Religion's Place in Nursing - page 5

I often read Billy Graham's column and thought today's was particulary pertinent to our profession. I'm just curious as to your own personal thoughts and feelings on the matter. (Please, no... Read More

  1. by   sbic56
    Quote from stevielynn
    Actually he hung out with the Ragamuffins . . . the tax collectors and other "sinners" and the Pharisees couldn't figure out why he wanted to be seen or eat meals with "those people". Today He would hang out with corporate executives, street people, superstars, farmers, hookers, addicts, IRS agents, AIDS victims and even used car salesmen. Jesus has invited sinners and not the self-righteous to his table. He didn't hang with the Pharisees.

    steph
    No doubt Jesus was a very cool and accepting dude. I hope no one here thinks I don't know that. (And yes, I jest and minimize his greatness.) He very well could be more important than I give him credit for and if he is, I feel safe with his understanding of why my ignorance of that might be, as he is, well, he is Jesus, for cryin' out loud! Actually, I think I have more positive regard for his goodness than many who call themselves christians do.
  2. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from donmurray
    A bit of a socialist really, attacking the rich establishment in defence of the poor and the lame...
    More like the pious and self-righteous and they come from all classes.

    steph
  3. by   Maisie
    Quote from 3rdShiftGuy
    So your faith is fear based?
    Faith is not fear based. Some people are looking for logic in their acceptance of Christ. I am simply providing a logical path since the truth has eluded them.
  4. by   Jaaaman
    Originally Posted by 3rdShiftGuy
    An interesting way to find peace of mind. But obviously it works for some.
    "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
  5. by   psychomachia
    Quote from stevielynn
    As you are steadfast in whatever you believe.
    steph

    I'm as steadfast in what I DON'T believe....
  6. by   caroladybelle
    Quote from J Lynn
    I'm not sure how to respond to all these posts. It saddens me. I'm not going to start a debate only because as a Christian, I don't like to argue about religion. Some people just don't get it. If you are seeking peace in your life, then try doing it without Jesus, and let me know how it's working for you.
    Some people truly don't get it.

    I have a wonderful life and it is quite peaceful - without Jesus. And it working quite well, Thank You.

    The poster asks us to try Jesus. As someone that has a fulfilling life, believes in a loving G-d, I have no need for a vengeful one. Therefore I must thank her for the information and decline the offer as unnecessary. What is there to be sad about?????
  7. by   duckboy20
    I would encourage whoever is an atheist out there to check info on this guy and read his book. Josh McDowell, if you have never heard of him he is now passionately involved in ministry but it all started, I think it was in college, when he set out to do a thesis on proving that Christianity is false and that it "couldn't stand up to the test of truth". What he found was an overwhelming amount of facts that to him led to one conclusion, that Jesus was the Son of God. Josh had been a staunt atheist his whole life till that time. Do a quick search and look him up. But please do so with an open mind because if you are determined that what he has to say is false you will not believe a word of it even if it is true. I think his book based off of that thesis is called "Evidence That Demands a Verdict"
  8. by   Louisepug
    Quote from 3rdShiftGuy
    sbic56, when are you going to get it through your thick skull that is exactly how Christians feel. They have the TRUTH, end of discussion for them. Most acknowledge that there are others in the world who don't feel as they do, but they are wrong.

    I understand that completely about Christians. That's why these types of discussions generally get know where. It's very hard to debate with those who know the truth without a shadow of a doubt. (See Topcat's post for an example).

