A simple---but serious---question

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Athetotheist
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A simple---but serious---question

Post #1

Post by Athetotheist »

There are numerous god-men who died and rose from death in stories predating the time of Jesus. Considering the notable differences between the gospel accounts, and particularly the differences between the accounts of Jesus's supposed resurrection, here's a question for gospel apologists to think seriously about:

There are four resurrection accounts about Jesus in the Christian gospels. If the exact same accounts, with the exact same differences, were written about Osiris, Tammuz, Attis or any such god-man other than Jesus, would Christian apologists find all of those accounts believable?

And if they wouldn't find all of them believable, would they find any of them believable?

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #101

Post by David the apologist »

Difflugia wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 5:09 am
David the apologist wrote: Thu Dec 30, 2021 9:06 pm
Athetotheist wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 9:04 pm There are numerous god-men who died and rose from death in stories predating the time of Jesus.
Name one.
Three are named in the OP.
Attis and Osiris never actually rose, and Tammuz didn't so much "die" as spend half of the year in the underworld. So the OP has yet to provide an example of a "dying and rising god."
"The Son of God was crucified; I am not ashamed to say it, because it is most shameful.
And the Son of God died; I believe it, because it is beyond belief.
And He was buried, and rose again; it is certain, because it is impossible."
-Tertullian

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #102

Post by benchwarmer »

David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 10:12 am
Difflugia wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 5:09 am
David the apologist wrote: Thu Dec 30, 2021 9:06 pm
Athetotheist wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 9:04 pm There are numerous god-men who died and rose from death in stories predating the time of Jesus.
Name one.
Three are named in the OP.
Attis and Osiris never actually rose, and Tammuz didn't so much "die" as spend half of the year in the underworld. So the OP has yet to provide an example of a "dying and rising god."
Not sure if you are just playing word games now, but:

(bolding mine)

https://egyptianmuseum.org/deities-osiris
Osiris, god of the deceased, was the son and oldest child of Geb, the Earth deity and Nut, the sky goddess. His wife and sister was Isis, goddess of motherhood, magic, fertility, death, healing, and rebirth. It was said that Osiris and Isis were deeply in love with each other, even in the womb. In the New Kingdom, Osiris was considered the master of the underground world, the next world – the Afterlife.

In the mythology, before becoming master of the Afterlife, Osiris ruled Egypt and taught agriculture and gave laws and civilization to humans. However, Osiris’s brother, Seth, was extremely jealous of him, so Seth killed Osiris and cut his body into pieces, which he distributed around Egypt. With Osiris dead, Seth became king of Egypt, with his sister Nepthys as his wife. Nepthys felt sorry for her sister, Isis, who wept endlessly over her lost husband. Isis, who had great magical powers, decided to find her husband and bring him back to life long enough so they could have a child together. With Nepthys, Isis roamed the country, collecting the pieces of her husband’s body, reassembling them, and holding them together with linen wrappings. Isis breathed the breath of life into his body and resurrected him. They were together again and soon afterwards Isis magically conceived a child – Horus.
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Attis
Attis, also spelled Atys, mythical consort of the Great Mother of the Gods (q.v.; classical Cybele, or Agdistis); he was worshipped in Phrygia, Asia Minor, and later throughout the Roman Empire, where he was made a solar deity in the 2nd century AD. The worship of Attis and the Great Mother included the annual celebration of mysteries on the return of the spring season. Attis, like the Great Mother, was probably indigenous to Asia Minor, adopted by the invading Phrygians and blended by them with a mythical character of their own. According to the Phrygian tale, Attis was a beautiful youth born of Nana, the daughter of the river Sangarius, and the hermaphroditic Agdistis. Having become enamoured of Attis, Agdistis struck him with frenzy as he was about to be married, with the result that Attis castrated himself and died. Agdistis in repentance prevailed upon Zeus to grant that the body of the youth should never decay or waste. Other versions also exist, but they all retain the essential etiological feature, the self-castration.

