Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

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

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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#121  Postby Leucius Charinus » Feb 14, 2016 2:44 am

Shrunk wrote:So is the evidence in favour of an historical Jesus so strong that someone holding the contrary position can justifiably be called a "denialist"? (If you want my opinion, I'm the commentator named "lutesuite" on Sandwalk.)


Just revisiting the OP.

Aren't these "denialists" - by definition - some form of "conspiracy theorists"?

Thanks for any clarifications.
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#122  Postby lpetrich » Feb 15, 2016 5:26 am

There are three main source of Jesus mythicism that I've seen. Let's see which ones involve conspiracy theories.

Jesus Christ was a myth, but Paul was likely real, and everything after him was real

This is by far the most common theory. It is also the only one that has variants that are not conspiracy theories. The variant that I consider the most plausible is the Earl Doherty / Richard Carrier variant, and that is that JC was worshipped as a sort-of god and reinterpreted as having a human existence.

JC and Paul and the New Testament were invented by some late-first-century Roman aristocrats

Joseph Atwill's theory: Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus -- a conspiracy theory

The entire early Christian church was invented by Constantine and Eusebius and the like

Did Constantine Invent Christianity? at mountainman.com.au -- a conspiracy theory
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#123  Postby RealityRules » Feb 15, 2016 6:52 am

lpetrich wrote:There are three main source of Jesus mythicism that I've seen. Let's see which ones involve conspiracy theories.

Jesus Christ was a myth, but Paul was likely real, and everything after him was real

This is by far the most common theory. It is also the only one that has variants that are not conspiracy theories. The variant that I consider the most plausible is the Earl Doherty / Richard Carrier variant, and that is that JC was worshipped as a sort-of god and reinterpreted as having a human existence.

JC and Paul and the New Testament were invented by some late-first-century Roman aristocrats

Joseph Atwill's theory: Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus -- a conspiracy theory

The entire early Christian church was invented by Constantine and Eusebius and the like

Did Constantine Invent Christianity? at mountainman.com.au -- a conspiracy theory

What do you mean by " ...everything after him was real"?

(I'm not sure I'd call them "source/s of Jesus mythicism" - maybe 'categories' or 'types' ?)
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#124  Postby proudfootz » Feb 15, 2016 1:32 pm

It's weird that acknowledging that religious fables are human inventions is being derided on a skeptic's discussion board as a 'conspiracy theory'.

What will religious apologists stoop to next?
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#125  Postby lpetrich » Feb 15, 2016 4:25 pm

RealityRules wrote:
What do you mean by " ...everything after him was real"?

That a Christian Church existed after the first century CE, and also many of the people documented in it. "Everything" may have been an overstatement.

(I'm not sure I'd call them "source/s of Jesus mythicism" - maybe 'categories' or 'types' ?)

Oops, a typo for "sorts".
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#126  Postby tanya » Feb 15, 2016 7:13 pm

lpetrich wrote:There are stories of divine paternity of people whose existence that we accept: Pythagoras, Plato, Alexander the Great, and Augustus Caesar. So we can treat Jesus Christ's alleged divine paternity as comparable to theirs.
...
There are three main source of Jesus mythicism that I've seen. Let's see which ones involve conspiracy theories.


Do you engage in research in Physics in this manner? I have never before met a physicist or mathematician who thinks the way you are expressing yourself.

First, what crap. Obviously the mythical, antihistorical nature of JC is not in any way similar to the lives of Plato, Alexander of Macedonia, or Augustus Caesar. All of them are attested to, in non-religious, utterly sectarian, i.e. objective, rather than subjective, texts and trinkets, of the era in which they lived. Alexander has entire cities named after him, not to mention, monuments, coins, and statues.

Second, The MAIN source of the life of Jesus, is not coming from any of the parties you have referenced, but rather from the gospels. Use the gospels if you seek to learn about the nature and identity of JC.

