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« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2012, 12:38:33 am »
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oakvale pointed out in IRC just tonight how much I should dislike Christopher Hitchens, and he's quite accurate. Though I'll give him credit for the Henry Kissinger thing.
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« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2012, 12:40:31 am »
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oakvale pointed out in IRC just tonight how much I should dislike Christopher Hitchens, and he's quite accurate. Though I'll give him credit for the Henry Kissinger thing.

Hitchens does deserve credit in a few areas, but any understanding of the Middle East past or present was never one of them.
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« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2012, 05:35:18 am »
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He WAS real!!!  There are numerous independent historical sources that confirm this.  Of course He was real!

He's not only real but He's coming back and quite possibly in all of our lifetimes if not our kids. I know folks don't like me all that much for my opposition to gay marriage but I and my church (not a mega church but a good sized one) oppose it out of love for the individuals involved. I share the gospel with others because I love them.

God doesn't want anyone to perish but all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). What Is Tweed trying to say with this thread?
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« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2012, 06:24:17 am »
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He WAS real!!!  There are numerous independent historical sources that confirm this.  Of course He was real!

He's not only real but He's coming back and quite possibly in all of our lifetimes if not our kids. I know folks don't like me all that much for my opposition to gay marriage but I and my church (not a mega church but a good sized one) oppose it out of love for the individuals involved. I share the gospel with others because I love them.

God doesn't want anyone to perish but all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). What Is Tweed trying to say with this thread?

So you oppose gay marriage because you love gay people? You want to deny the right of between 22 and 33 million Americans to marry the person that they love and support because you 'love' them?
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« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2012, 07:38:28 am »
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I like Hitchens a lot, but I'll grant that the above quote could have been better.


 Jesus the son of God were real, then that would mean that for the entirety of human existence before he appeared about 2,000 years ago, God watched upon endless suffering of early humanity in life and the afterlife (if I'm correct, Jesus preached no salvation without him) with complete indifference.  Then, he decides that the best way to reveal the path to salvation is to brutally sacrifice his son in the desert in front of illiterate, uneducated Gilded Age peasants, far away from the more advanced human societies of the time in the far East.
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« Reply #30 on: July 11, 2012, 09:29:50 am »
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No, and I'll have to go with a point my old friend Christopher Hitchens made many times. 

If Jesus the son of God were real, then that would mean that for the entirety of human existence before he appeared about 2,000 years ago, God watched upon endless suffering of early humanity in life and the afterlife (if I'm correct, Jesus preached no salvation without him) with complete indifference.  Then, he decides that the best way to reveal the path to salvation is to brutally sacrifice his son in the desert in front of illiterate, uneducated peasants, far away from the more advanced human societies of the time in the far East. 

It's ridiculous and awful in my opinion. 

Interestingly enough, LDS theology fixes this problem; anyone who didn't (and even now, still doesn't) have the chance to hear the gospel from Jesus or his followers gets a free "pass to get out of eternal suffering" card, essentially. Except for the most wicked, of course, who wouldn't accept the gospel even if they heard it.
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« Reply #31 on: July 11, 2012, 10:42:23 am »
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oakvale pointed out in IRC just tonight how much I should dislike Christopher Hitchens, and he's quite accurate. Though I'll give him credit for the Henry Kissinger thing.

Hitchens does deserve credit in a few areas, but any understanding of the Middle East past or present was never one of them.

Ok... they aren't peasants.  It changes my argument very little. 
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« Reply #32 on: July 11, 2012, 10:49:15 am »
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« Reply #33 on: July 11, 2012, 11:21:17 am »
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There's also the possibility, which if I was a Christian, then I would believe, that you are judged on how you acted rather than what you believed. For example, very bad Christians would go to Hell, and good atheists would go to Heaven.
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« Reply #34 on: July 11, 2012, 11:50:31 am »
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No, and I'll have to go with a point my old friend Christopher Hitchens made many times. 

If Jesus the son of God were real, then that would mean that for the entirety of human existence before he appeared about 2,000 years ago, God watched upon endless suffering of early humanity in life and the afterlife (if I'm correct, Jesus preached no salvation without him) with complete indifference.  Then, he decides that the best way to reveal the path to salvation is to brutally sacrifice his son in the desert in front of illiterate, uneducated peasants, far away from the more advanced human societies of the time in the far East. 

It's ridiculous and awful in my opinion. 

