Fiction or Non-Fiction

Courtesy of Stockvault.net

On a very popular blog that I visit, there has been considerable discussion surrounding a post about the Christian nativity story (over 400 comments to date). Initially, most of the comments were related to the core subject, but as so often happens, contributors began to gradually move away from the primary topic. Before long, the “side discussions” took on a life of their own.

The topic that seemed to get a lot of attention was the historicity of Jesus. Was he simply a Jewish preacher who followed John the Baptist and then inspired his own small following? Or was he more than this as (supposedly) proven by his death and resurrection? Or did he exist at all?

As the discussion wore on, I decided to stir the pot a bit and submitted the following comment (slightly edited):

If one were to consider the New Testament a work of fiction, is it not possible the person of Jesus could be a made-up individual? Those who wrote about him could easily have based his character on the Hebrew bible.

To this, the blog owner replied:

Nan, I do think certain elements of the stories are definitely borrowed from the OT, like the 3 days in the grave being similar to the Jonah story. And the flight to Egypt to avoid infanticide being a repurposing of Moses. But where did the other elements of the story come from?

What would a scam artist have to gain in making up a character like Jesus? On the other hand, what if there was a Jewish preacher named Jesus who was trying to understand how God could have a kingdom and how the Jews could still be his people despite their sad history of occupation? Might this preacher begin to think that God’s kingdom was spiritual rather than physical? He gathered followers (as any charismatic individual always does), and these followers simply couldn’t believe that he had been killed, etc, etc.

The thing is, we have several different, independent sources for this individual: Paul, gMark, gJohn, Q, gThomas, and possibly others (this is not an area I’ve researched in-depth). These writings were obviously reliant upon oral traditions, which would have been passed down by the earliest Christians. How did this early group form? To me, it makes sense that it probably grew from the handful of believers who actually knew a preacher named Jesus. Without an historical Jesus, we need a single individual who created the core story and somehow convinced some people to believe him. That’s certainly possible — I just don’t see how it’s more probable than the existence of a person named Jesus.

The hour was comparatively late when this exchange took place, so I deferred posting a response, preferring to wait until morning when my mind was fresh. When I checked the blog the next day, none of the participants had responded to this brief discussion but instead had returned to the prior day’s discussion.

I decided I wanted to delve a bit deeper into my “theory” so I’m writing this post.

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Consider this …

We know there were apocalyptic writers during the “Silent Years” (between the end of the “Old Testament” and the beginning of the “New Testament”). We also know they wrote some pretty fantastical tales (especially about “hell”). While these stories didn’t make the cut for the “New Testament,” who is to say the stories that were included are any more factual?

All the gospel writers were Jewish so they knew their people had been waiting for the mashiach, the individual specially appointed and empowered by God to usher in an era of peace and prosperity. How can we know for sure they didn’t “create” Yeshua? They could easily have used stories from the Hebrew Bible to convince the people of his authenticity.

Using their imagination, they could paint this person however they wanted … as a miracle worker, a healer, someone with special insights. Why, they could even have him die on a cross, be buried, and then be brought back to life by Yahweh! What other proof would the Hebrew people need to know he was God’s chosen Leader for the last days?

What a fantastic tale!

Let’s say the first writer (we’ll call him “Mark”) started out with a rather modest version of this individual. Then other writers decided to expand on the story, adding details and intriguing incidents to make the tale more interesting. Since each person’s style of writing is different, the narrative became more and more detailed and, well, embellished.

Then, to provide his readers with a smashing finish, one of the writers decided to add another dimension by having this fictional character die and then return to life! Other writers followed suit, adding their own details to the event. In fact, one of the writers decided to give his story a dramatic ending by having this individual ascend into the “upper heaven” to be with Yahweh.

Not surprisingly, this created individual soon became the topic of conversation (similar to popular fictitious characters in our modern world, e.g. Harry Potter, Batman, Luke Skywalker, etc.) This prompted other writers to get in on the action and before long, more “books” came out. One individual in particular took on the task of turning Yeshua into a revered individual … to the point that groups began to form and hold get-togethers to talk about him!

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In his comment above, the blog owner asked, What would a scam artist have to gain in making up a character like Jesus? Perhaps these individuals were not so much “scam artists” as they were imaginative individuals who simply wanted to give their people hope. Or maybe they were like many today … people who simply wanted to get in on the action.

This may all seem too far fetched to be possible, but since there is absolutely no proof that the person of “Jesus” even existed, how can anyone state with absolute certainty this scenario doesn’t have merit?

Fiction or non-fiction. That is the question.

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109 thoughts on “Fiction or Non-Fiction

      • Thanks for that link Nan.

        I grew frustrated at Nate’s blog because over a dozen of my comments over several months involving a significant investment of my time and effort never appeared. I presumed I was being blocked because many of the regular bloggers’s comments like yours continued to appear before and after I had submitted. So I no longer bother.

        It makes sense to me that people utilize typical elements of mythological stories to enhance their own. This would help explain why we find nothing original about the Jesus story itself nor as JZ likes to point out nothing original in anything the character offers us, but loads of characteristics and abilities ‘borrowed’ from other god stories well known at that time. The Jesus story fits seamlessly into how a character gains substance over time (a typical, “I know a guy who knew a guy who said he met a guy who said he was there….”) while having no contemporary sources worthy of the name who should have made comments in their own works about this god-like man… if he were in fact a historical figure. This is a pretty convincing clue, I think…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Also, sometimes I compose comments in a text editor, and copy/paste into the blog – especially for longer ones – so at least technical glitches or bad actors don’t cause me to lose content. Food for thought if you want to.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Tildeb — just saw your comment. So sorry that happened to you! I had no idea! I don’t have any restrictions on who can post (except for a few targeted at one troll from a couple of years ago). Whenever something is automatically held in moderation, I approve it as soon as I see it. Of course, I’m not notified whenever something gets captured as spam, and I don’t usually think to check those. I did just now and saw one there from kcchief that he posted on 12/26. Maybe yours got flagged as spam for some reason? If so, they were long enough ago that they aren’t there anymore.

          Anyway, really sorry that happened to you. If you ever decide to try again and see the same thing happen, just use my contact page to let me know, and I’ll figure it out.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, Nate.

          I tried several times to ask you what was going on but those disappeared as well. I tried more comments later… and they disappeared so I figured that because the comments had no links and no reason to go into spam it was an administrative decision.

