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Thread: Zeitgeist Revisited

  1. #1
    Furry Authority RedCheetah's Avatar
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    Default Zeitgeist Revisited

    God, I know you're deeply opposed to this movie and I really want you get involved because I want to sort out in this movie everything that's fact and everything that's fiction. Why? Because it's a cornucopia of debate subjects and since they all seem to be related there's really no political or religious subject that can't eventually get a Zeitgeist quote dragged into it.

    Lets start at the beginning, from the interactive transcript:

    This is the sun. As far back as 10 thousand B.C.E., history is abundant with carvings and writings reflecting people's respect and adoration for this object.




    And it is simple to understand why as every morning the sun would rise, bringing vision, warmth, and security, saving man from the cold, blind, predator-filled darkness of night. Without it, the cultures understood, the crops would not grow, and life on the planet would not survive. These realities made the sun the most adored object of all time.

    http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/zodiac_hall.htm

    Likewise, they were also very aware of the stars.

    http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/Stars1.htm

    The tracking of the stars allowed them to recognize and anticipate events which occurred over long periods of time, such as eclipses and full moons.

    http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/Krupp.htm

    They in turn catalogued celestial groups into what we know today as constellations.
    It's obvious ancient people used celestial bodies to navigate and understand yearly cycles. It was only natural for people to begin to think the stars also held answers to other things outside seasonal changes, such as political events and natural disasters. Anyone have anything to add to this?
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Time Enough For Love, by Robert Heinlein

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    yes. ancient people worshiped planets and stars ...

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    Furry Authority RedCheetah's Avatar
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    Randomly picking a part here, he mentions various gods being precursors to Jesus but harps mainly on Horus. Now, the first thing any debunking site will claim is that Horus didn't have all those attributes, or at least not at 3000BC. I researched Horus and Egyptian mythology a bit and found that no two stories of Horus' life were the same. Any two. They all had different events and different ways stuff came to be for the sun god, plus they all have proof for their own variations. This means the story of Horus not only changed frequently (which any archeologist will attest to) it also wasn't very consistent. Thus Horus may have had all those attributes during the year 3000BC as is claimed in Zeitgeist, but if he didn't it's almost certain he or an incarnation of him did at some point between 3000 and 1BC, before Christianity. Thus, even though Zeitgeists timeline may be off (we can't know for sure) the point is moot, the attributes that Christianity adopted were part of Horus' life long before Christianity started be it 3000BC or 2000BC or whatever.
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Time Enough For Love, by Robert Heinlein

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    Yeah but his whole context is that the characteristics of Jesus are borrowed from older or contemporary Hellenic religions, when actually the characteristics of Jesus were changed much later. Jesus probably had more like 16 disciples, but it was changed to 12 to more easily convert the pagans, most likely by the Romans. The context Zeitgeist presents is "Jesus never existed and was created by borrowing characteristics from other religions to present a more socially acceptable religion to avoid prosecution" when it is actually "The story of Jesus was manipulated in relatively minor ways hundreds of years after his death by the Romans to make it easier to convert pagans to Christianity."

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    Zeitgeist says there's only 4 main non-biblical references to him, and I know from various sources the Josephus one was forged by the church years later. Who else claimed he even existed?
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Time Enough For Love, by Robert Heinlein

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    The four main sources probably being Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny the Young. Those are the main non-Christian sources. Four people as contemporaries referencing him in particular is more than sufficient considering not many people knew of Jesus directly, Christianity was basically spread by Paul, who himself didn't even meet Jesus, and was converted by small, local movements, throughout the Greco-Roman world, so the lack of documentation of Jesus during his life is hardly evidence that he didn't exist. Josephus' entry is debatably forged, but most scholars agree it was originally more objective, but edited to be more glorifying to Christianity as Josephus was a pretty important Jewish historian.

    The New Testament itself is a decently reliable source in itself, as its various events have been verified by historical documentation and scholars. Also some weight must be given to the fact that even early Anti-Jesus scholars never questioned his existence, rather just questioned his validity and how Christians are easily led and deceived. The theory of Jesus as a non-historical figure didn't appear until at earliest well into the 1700s.

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    Most likely because all prior attempts would have been excommunicated by the all pervasive Vatican. Also, Zeitgeist mentions that the first 3 sources you listed mention him only as "Christus" or "Christ" which is a title, not a name. As for Josephus, I've seen from 2 sources that he didn't keep any documents on Jesus, and those that were found were dated to be after Jesus.
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Time Enough For Love, by Robert Heinlein

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    If they are writing Anti-Jesus peices in the first place I don't think they're too worried about excommunication.