Doesn't the bible say Jesus' death was decided before God even created the universe?  If so, God didn't "then decide", rather it was decided from the beginning of time. 
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« Reply #35 on: July 11, 2012, 12:00:16 pm »
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There's also the possibility, which if I was a Christian, then I would believe, that you are judged on how you acted rather than what you believed. For example, very bad Christians would go to Hell, and good atheists would go to Heaven.

That makes no sense in terms of Christianity, though.  All people are inherently xinful regardless of "good" or "bad" behavior, God cannot abide sin in his prescence, and the only way to clense one's sins is through Christ.  That salvation is a free gift through faith that all may accept, but only a certain few will: seek and you shall find and all that.  Giving the gift of everlasting existence in God's prescence to good non-Christians is an absurdity in terms from this viewpoint because there is no such thing as a person who is good by his own merits due to Original Sin.
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« Reply #36 on: July 11, 2012, 12:40:21 pm »
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There's also the possibility, which if I was a Christian, then I would believe, that you are judged on how you acted rather than what you believed. For example, very bad Christians would go to Hell, and good atheists would go to Heaven.

That makes no sense in terms of Christianity, though.  All people are inherently xinful regardless of "good" or "bad" behavior, God cannot abide sin in his prescence, and the only way to clense one's sins is through Christ.  That salvation is a free gift through faith that all may accept, but only a certain few will: seek and you shall find and all that.  Giving the gift of everlasting existence in God's prescence to good non-Christians is an absurdity in terms from this viewpoint because there is no such thing as a person who is good by his own merits due to Original Sin.

This is mostly pretty generally accepted but the idea that the free gift is through explicit faith in Christ alone and specifically is for the most part a Protestant notion. Faith has been interpreted as a broader virtue in other strands of Christian thought (how broad exactly, of course, depends upon the church and the time period; compare for instance Karl Rahner to Dante Alighieri on this).
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« Reply #37 on: July 11, 2012, 12:54:29 pm »
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There's also the possibility, which if I was a Christian, then I would believe, that you are judged on how you acted rather than what you believed. For example, very bad Christians would go to Hell, and good atheists would go to Heaven.

That makes no sense in terms of Christianity, though.  All people are inherently xinful regardless of "good" or "bad" behavior, God cannot abide sin in his prescence, and the only way to clense one's sins is through Christ.  That salvation is a free gift through faith that all may accept, but only a certain few will: seek and you shall find and all that.  Giving the gift of everlasting existence in God's prescence to good non-Christians is an absurdity in terms from this viewpoint because there is no such thing as a person who is good by his own merits due to Original Sin.

This is mostly pretty generally accepted but the idea that the free gift is through explicit faith in Christ alone and specifically is for the most part a Protestant notion. Faith has been interpreted as a broader virtue in other strands of Christian thought (how broad exactly, of course, depends upon the church and the time period; compare for instance Karl Rahner to Dante Alighieri on this).

I'm making typoes all over the place.  Not having access to a keyboard sucks.

Fair enough: for the Catholic  (and  Orthodox?) case  just substitute "the sacraments of  the Church"  into my original post instead of faith. 
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« Reply #38 on: July 11, 2012, 02:12:04 pm »
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There's also the possibility, which if I was a Christian, then I would believe, that you are judged on how you acted rather than what you believed. For example, very bad Christians would go to Hell, and good atheists would go to Heaven.

That makes no sense in terms of Christianity, though.  All people are inherently xinful regardless of "good" or "bad" behavior, God cannot abide sin in his prescence, and the only way to clense one's sins is through Christ.  That salvation is a free gift through faith that all may accept, but only a certain few will: seek and you shall find and all that.  Giving the gift of everlasting existence in God's prescence to good non-Christians is an absurdity in terms from this viewpoint because there is no such thing as a person who is good by his own merits due to Original Sin.

This is mostly pretty generally accepted but the idea that the free gift is through explicit faith in Christ alone and specifically is for the most part a Protestant notion. Faith has been interpreted as a broader virtue in other strands of Christian thought (how broad exactly, of course, depends upon the church and the time period; compare for instance Karl Rahner to Dante Alighieri on this).

I'm making typoes all over the place.  Not having access to a keyboard sucks.

Fair enough: for the Catholic  (and  Orthodox?) case  just substitute "the sacraments of  the Church"  into my original post instead of faith. 

