711012909230377

          • Dustin Metzger says:

            Jon, that doubt you have whether it is for themselves or others is Satan’s way of affecting your relationship with God. All that doubt does is force you to judge others. Every human falls victim to judging others… our sinful and selfish nature makes it impossible not to. But through Christ’s love we can overcome the desire to judge. Ask yourself this…. What benefit to you does judging someone else’s motives have? How does it possitively affect you?

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Dustin 3:16 “What benefit to you does judging someone else’s motives have?”

            None, whatsoever. I was only responding to your judgement Henry was posting for the purpose of helping others while entech was posting for himself.

        • Dustin Metzger says:

          The definition of “impose” is to force something on someone. Henry is being a witness to his faith by proclaiming what he believes. There is nothing imposing about that.

          Christianity says nothing about “Imposing” anything on anyone. It does call us Chrisitians to proclaim what we believe.

          Christianity teaches that all good in the world is from and of God. Therefore, any good in Sharia Law is founded by God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, whether Muslims recognize it or not.

          Knowing that God is ALL loving and we will never be able to fully understand or comprehend the limitless love that God has for us, it stands to reason that there are Muslims in heaven. Through Christ Jesus, mankind was saved. A devout and lawful Muslim may very well be living a life with a Christ-like heart. It stands to reason that our ALL loving and ALL powerful God would have mercy on his soul.

          • Jeffrey Eide says:

            All good comes from God? You forgot to mention that the God you believe in is also the source of Hell, eternal suffering, the devil you previously mentioned, and the supposed free-will humans who have never and can never live up to the impossible standards given to them by a god.

            Just keep in mind there are mutually exclusive religions out there who completely disagree with you based on the same reasons you believe what you do. Of all the gods out there, you have a very small probability you were raised believing the right one! If there is a god that is….

          • entech says:

            All good comes from God.
            According all theology I have read everything comes from God, the creator of all things from nothing.
            If you believe this it is a little redundant to say:
            All good comes from God.

            By definition all things good comes from God as do all things evil, wicked, cruel and barbarous. Not to mention the merely indifferent, mundane and common place.

    • Jeffrey Eide says:

      Thanks Entech, first thing I saw when I woke up, made the rest of my day… By the way, you were entirely right about Henry, he is dishonest in his arguments and doesn’t want to listen. Hats off, mate.

    • Jinx says:

      You are not wrong entech!

      Dr Bart has credibility; something Henry lacks.

    • bill says:

      And what is it that you do for a living genius? At least Henry had gainful employment and produced something that the world needs unlike you. Unless you count the verbal diarrhea that flows from your mouth as a product of need. I do not.

      • entech says:

        hi Bill, I presume your 1:27 was directed at me and my little rant about Henry. All done with some sense of humour as I am sure Henry appreciates, somewhere deep down. You see Henry does spend some time proclaiming his limited formal education, a couple of course with Dr. someone at somecollege, I don’t recall the detail because I am not local and they don’t mean anything to me in my range of experience. He also tends to put himself in a category “just a metal worker”.

        What do I do for living? At the moment being past working age and not healthy enough to work on I am retired, and approaching the 3/4 century mark I feel I am entitled. But that does not explain what I do for a living, what I do to “earn a crust” as the popular expression in my area goes. Well the source of my income is various I have a long service pension from the navy, I have what is called here an allocated pension, an investment I purchased which gives a steady income, a slow increase in asset values (unfortunately I bought in shortly before the GFC which reduced the asset value quite considerably) and some small government aged benefits. Actually I consider myself one of the richest men around, not because I have lots and lots, but because I have plenty left over after satisfying all my needs and desires- fortunately these are quite modest so I have plenty left. I even have enough to make a regular monthly donation to a couple of health research establishments and also to the Salvation Army.

        Now, gainful employ, irony of ironies, I started my working life as an Ironworker, actually most of my life was as a marine engineer, before they permit you to be in charge of the mechanics of a ship in the middle of the ocean they expect that you can fix it when things gone wrong, something to do with the convention for the safety of life at sea. So I learned from the ground up how to make nuts and bolts and fasten things together, enough design knowledge to know why they were made the way they were, generally enough engineering to design, build and repair, probably to the level of the second year of a university course, plus practical experience between examinations for what they called “certificates of competency”. One of the things I learned from over thirty years in the industry is that there is no such thing as “just an ironworker” – Ok many never get much above being an assistant – from Henry’s past talk he was employed in the welding of high pressure steam pipes and very heavy lift cranes, very skilful, and as an adjunct to that I can say that to a very large extent the engineer in charge of a project is frequently only as good as his assistants, you cannot achieve anything without good ironworkers. Arthritis that I change occupations and an interest in computers became an occupation, after post graduate studies. The last few years I was contracted to some Community Health Service Centres, always struggling they were but even then they kept trying to do extra things for me because there main complaint was that they knew my contract rates were a lot lower than average. Still I never really wanted more than enough.