Which of these two sources would you recommend to a novice interested in learning more about recent studies of black holes, confirming Einstein's theory of gravitational waves:
"...even light beams would bend downward and time would slow in a gravitational field. "
B.P. Abbott et al. (2016) Observation of gravitational waves from a binary black hole merger. Physical Review Letters. Vol. 116, p. 061102.

or:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sword_of_Rhiannon (1950)
The tomb encloses a bubble of darkness ... [like] those lank black spots far out in the galaxy which some scientists have dreamed are holes in the continuum itself, windows into the infinite outside our universe!


You wish to offer criticism of the theory, then you need to focus on the texts employed by the theory.

The theory that Jesus of Nazareth is myth from top to bottom, is based exclusively, on the gospels. Everything else, comes from those texts, particularly the "epistles" of 'Paul'.

Claiming "conspiracy theories" as the origin of the theory that JC was a mythical construct, is obviously false.

That JC was a mythical creature is found in the first verse of the first chapter of the first gospel.
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#127  Postby RealityRules » Feb 15, 2016 10:34 pm

lpetrich wrote:
RealityRules wrote:
What do you mean by " ...everything after him was real"?

That a Christian Church existed after the first century CE, and also many of the people documented in it. "Everything" may have been an overstatement.

Cheers.

I think it's possible the Christian narratives had their genesis in the early-mid 2nd century, and it's possible that the Catholic Christian Church did not sprout until the late 2nd century or until the 3rd century. The Christian Church certainly existed after the times of Constantine & his Council at Nicea in 325 AD/CE (the 1st Ecumenical Council). In 331 AD/CE, Constantine supposedly commissioned Eusebius to deliver fifty Bibles for the Church of Constantinople; but, even then, some key doctrine was not fully finalized until the 2nd Ecumenical Council: the First Council of Constantinople (381) and beyond.

I think it's possible some, several, or many of the characters in the NT-narrative are not real; and some, many or several are based on 2nd century people.
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#128  Postby Leucius Charinus » Feb 16, 2016 12:14 am

lpetrich wrote:There are three main source of Jesus mythicism that I've seen. Let's see which ones involve conspiracy theories.


Yeah but ......

The OP is kind of a twisted OP. It looks at the historicists (e.g. Ehrman etc) who have made the claim that mythicism is a form of [holocaust] denialism. AFAIK in order to entertain a theory of holocaust denialism one must posit a conspiracy which denigrates all the modern evidence for the holocaust. [The analogue is that these historicists view the mythicists as denigrating all the ancient evidence for Jesus]

It follows that such historicists believe that mythicism is some variant of a conspiracy theory. Doesn't it?


?
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#129  Postby dejuror » Feb 16, 2016 2:23 am

Matt_B wrote:My own take would be that, whether based on a real person or otherwise, Christianity is undoubtedly a myth. As such, the historicity of Jesus is pretty much irrelevant.

I don't think that the historical evidence definitively points to Jesus never having lived though; it just sets a very low upper bound on his contemporary significance.

What historical evidence are you talking about!!!

The Christian Bible??

The historicity of Jesus must be irrelevant when there is no evidence to support his historicity.
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#130  Postby lpetrich » Feb 16, 2016 6:37 am

tanya wrote:
First, what crap. Obviously the mythical, antihistorical nature of JC is not in any way similar to the lives of Plato, Alexander of Macedonia, or Augustus Caesar. All of them are attested to, in non-religious, utterly sectarian, i.e. objective, rather than subjective, texts and trinkets, of the era in which they lived. Alexander has entire cities named after him, not to mention, monuments, coins, and statues.

Second, The MAIN source of the life of Jesus, is not coming from any of the parties you have referenced, but rather from the gospels. Use the gospels if you seek to learn about the nature and identity of JC.

I get your point. The Gospels are essentially hagiographies, like Parson Weems's biography of George Washington. Or like what the Rastafarians came to believe about Haile Selassie.