Attis was fundamentally a vegetation god, and in his self-mutilation, death, and resurrection he represents the fruits of the earth, which die in winter only to rise again in the spring. In art Attis was frequently represented as a youth, with the distinctive Phrygian cap and trousers.
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Tammuz ... tamian-god
Among the texts dealing with the god is “Dumuzi’s Dream,” a myth telling how Tammuz had a dream presaging his death and how the dream came true in spite of all his efforts to escape. A closely similar tale forms the second half of the Sumerian myth “The Descent of Inanna,” in which Inanna (Akkadian: Ishtar) sends Tammuz as her substitute to the netherworld. His sister, Geshtinanna, eventually finds him, and the myth ends with Inanna decreeing that Tammuz and his sister may alternate in the netherworld, each spending half of the year among the living.
So, basically it seems that you are attempting to wiggle that none of these other gods actually 'died' or 'rose' despite the myths saying that. Did Jesus actually 'die'? Where was he for those hours between the cross and wandering around? The underworld, heaven, nowhere, ...? What does 'dead' mean when talking about a god or demi-god?

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #103

Post by David the apologist »

[Replying to benchwarmer in post #102]

Osiris never actually rose. If you read the actual myths, he was mummified, and then went to rule the underworld, after his wife invented the strap-on and screwed herself silly with his corpse. He never returned to life in this world, which is what resurrection actually means to a first century Jewish rabbi like Paul.

As for Tammuz, since his "body" and "soul" were never separated (he was alive in the underworld), I don't count it as an actual death.
"The Son of God was crucified; I am not ashamed to say it, because it is most shameful.
And the Son of God died; I believe it, because it is beyond belief.
And He was buried, and rose again; it is certain, because it is impossible."
-Tertullian

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #104

Post by Difflugia »

David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 10:45 amOsiris never actually rose. If you read the actual myths, he was mummified, and then went to rule the underworld, after his wife invented the strap-on and screwed herself silly with his corpse. He never returned to life in this world, which is what resurrection actually means to a first century Jewish rabbi like Paul.

As for Tammuz, since his "body" and "soul" were never separated (he was alive in the underworld), I don't count it as an actual death.
How do your idiosyncratic definitions actually change the OP question or render it unanswerable? Even if we just accept your straw man for the sake of the argument, I don't see how that invalidates the question being asked.
My preferred pronouns are he, him, and his.

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #105

Post by Athetotheist »

[Replying to David the apologist in post #103

"Osiris became the type and symbol of resurrection among the Egyptians of all periods, because he was a god who had been originally a mortal and had risen from the dead."
--E.A. Wallis Budge, Egyptologist

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #106

Post by David the apologist »

Difflugia wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 12:44 pm
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 10:45 amOsiris never actually rose. If you read the actual myths, he was mummified, and then went to rule the underworld, after his wife invented the strap-on and screwed herself silly with his corpse. He never returned to life in this world, which is what resurrection actually means to a first century Jewish rabbi like Paul.

As for Tammuz, since his "body" and "soul" were never separated (he was alive in the underworld), I don't count it as an actual death.
How do your idiosyncratic definitions actually change the OP question or render it unanswerable?
Ah, so insisting that we use different terms to describe different concepts from different cultures is "idiosyncratic?"

Christianity - and the concept of "resurrection" - emerged from Second Temple Judaism - which basically defined itself by the rejection of pagan myths and rituals (philosophy was occasionally borrowed - see Philo of Alexandria). Why should we assume that Daniel and the I-IV Maccabees (among others) were borrowing from/manifestations of pagan trends when the cultural mileu defined itself by rejecting pagan trends?
Even if we just accept your straw man for the sake of the argument, I don't see how that invalidates the question being asked.
The answer to the question is "it depends."

If there was a flurry of letters/tablets discussing a claimant to the throne named Osiris, who lived during a particular Egyptian dynasty, whose followers were hounded and oppressed by the movement they came from, and ostracized by pretty much everyone else, and the claims made about this Osiris in said letters were radically counter to those made both by the movement the Osirians splintered from, and the mileu they migrated into, and the claims made were justified by an appeal to events described in detail by documents reliably dated to within 70 years of Osiris' death, transmitted by a community that, to all appearances, was obsessed with what actual eyewitnesses to the event had to say, then I would consider the event involving Osiris to be historically probable.