    Why you continue to try thread after thread month after month is amazing. LOL

    Said with much love mind you, cause you know I loves you. I certainly appreciate that when a Christian is being unreasonable you call them on it. But getting them to consider anything outside of the Truth is not gonna happen.
    Tweety, I'm sad that you feel this way about Christians. I guess I shouldn't take it personally, but I do consider myself a "Christian," although, my belief system is much more in depth and spiritual than what you might consider a typical Christian as I'm sure are many others. A few years back in college I studied Eastern religions and have always been fascinated by world religions! I loved learning about them and incorporate some of those belief systems into my own. I also believe in chakras, reiki, meditation, NDE's, "ghosts", astrology, and many "new age" things that you might not consider a typical "Christian" to believe in. I don't believe that it's only my way or the highway! I guess what I'm trying to say is, you seem like a very sweet guy but don't judge Christians and say that they are all the same because they aren't. I consider myself to be VERY open minded and yet labeled Christian/Catholic at the same time. I just happen to like the meditative ritual of the Catholic mass and do believe in Jesus, but I DO NOT get involved in church politics. I just think if we can all realize that no matter what religion we are, belief in something good and loving one another to the best of our ability can never be a bad thing. Love to you all, Louisepug :angel2:
  9. by   Tweety
    Quote from Louisepug
    Tweety, I'm sad that you feel this way about Christians. I guess I shouldn't take it personally, but I do consider myself a "Christian," although, my belief system is much more in depth and spiritual than what you might consider a typical Christian as I'm sure are many others. A few years back in college I studied Eastern religions and have always been fascinated by world religions! I loved learning about them and incorporate some of those belief systems into my own. I also believe in chakras, reiki, meditation, NDE's, "ghosts", astrology, and many "new age" things that you might not consider a typical "Christian" to believe in. I don't believe that it's only my way or the highway! I guess what I'm trying to say is, you seem like a very sweet guy but don't judge Christians and say that they are all the same because they aren't. I consider myself to be VERY open minded and yet labeled Christian/Catholic at the same time. I just happen to like the meditative ritual of the Catholic mass and do believe in Jesus, but I DO NOT get involved in church politics. I just think if we can all realize that no matter what religion we are, belief in something good and loving one another to the best of our ability can never be a bad thing. Love to you all, Louisepug :angel2:

    No loving one another is not a bad thing. All I was saying is that Christians believe that the only way to get to God is through Jesus Christ. For Christians that's the end of discussion. I'm sorry if that came across as sounding judgemental. I did say that most Christians acknowledge that there are other religions in the world, but like those other religions they believe that theirs is the only way.

    Am I making sense? I would say the same thing about Muslims or Jews. Try to convince Caroladybelle above that Jesus is the answer. Try to convince Jaaman that Mumhammad is the Way. Let me try to convince you that Jesus didn't rise again. My point to sbic was this: why bother?

    That you inferred that I was passing judgement lets me know I wasn't communicating my point well. Not that you have to to agree with my point at all, that's o.k. if you don't.

    I certainly don't mean to say Christians aren't open-minded people. When I was a Christian I read and explored all kinds of spirituality while holding onto my faith. Of course, this lead me elsewhere, but that's another thread.
    Last edit by Tweety on Apr 13, '04 : Reason: typos
  10. by   teeituptom
    I believe in God
    I also believe Jesus rose again from the dead
    I also believe Moses parted the Red sea or was it the dead sea
    I believe in Noahs Ark and the great flood

    This is all faith

    I also have faith that Arnold Palmer should be nominated for sainthood, another belief







    Live long and prosper
  11. by   psychomachia
    Quote from Maisie
    Faith is not fear based. Some people are looking for logic in their acceptance of Christ. I am simply providing a logical path since the truth has eluded them.
    Are you referring to your paraphrasing of Pascal's Wager? You said, "Now, once you get the faith, look at the bible again. Keep in mind, if I am wrong ( I am not), I will simply die one day and never know the difference. If the atheist is wrong, he will simply die one day and Know the difference and spend the rest of eternity regretting it."

    For those who aren't familiar Pascal's Wager states: "If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having, neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to us. We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is ... you must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked. Which will you choose then? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager then without hesitation that he is.

    The following comes from http://www.update.uu.se/~fbendz/nogod/pascal.htm and is a refutation of Pascal's Wager:

    Background
    The life of the great mathematician, physicist and religious philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) is interesting and full of paradoxes. Pascal was a genius who, at young age, started to solve mathematic problems. He was a very intelligent man, who based all his considerations on logic and reason, but an accident with a carriage in 1654 changed his life dramatically.
    Pascal got into religious ponderings and started to live as a guest at the convent Port-Royal, where his sister stayed. He would live there for the remaining eight years of his life. The Jansenists who ran the convent were strict moralists and logists, so Pascal never lost his rational basis for his beliefs.

