Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

Abrahamic religion, you know, the one with the cross...

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Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#1  Postby Animavore » Sep 25, 2013 6:07 pm

As a person, I mean, not as a phenomenon. I mean the geezer in the Bible as portrayed?

I've been reading a lot recently on the history of Judaism and Christianity. I'm deeply fascinated by the theologies, extant and extinct, which have grown up around Jesus, from the Gnostics to the Protestants. The squabbles, the arguments, the forgery and arrangement of texts to reflect desired viewpoints. The schisms and their associated drama. The clashes and feuds, the charismatic and ostentatious Popes and leaders. The opulence, the oppression. Etc.

But Jesus himself? Meh! And I mean that. Well and truly. Meh!

He's just boring. Has very little to say. He's not deep or complex. His words are as trite to me as the feel-good stuff a fortune teller would say. I don't find him revolutionary or explosive like I do Darwin or Einstein. A lot of what he says was already knocking about at the time. His End Times nonsense I find off-putting.

He reminds me of Justin Bieber in a way. A person whose popularity and affect on people is far more intriguing than the person at the centre of the storm.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#2  Postby Monas » Sep 25, 2013 6:16 pm

Yes, it's Jesus that captures my attention in scripture. There's something special about any person who holds sway over history for 2,000 years I would say, but the Jesus of scripture has always held my attention.

Obviously people at the time found him pretty revolutionary. You don't get crucified for just being boring.

Could it be other people have seen, and are seeing, something you're not seeing yet Animavore?
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#3  Postby Regina » Sep 25, 2013 6:22 pm

No, you aren't crucified/executed for being boring. At least not nowadays. Being gay is enough, for example.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#4  Postby Animavore » Sep 25, 2013 6:24 pm

Monas wrote:Yes, it's Jesus that captures my attention in scripture. There's something special about any person who holds sway over history for 2,000 years I would say, but the Jesus of scripture has always held my attention.


I don't see anything special about him at all. Could you point to a verse you think contains some profound wisdom which wasn't already kicking about at the time?

Monas wrote:
Obviously people at the time found him pretty revolutionary. You don't get crucified for just being boring.


I don't think he was charged for being "revolutionary" when they crucified him.

Monas wrote:
Could it be other people have seen, and are seeing, something you're not seeing yet Animavore?


As most people read the Bible that's in their head rather than the one in front of them they probably do :)
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#5  Postby Zwaarddijk » Sep 25, 2013 6:26 pm

Animavore wrote:As a person, I mean, not as a phenomenon. I mean the geezer in the Bible as portrayed?

I've been reading a lot recently on the history of Judaism and Christianity. I'm deeply fascinated by the theologies, extant and extinct, which have grown up around Jesus, from the Gnostics to the Protestants. The squabbles, the arguments, the forgery and arrangement of texts to reflect desired viewpoints. The schisms and their associated drama. The clashes and feuds, the charismatic and ostentatious Popes and leaders. The opulence, the oppression. Etc.

But Jesus himself? Meh! And I mean that. Well and truly. Meh!

He's just boring. Has very little to say. He's not deep or complex. His words are as trite to me as the feel-good stuff a fortune teller would say. I don't find him revolutionary or explosive like I do Darwin or Einstein. A lot of what he says was already knocking about at the time. His End Times nonsense I find off-putting.

He reminds me of Justin Bieber in a way. A person whose popularity and affect on people is far more intriguing than the person at the centre of the storm.

I mostly agree with you! My interest for the fellow mostly is a meta-interest, really. To the extent I want to figure things out about him, it generally is associated with the things people think about him - as far as I can tell he was a relatively run off the mill preacher the memory of whom just happened to get caught in a theological storm.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#6  Postby Nebogipfel » Sep 25, 2013 6:33 pm

I have to say, try as I might, I could never really find Bible stories exciting or inspiring. Not as much as Star Trek or Thunderbirds anyway :mrgreen:
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#7  Postby Animavore » Sep 25, 2013 6:34 pm

Zwaarddijk wrote:
I mostly agree with you! My interest for the fellow mostly is a meta-interest, really. To the extent I want to figure things out about him, it generally is associated with the things people think about him - as far as I can tell he was a relatively run off the mill preacher the memory of whom just happened to get caught in a theological storm.


That's how I feel about it. I just finished a lecture series by Bart Ehrman and of all the characters and people I met along the journey, the Emperors, the prelates, the historians and the early advocates, including Saul of Tarsus, Jesus was by far the least interesting. In fact it seemed like he barely featured in what should be his own story.

EDIT: 'prefects' not 'prelates'.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#8  Postby Nebogipfel » Sep 25, 2013 6:38 pm

Monas wrote:
Could it be other people have seen, and are seeing, something you're not seeing yet Animavore?


