Social Question

BoBo1946's avatar

Why do non-Christians get so upset when you mention Jesus Christ, Heaven, etc?

Asked by BoBo1946 (15280 points ) January 14th, 2010

There was a post made by a nice lady that was trying to explain to her child about Heaven. She was attacked by several members for her question. Being a Christian myself, stated my beliefs, and was attacked by most of the members that answered the question.

The non-believers got lots of “love points” and the believers almost got none! Seems to me that Christians are not wanted here. Well, I’m a Christian, and will not run…will stand my ground regardless…..bring it on!

Ok, have at it…what are your thoughts?

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91 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

I don’t think non-Christians in general, or the non-Christians in that post specifically get “upset.” I think they were legitimately trying to answer the question in the best way they know how.

If someone posted, “How do I explain to my daughter that human beings were created as an alien experiment?” it would surprise no one to find the majority of the posts discussing whether or not aliens existed, and whether or not this was really how we came to be, rather than detailing ways to communicate the intended idea to a child.

For people who don’t believe in god, the premise of the question makes it unanswerable. So naturally the discussion turns to the premise of the question.

I hope people who do believe in god will be open to this kind of discussion, as long as it remains civil.

CMaz's avatar

“Well, I’m a Christian, and will not run…will stand my ground regardless…..bring it on!”

Amen brother!

I do not understand it either. But, I can see the christian being an easy mark. When you throw condemnation into the conversation.

BoBo1946's avatar

@nikipedia please read the threads….there was an attack…no doubt in my mind!

Sarcasm's avatar

For the same reason why Christians get so upset when you mention Big Bang, Evolution, etc.

Not every christian gets angry at that. Not every non-christian gets angry at what you mentioned. There are way too many who DO on either side, though.

BoBo1946's avatar

@ChazMaz don’t condemn anyone…not me…i’ve nothing to brag about! I’m a Christian, but not an All-American Christian…maybe, the water boy on the team, but I’m on the team. Would never point fingers…not my style.

CMaz's avatar

@BoBo1946 – Ga. :-)

ucme's avatar

Respect for that. I’m not at all religious, if I were to be labelled anything for my beliefs on the subject it’d probably be that I was agnostic. I certainly never get upset when religion is brought up, but neither would I attack anyones faith. Each to their own as far as i’m concerned. Religion, why so divisive?

BoBo1946's avatar

@Sarcasm oh, that does not upset me…don’t believe it, but never get upset about it. Was a History teacher once and certainly know the theory.

BoBo1946's avatar

@ucme that was the coolest statement i’ve read today…

BoBo1946's avatar

@ChazMaz thank you my friend….ditto, ditto, and ditto!

AceSpadez's avatar

non-christians get upset for the same reason christians get upset when they bring up their beliefs. religion is a never ending battle until you can accept that there are different beliefs. if you are getting cut down for what you believe in then rise above it. it will prove your point and make the people talking down to you look stupid

ucme's avatar

@BoBo1946 Cheers for that. An altogether more pleasant & agreeable atmosphere on here, so far!! Must be the people. No hidden agenda here.

Austinlad's avatar

I’m Jewish and I NEVER mind someone of another faith talking about who or what he/she believes in. I just don’t want to be proselytized to. THAT upsets me.

BoBo1946's avatar

@AceSpadez agreed….answered their question on the post about the lady teaching her child about Heaven in a respectful way….but, got murdered with my answers…

@ucme yes, they murdered me…abused me…...will not sleep a wink tonight! loll

HTDC's avatar

It’s not that Christians aren’t wanted here, it’s the views you have that aren’t wanted. Believe it or not Christianity and religion itself is losing its appeal. People are just sick of it and it’s becoming more and more unacceptable to be associated with such outrageous, unjustified, whacked-out beliefs.

People are waking up and realizing what religion really is and what it does to people and society. As hard as it may be for you, it is for the greater good of mankind. That is my honest opinion.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Austinlad could not agree more….ditto, ditto, and ditto!