But then, we wouldn't be talking about "Osiris the character from Egyptian mythology" any more. We'd be talking about a historical figure we made up for the sake of making the alleged parallel actually parallel.
"The Son of God was crucified; I am not ashamed to say it, because it is most shameful.
And the Son of God died; I believe it, because it is beyond belief.
And He was buried, and rose again; it is certain, because it is impossible."
-Tertullian

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #107

Post by David the apologist »

Athetotheist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 1:09 pm [Replying to David the apologist in post #103

"Osiris became the type and symbol of resurrection among the Egyptians of all periods, because he was a god who had been originally a mortal and had risen from the dead."
--E.A. Wallis Budge, Egyptologist
Budge died in nearly ninety years ago, and lived in an age where describing concepts in other cultures with terms derived from your own culture was considered "good scholarship." We've moved beyond such ethnocentric nonsense. Keep up with the times.

Osiris was only resurrected in the sense that King Tut was resurrected. At least, the Egyptians themselves would have regarded the two cases as constituting the same phenomenon.
"The Son of God was crucified; I am not ashamed to say it, because it is most shameful.
And the Son of God died; I believe it, because it is beyond belief.
And He was buried, and rose again; it is certain, because it is impossible."
-Tertullian

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #108

Post by Difflugia »

David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 1:42 pmAh, so insisting that we use different terms to describe different concepts from different cultures is "idiosyncratic?"
If they're not the definitions the rest of us use, then yes. By definition, in fact.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 1:42 pmChristianity - and the concept of "resurrection" - emerged from Second Temple Judaism - which basically defined itself by the rejection of pagan myths and rituals (philosophy was occasionally borrowed - see Philo of Alexandria). Why should we assume that Daniel and the I-IV Maccabees (among others) were borrowing from/manifestations of pagan trends when the cultural mileu defined itself by rejecting pagan trends?
The concept of resurrection isn't unique to Judaism. The exact way that it fit into Second Temple Judaism was necessarily unique to Second Temple Judaism, but then you're just saying that it's impossible to compare religions. That may be true, but if you assume it without support when engaging with a conversation that assumes the opposite, you just come off as confusing instead of profound.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 1:42 pm
Even if we just accept your straw man for the sake of the argument, I don't see how that invalidates the question being asked.
The answer to the question is "it depends."

If there was a flurry of letters/tablets discussing a claimant to the throne named Osiris, who lived during a particular Egyptian dynasty, whose followers were hounded and oppressed by the movement they came from, and ostracized by pretty much everyone else, and the claims made about this Osiris in said letters were radically counter to those made both by the movement the Osirians splintered from, and the mileu they migrated into, and the claims made were justified by an appeal to events described in detail by documents reliably dated to within 70 years of Osiris' death, transmitted by a community that, to all appearances, was obsessed with what actual eyewitnesses to the event had to say, then I would consider the event involving Osiris to be historically probable.
That's fair. I suspect some special pleading there, since I find it difficult to believe that a true religion must necessarily be radically different than its direct precursors, but maybe that's how it is for you.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 1:42 pmBut then, we wouldn't be talking about "Osiris the character from Egyptian mythology" any more. We'd be talking about a historical figure we made up for the sake of making the alleged parallel actually parallel.
That's exactly Christianity. Exactly.
My preferred pronouns are he, him, and his.

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #109

Post by David the apologist »

Difflugia wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:15 pm
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 1:42 pmAh, so insisting that we use different terms to describe different concepts from different cultures is "idiosyncratic?"
If they're not the definitions the rest of us use, then yes. By definition, in fact.
Different things from different cultures need different names. If "the rest of you" don't use that principle, then "the rest of you" need to start.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 1:42 pmChristianity - and the concept of "resurrection" - emerged from Second Temple Judaism - which basically defined itself by the rejection of pagan myths and rituals (philosophy was occasionally borrowed - see Philo of Alexandria). Why should we assume that Daniel and the I-IV Maccabees (among others) were borrowing from/manifestations of pagan trends when the cultural mileu defined itself by rejecting pagan trends?
The concept of resurrection isn't unique to Judaism.
True, it was passed down to Christianity and Islam, and may have been borrowed from Zoroastrianism.