          Like

        • Tildeb, were you wearing a colander on your head while typing naked listening to Devo songs backwards?
          Comments tend to go to that planet where the odd socks go if you’re not adhering to this simple, but thoroughly reasonable, rule.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Man, that makes me feel terrible! I really have no idea what might have happened. So sorry… I’ve always enjoyed reading your comments, regardless of the blog they’re on. There’s no way I’d ever block you. I noticed that you got one through earlier today… hopefully whatever the problem was is no longer a factor.

          I’m going to loosen the blacklist restrictions I had in place for that troll just in case it played a part.

          Like

        • I submitted today because the anniversary is an achievement worthy of recognition and also to test if In could get through. It did so I can… but I wasn’t sure if a block (not knowing until now if that’s what it was) might have timed out with the New Year. I enjoy your blog and I do like to add my 2 cents worth from time to time. It’s nice to know I can do so again.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh, what a nest of snakes you have unleashed! What would a con artist have to gain? The list is too long to mention. As far as I am concerned religion is a tool developed by the weak to offset the advantage of the strong. In almost every primitive society, the various classes (basically rich, poor, and slave, broken into male and female sub categories) were consigned to their station by some god or gods. This prevented the poor from rising up against the rich who abused them. (Still being done to this day.) This is how the strong co-opted the weak’s religion. Of course, the leaders of the religion became strong, too, and so both the rich and the religious leaders oppressed the poor and slaves.

    And if you wonder whether Jesus could be a “made up” god, ask any Christian. They will tell you that the thousands upon thousands of other gods were all made up by men. So, a god not made up by men would be really unusual, not the other way around.

    I ask the same general question: how did so much contradictory stuff get put into the Bible? Every answer distills down to politics. If you want a look at how Christianity rode the back of imperial Roman power to dominate its competition, read ‘When Jesus Became God” by Richard E. Rubenstein. Murder, lies, lies, and more lies, mayhem, etc. all in the name of God.

    PS. Most of the Biblical Sources your quote refers to (Q, etc.) have been made up, too. No actual sources can be pointed to as they are not in existence. Most of the actual written texts of the NT documents date from the fourth century CE, most likely copies of copies of copies of….

    Liked by 5 people

  2. @Nan, “All the gospel writers were Jewish so they knew their people had been waiting for the mashiach, the individual specially appointed and empowered by God to usher in an era of peace and prosperity.”

    And we know this never happened . Then the story had to change and the storytellers had to say this was to happen “in the future”. Still today over 2,000 years later, millions are still watching and waiting.

    I think you make a great argument Nan ! It would make sense this Jesus might never have existed which has caused the story to have to evolve over the years. When things don’t come true, you have to tweek the story. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Nan! Both of your comments are excellent and hit on critical points of veracity then canonization! Well done Ma’am.

    I’d like to point out one GLARING error/falsification by the blog-owner’s reply to you:

    The thing is, we have several different, independent sources for this individual: Paul, gMark, gJohn, Q, gThomas, and possibly others (this is not an area I’ve researched in-depth).

    This owner’s definition of “independent” is skewed. The five sources/testaments (fragments) the blog-owner lists are ALL Judean-Christian authors/editors/compilers, and therefore not independent at all. Even Josephus (a Hasmonean-Jew first loyal to and a military general for the Galilean Jews) is not considered a true “independent” source today because the vast majority of Palestinian-Antiquity scholars agree that Josephus’ accounts of “The Way” and Yeshua (the Nativity) have been tampered with by later Gospel editors/compilers with personal and/or political motives.

    What IS considered truly an independent source is anyone and any work not Judean-Christian in 1st-century Palestine, but perhaps fully Roman with ONLY Roman loyalties, or during the writing of the earliest testaments about Yeshua, NOT Judean-Christian between 30 CE and 330 CE, or NOT Roman-Constantine affiliated post-250 CE.

    The blog owner asked, What would a scam artist have to gain in making up a character like Jesus?

    The fact that the blog-owner has to ask that question, suggests that he/she has no knowledge or very amputated, foggy lacking exhaustive historical-forensic knowledge of 1st thru 4th-century CE Greco-Roman sociopolitics, especially in the provinces around Jerusalem. How Roman Emperors and their Provincial Governors implemented their rule, maintenance, culture, and economic growth/security across the Empire… typically dictated “any means to a glorious Roman end.” That definitely means hijacking a Judean-Christian welfare movement in order to preserve, maintain, and grow the glory of Rome. Call it opportunistic or call it a scam, to the Romans it made no difference! All of their distant provinces HAD TO HAVE SOME significant practices/impressions of Roman culture, if not a lot, in order for the world to know WHO was “the best.”

    For me and much of the scholarly academic (exhaustive) community regarding that era of Roman history, extant recordings of early Christianity are most definitely embellished and centuries later laced with Roman traditions of divinity. Final answer? Mostly fiction, but an obvious Bestseller Book/Story for at least 2-millenia. 😉

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hello Professor Taboo. So from your research you could say that they were like mega church TV preachers today. They were after money, power, and to get others to see life their way? Thanks. Hugs

      Liked by 3 people

      • Hahaha… Scottie, I appreciate your humorous comment. 😉

        My research? That’s an interesting way of putting it — and here’s why. Though my actual studies at university then seminary (7+ years), practiced in PCA-PCUSA and Non-denominational churches/leadership for 8-years, counts only as a portion of “research.” The bigger portion of research happened AFTER all I just listed for 12 more years! Why 12? Because when one is searching, examining, reexamining, comparing and contrasting this extremely MASSIVE convoluted subject, which happened between 6-4 BCE up thru 500 CE (when Roman legions could legally destroy, burn, or murder-if-necessary all things heretical to the 325 CE canon) and thru the Medieval Age European Church (Vatican)… it is practically impossible to adequately and fairly cover this subject in one or two WordPress comments or blogs! I mean, HOW should someone convey 25+ continuing years of study, research, and discussion on a subject covering that much history? LOL 😛

        I say that to offer some perspective to my condensing attempts (gibberish?) on a topic that cannot be covered in one day. LOL

        That said, your comment-reply is fair… as far as a BROAD modern stroke about MY comment above goes, yes. However, specifically… your stroke (interpretation) would be a fair theme about Roman imperial and provincial sociopolitical governing between approx. 250 CE thru the decline and fall of the Roman empire (in 476 CE), followed by its last remaining vestige, the Roman Catholic Church, and into the Medieval Era to the Protestant Reformation. Leading up to the Council of Nicaea, Constantine was DESPARATE to keep united and REunite a collapsing fragmenting once glorious Empire. But he and his closest bishops needed provincial leaders and citizens (foot soldiers?) across the whole empire to complete that vision. A Judean-Christian welfare movement/system was the ideal tool/trick toward unity and restoration — which later became the Roman Catholic Church.