        I don’t usually respond to the type of mindless vitriol that you specialise in but I was a bit bored this morning.

        • Henry says:

          I’ll have to correct you again. No high pressure steam pipes (you are projecting). Heavy lift cranes, yes. Up to a 450 ton, S&A American Crane w/ workhorse. That was easy. The more difficult was the heavy lifts with a 40 Ton P&H, especially when one of the drum brake lines sprung a leak during a pick. Things could get real interesting, real fast.

          • entech says:

            As I said getting old, I am sure we had this before.
            I do remember being corrected when I extrapolated something you said to welding that had to be x-rayed. At least I am boosting you up this time.

          • Jinx says:

            So now we have regressed to “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” and then Bill & Henry will tear any one else down who does show theirs?

            Entech, I like you, you have earned your retirement and you do not have to justify yourself to the judging jackals. Ok jackals, now you can tear me down to; however, I won’t even bother to read your comments.

          • entech says:

            Henry, Once in a while some non believer is embarrassing, talking a lot of foolish and denigrating stuff. Often along the lines of “that stuff is stupid and you would have to be the same to believe it” with no idea of how to present their case in any coherent or cogent manner, I get really annoyed at such people because they are just mindless. I know I get at you personally and call you dishonest etc, because I don’t like the way you present your case and refuse to recognise (my) truth etc.

            From your side do you get embarrassed by the likes of Bill or his friend James, who have all the coherence of a drunk shouting at the moon. Those who make it worse if you are silly enough give try to give a serious answer.

          • Henry says:

            Your regression claim does not follow. A simple correction to entech’s ramblings about other people was made.

          • Henry says:

            To entech: I have nothing to be embarrassed about. They have their own opinion, and I have been careful to remain nuetral and not pile on on their comments, even if I believe in what they say. I am not the moderator.

        • bill says:

          So now you collect an overpaid govt. pension for doing next to nothing for 20 years and sit on the blogs all day because you really have nothing to offer society except the verbal diarrhea that flows from your twisted mind.

  3. Dustin Metzger says:

    Jon, you commented “When someone promotes the idea of heaven and hell, I always wonder if they are doing it for themselves or others.” Why do you wonder this? Seems to me you are playing Devil’s advocate. What difference does it make for you what their intentions are?

  4. Dustin Metzger says:

    Jefferey, to your first point, Hell was not created for humans. It was created for Satan. And God does not send humans to Hell. Humans often send themselves, by choosing Hell over Heaven.

    What if all the gods you speak of are actually one in the same? What if the one true God has decided to appeal to mankind in several different religions? Muslims, Jews, and Christians all pray to the God of Abraham. All are centered on living for the glory of God, through service and sacrafice.

    What god do you pray to? If you don’t pray to one, than your probability of eternal life is 0%. I’ll take my chances praying to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. My chances are certainly better than 0%, any way you look at it. In my mind it’s 100%

    • Jeffrey Eide says:

      How do you know Hell was not created for humans, and why did god create hell or the devil to begin with? Why did god create humans with the capacity to go to hell? The fact that I was born was not my choice, and now I am in a position, according to christian mythology, to either believe in god and live in eternal worship of a celestial dictator, or refuse to believe in him, in which case he shows his love for me by sending me to hell for eternal punishment. Yes, that makes complete sense.

      Certainly the Abrahamic religions plagiarized each other, and thus have similar roots, but they have all gotten different messages from god on how to behave, how to live, or how to worship him. Add in Hindu, Greek, African, Chinese, and many other gods, and you have different ways of life wildly varied. The only thing they have in common is the minds nature to find mystical explanations in natural events.

      By the way, Pascal’s Wager, which you mentioned is an age old fallacy, please see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZpJ7yUPwdU

      And enjoy this short clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gcw1YEtTQCw

  5. Wolfy32 says:

    Could not the divinity of Christ be orchestrated by God? Real or imagined?

    I’ve struggled with the stories of Christ a long time. I have a strong evangelical background and had the credits for a minor in pastoral ministry from a catholic university. (yeah those go together well.. ) Plus secular theological and biblical classes at traditional colleges, and tons of reading through the bible, tons of church, all of which I’m embarassed to even admit. Being raised evangelical christian is something I’m not proud of.

    However, I’ve come out of my box (cage). I still believe in God, in the Christian Bible, and I’m still open to theories and ideas.

    We’re not going to change an athiest’s mind, and we’re not going to change a Christian mind… So, I have no agenda here, other than to state my view for sake of discussion.