BoBo1946's avatar

@HTDC respectfully disagree my friend. Want your friendship…i’m not a finger pointing kind of Christian…but, they did murder me on that post. Cool…i’ve big shoulders…respect your position. Thank you!

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Agree with @Austinlad. I’m Jewish. I love to hear about other peoples’ religions, but I don’t want to be converted or preached at.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Dr_Dredd again, could not agree more!

wonderingwhy's avatar

For me it’s not so much about what people believe but the tendency for them to insist it is, and can be, the only truth. I’m sorry, but when it comes to religion and the hereafter, there are no provable arguments on either side. Just because you have faith doesn’t make it true nor does insisting otherwise.

scotsbloke's avatar

I am not religious but would’nt get upset at a religious question. I just wouldnt answer it if I thought it would create a stir.
My only bug-bear about religion (And before I tell you what it is – I’m NOT saying anyone here has done it, is doing it, or whatever) is SOME religious people who have thier faith in god, (total respect to them – It’s good to believe in something) BUT have no patience for people who do not believe or understand their faith. I also don’t like being preached at, especially when I’ve made it clear (to whoever) that A) I dont believe and B) I dont really care.

Like my Dad used to say: “YOU believe what you want, So will I. We can still go for a pint together.”

Peace….................

CMaz's avatar

“Its not that Christians aren’t wanted here, its the views you have that aren’t wanted.”
Ouch. That can go for anyone with a differing view.

You need to look deeper, your views and actions ( consistent or differing from the majority) is still a cog in the system. It shows us how and why our society runs the way it does.
That goes for not only the good but the bad as well.

I like conflicting opinion. Always 2 sides to everything. Even if I disagree on your “insight” it is insightful to know your perspective on an issue.
This is not an agree or someone is coming over your house and killing you site.

BoBo1946's avatar

@wonderingwhy could not agree more! my faith does not have to be your faith. But, those who do not like my faith, please just be respectful in your disagreement. it is about respect..there is NO WAY that i would be a good Christian if I did not love the messenger…may not agree with the message, but i of all people, don’t have all the answers. Just know what i believe…and it makes me happy.

BoBo1946's avatar

@ChazMaz good answer Chaz….there is always two sides to every story. but, regardless of our views, we must respect one another and love one another..that sounds “cheesy,” but we are all in this together.

BoBo1946's avatar

@scotsbloke cool my friend1

TexasDude's avatar

how dare you have beliefs, I can’t believe you! Why would you believe something that makes you happy?? You are sick and insane!

I dunno, maybe some people are just assholes.

Qingu's avatar

I don’t get upset. I just think your beliefs are wrong and so I say so.

Freedom of speech works both ways.

BoBo1946's avatar

Okay, got to run…playing golf today! Certainly don’t mean to be a “Christian jerk” here. There are plenty of those…believe me, many ruin the name “Christian” by their uppity attitude. I’m certainly not an All American Christian, but i’ll be a good water boy on the team. Would NEVER be self righteous…and we ALL have seen those kind. So much has run people off from religion, the TV preachers wanting money, money, money, etc…but, down deep inside me, there is someone that made all this…has to be…

well, got to run..thank you so much for being nice to me on this post!

Have a great day!

BoBo1946's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard loll…we are who we are..thank you my friend!

BoBo1946's avatar

@Qingu oh, could not agree more…freedom of speech was not the issue…but, that is cool…

HTDC's avatar

I don’t care if you believe in god or in a spy camera that looks down on you monitoring your every action and thought. Go ahead and do it, but don’t tell us it is the truth and that we have an absolute right to respect it.

The first answer I gave was my opinion and it may be harsh, but I’m not here to sugar coat things. Although I doubt I am the only one who views Christianity and religion in the same way I do. It’s true, I don’t want your beliefs but obviously I can’t stop you voicing them because of freedom of speech.

avvooooooo's avatar

Stating a contrary belief is not an attack. The fact that so many Christians see that as an attack is a huge, huge part of the problem between them and everyone else.