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    Also, Zeitgeist mentions that the first 3 sources you listed mention him only as "Christus" or "Christ" which is a title, not a name.
    This is actually a subject of much dispute. Most historians think that in the context of the writings they probably apply to Jesus, but obviously there is no complete certainty either way.

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    Indeed, when scholars apply the Negative Evidence Principle, it begins to look like the Jesus we know from the New Testament is the result of late first-century mythmaking.

    The Negative Evidence Principle is, of course, not foolproof. It is not a proof in itself, but is rather a guideline, a good rule of thumb. How useful and reliable it is, of course, is subject to debate among logicians. Here's how the N.E.P. works - it states that you have good reason for not believing in a proposition if the following three principles are satisfied: First, all of the evidence supporting the proposition has been shown to be unreliable. Second, there is no evidence supporting the proposition when the evidence should be there if the proposition is true. And third, a thorough and exhaustive search has been made for supporting evidence where it should be found.

    As for the first point, the only somewhat reliable, secular evidence we have for the life of Jesus comes from two very brief passages in the works of Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian. And Josephus was a prolific writer - he frequently wrote several pages on the trial and execution of individual common thieves, but on Jesus, he is silent except for two paragraphs, one of which is a known interpolation, and the other is highly suspect. Other references to Jesus in secular writings are ambiguous at best, or known to be later interpolations, or both. The earliest references to Jesus in the rabbinical literature come from the second century, even though known historical figures such as John the Baptist merit considerable discussion, even though his impact on Judaism was minimal. There are no references to Jesus in any of the Roman histories during his presumed lifetime. That he should be so thoroughly ignored is unlikely given the impact the gospel writers said he had on the events and politics of the Jewish kingdom.

    So we have to turn to Christian literature for help.

    At this point, caution is called for in examining first century Christian literature. This caution is made necessary by the fact that during this era, it was not considered wrong to write your own material and ascribe it to someone else, someone you consider your philosophical mentor, in whose name and style you are writing. Indeed, not only was this a common practice, but it was actually a skill taught in the schools of the day. This practice has made modern scholarship enormously difficult in dealing with who actually wrote the New Testament books and when. The problem, though difficult, is not insoluble, and modern scholarship has developed techniques which have been applied to early Christian writings, to find out who is saying what, when and why. When these techniques are applied to these early Christian writings, the results have been quite surprising.

    The writings of Paul accepted as genuinely his (Galatians I and II and Thessalonians I and II, Corinthians, Romans, Philemon, Phillipians, and possibly Colossians) are by far the most pristine of any early Christian literature we have. They were probably written beginning in the fifth decade of the first century - well after the events of Jesus' life. When the letters are examined in isolation, it becomes apparent that Paul was ignorant of the doctrine of the virgin birth, that he never spoke in terms of having lived in Jesus' time, nor does he mention that any of his mentors were contemporaries of Jesus, nor that Jesus worked any miracles and he appparently did not associate the death of Jesus with the trial before Pilate. Only in Galatians 1:19 does he make reference to a contemporary Jesus, and then only in terms of James being the "Lord's brother." The use of the term "Lord's" even makes that single reference somewhat questionable to scholars, as the word "Lord's" did not have currency until the late 2nd. century. So the Pauline letters, at least the reliably Pauline letters, aren't good witnesses for a Jesus of the first half of the first century. What makes this particularly interesting, is that other non-Canonical early Christian pre-Gospel literature make the very same omissions.

    Later Christian writings were written well after the events they describe, none earlier than at least the seventh decade at the earliest. And none of them are known to have been written by the authors to which they are ascribed. Most are second or third-hand accounts. There was plenty of time for mythmaking by the time they were written, so they're clearly not reliable witnesses.

    The next stricture of the Negative Evidence Principle is that there isn't any sound evidence where there should be, and here again this stricture is met. First, there are no records whatever of Jesus' life in the Roman records of the era. That's surprising, since he stirred up so much unrest, at least by Biblical accounts. There at least ought to be a record of his arrest and trial, or some of the political notoriety the gospel writers describe. Yet the Roman histories are silent, even though they are quite thorough (Flavius Josephus alone wrote dozens of volumes, many of which survive, and he is far from the only historian of Palestine in this period whose writings have survived in some form). Second, as mentioned, there is no reliable account in Josephus.