Traditionalist Catholic understanding, certainly. I think that you might have some intellectual interest in Rahner's soteriology; it's...actually a little condescending at points but it does make some allowances for more charitable answers to the concept of 'good' or 'bad' non-Christians. The fact that it's a little condescending is why I prefer apocatastatic ideas, many of which are associated largely with Eastern Orthodoxy (although as I understand it, and I could be wrong about this too, they're considered intellectually and doctrinally strong minority reports in Eastern theology rather than conventional interpretations).
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« Reply #39 on: July 11, 2012, 02:29:26 pm »
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From personal experience it's clear to me that Jesus was and still is real.

Now to the question whether faith alone is the way for Christians to go to heaven, my answer is a clear yes. In my opinion, the idea that Christians need to do certain good deeds or respect sacraments that were defined by human beings in order to go to heaven sort of downplays Jesus' huge sacrifice. Jesus' death and resurrection lose significance if the question whether a human being does a certain number of good deeds and conducts specific sacraments also has an impact on a person's salvation. The good deeds a Christian does are the result of his faith and a sign that someone's faith is alive, but nothing more.
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« Reply #40 on: July 11, 2012, 02:31:34 pm »
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From personal experience it's clear to me that Jesus was and still is real.

Oh, you met him?
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« Reply #41 on: July 11, 2012, 02:44:29 pm »
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From personal experience it's clear to me that Jesus was and still is real.

Oh, you met him?

Yes.
I hope you are aware that the words "meet" and "experience" can be used in a metaphorical sense and don't necessarily have to be understood in a way such as "to meet face to face".
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« Reply #42 on: July 11, 2012, 08:37:57 pm »
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HockeyDude really hates poor people.  Stunningly so.

What does my opinion whether I'd like the Jesus story to be real or not have ANYTHING to do with poor people?  I'm just making a point that revealing a truth needed for salvation would be better served in a more advanced society at the time. 
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« Reply #43 on: July 11, 2012, 08:40:37 pm »
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No, and I'll have to go with a point my old friend Christopher Hitchens made many times. 

If Jesus the son of God were real, then that would mean that for the entirety of human existence before he appeared about 2,000 years ago, God watched upon endless suffering of early humanity in life and the afterlife (if I'm correct, Jesus preached no salvation without him) with complete indifference.  Then, he decides that the best way to reveal the path to salvation is to brutally sacrifice his son in the desert in front of illiterate, uneducated peasants, far away from the more advanced human societies of the time in the far East. 

It's ridiculous and awful in my opinion. 

Doesn't the bible say Jesus' death was decided before God even created the universe?  If so, God didn't "then decide", rather it was decided from the beginning of time. 

Ok, it was all planned out... Every human born before jesus died for humanity's sin is condemned.  Still, what an awful, horrible reality.
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« Reply #44 on: July 11, 2012, 09:45:53 pm »
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No, and I'll have to go with a point my old friend Christopher Hitchens made many times. 

If Jesus the son of God were real, then that would mean that for the entirety of human existence before he appeared about 2,000 years ago, God watched upon endless suffering of early humanity in life and the afterlife (if I'm correct, Jesus preached no salvation without him) with complete indifference.  Then, he decides that the best way to reveal the path to salvation is to brutally sacrifice his son in the desert in front of illiterate, uneducated peasants, far away from the more advanced human societies of the time in the far East. 

It's ridiculous and awful in my opinion. 

Doesn't the bible say Jesus' death was decided before God even created the universe?  If so, God didn't "then decide", rather it was decided from the beginning of time. 

Ok, it was all planned out... Every human born before jesus died for humanity's sin is condemned.  Still, what an awful, horrible reality.

Have you seriously never even heard the phrase 'Harrowing of Hell' before? A lot of schools of thought suggest that could have been pretty thorough.
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« Reply #45 on: July 11, 2012, 10:07:06 pm »
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HockeyDude really hates poor people.  Stunningly so.

What does my opinion whether I'd like the Jesus story to be real or not have ANYTHING to do with poor people?  I'm just making a point that revealing a truth needed for salvation would be better served in a more advanced society at the time.  

The problem is your notion that, apparently, urban people are superior the rural, or that the literate to the illiterate.  There are points to be made against Christianity, but a constant slamming of its founders for being impoverished and uneducated (and considering Jesus had knowledge backwards and forwards of the OT scriptures, even that is a questionable premise) comes off as very, very arrogant.  Besides, you'd be hard-pressed to find a theologian in a higher social position in the 50s or 60s of the Common Era than Paul, who was very literate and well-educated and wrote about a third of the NT.  (I'll give you Seneca, but that's about it for that generation).  