I've seen some people claim that if we used the methods of Jesus mythicists, we'd be unable to learn about *anyone* about when JC allegedly lived.

Richard Carrier mentions some people who likely did not resemble the more detailed descriptions of them, if they existed at all: Aesop of the fables, Ned Ludd of the anti-Industrial-Revolution movement, and John Frum and Tom Navy of the Melanesian cargo cults. I'd add Arthur Pendragon, a.k.a. King Arthur.
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#131  Postby Nicko » Feb 16, 2016 9:59 am

Shrunk wrote:I'm not sure we're really in disagreement. My thoughts on this matter can be summed up as "Where there's smoke, there's fire," and there seems to me to be enough smoke to make it, on balance, more probable than not that some guy named Jesus existed about whom a lot of tall tales ended up being written.


Whereas the mythicist position is that there are numerous examples of almost exactly the same kind of "smoke" as the Jesus stories where there was no fire at all from that area in that period.
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#132  Postby Nicko » Feb 16, 2016 10:26 am

tanya wrote:The MAIN source of the life of Jesus, is not coming from any of the parties you have referenced, but rather from the gospels. Use the gospels if you seek to learn about the nature and identity of JC.


Which of course leads us to the problem of the reliability of the Gospels. Which is pretty shitty.

But you're right, there is no mention of Jesus as a historical personage in the rest of the NT. Everywhere else, it's all visions and shit. If the apostles were really the disciples of an actually-existing revolutionary recently executed by the Romans, this was certainly not mentioned when any of them are hauled into court in Acts.
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#133  Postby tanya » Feb 16, 2016 1:37 pm

lpetrich wrote:I've seen some people claim that if we used the methods of Jesus mythicists, we'd be unable to learn about *anyone* about when JC allegedly lived.


I have read, and reread this sentence at least a dozen times. I can't understand it. I must be dense.

I need to break it down into constituent parts. Is it missing some bit of text?
a. "I've seen some people claim"... hmm. I think you are trying to explain that you have encountered writings somewhere, in some location, as yet undefined.... ???
b. "if we used the methods of Jesus mythicists," wow. What a can of worms.
.....1. Your statement resembles one equating alchemists, with engineers who had designed CERN, to denigrate the latter's accomplishments. http://home.cern/
.....2. Which methods? You mean the method of reading? Writing? Conversing? Those aren't methods, friend. Those are means of communication. My method of communication is the same as Tim O'Neill's. The result is different, because he doesn't read the Gospels. He reads himself. The methods are identical. Get the docs, read them, and then form an opinion, based on the contents.
.....3. I am not a "mythicist". I am a scientist who reads the literature. Jesus, as described in the gospels, is a mythical construct, analogous to, and based upon, the life of Herakles. There is nothing historical about either character's existence. Do you suppose that Al-Buraq was historical? The creature is described in great detail in the Quran.
http://www.harekrsna.de/artikel/islam-al-buraq.htm
.....4. Was your claimant seeking to disrespect people who read the gospels? Or, was he someone like the late Maurice Casey, who wrote a book, the title of which was sufficiently repulsive to dissuade me from reading it:
Jesus: Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths? "Mythicist Myths" ????
http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Evidence-Ar ... nskepti-20.
Here we see the ultimate obfuscation. Like O'Neill, Casey heaps ridicule on "mythicists", but, in the process, dishonors the English language.

What does "Myth" mean to you, lpetrich? A myth is NOT a legend. The former ALWAYS involves supernatural intervention: A place, a time, a person, an object, SOMETHING that is not genuine, not real, not material, not only not historical, but entirely fictional with a dependence on supernatural phenomena or ability.