        They were after money, power, and to get others to see life their way?

        Yes. That is absolutely the historical Greco-Roman way Sir. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

        • Wow, I am stunned. I can’t think how it would be to study and use a skill like that for that many years. I would be coo-coo for sure. Not that I am far from it now. 🙂 I put even more faith in your opinions now. Thanks for telling me your background. I don’t have training in this field and was just using what reason I possess after reading the posts and comments. People I trust seem to really know this stuff. What I like is you guys can make it understandable, while I can’t understand a thing C.S. says and S.o.M. simply wants to insult everyone. Some days I think he really delights in it. Anyway I have learned a lot from you guys, reading and thinking on what you write. Thanks. I will keep trying. Hugs

          Liked by 3 people

        • Oh Scottie, thank you. But do please remember, don’t always take MY word on things — I am just as human as the next. But fortunately for us all, curiosity & neutral scientific examination will ALWAYS provide degrees (some compelling) of truth & accuracy, especially when it leans toward objective consensus! The larger more diverse the Think-tank the better. 🙂 ❤

          Please do your own research and homework as time and current priorities permit.

          Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Professor Taboo,

      By “independent,” I just meant that it doesn’t seem that the different sources I listed were based upon one another. I’m not arguing that any of them were primary sources — I don’t think any of those writers actually knew Jesus, if he existed. It’s just that each of them likely had some other source(s) for their writings that go beyond what we have access to.

      The fact that the blog-owner has to ask that question, suggests that he/she has no knowledge or very amputated, foggy lacking exhaustive historical-forensic knowledge of 1st thru 4th-century CE Greco-Roman sociopolitics, especially in the provinces around Jerusalem.

      Yes, that’s true. Granted, I’m not sure how many non-experts today do have that kind of knowledge, but it’s true that I’m not one of them! 🙂

      Anyway, I agree with your “mostly fiction” analysis.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hello Nate, and thank you kindly for your considerate reply and tone! When I present MY version of that time and place in history, it usually is not well received. Bwahahaha, right! 😛

        My above reply to Scottie might help a bit in understanding MY approach to Nan’s wonderful blog question. Though its anwser would be nice for a modern blog-reader (with very limited time or patience?) if it were simply “Yes or No”… most reasoning, critical-thinking “students” of the subject, me included, know a yes or no answer is just gross oversimplification and doesn’t do justice for a now deeply rooted, passion-rousing ideology or faith! For that reason alone I TRY my best not to disrespect someone’s “FAITH”… but I often do challenge their knowledge and understanding of the very origins of “The Way”, Yeshua, the earliest Church, and 2-3 centures of Roman canonization. To me, those four subjects are paramount for anyone’s foundations of (extreme?) Christian Fundamentalism or proselytizing — which too often leads to a subtle form of mental-emotional slavery by peer assimilation, not liberation.

        All of that said, I do not have ANY issues with anyone’s INDIVIDUAL faith, as long as they do not seek social monism, i.e. John 14:6.

        Warm regards Nate! ❤

        Liked by 5 people

  4. Great post, Nan — and thanks for the shout-out!

    I don’t have any particular beef with your theory — I’d certainly say it’s possible. To me, it doesn’t make a big difference if the Jesus of the NT was based on a real individual or not. Since most of the experts think he was, I tend to lean that direction, not being an expert myself.

    However, when I do think about this in detail, these are some of the thoughts and questions that occur to me:

    I don’t think it’s likely that the writer of Mark created the stories of Jesus, because scholars almost uniformly date Paul’s writings as earlier. In Paul’s writings, Jesus as spoken of as a character that the readers are already somewhat familiar with. So aren’t we dealing with either writings or oral traditions that must predate Paul? And if so, how can we conclude much of anything about these?

    I think your point about the Jewish writings that were penned in the centuries before Christianity is very good. The only thing that seems a little different to me is that those writings usually dealt with characters that were already known to the Jewish people. The books of Enoch and Baruch are such examples. Even the Book of Daniel may have been meant to allude to the Dan’el of Ezekiel. Either way, Nebuchadnezzar and the other characters of the book were definitely well known. Other books, like Judith and Tobit, don’t have leading characters that were already known, but their stories take place many centuries before they were written. It seems to me that the stories about Jesus are a bit different in that none of the characters are well known (except Herod and Pilate), and all the events take place within fairly recent memory.

    Again, I’m not saying I’m 100% against the idea of mythicism. I just think that we take on a higher burden of proof when we make that claim. I haven’t read Carrier’s arguments (or Price’s or Fitzgerald’s), so maybe the evidence is much stronger than I’m aware of. And I do know that mythicism is a notion that most critical scholars have dismissed for decades, and perhaps if they reexamine it some of them will decide that there’s a stronger case than they realize.

    To me, the existence of a Jewish preacher named Jesus is not an extraordinary claim, so I’m prepared to accept it with little evidence. I just don’t see the need to deny the existence of such an individual.

    Like

    • Nate, you’re welcome. 🙂

      What I was doing in this post was not so much trying to promote the idea of mythicism, but rather to introduce the idea of “what if?”

      I think many of us who once were Christians tend to view discussions about the bible from our former position. IOW, we try to prove or disprove the general consensus of what it says using the position we held as believers. That is … we “assume” the writers were real people who wrote about real things. While we may no longer believe the actual events (or the sequence of events) really took place as described, we still hold onto the idea of oral traditions. From there, we turn to those who study all this “stuff” in depth to validate or invalidate what we personally hold to be true.

      All I was doing is using a little imagination and throwing out the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the whole story was “made up.”

      P.S. I’m aware that Paul started it all … but used the writers of the gospel for my post because they were the ones who wrote about Jesus, whereas Paul mostly wrote about doctrine.