Blackberry's avatar

Here is the REAL problem: There is so much negative influence in politics and in society because of religion. I don’t care about the nice, normal christians that keep their beliefs to themselves, I care about the people that lack basic education and deny other humans basic rights. So even though it’s wrong, some christians are pre judged because we assume they’re judgemental ignorant Falwell wannabes : ) but everyone is subject to stereotypes. Also…it’s the fact that something so asinine as a bearded human with superpowers rising from dead can control so many ADULTS. I’m freaking 24 and I’m shocked that millions of people follow this crap to the fundamental level. If I said my god was the FSM people would laugh at me, why is it different for anything else?

jrpowell's avatar

Get back to me the next time a atheist or agnostic person knocks on your front door trying to save you.

Fyrius's avatar

“Attacked”? Getting less lurve? “Standing your ground”?
I’m not too happy about that kind of competitive mind-set. Is this a battle?

I’ll admit I and those like me can be harsh in criticising ideas and traditions we don’t approve of, and a lot of acrimony can get thrown around at times, yes. But it doesn’t have to be a personal thing.
I am opposed to your religion, but I don’t know you nearly well enough to have any personal trouble with you. To the extent that we can keep ideas and egos neatly separated as they should be, there’s no reason why we can’t all get along.

It’s a bit of a Cold War kind of situation anyway. In intellectual confrontations, enmity can’t achieve anything except polarising the views and making the people involved more closed-minded. Battles of the pen are never over unless they stop being battles.

My answer to your actual question probably has been given a few times already. I can endure people talking about Jesus or heaven. What I can’t get myself to stand for is people talking about it as if it’s normal that other people should believe in those things. To me as an atheist, this is no less annoying than it would be to you if people talk about Christians as if they’re mentally handicapped people.
There are a few other things that piss me off about religions and the religious, but let’s leave it to this for now.

jerv's avatar

I am not aware of the particular discussion you are referring to, but I can say that some people (on both sides) can get a little upptiy when they feel that someone is proselytizing. Religion is one of those things that gives people a real hair-trigger.

Leanne1986's avatar

Religion is a subject that people generally have pretty strong opinions about whether it is for or against and so these discussions can get a little heated. I have my faith but, personally, I feel that Christians and Atheists are generally as bad as each other and so it is never likely to be a calm, open minded discussion. Whenever I enter into a discussion about religion I always do so with the knowledge that it could get a bit personal and try not to take things personally.

The best thing to remember in these debates is that the chances of you changing anyones mind is pretty slim. If everyone kept that in mind but at the same time remaining open minded then these discussions would be a lot more chilled out.

I don’t think anyone can blame you for sticking by your faith. I respect people that are comfortable to stand up for there beliefs (in most cases, there are exceptions – Hitler should have kept quiet about his beliefs and certainly not acted on them!)

Austinlad's avatar

My worst experience of attempted conversion was many years ago on a new job. The company was owned by two partners. The one who hired me was a former co-worker at another company, and were good friends (still are). His partner was a man I hardly knew. After a few days on the job, this guy took me to lunch, ostensibly to welcome me. After a few minutes he told me he understood I was a Jew, but assured me that if I followed the teachings he wanted to share with me, he could save me from going to hell. I quit the next day.

Qingu's avatar

@Austinlad, I would have stayed and tried to convert him to atheism. :)

Blackberry's avatar

@Austinlad Lol….yes, what Qingu said : ) but then you probably would’ve been fired for that too hahahah. I’m sorry you had to deal with such unnecessary BS.

Austinlad's avatar

Thanks Blackberry and Qingu. It was a great learning experience, I can tell you that.
BTW, the company went under less than six months later. He—whoever HE is—does indeed work in mysterious ways.

Seek's avatar

Hm. Feeling a little aggressive, OP? There is no battle. If there are a greater number of people that agree with not indoctrinating children into belief in a religion that teaches intolerance and ignorance of proven scientific principals, there will obviously be more “lurve” points attached to answers that support that stance. It is not an “attack” on Christians, nor are you being “persecuted” through arbitrary internet brownie-points.