Jesus appeared to the Jews because he had to.  The Messiah was to be a descendant of David, to be born in David's hometown of Bethlehem, to be heralded by Elijah, to begin his ministry at the Mount of Olives to come to Jerusalem via donkey, to "suddenly come to his Temple" and purify the priesthood, etc.  Not much time to sail up and down the Yangtze preaching when one has a checklist of Messianic obligations to fulfill.

EDIT: Nathan, you're a sophisticated Christian.  Do you subscribe to the idea of "Heaven" as a place where good people go, or are you an old-school by the book "the dead are sleeping and will awaken and experience resurrection in flesh at the End of Days, New Jerusalem will be on Earth, etc." type?  The former notion is so out of touch with the Scripture it's almost unbelievable.
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« Reply #46 on: July 11, 2012, 10:23:32 pm »
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HockeyDude really hates poor people.  Stunningly so.

What does my opinion whether I'd like the Jesus story to be real or not have ANYTHING to do with poor people?  I'm just making a point that revealing a truth needed for salvation would be better served in a more advanced society at the time.  

The problem is your notion that, apparently, urban people are superior the rural, or that the literate to the illiterate.  There are points to be made against Christianity, but a constant slamming of its founders for being impoverished and uneducated (and considering Jesus had knowledge backwards and forwards of the OT scriptures, even that is a questionable premise) comes off as very, very arrogant.  Besides, you'd be hard-pressed to find a theologian in a higher social position in the 50s or 60s of the Common Era than Paul, who was very literate and well-educated and wrote about a third of the NT.  (I'll give you Seneca, but that's about it for that generation).  

Jesus appeared to the Jews because he had to.  The Messiah was to be a descendant of David, to be born in David's hometown of Bethlehem, to be heralded by Elijah, to begin his ministry at the Mount of Olives to come to Jerusalem via donkey, to "suddenly come to his Temple" and purify the priesthood, etc.  Not much time to sail up and down the Yangtze preaching when one has a checklist of Messianic obligations to fulfill.

EDIT: Nathan, you're a sophisticated Christian.  Do you subscribe to the idea of "Heaven" as a place where good people go, or are you an old-school by the book "the dead are sleeping and will awaken and experience resurrection in flesh at the End of Days, New Jerusalem will be on Earth, etc." type?  The former notion is so out of touch with the Scripture it's almost unbelievable.

Constant slamming?  I quoted one thing from Christopher Hitchens.  Whatever.  I never said one people was superior to the other.  That wasn't the point.  The point was it should've been revealed where the information would spread faster to a greater number of people.  You're interpreting my words in the most negative way possible. 
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« Reply #47 on: July 11, 2012, 10:29:58 pm »
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No, and I'll have to go with a point my old friend Christopher Hitchens made many times.  

If Jesus the son of God were real, then that would mean that for the entirety of human existence before he appeared about 2,000 years ago, God watched upon endless suffering of early humanity in life and the afterlife (if I'm correct, Jesus preached no salvation without him) with complete indifference. Then, he decides that the best way to reveal the path to salvation is to brutally sacrifice his son in the desert in front of illiterate, uneducated peasants, far away from the more advanced human societies of the time in the far East.  

It's ridiculous and awful in my opinion.  

Doesn't the bible say Jesus' death was decided before God even created the universe?  If so, God didn't "then decide", rather it was decided from the beginning of time.  

Ok, it was all planned out... Every human born before jesus died for humanity's sin is condemned.  Still, what an awful, horrible reality.

Have you seriously never even heard the phrase 'Harrowing of Hell' before? A lot of schools of thought suggest that could have been pretty thorough.

No, I haven't.  Does it make Hell better?  If so.... great... I don't care.  There are millions of other reasons I'd rather the supernatural claims of Christianity and it's founder be untrue.  I used the example that popped into my mind first.  I was under the impression Christ taught that salvation was only attainable through him.  It seems that no matter what widely held view about Christianity I ever bring up around here, I'm somehow wrong.  So please go nuts and tell me how I'm wrong about that one, too.  

EDIT: So Jesus goes to Hell and saves everyone who died before he showed up.  (Christianity's revisions are so stupidly blatant it's almost funny) I'm not a Christian and I have no interest in reading scripture so how would I have known that?  Not mention that those souls still suffered for quite a long time waiting for Jesus to show up, right?  Benefit of the doubt granted... still prefer that Jesus did not exist for a lot of other reasons.
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« Reply #48 on: July 12, 2012, 12:03:07 am »
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No, and I'll have to go with a point my old friend Christopher Hitchens made many times. 