      Liked by 4 people

      • P.S. I’m aware that Paul started it all … but used the writers of the gospel for my post because they were the ones who wrote about Jesus, whereas Paul mostly wrote about doctrine.

        Great point Nan. Saul of Tarsus, aka the Apostle Paul, and his background is another historical biography that few modern Christians, even many priests-ministers or church staff, are aware of or well-informed about — i.e. his life OUTSIDE of his epistles. Saul was most assuredly aligned with Roman ideals of sociopolitical rule throughout Asia Minor, Palestine, and the Roman peninsula, according to one scholar James Tabor of UNC-Charlotte, and had several motives to go AGAINST the 2nd-century CE Jerusalem Counsel lead by James the brother of Yeshua/Jesus and their Judean-Christian doctrines and practices. This too makes Saul a suspicious or limitedly affiliated source on Yeshua — someone of which he NEVER actually met face-to-face, ever. His Roman-Paulian theology was in direct opposition and conflict to the N. African Gnostic-Christians and their teachings, as well as key points of James the Brother and (at first, according to the “gospels” and Acts) Peter in Jerusalem.

        Once again, Saul/Paul had many motives to align with a Greco-Roman version of Yeshua’s teachings. This context & background is with good Roman-Constantinian (canonization) reason… modified and/or overlooked in most modern Christian seminaries, i.e. mystical god-like divinitization common throughout historical Roman and non-Roman Emperors elsewhere in the world. Methods of Divinitization in Antiquity or creating a demi-god is another topic of Imperial sociopolitical governing of an illiterate populace that Rome absolutely employed for public control. Today, James Tabor and several other neutral biblical scholars fall in this camp.

        Historical accuracy about Yeshua the person/teacher by Saul/Paul? Unreliable, questionable at best. Creating a fantastic Earthly-Heavenly divinity? Absolutely. Obviously, as seen by the growth of Christianity post 350 CE and the eventual influence and wealth of the Roman Catholic Church. 🙂

        Thought I’d throw in a bit of an expansion Nan on your “Paul started it all“. If people only knew. HAH! 😉

        Liked by 4 people

        • I wrote extensively about Paul in my book … and I’ve written a couple of posts about him. He’s a dandy! (BTW, I never refer to him as an apostle NOR as “St. Paul” because he was neither!)

          Since my book has been in circulation for almost 5 years, I may write a series on Paul one of these days. I have some very strong feelings about him (if you hadn’t already noticed). And yes … he most definitely promoted Yeshua as a mystical earthly/heavenly divinity.

          As an added note, PT, I really appreciate your contributions to my posts. You always provide some great information related to the subject matter.

          Liked by 3 people

        • Yes. It is so good that you are well-informed about truer New Testament history & epistolic exegesis Nan!

          I do wish you’d write a series about Paul, Paulian theology, and how it differs with early Judean-Jerusalem theology. 🙂

          As an added note, PT, I really appreciate your contributions to my posts. You always provide some great information related to the subject matter.

          My kind thanks Nan for that. If I simply cause someone to go VERIFY — from more neutral or independent sources — what I summarize in my OWN style, then it is worth it. Just because I adequately provide citations, or bibliography, or verifiable sources… DOESN’T MEAN that my rendition is accurate, or completely plausible! YOU (as in inquisitor) go do the homework/legwork yourself if untrusting. Otherwise, go be the “expert” yourself! Right? LOL 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree that making up a concept of Jesus doesn’t require someone to perpetrate a fraud. It could have been any number of reasons, most notably avoiding execution for heresy, blasphemy, or not obeying any Roman religious laws. The gain here is that someone gets to practice a new religion without as much fear of being killed for it.

    Still, it doesn’t exclude the possibility of a single teacher at one point. But I don’t think it matters, and UnkleE’s and CS’s responses are good evidence of why that is. Their points regarding the matter simply focus on preserving their feelings that biblical writings are true, and not in actually reconciling disparate accounts in the text itself.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hello Nan. I agree with you. I mentioned some of what you did on Nate’s blog during the discussion. Everything from made up religions to the fact you can’t trust oral histories. Many completely fabricated events and beings are based on oral traditions. I agree scam artist or charismatic individuals can hijack an accepted religion and turn it into one completely different from the original. I am think of different offshoot religions such as the SDA is an offshoot of the Millerite movement. The Branch Davidians from Wacco are an offshoot of the SDA. The fact religions can be made up out of nothing on their own is also true, such as Ron L. Hubbard and scientology. According to his son, Hubbard said if you want to make real money start a religion. I did not do the research you did, you have done the hard work. But using reason it seems to me when all these things are put together the idea that the only thing we have to prove Jesus is the written words of other people that may not exist themselves, reason says it is much more probable he did not exist. Thanks Nan. I enjoy reading your posts and comments. Hugs

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  7. I think it’s possible a Jewish preacher name Yeshua lived and later was turned into a god by a few “embellishers” who told stories about him.. But, it is also very likely such a person did not exist and was created the same way, Thor, Loki, Osiris, Isis, Amon Ra, and The Great Golden Boot were created: fictionally-from the get go. Did a real guy named Zeus HAVE to have lived in order for the “god” Zeus to be created? Was there a real dude named Loki who was later turned into the god of mischief by story tellers? Possibly, but completely unnecessary. Gods and myths are created by people out of their imaginations. Period. Jesus the “god” is a myth, just like any other god. To insist he MUST be based on a real dude, is no more plausible to me than a real guy named Thor HAD to have existed in order for the “god” Thor to have been created. Anyway, that’s my 7 cents. Happy New Year, BTW.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Jeff took the words right out of my mouth. Nan, I read your comment (on Nate’s blog) earlier today, before you started this post. I thought your comment on Nate’s blog was excellent, and had thought about publishing a post about this subject, if Nate didn’t heed your suggestion and start a post regarding your questions. But, thanks for saving me the trouble. I agree with you and Scottie, as well as Jeff, that it’s certainly plausible, and probable that Jesus was a made-up deity just like Yahweh. As Christopher Hitchen pointed out, Christian and Islam plagiarized Judaism.