    My mind is in the middle. And as such, I struggle with how people that died throughout the thousands (and/or millions) of years that the old testament takes place in (creation of the planet to the creation of the first humans — potentially millions to billions of years) how they make it to heaven without a “savior”.

    God seeing the need for human civilization as a hole needing something more provided a savior. One people could relate to, see some of his power demonstrated, and let people see his mortality.. Or… Maybe… God saw Christ’s orchestration within the church, and determined it’s o.k.? That maybe it was o.k. for people to believe in a savior.

    At this point, no one can prove nor disprove his existence and resurrection. We have a bible, stating it happened, and bunches of other historical documents that may or may not be as valid as the bible and may or may not be as riddled with political and economic influences. Assuming everyone had an investment / agenda to disprove and/or prove Christ as a real hero or a nobody… Who’s right? How can prove anything? WE CAN’T. We can try to discredit thigns.. Yeah, I’ll believe 2000 year old analytics of sparse 2000 year old data. Or a book that’s been republished and retranslated a hundred thousand times over 1500 years. (well, o.k. canonical bible was just a few hundred years ago..) Everything has social, economic, and political agendas. Let’s assume that as a given. To disprove Christ, makes some feel better, and helps the atheists and Agnostic causes. O.k. great? Then what? Would we have utopia?? no, i’m pretty sure things would still be as they are.. Society wouldn’t suddenly change for the better. In fact, with 1/5th of the world’s population having their beliefs crushed, there might be a meltdown in society that non of us can fathom. Regardless of the facts.

    So, what I’m trying to say, is maybe… God, let us continue to believe in the concept of a christ knowing it would benefit our global society. Maybe we aren’t “old enough” for the entire truth? As a race we aren’t mature enough to handle the facts? Maybe it’s something that has to remain this way…

    I think a good analogy is a child’s believe in Santa Clause. We think it’s o.k. and cute and healthy for a child to have that faith for a while. Maybe God’s saying hey, it’s only been 2000 years. You’re still recovering and growing as a race. I’ll reveal the reality when you prove you can handle it, for now, continue to believe in the savior. Maybe Christ was a real person, maybe he was crucified, maybe he rose from the dead, maybe he didn’t… Does it matter?

    God says it’s healthy for me to believe this… Maybe… I don’t know what’s out in the universe.

    There’s quote at the beginning of a PC game I’ve been playing. I thought about it some… It’s pretty accurate:

    “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”

    Arthur C. Clarke.

    Is it wrong for us to not want to be alone on this hunk of rock that’s just gliding through space, held by invisible forces to a set path. That if that path deviates by just a little, most of the life on the planet would be destroyed…

    Maybe, there are lies within religion. Maybe some of it’s real and true. Either way, does it matter who’s right or wrong? We’re pretty alone on this rock. There’s any number of a billion possibilities that could snuff out this little tiny rock full of people. Maybe, just maybe, I sleep better at night believing there’s someone out there protecting us from those billions of possibilities. and maybe they’re doing a dam fine job? And maybe we have no clue what wars are being fought throughout the universe that we’re being protected from. If we’re alone, and no one’s out there. I guess I’d rather believe a lie than believe that. Because, that’s just as terrifying as believing someone is out there. What if who’s out there is actually just growing our population to a target number. And when we get large enough they just harvest us like a crop and make us into slaves, and leave a few behind to start all over… That’s as terrifying as being alone. So, maybe we want to believe that if there’s a God, that they’ve lived with us and know what life is like on this planet, so they can relate to us.

    Haven’t we all said at some point “Only if you’d walked in my shoes…..”? Maybe we need someone that’s been human and can plead our case to a supreme being?

    Maybe it’s just our imagination, but, who are we to take that away from the people of this earth? No, I don’t agree with manipulation and fear tactics for monetarial gain, and abhor sexual slavery of any type, and all the horrendous acts done in the name of religion. That’s a different issue though. If those people wouldn’t be in religion they’d be teachers in schools, if they weren’t in schools they’d be exposed to kids doing those things to kids in other places. It’s not religions fault for breading evil. That blood, that sin is the true sins on the hands of those that perpetuate, cover it, and protect it.

    God is separate from the church. Some churches may be of God, and some churches may just be of themselves. In my book. God is not a church or a ritual, or a building or a set of dos and don’ts, or some human order. Those are all man made things with the shrouded with the fallability of mankind.

    The idea and belief in a true God / savior though… That’s a belief regardless of the reality, is maybe necessary for many on this planet to be at peace at night.

    And is there anything wrong with the idea / concept of believing in something more than ourselves? Even if it may or may not be a lie?
    After all, we let kids do it all the time… Maybe we need that same security?