    One of Pascal's greatest contributions to mathematics was in the area of probability, much thanks to his friendship with the gambler Chevalier de Mr. The basis for his faith was a combination of the radical scepticism of the speculator Montaigne and an obsession for brobability calculus. Pascal's reasoning was that since nothing is known for certainity, the christian faith may be as good as any other belief, and since the possible gain from belief is so much greater than the possible gain from unbelief, christianity was the bet that gave the highest gain. This is what is referred to as Pascal's wager.

    Another popular version of the wager is that if you are wrong, you will not lose anything from being a theist, while atheists who are wrong will go to hell. An atheist friend of mine said a while ago that if you were smart you would turn christian, because it would be so awful in hell. She does agree with me, however, that it is not a good argument, after I printed out this page and gave it to her :-). This version has the advantage of being more convincing (nobody wants to go to hell), but lacks the optimism and more happy view of God that Pascal's original version has.

    Refutation
    Missing possibilities
    The main problem with Pascal's wager is that it suffers from the fallacy of bifurcation. It only calculates with two options when there are, in fact, at least four alternatives: The christian God and afterlife, some other god and afterlife, atheism with afterlife, and atheism without afterlife. Therefore Pascal's wager is invalid as an argument.

    Avoiding the wrong hell problem
    Because of the multitude of possible religions, if any faith is as likely as the other, the probability of the christian being right is P=1/n where n is the number of possible faiths. If we assume that there is an infinite amount of possible gods (i.e. ideas of gods), the probability of you being right is infinitely small.

    Because Pascal's wager fails to tell us which god is likely to be the right one, you have a great probability that you picked the wrong religion and go to some other religion's version of hell. This is referred to as the "avoiding the wrong hell problem"

    Worse hells and greater heavens
    Pascal's wager is the product of the gain from a certain belief and the probability that it is the correct one (in Pascal's reasoning 50-50, but as mentioned above the probability is much less.) such as Win=Gain*P. This leads us to the conclusion that we should pick the religion with the worst hell and the greatest heaven. In that case we should chose to worship the Invisible Pink Unicorns (IPU) because they have an infinite bad hell and an infinitely wonderful heaven, unless, of course we can show that the probability of the existance of an IPU is exactly zero, i.e. you can prove for certainity that they don't exist. If it is only close to zero we still have infinite gain/loss since infinity times any positive value is still infinity.

    Atheist alternatives
    The argument is based on the false assumption that atheists don't gain anything efter they die. Most atheists don't believe that they do, but there are other possibilities than just going to heaven vs ceasing to exist, such as progression to a better plane, or hanging around as ghosts. Neither of those require the existance of gods to be possibilities.

    Detesting life?
    An example of a widespread atheist view on life after death is the Buddist belief in reincarnation. Personally I would suggest that this is the bet that gets the most gain, since it lets you play again, and again, and again... for eternity.
    Theists may say that the gain from heaven is greater than the gain from life on earth, so their faith is a better bet than belief in reincarnation. But they miss the point that living for eternity will give you infinite gain as long as the gain is positive, because infinity times any positive number is still infinity. Even infinity times infinity is still infinity, so the only possibility that would give theists better gain than Buddists is if the gain from life on earth is negative or exactly zero. Therefore you have to detest life and the world for the argument to be valid.

    Blasphemy worse than un-belief
    Believing in the wrong god has one additional problem. Most religions assure you that blasphemers will be more severely punished than un-believers. Once again, if we calculate with the rest of the possible gods, the chance of you being wrong is P=1-(1/n) so you both run a bigger risk than the atheist of being punished and risk the greater punishment.

    The loss from religion
    Pascal also made the incorrect statement that you would lose nothing from believing if you are wrong. This is not true either. Assume that you are wrong in being a theist. You will waste a lot of time and energy on going to church, praying and religious rituals. Imagine if all the energy that,throughout human history, had been wasted on such activities had been used to improve the world instead. Then maybe we would have had heaven here on earth instead.
    Imagine if all that energy had been used for science, arts and music. OK, there have been many christians who have devoted their life to that, but imagine how wonderful things they would have been able to do if they hadn't wasted their time on prayers and rituals. Imagine what Pascal could have done for mathematics and physics if he hadn't left science for God.