A legend, on the other hand, is a distorted reality. Technically, probably impossible, but still, within the bounds of ultimate reality. Like gravity bending, or, from the perspective of Leonardo, flying, in a man made machine. One MUST not confound Legend, with Myth, as Casey and O'Neill have done. Accordingly, Casey's tome, is nonsense. There is no rationale, for suggesting that "mythicists" are employing supernatural events, or ideas, or notions, or "facts". Everything is written down, in plain Greek.
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/

Some of us, may in fact, or unintentionally, DISTORT, in our presentations, the actual data, or the presumed actual data. Ehrman, for example, intentionally distorted what Dorothy Murdoch had written. He knew the truth, but "slandered" (i.e. libeled) her anyway. However, NONE of us, "mythicists", utilize in ANY WAY, supernatural performance to present our opinion, data or analysis.

Accordingly Casey, and his pupil, O'Neill, write with inutility, in my opinion. They don't comprehend the distinction between Myth, and Legend. They deliberately confound the true meaning of myth, in order, in my opinion, to preserve a degree of credence to their absurd theory that Jesus was a genuine historical person, about whom, a few legends may have arisen--but nevertheless, an authentic human, son of David, sperm provided by πνεῦμα!!!

c. "we'd be unable to learn about *anyone* about when JC allegedly lived."
..... 1. I think you intend to write that employing the method of reading, i.e. the method used by "mythicists", one cannot discern the genuine existence of ancient authors, people like Philo, or Lucian, or Epictetus, or Laertius Diogenes. If that was your intent, sir, then I deny any validity to your opinion. If I err, then I apologize. I am writing what I understand to represent your opinion, as expressed in the sentence above.
..... 2. You know when the fictional character JC allegedly lived? How is that construct even possible? Do you know when comparable, obviously fictional beings allegedly lived? How about Al-Buraq? You do realize, don't you, that about a billion human beings, believe that Al-Buraq had an actual existence? Does their fervent belief compel a Physicist to regard that possibility, the actual existence of an obviously fictional creature, as a rational alternative?
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#134  Postby proudfootz » Feb 16, 2016 2:00 pm

Yes, that particular statement was bizarre.

Of course some ideologues will make strawman assertions about 'Jesus mythicism' - it is to be expected.

Whether these vague assertions bear any relationship to reality requires a bit of work.
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#135  Postby kyrani99 » Mar 13, 2016 5:07 pm

I believe that Jesus was a historical figure, a prophet, for two reasons:-
1. some of the statements he made require great insight, eg "the kingdom of heaven is within you",
2. Mohammed talked about Jesus and did not believe that he was crucified.

I think a lot of what Jesus said was distorted and rewritten by many but most particularly by Paul.
I suspect that Paul was an agent of the Romans. The Romans had a serious problem with the Jewish uprisings, which culminated in 66AD and they kicked the Romans out and formed their own government. The question is why didn't the Romans tackle them immediately? I suspect that Jesus and Jewish religious literature had a wide readership once it was translated into Greek. And from at least some of the Greek philosophers of the time, had a high respect for the teachings of Jesus.

I believe that if the Romans had attacked the Jews in the decades of Jesus's teaching life, they would have lost the Eastern Roman Empire because they would not have been simply fighting Jews but Greeks, Syrians, Egyptians and more. So they got The Romans got Paul, a Roman citizen, educated in Greek and Hebrew, and a Jew, to reinvent himself as a saint (you'd know the "religious" experience on the way to Damascus is total fraud, if you have ever had a religious experience). Did he go to Arabia after the experience? I doubt it somehow. It was a way to take distance from what his real mission was about. He first converted the tribes of what is today northern Turkey, who happened to be employed as mercenaries by the Greeks whenever they needed to fight some battle. Then he tackled the Greeks and I would say under pain of death. You only got to look at the Ananias story to see that criminal means were used and parceled off as "acts of God".

And the words that he put into Jesus's mouth were designed to favor the Romans. For example, love thy enemy, do good to those that harm you, forgive your enemies and if someone robs you take off your coat and give them that as well. NO prophet would ever teach such rubbish. Only after taming the masses.. err establishing the many churches did he sail off while the Romans attacked the Jews and raised the temple to the ground.