    There are two possibilite

    • Jeffrey Eide says:

      Hey Wolfy,

      Thanks for writing, I really appreciate your thoughts and analysis. It is clear you have a very open mind, and I have to say, nothing but respect. Of course, I may take issues with some of the points you mentioned, I would only like to point out a couple things.

      Most atheists I know are entirely willing to change their mind if the burden of proof is met. For me, the existence or non existence of Jesus, matters no more than that of Socrates, but for those billion or so, those who have faith, tend to make daily decisions based around politics, community, and raising children because of that belief.

      Thanks Wolfy32, hope to hear more from you!

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Wolfy 32 Thanks for the first time comment.

      Certainly, I agree with you there is nothing wrong with people believing. What is wrong is when they use the power and money of government to promote, and sometimes force, these beliefs on those who choose to not believe. I discuss this necessary separation often here.

    • Jinx says:

      Interesting read Wolfy!

      I too look forward to reading your posts. I am an agnostic or as Garrison Keillor would say ‘the god I don’t believe in is catholic’! Lol, a great line by Keillor. Otherwise, Jeffery pretty much has said what I would say so no point in repeating his words.

    • Wolfy32 says:

      Thanks Guys. Yes, I have a very open mind most likely because everyone tried to close it for me.

      So, maybe what I’m understanding here, is not so much people’s general faith in something, someone, being out there potentially trying to help the human race without infringing upon free will. — All purely circumstantial at best in terms of “can it be proven.” I firmly believe that, that is impossible to prove or disprove, it is unfortunately taken on faith. Trust me, I would love to have substantiatable, tangible proof. I’ve had a lot of miracles in my life. Yet, I can’t prove they were of something divine. I’m a deeply passionate and spiritual person, however, that doesn’t mean I invest in a church organization. I don’t agree with what churches do. Evangelicals rely on fear and guilt and on perpetuating the idea Humans are disgusting and evil and don’t deserve anything. And catholicism relies on empty rituals to perpetuate mindless actions — creating lemmings. HA! I knew Lemmings came from somewhere. I knew it.. The catholic church!

      Joking aside and no offense to anyone. I know there are very deeply spiritual catholics out there that are very into an actual spiritual belief in God. Not just following the mindless rituals of mass and prayer beads.

      That said.. I’ll this on a different note: Catholic on paper, is a good idea. building self sufficient communities to help each other and selflessly build up society… What’s wrong with that? As with many things. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. This leads to the select few that run the vatican perpetuating the abuse of humanity through religion. And that I agree with you, we should have no tolerance for. I don’t believe the Vatican has any right to exist as an independant nation, and it should be torn down brick by brick and answer to the nations of this planet for its crimes against humanity for the last 1000 years. That in, no way, changes my belief and love of God. I see it / him as a real being, that doesn’t need a religious organization, doesn’t need a building or a place, and in truth doesn’t need anything from us. It wants our love. I think If there’s a God out there, that it will do just fine without our love. However, just as we would be hurt by the rejection of our own child, I think maybe, there’s an investment in our race just as we have an investment in our children.

      We don’t try to save our kids from making their own mistakes… We’ll support them through their choices, but, for the most part, we have to let them live and learn, and if anything I think God has taken a very similar approach with us.

      That said, I believe those that prey on the week and vulnerable and guilt them, manipulate them, and / or use them for their own perverse gain will have something to answer for. I believe strongly the evengelicals and Catholic nation will have have some crimes to answer for and will be judged harshly.

      If Sodom and Gamorah were two nations so perverse to God that they outright had to be destroyed.. Then, I have no doubt that the catholic church would possibly be in a similar position. Communism looks good on paper too. Hey, 0% unemployment, everyone contributes to the society and everyone gains.. In theory… Not when applied by humans though. Those at the top get to make decisions for everyone and it becomes corrupt.

      I wish I could offer facts, substantiated evidence of the Christ, of Angels, of Heaven, of things beyond our imaginings. I’ve been frustrated with the society’s representation of good and evil that I took to writing a novel about the war between heaven and hell and how human life is caught in the middle of this cosmic war. The premise is that as human souls fight for life and betterment the good in heaven rises and becomes stronger and as people fall and give up, the deamons of hell slay heavenly angels. And that earth has become the central location, a last stand in the cosmic battle. I also make things more tangible, and try to make things more realistic and what if, there’s a war so large, so vast, that earth is one of the last stepping stone’s to hell busting through heaven’s gates. God’s Crystaline Temple. With one human, granted strength from all the powers of hell to lead the charge.

      I’m about 300 pages in, and really hope I get the time and energy to finish it this year. I don’t even include the churches in the war, for I feel it is people’s actions, not their associated church membership that will determine the outcome.

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