    Considering what religious belief has done to the world, it would be better if there was no religion. Religion is like a virus that changes people's minds into dogmatic thinking, rule following, and blind faith, qualities which do no good for the well-being of mankind. Consider how many people who have been burned, mutilated and tortured in the name of religion. Wouldn't it be better if we left the Dark Ages for once!?

    Believing what is probable
    The process of belief is not a bet, not based on hope for reward or fear of punishment. Normally you believe in something your sences tells you is likely to be true. No intelligent person would be convinced that god exists from Pascal's wager, and I question that this argument really was the reason why a genious like Pascal believed in god. I rather see it that he had lost the basis for his faith and that Pascal's wager was the last thread to keep him hanging on to christianity.

    Argument for theists only
    Pascal thought that theism and atheism were equally likely - that is, we cannot know which of the philosophies is correct. This is non-information, and, according to information theory, it is impossible to get information from non-information without any cost. Therefore it is impossible to conclude, from the assumption, that theists will gain more than atheists and the statement that if god exists you gain from believing in him must also be an assumption - not a conclusion. So what Pascal's wager basically says that "If you believe in God, you will believe that you gain from worshipping him". Not a very convincing argument for atheists.

    God rewarding only true believers
    The christian god is supposed to be omnipotent. If so, he will know who are the true believers and who worship him only to be on the safe side. Therefore it is not likely that a person who worships God because of Pascal's wager will go to heaven. This is sometimes called the Atheist version of Pasca'sl wager, since it says atheists will be better rewarded than theist hypocrites, and thus if you do not believe in god, you shouldn't lie and say you do.

    Is god just?
    Now if there is a god, and he is just, he would not send kind atheists to hell only because they can't believe in him. A just god judges people for who they are, not for what their minds tell them is likely to be true or not. Therefore a just god would still save atheists if they were good people.
    Like someone once said, "I would love to go to hell and meet people such as Einstein, Darwin, Russell and Voltaire." Is it really likely that these people were sent to hell, only because their great minds didn't find any evidence of the Christian god? In that case the word "just" is not applieable to god, and such a god is not even worth worshipping. To worship such a god would be like worshiping your worst enemy because you were afraid of his revenge if you didn't submit to his power.

    Theists being punished for their sins.
    I don't think there is an agenda in christianity that you are being rewarded for mere worshipping god. I think it is far more common among theists to believe that god rewards you for what you really are. In other words, God won't reward you for helping people if you do it only to please God, but he will if you do it out of compassion. Therefore it is quite likely that false people, who only worship god because they fear hell, or because they think it is the bet that gives the most gain, will go to hell. So believing in god and being a bad person will be as bad as being an atheist, if not worse because God mightn't like being surrounded for eternity by cringing hypocrites.

    Economics
    The original version of Pascal's wager fails to handle probabilities, since it states that both theism and atheism are equally reasonable. The problem with that approach is, as stated above, that it makes information out of no information, and hence is invalid as an argument. For the argument to be valid you will have to consider the probabilities of theism being right and the loss/gain from holding a religion.
    In order to convince an atheist, with Pascal's wager, theists need to convince him that there probably is some supernatural force, and that that supernatural force probably doesn't treat atheists the same as people of his religion, that that supernatural force probably doesn't treat people of his religion worse than atheists, and that either the probability of theism being right or theists reward is high enough to overcome the cost of following his religion in this life.

    Pascal's wager alone just doesn't cut it - you need to provide evidence of the supernatural, and reasons to think that the supernatural significantly rewards people of your religion, if you really want to convince people with the Pascal's wager logic.