    Scott brought up a great point about the SDA, for which I’ve done a significant amount of research on over the past 20+ years. It wasn’t long ago that most, if not all Christians (denominations) considered the SDA a cult, but after video endorsements from two presidents (GW Bush, and Bill Clinton) they became mainstream, now with a presence in over 200 countries and territories, and a following of over 25 million. They have the 2nd largest Christian school system in the world. To put this into perspective, the Adventist claim to be the “remnant church”, and believe Sunday worship is the mark of the anti-Christ. Yet, here they are, mainstream and legit due to endorsements from men in high places. Sound familiar?

    Ellen White, their prophet, was a con artist. However, she didn’t start out that way. Initially, people believed she was having visitations from god. What she was actually experiencing as a child (after a severe head injuiy) were symptoms from temporal lobe epilepsy (according to neurologists who have studied her extensively). But as an adult, she plagiarized big time (over 80 percent of her writings, which were extensive), and claimed god told her. People bought it hook, link and sinker. It’s only been recently that her plagiarism has come to light, but the devout don’t buy it, even when the evidence is right in from of them.

    Saying all this, it’s possible that a person, named Jesus, existed. It’s also highly possible this person made claims or had neurological issues, just like Ellen White did. But to presume that a religion can’t get started and grow in leaps in bounds without an actual human being to represent it, hasn’t considered all those deities mentioned by Jeff and the mythical/biblical deity,Yahweh.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Jeff brought up some very good points about those “other gods.” They didn’t exist as people, but they most definitely existed as gods. So … what’s the difference?

      The person of Yeshua may very well have existed. And he very well may have talked about Yahweh. But who’s to say the stories about this individual weren’t written by highly talented and imaginative writers? Using an early form of “self-publishing,” they circulated their tales among their clan and before you know it, fiction became non-fiction.

      Liked by 2 people

      • “So … what’s the difference?”

        There is no difference, really. Deities were invented by humans, mostly men. As Hitchen stated, the Abrahamic religions were invented so that men could own women.

        “Using an early form of “self-publishing,” they circulated their tales among their clan and before you know it, fiction became non-fiction.”

        Absolutely plausible.

        Liked by 4 people

    • Hello NeuroNotes. I am so glad you brought that up about Ellen G. White. I had to read everyone of her books, and we always were tested on them. Sometimes it was like she was more important than god. I always thought she was having some type of seizure but never knew enough about it to understand. We were constantly told she could take these heavy books and hold them straight out in her hands for such long periods of time that it had to be god holding them for her. The human body couldn’t do it. Of course no video of her doing it, no one anyone knew seen it. As you must know the thing they kept touting about her was that “God went to the lowest of the low to use to spread his truthful message” or cush. It always had to have the lowest of the low in it. I guess so we would stay humble. Anyway I enjoyed reading your comment, it brought back a lot of memories. Hugs

      Liked by 3 people

  9. While these stories didn’t make the cut for the “New Testament,” who is to say the stories that were included are any more factual?

    There are over 70 “gospels” (Apocryphal books) that didn’t make the cut… Read those and you arrive at but one conclusion: Fiction.

    Liked by 10 people

  10. Interesting post, Nan and great comments.
    This is how I see the case:
    There is a story of a god told in the OT.
    In the NT, there is a god who has a son. It could be the same god of the OT or a different god altogether.
    The question then is whether there is any reason to upgrade these stories from myth to fact?
    To the question is there a god I have answered no. Any claim, therefore, that requires a god for its validity, is in my view, invalid. It is a chimera.
    The question therefore about a son of god falls in the just so stories.

    Liked by 4 people

    • The question therefore about a son of god falls in the just so stories.

      That’s a very good logical way to put it Makagutu. Referring to and connecting the ancient sociopolitical methods employed by rulers to our modern era, specifically in the U.S., I would liken your conclusion this way…

      Since the invention of printing, celluloid, and cinematic theater, how many books and films of fiction have reached the top 3-5 accolades as bestsellers or Oscar-winning… multiple times? Why do they reach such popular heights and what does that say about their readers/audiences?

      The 1999 sensational film, The Blair Witch Project, was initially widely regarded as true, as a found or recovered footage of three film-students. The film brought in over $248-million worldwide! 😮 What does that acclaim say about cinematic audiences… or rather with Nan’s blog-post case/questions? What does it reveal about our human brains and human neuro-systems?

      If I may Makagutu (Nan), here’s MY (and one personal) explanation of the power & influence of “sensational” story-telling reaching and beyond peer assimilation on massive scales…

      https://professortaboo.com/2016/12/11/mind-and-matter/

      Again, excellent comment Makagutu. And thank you Nan. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Well Nan…my proof, as it has always been…is the fact that Jesus Christ lives in me…Colossians 1:27… Hogwash U say !! My dear friend, when the Holy Spirit takes up residence within you…you will have absolute proof, that you are indeed a child of God…

    Romans 8:15-16… For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (NKJV)

    Have a great day !!

    bruce

    Like

    • Hi Bruce. You’ve contributed a fascinating comment & approach to this discussion. If I may…

      As someone non-Christian or as a teenager/adult raised in say… a part of the world with no contact whatsoever to Western civilized cultures (languages?) — perhaps in the Amazon Rainforest or an island in the south Pacific with indigenous people/tribes, which exist even to this day — how would you explain to that teenager/adult what or who the “Holy Spirit” is or represents?

      With respect, thank you sir.

      Liked by 4 people

      • PT, this is Bruce’s M.O. He comes onto various atheist/non-believer blogs and leaves his holy footprint. I’ve never been able to figure out what he hopes to accomplish considering his audience. In any case, your question is excellent and for once, I hope he has a “non-preaching” response.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Nan, if he does have a “non-preaching” response, I will be surprised. I’ve never seen him able to explain anything without quoting the bible. I’ve never seen him not proselytize.

          Liked by 3 people

        • “True ‘dat, Ms. Victoria. But there’s always hope that his brain will start working and overtake his “spirit.” ;-)”

          And Nan, I have hope and pray daily, the the Holy Spirit, will overtake your spirit, and draw you in !! (John 6:44)

          Like

        • See everyone? What did I tell you? He simply can’t comment without mentioning his buddy, the “Holy Spirit.”

          Bruce, we’re all just pleased as punch you have “someone” to accompany you through life, but most (if not all) who visit this blog don’t have the slightest interest in meeting your metaphysical friend. So please, I’d really appreciate it if you could try contributing to the topic being discussed and get off the bible-ease kick. Thx.