If Jesus the son of God were real, then that would mean that for the entirety of human existence before he appeared about 2,000 years ago, God watched upon endless suffering of early humanity in life and the afterlife (if I'm correct, Jesus preached no salvation without him) with complete indifference.  Then, he decides that the best way to reveal the path to salvation is to brutally sacrifice his son in the desert in front of illiterate, uneducated peasants, far away from the more advanced human societies of the time in the far East. 

It's ridiculous and awful in my opinion. 

Doesn't the bible say Jesus' death was decided before God even created the universe?  If so, God didn't "then decide", rather it was decided from the beginning of time. 

Ok, it was all planned out... Every human born before jesus died for humanity's sin is condemned.  Still, what an awful, horrible reality.

Have you seriously never even heard the phrase 'Harrowing of Hell' before? A lot of schools of thought suggest that could have been pretty thorough.

No, I haven't.  Does it make Hell better?  If so.... great... I don't care.  There are millions of other reasons I'd rather the supernatural claims of Christianity and it's founder be untrue.  I used the example that popped into my mind first.  I was under the impression Christ taught that salvation was only attainable through him.  It seems that no matter what widely held view about Christianity I ever bring up around here, I'm somehow wrong.  So please go nuts and tell me how I'm wrong about that one, too. 



You're not 'wrong', you just haven't demonstrated familiarity with the interpretive praxis.

EDIT: Nathan, you're a sophisticated Christian.  Do you subscribe to the idea of "Heaven" as a place where good people go, or are you an old-school by the book "the dead are sleeping and will awaken and experience resurrection in flesh at the End of Days, New Jerusalem will be on Earth, etc." type?  The former notion is so out of touch with the Scripture it's almost unbelievable.

Neither. I subscribe to particular and universal judgments of the soul's manner of experiencing the presence of God. My understanding of the Biblical descriptions of the Four Last Things is as by and large symbolic representations of the genuine progression of the soul after death, in which it is invited into Divine communion by Christ and treated in accordance with its past and present disposition towards the invitation. In general I interpret the Bible as the root and first developing portion of the traditional source of doctrine, which continues to generate belief.
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« Reply #49 on: July 12, 2012, 06:24:21 am »
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The problem is your notion that, apparently, urban people are superior the rural, or that the literate to the illiterate.  There are points to be made against Christianity, but a constant slamming of its founders for being impoverished and uneducated (and considering Jesus had knowledge backwards and forwards of the OT scriptures, even that is a questionable premise) comes off as very, very arrogant.  Besides, you'd be hard-pressed to find a theologian in a higher social position in the 50s or 60s of the Common Era than Paul, who was very literate and well-educated and wrote about a third of the NT.  (I'll give you Seneca, but that's about it for that generation).  

Jesus appeared to the Jews because he had to.  The Messiah was to be a descendant of David, to be born in David's hometown of Bethlehem, to be heralded by Elijah, to begin his ministry at the Mount of Olives to come to Jerusalem via donkey, to "suddenly come to his Temple" and purify the priesthood, etc.  Not much time to sail up and down the Yangtze preaching when one has a checklist of Messianic obligations to fulfill.

I think you are being unfair here. What is argued is that Judea at the time of Jesus was relatively 'uneducated' in comparison to the Greeks and Romans to the West, Roman-Egyptians to the south, the Parthians to the east and the Chinese states further east than that. While it was certainly the crossroads of the era, it wasn't an intellectual powerhouse. Secondly, you always have to remember that anything 'Jesus says' is (as it cannot be proven otherwise) is merely attributed to him. It is therefore said he had knowledge of Jewish prophecy, which any potential cadidate for messiah had to know. Jesus' backstory was retroactively padded out to meet the requirements (which of course didn't meet the requirements for the Jews at that time) and the revisions were somewhat overeager; the 'virgin birth' was a bit overzealous for example. All this only matters if you accept the starting point of the Jewish prophecy as the 'truth.'

As for theologians you mention Paul was on par with Seneca and that you'd be hard pressed to find anyone with such prowess at that time. Putting aside non-Greek philosophers that is unfair; Gaius Rufus, Epictetus and others of the Silver Age spring to mind. Furthermore, Paul's background comes entirely from the Acts the historical reliability of which is under question so on what basis is his 'prowess' determined? Gaius Rufus for example argued that women's capacity was as developed as those of men and therefore should be encourgaged to study and participate in theological and philosophical discourse. Paul of course is not as welcoming. Which is the more enlightened view?

Besides, he pilfers from Plato...(ducks) Tongue
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