    References
    Anders Aspegren, Finns Gud?, Human-Etiska Frbundets smskrift Nr 14
    Kunskapens bok (a swedish encyclopedia from the 60:s)
    An E-mail posted to alt.atheism, by Abner J Mintz
    Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith - From preacher to atheist
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So, I hope you can see that you're not the only one with a "logical" argument about the probability of a god's existence. For many, there are too many illogical things about the Christian faith to make it a "sure bet."
  12. by   Louisepug
    Quote from 3rdShiftGuy
    No loving one another is not a bad thing. All I was saying is that Christians believe that the only way to get to God is through Jesus Christ. For Christians that's the end of discussion. I'm sorry if that came across as sounding judgemental. I did say that most Christians acknowledge that there are other religions in the world, but like those other religions they believe that theirs is the only way.

    Am I making sense? I would say the same thing about Muslims or Jews. Try to convince Caroladybelle above that Jesus is the answer. Try to convince Jaaman that Mumhammad is the Way. Let me try to convince you that Jesus didn't rise again. My point to sbic was this: why bother?

    That you inferred that I was passing judgement lets me know I wasn't communicating my point well. Not that you have to to agree with my point at all, that's o.k. if you don't.

    I certainly don't mean to say Christians aren't open-minded people. When I was a Christian I read and explored all kinds of spirituality while holding onto my faith. Of course, this lead me elsewhere, but that's another thread.
    No problem Tweety
    . I may have read your post wrong. And of course not everyone is going to agree on everything, but that's what makes the world interesting!
    Take care! Louisepug
  13. by   Jaaaman
    Quote from psychomachia
    In order to convince an atheist, with Pascal's wager, theists need to convince him that there probably is some supernatural force, and that that supernatural force probably doesn't treat atheists the same as people of his religion, that that supernatural force probably doesn't treat people of his religion worse than atheists, and that either the probability of theism being right or theists reward is high enough to overcome the cost of following his religion in this life.

    Pascal's wager alone just doesn't cut it - you need to provide evidence of the supernatural, and reasons to think that the supernatural significantly rewards people of your religion, if you really want to convince people with the Pascal's wager logic.



    So, I hope you can see that you're not the only one with a "logical" argument about the probability of a god's existence. For many, there are too many illogical things about the Christian faith to make it a "sure bet."
    This is a long article, so I am going to cut to the chase. The full article can be found at: http://www.northave.org/MGManual/defense2/WorldView.htm
    A (Not So) Brief Defense of Christianity
    Jimmy Williams