If you want persecution, read up on what’s happening to Gypsies in Italy and Romania. Then talk to me.

If you are looking for an internet social site in which the majority population are Christian, I am sure there are some available.

jca's avatar

I am curious to see the link in reference. i don’t doubt you were not treated kindly, i just would like to read how the conversation went. Can you provide link?

Blackberry's avatar

@jca He wasn’t attacked, he’s just sensitive. People use the term ‘attacked’ when others question their beliefs.

Crystaline's avatar

Being that it is the world wide web, not everyone will be Christian and not everyone will feel obliged to even be understanding and respectful towards your beliefs or lack of belief. It is the way of the World Wide Web. There is nothing in particular you can do to change this. It is much better to just ignore it-or as the Christian saying goes :“Let go,let god.”.

During my years surfing the web,I’ve come to the conclusion that religious people will not be tolerated (at some point) or should not expect tolerance from communities that are not strictly based on their religion. So if you are on a non-religious based website,you should expect to be insulted or have someone else’s views shoved down your throat,as ironic as this may be, coming from the people who hate it when others shove their views down other people’s throats.(Christians)

However, there is a silver lining.Not all non-Christian or religious people are so enamored with their own beliefs or lack of beliefs that they have to climb to the highest mountain to claim their lack of beliefs,even when it is irrelevant to the subject at hand. Whatever sticks it to “the man”,I guess.I read the topic and I do believe you are semi sensitive , but I see what you were getting at.She wasn’t asking someone to question her beliefs,she was asking a simple question in the topic. People on the internet debate religion when no one asked them to sometimes. Again, enamored with their own views, diarrhea of the fingertips,etc,etc.

Personally I find hypersenstivity on both sides ..it’s often disguised on the side of Atheism as “questioning your beliefs” whenever someone mentions Christmas,Ash Wedsday, or anything about God. Doesn’t sound like many of them were questioning anything..it sounded as though they were threatened by the mere name of a holiday. I don’t jump when I see a pentagram signature,and I don’t cry when an Atheist posts on my profile about how God doesn’t exist. Aside from the stereotypical “give it to you straight,im tougher than you bible-thumper” facade, Atheists can be as sensitive as those who have beliefs. I don’t know why some of them pretend they aren’t sensitive about their lack of belief.

You’ll live.

BoBo1946's avatar

Well, I’m just shocked ! loll..

Thanks for the answers!

Cruiser's avatar

This is the whole reason I have turned my back on organized religion. The hypocrisy that runs so deep in those who believe is just astounding to me especially amongst the organizers within these religions. God forbid you ever question their sincerity…big mistake there! did I just say God??

mattbrowne's avatar

Well, tolerant Muslims don’t get upset. Jesus is an important prophet to them. Tolerant atheists don’t get upset because they think that many of the things Jesus said and did is actually a good thing.

People only get upset if conservative Christians think Jesus being the son of God is a fact and it’s the only truth there is and everybody else is wrong.

BoBo1946's avatar

loll..whatever…If a Muslim had been attacked like i was on the post, maybe they would…maybe they would not.

I’M NO HYPOCRITE…i’m a Christian..don’t apologize for that. I’m no All-American Christian, but, i’m a good water boy for the team. Did not try to sell anything to anyone about Chrisitianity. Just made a comment based on my beliefs. Got murdered…still getting it….that is cool..have at it!

BoBo1946's avatar

also, based on the comments here, it looks like you are not suppose to mention Jesus Christ, God, Christianity, etc…well, they can kick me off the site for doing that, not a problem. Just believe what I believe. And trust me, I’m no namsy pamsy, sissified, narrow-minded Christian. I’ve been around the World about 15 times, got a Masters degree, worked for 40 years, and don’t need people telling me what to believe and what not to believe. I’m 63 years old, retired, play golf 4 or 5 days a week, got a great family, and have been really blessed. So, don’t tell me what to believe at this age.

BoBo1946's avatar

BTW, did not get upset because i think they are wrong and i’m right…read the threads!