I think Jesus is like a Rorschach inkblot test. People see in him what they want to see.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#9  Postby Animavore » Sep 25, 2013 6:39 pm

Nebogipfel wrote:I have to say, try as I might, I could never really find Bible stories exciting or inspiring. Not as much as Star Trek or Thunderbirds anyway :mrgreen:


I dunno. I liked that old Charlton Heston film as a kid.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#10  Postby Nebogipfel » Sep 25, 2013 6:46 pm

Animavore wrote:
Nebogipfel wrote:I have to say, try as I might, I could never really find Bible stories exciting or inspiring. Not as much as Star Trek or Thunderbirds anyway :mrgreen:


I dunno. I liked that old Charlton Heston film as a kid.


Funny, the one image that comes to me when I think of that film is the scene where the Angel of Death has descended on Pharaoh's palace, and Pharaoh himself (Yul Brinner, was it?) placing his slain eldest son before an statue of Anubis and pleading for his son to be restored to him. I remember thinking, Gee, isn't God supposed to be one of the goodies? :think:
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#11  Postby Animavore » Sep 25, 2013 6:50 pm

Nebogipfel wrote:
Animavore wrote:
Nebogipfel wrote:I have to say, try as I might, I could never really find Bible stories exciting or inspiring. Not as much as Star Trek or Thunderbirds anyway :mrgreen:


I dunno. I liked that old Charlton Heston film as a kid.


Funny, the one image that comes to me when I think of that film is the scene where the Angel of Death has descended on Pharaoh's palace, and Pharaoh himself (Yul Brinner, was it?) placing his slain eldest son before an statue of Anubis and pleading for his son to be restored to him. I remember thinking, Gee, isn't God supposed to be one of the goodies? :think:


I've never saw God as a 'goodie' as a child. Probably due to not having religion really drilled into me. I always just thought he was a bad ass with a temper who you didn't mess with. Kind of like my mother.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#12  Postby Monas » Sep 25, 2013 7:03 pm

Animavore wrote:I don't think he was charged for being "revolutionary" when they crucified him.


Have a look at scripture....

Luke 23:1-2 Then the whole assembly [Sanhedrin] rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

But, of course, the "revolutionary" teaching that they really objected to was their view that he was claiming to be the Son of God, and they obviously rejected all that he was doing that they felt was subverting Judaism as they understood it.

Jesus certainly was absolutely revolutionary to a 1st century Jew, to the point of "subverting our nation".
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#13  Postby Animavore » Sep 25, 2013 7:06 pm

Monas wrote:
Animavore wrote:I don't think he was charged for being "revolutionary" when they crucified him.


Have a look at scripture....

Luke 23:1-2 Then the whole assembly [Sanhedrin] rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

But, of course, the "revolutionary" teaching that they really objected to was their view that he was claiming to be the Son of God, and they obviously rejected all that he was doing that they felt was subverting Judaism as they understood it.

Jesus certainly was absolutely revolutionary to a 1st century Jew, to the point of "subverting our nation".


How is being a heretic in any way "revolutionary"?
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#14  Postby Nebogipfel » Sep 25, 2013 7:14 pm

That's something else that puzzled me when I was small. Why was Pilate always regarded as such a bad man? As far as I could see, he made a pragmatic decision under a lot of pressure. Who might not have done the same in his place?
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#15  Postby Monas » Sep 25, 2013 7:21 pm

Animavore wrote:How is being a heretic in any way "revolutionary"?


Have a look again at the scripture I quoted Animavore - the accusation is that Jesus was subverting the Jewish nation. Do you not consider that revolutionary. See again ....

Luke 23:1-2 Then the whole assembly [Sanhedrin] rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

Or in the good old KJV, Jesus is accused of 'perverting the nation'....

Luke 23:1-2 And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.

If you don't think Jesus was revolutionary to 1st century Judaism then I would have to say you probably need to read a lot more of scripture to help you understand why Jesus disturbed the Sanhedrin so much.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#16  Postby Monas » Sep 25, 2013 7:25 pm

Nebogipfel wrote:That's something else that puzzled me when I was small. Why was Pilate always regarded as such a bad man? As far as I could see, he made a pragmatic decision under a lot of pressure. Who might not have done the same in his place?


I don't think Pilate is portrayed as badly as the Sanhedrin, but his "crime" was to crucify a man who he considered innocent of the charges brought against him. He "washed his hands" of Jesus rather than to preserve an innocent man. He took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man's blood".
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#17  Postby Animavore » Sep 25, 2013 7:26 pm

Monas wrote:
Animavore wrote:How is being a heretic in any way "revolutionary"?


Have a look again at the scripture I quoted Animavore - the accusation is that Jesus was subverting the Jewish nation. Do you not consider that revolutionary. See again ....