          Liked by 2 people

        • GMF is a classic example of believing the presence of the Other found inside the bicameral brain is actually convincing evidence of an exterior cognizant being. He’s listening to different parts of himself, so to speak, and attributing that voice to some god. This assumption – and maintaining it in spite of overwhelming compelling evidence contrary to it – indicates significant brain dysfunction. He thinks praying with you in mind will magically introduce you to his interior voices and convince you that the Other exists independent of him.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yup!

          Bruce often reminds me of someone who is crippled and unable to maneuver without a cane. In this case, he must lean on his imaginary buddy in order to deal with the realities of Life. Sad, really.

          Liked by 2 people

        • I’ve read that the Holy Spirit has a very tough time drinking liquid of any kind. It all pours out of him via his holes after he swallows it. I prefer my spirits to be unholy. This way I can go drinking with them and not have to worry about them making a mess.

          Liked by 3 people

        • Another brain expert, I see !! God will indeed convince someone in this group, that He not only exists, but that they have been graced with salvation…

          I’m hanging around for just such a time !!

          bruce

          Like

        • You are sooo deluded, Bruce, it’s pathetic. But if it makes you happy to live such a make believe life, go for it. Just please stop spreading your fantasy tales on my blog.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Bruce, I feel fairly certain everyone who participates on this blog is well aware of your religious position AND the fact that you’re “praying for us.” If you can dispense with all that and offer comments pertinent to the topic at hand, then you are more than welcome to participate.

          And here’s your first opportunity! PT asked you a question that I think many of us would enjoy reading your response.

          Like

        • To argue with a man who has renounced reason [or various languages?] is like administering medicine to the dead.
          –Thomas Paine

          This profound quote certainly applies to human language, or the meeting and possible outcomes of two completely different cultures of the world. It does neither of them ANY GOOD to ramble on in unreconizable unknown vernaculars. Yes?

          Liked by 2 people

        • I have not seen much of Bruce lately. But I will make three observations:

          1) he cites his changed life as evidence of the truth of Christianity and then admits that his wife (who would have witnessed the change) is not a ‘true’ Christian – really compelling evidence?

          2) he contacted me privately sending me various videos with ‘proofs’ of Christianity, I looked at one which was entitled ‘Science proves the Bible true’. The video was the usual cherry picking of Bible verses which they claim show insight that ancient people could not have possessed – to say the video was disingenuous is to be generous. So I sent Bruce a couple of videos that ‘proved’ the Bible was not inerrant. So what was Bruce’s response ‘the Holy Spirit warned him not to watch the videos’. I told Bruce that unless he was prepared to consider my arguments I would not consider his.

          3) he claims to be filled with the Spirit of God, but he shows no supernatural insight into my situation that one might expect if he was really being guided by ‘God’.

          Liked by 4 people

        • Hey Peter !! Hope you are well, my friend…

          1) he cites his changed life as evidence of the truth of Christianity and then admits that his wife (who would have witnessed the change) is not a ‘true’ Christian – really compelling evidence? – Peter, the fact that my wife has not yet accepted the Lord as her Savior, is God’s work… In almost every family, you will find born again Christians with spouses, daughters, brothers, sisters and other next of kin who don’t know the Lord

          “I sent Bruce a couple of videos that ‘proved’ the Bible was not inerrant.” – Peter, you are right that I have no interest in watching anything all of you have accepted as proof the Bible is full of errors… I love my life, exactly as it is right now… Why would I want to doubt God, when I know what He has done for me and my life ???

          “, but he shows no supernatural insight into my situation” – Peter, being graced with salvation by God is all His work… We are all dead in our truspasses, until God gives us the will to understand our need of Christ as our Savior…

          I continue to pray every day for most of you I met on Ark’s site… I truly believe God will draw one of you in (John 6:44), with an irresistible, effectual call…and you will experience what I have experienced…the indwelling Holy Spirit…

          Have a great day Peter !! 🙂

          bruce

          Like

      • “To argue with a man who has renounced reason [or various languages?] is like administering medicine to the dead.”
        –Thomas Paine

        Professor you will see a first class example of the truth of this saying over at the post on Nate’s blog which is the subject of this post, where a certain commentator, ColorStorm, displays the confidence that only the truly deluded are able to display. As Nate so deftly observed, if Nate was still a Christian, Colorstorm’s pro Christian arguments would do more to shake one’s confidence in the truth of Christianity than a multitude of atheist arguments.

        Liked by 4 people

        • I know and understand exactly what you are saying Peter. It does no one any good — “believer” or otherwise — when one or both CANNOT speak in terms that both/all understand… ON THE COMMON HUMAN LEVEL. I believe the apropos analogy is ‘speaking from atop ivory towers’ in a language that isn’t fully understood… with or without any possible paranormal, metaphysical “holy spirit”!

          Thanks Peter for your addition. Warm wishes to you Sir. ❤

          Liked by 2 people

      • Well Professor, God’s Word tells us this, in…

        Romans 1:20… For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, (NKJV)

        Just looking around at what God has created will be visible even to that tribe hidden in the rain forest… Did you know that even Helen Keller knew Jesus existed, even though she had never seen or heard the Gospel presentation… When someone shared the gospel to her later in her life…she said she knew Jesus existed, but did not know His name…

        Like

        • There is a school of thought that believes it was Marcion who penned the Epistles of Paul – the ones that are supposed to be original – as it was he who (apparently) first ”discovered” them. ( I wish I could remember the source of this )

          When one considers how much fraudulent material the gospels actually contain, how the synoptics copy from each other, and if we are prepared to accept such things as the Farrer hypothesis, and also how much was simply based/lifted from the Old Testament is it really so difficult to accept the entire story was fabricated, especially as we now realize how much of the Old Testament is simply historical fiction?

          Liked by 2 people

        • Thanks for the reply Bruce. I hope you’ll continue this dialogue with me to a reasonable courteous end, however long that may take. Thanks.

          Imagine please (suspend for a bit your personal origins, life experiences & customs) that I am that person on a south Pacific island or tribesman in the Amazon, and Western culture is NOT my native culture; I am not the least bit familiar with ANY Western theological concepts you’ve immediately lept into with me. Hence, let’s back up further…

          Who is this “God” you speak of? Where is this “God”? Show me. Take me to this “God.” Also, me and my people are not familiar at all with “Word” from your “God”. Can you please explain these three words in a form language/expressions we as simple newly acquainted humans are BOTH familiar with?