    Josephus was a historian who was so very thorough he would write a three page history of the trial and execution of a common thief, and wrote extensively about John the Baptist, but on Jesus, his two small references are seriously doubted by scholars as being genuine. Unfortunately, the writings of Josephus have come down to us only through Christian sources, none earlier than the fourth century, and are known to have been revised by the Christians. There are a number of reasons why the two references in Josephus are doubted: As summarized by Louis Feldman, a promient Josephus scholar, they are, first, use of the Christian reference to Jesus being the Messiah is unlikely to have come from a Jewish historian, especially from one who treated other Messianic aspirants rather harshly; second, commentators writing about Josephus earlier than Eusebius (4th Cent. C.E.) do not cite the passage; third, Origen mentions that Josephus did not believe that Jesus was the messiah. There is a full account available on the Internet that describes the whole long list of problems with the "Testimonium Flavium" as scholars call it.

    The earliest secular literary evidence for a religion based on the man we call Jesus comes from many decades after Jesus' supposed death (from about 70 C.E.). Why, if he had as much influence, and caused as much a stir as the Bible says he did, do we not know of him at all from reliable, contemporary testimony?

    The third stricture of the N.E.P. holds that we must have conducted a thorough and exhaustive sweep for evidence where there should be evidence. Indeed, thousands of scholars, religionists, crusaders, apologists and skeptics alike have searched for such evidence since the earliest days of the Christian era. That they haven't found any reliable evidence that should have been there says that the third stricture has been clearly satisfied.

    So based on the Negative Evidence Principle, we have good reason to doubt the historicity of Jesus and that lack of reliable evidence suggests no good reason to accept it.
    That's pulled off Bidstrup's site.
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Time Enough For Love, by Robert Heinlein

  11. #11
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    Another good peice of evidence of his existence was reference to him in the Talmud. It mentions him as a magician and cult-leader, with his name being a distortion of the word virgin. Again, no one who lived in the early days of Christianity ever questioned the historical figure of Jesus, but there was no shortage of anti-Christian sentiment.

    Christianity didn't really gain any importance until at least a decade after his death, he was just a major local figure, most major historians of the time would probably not have heard of him until the religion was spread years later. The main rationale for the Jesus-myth theory is that he was created by the Jews for a more acceptable religion to avoid prosecution, even though Christianity wasn't even legalized until well into the 300's.

  12. #12
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    Christianity didn't really gain any importance until at least a decade after his death, he was just a major local figure, most major historians of the time would probably not have heard of him until the religion was spread years later.
    Zeitgeist mentioned a fairly long list of historians that lived in or around the area during or shortly after Jesus' time. If the movie isn't outright lying and they did indeed live during the time of Jesus in the right area then it'd be kinda odd that only a few references are found from a handful of historians, and they're not even exact names.
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Time Enough For Love, by Robert Heinlein

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    I'd like to see the specifics of "in or around the area." Not referencing him by name is no surprise as who really knows what he might have been called at the time.

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    I'll watch the movie again and see if I can post some names/date/locations. As for mentioning him by name, Jesus probably wasn't his real name. IF he existed at all he was probably given the same treatment the modern day Santa Claus got. Saint Nicholas was totally unremarkable as far as characters go, he was a man who was kind to children, but over hundreds of years (or thousands as is the case with Jesus) they added and mixed more and more tall tales until he's a fat man in a red suit at the north pole who flies in a sleigh pulled by magic reigndeer with toys made by elves and delivers them via chimney. The real Jesus, if he existed, was probably much different from the modern version and most likely some christians just happened to latch on to his rather normal story and run with it.
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Time Enough For Love, by Robert Heinlein

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    The real Jesus, if he existed, was probably much different from the modern version and most likely some christians just happened to latch on to his rather normal story and run with it.
    Yeah, this is definitely it. He was probably just some really persuasive guy who lead a pretty decent following through his what were probably rather modest teachings. Jesus wasn't actually a very prominent person at all, in regards to personality and stature and such. Most of his 'miracles' are mistranslations, as the story of him walking on water is almost certainly a mistranslation of him guiding the boat while he was on the shore.

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    So can we agree that the Jesus matter is as follows:

    Jesus the way the bible made him out to be never existed. There isn't definite proof one way or the other, but if Jesus existed at all he was an unremarkable figure that was exaggerated on over the course of many years.
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Time Enough For Love, by Robert Heinlein

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    I wouldn't say unremarkable exactly, as his teaching did really inspire Christianity, but it was actually his small-scale, comparatively modest teachings rather than any kind of large-scale miracles.

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    I'm not sure if Jesus so much made up the religion as Mark, Mattew, Luke, and John did. Jesus after all never wrote anything it was all them, and they were not giving first hand accounts.
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - Time Enough For Love, by Robert Heinlein

  19. #19
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    He was also probably knee deep in shepherd's daughters.


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