There are stories that Jesus went to India as did some of his followers such as Thomas. It is not inconceivable since all of the lands between Judea and India were part of the Hellenic world, even under Roman occupation.

The Romans also had Josephus in their pockets. Conveniently as he was the Jewish "historian". He wrote the history as it was desired by his Roman masters.
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#136  Postby Cito di Pense » Mar 13, 2016 7:53 pm

kyrani99 wrote:I believe that Jesus was a historical figure, a prophet, for two reasons:-
1. some of the statements he made require great insight, eg "the kingdom of heaven is within you",
2. Mohammed talked about Jesus and did not believe that he was crucified.


Do you imagine that you're actually deducing something, here? The bible already tells you that Jesus is a person of great insight and that he said those things. Your statement (1) amounts to saying you believe what the bible tells you, and maybe because the bible tells you that it is telling the truth.

Your statement (2) doesn't allow you to deduce anything, either. Mohammed might merely be repeating stories he's heard.

If you want to believe Jesus is a historical figure on the basis of this kind of 'reasoning', you might as well say you believe it because that's what you want to believe. Maybe you could make an argument; you just haven't done any more than rationalize it to yourself, so far. This gives off a whiff of expediency.
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#137  Postby dejuror » Mar 14, 2016 1:39 am

kyrani99 wrote:I believe that Jesus was a historical figure, a prophet, for two reasons:-
1. some of the statements he made require great insight, eg "the kingdom of heaven is within you",
2. Mohammed talked about Jesus and did not believe that he was crucified.


Your belief is irrelevant since you have zero historical evidence for your Jesus.

We already know that billions of people believe Jesus existed without evidence.

kyrani99 wrote:
I think a lot of what Jesus said was distorted and rewritten by many but most particularly by Paul.


The so-called Pauline writings are a compilation of fiction.

Writers under the name of Paul claimed they received information from Jesus after he was resurrected.

Such claims are a pack of lies.

In effect, the Pauline writings have no credible historical evidence for Jesus.

Those who argue for an historical Jesus are in denial--they never ever had any evidence.
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#138  Postby kyrani99 » Mar 14, 2016 8:28 pm

dejuror wrote:
kyrani99 wrote:I believe that Jesus was a historical figure, a prophet, for two reasons:-
1. some of the statements he made require great insight, eg "the kingdom of heaven is within you",
2. Mohammed talked about Jesus and did not believe that he was crucified.


Your belief is irrelevant since you have zero historical evidence for your Jesus.

We already know that billions of people believe Jesus existed without evidence.

kyrani99 wrote:
I think a lot of what Jesus said was distorted and rewritten by many but most particularly by Paul.


The so-called Pauline writings are a compilation of fiction.

Writers under the name of Paul claimed they received information from Jesus after he was resurrected.

Such claims are a pack of lies.

In effect, the Pauline writings have no credible historical evidence for Jesus.

Those who argue for an historical Jesus are in denial--they never ever had any evidence.


Paul is not only fiction and a pack of lies, but ones that do harm to many people.

As far as Jesus the prophet is concerned, I am giving you evidence.

Some of the words /teachings of Jesus haven't been tampered with. I would say most probably because those that sought to corrupt and exploit his teachings have no idea what they mean. A person who has had enlightenment experience, even if not very deep, would recognize them. They would realize that they could only have been uttered by someone with deep enlightenment, i.e., a prophet. So those words and teachings are evidence that Jesus or some prophet, what ever his name was,( eg the Gnostics have talked about a "Teacher of Righteousness"), existed.

It is like for instance, say a great mathematician was supposed to have lived but there is no historical evidence. Some of the things the mathematician had said were written down. No one at the time understood what they meant but later on reviewing them by others, who are mathematicians recognize the incredible theories and proofs. Those theories and proofs indicate that a mathematician must have existed.

