Black Spirituality Religion : The 12 Step Program

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Fine1952, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. Fine1952

    Fine1952 Happy Winter Solstice MEMBER

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    by Earl Doughtery

    Piece No. 1: A CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE

    The Gospel story, with its figure of Jesus of Nazareth, cannot be found before the Gospels. In Christian writings earlier than Mark, including almost all of the New Testament epistles, as well as in many writings from the second century, the object of Christian faith is never spoken of as a human man who had recently lived, taught, performed miracles, suffered and died at the hands of human authorities, or rose from a tomb outside Jerusalem. There is no sign in the epistles of Mary or Joseph, Judas or John the Baptist, no birth story, teaching or appointment of apostles by Jesus, no mention of holy places or sites of Jesus’ career, not even the hill of Calvary or the empty tomb. This silence is so pervasive and so perplexing that attempted explanations for it have proven inadequate. [See "Part One" of the Main Articles]


    Piece No. 2: A MUTE RECORD WORLD WIDE

    The first clear non-Christian reference to Jesus as a human man in recent history is made by the Roman historian Tacitus around 115 CE, but he may simply be repeating newly-developed Christian belief in an historical Jesus in the Rome of his day. Several earlier Jewish and pagan writers are notably silent. The Antiquities of the Jews by the Jewish historian Josephus, published in the 90s, contains two famous references to Jesus, but these are inconclusive. The first passage, as it stands, is universally acknowledged to be a later Christian insertion, and attempts have failed to prove some form of authentic original; the second also shows signs of later Christian tampering. References to Jesus in the Jewish Talmud are garbled and come from traditions which were only recorded in the third century and later. [See "Postscript" in the Main Articles and Reader Feedback responses to Sean and Steven.]


    Piece No. 3: REVEALING THE SECRET OF CHRIST

    Paul and other early writers speak of the divine Son of their faith entirely in terms of a spiritual, heavenly figure; they never identify this entity called "Christ Jesus" (literally, "Anointed Savior" or "Savior Messiah") as a man who had lived and died in recent history. Instead, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, God has revealed the existence of his Son and the role he has played in the divine plan for salvation. These early writers talk of long-hidden secrets being disclosed for the first time to apostles like Paul, with no mention of an historical Jesus who played any part in revealing himself, thus leaving no room for a human man at the beginning of the Christian movement. Paul makes it clear that his knowledge and message about the Christ is derived from scripture under God’s inspiration. [See "Part Two" and Supplementary Articles Nos. 1 and 6.]


    Piece No. 4: A SACRIFICE IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM

    Paul does not locate the death and resurrection of Christ on earth or in history. According to him, the crucifixion took place in the spiritual world, in a supernatural dimension above the earth, at the hands of the demon spirits (which many scholars agree is the meaning of "rulers of this age" in 1 Corinthians 2:8). The Epistle to the Hebrews locates Christ’s sacrifice in a heavenly sanctuary (ch. 8, 9). The Ascension of Isaiah, a composite Jewish-Christian work of the late first century, describes (9:13-15) Christ’s crucifixion by Satan and his demons in the firmament (the heavenly sphere between earth and moon). Knowledge of these events was derived from visionary experiences and from scripture, which was seen as a ‘window’ onto the higher spiritual world of God and his workings. [See "Part Two" and Supplementary Articles Nos. 3 and 9.]


    Piece No. 5: SALVATION IN A LAYERED UNIVERSE

    The activities of gods in the spiritual realm were part of ancient views (Greek and Jewish) of a multi-layered universe, which extended from the base world of matter where humans lived, through several spheres of heaven populated by various divine beings, angels and demons, to the highest level of pure spirit where the ultimate God dwelled. In Platonic philosophy (which influenced Jewish thought), the upper spiritual world was timeless and perfect, serving as a model for the imperfect and transient material world below; the former was the "genuine" reality, accessible to the intellect. Spiritual processes took place there, with their effects, including salvation, on humanity below. Certain "human characteristics" given to Christ (e.g., Romans 1:3) were aspects of his spirit world nature, higher counterparts to material world equivalents, and were often dependent on readings of scripture. [See "Part Two" and Supplementary Articles Nos. 3 and 8.]


    Piece No. 6: A WORLD OF SAVIOR DEITIES

    Christ’s features and myths are in many ways similar to those of the Greco-Roman salvation cults of the time known as "mystery religions", each having its own savior god or goddess. Most of these (e.g., Dionysos, Mithras, Attis, Isis, Osiris) were part of myths in which the deity had overcome death in some way, or performed some act which conferred benefits and salvation on their devotees. Such activities were viewed as taking place in the upper spirit realm, not on earth or in history. Most of these cults had sacred meals (like Paul’s Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23f) and envisioned mystical relationships between the believer and the god similar to what Paul speaks of with Christ. Early Christianity was a Jewish sectarian version of this widespread type of belief system, though with its own strong Jewish features and background. [See "Part Two" and responses to Miles and Anna.]


    Piece No. 7: THE INTERMEDIARY SON

    The Christian "Son" is also an expression of the overriding religious concept of the Hellenistic age, that the ultimate God is transcendent and can have no direct contact with the world of matter. He must reveal himself and deal with humanity through an intermediary force, such as the "Logos" of Platonic (Greek) philosophy or the figure of "personified Wisdom" of Jewish thinking; the latter is found in documents like Proverbs, Baruch and the Wisdom of Solomon. This force was viewed as an emanation of God, his outward image, an agency which had helped create and sustain the universe and now served as a channel of knowledge and communion between God and the world. All these features are part of the language used by early Christian writers about their spiritual "Christ Jesus", a heavenly figure who was a Jewish sectarian version of these prevailing myths and thought patterns. [See "Part Two" and Supplementary Articles Nos. 4 and 5.]


    Piece No. 8: A SINGLE STORY OF JESUS

    All the Gospels derive their basic story of Jesus of Nazareth from a single source: whoever produced the first version of Mark. That Matthew and Luke are reworkings of Mark with extra, mostly teaching, material added is now an almost universal scholarly conclusion, while many also consider that John has drawn his framework for Jesus’ ministry and death from a Synoptic source as well. We thus have a Christian movement spanning half the empire and a full century which nevertheless has managed to produce only one version of the events that are supposed to lie at its inception. Acts, as an historical witness to Jesus and the beginnings of the Christian movement, cannot be relied upon, since it is a tendentious creation of the second century, dependent on the Gospels and designed to create a picture of Christian origins traceable to a unified body of apostles in Jerusalem who were followers of an historical Jesus. Many scholars now admit that much of Acts is sheer fabrication. [See "Part Three", and response to Victor.]


    Piece No. 9: THE GOSPELS AS (FICTIONAL) "MIDRASH"

    Not only do the Gospels contain basic and irreconcilable differences in their accounts of Jesus, they have been put together according to a traditional Jewish practice known as "midrash", which involved reworking and enlarging on scripture. This could entail the retelling of older biblical stories in new settings. Thus, Mark’s Jesus of Nazareth was portrayed as a new Moses, with features that paralleled the stories of Moses. Many details were fashioned out of specific passages in scripture. The Passion story itself is a pastiche of verses from the Psalms, Isaiah and other prophets, and as a whole it retells a common tale found throughout ancient Jewish writings, that of the Suffering and Vindication of the Innocent Righteous One. It is quite possible that Mark, at least, did not intend his Gospel to represent an historical figure or historical events, and designed it to provide liturgical readings for Christian services on the Jewish model. Liberal scholars now regard the Gospels as "faith documents" and not accurate historical accounts. [See "Part Three", the John Shelby Spong book review, and responses to Jan and Johnson.]


    Piece No. 10: THE COMMUNITY OF "Q"

    In Galilean circles distinct from those of the evangelists (who were probably all located in Syria), a Jewish movement of the mid-first century preaching the coming of the Kingdom of God put together over time a collection of sayings, ethical and prophetic, now known as Q. The Q community eventually invented for itself a human founder figure who was regarded as the originator of the sayings. In ways not yet fully understood, this figure fed into the creation of the Gospel Jesus, and the sayings document was used by Matthew and Luke to flesh out their reworking of Mark’s Gospel. Some modern scholars believe they have located the "genuine" Jesus at the roots of Q, but Q’s details and pattern of evolution suggest that no Jesus was present in its earlier phases, and those roots point to a Greek style of teaching known as Cynicism, one unlikely to belong to any individual, let alone a Jewish preacher of the Kingdom. [See "Part Three" and the Burton Mack book review.]


    Piece No. 11: A RIOTOUS DIVERSITY

    The documentary record reveals an early Christian landscape dotted with a bewildering variety of communities and sects, rituals and beliefs about a Christ/Jesus entity, most of which show little common ground and no central authority. Also missing is any idea of apostolic tradition tracing back to a human man and his circle of disciples. Scholars like to style this situation as a multiplicity of different responses to the historical Jesus, but such a phenomenon is not only incredible, it is nowhere attested to in the evidence itself. Instead, all this diversity reflects independent expressions of the wider religious trends of the day, based on expectation of God’s Kingdom, and on belief in an intermediary divine force which provided knowledge of God and a path to salvation. Only with the Gospels, which began to appear probably toward the end of the first century, were many of these elements brought together to produce the composite figure of Jesus of Nazareth, set in a midrashic story about a life, ministry and death located in the time of Herod and Pontius Pilate. [See "Part Three" and the Burton Mack and Robert Funk book reviews.]


    Piece No. 12: JESUS BECOMES HISTORY

    As the midrashic nature of the Gospels was lost sight of by later generations of gentile Christians, the second century saw the gradual adoption of the Gospel Jesus as an historical figure, motivated by political considerations in the struggle to establish orthodoxy and a central power amid the profusion of early Christian sects and beliefs. Only with Ignatius of Antioch, just after the start of the second century, do we see the first expression in Christian (non-Gospel) writings of a belief that Jesus had lived and died under Pilate, and only toward the middle of that century do we find any familiarity in the wider Christian world with written Gospels and their acceptance as historical accounts. Many Christian apologists, however, even in the latter part of the century, ignore the existence of a human founder in their picture and defense of the faith. By the year 200, a canon of authoritative documents had been formed, reinterpreted to apply to the Jesus of the Gospels, now regarded as a real historical man. Christianity entered a new future founded on a monumental misunderstanding of its own past. [See "The Second Century Apologists".]
     
  2. MysteryDoors

    MysteryDoors Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    THE JESUS PUZZLE

    THE JESUS PUZZLE
    Was There No Historical Jesus? Earl Doherty

    http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/preamble.htm

    :uhoh: Did Jesus exist? Are the origins of Christianity best explained without a founder Jesus of Nazareth? :toasts:

    Before the Gospels do we find an historical Jesus or a Jesus myth? :donttell:
     
  3. thePreacher

    thePreacher Banned MEMBER

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    It does not matter whether Jesus existed as a historical figure. What matters is whether, or not, the teachings of his lead to the I AM.

    To your typical christian, of course, Jesus HAS to have existed historically because their entire belief system is built upon the notion that one man's _physical_ death could purchase all other men's _spiritual_ evolution from mortality to immortality. But, as Fine1952 explained, even the New Testament itself is not wholly supportive of the idea that Jesus _physically_ died, was _physically_ resurrected, and thus purchased the _spiritual_ salvation of all men.

    What is, I think, infinitely more logical and intuitive than the typical christian perspective is that the life of the _mythical_ Jesus, whether he existed historically or not, reveals the Way to evolve from flesh [the illusion that I am the body] to spirit [the realization of the Self, which is not, never was, and never will be, anything physical].

    What do we know, from the scriptures, of the Way of mythical Jesus? What the scriptures tell us is that:
    1. He was incarnated into this world to fulfill Divine Will, the will of his Father in Heaven.
    2. This heaven, the kingdom of God, his Father, is _within_ you, not somewehere beyond the clouds.
    3. What is his Father's Will? The greatest commandment, of Him, is to love your neighbor as yourself.
    4. To be "saved", you must be born again.
    All of the above are signposts pointing to the realization of Self.
     
  4. Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    In the Spirit of Sankofa!



    istlota,

    Some would say, that to say on the one hand, “It does not matter whether Jesus existed as a historical figure,” and on the other hand say, “What do we know, from the scriptures, of the Way of mythical Jesus? What the scriptures tell us is that: He was incarnated into this world to fulfill Divine Will, the will of his Father in Heaven,” would be paradoxical. What say you?
     
  5. hiphopolx

    hiphopolx Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I agree and disagree. I does matter today whether Jesus existed as a historical figure, just as it should matter about ''the teachings the of his lead to the I AM''.

    More emphases would be worked into the meaning of the teachings rather than the hard work ppl have put in to find out whether Jesus is real or not.

    For example.
    Most of us are aware of Aesop's fables. Three of the more popular ones would be . The goose that laid the golden egg, The boy who cried wolf and the The Hare and The Tortoise. 3 powerful stories the underling truth being spoken in them is sound. And being we all know it's fiction. We don't have folks going thru any lengths of work investigating if the story really happen or if animals really talked a long time ago. We all are on the same page young and old and thru out various cultures of the purpose of the story.

    What's worst is the disrespect shown to the ppl that put in the work of pulling out the truth about our history and culture despite the popular web of tales we accepted at face value.
    Think about the time and effort spent to accomplish the findings that they've uncovered.
     
  6. Keita Kenyatta

    Keita Kenyatta going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    In my work, "Pulling No Punches The Religious Factor", I pull the covers off of all of this. I expose where the so called Jews got their religious doctrines. I expose where their concepts of "angels came from. I expose where the Arabs got theirs from. I expose Abraham, Moses, Paul, The so called four gospels. I bring forth history concerning the "destruction of the female". I expose who and how our people were taken from the top to the bottom and the means that was used. I expose the science of 666 and what it really means. I expose the truth as revealed by our ancestors of "how to kill the devil".

    I give you the facts concerning our history and the cultural conflict that existed when we met Europeans. I expose the reality behind "why we made images and what it meant and was used for". These things and so much more are exposed in my book that leaves no room for doubt if the person reading it even has half a brain. Not only do I expose these things, but I leave you a resource for everything I used so that the reader can check for them selves. My work is a powerhouse whereby the Bible will become your "New Best Friend. " Why? Because just as it was used to put us to sleep it can be used to wake us up! Once you are awake, your only use for the Bible is to wake other people up!

    I constructed my work in this fashion because, those of us who are hooked on the Bible will not read another book outside of the Bible. I therefore have placed the reader of my book in one of two positions; "they are either going to have to call their minister a liar or Jesus a liar"...but somebody is going to have to be lying....I often wonder which they will choose. Yes, I did my job that well!
     
  7. Fine1952

    Fine1952 Happy Winter Solstice MEMBER

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    Thx 4 responding

    :qqb014:
     
  8. Fine1952

    Fine1952 Happy Winter Solstice MEMBER

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  9. Fine1952

    Fine1952 Happy Winter Solstice MEMBER

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    The scriptures...especially the God - spells...!

    are not an accurate reference...!:10700:
     
  10. Fine1952

    Fine1952 Happy Winter Solstice MEMBER

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    Yes -- indeed it does matter...

    as the masses still believe and are pacified by "lying lore of Christianity":SuN006:
     
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