Luke 23:1-2 Then the whole assembly [Sanhedrin] rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

Or in the good old KJV, Jesus is accused of perverting the nation....

Luke 23:1-2 And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.


No. I don't find it "revolutionary". I think you are overstating the charge of heresy as being some monumental turn over of a whole faith.

That's if we can even trust what the Bible says. It's hardly unbiased. If anything it reads like some anti-Semitic diatribe.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#18  Postby Monas » Sep 25, 2013 7:33 pm

Animavore wrote:No. I don't find it "revolutionary". I think you are overstating the charge of heresy as being some monumental turn over of a whole faith.

That's if we can even trust what the Bible says. It's hardly unbiased. If anything it reads like some anti-Semitic diatribe.


Animavore

With respect, you still don't seem to be reading the scripture. The charge was not heresy. The charge was subversion of the nation.

But was Jesus causing a monumental turn over of a whole faith? Ask Jews today that and see if they don't consider Christianity a monumental over-turning of their faith. Read the Gospels - read the ever increasing tension between Jesus and the Pharisees. They saw something you have not yet seen - Jesus's message was radical to them, revolutionary to them. That's what led them to charge Jesus before Pilate of subverting the nation.

Again, please look at what is charged in the scripture. It's not heresy that they brought before Pilate (simple heretics were two a penny - the Sadducees and the Pharisees each considered some teaching of the other heresy. Throw in the Essenes and you have a jolly old heresy debate). No something more disturbed the Sanhedrin....

Luke 23:1-2 Then the whole assembly [Sanhedrin] rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

Or in the good old KJV, Jesus is accused of 'perverting the nation'....

Luke 23:1-2 And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#19  Postby Animavore » Sep 25, 2013 7:49 pm

I don't think the charge of "subverting a nation" is as big a deal as you're making out at all. Jesus wasn't the only Messianic pretender to have been executed for similar crimes at the time.
Also quoting the Bible doesn't really cut it for me. The claims are likely over-blown given they were written a long time after the fact by people with vested interest.

I understand as a person of faith you likely go in looking at Jesus as a son of a god and so your view of him might be rose-tinted but you have to remember I have no such awed view. Jesus is no more a revolutionary to me than Ron Hubbard. If you want to impress me with his wisdom or ideas there is no point posting quotes from a book which reveres him without criticism pointing out that such and such people thought he was a revolutionary and a dangerous and corrosive influence to their faith. Post me some of which he has said which has led people to think this about him.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#20  Postby Monas » Sep 25, 2013 8:06 pm

Animavore wrote:I don't think the charge of "subverting a nation" is as big a deal as you're making out at all. Jesus wasn't the only Messianic pretender to have been executed for similar crimes at the time.
Also quoting the Bible doesn't really cut it for me. The claims are likely over-blown given they were written a long time after the fact by people with vested interest.


O.K. I can see why you would doubt the bible. But that's quite a different point. Sure, you can dampen down the Jesus from the bible and then say he's boring and not revolutionary. But you're not talking about the Jesus of the bible any more - you're talking of your own version of Jesus that you've reduced from what you might consider "over-blown" in the bible.

As for the claim that "subverting the nation" and being crucified for it being not too big a deal. I doubt you'd think the same if it happened to you. Also, look what happened. This wasn't someone who was some minor renegade who would disappear into history. This is a man who shaped Western history for the following two thousand years, and who continues to shape worldwide history. Lots of people see a huge significance in the person of Jesus. If you can't see why yet then why not spend some quiet time reading or re-reading the Gospels. Keep an eye out for all the interactions where tension is building - you might then start to see how Jesus was turning Judaism upside down. Read the parables while bringing to mind what the Jewish mind set of his time was. But also consider the person Jesus as described in the bible - a man resurrected from the dead. Now you might think it's wrong, but boring it ain't. If it were true would it not be exciting? Or consider the words of John the Baptist, "Here comes the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world". Is that Biblical Jesus, a person who can take away the sin of the world, boring? No, of course that isn't boring! Or what if the origin is as the Bible describes - a man who's father is God and whose mother is a virgin? You might find that difficult to believe, but it's hardly boring if it's true! Or what about raising Lazarus from the dead? Boring? Of course not!

I suspect the Jesus you find boring is not the Jesus of the bible. How can anyone whose Father is God, whose mother is a virgin, who always existed, who takes away the sin of the world, who heals the sick and raises the dead to life, who walks on water, who is seen as subverting a nation, is crucified and is raised three days later before then ascending into heaven be boring?! I think you could consider the portrayal of Jesus as fiction, but if that's boring then the rest of us have very little chance of being considered remotely interesting.

But you did say "I mean the geezer in the Bible as portrayed?". You now seem to be changing your argument to something different.
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