Character of Jesus
Atheists for Jesus (Off Site)
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In this article John MacDonald examines the possible lie by Jesus in John 7:8-10. The article begins by providing an analysis of the context of lying and deception in the ancient world. Given this background, it moves on to examine (mainly) the insights of Tyler Smith, Adele Reinhartz, Dennis MacDonald, and Hugo Méndez/Candida Moss about the Fourth Gospel and deception. Here John MacDonald explores the thesis that John's Jesus does in fact lie, and that this lie is meant to be understood by the inner-circle reader. Jesus lying to his brothers is the method by which he is able to go up and preach to the crowd; the lie leads to belief or makes belief possible.
The 1st century Stoic philosopher Musonius exemplifies the sort of man who should have been venerated and made the founder of a world religion, but was not, yet he was in some respects a better moral teacher than Jesus--not perfect, but admirable within the context of his own day.
In her critique of Richard Carrier's "On Musonius Rufus: A Brief Essay," Amy Sayers' misunderstands several of Carrier's actual points, such as those concerning the ambiguity of passages attributed to Jesus or the brutish nature of his parables. In this rebuttal, Richard Carrier clarifies his earlier comments, explaining various instances where Sayers misses the point of his original arguments that Musonius Rufus was a better person than the biblical Jesus.
Graham Oppy explains the ways in which his reasons for rejecting Christianity differ from those offered by Bertrand Russell in his famous paper of the same title. In section I, Oppy considers how Christianity should be characterized, the best way to build a case against theism, and the nonrational reasons why people believe in God, among other things. In section II, he offers an account of his journey to unbelief and the philosophy of religion. By section III, Oppy explains why he is not a Christian, as well as some of the things that he does believe. Here he pines in on appeals to contingency and causality in theistic arguments, the problem of evil, free will, the mind-body problem, the history of the universe, human history, and the historicity of the Gospels--outlining his "supervenient naturalism" along the way. Oppy wraps up by considering the meaning of life and whether virtuous behavior relates to Christian belief.
"On the whole, Jesus said little that was worthwhile. He introduced nothing new to ethics (except hell). He instituted no social programs."
Weekend All Things Considered, Sunday - April 12, 1998
Daniel speaks with Jim Crace, author of the novel, Quarantine (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998). It tells the story of Jesus Christ's 40 day exile in the desert. The book is unusual because the author is an avowed atheist, but Crace says, writing the book caused him to renew his search for spiritual, albeit not Christian, meaning.