Religion...past...present...future...

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Egaladeist
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Post: # 117490Post Egaladeist
Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:51 pm

There was actually well over a million people living in and around Jerusalem during the siege ( circa 70AD ) by the Romans...

Josephus claims that 1,100,000 people were killed during the siege, of which a majority, but not all, were Jewish, 97,000 were captured and enslaved.

Even if his numbers are exaggerated ( he was previously a Jewish Commander but at the time a captive of the Romans and a defector helping the Romans )...they likely don't fall too short of the mark.


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Post: # 117492Post DaFoxx
Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:09 pm

but bear in mind that in those days the middle east was the centre of all things

and China's population was about 10% of the total in 1800, so allowing that as a factor, it would have been around 15 - 20 million when JC roamed the earth

so it is highly likely the middle east was heavily populated, the first city [Ur] was in Messapotamia [Iraq] 4000 years ago Turkey had a city of Ephesus, which numbered 000's in it's populace

so any event in this region, would be observed, and recorded
if it was not, the implicaton is that it didn't happen / exist
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Post: # 117493Post Egaladeist
Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:34 pm

The estimated World population around the time of Jesus is 200 million

most of whom lived south of Germany, north of the Congo, west of Thailand, and east of Gibraltar...with main concentrations in Italy, China, India, and the Middle East

probably approximately 8-10 million living in the area within Jesus' travels

so...on one hand yes...there were/are plenty of reasons to discredit the claims of the NT...

on the other hand...we are talking about a large percentage of illiterate and uneducated common folk...with estimations that illiteracy in that region could have been as high as 95%...so...the vast majority of those people could not have recorded anything even if they wanted to.

In fact it is doubtful that, with the exception of Paul/Saul, that the Apostles themselves could write their own name.
Last edited by Egaladeist on Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post: # 117494Post James
Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:37 pm

if YOU were to follow someone, that YOU believed absolutely to be a son of god
wouldn't you keep a record of EVERYTHING they did ??
Certainly. But that writing would not be considered non-partisan. There's plenty of partisan writing, that part isn't so much in question...
and I seem to remember reading that the apostles books weren't actually written within a human lifetime of JC being around
which would tend to look a little like ghost writing taken to the n'th degree .......
I'm presently reading some of the debate on that. Some claim Matthew was written by someone else (not long) later. Luke and Mark were not among the original 12. John I haven't researched yet...

Eg hit on what I was thinking:
on the other hand...we are talking about a large percentage of illiterate and uneducated common folk...with estimations that illiteracy in that region could have been as high as 95%...so...the vast majority of those people could not have recorded anything.
So my take so far is that, "partisanship", faith, religious belief aside -- looking only at what's on the table here -- it is as risky to conclude with certainty that it didn't happen as much as it is risky to conclude it happened.

I believe the starting to point is to consider it could have gone either way, as there are many possible variables in the mix here...

Eg, regarding negative accounts of Christ, here's one I just ran into and am reading about:
Nero fastened the guilt of starting the blaze and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius 14-37 at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.
--Tacitus (c. 56–c. 117)

What do you know about that one?
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Post: # 117495Post Egaladeist
Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:50 pm

We already discussed that :D
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Post: # 117496Post James
Fri Jul 25, 2008 10:06 pm

Oh geez I'm an idiot. I got my Greek dude names mixed up and was thinking he was somebody else.

Nobody pay attention to that...
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Post: # 117604Post James
Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:54 pm

Ok guys, been giving your points some very involved thought the past couple of days (had a whole weekend to toil over it!). Some of these things have really made me go back to basics and look at why I believe just what I do. After spending a good chunk of time tossing things around, my answer is as follows -- though I will preempt by saying that in regard to the science and philosophical community, it's an easily debatable response -- but it's mine nonetheless:

(1) In regards to proving the historical accuracy of Jesus, I cannot fully do it.

(2) Yes, we have extra-biblical documents, but as has been shown here, it is impossible to prove they have not been tampered with. I can no more "prove" that Jesus was the Son of God historically than Napoleon was a short dude.

(3) My belief encompasses factors beyond knowledge alone, which is something I know many will fault as illogical leaps, but so be it. In my own experience, I have tested and found biblical teaching to be solid and reliable every time, without fail, since I started testing things back when I was a 14-year-old punk fresh out the baptismal waters. Never once has it failed me.

(4) Similarly, I have found prayer and what I discern as a relationship with God to be trustworthy and reliable. 15 years of praying, and not a one has come up empty. No, the results have not always been pleasant, but they have been reliable. In fact, there has been at least one period in my life where that prayer and relationship was the only thing that kept me going.

To sum it up, there are things I know with my mind; others I know with my heart, and in the greatest regard, the latter is what applies here for me. In the end, as a result of the combination of my own experiences and personal events, I trust that the early Messianic community was careful enough in discernment and wisdom to compose Bible canon accurately into what it is supposed to be. I trust that it is true and uncorrupted.

It's not an entirely blind trust -- I test things, evaluate things constantly, and continually try to learn and educate myself more in them, so that I may better understand my own faith. And I strive to better understand those of other faiths, and without faith. But when everything else is whittled away, it does all boil down to the most basic of trust.

Take that as you will. ;) I know this kind of response would send some well educated atheists spinning madly into exclamations of logical fallacy, but I know you guys are level enough to at least get what I'm trying to say here.

Thanks guys for the incredibly challenging questions...These are things I've been really needing to revisit and evaluate. And trust me when I say this one has very much challenged me.
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