The other evidence is the recognition of Jesus, partly from his work/ teachings, but more so because there is a spiritual connection between those that are enlightened, and very strongly by those that are deeply enlightened, i.e., by another prophet. So Mohammad's recognition/ confirmation is evidence. Likewise, there are things that Mohammad said that again could only have been said by a prophet. These are statements that point directly to the Oneness. They are evidence.
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#139  Postby proudfootz » Mar 14, 2016 8:46 pm

kyrani99 wrote:
dejuror wrote:
kyrani99 wrote:I believe that Jesus was a historical figure, a prophet, for two reasons:-
1. some of the statements he made require great insight, eg "the kingdom of heaven is within you",
2. Mohammed talked about Jesus and did not believe that he was crucified.


Your belief is irrelevant since you have zero historical evidence for your Jesus.

We already know that billions of people believe Jesus existed without evidence.

kyrani99 wrote:
I think a lot of what Jesus said was distorted and rewritten by many but most particularly by Paul.


The so-called Pauline writings are a compilation of fiction.

Writers under the name of Paul claimed they received information from Jesus after he was resurrected.

Such claims are a pack of lies.

In effect, the Pauline writings have no credible historical evidence for Jesus.

Those who argue for an historical Jesus are in denial--they never ever had any evidence.


Paul is not only fiction and a pack of lies, but ones that do harm to many people.

As far as Jesus the prophet is concerned, I am giving you evidence.

Some of the words /teachings of Jesus haven't been tampered with. I would say most probably because those that sought to corrupt and exploit his teachings have no idea what they mean. A person who has had enlightenment experience, even if not very deep, would recognize them. They would realize that they could only have been uttered by someone with deep enlightenment, i.e., a prophet. So those words and teachings are evidence that Jesus or some prophet, what ever his name was,( eg the Gnostics have talked about a "Teacher of Righteousness"), existed.


An interesting take. But it isn't good enough for the historicity of a very specific person to merely claim 'some one existed to say these things' - obviously, the author of a story existed.

It is like for instance, say a great mathematician was supposed to have lived but there is no historical evidence. Some of the things the mathematician had said were written down. No one at the time understood what they meant but later on reviewing them by others, who are mathematicians recognize the incredible theories and proofs. Those theories and proofs indicate that a mathematician must have existed.


Perhaps a good analogy, except when it comes to 'spiritual truths' it is impossible to show they are true - unlike something in maths which are independently verifiable.

The other evidence is the recognition of Jesus, partly from his work/ teachings, but more so because there is a spiritual connection between those that are enlightened, and very strongly by those that are deeply enlightened, i.e., by another prophet. So Mohammad's recognition/ confirmation is evidence. Likewise, there are things that Mohammad said that again could only have been said by a prophet. These are statements that point directly to the Oneness. They are evidence.


Using the 'testimony' of a dubious character like Mohammad to verify the existence of a dubious character like Jesus is rather an incautious approach.

Even if we could be pretty sure Mohammad existed, what he did or did not believe wouldn't help us much as he'd be in no better a position to know anything than we are.
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Re: Is Jesus mythicism "denialism"?

#140  Postby Cito di Pense » Mar 14, 2016 8:49 pm

kyrani99 wrote:These are statements that point directly to the Oneness. They are evidence.


Bullshit. I can't put it any more succinctly than that. If you want to point me at Oneness, do a little spoon bending. Of course, only the Enlightened Ones can do that, right? But sadly, they're no longer around to do any bending, and their dry words are all that remain. If you like what they wrote, that that's what floats your boat. Why are you telling us about it? Your testimony to their enlightenment is no kind of evidence. It just you, spouting your bullshit opinions about writings that you think are 'enlightened'. Fascination with 'spiritual utterances' is an acquired taste, and the yammering about pointing to "Oneness" is just an orgy of self-important claptrap.
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