Who was Jesus?

Taking into consideration how substantial Christianity’s impact on the world has been, I think everyone needs to be able to answer this question.  If Christianity is true, then answering this question accurately is even more consequential.

Skeptics: do you at least concede that knowing exactly who Jesus was is important with significant ramifications even if you personally don’t think so?

So who was Jesus?  Eas he a miracle worker? A wise teacher? An ordinary man who has been deified? Was he merely a charlatan? How do you know?  And what does that mean for us today?

Comments

  1. I think that a man named Jesus could have existed, sure. Do I believe that there are ramifications for not believing that he was a deity in the flesh here on earth? Nope. But then again, I don’t look at your holy books as a reliable source for information.

    If you’re a Christian who believes the Bible is true with absolutely certainty… how do you know?

    • Why don’t you view the bible as a reliable source? Do you have a reason that isn’t grounded in the presumption that it’s false?

      • Well… let’s start with Genesis 1. Never mind asking who actually wrote this – more importantly, how exactly did they have any knowledge of it? They obviously didn’t witness any of it. It seems as though they pulled it out of thin air with absolutely no evidence to support it. It’s an assertion with nothing to back it up and I don’t presume things true until proven false – I presume things false until proven true. It’s just that simple.

        • Z

          You positing that the account was pulled out of thin air presumes God doesn’t exist. Otherwise you wouldn’t have that complaint because if the account were to be scripture, God could have imparted him with the knowledge of the account.

          Why must it have been pulled out of thin air?

        • Correction: Z only presumes religious claims false until proven true. Moreover, professional historians do not take this approach.

  2. absolute

  3. Kendrick says:

    I honor your premise John. Yes, any well-educated person should know about Jesus. The world is a massively different place because of Jesus, or more precisely, because of what so many people have chosen to do with their knowledge of Jesus. As with all things historical, however, our knowledge is necessarily imperfect. Perhaps the Holy Spirit continued guiding hundreds of human beings who wrote about Jesus and many thousands who sifted through these stories, translated them, sometimes mistranslated them, collected them, voted upon them, agonized over their contradictions, canonized a select few, disagreed, sometimes violently, about the canon, burned some books and people, continued translating, disagreeing, sometimes violently, about the translations, and revising the translations, until it got down to the particular book you read (presumably also with the help of the Holy Spirit). For those of us who lack the guidance of the Holy Spirit (or if we get it, it’s despite ourselves), the “significant ramifications” of Jesus appear very much to be what we choose to make them.

  4. I’d suggest that if you live in a country where the vast majority of people think that Jesus is the bodily incarnation of God, you might want to get to know a bit about him.
    Whether or not Jesus ever existed, whether or not his words can be trusted, whether or not he is the Son of God- his life and words are the foundation of millions of people’s worldview. You live with these people and your life is intertwined with the choices they make.
    Understanding and having an informed opinion ought to be important to everyone.

  5. Z

    You positing that the account was pulled out of thin air presumes God doesn’t exist. Otherwise you wouldn’t have that complaint because if the account were to be scripture, God could have imparted him with the knowledge of the account.

    Why must it have been pulled out of thin air?

    I am not positing anything.

    What I am asking is where did the author get this knowledge? You speculate that a god could have imparted him with it, which only begs the question and presumes the existence of a god in the first place. That assumption has not been established to be true. What would stop anyone from writing anything as long as they say they were imparted with that knowledge?

    • Z

      I agree that the presumption goes both ways…initially. but the bible goes from the initial assertion, to recording events of a supernatural nature witnessed by multitudes.

      These supernatural events couldn’t be completely fabricated or else there’d be no reason to follow the prophets. What I mean is people had to be around to witness the things or else Moses, Abraham and the others would simply be dismissed as liars. Their contemporaries would know the claims being made about them would be false.

      It is the rest of the history that lends credence to the initial creation story. As Moses and Abraham demonstrate actual communion with God, it demonstrates their credibility.

  6. I agree that the presumption goes both ways…initially.

    No it does not.

    You don’t just get to say it’s true until proven false. The burden of proof lies with the claimant.

    but the bible goes from the initial assertion, to recording events of a supernatural nature witnessed by multitudes.

    Wrong. Everything is predicated on the initial assertion being true. You can’t just keep piling on more assertions to make the first assertion true.

    • Z

      I know you have trouble with burdens of proof so I’ll address the latter.

      The fact that a particular supernatural event took place in front of multitudes isn’t predicated on anything. I’m saying those later supernatural events give credence to initial assertions.

  7. Apparently you’re not understanding:

    The author of Genesis chapter 1 is claiming to have knowledge of events that he could not possibility have. Any rational person would ask how they know this information. If they said a god told them it would not be a sufficient answer to the question. Not only does that not meet any burden of proof toward the claim, it would only lead one to ask about the existence of this god in the first place, let alone any reason to trust this god as a reliable source for any information.

