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"I would say religion is compatible with anything: since it is not based on reason,"

That view is not compatible at least with the actual history of 1st century Christians. For them, Christianity was about the historical person of Christ. See Paul, a former persecutor of Christians, writing to Christians in Corinth, circa AD 55:

"And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead." - 1 Corinthians 15:14-15

Christianity is about the person of Christ, it's a historical claim, and therefore open to investigation by reason, according to the historical method. For an ancient historian's understanding of the historical method as applied to Jesus, see Paul Barnett's "Jesus and the Logic of History" (http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-History-Studies-Biblical-Theolog...)




> Christianity is about the person of Christ, it's a historical claim, and therefore open to investigation by reason, according to the historical method

What investigation? That there was a person called Christ living in that period, in that area? Probably hundreds of them ...

That he performed the claims attributed to him? How are you going to verify that? Little written records, general superstition abounded, populace was illiterate and easy to fool ...

The historical facts have been scrutinized for centuries, and each time findings have contradicted biblical facts either the bible itself has been adapted (there are lots of versions), the message has been turned into a metaphor, historical records have been tampered with, ... The remaining message is largely metaphorical, and unverifiable.

Besides: on the one hand you have a small and powerful establishment in control of the message, the historical facts and all secrets which could help in falsifying all christian claims; on the other hand you have those who would be able to unmask the plot, but do not have the access, or even the interest, in doing so.


You raise some good questions,

"That there was a person called Christ living in that period, in that area? Probably hundreds of them ..."

Christ was not a surname, but a title for the expected Jewish Messianic King promised throughout the Old Testament (Isaiah 52-53, Psalm 22 are a few accessible descriptive examples). In the 1st century, given Roman control of Judea, any claim to be "the Christ" risked death. It was not a title that one would take to oneself lightly. Despite this, there were a few false messiahs of the period. Their mission and memory have faded in comparison to that of Jesus of Nazareth.

"Little written records,"

If you're keen to investigate further, you actually couldn't ask for better, more reliable written accounts (incidental vs biographical etc.) concerning Jesus. The historicity of the New Testament documents merely as historical documents is stunning.

"general superstition abounded, populace was illiterate and easy to fool ..."

I would not agree that that is an accurate description of the time period. It may be tempting for "modern" man to underestimate the culture and learning of earlier civilizations. If you dig deeper on this point, I think you would be impressed as to the intelligence, education, capability and common sense of 1st century Jews.

"each time findings have contradicted biblical facts"

I am not aware of any historical details in the New Testament documents which have been contradicted by historical findings? On the contrary, historical details (social, political, geographical, cultural, nautical etc.) in the New Testament documents tend to have been corroborated over time.

"the bible itself has been adapted (there are lots of versions)"

There are many translations of the canonical Bible into different languages, but there is only one version of the Bible, and if one is not sure of this, one can always read the extant MSS copies in the Greek. Textual criticism has shown that what we read today is what they wrote then, with no significant differences, as early as the 40s, no later than the 90s.

"on the one hand you have a small and powerful establishment in control of the message, the historical facts and all secrets which could help in falsifying all christian claims"

Are you referring to claims made by Dan Brown? The followers of Jesus were a motley crew at best, hardly powerful, hardly establishment. Furthermore, what they wrote, mostly independently and at great personal cost, their "testimony" (what we know as the New Testament), was in wide circulation by the end of the 1st century.

If you have any more questions, feel free to drop me an email: joran@ronomon.com


The historicity of Jesus of Nazareth, as a man, is essentially undisputed, and remarkably well-documented. [0]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus




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