Posts tagged ‘Historical Jesus’

March 31, 2012

Parallelomania and the Chronological Fallacy

by Max Andrews

Pagan Copycat Theory: The story of Jesus Christ as presented in the gospels is a myth incorporating various aspects of other ancient pagan religions.

–“Why should we consider the stories of Osiris, Dionysius, Adonis, Mithras, and other Pagan Mystery saviors as fables, yet come across essentially the same story told in a Jewish context and believe it to be the biography of a carpenter from Bethlehem.” (Freke and Gandy, The Jesus Mysteries, 9)

The Chronological Fallacy

  • In order for the copycat charge to work the parallel must chronologically precede the development of Christianity.
  • Some of the mystery religions developed after the birth of Christianity
    • Example:  Appolonious of Tyana was a contemporary of Jesus (3BC-97AD) but was not written about until 220-230AD
    • While several of the religions preceded Christianity themselves, many of the parallel claims about them do not.
      • While the Horus myth precedes Christianity by 3000 years, claims that Horus  birth was marked by a star in the east  or three kings adored him are found only in post-Christian secondary sources.
      • While there is evidence of Christianity employing some aspects of mystery religions late (4th -5th c.) evidence of borrowing earlier (3rd c.) suggests reverse: mystery religions borrowed from Christianity.
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March 30, 2012

Parallelomania and the Terminological Fallacy

by Max Andrews

Pagan Copycat Theory: The story of Jesus Christ as presented in the gospels is a myth incorporating various aspects of other ancient pagan religions.

–“Why should we consider the stories of Osiris, Dionysus, Adonis, Mithras, and other Pagan Mystery saviors as fables, yet come across essentially the same story told in a Jewish context and believe it to be the biography of a carpenter from Bethlehem.” (Freke and Gandy, The Jesus Mysteries, 9)

Common religious figures Jesus is usually compared to:

  • Appolonius of Tyanna (Greek)
  • Horus/Osiris (Egypt)
  • Dionysus – Bacchus (Greek/Roman)
  • Attis (Phrygian)
  • Mithra (Persian/Roman)
  • Zoroaster (Persian)
  • Krishna (Hindu)
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January 12, 2012

Theology Thursday 1/12/12

by Max Andrews

Theology Thursday is a new feature on the blog, which gives a brief introduction to a theological person of significance.

Theologian: Paul Tillich (1886-1965)

General summary of his theology: Tillich’s reasoning tends to reflect the romanticism of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and is intuitive rather than excursive.  He expressed a theme of the relationship between the infinite and the finite.  The infinite is known as the infinite only in relation to the finite.  Tillich also incorporated symbolism.  Any finite thing may have the double capacity to be both what it is and to participate in and point beyond itself to the infinite.  This is not to say that he didn’t think systematically as well.

According to Tillich, religion comes by means of a systematic use of paradox.  Religion is the state of being ultimately concerned or that which concerns us ultimately our being or not being at all.  Religion must always be translated  into political action.  This is not being who I am or where I am, but, being or not being at all.  This has to do with the absolute abyss of negativity and nothingness.

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December 29, 2011

Geisler’s Denial of Inerrancy–The “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”

by Max Andrews

Norman Geisler has recently released a new addition to his “Licona Letters” condemning Mike Licona.  Geisler is very emphatic that there be a differentiation between inerrancy and interpretation.  Under this Geislerian understanding of inerrancy, interpretation and inerrancy simply have a formal distinction but are essentially conflated.

[Such] a disjunction of interpretation from inerrancy as Licona makes is contrary to the nature of truth itself…. So, a formal distinction between interpretation and inerrancy does not mean there is an actual separation of the two.[1]

Additionally, Geisler argues contra Licona[2] that the grammatico-historical hermeneutic is neutral.  Geisler argues:

[The grammatico-historical] method does not approach the Bible with a historically neutral stance.  After all, it is not called the “literal” method for nothing.  It assumes there is a sensus literalis (literal sense) to Scripture.   In short, it assumes that a text should be taken literally unless there are good grounds in the text and/or in the context to take it otherwise.  As a matter of fact, we cannot even know a non-literal (e.g., allegorical or poetic) sense unless we know what is literally true.  So, when Jesus said, “I am the vine” this should not be taken literally because we know what a literal vine is, and we know that Jesus is not one.  Further, the literal [grammatico-historical] method does not reject the use of figures of speech or even symbolic language.  It only insists that the symbols have a literal referent.  For example, John speaks of literal angels as “stars” (Rev. 1:20) and a literal Satan as a “red dragon” (Rev. 12:3).  However, the literal [grammatico-historical] method does not allow one to take a literal historical persons (like Adam) or events (like a resurrection) as not literal history.

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December 26, 2011

Auctoritas–A Response to the Geisler Controversy

by Max Andrews

I have been reviewing, critiquing, and commenting on the controversy between Norman Geisler and Mike Licona for a few months now and I haven’t commented on it for a while hoping that all of this would soon pass.  With much dismay I was terribly wrong and it appears to have gotten much worse.  There are several happenings I would like to reveal and discuss some new critiques of the situation.  For my previous posts please see:

My Support and Endorsement of Mike Licona

The Disputatio–A Response to Norman Geisler in Defense of Mike Licona

In Promptu Ponere–A Response to Norm Geisler’s Petition Against Mike Licona

A Response to Tim Rogers and the Geisler Camp

Caveo Cavi Cautum–A Second Look at Geisler’s Petition Against Licona

Tekton’s Geisler Carol Cartoon

Tekton Ticker recently released a satirical version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol depicting Licona as Bob Crachit and Geisler as Scrooge adopting a plot driven towards this controversy over inerrancy rather than Scrooge’s distain for Christmas.  I’m not going to offer much critique on this simply because this shouldn’t have warranted the response from an SES alumnus as it did. You can see Tekton’s response here.  However, I cannot ignore its absurd response completely but here are the six reasons why Tekton should/would be brought before the school for review:

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December 16, 2011

A Geisler Carol

by Max Andrews

JP Holding just released a new parody video of A Christmas Carol and the Licona-Geisler controversy. Enjoy and share!

December 13, 2011

Communication Breakdown

by Max Andrews

The following is a guest blog post by Mike Burnette.  Mike “MoonDog” Burnette is a newly retired U.S. Air Force veteran who has worked 30 years for American Forces Radio & Television and commercial radio stations.  Mike has a Bachelor’s in Telecommunications from Liberty University and an M.A. in Public Administration from Bowie State University.  He is now a media consultant and creator of “MoonDog’s Media House.” He has proven success increasing the attractiveness and effectiveness of communication, awareness, understanding, participation, and production of key themes and messages for television, radio, and social media.  You can view his website at moondogsmediahouse.com.

__________

We now live in an over-communicated global society where, as the great philosopher Harry Nilsson said, “Everybody is talking, but I don’t hear a word they’re saying.” Language has become so abstracted in popular culture that quite often our words have no logical relationship with objective meaning or purpose. In our conversations we give nearly no thought to this deeper meaning or purpose. Our communication today is so riddled with self-stylized, relativistic blathering that we have no idea what we’re hearing. Francis Schaffer warned us of this in his book, The God Who Is There; however, most of us continue to speak as though the listener should understand our meaning—and we should understand theirs–that’s the danger!

Communication expressed by a person, relative to their own self-created truths is an unfounded bridge to relativism–in their attempt to say something of objective meaning–they’ve said absolutely nothing.

I believe there is objective meaning and purpose founded in God’s natural and special revelation. It is in God’s Word that we discover objective truths–that there is one God, the world was created, and that it’s wrong to lie, steal, kill, etc. It is from that foundation we can communicate that “this is good” or “this is bad” and “I know what you mean.” All other serious attempts for a universal communication may be, at times, illuminating, but ultimately is a bridge to nowhere.

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November 26, 2011

Caveo Cavi Cautum–A Second Look at Geisler’s Petition Against Licona

by Max Andrews

I have to give credit to someone else for the post.  I never went back through Norm Geisler’s petition to check if his reference to the ICBI statement was accurate.  I guess most of us simply took him to be honest and quoted it accurately.  To much disappointment it appears that we have been mistaken and Geisler conveniently left out important statements from the ICBI statement.  Below is the comparison between the ICBI statement and Geisler’s use of it.  For complete transparency, please view the ICBI document here. (What appears in black is taken from the ICBI statement, what appears in red is Geisler’s use of the statement, and what appears in blue is a note of comment).

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November 25, 2011

A Response to Tim Rogers and the Geisler Camp

by Max Andrews

I was quite encouraged when someone forwarded an email to me containing this blog post by Pastor Tim Rogers. I’ve recently been defending Mike Licona along with several other scholars, i.e. Paul Copan, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas, et al. from unwarranted accusations from Norman Geisler. (You can see my posts listed at the end of this response). The reason why I was encouraged was because it seemed that the Geisler camp wasn’t really listening or paying attention to our responses and arguments (contra Geisler’s refusal to read footnotes). To much disappointment, my enthusiasm was quickly squandered when I read the response offered by Pastor Rogers. You can view his response on his website pastortimrogers.com.

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November 21, 2011

A Horrible Attempt at Debunking Christianity

by Max Andrews

One of the blog followers, @DalloDallo on Twitter, sent me the video below.  The video was an attempt by another blog to debunk Christianity in a couple of sentences. Well, watch the video.

To begin with, I want to advocate that Christianity is falsifiable.  However, this is not how to falsify Christianity.  The argument suggests that just because Adam and Eve are fictitious Christianity is false.  Well, that doesn’t follow.  Even if Adam and Eve are theological myth or allegorical, say, of all humanity, then atonement still applies.  This argument is against the theory of universal sin, primarily seminal and original sin (maybe an entailment against atonement).  If theistic evolution is true and Adam and Eve are theological myth, Christianity is still true.  Paul, in 1 Cor. 15.17, says that if Christ had not been raised from the dead then our faith is in vain.  If Christ had not risen then Christianity is not true. That’s the task for falsifying Christianity.  This “one fell swoop” argument is not an argument against Christianity at all.  What they are arguing against is the model of sin (original sin, imputation, inherited, etc.) and an entailment, at best, would be against atonement.  This is an embarrassing argument and demonstrates a complete lack of familiarity with the biblical text, doctrine, and, I know it’s harsh, logic.