    More assertions do not give any credence AT ALL to previous assertions.

    • What you’re missing is the author isn’t relying on his word alone. Multiple supernatural events occurred around multitudes of people with the author of Genesis amid it all. This gives his claims that God told him, or imparted it to him credence.

      I agree that absent any supernatural confirmation the assertion is simply that, just like in the case of Muhammad and Joseph Smith. They made “God told me” claims but never had anything more to confirm their authority as a true prophet.

  8. Multiple supernatural events occurred around multitudes of people with the author of Genesis amid it all. This gives his claims that God told him, or imparted it to him credence.

    No it does not.

    You’re just piling on assertion after assertion and no matter how hard you try it doesn’t give any credence to it.

  9. That question is irrelevant to the assertions made in the text. Why do you think it matters?

  10. Z,

    “I presume things false until proven true.”

    How is the above not indicative of a preconceived notion? This is not reflective of scientific investigation, or even criminal investigation. In that, we presume innocence, but do not presume anything about testimonies or alibis. They simply are until the truth or falsehood of the testimony can be established. A cop might believe a suspect or witness is lying, but he doesn’t go out to prove the suspect lied but only tries to verify or discount the testimony (at least good cops do). It must be impartial and objective.

    The same, of course, is true of science. We know that there are those (global warming scientists, some pro-homosexual researchers) who try to prove what they hope is true or want to be true. But the good scientist/researcher investigates and lets the evidence lead him to a conclusion, not the other way around.

    Thus, what is stated in Scripture, even Genesis, simply stands as a testimony. Your preconceived notion regarding the non-existence of gods and the miraculous does not provide your position with credibility. This goes back to the earlier discussion devoted to your questions to John. Your remarks about there being always those like myself suggests improperly that I am the one with preconceived notions about the origins of all things.

    But the Genesis story, along with the other four books of the Pentateuch are widely believed by Biblical scholars to have been written by Moses. Those stories that speak directly about him state that he had direct contact with God. His claims were backed up by the miraculous events during Moses’ lifetime that, as John suggested, could not have become a thing of faith had there not been witnesses to those events, the stories of such were handed down through the generations. Major rituals and remembrances were based on those miraculous events, such as Passover. Later Biblical characters refer to the events and the words of and the decrees that came through Moses. Unlike islam, people weren’t forced to convert to the faith of the Hebrews. As they as a people lived through the events depicted in the first five books, no such “myths” could have not have lasted into the New Testament era. Add to that the further miraculous events, with more witnesses along the way, and it becomes a situation that does demand something akin to a counter argument, with proofs of its own, to seriously call it into question.

    In any case, as the character of Moses does not contain anything that would suggest he’s a liar, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that his knowledge of creation is entirely accurate. His Source is unassailable.

    At this point in time, we have two opposing points of view. But neither have sufficient evidence to completely invalidate the other. You put your faith in science that conforms with your preconceived and desperately needed position which must reject the other. I put my faith in God, which doesn’t require that I reject science at all as a means of explaining the origin of all things.

  11. In the discussion of who Jesus is, one cannot say that He didn’t exist, but only question the extent of the tales about Him. Everything known about Him as having existed at all conforms with Scripture, leaving only that which is supernatural to be debatable. Anyone who pretends there exists the possibility that Jesus of Nazareth is fiction is not being intellectually honest—hell, they’re not being honest on any level. There’s too much in the way of hostile sources to confirm He existed.

  12. No credible person would suggest that Jesus of Nazareth is myth. Of course He existed. There is more evidence for His life than that of Julius Caesar’s – yet nobody doubts his existence.

  13. I think everyone needs to be able to answer this question. If Christianity is true, then answering this question accurately is even more consequential.

    I believe YOU should answer this question accurately – and by accurately, you must provide verifiable evidence for every claim you make concerning Jesus of Nazareth.

    • “You must provide verifiable evidence for every claim you make concerning Jesus of Nazareth”

      And so do you. However, you’ve decided just making assertions is good enough for you. Doesn’t work that way.

      • You title a post, Who Was Jesus ( and I SO glad you used the past tense, by the way) then make this statement:

        If Christianity is true, then answering this question accurately is even more consequential.

        What are you ,John, a hypocritical weasel of a coward that you are not prepared to defend your claim with evidence?
        You state it in the post then you run and hide!
        How pathetic.
        Truly.

        • Pathetic is your childish attempts to provoke.

          • Provoke?
            If you cannot supply any evidence for the character, Jesus of Nazareth then, of course it is hypocritical to make claims of veracity.

            All you have is faith. Nothing more. And faith is not evidence and neither is it truth and the moment you understand this then you will at least gain a modicum of respect.
            Meantime you, Marshal ( especially) are nothing but a ranting little ( ignorant) and intransigent apologist.

Any Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: