January 7th, 2006 09:13 pm (UTC)
I could not miss the opportunity to comment on your website. Firstly, it is extremely accessible, well presented, clear and simple. There is evidence of research, enquiry and subject knowledge. There is not however, evidence of genuine historical enquiry that should characterise any establishment of truth claims in religious history. Many key influences are ignored. For example, it is not surprising that we can find all sorts of semi-parallel materials in history. Two things to consider concerning them is
1) how sure we can be about their dating-there may also exist many counterfeit attempts to produce prior parallel material
2) If there is true religion revealed from God, then there will also be counterfeit religion (as there are many different religions in the world)-thereby other religions will centre around distortions of the truth (and therefore bear similarities).
What I need to say most fervently is that the Jewish context and history has been ignored in your consideration. That there were 12 disciples has to do with the Jewish nation classified into 12 nations for hundreds of years previous to any pagan sun theories. The events of Jesus' life and death are all found in the Old Testament documents that precede Jesus and can be clearly identified. E.G many texts in Isaiah, the third chapter of Genesis (he (satan/snake) will bite your heel but you will crush his head)many more.
Consider also the historical nature of the 12 disciples, their own writings, letters sent to archaelogicaly verifiable places bearing all the contemporary marks of their culture, currency and issues, bearing very level headed argument and appeal. Consider also their documented deaths for refusing to deny Christ. If I were them and I were in doubt or lying about this Jesus, the point I would give it all in would be when I was about to be crucified upside down. Christianity leaves itself open to historical falsifiabilty and you are right if it is not true Christians are to be pitied and life is only about eating, drinking, being merry-doing whatever you want, no holes barred. However, consider the possibility too that many believe it to be true, but deny it or hold it lightly because it prevents them living the life they want to live. If they want to be promiscuous, be powerful lording it over others, be wealthy at the expense of others and so on, then they would choose to deny/ignore given evidence because it suits them to do so. But they will deprive themselves of joy and pay the penalty.