          Thank you.

          Liked by 4 people

        • Let me ask you a question Professor… Can you clearly see the creation of the world, and know that God exists ?? You have at least heard about those that believe in this God of creation…

          bruce

          Like

        • May I first back up further and remind you of my very initial question that I hoped you would answer:

          “…how would you explain to that teenager/adult what or who the “Holy Spirit” is or represents?

          Please don’t forget it. And NOW adding my previous 3 questions makes a total of 4 questions unanswered. Please note.

          In show of good faith, I will for the moment endulge your latest question. However, once I’ve answered it, please immediately answer my initial first question, then followed by your answers to my last three. In advance, thank you.

          Can you clearly see the creation of the world, and know that God exists??

          From the POV of my temporary non-Western Civ tribal character as well as me, an American and 8th generation Texan… purily from the empirical evidence of everything around me, from the largest known animal, to all inanimate objects making up this empirical world, down to the tiniest — and in my American experience: the subatomic and soon beyond the Higgs Boson — there is ENDLESS variety, differences, and not one single empirical species, person, place, or thing that is purely identical.

          This clearly tells me and my temporary tribal character that Monism is a false illusion/creation by humanity. And based on your framing of your question, it is glaringly obvious there is no Singularity… anywhere that my 5-12 senses can perceive.

          In the context of this answer, your last question to me is unnecessary.

          Now in equal return, would you be so kind as to answer MY previous four questions to you.

          Thank you.

          Liked by 5 people

        • My dear Professor…you say…”This clearly tells me and my temporary tribal character that Monism is a false illusion/creation by humanity.”

          There will be no way I, as a mere human being, can ever change your mind (or anyone else’s mind, that does not believe God exists)…that God is absolutely real, and the Creator of all that we see around us…

          You my dear friend, are blinded by Satan, to see and truly understand, that every blade of grass…every single insect…and all that is living and breathing in this world…has been, and continues to exist, because God has created it…

          You are not going to respect this answer, because you are incapable of understanding my simple response…because God has not yet given you the will or understanding to believe in Him…

          I believe the native in the jungle, can have his eyes opened by God…and he may not know God’s name…or have ever heard the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…but if he will be headed to heaven when he dies, because he believes in the God, who has opened his eyes…

          There will be no use to answer your questions… I find it interesting, that you can speak for “my temporary tribal character”…

          The Bible is clear, in John 6:44…that unless God draws a sinner in…and opens his eyes to the truth…they will not see the kingdom of heaven…

          I continue to pray for all of you (I will try to remember U as well), every day…that God will, at His will and His perfect timing…open the eyes of one of U…so that others, besides myself…will be able to speak of the life changing experience of being graced by salvation by God…and the amazing power of the Holy Spirit which will truly bring the believer God richest blessings… The 9 Spiritual fruit that will take a lifetime to grow into maturity…Love, joy, peace, and the rest of the spiritual fruit…must truly be experienced to be believed…

          None of you will have any idea of true God given spiritual joy, until the agape love of Christ fills your heart…and as Jesus’ joy fills you, your spiritual joy will be full…(John 15:11)

          I hesitate to give U scripture verses…as Nan say’s I am preaching…but the truth of a changed life, is the truth that I speak about here…

          Have a great day Professor !! 🙂

          bruce

          Like

        • Yes, Bruce, you are preaching again. You started out with some solid comments then …

          As I said before, I doubt any of my blog visitors are unaware of the scriptures (in fact, I daresay most of them know the “Word” far better than most believers). If you wish to offer a particular location (e.g., John 15:11), that’s fine. But please do not “quote” the bible in your responses.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Bruce,

          This reply has overtures of termination or near-termination of our extremely brief dialogue. If this is so, then I am very disappointed in you and your hasty unwillingness to simply step out of your fixed world and language — for only a brief moment! — and discuss generously with someone different exactly how and why a person or persons (like my fictional character) often cannot communicate with another human being who REFUSES(?) or cannot speak another language or in various terms; i.e. terms and concepts that much/most of the world can at least engage in with some effort!

          Please tell me I am wrong in my inference of your/this last reply above. For at this point, you seem unwilling to put forth a little bit of effort (or is it lazy?) to go beyond acknowledging me as “blinded”. Wow. Do you speak to and treat strangers that way often!? And then, if that completely fabricated presumption of my vision wasn’t enough, you go on with…

          You my dear friend, are blinded by Satan, to see and truly understand…

          If I were a hyper-sensitive man, I and many might take those as unwarranted insults. Anyone here can correct me if I am being too sensitive to these particular tactless(?) words, as total strangers no less.

          Bruce, was I mistaken in giving you the initial decent common courtesy of engaging you politely as another human being and asking you open-ended questions of your comments here? Was this only to be a one-sided dialogue… your side only? Or might it be that you are afraid of me? That I might be hiding my horns & forked-tail? I assure you there is NO NEED to be afraid. I was honestly asking you… HOW would you communicate with someone NOT from your fixed world, in terms that anyone in the world could begin to understand. I believe I did that politely. Then you pile on more blunt language and fabricated presumptions…

          You are not going to respect this answer, because you are incapable of understanding my simple response because God has not yet given you the will or understanding to believe in Him

          This is wildly presumptious, especially as strangers. I should correct you here: Bruce, you know nothing of my life, background, family, education, and expecially about 19+ years of my life very relative to this topic and Nan’s post here. Yet, you (arrogantly?) presume satanic-blindness(?), incompetent(?), premature DISrespect from me, another “…you are incapable of understanding…” — might that be because dialogue and understanding are a two-way form of human expression by talking, listening, asking and answering questions back-n-forth? (has to chuckle here) — and your last presumption can only be considered, and with due respect to you Bruce, ridiculously outlandish. I can’t put it any better way. 😛

          It would seem that I would be wasting my time, yours, and anyone else’s here that might want to understand you, to ask you further questions. Perhaps I am wrong. You correct me if I can indeed ask you further questions, BUT… I would need you first to promise you’ll answer them — out of common fairness I was trying to establish with you at the beginning — because many/most people who engage in courteous conversation, at some point, would like to speak, be heard, be understood (via Q&A), so that basic dignity & honor is exchanged between people and establish relationships, forming MEANINGFUL productive relationships hopefully. Please don’t take any of this paragraph as derogatory to you. I am merely exhibiting my continued patience with you in sincere HOPE we can better understand each other.