Seek's avatar

@mattbrowne

Jesus didn’t say or do anything. There is no credible proof that he existed.

Yes, the things the character of Jesus said in the storybook of the Bible is kind of nice. However, most of that was taken from historical texts such as the Code of Hammurabi, so I can’t really credit Jesus with that.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr think you instep with most people here.

Just one question: what if you are wrong? Not saying you are…respect your opinion, but we really don’t know, do we?

Qingu's avatar

@BoBo1946, nobody is “murdering” you. Nobody is telling you you can’t believe what you want to believe or write what you want to write about Jesus on here. Stop playing the victim card.

Earlier you said you “agree” with how free speech works. I’m not sure you get it. Free speech means that if you get to talk about how you believe Christ is Lord and savior, I also get to talk about how that’s BS. It’s not oppression. It’s not telling you what to believe. It’s both of us expressing our views freely.

BoBo1946's avatar

well, it was the other post…not this one. Even had one member to apologize this morning. Cool..do not have a problem with people calling Christianity BS….that is cool. You would have to read the threads closely to understand my comment Qingu. Don’t have a problem with you, at all.

gemiwing's avatar

Hmm, I’m an open Christian here and have yet to have anyone ‘attack’ me because of it. Could be they are just working up to it, who knows?

I think a lot of times it’s a matter of over-saturation. People have a vial of patience for other people’s religious views, even if they don’t agree. The vial is marked to ten. Christianity, in positive and negative exposure, has already filled their vial to nine. Add two more sections of Christianity telling them they are wrong and understandably they have had enough.

Now as to how they react to hearing too much about it- I feel that is a judgment upon themselves, not the people they are reacting to.

BoBo1946's avatar

@gemiwing good answer….they did test my patience of the other post..not this one! Most stated their views and did not attack me personally on this post. That is cool…but, the attacks, well..if it makes them happy, my motto, be happy!

Seek's avatar

@BoBo1946

Ah, the ol’ Pascal’s Wager.

I tried that once. Believe in God, just in case he does exist. The problem with that is that you’d have to do the same thing for every god currently and formerly worshipped by mankind. It got confusing trying to work out whether I was supposed to follow “thou shalt not kill” or “sacrifice the virgins to me in order to keep the sun in the sky” as my best bet.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr understood…can never take issues with true belief…thank you SK!

jerv's avatar

One thing that Pascal’s Wager neglects to mention; what if you follow God as the Bible commands and then you find out in the afterlife that you got it all wrong and thus are condemned to Hell? That is the flaw of strict either/or thinking.

avvooooooo's avatar

Drama-rama and for no good reason. And all three trouble-stating cards played in the couple of days here… Race, religion, politics. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what @BoBo1946‘s intentions are here on fluther.

@jerv At the risk of sounding trite, amen.

BoBo1946's avatar

@avvooooooo thank you for telling me off. Have a great day!

BoBo1946's avatar

Drama-rama and for no good reason. And all three trouble-stating cards played in the couple of days here… Race, religion, politics. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what @BoBo1946‘s intentions are here on fluther.

@avvooooooo btw, you did not have to answer my question. You can always pass the question up that you don’t like. Every person has different interest…mine would be a lots of things besides those three, religion, politics, and race. Really resent you calling me a “TROLL” (done in the “comment for you” section of the site) for asking questions about those three subjects. And, for those who have not followed the threads, this member has followed me on most of my posts and attacked me, also came into my comment section and attacked me and just the troll comment! Will continue to treat you with respect, but this is getting old.

BTW, BoBo is Democrat and voted for our present President. So, if you are implying the race card, you would be dead wrong.

Also, my views on religion are very liberal compared to many.

