April 26, 2012

Just For Laughs

Ophelia Benson writes “The air is full of feathers” at Butterflies & Wheels:

I read this self-confessed rant about Carrier on Ehrman (and, somewhat mystifyingly, also on PZ on Carrier on Ehrman). I read Ehrman on Carrier on Ehrman. I’m going to read Vridar on all three and our friend Eric on all three.

I’ll tell you the truth: I’m not reading them to get a better understanding of the scholarship on Jesus. I’m reading them because there’s so much in them that’s funny. That’s also why I’m sharing them with you. Don’t bother with them if you’re interested in Jesus studies, but do if you want a laugh.

This is more or less how I view much of this discussion myself.

Posted by Duane Smith at April 26, 2012 4:58 PM | Read more on Odds and Ends |

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Comments

Mr Hoffmann is disturbingly naive. He laments against the "Jesus-deniers": "When you reach the conclusion that Jesus did not exist before you start your journey, everything falls neatly into place: after all, the ancient world is populated with gods and every god has his myth."

I've never witnessed such a brilliantly poetic merger of both ironic condemnation and clueless self-contradiction in one breath. I have trouble laughing at his ignorance or anyone's ignorance about the myth of Jesus for that matter. Maybe one day he'll finally make an effort to grasp the other side of the argument. I may not believe in Jesus or God or the Easter Bunny but I believe in hope.

Posted by: Glen Gordon at April 26, 2012 5:39 PM

Glen,

My problem is that I just don’t find this discussion all that interesting. And I find the ad hominems on all sides appalling. For what it is worth I find the arguments for there having been a historical person, let’s call him Jesus, underlying all the stories the early Christians told about him somewhat more persuasive than the mythist arguments. And of course, I do think there is a fact of the matter even if we can never be sure what it is. I’m fine with that. The far more interesting questions are why and how the early Christians came to think what they came to think. I’m not sure we can answer those questions either but at least they are interesting.

Posted by: Duane at April 26, 2012 6:28 PM

I don't know how to be polite enough about this without neutering any meaning in my words. So let me just spit it out and hope for the best.

Christians, in order to believe what they believe, need to further believe that the past operated under different physics than the present (ie. some forgotten world of flamboyant miracles and godmen).

What however is the definition of insane? Doesn't that definition have weight or is even the word "insane" under interpretation too? In order to avoid conflict with Christians, we need to pretend that their beliefs are within any modicum of reason in the here and now. Some prefer to kneel therefore to insanity and give it credit. What you call an "ad hominem" from the atheist camp is often nothing more than a spade being called a spade. Christians have no rational leg to stand on so let's not give credit where credit is NOT due.

That being said, we agree that these debates in themselves are uninteresting. It is indeed more interesting how Christianity came to become what it is, and even more specifically why Jesus became such a popular myth from the start. In that vein, I wonder whether there was strong, large-scale political motivation at the time that many may be overlooking in their quest to find evidence for the imaginary godman.

Posted by: Glen Gordon at April 28, 2012 2:50 PM

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