    SECTION I: THEISM
    I. What is the most reasonable world view?
    A. Metaphysical options
    We have stated that the most basic philosophical question is not that NOTHING is here, but rather SOMETHING IS HERE, and it demands explanation. I am a part of some kind of reality. I have consciousness. Something is happening and I am part of it. Where did it come from? Did everything come from nothing? Or has the material universe always been here and things just accidentally got started? Or is there something or someone that transcends the material universe and is responsible for bringing it into being, and us with it?
    All of these questions relate to the philosophical concept of metaphysics. Webster defines it thusly: "That division of philosophy which includes ontology, or the science of being, and cosmology, or the science of the fundamental causes and processes in things."
    When we seek to answer these basic questions, then, we are thinking "metaphysically," thinking about the origin and causes of the present reality. And we really have few options, or possible answers to consider:
    1. The idea that "something came from nothing." (Most reject this view, since the very idea defies rationality).
    2. The idea that matter is eternal and capable of producing the present reality through blind chance. This second view has spawned two basic world views: Materialism, or Naturalism, and Pantheism. Both hold to the idea that nothing exists beyond matter. Materialism is therefore atheistic by definition. Pantheism is similar with the exception that since God does not exist, nature becomes "God" in all its parts.
    3. The idea that Someone both transcends and did create the material universe of which we are a part (Theism). THERE ARE NO OTHER LOGICAL EXPLANATIONS. Christians of course, would embrace this third view, theism, as the most reasonable explanation for what we believe AND for what we find to be true in ourselves and in reality at large. These ideas will be developed more fully in the section on the arguments for the existence of God.
    In order to argue for the truth of Christianity, therefore, we must begin with the existence of God. Christianity is a theistic religion. That is, we believe that there is one God who created all things. This is not simply a statement of blind faith. There are sound and rational reasons for preferring this view above the others. We will begin to explore those, but first, let's briefly evaluate atheism.
    B. Atheism
    1. Atheism
    Ever since the "Enlightenment" in the eighteenth century, philosophers have argued that ALL of reality is to be observed only in space and time. Any notion of a God who is transcendent, eternal, and not bound by natural laws has been largely rejected as "unscientific" or "unproveable." Since we cannot "prove" the existence or the non-existence of God, they reason, there is no real benefit or practical value in considering theism as a metaphysical option.
    An atheist is a person who makes the bold assertion, "There is no God." It is bold because it claims in an absolute manner what we have just said was not possible: i.e., the existence or non-existence of God cannot be proven. It is also bold because in order to make such an assertion, the atheist would have to be God himself. He would need to possess the qualities and capabilities to travel the entire universe and examine every nook and cranny of the material world before he would even begin to be qualified to come to such a dogmatic conclusion.
    The most brilliant, highly-educated, widely-traveled human on earth today, having maximized his/her brain cells at optimum learning levels for a lifetime could not possibly "know" 1/1000th of all that could be known; and knowledge is now doubling by the years rather than by decades or centuries! Is it possible that God could still exist outside this very limited, personal/knowledge experience of one highly intelligent human being? By faith, the atheist says, "No."
    Another curious thing about the atheist is that before he can identify himself as one, he must first acknowledge the very idea, or concept, or possibility of God so he can then deny His existence!
    David saw the fallacy of this long ago when he said, "Only the fool has said in his heart, 'there is no God.'" (Psalm 14:1).
    III. If God does exist, how could we know He is there?
    A. Introduction
    Herbert Spencer, an agnostic, once pointed out that no bird ever flew out of the heavens and therefore concluded that man cannot know God." What Spencer is saying is that man in his finiteness, like the bird, can only go so far and no farther. There is a ceiling, a veil which separates us from God, and we are helpless to penetrate it from our side and find Him.
    Tennessee Williams, in his drama, "Sweet Bird of Youth," was making the same point when his character, the "Heckler," comes on stage and says, "I believe that the long silence of God, the absolute speechlessness of Him is a long, long and awful thing that the world is lost because of, and I think that it is yet to be broken to any man."
    These statements hit on a crucial point of epistemology (how we know). If God does not exist, then knowing can come to us only through one of two avenues: experience (empiricism) or reason (rationalism).
    B. The Possibility of Revelation
    What both of these men are saying is simply that if God does exist, man cannot make contact with Him through any effort of his own. But both have forgotten one other very important possibility. If God exists and so desires, would He be able to penetrate the veil from HIS side and make His presence known? Of course He could. The next question would logically be, "Has He ever done so?" Christians would answer a resounding, "Yes!" God did so in the Person of Jesus Christ. "The Word Who was with God and was God became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory" (John 1:1,14). Theologically, this event is called the Incarnation. If true, humans have an additional source of knowing truthrevelation.
    C. Who Was Jesus?
    There have been many great and outstanding men and women of history. But Christian and non- Christian alike would have to agree that Jesus of Nazareth has had the greatest and most far-reaching impact on earth than any person who ever walked the planet. One anonymous writer said, "All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that have ever sat, put together, have not affected life on this planet as much as has that One Solitary Life."