But that morass of ritual and folktale we denote with the term "paganism" had no equivalent belief.

David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 1:42 pm
Even if we just accept your straw man for the sake of the argument, I don't see how that invalidates the question being asked.
The answer to the question is "it depends."

If there was a flurry of letters/tablets discussing a claimant to the throne named Osiris, who lived during a particular Egyptian dynasty, whose followers were hounded and oppressed by the movement they came from, and ostracized by pretty much everyone else, and the claims made about this Osiris in said letters were radically counter to those made both by the movement the Osirians splintered from, and the mileu they migrated into, and the claims made were justified by an appeal to events described in detail by documents reliably dated to within 70 years of Osiris' death, transmitted by a community that, to all appearances, was obsessed with what actual eyewitnesses to the event had to say, then I would consider the event involving Osiris to be historically probable.
That's fair. I suspect some special pleading there, since I find it difficult to believe that a true religion must necessarily be radically different than its direct precursors, but maybe that's how it is for you.
It's the criterion of double similarity and dissimilarity. Christianity doesn't make sense as a mere evolution/continuation of second temple Judaism, but it also doesn't make sense as something wholly different from its parent.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 1:42 pmBut then, we wouldn't be talking about "Osiris the character from Egyptian mythology" any more. We'd be talking about a historical figure we made up for the sake of making the alleged parallel actually parallel.
That's exactly Christianity. Exactly.
So you seriously think that a historical figure can be invented out of whole cloth in 30-ish years without anyone noticing and calling the fraudsters out on it? In first century Palestine? To support wildly unpopular superstitions?

Honestly, anyone who thinks that Jesus never existed is a crackpot.
"The Son of God was crucified; I am not ashamed to say it, because it is most shameful.
And the Son of God died; I believe it, because it is beyond belief.
And He was buried, and rose again; it is certain, because it is impossible."
-Tertullian

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #110

Post by Difflugia »

David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmDifferent things from different cultures need different names. If "the rest of you" don't use that principle, then "the rest of you" need to start.
Maybe. Once again, though, assuming that we already do doesn't make your argument more understandable.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmBut that morass of ritual and folktale we denote with the term "paganism" had no equivalent belief.
I disagree. Osiris was dead, then alive, which fits the concept of resurrection. If whatever hairs you're splitting address that in any meaningful way, that's up to you to support rather than just assert.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmIt's the criterion of double similarity and dissimilarity. Christianity doesn't make sense as a mere evolution/continuation of second temple Judaism, but it also doesn't make sense as something wholly different from its parent.
Those are also true for contemporary forms of apocalyptic Judaism and gnostic Christianity. That religious sensibilities shift during a period of political oppression is hardly a surprise and I don't see how that would render otherwise supernatural claims more likely to be true. Perhaps you could flesh out what you mean.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmSo you seriously think that a historical figure can be invented out of whole cloth in 30-ish years without anyone noticing and calling the fraudsters out on it? In first century Palestine? To support wildly unpopular superstitions?
That's a little more than what I was claiming, but nonetheless, yes.

My point in the current discussion is that we have at least six different Jesuses (the four Jesuses of the Gospels, the one of the Pauline epistles, and the one of Revelation) that have been synthesized into a seventh, harmonized Jesus that is different than any other in the New Testament. Whether or not there was a historical Jesus and any details of his life can be gleaned from the New Testament as we have it, all six different and fictional New Testament Jesus characters have been transformed by modern theology into a brand-new character that exists nowhere in the Bible and is no less fictional.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmHonestly, anyone who thinks that Jesus never existed is a crackpot.
I've been called worse by better.
My preferred pronouns are he, him, and his.

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