Hopefully, we can get pass this conflict and be civil to each other. Personally, would like that very much.

avvooooooo's avatar

@BoBo1946 I use this site a lot. I did not follow your comments, I encountered them in my usage of this site which I have been on for over a year and read extensively. When someone comes on and in less than a week posts several questions that appear to be designed to cause trouble, they might be asked if they are attempting to troll the site. When someone comes into a thread that someone else is already on and then accuses them of following them there, that is attempting to start trouble for no good reason. I told you that with your questions (the “attack” in “comments for you”) you have hit all three trolling points with your questions in the very few days you have been here. Religion (this question), politics (Fox News question), and race (Was Mark Twain a racist?). Your purpose still seems to be to cause and perpetuate trouble. Continue, and you’ll have far more people than just me perceiving that you very well might be here to cause trouble.

I answered your question back up the thread. As it became more evident what was going on to everyone but you, I answered again. You don’t like the answer, so you decided to attack me. Not everything is an “attack,” people can disagree and state contrary opinions without being whatever you’re attributing to them. If you can’t handle people disagreeing with you and see everything as an “attack,” you’re on the wrong site.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr – Conspiracy theories are the result of pseudoscience and pseudohistory. The fake Apollo moon landing theory for example has never achieved mainstream academic credibility. The Christ myth theory has never achieved mainstream academic credibility either.

The person making the extraordinary claim has the burden of proving their claim is true and better than the commonly accepted position.

BoBo1946's avatar

@avvooooooo go harass someone else!

Seek's avatar

@mattbrowne

I think the “A man/god named Jesus spit in the dirt and healed blind people” would count as an “extraordinary claim”. I cannot be responsible for disproving a lie spread over 1000 years by power-hungry politicians. Until there is contemporary evidence that Jesus existed and performed miracles (the earliest documents known to mention him are 60+ years after his supposed death), I maintain the position that he indeed did not exist. Much the same way that I won’t believe Frodo Baggins actually existed.

Qingu's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr, I think your methodology for determining that “Jesus did not exist” is flawed.

First of all: while the claim that “a Jewish zombie wizard rose from the dead existed” is extraordinary, the claim that “a Jewish cult leader named Yeshua existed” is not extraordinary at all. We know that many such cult leaders existed in late antique Judea, and we have evidence of many hybrid mystery cults similar to the early Christians and John the Baptist.

Secondly, if Jesus’ entire existence is “made up” wholecloth (presumably by Paul and Peter?) then we are left with a gaping hole in the historical record: where did his cult come from? The earliest Christian writings we have are from Paul, around 50 A.D. If Paul made up the historical figure of Jesus, then why was there already a well-developed cult centered around the figure of Jesus at the time of Paul’s earliest writings? Paul didn’t originate this cult, he co-opted it; in fact, he clearly only co-opted part of it, since several of his writings refer to fragmented sectarians who oppose his interpretation of the cult! How could Paul have “invented” Jesus if a Jesus cult not only already existed but was developed enough to have already split into sects?

While extraordinary claims do require extraordinary evidence, this simply does not apply to the mere existence of a human cult leader. And there are other principles to apply when making sense of history, notably Occam’s razor. The simplest explanation for the pre-Pauline existence of a cult centered around Jesus is that this guy Jesus really did exist. I don’t even think it’s remotely a stretch to say that he was crucified by Pilate, or that rival sects of Jews were involved. There are many, many examples of legendary theology “accreting” onto actual historical events, including such recent examples as Stalin’s retroactive deification of Lenin and Johnny Appleseed.

avvooooooo's avatar

@BoBo1946 And allow you to personally attack me without response? Reported. Every time you do it.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne I recently heard someone refute the Haiti disaster!

I agree that there was a Jewish carpenter named Jesus in that area around 2000 years ago. I never refuted his existence or his charisma. Just remember that Charles Manson also started a cult that people remember many years later and that there are inflated claims about Uncle Chucky as well.

BoBo1946's avatar

@avvooooooo loll…you started this young lady! NOT me! they can read the threads
!

Seek's avatar

@Qingu

I never denied that a human cult leader existed. I denied “existed and performed miracles

Qingu's avatar

Ooookay. We cool. :)

jerv's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Ah, pretty much where I stand on the issue too.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Qingu my mistake, thought we were cool…we are not..lol

Leanne1986's avatar

@Qingu Wow, you’ve done your homework. I have been looking for information like this for a while now. GA!

avvooooooo's avatar

@BoBo1946 Continual harassment, which anyone can see if they read the threads… Reported.