    What do we really know about this Jesus? Some think Him merely a man, the founder of a religion, like Muhammad or Zoroaster. Others believe He lived, but His followers embellished the story and made a god out of him. Or they postulate that He was either a clever "con man" who purposefully engineered His personal circumstances toward Messianic ends, or a paranoid schizophrenic with "delusions of grandeur." Still others don't even believe He was ever an historical person. For them Jesus is a mythological figure.
    Before we can examine His Person, His Work, and His extraordinary claim to be the Son of God in human flesh, we must first determine if He every actually lived, and if so, what can the source materials tell us about the kind of man He was and about the things He did or said.
    IV. Was Jesus a Historical Person?
    A. Introduction
    Let us begin by saying that Christianity is rooted in history. Christ's birth was counted in a Roman census, and his death was no doubt recorded in the Roman Archives. What do we know about Him? We are solely dependent upon the accuracy and the validity of the sources handed down to us.
    But what do we know about Julius Caesar? Charlemagne? George Washington, or any other person of history? We must rely on those sources which have survived and give information concerning their lives.
    B. Extra-Biblical Sources
    Ignoring for the moment the reliability of the biblical documents concerning Jesus, we will examine other sources from antiquity which verify that Jesus actually lived in the first century.
    1. Jewish Sources
    a. Josephus (37-95 A.D.). "And there arose about this time Jesus, a wise man . . . for he was a doer of marvelous deeds, a teacher of men who receive the truth with pleasure. He led away many Jews, and also many of the Greeks. . . . And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross on his impeachment by the chief men among us, those who had loved him at first did not cease . . . and even now the tribe of Christians, so named after him, has not yet died out."
    b. Rabbinical Writings. After the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Jewish religious scholars began to codify the legal and theological traditions of Jewry based on the Old Testament. The Mishnah (legal code) and the Gemera (commentaries on the Mishnah) developed in the early A.D. centuries to form The Talmud which was reduced from an oral tradition to writing about 500 A.D. There are a number of statements or allusions to Jesus and Christianity contained within. F. F. Bruce points out that while most of these references were hostile, they all refer without question to Jesus as a historical person. He says, "According to the earlier Rabbis whose opinions are recorded in these writings, Jesus of Nazareth was a transgressor in Israel, who practiced magic, scorned the words of the wise, led the people astray, and said he had not come to destroy the law but to add to it. He was hanged on Passover Eve for heresy and misleading the people. His disciples, of whom five are named, healed the sick in his name."
    2. Roman Sources
    a. Cornelius Tacitus (55-117 A.D.). (Regarding Nero and the burning of Rome in 64 A.D.): "Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt and punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius. . ." (Annals, XV.44).
    b. Seutonius ( ). In his work, Life of Nero, Seutonius also mentions the Christians in conjunction with the Great Fire of Rome: "Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men addicted to a novel and mischievous superstition."
    Another possible reference to Christians may be found in his Life of Claudius: "As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."
    c. Pliny the Younger ( ). In 112 A.D. Pliny Secundus, governor of Bithynia in Asia, wrote to Emperor Trajan requesting advice about how to deal with the "Christian" problem: "they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang an anthem to Christ as God, and bound themselves by a solemn oath not to commit any wicked deed, but to abstain from all fraud, theft and adultery, never to break their word, or deny a trust when called upon to honor it; after which it was their custom to separate, and then meet again to partake of food, but food of an ordinary and innocent kind."
    3. Archeology/Artifacts.
    a. Ossuaries. Hebrew University professor E. L. Sukenik found in 1945 what he believed to be the earliest record of Christianity: two inscriptions scratched on two ossuaries (containers for human bones) found near Jerusalem. One was a prayer to Jesus for help; the other prayed Jesus would raise from the dead the person whose bones were contained therein.
    b. Name of Pontius Pilate. While Josephus and Tacitus both name Pontius Pilate in their writings, artifacts are stronger evidence. In 1971, Pilate's actual name was found in Caesarea Maritima by archeologists. "Found in a step of the theater, it was originally part of a nearby temple. The Latin reads, 'Pontius Pilate, the Prefect of Judea, has dedicated to the people of Caesarea a temple in honor of Tiberius.'
    c. The Cross. For Paul and the other New Testament writers to speak of the cross as a symbol of faith, would be the equivalent of our doing the same thing today with the electric chair. Yet Tertullian (145-220 A.D.) speaks of its early prominence in the Christian community: "In all travels and movements, in all our coming in and going out, in putting on our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupies us, we mark our forehead with the sign of the cross."
    C. Conclusion
    Without the aid of the biblical documents, we here find a Christianity and a Jesus with which we are familiar, a perspective that moves from "a good and wise man, a doer of wonderful works" to one who "practiced sorcery and beguiled and led astray Israel." From the annals of history, we know that this man, Yeshua, underwent trial and persecution by the reigning religious and Roman authorities (including the name of the Procurator (Pilate) who pronounced sentence upon him), was executed by crucifixion, and that his teachings became the foundation for a "cult" of religious worshippers called Christians.
    These sources corroborate, rather than contradict, the Jesus portrayed in the biblical documents.

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