          Otherwise, you are welcome to raise your curt, presumptious, unwarranted aloofness… I promise I won’t be hurt!… and terminate this dialogue. Tell me to go play in Satanville, or Satanburg(?), or with something called satan if you’d like. By the way, those S-words were a joke; don’t take offense please. 😉

          In anticipation of your (last?) response…
          Professor T ❤

          Liked by 3 people

        • Professor, you have far more patience than me.

          I will be surprised if you get a considered response from Bruce, but one can always hope.

          It seems it’s next to impossible for (some) believers to converse normally. They are so indoctrinated with the teachings of their religion that to hold a “normal” conversation (without quoting or referencing scripture) is beyond their capacity.

          As you have surely noticed, I’ve given another warning to Bruce. He needs to realize/accept that his continual “preaching” is placating only himself. I do hope he will finally accept this and offer some substantial dialogue.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Reblogged this on The Recovering Know It All and commented:
    I loved this post. Just trying to get thru the comments on it and the related article and comments on Nate’s blog as well. I’m passing it on as a possible prompt for discussion on mine as well. No longer restricted to the limited ‘liar, lunatic, or lord’ that Lewis tried to sell us, as Recovering Know It Alls and Deconverts from Christianity, we now must encourage others like we were to consider options such as Literary Fiction and Legendary Mythology. Kudos to Nan, Nate and all who cause us to Think and not just Believe. -kia

    Liked by 3 people

    • In retrospect it amazes that Lewis’ argument of ‘liar, lunatic or Lord’ has received so much traction in apologetic circles. It is the easiest of all arguments to refute by adding ‘legend’ to the choices.

      Of course Lewis presupposes that the Gospel records are accurate. This presupposition can immediately be challenged from the internal evidence of the Bible itself. As Nate points out the Luke and Matthew birth narratives are contradictory which is enough evidence in itself to challenge the presupposition of Lewis.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Lewis intentionally limited the options to just three for rhetorical purpose. I’m sure he was intelligent enough to realize there were other possibilities, but they didn’t lead to the conclusion he wanted to be inevitable

        Liked by 2 people

        • Perhaps he was just hoping his audience was less intelligent. Mere Christianity has been so influential over the years, but I see it as a book to bolster the faith of the wavering, not to persuade the skeptic.

          Liked by 3 people

        • I read mere christianity. Certainly not his best work, but yes… it’s designed to convince the converted and keeps them from real inquiry and discovery by leading them towards presupposed ‘answers’. Not really honest, but apologetics rarely is.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Peter (& KIA if interested)…

        A different lens to add to both your threads here:

        The mere fact that there is ANY Christian apologists in existence today or 2-3,000 years ago at least confirms 1) that questions, inquiries, honest scrutiny upon confusing verses or passages of the New Testament do and/or might exist, and 2) questions, inquiries, honest scrutiny upon confusing verses or passages of the New Testament are indeed within the realm of human reason, contrasts and comparisons, critical-thinking, verifications or unverifiables whether “believer” or non-believer. Sometimes/many times the “debate” comes down to whether a party/parties desire(s) to participate together in humanity’s arena of obvious (popular?) intellectual skills.

        If this was not the case, would there NOT be glaringly obvious cause for all of humanitythrough two or three millenia of human history — 7.5-billion, to immediately drop what they are doing and “follow” this “path of life” with unwavering action? Why isn’t it a no-7.5M-brainers!? That said…

        I’ll assume both of you know that the Gospel of Mark is by biblical scholars and scientific dating unanimously agreed to be the oldest FIRST gospel compiled. Also, I’ll assume that you two are aware that Saul of Tarsus/aka the Apostle Paul, whose letters/epistles PRE-date the gospels, even Mark… never mentions any empty tomb of Yeshua/Christ in the 13 (4 or 9) epistles attributed to him. Paul absolutely SHOULD mention, even hint at, this critical part of the divinity of a death-defying Christ! The silence of Paul doesn’t mean it is a conclusive consideration, but it should certainly not be tossed out of consideration simply because it is inconclusive. The silence of Paul is inconclusive evidence that may serve as part of a larger case to establish that the empty tomb story is probably NOT historical and merely following a well-established tradition (legend?) of Jewish resurrection (in final days) theology. But there is more about Paul’s silence AND the earliest extant Mark testaments…

        Liked by 2 people

        • Thanks Professor, I think it all comes down to mindset. Believers usually are believers before they study the Bible in detail. They tend to read the Bible in a devotional way which is focussed on ‘what God wants to tell me’ rather than critically considering the truth of the stories. The truth is assumed as a presupposition.

          As I said on Nate’s blog post, I did not deconvert until I was prepared to allow for the possibility that the Bible might not be from ‘God’. If that possibility is ruled out then rationalisation is used to explain away the errors, to the objective this might seem ridiculous, but that is the point the believer is in no way objective.

          Liked by 3 people

        • Mindset or mindsetS, indeed. And what is being discovered in neurological-cognition and psychology is the POWER of the placebo effect WITH the further influence of peer assimilation. The two are potent partners when everyone in a large group feeds each other & feed off of each other, whether their “beliefs-expectations” are confirmed by collective (exhaustive) verifiable facts/data, or not. As long as the expectant believer-follower has emotional support around them, stepping OUT OF that warm comfort zone is difficult. For some/many… IMPOSSIBLE!

          Hence, falsifying, denying or turning a blind-eye/deaf-ear, or just simply arguing in circles or insulting those different — in hopes they’ll turn emotional (irrational?) too — are often the “defenses” against losing that comfort zone & peer support.

          What I personally find ironic is that nothing serious or tangible will be lost by simply joining the human race and who we truly are — within this mysterious, never-ending spectacular, sometimes daunting planet & Cosmos — now or in the next life/existence of LESS FEAR! One would lose a few friends or family sure, but you gain millions more by simply being the Earthling we all are. IMHO, that decision puts all our emotional, intellectual, physical, and metaphysical energies in the RIGHT direction, BEST direction: this pale blue dot floating & vibrating in this infinite multiverse Cosmos working with it… not against it and each other. 😉

          Sorry for being long-winded Peter! ❤

          Liked by 4 people

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