BoBo1946's avatar

@avvooooooo peace!!!!!!!!!!!!! thank you again for correcting my comments!

mattbrowne's avatar

@Qingu and @Seek_Kolinahr – A while ago I tried to explore the miracle part here on Fluther, see URL below.

The most important part is this: In casual usage, miracle may also refer to any statistically unlikely but beneficial event, such as the survival of a natural disaster, or even which regarded as “wonderful” regardless of its likelihood, such as birth. Other miracles might be: survival of a terminal illness, escaping a life threatening situation or ‘beating the odds.’

http://www.fluther.com/disc/57681/im-looking-for-scientific-answers-how-did-the-stories-about/

contains my scientific analysis trying to explain the phenomenon of Jesus healing people.

Qingu's avatar

@mattbrowne, I think I generally agree with your take.

If I’m reading it correctly you are basically saying, in your typically very polite fashion, that Jesus was doing the same thing that modern “faith-healer” charlatans are doing nowadays.

I can buy that the miracle stories are often probably exaggerated legends from these, um, humble roots. However, I also think it’s worth keeping in mind two things:

1) the gospels are quite late. Mark, the earliest, probably dates to around 70–80 AD. Decades after Jesus died. Paul, the earliest Christian writings we have, mentions nothing of Jesus’ healing. It’s possible that the author of Mark had some kind of written source for some of the gospel, but if you look at how dissimilar the synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke) are compared to the gospel of John with respect to the magical healings, it starts to get a little suspicious.

2) the gospels are not the only ancient documents with magical healing stories. In Seutonius’ biography of the Roman Emperor Vespasian, he claims that Vespasian magically healed a blind man and a cripple. Seutonius was actually a respected historian, unlike the un-named and undated authors of the gospels (the names Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John are given by later traditions and are not in the actual texts).

In light of this I also think it’s entirely possible that many of the stories are just outright bullshit fiction concocted by the authors of the gospels (or perhaps their sources) to make Jesus seem magical.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Qingu – You definitely know a lot more about the historical context. I’m a strong supporter of the “academic lens” needed to understand the complexities of the Christian religion using methods such as

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higher_criticism and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_hermeneutics

Charlatan or not?

A charlatan trying to heal somebody would create a correlation where there is none. E.g. the homeopathic pills did it. The tarot cards did it. The holy water in Lourdes did it. The wooden cross did it.

Faith healing is honest when the approach is: Have faith in God and God will give you strength, of course assuming God exists and he is the author of the universe’s natural laws (self-healing powers are a result of this). Neurobiological research now offers a scientific confirmation of this effect. Since Freud we know that talking can lead to healing.

If the records are correct, Jesus helped people on their road to recovery. We can see him as an ancient psychotherapist.

Qingu's avatar

@mattbrowne, the best charlatans are the ones who believe their own bullshit. I figure this describes most of the “prophets” throughout history.

I am not at all comfortable with justifying charlatanry just because it incidentally helps people psychologically. I actually think that attitude is incredibly demeaning to said people: you’re too stupid to face the truth, so maybe it’s okay for these lies to help you. It’s the same with people who claim religion is good because it’s a crutch for weak people.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Qingu – In your opinion: Was Freud a charlatan?

Qingu's avatar

I’m not an expert but I don’t think so. From what I know, he strikes me as scientific—he was concerned with taking data and looking for patterns in that data. He obviously drew some bad conclusions from the patterns he came up with, but I think he was aware that his conclusions were perhaps faulty.

avvooooooo's avatar

@mattbrowne He was too busy with his cocaine habit to be a charlatan.

mattbrowne's avatar

Well, and I think that there’s some overlap of what Freud and Jesus did or wanted to achieve. And I guess there were no cocaine habits in the early first century, although drug use is a very old habit. Even the Proverbs in the Old Testaments advices against heavy drinking of alcohol.

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